Get Unstuck and Live Healthy
Updated: Nov 18, 2019
We're talking about one of the most important relationships you will have in your life on the podcast today.
We're talking about your relationship with yourself and your body.
We always want to emphasize the importance of relationships, and that includes the relationship with ourselves.
We believe that your soul talks to you through your body and emotions and ignoring them is really looking a gift horse in the mouth.
To show you what we mean, in this episode we both share very personal stories about chronic issues and hardships we each faced and how tapping into our personal experience and turning towards our issues and symptoms actually helped heal them.
We hope that this episode will help you see how being aligned with yourself and being curious in your thinking about your emotions and body is one of the most important aspects to your own well-being.
As you listen to the episode, we hope you will resonate with the stories we chose to share and reflect on your own relationship with yourself- how can you tap more into yourself?
Find Your Mojo in Montana - Early bird is open now
CrisMarie: Today we're going to have a little different conversation. We're going to talk about get unstuck and live healthy. And what we mean by that is, we've gone from, we talk about teams a lot, we talk about couples and what we're talking about now is inside of you. It's called the beauty of conflict within.
Susan: We haven't written that book yet, but we're pretty sure that will probably be the next one on the agenda.
CrisMarie: Yes, exactly. Because there's so often where we have issues with our body. Let's say we have physical symptoms. Right now I have plantar fasciitis. Susan, I think you have a right shoulder issue and it's so easy to get into the trap of, oh my gosh, can somebody just fix me? Can I just get rid of this problem? Because then life will be better. And we believe that actually your body, your soul talks to you through your body and your emotions and ignoring them or wanting to fix them or get rid of them is really kind of looking a messenger, whatever, gift horse in the mouth, you're just trying to push it away.
Susan: Well, it's definitely non-relational.
CrisMarie: That's true.
Susan: We've been emphasizing the importance of the relationship and yes, I think when we just ignore the symptom or take it to the doctor or want to get it fixed, we're actually...
CrisMarie: The magic pill.
Susan: The magic pill. We're in a form of reaction to ourselves. We've disowned and separated from a significant part of ourselves. And sometimes when we turn towards that, we may actually get some new information. A symptom may be more than just something that is a problem. And our culture is so developed around, cut out the problem, fix the problem, get rid of the problem.
CrisMarie: Take the pill.
Susan: Take the pill whatever, the matrix. It goes all back to the blue pill or the red pill. Or, even better, I was thinking about this, the movie, I forgot what it's called. Inside Out.
CrisMarie: The feelings.
Susan: The parts, the feelings. It was a Disney film, Inside Out. And it's a great example of the different, the emotional landscape that we live in. And I love that movie. If you haven't seen it, watch it. Because it really is about not disowning certain parts of yourself, certain emotions.
CrisMarie: Because we do the same thing. Anger is bad or shame is bad or jealousy, envy, all those different energies that come up. But you know what? We're human. We're all wired with the same emotions and pretending they're not there is really, again not being relational and it has the same effect. It's kind of that equal resistant. What resists persists. When we don't want to feel something, it comes out in unhealthy ways.
Susan: It's the same way even with our thoughts. The things, the stories that we have that we don't like. If we stuff them and never deal with them and never start to actually look at our thinking and be really curious, become curious, have a relationship with it, it becomes something that really overrides us. And so, again, we're talking about this today because we do think it's also great terrain to work with. That the relationship you have to your own thoughts, your own emotions, your own physical symptoms, even your own association with God and spirit. Do you think it's something out there or is it something that you access and know is a part of who you are?
CrisMarie: Yeah, I think that's really neat. This came up when I was training for the Olympics. I was in the 88 Olympics as a rower and when I started rowing, well I got involved in rowing because I saw a made for TV movie that had a love story in it. She fell in love with a rower and it made the University of Washington look so pretty.
Susan: And people think athletes are just these people who thought about their sport for their entire lifetime. But no, here's CrisMarie who got into the sport because of romance.
CrisMarie: Well, I was, I wasn't an athlete in high school. I was an elite flute player. And then I saw this movie and I'm like, oh, I want to try that. And thank goodness the University of Washington was like, Hey, right after I saw that movie, I got the flyer and it said, if you're five foot eight or taller, come down to the shell house. And I wasn't, but I didn't think they'd check. I was five six. And I almost didn't go. But then I went there and I loved learning. It was a great way to make the university smaller because I was involved in sports, so I developed relationships. It was fun. We are all in this together. Later I learned only eight of them were, out of the 110 we're going to race. That was a real bummer, but I stuck with it.
But as I moved up in the ranks, I started to treat my body more and more like a tool. And because I was a squirt, I was small in rowing, I was stressing my body. I could get strong really fast and I could set rhythm. But I had to, somebody who's six foot has a lot of leverage that I don't have. I worked my body really hard and when it started to break down, when I started to get shoulder issues or knee or ankle or back, man, I felt betrayed by my body. I was like, listen, I am showing up. Why the frick are you not showing up? You better be fixed. What do we need to do? Can you cut it? Can you operate it? Can you just, I was looking for somebody outside of me to fix me and I was so mad at my body because I thought it was such a disappointment.
Susan: And I think so often, injuries, illness, can feel like your body has betrayed you. And this is something that I've become very passionate about because I really do believe so many times people have lost their trust in themselves in our culture.
CrisMarie: Their body.
Susan: Their body. They trust their doctor or they trust somebody and they don't trust, wait a minute, I know it sucks that this is happening to you right now. Maybe you have an illness, maybe so, but can you turn and listen to it? Can you develop a relationship with it? And that is so, for me, that comes from back when I had cancer and the thing that stood out to me the most was when I had four cancers and CrisMarie's flashing numbers in front of me.
CrisMarie: She doesn't like to say that. She was given six months to live on one and she had three others.
Susan: And that'll be in another podcast, because what I really want to talk about is the belief that I have come, one, it got, when I realized that cancer wasn't some foreign cell, and that it was my own cells that had gone kind of rogue. I was like, wow. I actually started to see it as a communication issue. There's something that is inherently wrong. That actually allowed me to begin to become more curious. Become curious about this internal experience that I was happening, instead of just going down the course road of
getting blasted with chemo and radiation.
CrisMarie: Which you did do.
Susan: Which I did do. Those things, our western culture has done some amazing things to support some, because cancer when it's gone rogue can be pretty deadly pretty fast. Sometimes there needs to be interventions, but there also needs to be a willingness to look at, wait a minute, this is a relationship with myself. What is this going to be like? Basically destroying all the cells in my body to get rid of some rogue ones. How am I going to deal with that?
CrisMarie: Tell me where I'm wrong, Susan. But as you dealt with your different cancers, when you got curious and turned inward, it actually wound up being different traumatic events in your history that needed to be kind of processed. That you had stuffed away because you weren't really like, I don't want to deal with that. I don't want to deal with that. And they were different.
Susan: For me that is true. But I actually have come to believe that that's for other people may be something different.
CrisMarie: I get that. But I wanted you to just talk about your experience.
Susan: For me, when I became more curious about what is this expression? And I really did get, hey, when I started to deal more with whatever part of my life I wasn't willing to deal with or had buried or gotten rid of, my health did start to turn around. It was, there was a direct link in that regard. And I also think right now, cancer has become this thing that has gone out of control in our culture and I think a lot.
CrisMarie: One in three people will have cancer.
Susan: Yeah. It's pretty, and we do everything we can to eradicate it. But it's again, it's this question of at what point do we realize this is a part of our cell system that is...
CrisMarie: Trying to communicate to us.
Susan: Trying to communicate. And so, I've become kind of passionate about that. And I think that's true probably with any dis ease.
CrisMarie: Well, even myself, I had, coming out of the Olympics, I had a chronic back injury that I went to every doctor to try to, will you fix me? Can you fix me? None of them could. And this was from western acupuncture to operation, surgery folks. And I also had chronic fatigue. I had skin and gut issues, I had allergies, I was allergic to about 30 different things. And one of the main things that when I started to get, I think there was one point where I was just collapsed. I felt so devastated with all the things that I was dealing with. And it was actually a form of surrender, which is when I could start to get curious like, okay, what is happening? Why is this going on? Or what does this mean? And I started to get curious and I started to actually drop into my body and be willing to feel.
And one of the things I was angry about, which I hadn't really recognized is, the how much I was making myself wrong. We'd lost at the Olympics. I was mad at my coach. I never would let myself feel that. And when I let myself start to feel what I really felt, my back got better. The more I started making choices that were more in line with me. Was working at Arthur Anderson and I was working 60 hours a week trying to please everybody, and when I shifted and I took a part time job and I started painting and I started dancing, things I never let myself do before, my energy started to come back. As I continued to do things, my skin and gut issues went away, my energy came up.
CrisMarie: Now that doesn't mean that I'm, nothing ever happens to me, but when things...
Susan: Remember she has the plantar fasciitis. This is not lessons that we learned once and never do again.
CrisMarie: Yes, exactly. Right now I'm struggling with plantar fasciitis and it's more how can I relate to this situation that's happening rather than just try to fix it? Of course doing medical things is very important, but taking more of a curiosity and turning towards what's happening and developing a relationship and a conversation and a body of work that I learned is focusing. Which is all about developing interested curiosity for what's happening inside and learning to listen to that inner voice, that inner healer.
Susan: Yes, and so much of this, there's lots of different ways you can work with this. And one, another thing we often do is, we talk about gestalt, which is a form. Gestalt is sort of a completion, a whole, it's all about wholeness. Often we have unfinished stories inside of ourselves like CrisMarie was saying with my cancers and then maybe related to particular relationships in our lives that we've never resolved. Sometimes it, but it can also be, it can just be a starting point when you have a symptom to have a gestalt with that symptom to talk to that symptom, to imagine yourself. What does that, there's a variety of different ways you can do this. Classical gestalt is you just put that symptom out in front of you on a cushion and you talk to it.
CrisMarie: In your mind.
Susan: In your mind, and then you go over there. Now here's the thing with the gestalt. Then you got to go over there and be that symptom. Now that may sound a little weird, but if you go over there and just trust the process, breathe, respond to what you hurt and say, sometimes symptoms, you'd be surprised, messages from symptoms. And then you come back over and be yourself. And that form of a gestalt you can do with a physical symptom. You can do it with someone in your life who you have no, maybe it's a parent who's died and you know you have unfinished business with them. You can do
the same thing in a form of a gestalt.
CrisMarie: It's very healing. This also, you can do this, you can work with the horses. Susan, why don't you talk about how you work with people that have symptoms when you're actually taking them out and working with them one on one with a horse.
Susan: There's a variety of different ways, but one of the things about the reason why the horses are so profound, first off, they don't have stories. They have a really big Touro field, energetic field.
CrisMarie: Torsion I think it is.
Susan: Torsion, and I'm not saying the word. If you want to know the science of forces,
CrisMarie: You can Google it.
Susan: You can Google it. But when you get out there, it's an energetic experience. And so often when I'm working with somebody who is dealing, people who have been dealing with cancer or where they have felt like their body has betrayed them and they're either terrified that they're going to get cancer again or they're going through it now. And I've had people talk about how they feel like their body is, they can't trust it any more. They're afraid that is going to come back. They have a million little holes there.
And you know, it's kind of like my encouragement to them is one, go out with the horse and have a conversation. Just talk and the horse can support you in talking, reconnecting to your body. And so it's kind of a walking, talking, talk to your soul, talk to your body, talk to your cancer. And, but that horse is there to give you the permission to do it. And so many times I've seen that be so profound for people beginning to, oh I can. The story I have isn't the whole story. And there's room for something different. And then there's other ways, because things can come up while you're doing that. And so sometimes I'll shift it away. We won't be working with a horse, do something else and then come back to the horse.
CrisMarie: And I can imagine some of you out there thinking, oh my gosh, this sounds so wacko. If my foot is hurt, my foot is hurt. If I have cancer, I just need to get chemo. And that is one way of looking at it. We just think of there's a depth you may be missing and there's something going on because we have so much happening in our subconscious that we're not aware of. And this is one way to start to tap more into more of you. And so often when people are having chronic issues, they are making choices in their lives that aren't aligned with, let's say their soul's purpose. And the more people start to come, this is at least my own personal experience and the women that I and the people that I coach, the more they come in alignment and make choices closer and closer to what really lights them up, they get healthier.
Susan: Yes. And think back, years ago for me when I was dealing with my cancers, I had the good fortune of being around two physicians who believe very strongly in the medical model, but they also, they themselves started a whole motion movement around because they said sometimes healing took place in their waiting rooms more often than it took place in their offices.
CrisMarie: And what did they mean by that?
Susan: And what they meant by that is that the people in their waiting rooms, we're relating to each other and those relationships were fostering the healing more than some of the things they were doing. But they also would say to me, "Look, we want you to go back, get that radiation, get that surgery because right now you're not doing this fast enough." Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. Go and take care of business and then you can develop, come back because there's probably some work to do. I always appreciated that too. It was like they, they were able to see the beauty of what they had to offer, but they also saw something else that was possible and they really built a way of integrating that. And that to me is how I think, I get excited about working like that.
CrisMarie: And I think for me, when I was so swamped with physical issues that were dragging me down, I certainly felt so helpless and that I was a victim to my body. And my body, at the Olympics, my body, or before then, my body was betraying me. But then as it added on and when I can actually feel like I can do something different, wow, I could actually turn towards this and be curious. Just like we say to do in relationship, be curious and interested in what is making you hurt so much? Or what is going on? Then I feel more, I don't know, I feel like I can influence in some way even if I'm just listening and hearing what's happening.
Susan: There's so many things happening in the world right now. I even think of things like depression where, depression is incredibly difficult to deal with when you've got clinical depression. There isn't any question that there's probably definitely something about clinical depression that's real. But the other thing that can make a huge difference with people who are acutely depressed is the ability to be able to talk about it. More and more we're finding the last thing you want to do is kind of not be able to communicate about what is really happening to you. And so if you're fighting suicidal thoughts every night, to be able to actually tell someone that. Versus try to do it by yourself.
CrisMarie: Because I think there's so much shame about being depressed or being suicidal that we want to, well let me put it in the closet. And that's the worst thing. It only exacerbates the condition.
Susan: Yes. And the more you can, that we can hold that someone can talk about wanting to die and we don't have to panic and think that's a bad choice. Because sometimes, I remember someone once when I was in the throes, my therapist, when I was in the throes of my cancer and everything else that was coming up for me, I would, at night I would have, it was hell. And often I would find myself very suicidal. And I remember one night calling her just, and I was like, I just feel like I want to kill myself and I don't know what to do. And I remember her saying, "I actually understand why you would make that choice. And I would be so sad if that's what you chose to do. But I understand that choice." Now, in our world today, probably if I said my therapist's name, she'd get in trouble for that because we have such a thing of you can't. But it meant so much to me because it was the first time where I felt like, God, it's a realistic choice.
CrisMarie: Well, and I think she was acknowledging the depth of your pain and no wonder you would want to make that choice. And probably, I'm going to guess you're still here, but I'm guessing with that acknowledgement and that felt sense of feeling seen and heard, there was probably more of an opening.
Susan: It was really the first time I saw that there was any choice that was going on for me in this whole process of that I was going through. Even though, well, I could tell the version of Velcro shoes, which was, so there was one time where I actually did go down that suicidal road and I took some pills. And I remember.
CrisMarie: This was your treatment.
Susan: I was sick, I was not doing well, lots of my friends really couldn't be around me because it was, I was in my early twenties and who deals with someone dying at that point very well? Not very well. And so I just was at a point where I felt, this is it. I took these pills and I went outside and I was sitting there thinking, okay, they're going to kick in and I'll die soon.
And I was looking down at my shoe and I realized that I always tied my shoe backwards. And I was like, wow, that really sucks that I tie my shoe backwards. I cannot die. This is going to sound like a crazy thing. I can not die learning how to tie my shoe in the normal way.
CrisMarie: You mean without learning the correct way.
Susan: Yeah, I can't it until I learn how to. I got myself up. I went back in, I called my friend, one friend and I said, "I took all these pills, you got to do something." I started drinking water, throw up all sorts of things. I ended up going to the hospital, had to go through the whole nine yards of getting my stomach pumped up, whatever. And I walked out of there and my friend was taking me home and she's like, "Well, how do I know you're not going to do this again?"
And I said, "Well, let's go by the sports store." And she said, I said, "Because my commitment was I was going to learn how to tie my shoe normally, but I'm not going to start on that now." At that time in my life, there were Velcro shoes. I bought Velcro shoes and I said, "My commitment is to keep these Velcro shoes on my feet until I have enough engagement in life that I can learn how to tie my shoes right.".
CrisMarie: So sweet.
Susan: I still haven't learned how to tie my shoes right.
CrisMarie: No you haven't.
Susan: But it's okay, I have let go of the Velcro shoes. But there, that's the thing that I appreciate is that, in that moment, she didn't say, "I'm not going to, I don't trust you." She said, "What do we need to do that I can believe you're committed to hanging in? And I, and the Velcro shoes were a way through. When I've dealt with people who are suicidal, I try to always remember they have choice too. I know I have my job and I don't want someone to commit suicide on my watch, but I also get, life is not.
CrisMarie: Well I think sometimes we think by resisting what's happening to us physically or resisting and saying, "No, you can't kill yourself." That that's going to help somebody. But what it basically is doing is is no, putting a big hand up. You are wrong, which doesn't make anybody feel good. Going back to your therapist who said, "Well, gosh, no wonder if I were in your shoes." And that's when we do that internally, when we're having conversation with different parts of us, to actually turn and acknowledge and say, "Well, no wonder you're hurting me and my foot. Or if we are, if we've been listening."
Susan: The reality of it is, if we got this better, I think a lot of times people do really violent act, crazy violent act because they haven't dealt with their own potential to be violent. I know there have been a couple of times in my life for I knew I could kill someone. One person in particular, I knew I could kill them. And it helped me to realize, I know I can do this. And then start to look at, I have to know that I could be this violent person. And so to actually start to deal with that potential and to recognize it, not to disown it and say...
CrisMarie: I could never do that because then it will come out in weird ways. Or when people pretend they're not angry, and then they wind up yelling at their partner or kicking the dog.
Susan: Thinking they have no control because they actually, we often tell people and what I love about you is you're enacting. We're actually, we have some friends who do a program called Act Natural and it's all about accessing your, I think there will be a
CrisMarie: There is.
Susan: Essentially. But the whole idea that enacting and you get to play a part. And the key to being a good actor isn't to fake it. You have to be willing to drop in and be.
CrisMarie: To access the part of you. If this is, if somebody is playing Nurse Ratchet, which Jane was playing, is to actually enjoy hurting people. And that we recognize, that's in each and every one of us. That envy, that meanness. And of course we don't want to exhibit that, but the best way to not have it squirt out in weird ways, is to actually acknowledge right now that's what's happening inside of me. And to turn towards that part and recognize that energy is there for some good reason. And not to make yourself wrong, but to more be curious with it and interested. And that's even when in coaching people, helping them make friends with different parts of themselves, helping them make friends with their physical symptoms as a way of learning more about themselves. And then have more choice in interacting with other people.
Susan: Yes. I think we have covered a lot of terrain today.
CrisMarie: We have, I really appreciate you sharing your suicide stories and I think I'm very touched with them.
Susan: And my Velcro shoes. I wrote something about that a long time ago and I don't think I've shared it very often. It was a profound shift in my life.
CrisMarie: Yes, so thank you. And hopefully this has inspired you not to just want to get rid of a feeling or get rid of a clinical issue like depression or anxiety, the same idea or physical symptoms, but to actually turn towards them and be interested in them and developing the capacity to observe yourself and turn towards different parts of yourself. It's a cultivation. We tend to get so identified with things that they're like, oh they're me. And they're not you. They're just something in you who's feeling depressed or something in you who's...
CrisMarie: Yeah, angry or the emotions or it's just, it's your foot that's hurting or your shoulder. And to actually turn towards it and be interested and hear what it has to say because it's probably something that your consciousness, your soul, your subconscious is wanting you to hear and write, something is blocking you from being able to do that up until now. And if you need more help with that, let us know. Because we certainly do a lot of work in that capacity.
Susan: We'll end this by just saying, one way to get unstuck and live healthy is to have a healthy relationship with your insides as well as developing healthy relationships on the outside.
CrisMarie: Excellent. Take care.
We do believe the beauty of conflict, meaning the conflict even inside of ourselves is a rich terrain to investigate and learn more of. And we are leading a virtual program, Get Unstuck, Live Healthy, which is an eight week program starting, I think it's August 13th. Where we will work with people who are, if you're struggling with depression, anxiety, physical symptoms, cancer, it's a great opportunity for you to work and have support, to learn to be more relational to those symptoms and or whatever is coming up for you.
Susan: Yes, and specifically for any of you out there that are dealing with cancer or have dealt with cancer, I designed a program called When the Body Fails, rebuilding trust after or during cancer. And this is something that is going to involve the horses. It's going to be in person, it's going to be happening in October. October 25th to the 27th at Apache Springs in Arizona, a beautiful ranch. Anyway, and there we'll be exploring this whole idea of how you can redevelop trust with your body even when you think it's failed you.
CrisMarie: And that workshop is limited to a certain number of people.
Susan: Probably I think the most it'll take is 12.
CrisMarie: If you're interested, you might want to check it out and it's really, I think that Susan, tell me where I'm wrong, but that's a real labor of love that it's taken you a while to actually...
Susan: Yes. It's taken me, embrace. That's all I can say about it. The information is out there, trust me, I'll be able to talk more when the time comes.
CrisMarie: And we would love to work with you if you're struggling or just want to learn more and so reach out and check out those programs on thriveinc.com
Susan: All right, take care.
CrisMarie: Bye. Bye.
CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke
Coaches, Business Consultants, Speakers and Authors of The Beauty of Conflict
CrisMarie and Susan work leaders and teams, couples in business, and professional women.
They help turnaround dysfunctional teams into high performing, cohesive teams who trust each other, deal with differences directly, and have clarity and alignment on their business strategy so they create great results.
Connect with CrisMarie and Susan on LinkedIn.
Watch their TEDx Talk: Conflict – Use It, Don’t Defuse It!
Pre-order their new book The Beauty of Conflict for Couples: Igniting Passion, Intimacy, and Connection in Your Relationship.