Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

The Magical Art Of Self Acceptance with Christina Carlson

This week we welcome Christina Carlson, an embodiment and energetic coach, speaker, teacher, and the host of the podcast, “Bitches, Witches & Queers.”

Christina and I talk about her experience of being raised as an Evangelical Fundamentalist Christian, leaving the church, and how dance helped free not only her body but her mind. 

Eventually, Christina discovers another church, and falls in love, but over time signals in her body help her to recognize that the church environment is not for her. We also talk about how this paved the way for what she currently does, working as an embodiment and energetic coach, and the ways she employs practical spirituality in all that she does especially her work. 

Christina ends this incredible conversation with an exercise that eases us into the practice of observing ourselves and staying inside our bodies.

Show Notes [00:00:00] Charna Cassell: Welcome back to Late Open Podcast. During my hiatus from recording this podcast, I've been building an online course on how to live the passionate, pleasure filled, peaceful life you want, reduce self sabotaging behavior, and gain control over your nervous system. [00:00:14] Charna Cassell: Creating courses for people around the world to understand the impact of trauma on their nervous system and relationships and how they can heal is something I've wanted to do for over a decade. I'm thrilled it's finally happening. I'll keep you posted as to when it's launching. For now, you can also sign up for my newsletter, read my blog, or send questions to be answered at charnacasselle. [00:00:36] Charna Cassell: com. Today's guest is Christina Carlson, who's an embodiment and energetic coach, speaker, teacher, and the host of the podcast, bitches, witches, and queers. Welcome, Christina. [00:00:50] [00:01:36] Christina Carlson: Thank you. So happy to be here. [00:01:38] Charna Cassell: Yeah, I've been looking forward to this conversation. You've been keeping me company in my garden while I've been listening to your podcast. So it's, it's always interesting, when I get to actually see someone's face for the first time and talk to them. Whatever I've been doing, kind of, it pushes infuses my, my visual field. [00:01:59] Charna Cassell: So I see you surrounded by strawberries and kale. [00:02:03] Christina Carlson: That sounds great. I'll take it. [00:02:06] Charna Cassell: You have a crown of strawberries. [00:02:09] Christina Carlson: Strawberry and kale crown sounds dreamy. [00:02:12] Charna Cassell: Fantastic. So, do you, how long have you been doing your, your podcast? [00:02:19] Christina Carlson: Oh, it's been two years. I think it'll be three years next January. So yeah, it's two and a half years. And it wasn't originally named Bitches, Witches and Queers. It was originally Religious Renegade with a focus on people's stories who've left religion. Which I really enjoyed. However, it started to feel really narrow. [00:02:41] Christina Carlson: I just got more curious about where people were going now. [00:02:44] Charna Cassell: Mm. Mm [00:02:45] Christina Carlson: I wanted to hear the whole story, not just where people have been, but also like what they were exploring now and what that looks like and all kinds of spiritual stuff. [00:02:54] Charna Cassell: Right, so get, really getting a sense of the full arc and also broadening the conversations you get to be in so that you're not just stuck talking about the past, huh? [00:03:04] Christina Carlson: Yeah, absolutely. And as a, as like a coach, like my focus generally is on how do we move forward. [00:03:11] Charna Cassell: Mm [00:03:11] Christina Carlson: So those conversations ended up being more interesting for me. And also like how, where we've been does impact how we move forward. So felt kind of cohesive. [00:03:23] Charna Cassell: Right. Right. So, you know, being with the past, the present and the future, it's like, how are you orienting now informed by where you've been, which we're going to get to hear about that regarding, you know, what inspired that particular topic for you and, and how you came to be where you are now. [00:03:43] Charna Cassell: And so around that, I know that you have, and you can obviously go into a lot more detail about this, but. A background raised as evangelical Christian, is that right? [00:03:57] Christina Carlson: Yeah. It's it's, it's evangelical fundamentalists and those two things are a little bit of a different umbrellas. [00:04:03] Charna Cassell: Uh huh. [00:04:04] Christina Carlson: they have slightly different but very similar like things in within them but fundamentalism can be attributed to different religions. Evangelicalism is a specific is typically specific to Christianity. [00:04:21] Charna Cassell: So you could be, you could be fundamentalist Muslim. You could be fundamentalist. [00:04:26] Charna Cassell: You know, orthodox Jew, you could be, yeah, and so [00:04:30] Christina Carlson: Yeah. You could be fundamentalist Muslim. You could be fundamentalist Christian, but evangelical is specific to Christianity. So, if you want to be, like, really specific, it's fundamentalist evangelical Christianity or dogmatic Christianity. [00:04:44] Charna Cassell: So coming from that, and having a podcast called Bitches, Witches, and Queers, that's quite an arc, right? There's a journey, there's a journey, a little journey there. [00:04:57] Christina Carlson: Yeah. Arc is kind of a funny word when it comes to that because it was definitely more like a roller coaster [00:05:04] Charna Cassell: Yeah, yeah, [00:05:05] Christina Carlson: also with the religious stories in the background, you've got Noah's Ark. So, [00:05:11] Charna Cassell: funny. [00:05:12] Christina Carlson: But yeah, it has been quite a journey. I feel like the, I was really, really hesitant at first to unpack anything, and as time went on, I got more bold, I think, and by the time I Change the podcast name to bitches, which isn't queers. I was pretty much fully out as like everything myself. So it felt very natural. [00:05:37] Christina Carlson: I did, I did text a friend when I, when the name like downloaded to me, I was like, is this okay, are people going to be upset? And they were like, no, it's fine. It's just upsetting enough. [00:05:48] Charna Cassell: and that's the thing. It's like there's these, these layers of coming out, right? Just, you just keep inching your way, and there's more and more self acceptance that, you know, and, and, or shame, or discomfort, or people pleasing, or whatever it is that gets stripped away, and... The, the title when, when I received an email about being on my podcast, the name caught me right away. [00:06:14] Charna Cassell: I was like, Ooh, everything interesting. We could get into it. [00:06:20] Christina Carlson: Yeah, and that's kind of what I wanted. I wanted a name and I want a brand and I am someone who is immediately recognizable as a person who's calling in the right people for me. So there isn't any confusion or there's less confusion around like my people and the people that I'm wanting to bring in, you know, cause like. [00:06:44] Christina Carlson: If people are offended by the name, then like, it's like, well, you're probably not my people and that's fine [00:06:49] Charna Cassell: that's right. that's right. [00:06:51] Charna Cassell: It's. It's, it's, it is, it's self selecting and, you know, and I've, I've had a number of clients that have come from fundamentalist or very religious backgrounds and they may or may not be queer. But losing community is often a theme and your sense of place and belonging. [00:07:10] Charna Cassell: And so to pick something so bold that calls those, you know, calls the right people in for you, that you resonate with. Is a courageous choice [00:07:20] Christina Carlson: Thank you. I I, I had like a very interesting experience with deconstruction that I think I think I was incredibly lucky because when I deconstructed and left religion, I left with my two best friends. We were at varying degrees of this, but we, we all three had dissected, like, This together. And so it was like in, in that I did feel some loss of community, but I actually felt like I gained a deeper community with these people than I'd ever felt in that space. [00:07:55] Christina Carlson: So, in that, like, I definitely feel like you definitely lose like this whole network of people that you used to just like be able to jump in anywhere and have. [00:08:06] Christina Carlson: And also, like, I had the privilege of moving out of this. Not alone. [00:08:12] Christina Carlson: And that really made a difference for like how bold I can be because I have the foundation [00:08:19] Charna Cassell: Mm hmm. [00:08:20] Christina Carlson: me in some ways. [00:08:21] Christina Carlson: I didn't have like a framework. I was building that we all were. But I wasn't alone. And that was really helpful. [00:08:27] Charna Cassell: I'm so glad you had that because that's not a lot of people's story. So that's, that's beautiful that you had that. And what about your family? Did you stay connected with them right away or? [00:08:39] Christina Carlson: So my brother and sister are my two best friends who left. So they were, they came with me and but my parents are still deeply involved in the church and we, we keep in touch, but they, they lost their children. Like, it's, it's very hard for them because It's hard for me too, but , it's very hard because they, they like, you know, we were nineties kids. [00:09:05] Christina Carlson: We were grew up in satanic panic. So I don't know if you've seen. has seen the documentary Jesus Camp. It's on, I believe it's on Netflix, but it. It's, it's about the era that I grew up in, and it's probably the most similar to how I was raised, like, this, it's very similar to Shiny Happy People, the IVLP curriculum, it's like really extreme [00:09:31] Christina Carlson: my, my parents gave everything in their lives and dedicated everything to raise us the way that they did so that we could become soldiers essentially in God's army. Like I have memories of marching in the streets when I was young for like, you know, against abortion and various things like that. I was You know, involved in like my, one of my earliest memories was like teaching my, like other kids at Sunday school daycare, which was like, we went once a week or something at to how, how to be saved. [00:10:01] Christina Carlson: And I thought it was this hand motion where you went like this [00:10:05] Charna Cassell: Aw. [00:10:06] Christina Carlson: and like, I had learned that because I didn't want to go to hell. And so I was walking around the daycare, like, everybody just do this. And I'm like, I just evangelism was everything. It was. It was our, our life and so this, this belief system wasn't a like just a cultural thing or a social thing. [00:10:27] Christina Carlson: It was, it was our existence and my parents were the most in like the more in the more radical, the more devoted you could be the better. So our bedtime stories were of people who died for the cause and that was that was the goal. I figured I would live till about 33 because that was how long Jesus lived and that I would be able to be like a radical missionary wife or radical missionary like Amy Carmichael who like ran an orphanage in India which is very problematic on a lot of levels but but there's like this whole they they gave all of that and and And in, in a lot of this belief system, there's a sense of control that because of the way that it's like a hierarchy. And so in the training of this, our environment was controlled. Our bodies were controlled by other people. And then by us, and there is a lot of control. So for all of that to go out the window for them, [00:11:30] Charna Cassell: Mm hmm. [00:11:30] Christina Carlson: their, their immediate response, and it often is like, I saw it happen to other people is like, what did we do wrong? [00:11:38] Christina Carlson: They, they blame themselves, they blame us, it's like, train up a child in the way they should go, and when they're old, they should not depart from it, that's like a scripture that they lived by, it's like, they did this so that we wouldn't be how we are now, [00:11:53] Charna Cassell: Yeah. [00:11:54] Christina Carlson: and that's a devastating reality for them to be in, and it's also devastating for, for me, because I don't have I don't know if parents who can support who I am now or accept me or like grow with me, it's, it's like, it has to be at a, at a distance. [00:12:13] Charna Cassell: Right. And it's this, I mean, in, in a certain way, it's the, it's the time capsule that if you have a child who dies, right? I just kind of picture it like that, like it's a death for them, of you. And then you have them and similarly, it's like you don't get to see them evolve or age or I mean, I don't even know if you have any contact with them, but you know, the body process processes, death and breakups and loss in a very similar way. [00:12:43] Charna Cassell: It feels the same way. You know, and so there's just this real heartbreak and heaviness there. [00:12:50] Christina Carlson: There's been, there's been a beautiful practice that I've been through in the past year or two where I've been, I've been grieving what I lost and grieving what what I deserve, but didn't have. The, the love and acceptance of me, who I am, there's so many pieces to that, but in that grieving process, probably because they're releasing it through my body, I'm able to then be with how they are now in, in a way that's more accepting and rather than trying to in turn control them back. [00:13:27] Charna Cassell: Yeah. Well, and you're in a, you know, in a process of reintegrating like there's, there's such black and white thinking in, in fundamentalist belief systems. And, and so what you're talking about is the gray and self, you know, so much suffering comes from, from lack of self acceptance. Right. And [00:13:52] Christina Carlson: Isn't it all of it? [00:13:53] Charna Cassell: yeah. Yeah, pretty, pretty much, right? [00:13:56] Charna Cassell: I mean, and I, you know, I work a lot with sexuality, and that's, there's just so much suffering that almost instantly shifts as some, as soon as someone's able to stop blaming and shaming parts of themselves and actually allow what they're feeling versus try to convince themselves out of what they're feeling. [00:14:16] Christina Carlson: Yes, I, I see that in my work. I see that in my clients. I see that in myself and people around me. It's, it's like I was having a conversation with some people yesterday and even a client before that. It was just the thing that was coming up was like, the hardest things are, are like the simplest. They're when, they're when it defies the ego, right? [00:14:39] Christina Carlson: We want a fancy solution. We want to be like, Okay. 12 step program that we can feel accomplished for doing like, but really it might be accepting that your hands look like your mom's and that you like sass the way that she doesn't. You don't like that about yourself. Like there's those. It's very simple to be with what is. [00:14:58] Christina Carlson: And it's the hardest work because the ego is just like it. We want it to be so much fancier than it is, but the beauty of healing is, is like nature. It's slow. It's, it's simple. It brings you back home. It brings you to those rhythms of your body. And of accepting where you are and doing what you can with that. [00:15:18] Charna Cassell: Well, and it's, you know, what I think of is, I've dealt with chronic Physical ailments of different kinds, right, that are really somatized, you know, unfelt emotions or or trauma, right, reactions to trauma and. When you actually stop and, and you, you know, I could spend long stretches of time trying to find external solutions, right? [00:15:47] Charna Cassell: Like that's what a lot of people do. It's like, well, maybe this will help, or maybe that'll help, or maybe in versus if you actually turn towards. And I have a number of experiences of this, of turning towards a pain in my body and just be, or, you know, being with it, whether it's a headache or like, you know, some other random pain. [00:16:05] Charna Cassell: And asking it a question, asking it what it wants me to know, and just being either directly entering into the center of the pain or being in dialogue with it, pretty instantly will dissipate, right? It's like a kid throwing a tantrum that wants your attention and it just screams louder. [00:16:24] Christina Carlson: Yes. I, I was on a, a, like a pain journey exploration for like the years following giving birth. Because of that, like the, the process of, of softening into pain, like the, well, it's just, it's just an experience. And like, I won't label it as good. It's, it's neutral, but like, There were so many times like when I was younger because of trauma, like my reaction and our natural reaction usually is to tense up when we're not safe. [00:16:54] Christina Carlson: So the practice would be like if I had really bad stomach pain for whatever reason, this one night I had like, I got food poisoning and so I was like in a lot of pain and like when it would get really bad I would like, actually consciously I was trying like to, to not resist it. So that the tension wouldn't increase the pain and what it did was like allowed me to be present with it until it passed so I didn't increase my suffering and I was like, this is what we do with life. [00:17:25] Christina Carlson: This is it is us like allowing it to be so we're not just battling the shit out of everything that comes our way. We're allowing ourselves to be with what is and it. And in so, so much of it, so much of it dissipates because we increase it or prolong it with resistance. [00:17:47] Charna Cassell: hmm. Right. Emotional or physical. Same. [00:17:50] Charna Cassell: Same. Same. Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Mm so one of the things that I'm recalling from listening to two different podcasts that you had was your body's way of communicating with you in a particular, particular relationship that you started to, you know, have the symptom of nausea and what, how your body was communicating with you and how you actually turned towards it. [00:18:17] Charna Cassell: And I'm, I'm curious about that, that shift from early on the indoctrination and training of like, you don't, don't trust your body, don't listen to your body, and then being able to suddenly be able to do that. And obviously it may not have been sudden, but what was that path like for you? How were you able to do that? [00:18:41] Christina Carlson: Yeah. I'm so glad you asked this because it's like, I hate the like, the like, salesy, Aspect of like, coaching, which can seem like MLM a lot of the time where it's just like, I did this and so can you [00:18:56] Charna Cassell: Huh. Uh [00:18:57] Christina Carlson: like, yeah, it took like 12 years. [00:19:00] Charna Cassell: huh. Uh [00:19:01] Christina Carlson: But I, I actually, I came to understand and enjoy my body through through dance. [00:19:07] Christina Carlson: So I was living in Hawaii and I had really like locked up my body a lot because we were told that like our most of our culture that women are responsible for how other people look at them. So there was a lot of this like tension in like my hip and joints and shoulders. [00:19:28] Christina Carlson: And. I, like, I was also at a high school that we weren't allowed to dance. That was not okay. And a community that was like, you don't, you don't dance. It's like, that's bad. So when I was in Hawaii, I was at a church that ended up turning into a cult. However, there was a teacher who was Hawaiian who was teaching hula, and I watched her teacher for like a year before I was like, oh, I think I want to do this, and I, I kid you not, after the first lesson, I was just lit, like, I, I was like, oh, I just got permission to like shake my ass in church for the Lord, like, I don't know what, yeah. [00:20:08] Christina Carlson: What happened? I found a loophole and I was like, everyone was always like, you're so like, you're so like informed by God when you're in Hula. And I was even looking back. I'm like, yeah, I was. It's like, it's so, it was so interesting because for me, this journey came through joy. I found, I found access to pleasure through movement. [00:20:35] Christina Carlson: And we were, we were taught to practice slowly. And so there was this slow sensuality that I was doing every single fucking day, four times a day in my, I slept in a living room floor at the time. So I was like in the kitchen or in the bathroom or like wherever it could be. If my roommates were out, it was just all over the house, listening to all kinds of music and just like doing the basics of hula. [00:21:00] Christina Carlson: And it like, It awakened in me so much that had been trapped in my hips. [00:21:08] Christina Carlson: And I started to like, to feel, and this is like, you know, not what people want to hear when they're on a healing journey, but like I got more frustrated first, like I got like fed up with things easier. I was less patient. I was more irritable [00:21:27] Christina Carlson: because I was like coming back to my physical sensations and I could tell that things weren't right in so many areas. [00:21:35] Christina Carlson: So it started, it was like another, another year and a half. That I stayed in a toxic relationship, which I say toxic. I don't know who this person is now. We were together off and on for seven years, but like, it was dysfunctional, emotionally abusive and ridiculous. I hope he's good now. But like, I was so miserable in that relationship and I [00:21:58] Christina Carlson: I didn't leave until a year and a half after I had started doing hula. But what happened was like, I got sicker and sicker as, as we progressed in our relationship. Because I had so many somatic experiences with him where I felt miserable. And although consciously I was denying that and keeping some other story in my head, my body was getting louder and louder. [00:22:20] Christina Carlson: And like, I tried to numb it out with TV, I tried to numb it out with like, movement, focus on diet, like, but [00:22:26] Charna Cassell: hmm. Mm [00:22:26] Christina Carlson: like, in turmoil inside. And I swear the words like, I need a break came out of my mouth like vomit that I just didn't didn't have any control over. It was just like, there it is. And like, I heard myself say it like an out of body experience because it was like my body and not my mind saying it. [00:22:44] Christina Carlson: And then I was like, that's it. Like, that was that was like, I put my finger in the door. And then I was like, I'm running. [00:22:52] Charna Cassell: hmm. [00:22:52] Christina Carlson: He can't convince me after this, like, I, it was just like, all I needed was just that one tiny bit to, to break up running, [00:23:02] Christina Carlson: Yeah, it was really, it was really challenging because I, I had broken out of that and my body had gotten loud in that area, but my conscious awareness was like, I have insecurity issues. I have like, so I sought out like Christian teachers who actually use psychology on boundaries and self esteem. [00:23:21] Christina Carlson: And so I started like breaking it. Into this little secular world, and was like, I'm really going to know God, you know, I'm really going to seek this openly and, and do something different because what I was doing before wasn't working. And so it took, it took a while after that before I started to feel the same things in church that I felt in that relationship. [00:23:42] Christina Carlson: And I was like, wait, these belief systems make me feel the same way. I couldn't, I couldn't do it anymore. It was the same exact feeling of like, this is abuse, this is problematic, and it resided like in my gut with nausea and tension, and so finally I was like, I just can't do this. I was married at the time, still am, we both left, I was like, I can't go, like I wanted to keep going for his sake. I laughed for his sake too, because it were better. But like, it was this experience of like, I literally physically couldn't make myself go in a building because I felt so sick. And like, that was Six years ago now, so it's been a while. And I I feel like my body has continued to Be so kind to me and bringing things up that feel Problematic for me and I have like such a better intuitive sense of myself than I like literally ever thought [00:24:46] Charna Cassell: Yeah, it's, I mean, there's, there's so much in what you just shared. But, but one of the pieces is, you know, the, the value of practice. That the fact that you were dancing some wise, deep part of you that hadn't been trained out of your intuition, was guided to do something every day, right? And to physically start to come back home and you're, literally, you're embodying the part of your, it's like your sexuality, your guts, your intuition, right? [00:25:16] Charna Cassell: In that part of your, you know, your center, your sense, I call it your sense of home, that part of the body. [00:25:22] Christina Carlson: Yeah, [00:25:22] Charna Cassell: So you came home and then you're like, wait, what's not congruent here, [00:25:27] Christina Carlson: yeah everything Nothing was congruent. It was very confusing [00:25:32] Charna Cassell: Mm hmm. [00:25:33] Christina Carlson: Just why my body like rejected it so much, I think it was just like I had found some semblance of home and it is really beautiful. I do think that we don't, we don't often get convinced of things in our minds like change. Typically, I feel like occurs semantically intuitively because it hits different because you can hear the same information, different pieces, different places. [00:26:00] Christina Carlson: But when it hits, it hits and you can't make that happen for someone else. It has to be like the right timing, [00:26:06] Charna Cassell: Right. [00:26:07] Christina Carlson: and it's truly, yeah, it's truly extraordinary to like to see that in other people and to experience that yourself where you're just like, how, how did I get out of that? And it's like, oh, my body knew something that I didn't even know. [00:26:23] Charna Cassell: And, and one of the things, I mean, in your case, it was clearly the, the experience was this person is toxic, this, you know, in abusive, this religion is abusive. This is out of alignment. And, you know, in, in my case, in a particular relationship I was in where my body, you know, started having all these physical symptoms. [00:26:44] Charna Cassell: I started writing a book after this experience titled My Burning Bush. And, you know, so you can appreciate it on, on two different levels, I'm sure. [00:26:54] Christina Carlson: Yes. [00:26:55] Charna Cassell: But you know, I was experiencing these, these vaginal, genital pains. And it was so intense and nothing could explain what was happening. And in that case, he was a really good guy. [00:27:08] Charna Cassell: It was just that he was not my good guy. Like there was something that I was wanting. I was wanting to have family and a child and, and do that whole path. And it wasn't the, there wasn't the right fit there in a number of ways. And. So I was out of alignment and I was forcing something that just wasn't totally right. [00:27:30] Charna Cassell: And then there's also other layers, which we can, or don't have to get into in terms of what I believe, which is there's a level of safety in that relationship enough to start to burn through karma from a different timeline in my physical body. And I think, you know, some people do that on a physical level and other people don't have to do that on a physical level. [00:27:51] Charna Cassell: then the gift inside of that is some people's. you know, visceral experience or bodily intuition that, because that's the way you can think of it. It's like, Oh, here, this pain is bringing me present. It's helping me be more embodied in this moment so that I can actually hear what feels right and what doesn't feel right. And then the, the pain or the disease itself is information and a very concrete, usually heavy handed message, depending on the part of the body. [00:28:22] Christina Carlson: Yeah. [00:28:23] Charna Cassell: occupies, right? It's like so obvious so much of the time once you get a little distance from it. [00:28:29] Christina Carlson: Is that what led you into your work? Hmm [00:28:31] Charna Cassell: oh no, my work, I mean, you know, my trauma started in utero for me and just kind of continued throughout. [00:28:40] Charna Cassell: So I have a, my very first memory is so different than yours. My first memory is being held up to a window when I was two by, who became my step siblings to watch people have sex. So That I was just, you know, the, the, the opposite end of the continuum wasn't raised with religion at all was raised more with, you know, the notion of Buddhism. [00:29:02] Charna Cassell: My mom's Jewish, but had rejected that. So there, no structure, the opposite of structure, like everything was just like, you know, just spilling every in every direction and I had a lot of internal structure and I actually when I started experiencing spontaneous moments of healing. Thank you. Because of my ability to be present with my body for me, that's miraculous and makes me, it's like a deeply spiritual experience, which when I think of, you know, people who are religious who talk about miracles, I'm like, we are miraculous, there's this resonance, which is very interesting for me. [00:29:37] Charna Cassell: I'm very drawn to people who have been raised with, with, with faith. Right. Even if it's extreme faith, but somehow they've found their way out and, and live in the gray and start to think in a more expansive way and with deep curiosity, but love, like there's this deep love that they, that they have. [00:29:58] Charna Cassell: And this you know, when I think of what Christianity in its true essence, like, what's, what, what, what I'm blanking on Christ consciousness. [00:30:08] Christina Carlson: Oh [00:30:08] Charna Cassell: Right? Like the notion of Christ consciousness, there's a resonance there for me. I wasn't raised with any kind of, I've never read the Bible, people, I love, like people can quote things. [00:30:19] Charna Cassell: I'm like, I don't know what you're talking about, but but I, yeah, yeah, I, I don't know. I'm just rambling now. So I'm just going to stop. But, [00:30:26] Christina Carlson: Oh, I love, I love it. I love it so much. It's, it's interesting. Like I, when I left religion, I went like, I was like, well, I guess I'm atheist now. Cause like, I only want to believe in things that I can prove, you know? And when I said that to a friend, they were immediately like, that sounds really religious. [00:30:46] Christina Carlson: And I was like, Oh shit, I had gone religious in evolution. And [00:30:51] Charna Cassell: right. [00:30:52] Christina Carlson: I was like, okay, that's not right either. Like I, that's not right for me. I grew up wanting to talk to the trees. I wanted a grandmother willow, like from Pocahontas. Like I wanted to connect with nature and land the grass and let mama earth feed me. [00:31:05] Christina Carlson: You know, like [00:31:05] Charna Cassell: Mm hmm. [00:31:07] Christina Carlson: I've always had a more intuitive view of things, a more mysterious. Like an enjoyment in the mysterious and the things that I don't know. So I actually started to explore after that and was just like, Oh, there's a lot of, there's a lot of good in belief. There's a lot of good in spirituality. [00:31:24] Christina Carlson: There's a lot of good in ritual. And what I realized is in my opinion of Christianity is all the good that's in it was appropriated from other spiritual spaces [00:31:34] Charna Cassell: hmm. Mm hmm. Mm hmm. [00:31:36] Christina Carlson: So prayer didn't originate with Christianity like singing and like community saying like all of the all the good things that are in that they were appropriated when they were taking over and colonizing different places. [00:31:50] Christina Carlson: So it's, it's not actually. So I don't actually miss that at all. I missed the pieces of other spirituality that had been taken into it. [00:32:01] Charna Cassell: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. And what is your, what is your spiritual practice look like now, now that you've kind of come back to a less tight grip on? Only things that can be proven and seen, you know, with a little more magic and mysticism infused back into your life. What, what do things look like? [00:32:19] Christina Carlson: Yeah. I'm a very like open, I feel like a very open minded person. And I think my happiest space is in a space where I'm not saying ever dogmatically, this is what I think. So for me, like spirituality, what I've come to know and understand of my spiritual practice. is the practice of being with what is in my body and in this present moment. [00:32:43] Christina Carlson: So for me, it's a daily practice of. Yoga or stretching or somatic exercises or meditation or all of them. I have little altars set up to remind me of beautiful beliefs and truths that have come to me that I don't think are for anyone else but me. I, I, like, I have ritual in my life. I have community eating. [00:33:07] Christina Carlson: I have a spiritual community online, like I have spaces and places. that feed that need for me. But the, the most prevalent one that's continued to be since I started hula [00:33:20] Christina Carlson: has been like, how can I fully be in this moment? And that, that could be roller skating. I felt it in paddle boarding. It's this, like, I can't do anything else, but be right here. [00:33:32] Christina Carlson: And like, it feels, it feels very similar in this. groundedness of like, I, I'm here and like, it doesn't, all the other things like are going to come and go and change and shift. And like, my ideas are just going to come and go and change and shift. And like the practice is to be with it and to be right here. [00:33:53] Charna Cassell: Yeah. Well, what you just described, it's, it's like being with the weather. You know, being, being with nature in that way, that there's a level of flexibility that you need to allow versus what we put on things in terms of trying to control it and be like, well, I have plans to do this on Saturday. It can't rain. [00:34:14] Charna Cassell: You know? [00:34:15] Christina Carlson: Well, Charna, this is my practice because it's the hardest thing for me because I grew up with a very controlling mother and my tendency is to be controlling. I want to control everything. So for me, I find deep resonance. And in, in in healing that by being present because it's, it's like self acceptance it's, it's the hardest thing and yet I feel drawn to it like bees to honey or whatever. [00:34:42] Christina Carlson: It just feels really magnetic to me. Like this is where the healing is. It draws me in. [00:34:48] Charna Cassell: Well, and I think that so many people suffer with that. I have my own version for me, it was the absence. It was like I had to provide all my own structure. There was more like, there was abuse, but there was negligence, right? It was just like left to my own devices, but I got to sculpt or write or make Barbie clothes out of socks for 10 hours at a time, you know, like just, I had a lot of space. And now for me, it's, it's, you know, time in the garden and writing. Thank you. I get to have that just like being fully present in, in the moment and losing time, which I really, that and sex. I mean, I'm not having, I've been out of relationship for a while now and I'm pouring my energy into creative work instead of sex, but sex is also one of those timeless spaces that I really enjoy, right? [00:35:34] Charna Cassell: When you're just able to be fully present in it. [00:35:37] Charna Cassell: , Along those lines, I'm, I'm going to spin the, the Lazy Susan to that topic. Cause I'm curious, you know, we've kind of touched, touched on the, on the witches part of bitches, witches and queers. And what was your transition like out of I'm assuming identifying as a straight woman to identifying as queer. [00:35:57] Charna Cassell: And that's not something I heard you talk too much about in your podcast. And I'm curious how much, how [00:36:04] Christina Carlson: Yeah, within religion, it's like, you're, there's two genders, and one is sexual and the other one's not, like, men are considered sexual, and women are considered just like, I don't know, very like, house, house makers and baby makers, like, you serve the children, you work with the children, that's how you exercise your control. [00:36:25] Christina Carlson: So I like, did not consider it as an option. I do, my first thoughts around it, I think were pretty early because we had neighbors We had neighbors across the street when I was like, ages 2 to 10, and they were, it was like two women living together, and they had a kid. Their house was dirty, and so it, my mom always just commented on how gross they were. [00:36:53] Christina Carlson: So it was this constant barrage of like, that's gross, so terrible, sinful, whatever, like the comments were just kind of disparaging against everything about them. There's a lot of fat phobia that is in my mom's rhetoric. And her and my aunt used to just make fun of people a lot. So there was like, I knew what to not be by how, by like who they made fun of. [00:37:15] Charna Cassell: Hmm. [00:37:16] Christina Carlson: So it was like, it was, I knew that like being gay was like equivalent to murder and like SA. So it was like really bad. And so like, Because this community is small, because I'm a minor, because I didn't have a choice in a lot of things. I, like, was, was stuck doing what I was told, and I also started to have panic attacks when I potentially thought that I was gay, so I, I was having, like, feelings. like sexual, I had like a sexual awakening in junior high or whatever, or early high school and I was like kind of freaking out about it because I would look at like the JCPenney women's cat underwear section and I was like oh no. Oh, I must be gay. Because I'm, I'm bi. So I was always like, well, I'm actually attracted to men. So I can't be gay. I didn't know bisexual was a thing. So I was always like trying to calm myself and talk myself out of a panic attack by reminding myself that I was attracted to men. So it was like, it was really like a way of erasing myself. That I then didn't think about for like another 10 or so years, 15 years. It was a long time after that, that I was just like, Oh, I had a friend, I had a friend come out to me as bi. And as he was describing it to me, I was like, Oh yeah, me too. Because it was, it'd been so long and I was deconstructing all of this like spiritual stuff and all the religious aspects. [00:39:00] Christina Carlson: And then like, I hadn't even considered that piece yet. I was a, I was a big. ally, you know, supportive of the queer community. But I, I didn't know that it was me until my friend came out to me and I was like, Oh, that's me. [00:39:19] Charna Cassell: Well, I mean, it's the kind of thing you take for granted because right now there's so much nuanced language to describe different, you know, feelings, attractions, kinds of attractions, flavors of attractions, and it used to be very, you know, pretty black and white and maybe a little something in the middle. [00:39:40] Charna Cassell: But, you know, mainstream folks may take for granted that even being able to identify gay. Or bisexual or straight like that, that's an easy thing, but when you're so compartmentalized or dissociated from what you feel, because it's so, it's considered to be so wrong, it's like someone else needs to, to name it and describe it in order for you to even be able to connect to it or like, like, oh, oh, right. [00:40:08] Charna Cassell: That's an option. [00:40:11] Christina Carlson: Yeah. And because, because there's so much disconnection from our sexuality and from our bodies within that culture, like you're literally told your body is sinful, your flesh is evil. Like that's a rhetoric from the earliest ages that I can remember, like the flesh is bad. And so you grow up with that and there's so much disconnection that you, you almost have to hear it from an outside trusted source. [00:40:38] Christina Carlson: In order for you to then reconsider it, because it, like, there's disconnection from yourself. [00:40:44] Christina Carlson: So my body was speaking to me in, in ways that was like, I can't be in church anymore because they're anti gay. And then I, it was like, a couple months later, I was like, oh, I'm gay. You know, it was like, my body knew something, but it wasn't, it wasn't the language. [00:41:02] Christina Carlson: And when I heard the language, I was like, yes, that's it. [00:41:05] Charna Cassell: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. And so, at the time that you left the church, you were married, remarried to a man, [00:41:12] Christina Carlson: Yeah, I still am. [00:41:14] Charna Cassell: and, and so, and have you, has he been able to roll with it? And he, there's a level, obviously if you chose him, there's, there's a more expansive part of him, of him and his heart, and he's a more accepting human. [00:41:29] Christina Carlson: Yes. Yeah, he's in general a more accepting human than most people. I think, I think, the One of my favorite things about him is just, he's just one of the kindest people I think I've ever met. He's just very kind. And we got married and we were both still in the church. We were on the edges. Like, I was, I was like, I don't think the Bible's literal and I don't believe in hell, but we were still in the church, you know? [00:41:54] Charna Cassell: Mm hmm. [00:41:55] Christina Carlson: So it was not, we were both kind of on our way out ish at that point. But yeah, it was like I told him and he was like, It was like, oh, okay, [00:42:05] Charna Cassell: Mm hmm. [00:42:06] Christina Carlson: cool. Let me know, you know, how I can support you or whatever. It was very, it was very beautiful. It's like the best coming out I think I could have had. [00:42:15] Charna Cassell: hmm. I'm so glad that was your experience. That sounds really healing. [00:42:19] Christina Carlson: Yeah, I made, I made the mistake of telling my friend in Bible college who I was like best friends with. I was bi and she was like, immediately, she's still in religion, but she was like, yeah, some people think they're bisexual because they're really codependent. I was like, I was like, we can be both. [00:42:44] Charna Cassell: That's a correlation there. It's like, okay. Okay. [00:42:48] Christina Carlson: I was like yeah, I know. I'm also codependent. [00:42:51] Charna Cassell: You're like, that too, but That's [00:42:53] Christina Carlson: That's not what I said. Yeah, it's just, it's a way I think that Christians tend to dismiss that experience because they, they assume that women don't have like sexual feelings or attraction in that way. So there's like this, this like attempt to explain it, you know? [00:43:13] Charna Cassell: Well, and it's... Everyone's trying, you know, people need to know, they want to put things in boxes. I was teaching a, a class at a city college around sexuality and sexual orientation, and, and there was, it was an amazing age range of, there was a 16 year old boy who was taking it for, like, extra credit, or, I don't know, you know, college credit, and there was a woman in her 70s. [00:43:36] Charna Cassell: And I was saying, you know, I was talking about how... A lesbian can have, have sex with men. And I was talking about this kind of box of masculinity that men have to exist inside of, and this kid, the six, 16 year old was melting down. He was so frustrated because he wanted it to be really black and white. [00:44:00] Charna Cassell: You know, he wanted it to be that simple. And I'm like, it's just not that simple. [00:44:05] Christina Carlson: I think it I and I realized this like looking back at my entire religious experience like when we when we can explain things it makes us feel safer [00:44:14] Charna Cassell: oh yeah. [00:44:15] Christina Carlson: and and I'm like, I had a weirdest experience when I was working at I was working at a hospital and one woman who sat next to me shared a story that a family. Had died in a car crash and her, the article didn't say anything else. It was just like, this had happened and her immediate response was they were probably texting and driving. And I, I was like, Whoa, like that. That's so interesting. Because her immediate response was to make it something that she could make a different choice about. [00:44:48] Charna Cassell: Right, right. That she could have control over. Mm [00:44:51] Christina Carlson: Yep. Yep. That she could have control over. So then she feels safe because that won't happen to her because she would do that. And I was like, that, that's the same thing we do when we want to make something black and white. It's like, well, it can't be that way because if it's that way, then I'm actually also gay [00:45:06] Charna Cassell: Mm [00:45:06] Christina Carlson: I'm not. [00:45:07] Charna Cassell: Mm hmm. Mm [00:45:08] Christina Carlson: So it's like, we do that and we watch other people do that because they want to like control and we want to control like the narrative or whatever. [00:45:16] Charna Cassell: Mm hmm. Well, it's, it's been a, it's been an interesting week for me. I've I did a podcast interviewing a filmmaker who did a documentary about non consensual pelvic exams that happen in teaching colleges. And, And I posted it on a list serve that I'm on of ketamine assisted psychotherapists and there are a lot of psychiatrists on there. So people who went to med school and the response was fascinating. That there were four different doctors who were like, well, that didn't happen at the school that I went to, like, there had to be a, one was like, very skeptical that it happens at all, like, there had to be a kind of a criticism, a skepticism, a dismissal, a questioning of a, you know, like, 84%. [00:46:12] Charna Cassell: Of the students that were reported that that was their experience in this particular document that was used. That was a study that was done asking people, surveying students who had been in med school and 84% said that they had had that experience. And so these folks were like, well, we must be that 16% who weren't. [00:46:34] Charna Cassell: And so there's this, I was like, this is so fascinating because it reminded me of the level of dismissive or defensiveness of either around white supremacy, right? Of like, well, I'm a good white person or I'm a good man. I'm not, not all men do that or not, or, or around priests molesting, you know, like the sexual abuse within the, within the Catholic church. [00:46:56] Charna Cassell: It's like, well, not all priests do that either. It doesn't mean it doesn't happen. [00:47:01] Christina Carlson: Yeah. Why? Why? Why the need to dismiss it? Thank you. [00:47:04] Charna Cassell: right. Versus get curious and be outraged on behalf of the people that it's happened to. And that, that immediate move to defensiveness and denial, because there's a shame That potentially arises in the person and it's like guilt by association and immediately being like, I can't handle this possible reality that I might be connected to in some way. [00:47:28] Charna Cassell: I'm just going to shut it down. [00:47:30] Christina Carlson: Yeah. Distance. Distance yourself in every possible way. Hmm. Yeah. Are people interesting? [00:47:38] Charna Cassell: Yeah, for sure. People don't want to feel powerless. They want to know, they want to understand, they want to have control they act out in all sorts of ways. [00:47:49] Christina Carlson: I know this from experience. [00:47:51] Charna Cassell: hmm. Yeah. Mm [00:47:56] Christina Carlson: It's a. It's very, like, I mean, that's why my spiritual practice is to be with what is because it and I with like such a history of just like shame being my entire motivation for existence for a very long time, like unlearning that, [00:48:12] Charna Cassell: hmm. Mm [00:48:13] Christina Carlson: that, like, I can be safe without trying to control it, that feeling guilt isn't the end of the world, [00:48:21] Charna Cassell: hmm. [00:48:21] Christina Carlson: That's, that's something that I've like had to heal and like work towards, you know, somatically and all kinds of therapy in my own practices. [00:48:32] Christina Carlson: Like there's, there's an unlearning of like, I'm bad by like by association or by whatever, you know, like that, that need to prove that you're good is like often what like not all men or not all white people comes from is [00:48:48] Charna Cassell: Mm hmm. [00:48:49] Christina Carlson: Well, I'm good and what, like, yeah, no one said you weren't like, you know, like that's not the thing, but that's the thing we go to because shame is so shame is like about the character or the beingness of a person when like, it's like, well, we were just talking about this, this issue that happens that like you may be contributing to, can you look at that? [00:49:11] Christina Carlson: It's like when your entire system is in shame. You don't have capacity to be with it in order to see it at all. [00:49:18] Charna Cassell: Right. Well, and if the people that you're, the culture that you're in or the family you're raised in or the religion you're raised in numbs out and doesn't permit a range of emotions, you can't be with the emotions as they arise. And so of course you're going to shut it down in other people. And if someone else is upset or outraged, it's like, can't be with that. [00:49:39] Christina Carlson: Yeah, cause, cause you don't even know you're feeling it half the time. [00:49:43] Charna Cassell: Oh, right. [00:49:44] Christina Carlson: it's just words you're saying out of your mouth. You don't even admit that you're feeling frustrated or angry. It's like when you see someone yelling, they're like, I'm not angry. It's like, okay. [00:49:53] Charna Cassell: yeah. The in the incongruence. I mean, you know, as a somatic therapist, I witness that all the time where someone is sharing something that's either devastating or scary and they're laughing and You know, in a family where defensive humor is used, I get the strategy, right? And I'll often, I'll either feel the emotions in my own body and report it, and then the client will feel them. Or I'll just, you know, check in. But it's, it's, on one level, thank God for that strategy. Because there's a lot to feel really sad and angry about in the world. And how would we get through our day? And then on the other, it's like, that's, I, I see it often as the source of a lot of physical ailments that aren't being addressed or aren't being, you know, things aren't being felt. [00:50:46] Charna Cassell: And so it shows up one way or another. [00:50:48] Christina Carlson: It's like it shows up as just complete overwhelm in our system. And so we laugh. I like, I feel like that was my most common response and still often I'll hear myself laugh about something and I'm like, that's not funny, but I guess that's something that needs more attention, you know, and it's. [00:51:07] Christina Carlson: It's like, it's beautiful. Like you said to honor, like, thankfully that happens because then as we can develop capacity, then we can be with those experiences, you know, as we're able to, as they come back up in their own time. [00:51:22] Charna Cassell: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Yeah, it feels, even though we've, we've said it in a variety of ways, I want to name it explicitly that I have, so I've had a practice for over 20 years now and sitting with clients. I work a lot with sexual trauma and being raised religiously, like being raised in, in a Catholic or a fundamentalist environment can live in the body like sexual abuse. [00:51:51] Charna Cassell: And that the core shame that is, that's a really important piece of it, right? That feeling of being bad, that, that turning towards and looking at yourself and, and not accepting parts of yourself or making feelings that you have wrong and bad, and a feeling of powerlessness because your agency is completely taken away from you, right? [00:52:16] Charna Cassell: But that that was a theme because I think, you know, Decades ago, maybe everyone would have assumed that someone that had all these particular symptoms, that they had been assaulted sexually, but there are ways that other things can live in the body and still impact your sexual self expression, but you've never been assaulted in that particular way. [00:52:41] Christina Carlson: Yeah. Yeah. I think Dr. Marlene Wienel said that like, she's the one who coined the term religious trauma syndrome. [00:52:49] Christina Carlson: And, uh, the symptoms of growing up with fundamentalist parents are the same as growing up with an alcoholic, abusive [00:52:56] Charna Cassell: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. [00:52:58] Christina Carlson: It's like, it's very, it shows up similarly in the symptoms and in the body. [00:53:02] Christina Carlson: Cause it's. It's so shame inducing and confusing and it is interesting that like some things are more recognized than others like the thing about religious trauma is that a lot of people don't recognize it because they see religion as something that brings good and as like Christians as good people, just across the board, and like it, they consider it to be something that's good. [00:53:31] Christina Carlson: I noticed that as a Christian, even anytime I said that I was like, You know, I was studying for to get my degree in theology or whatever, people would be like, Oh, that's so cool. Even if they were like atheists or whatever. And I was just like, that's interesting. Like looking back, I'm like, I just had a lot of privilege walking around people assuming that I was a good person because I was associated with this thing. [00:53:51] Charna Cassell: hmm. Mm [00:53:52] Charna Cassell: hmm. [00:53:54] Christina Carlson: that, that experience of like constantly being confirmed that you're good while believing deeply that you're full of shit and actually a terrible human and have nothing good in yourself, you're not allowed to receive a compliment because anything good said about you is actually a reflection of What was given to you and what was, so you're just the shell that's like holding the good thing. [00:54:22] Christina Carlson: So what are you then? it's a lot to rebuild. Like most of the clients that I work with are ex religious in some capacity. [00:54:30] Charna Cassell: Mm hmm. Mm [00:54:31] Christina Carlson: And it is interesting to, because I'm not, I'm not a therapist, so I'm not working with trauma specifically, but we're, we are untangling a lot of these belief systems that stick around, like the black and white thinking but also around the idea of like, I'm, I'm good, or I'm, I'm neutral, like body neutrality and [00:54:50] Charna Cassell: hmm. [00:54:51] Christina Carlson: enjoying your own company and believing good things about yourself. [00:54:55] Christina Carlson: Like most of my clients by the end of our work together are like, saying good things about themselves. And I was like, yes, that's, that's it. Like, if you're able to be with parts of you that are good, not think all of you is fucking fantastic, necessarily just being with yourself and in a way that you can see the good that you do is a huge accomplishment. [00:55:17] Charna Cassell: Huge. [00:55:19] Christina Carlson: Yeah. [00:55:20] Charna Cassell: Yeah. Oh, I'm so glad they have you. And that's really good to know because I have people that I'm thinking of that could benefit. Yeah. And you've done, I mean, you've clearly done so much of your own work and that of, you know, whatever we're doing as practitioners, it ends up finding its way into the work that you do with your clients. [00:55:43] Charna Cassell: And I think you've spoken to this, I mean, parts work, you know, [00:55:48] Charna Cassell: IFS, you. [00:55:48] Charna Cassell: know what I'm talking about? Yeah. I was thinking about that specifically in relation to working with folks who've been raised with very black and white thinking and it's this really interesting thing because, you know, fundamentalism, which is inherently binary and black and white causes trauma and yet one of the, one of the things that comes out of trauma is black and white thinking it's like chicken egg what I was thinking about that, and then also thinking how parts work could be so healing, because These, these parts, like we are weaker when we are split off into factions, right? [00:56:25] Charna Cassell: Like we're refractioned and and fragmented. And so bringing, when you think of a community and you think of people coming together and the support and the healing that can happen in community and whether that's an external community or an internal community of parts, right, [00:56:43] Christina Carlson: Yes. Yeah. It's, I, I'm often asking my clients like what, like what age, what age is, is coming out right now? Like that, that experience of like, like what part of you actually needs to hear this? And it's, I feel like more often than not we're taught, we're working with like the early high school or middle school, like when, when those things really took hold in a deeper way because of like hormones and the development that's happening. [00:57:15] Christina Carlson: But you're right. It's, it's extraordinary to love on your past self and actually like bringing this back around to like our beginning of our conversation, talking about self acceptance. Like, I really think that like. And mostly this comes up with my clients who are artists and creatives, like it's not really possible to continue making with freedom unless you're able to accept and love the past stuff that you've made that not love like you don't have to be enthusiastic about it. [00:57:44] Christina Carlson: You can be like, well, that wasn't that great. That's fine. But you have to accept it and offer kindness to the self that made that. In order for you to move forward and like with, with religion, like for, for me, I've had, like, I don't, I don't know. I felt like I kind of got to a place this year. Where I was like, now my focus is forward motion, but for about five years there, I went back and read journals at least every six months and offered love to all the ages of myself that wrote. [00:58:14] Christina Carlson: And I wrote since I was six years old. And it's, it's been so powerful because like, we want to blame ourselves when we leave. We want to be like, well, that was stupid. I shouldn't have, whatever. If we're able to offer to all of those parts, all the pieces of us. There gets to be so much more love and acceptance of our own humanity right now that we don't have to do it perfect because we obviously don't do things perfect and it's still enough and it's still gotten us incredibly good things, gotten us to where we are. [00:58:47] Christina Carlson: We've made it. [00:58:51] Charna Cassell: and it's, you know, what I'm struck by is you have to have a very strong observer to reparent yourself and to be able to identify and see all those parts and feel compassion for them. [00:59:04] Christina Carlson: Yeah. [00:59:05] Charna Cassell: it just really speaks to the amount of work that you've done, that you're, you're doing that. And I'm, I'm excited that you're raising a child with that awareness and that intentionality, you know, and how you're breaking a cycle, right? [00:59:19] Charna Cassell: There's a real legacy that's ending. [00:59:22] Christina Carlson: Thank you for saying that. I really appreciate that. [00:59:25] Charna Cassell: And that's a big. [00:59:25] Christina Carlson: A book, and I have to give a plug for this book because it's changed my life, is Self Observation by Red Hawk. [00:59:32] Charna Cassell: Oh, huh. [00:59:33] Christina Carlson: It's just the practice of observing yourself and staying in your body [00:59:39] Charna Cassell: Hmm. [00:59:40] Christina Carlson: and it's, it's like a combination of self compassion, which I love reading books on self compassion, but like that, that work is, is mind blowing for, for growing your capacity to, to be with your body, to be in that somatic experience. Yeah, [00:59:58] Charna Cassell: Would you like to guide us through a short practice doing that? That would be beautiful. [01:00:07] Christina Carlson: I would absolutely love to. My practices tend to be a combination of all the beautiful teachers that have been in my life and influenced me and come from my body. Go ahead and take a deep inhale and sigh it out. Bring your gaze. Away from a screen. If you're looking at a screen right now, find something in nature, something alive. And if you can't see anything alive, you can close your eyes and imagine something living. Continue breathing deeply, allowing your breath to move for you. Filling you up and easefully letting go of that breath. If you haven't closed your eyes yet and it's available to you, you can do so now. And if you feel more comfortable, just lower your gaze to the tip of your nose. Call all the pieces of yourself back to yourself in this moment. Every bit of you you've left in other spaces, places, and things, call all of that energy back to your body as you continue breathing deeply. Begin to notice the edges of your body, where the edges of you meet the surfaces around you, in the air around you, an object you're holding. Notice any textures, any pressure. Simply notice, no need to change anything, continue breathing. Notice your center of gravity. If you're sitting, you may need to lean back or lean a little forward to find it. And find yourself between what I call the cosmic council or the sky above and Mother Earth below you. Allow yourself to expand into that place, being held both above and below. And breathe. Notice what you hear. Notice if you can smell anything. Notice any sensations. If anything feels tense, allow yourself to simply breathe into that space and notice it. Imagine gold light coming down from above you. Coming in through the top of your head and going all the way down to the bottom of your toes. Filling up through your ankles, to your knees, and into your thighs. And so, I'm going to the way up your torso and into your chest. Let it linger in your heart space for a moment. And then allow it to fill your arms. All the way down to your fingertips. And into your throat. Allowing it to linger there for a moment. As you breathe. Filling you all the way up to the top of your head. Allow yourself to be with yourself. in this moment and thank yourself for showing up for you as you are right now. When you're ready, take three deep breaths on your own and gently open your eyes. [01:05:01] Charna Cassell: Thank you. [01:05:03] Christina Carlson: Yay! [01:05:04] Charna Cassell: Hmm. So [01:05:09] Charna Cassell: I'm moving slowly now, and we're coming to a close of a super sweet conversation. And how can people find you should they want to work with you? [01:05:25] Christina Carlson: My website is probably the best place because you can email me directly from there. It's christinamcarlson. com C H R C H R I S T I N A M C A R L S O N dot com. [01:05:40] Charna Cassell: Perfect. Thank you. Is there anything else that you want to say before we say goodbye? [01:05:46] Christina Carlson: I would like to say that like, and I want to give this example to anyone who is coming out of a religious experience, we can have this feeling that it shouldn't be a big deal because it's in our mind. And I like to use the example of like, you were basically in a fishbowl at the bottom of the ocean. [01:06:08] Christina Carlson: You've always been in the ocean, but you've had this sense of security around you that made the world feel smaller. And now you're learning how to navigate the ocean. It is a big deal. So take your time and move as slowly as you want to out of the little bowl and you could stay close to it. You could do whatever feels good to you, but take your own pace for that experience. [01:06:32] Charna Cassell: This is a great analogy and always listening to your own pace. That's one of the things that's so hard, especially in the United States. Yeah. [01:06:43] Christina Carlson: Yeah. [01:06:44] Christina Carlson: Thank you for having me. [01:06:46] Charna Cassell: Thanks again. [01:06:48] Charna Cassell: Was that as good for you as it was for me? If it was, we'd love if you'd please rate and review it and share it with your friends so others can find us. If you have additional questions about living a vibrant life after trauma, you can submit them at CharnaCassell. com. Follow me at Laid Open Podcast on Instagram and Facebook and read more about my work at passionatelife. [01:07:11] Charna Cassell: org. You can also sign up for my newsletter to stay informed. This has been Laid Open Podcast with your host, Charna Cassell. Please join us again next week. Until then, keep coming.

Come Join The Mailing List.

Receive news, updates and exclusive promotions when you sign up.

© 2022 By Charna Cassell, LMFT. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. MFC 51238.

Do you have an anonymous question that you would like Charna to answer on the LaidOPEN Podcast? Ask Below.

You may leave the name and email fields blank if you wish to remain anonymous.