Radikal Life Podcast S1E13: Clear with Courtney Gable
12:21AM Nov 4, 2022
Marina Patrice Vare (they/them/MP)
Courtney Gable (she/her)
Hello Radikal friends, MP here. Before we get into today's interview, I want to share a couple of announcements. First, this Saturday November 12, Andrea Durham, our Connect Module Leader, and Marielle Spero from our Radikal Life Engagement Team will be at the Awaken Expo at the Plymouth Meeting Mall near Philadelphia. If you're local, please come out and see us. We'll have raffle prizes and Radikal Life stickers to give away. And Andrea will also be presenting a session at the Expo. Second, discounted launch pricing for Radikal Life: The Manual for Optimal Being-ness is available through November 15. We've automatically applied $150 discount at checkout. So go get it! Now on to the podcast.
Hello and welcome to the Radikal Life Podcast. My name is Marina Patrice Vare. My pronouns are they them and MP. And I'm recording for you today on the unceded lands at the Lenni-Lenape peoples. Today I will be speaking with our Clear Module Leader, Courtney Gable. Courtney Gable is a nationally certified pre-licensed professional counselor in Pennsylvania. Courtney has a Master's degree in Clinical Counseling Psychology from LaSalle University, a BFA in acting from the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, and over 20 years of experience in the fields of wellness and motivation. Courtney's inclusive work focuses on helping people to feel seen and valued for who they are, wherever they are in their journey, and with mindfulness, compassion, and acceptance. Welcome to the podcast, Courtney. Would you like to share anything with our listeners about what identities and communities are important to you?
Absolutely. First of all, I just want to thank you. Hearing you introduce me, and this podcast is really lovely. And I'm grateful to be here. So yes, my name is Courtney Gable, I use she her pronouns. So about the communities that are important to me. I having work in social justice, and inclusion, and equality, all with a foundation and compassion are pretty much at the root of what I do in my work and in life as a human being. And I really try to meet people where they are. We're all on our own journeys but we're also journeying together. And I am a professional. I'm also a parent, a spouse, a community member, an activist, and educator, a therapist, a lifelong learner, and so on and so on. I'm a psychotherapist, I'm a somatic and yoga therapist, and I'm also a psychedelic assisted therapy provider.
Thanks so much for telling us a little bit more about yourself. When I think about Clear, the things that come to mind, for me are clarity, discernment, and direct communication. And I am wondering if that is your interpretation of Clear, if these things are similar or distinct from what you have in mind when you speak about Clear?
It's such a great question. And there's so much in that. I feel like discernment, really, in so many ways has to come first. Being able to stop and think and process how we get to clarity. And having direct communication is a part of that. And I feel like we can't even really get to that until we have the discernment. And so that is such an essential part of the process of clear and clearing. I appreciate that.
And I am wondering if you want to tell us a little bit more about when you think of Clear, what is it we're clearing and why is it important?
Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's such a broad word, right. When I think of Clear it, clear can be about clearing the mind. It can be about clearing our space. So you're talking about discernment and clear communications, clearing the air for, for communication, for transparency. It can be about clearing. And this goes back to clearing with the mind, but about getting clear on our priorities and our values, and, and having and having our processes aligned. And really being in integrity, and all the components that come together to allow that to be possible.
Really appreciate what you said there about things being aligned, because I was just, you know, I was taking that in, and I was thinking about, like, you've got clarity of mind, and then you can sort of, like you mentioned, act with integrity, right. And when you're clear on your priorities and your values, you can communicate them with others, and that they really can then be a grounded place for decision making and how you move through the world. So I really appreciated the combination of words that you brought together for us there.
I love how you just brought in grounded because absolutely, it has to it has to be grounded and connected. Yeah.
Yeah, I think I have I have a thought there about embodiment but I think I want to hold it a little bit. But yes, I think that I'll just name that. For me that clarity is a full experience, right? That it is a it's body experience. It is something that I like can feel subtle and unsubtle. Yeah. Yeah, I guess now that I've said that, do you have anything that you want to add to that?
Oh, my gosh, we could just take a deep dive into that for like, a whole different podcast. But yeah, the, the idea of being having to be embodied is so important, because we're not just our minds, and we're not just our bodies, we are this living system. And then we're not just a system unto ourselves, we are connected within something larger. And oftentimes when there's struggle, or there's trauma, we have a separation. And so in, in moving towards clearness, there's a move towards wholeness and connection and in some ways reconnection. And, and that that physical felt embodied sense is, is really important in in any of the aspects that we're talking about. Yeah.
Yeah. Thank you for that.
I would love to hear if you have a particular memory that feels important in relationship to your interpretation of Clear.
Yes, I'm actually there's one that's, that's relatively recent, and it's still fresh. So I am just thinking about it, I can feel it in my body. But so we recently had a family situation where we had adopted two and I won't go too into this but we adopted two little pandemic kitties and for all the love and all the care, it was not a good fit. And we kept trying and trying and trying to make it work. And when we were finally when we finally were able to when I was finally able to come to the understanding that the way that this is going to work is that they are going to need to find another loving home.
That was not easy. And it was not the original goal in terms of that particular outcome, but but getting clear on what is best for everyone. That that is what would ended up being and so that is that is how it ended up working out. And ultimately, I think I think the kitties are happier, they have a wonderful new home and and things have settled here. But it took a lot of a lot of clearing to get to that space.
Yeah, I can feel the tenderness of that. So thank you for, for sharing that with us, I know that it can be challenging, like, sort of as things are fresh, right, to share them, and also that sometimes they are the best example. So I appreciate that. You know, I heard in there that you were trying and trying and trying to make a thing work. And I just, I think that's the thing that a lot of people could relate to in a variety of areas of their life, right? And how that like that energy, right of like trying to do a thing that just isn't like settling and coming together, can be really depleting. And so I'm just like, I'm sitting with that for a minute about like, in my own life, the way that when I have resolved a thing that is sort of been unclear, right? The way that I feel like the difference of that in, in all aspects of my life, right? Like, it just gives me room to do other things, because it's not taking up mental space, but also like, I'm not holding myself in the same sort of way. And now I'm wondering if you want to say anything about sort of how you were moving through the world, as you were sort of trying and trying and trying to make this thing work that wasn't working? And then, you know, what it was that shifted for you that gave you the clarity, and then how you're feeling in the time since you've made that decision? And actually, like executed on what you have decided?
Sure, sure. You know, one of the things about getting clear, and how this all played out was that that there was this tremendous amount of energy that efforting it's like thinking that, that if I effort enough, I can get to the result that I want. And you know, a result will come. It just may not be the one that you want. But that's also the difference between the content and the context. Because, you know, the the context of it did align in that it was answering the question of what was best for everyone. But the content is what was really being effort. It's like, I want to make this, you know, this constellation work. And when I was able to step back and see, there's no way that the content and the context are going to align in this way. That was when there was freedom, and a lot of release, to say, Okay, we're going to have to find another way. But it was, it was important to go through that, because there was no way that we could get to that or that I could get to that space without exerting that energy. Does that make sense?
Yeah, it does make sense. And I'm thinking about, you know, two things immediately are coming to mind around this. And the first is just sort of that the phrase that you have that you said here about efforting enough, right? Because I think, in my own experience, like when things have been unclear, right, and I'm trying to like navigate without a distinct like awareness of exactly what needs to happen, I often am in this very uncomfortable, like, achy kind of itchy feeling of like, I want something to happen, right. And and, uh, you know, several years ago in my own life adopted this like sort of mantra, In the absence of clarity do nothing. because I am very much a like, I'm someone who wants to action to do the thing to like, right, I am very comfortable taking productive action and I'm less comfortable, like, you know, resting which is why I practice and teach this so that's sort of the first thing that's coming to mind for me. It's just that like that feeling of like when you don't yet have the information that you need to discern right? But like you know, something needs to change and you don't know what yet or you know that maybe even not something even needs to change but that you're not like settled or comfortable with where you are. So that was on my mind. And then also this piece where you said like and then we knew we had to find another way and I think I just it feels important to name that like clarity is not always a like, you know, sunshine and rainbows thing often is the opposite, right? That it's like there is some sort of like sense of for me relief of like, oh, okay, I have have a sense of clarity. But often the times where I have had the greatest clarity have been actually quite painful because the things I need to do next, right? Yeah, like the things you can put off doing when you like, don't know what you need to, like, you know, like what's needed or when you haven't come to like that clear decision. But then like, when you do know, and it's going to make you or someone else or everything around you unsettled or dissatisfied for a while, it can be really hard to like, you know, step into that clarity and do the aligned actions that need to occur.
Absolutely, just because something ends up being aligned and clear, doesn't mean that it's going to lack the pain doesn't mean that there isn't going to still be messy, emotional experience, you know, that the actual, you know, like, the actual transition, you know, when that came was heart wrenching, there were so many tears, you know, and, and it was the right thing to do. I also don't think that it would have, it ended up being a really important series of lessons. Actually, I can't even say that it was one lesson, but there were many lessons in there, and that they would not have emerged in this process, if we had not had that clearness. And, and I think that's one of the ways that it, it actually had the benefit of being healing, as opposed to being traumatic. It was still painful. But there was a larger content holding it, and it was held in compassion.
I really appreciate the distinction that you make there, right. Bet between things being hard and things being traumatic, right, because like we, we cannot always, right, shift and hold what is going to be traumatizing. Right. But I think that, you know, you named two things there that I think are really important in engaging with content to reduce the traumatizing impact, right, if possible, right. And one of them was the container, right? And then the other was compassion. And I really, I appreciate that. In this particular context, right? You're, you're talking about the trauma of literally, like your family constellation, changing when these two members of the family are no longer living with you. Right. And that's hard. There's like, no way around that being challenging. And so also the place where, like, clarity comes with some grief, right? Like, even the making, even making the right choice and decision for for all of you, right, does come with the challenge of holding that decision, right? And like living with that decision, for lack of a, you know what I mean? Like living with what you've had to decide.
Absolutely. Well, I love how before when you were talking about it being you know, sunshine and rainbows, and if you think about you know, a rainbow, it, you gotta have the rain.
I also heard you say there that there were a series of lessons that have emerged and we were talking for a moment before we started recording right about the ways that sometimes we only get like, we only get our clarity in retrospect, like we know that things are unfolding. But like, we didn't necessarily see that like, it wasn't just like, Oh, I I sat, and I meditated, and I thought, and I journaled and I know exactly what I need to do. And I'm going to do it. Right? Like sometimes it's really just like, you get glimpses of a thing that move you in a direction and then on the far other side of it often, right, then we can look back in retrospect and say like, Oh, that's how that clarity was emerging. So I'm wondering if there's anything you want to say about this situation or just anything about clarity in general related to that way that sometimes we only understand it, you know, retrospectively.
That's a big one. Yeah, well, thinking about um, you know, without going too much into you know, the into like, the personal stuff, but um, you know, the, the main reason that we had gotten these, these kittens, well, we had them for almost two years so they went from kittens to cats was really for, for my daughter for and, and as it turns out, they had actually bonded with me. And so, in fact, I think one of them may have even shown up in the in my first class. So there, I think there was a cat that walked through. But that, with that setup a very unhealthy dynamic within the house, and there was a lot of resentment and discomfort and anxiety and, and the lessons for my daughter to recognize that she is that, that her health is, is of the utmost importance, and that our relationship is of the utmost importance. And that if, you know if these, if these, you know, sweet babies are here, but they are not meeting that need. And that they are actually creating more stress than relieving and that this is something that we have the power to do, then it's in everyone's best interest to, to move them to another good loving home. And that these were ongoing discussions, rather than an imposing, and to let her be a part of that. And to be empowered by that and to have her her pain be seen and acknowledged, was really, really important. And she ended up being an active participant in the transition. So it wasn't like, Oh, you go over there, and we'll take care of this, you know, and then we'll just pretend that it isn't happening. You know, she helped and then the, the new, you know, the new owner came over, and my daughter helped load up her car with all of their favorite food and the treats and the cat climber and all of that. And, and she, she felt stronger, because of it. And I recognize it doesn't always work out that way. But in this situation, it it was an opportunity for us to come together and have a whole other level of conversations about about value and about needs being met, and about the complicated messiness of being a human being.
Thanks for flushing that out a little bit more for us. You know, I heard a couple of things in there that feel, I think, widely applicable. Right? Even though this is a very, like specific story, right? I think that, you know, I heard that there had been some expectations, and then that things unfolded in a different way. Right. And, and then that some of that clarity around the decision making meant really needed to go in and examine those expectations. And then figure out Are they realistic or unrealistic were they, you know, what needed to happen, what needs were surfacing from, you know, those unmet expectations. And then the other piece that I heard there that I think is really important is that you talked about involving your daughter in that decision making process, right. And in the, the transition process, right, so a place where she was able to feel empowered. And I do I appreciate you saying, like, you know, this, this story ended up nicely, right. And it's not always like that. But I think that what you're talking about here related to like expectations, and exploring those, and then figuring out how we can come from a place I think, often when our expectations are, are met or not, are not met, right, we can feel there's a lot of feelings that happen, right about like, Why did I have those expectations? Am I wrong? Or am I blaming the other person or like, right, so just some room to like, have the experience that we're having, and then figure out what our needs are. And then, you know, I think my favorite thing that I one of my favorite things that I've learned as an adult overall is this distinction in non non violent communication between needs and strategies, right, and so like, we can have a need, but like there is more than one way to meet it, right? And that the strategies that we employ are important and can really help us to better align with our values, right? And so appreciate this, you know, re homing being the strategy that you chose, I know that it's not something that you chose lightly. And so I think that it's a really lovely experience for you to share with us around, you know, discernment and clarity and I appreciate you taking us there. So thank you for that. I am wondering if you would feel comfortable sharing with us. You've shared with me that you had a pretty formative experience around this idea of clarity and you know, of particularly have been willing to let go as part of the clarity journey. And I'm wondering if you would be willing to share that with our listeners?
Yes, yes. Yeah. So I'm your I just want to make sure that you're talking about my transition from New York.
Oh, I am. Yes. Thanks for clarifying.
Oh, sure. Sure. So, um, yeah. So, in a nutshell, I had done my undergrad at, at NYU, I was living in New York, I was a working actor. I was working in the arts, I was making a living, acting, I was acting and producing. And I was working for a press agent, and writing and editing and choreographing I was working in, in dance and stage combat. And I was also an intimacy coordinator before there was even the label intimacy coordinator. And I loved that. But it also felt like it was a constant hustle.
I want to just make sure that folks understand because it took me a couple of reads of what you had said to me to understand that so intimacy coordinator is on the stage.
Yeah. Flesh that out for a second.
Absolutely, so, so, so I have training in stage combat and fight directing. And so oftentimes, for the stage, there are depictions of violence. And sometimes those are more intimate forms of violence and aggression, and to be able to choreograph that and to work with the actors so that they are safe, both physically and emotionally, is what the work of an intimacy coordinator is. It is such important work, and it is very delicate work. And, and I felt very grateful to have the opportunity to do it. That's very meaningful.
Thanks for letting me take that little sidebar there.
You were sharing about basically like living the dream, right of someone that goes to art school, like you're, you're making a living, doing your craft.
I was. I wasn't, you know, making a great living, but I was paying my bills, I had my union cards. You know, I, it was, it was wonderful. I felt like I was able to, yes, to use the skills that I had. But it was it really was a hustle, it was always one gig than another, even if I got something that was long term. If I got a tour, that was six months, it was great. That was a six month job. But then what comes next, and that was exhausting. And it was wearing me down and it was wearing me out. And I didn't really understand the toll that it was taking on me. And then one of my dear friends from high school, died, and he was only 28. And he was really talented. And he was an amazing person. And it really rocked me to the core, it actually rocked several of us, to our, to the core, those of us who were really close, and when it really hit me that that tomorrow is promised to no one. And so I went home, I went back to Pennsylvania for the funeral. And I thought very, very deeply about where my life was going, and what my future would be if I stayed on the current path. What some refer to as the, the, almost the probable, almost certain future. So if you if you keep going on the path you're going, you know, where is that going to be? And it really, I got clear that it wasn't leading me where I wanted to go. And so at the age of 30, after 13 years and in the city, I packed up my bags, I, you know, filled, I filled a rental truck, and I broke up with my boyfriend at the time. And I came back to Pennsylvania and I pursued my master's degree in Clinical Counseling Psychology. And I've been able to take all that knowledge from my background in the arts and apply it in the therapeutic setting. And it's meaningful and it's an it's impactful work and, and looking back on the journey, that there is that element of inevitability but living through it, it felt both precious and precarious. I'm grateful, though, because I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't gone through that. And, and I really like where I am today.
Thanks for that. Yeah, what I heard in there was that this unexpected tragedy right, of losing someone dear to you, quite young, really brought you to this like crossroads moment. Right? And I think what I want to highlight there is just that, like you were really enjoying what you were doing. Right? Like, it wasn't like, Oh, you know. I did hear you say like you didn't understand the toll until later, which I get. I think that happens for a lot of us, especially in our careers. But I just I want to name that, like you were still doing right, you were living a life that was really interesting and engaging, right. And not at least in terms of what I heard there like, particularly like harmful or destructive, you just knew that it wasn't like your, that there was a bigger path, right, that you weren't at yet. And I appreciate that this sort of turning point right happens around something really quite tragic. And that it allows you to sort of pause to reflect right to take a step back that you might not have taken had that not occurred, right, because you would have just been doing and going and doing the thing. And I appreciate what you're saying about being able to take this background that you have, right and channeling it into something else that you're passionate about, that also allows you to sort of create a more, if I understood correctly, like more sort of stable home base to work from. Right. Is that accurate?
Yeah. It's there wasn't anything wrong with with the life that I was leading. And at the same time, it was it wasn't quite right. For me. Yeah, over the long term. So thankfully, I've been able to take all of that and add to it. And yeah, I feel much more grounded now. And not living out of a suitcase and going on a six month tour is, I really like staying home.
Yeah, it really appreciate what you're naming there, right, which is that there are some things that at certain points of our life are really actually very nourishing and fulfilling and are like what we want to be in, and then something changes and shifts and evolves. And like you have happy and wonderful memories of that. And also, it's just not like what you want to be doing at this phase of your life. And I think that I think that maybe is also an important piece of clarity, right? That it's not like, hmm, how do I want to frame that, like, what's coming to mind for me is that it's not necessarily like the deepest clarity we get always comes to us like in like rock bottom moments or like, right, I think there's a lot of like narrative around like, Oh, I made these big changes in my life, when like, everything fell apart. And like, I think that there are also, which I think a lot of us have also lived through right, I have certainly made some of those changes in those places. But I think that the the ones where I feel like I have more control over why I'm making the choice and the shift, right, are the ones for me that really feel more about clarity than desperation. I don't know if that's a meaningful distinction there. But do you want to say any more about that?
Well, I think that goes back to values. You know, it's, it's about when things are aligned. And, and as you said, you know, things, things change, and we change and that, you know, we as human beings, we love things to be consistent. But, but the one thing about our lives, you know, the only thing that's really consistent is that there's a constant change. And so that idea of of grasping, you know, to hold on to something when it clearly is no longer serving the same function or nourishing and supporting and to be able to let that go. And part of that clarity for me was letting go of the that ego part that identity of like, what it means to be an artist or what it means to you know, be I don't know successful and, and it wasn't that I was leaving, feeling defeated, you know, or that that I failed that it's but that it, it it was no longer serving me and I wasn't able to be as effective in that way that as I want it to be. And so being able to shift was was necessary. Yeah.
Yeah, something that really stood out for me there is this idea around our identities, right .And then how where we are in what we're doing can really shift our sense of our own identity, or I would even say can really like deconstruct our identity in ways that like, we then need to figure out how to rebuild, right? You know, and so I'm just, I'm just thinking about that in my own life. And yeah, and I think the most profound of those, for me are the ones where like, I realize how much of my like worth and self I've been attaching to a particular identity. So I'm just like, it just brought up a thing for me to think about later.
how there are things during conversation that I was like, Oh, I'll write about that later. But I do, I wonder if you want to tell us a little bit about like, how this actually then unfolds, right? Like, you make this decision. And so just like, you drive back to New York, and you pack up your house, and you like, leave, right, I hear you left a relationship, which I think is also a thing that is important to note, right is that like, oftentimes, when we gain clarity, like, it means that there is a significant change that needs to happen. And that like that can ripple out in a lot of ways. So I'm just wondering, like, I heard you say, letting go. And I want to, I want to make sure that like people understand that there are a lot of ways to let go, and that it's not always just like, Oh, I made a decision. And then I went. So I'm wondering if you want to share anything about like the unfolding of that process. And like, the, maybe the messiness, and also sort of timeline of what it looks like in real life, as opposed to like, hey, we wrapped it up in a two hour movie.
Absolutely. Yeah, it was not as rash as that that was definitely the Reader's Digest version. But yeah, I went back to New York. And, and it was like, after that, it just it didn't, it didn't feel right. It just didn't, I was no longer or I guess, I was aware that, that I was no longer getting what I needed from from being there. And that I also wasn't able to, quite frankly, give in the way that I wanted to. And so I did a lot of really deep soul searching. And, and I was also working with a therapist at the time, who helped me through a lot of this. And I, I had been thinking about going into psychology for a while. A lot of people had sort of asked me about that way earlier, I think that was probably more, you know, my path anyway, because I've always been more process than product oriented. Even in theater, my least favorite part was always the performing. I always loved the collaborative process and the workshops and the creation of it, and the unfolding, figuring out character and all that. And so then I looked at programs, and as it turned out, LaSalle had a program and they had a campus very close to where my parents were living, which was also not necessarily an easy thing to do. Because at the tender age of 30, I ended up moving back home. I kept my job in New York, so I was commuting back and forth. It was not easy. And yet it absolutely felt like the right thing to do. And so yeah, it was in that same way, sort of in that in that similar vein with the story with the cats, it was once I really was clear on the context. And recognizing that the content was no longer aligning with that. Then the way opened up, and I found the strength to move into action.
I really appreciate that. The longer journey there, right, and that and also just the phrase that you ended on there, right, like the strength to move into action. I was thinking about what you said about awareness. And I'm thinking about this like place of moving from awareness to like the discernment of what to do with your awareness. Like that really is clarity, right? Like that's, that's the journey. And that that is not for the faint of heart. Right? No, because like when you like when you become aware and you really let yourself settle into the awareness of like, some things are working on some things aren't, right. There is a place of like, Oh, okay, I need to make some decisions and shift what I'm doing and I appreciate this distinction you've made a couple of times between context and content. And I wonder if you want to like give that another sentence or two. For folks that are like, wait, I haven't heard this before. What is this? What is this distinction you're making?
Absolutely. And that is, for me a very big part of of clearness, of Clear and of discernment. And so when I think of context, it's the larger framework, that's where that's where the priorities and the values. That's where all of that lives, it's the scaffolding. And then the content is what the situation is. And so that's like, the furniture in the house. And so the content with, with our earlier conversation was about, you know, what's what is best for the family and all of the members, you know, within, you know, within that community with, and with this, it was, you know, what, what is it that is going to really allow me to feel like I am doing good work, like, I'm able to take my talent and my passion and my care, and apply it in a way that is going to serve, and hopefully make, you know, enhance the, you know, the world around me. And when I started out in theater, that was always my goal. It wasn't merely about entertaining, it was about, you know, creating a springboard for deeper thought, and giving, you know, having, helping to create a space by which, you know, authors could have their voice and you know, that actors could create and, you know, creating that larger container. And once I realized that it wasn't working within that context, or that that was really the content, then I was able to say, oh, shifting, this is still on that same scaffolding. But it's a different way of moving through that. Does that makes sense?
Yeah, that doesn't make sense in a I'm gonna attempt to summarize it in the way that I understood it. And you'll let me know if I missed anything there. But, you know, I'm thinking about the context as to how, like, how do I want to be moving through the world, right? And then the content as like the what is actually unfolding, right.
So then there are often you know, decisions and actions that need to happen to bring the context and the content into alignment. And I think that a lot of us maybe don't even know that until we feel that sort of dis-ease, feeling right. But we don't have it takes that awareness moment to like, figure out like something happens that goes, Oh, I Yes, I can see where this is not matching up.
Absolutely. It's that feeling of restlessness, you know, sometimes we'll we'll, we'll notice that, that that tightness, or that that churning. But where's it coming from? And yes, and when I realized that, what it was going to take for me to let that restlessness settle. I remember thinking, Oh, and then Oh, because then I realized that the path before me was, was gonna be really hard. But not doing it was actually going to be even harder.
Yeah, I think a lot of folks can relate to that. Yes, like knowing that, okay, I've got a hard journey ahead, but also not doing that is, in the long run, harder. Yeah, I appreciate you naming that. I would love to shift our focus a little bit and talk about sort of the breadth of your professional experience, because I think it's really interesting. And I'd like to hear how it comes together for you. So I know that you've got professional training as a psychotherapist, as a somatic therapist, and as a yoga therapist, and then you're also currently training as a psychedelic therapist. So I would love if you would share for us, you know, how you became interested in these modalities? How like, what their relationship is to each other, and sort of what their relationship is to the unfolding of like your becoming?
Okay, yes, absolutely. Um, so, going back from when I was very, very young, I've always loved dance and movement. And I've always felt connected in a kinesthetic way. And so that's always been a big part of me. I used to have friends joke that like if you wanted to, like make me quiet, you would just like tie my hands down, because I talk with my whole body. And, and so that so so that's always been an organic part of me and wanting to deepen my understanding of that was really how that started, I started taking a deeper dive into the yoga. And then I wanted to understand why what I was feeling on the mat felt so special. And so then I took my first teacher training, with no design particularly of teaching, but really just wanting to understand it. And then, after taking the training, feeling that in some ways, I'm almost like selfish, like I'm hoarding if I don't share it. And so then that moved, you know, out again into that wider community thinking of service, and the breath work also. And so I had already had years of teaching, and doing that work even before I went on for the Masters. And so then those all blended really well together. And I actually got my graduate degree a while ago, even though I'm just getting licensed now. But even then, and yoga therapy was not really, it was early, it was like, way early. But even as I was, you know, writing my papers, it was all about the psychology of, you know, chronic pain, and, and working in elements of that. And so bridging that always seemed really natural to me. And then as far as the psychedelic therapy, and the ketamine assisted therapy, you know, with the breath work. Oftentimes, we're also talking about non ordinary states of consciousness, or extra ordinary states of consciousness. And so the moving into the psychedelic assisted therapy, again, seems like a natural progression. And it's all about, for me, it's all about creating as many avenues as possible for exploration. It's like what you said before, like, there is no one way to do it. And none of these work, every time for every body. For some people talk therapy is exactly what they need. For other people having a combination with the breath work for other people, you know, really connecting with with the body. That they're all just different tools that can be pulled out when applicable.
That makes a lot of sense to me. I really liked this phrase that you've used non ordinary states of consciousness, because the first thing that I thought of was like, Oh, that's also very much related to theater. Right? Or like to viewing, right? Or reading, right? Is that like, I get to be in places where I normally am not like, I get to be in a character experience that I normally am not. And so that was just like a link that happened for me as you were talking about it that I found interesting, because that's not a phrase that I would have used about it. Right. I, you know, I'm also a yoga therapist. And so it's always interesting to me, as well to like to hear how people come to that, you know, professional credential, but also, I know so many people, I think I know more people who would say that they went to their yoga, particularly their 200 hour teacher training, to learn how why, like, what was happening when they were practicing, like to understand the the like, why is this working for me more than the intention to teach. So it's just like, it's sort of like I keep a tally of that. I'm like, Oh, it's so interesting to hear, like another person say that, because it is for sure, it has been my experience. And we've talked to a couple of other folks on the podcast, who also are yoga teachers and yoga therapists who I believe have said like similar things. And so it's just interesting to me that this sort of idea about this curiosity about right, like, what is happening and what is unfolding, in my experience, and why is it working? And how is it common and uncommon from what is unfolding for other people? Yeah, and I mean, you know, obviously, I'm quite passionate about it. I like yoga as a modality as well. So like, it just I think it's really interesting to like, put them together. And I, I think, for me, I would love to understand, like sort of how it all unfolded, do you come home from New York and then study to be a yoga therapist, and then like, where, like, where does it come together?
I just I like to understand people's backstory. So I'm like, when did that how did that happen?
So I left New York in 2005. Yeah, I was there from 92 to 2005. So I was there through a lot of New York experiences. And then I, I was in school from 2005 to 2008. And actually my yoga therapy degree, well, let's see, I got my first yoga teacher training in 2002, or 2003. So that definitely, you know, that predated my degree. And so as far as a yoga therapy, I was actually grandfathered in, because I had the Master's degree, and because I had all the trainings from from yoga before, so I was able to meet all the qualifications without then having to go through another whole degree, so that I was very thankful for that. And then, my, my curiosity, I'm just I'm, uh, I'm such a nerd. And I, and I just I love to learn, and I just, I find people fascinating. You know, in so many ways, truth is stranger than fiction. And so that was, you know, one of the, that was one of the ways that, you know, I was able to let go of the theater as well. And it's this idea of being able to help help people or hold the container for them, to have their lived experience, so that they can find wholeness, so that they can heal themselves. All the work that I do is, is trauma informed. And we are all walking around with levels of levels of trauma, with with with history with with baggage, whether that is ours individually, whether that is family, whether that is you know, system, whether that is cultural, ancestral. And so the more the more I feel, the more I study, the more I realized, I need to study. For every one hour that I learned, there's like 50 more. But my goal is to be responsible and to create the safest space possible. You know, to create that container and and all of these different modalities I feel like helped me inch ever closer to that, you know, it's never done. But it, I they all fit really well together. The breath work, and the psychedelics fit really well, the body work, and the psychedelics and the talk therapy, they all complement each other. Yeah, it's a tapestry.
Yeah, thanks for weaving some of that together for me. It's just interesting to like, see how it unfolds. And yeah, I hear what you're saying about all of them being complementary to each other, like, almost being a natural unfolding, as you walk into one and things just keep. And that certainly has been true for me in my own learning and unlearning as well as it's like, I walk into a thing. And then I'm like, Oh, and now I need to know that. And I want to know more about that. Yeah. And so it always makes me like, it always warms my heart to to know that other people's brains unfold like that. Right. And that like that they. Yeah. So I heard you specifically name like a trauma informed approach, which I really appreciate as an influence on the way that you do your work. And I'm wondering if there are any people that you specifically want to name those folks that have helped you to influence your understanding of clarity, or Clear?
Sure. I mean, I could I could list many. But for the purposes of time, I'll list a list to at this point. And, and those are Resmaa Menaken and Gabor Maté. And both of them are have actually been guest lectures within the program that I'm taking right now in the psychedelic assisted therapy. But both are incredible writers and researchers, and Reesma Menaken for those who are not familiar, wrote the book, My Grandmother's Hands, and then also, more recently wrote the Quaking of America, which I haven't read yet, but it's on my list and does a lot of work in cultural somatics. And so it's, it's the somatic work that's related to racial trauma. And I just remember the first time that I came across his work having such an incredibly visceral response. And for all the work that I do, and and I do a lot of work in, in diversity and inclusion and equity and social justice, it still absolutely floored me. And I was so humbled by, by what I didn't know I didn't know. And so for those who are not yet familiar with him, and his work, I cannot recommend it highly enough. He even has, I think, a free workshop on his website, as well that you can take, I think it's like a five part series, or a three part series, I don't remember which, but it's really wonderful. And then Gabor Maté has written several books, and also again, through that the trauma informed lens and has done work with addiction, and, and also with psychedelics, and very, very powerful and he does a lot of compassionate inquiry work and so there's so much heart that is in the work that he does. And he also has a brand new book that I have not yet gotten. That is all about the toxicity in our culture, and how we find our way through that. Has it's it's complicated right now. It's a complicated world we live in so.
Yeah, two very cool people.
Very cool people.
Yeah, I follow Reesma on Instagram, some really great like short stuff there on a, you know, pretty regular basis. I was also thinking about I cannot remember it, but maybe you know, the name of the movie, featuring of Gabor Maté.
Oh, there's a new, there's a documentary.
There's a documentary, I saw it sometime last year. And I'll look it up and put it in the show notes. But really just you can get such a feel for his compassionate heart, like just in in even like watching him interact in the film.
I actually haven't seen it yet. So please put it in the show notes.
Yeah, I'll put it in the show notes. It really I highly recommend it. I don't know if it's, I watched it on sort of like a pre-release and so I don't know if it's widely available, but we'll find out and we'll drop it there. I think the thing that I would highlight about what these two for sure share in common, right, is really this idea about the somatic, right, relationship between trauma and where trauma is stored in the body. And like, you know, I think most folks who are thinking about trauma and where trauma is, you know, in the body, have heard of the Body Keeps the Score and I think that that is one starting place. But I think it's really important to sort of move beyond, you know, beyond that as a source and to, you know, expand who we are listening to and thinking with when we're understanding trauma. And so these are two wonderful additional folks to build out your understanding and awareness of trauma and somatics. And really the ah, I would that would say like the just the generative nature of healing.
Yes. Beautifully said I completely 100% agree. Yeah.
I'm just taking a look at my notes to see if there's anything that we didn't talk about that I want to make sure we cover, I think I would love if you wanted to share with our listeners, maybe just a quick summary of how you approached creating the Clear module, I think it's a unique vision that you created there. And so I would love for you to tell us just you know, a few sentences about how it came together.
Sure. Well it was interesting, because when, when Manjot first approached me about it, the very first thing I thought of was about, you know, using each of the letters to create, you know, sort of themes, and but then it didn't encompass enough. And so they were the springboards for for wider themes. And so that is what, that's what I did, I went through, you know, the C, the L, the E, the A and the R. And then each one of those has, you know, there's compassion and, you know, in E there's equity and in A there's acceptance and that there are different activities that that come along with them and, and the values are very much a part of that there's there's a rather intense values based inquiry. That's a multi generational query. And I was, I really, I felt very grateful for the opportunity to, to create this content, because it really, you know, I had to, I had to embody it as well. And it's, you know, to really be in integrity with that, it, it takes work. And so I really try to approach it again from that responsible perspective, and, you know, creating that container to hold it for, whatever, wherever people are, when they come to it. And, and hopefully, it's something that people might even be able to revisit, you know, multiple times depending on what they are seeking clearness on.
Yeah, I appreciate that, just that you named there at the end, right, this sort of iterative process of clarity. And you, you know, you introduce a significant number of like queries and ways into, to do that discernment process. And normally, on the podcast, I ask folks about, like, their sort of everyday life and where that fits in. And we've already spoken about one of them, right, which is the content and context and wondering if there's anything else that you want to share about the Clear practices that you're using in your day-to-day life? And maybe if they've shifted over time?
Yeah, there any, there are many different aspects that I use. I've really tried to approach everything with compassion. And, and I think, actually, at this point, it's probably it would probably be helpful for me to define how I view you know, what that is, and, and so say, as compared to sympathy or empathy. And whereas with sympathy and empathy, you are, you know, feeling for and you are feeling with someone, you are, in many ways, sort of pulled along energetically, with their journey with their experience with that emotional wave. Whereas with, with compassion, it's remaining grounded, and it's holding the space for someone else, to have their lived experience without going on that journey. So it's not dissociative in that there's a wall or a barrier between, but that it's, it's the bowl that holds it. And so that is something that thematically comes up throughout the Clear module. And that is because that is something that is very deeply rooted in the way I move through the world. Yeah.
I really appreciate your your take on that. And that, like the breakdown, right of they are similar and different in these ways. And I really appreciate specifically what you're saying about not like energetically going on the journey, but really being someone who is present and can hold space. Yeah, I think that that is really important. And I don't know that that's specifically how I would have defined compassion, right. And I'm, like, sort of tooling around in my head, like, how would I have defined that, but I think that it is a meaningful description to me like I have a clearer sense of what you mean. And I think it's a useful framework, when we think about being in relationship with other people, right? And making space for their experiences and our experiences and and often what I will call like, the space between them, right?
Yeah. Yeah. So thank you for that. I am just about to approach my last question here. And before I do, I always like to ask if there's anything else that is on your heart and mind that has, you know, perhaps risen to the surface, but that we haven't spoken about or anything that you want to make sure that you get to share.
I feel like we covered a lot of ground, I really do. I just want to extend my thanks to you and for the creation of this whole project.
Thank you for that. Appreciate it.
I feel really honored to be part of it.
I appreciate that very much. And I would love to know, while we're talking about this project of Radikal Life, what is your vision of a Radikal Life?
Yeah, I'm actually going to consult my notes because I have given this some thought and it's it's to live in compassionate truth, even if it doesn't go with the norms of our culture, it's to be thoughtful and deliberate in words and actions, rather than being reactive. To live with an open heart and to embrace imperfection as part of our existence, and to choose kindness, no matter what.
Thank you for that thoughtful offering. I really appreciate you sharing your vision with us and your time with us today. It has been a pleasure to be able to, to talk with you about all of these things and appreciate the fullness of your heart that you have brought to us here.
Thank you. The feeling is mutual.
Thank you for joining us, head over to our website at Radikal dot Life to sign up for your free Radikal Life Starter Kit. Our website is R A D I K A L dot L I F E. The Radikal Life podcast is produced by me Marina Patrice Vare and edited by Cassidy Vare. Our theme music was created by Mark MeeZy. Radikal Life is a co-creation with Manjot Singh Khalsa and Radikal Healing. Connect with us on social media, Radikal with a K. We're on Instagram at Radikal underscore Life underscore 22 and Facebook at Radikal Life.