#066 Carrying hidden trauma to work with Natalia Rachel

#066 Carrying hidden trauma to work with Natalia Rachel

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Episode Transcript

The transcript is computer generated. There may be errors.

Natalia: It's a really common story for people to say, Oh, well, I didn't go through this huge abuse experience. I didn't go through a car crash or anything awful. I had everything I needed as a kid. a nice house, parents who worked, favourite toy, had Nike shoes, all that stuff. I didn't have any trauma. but sometimes we could have all these sorts of physical boxes ticked, but Maybe we were told, be quiet and follow a set path, and actually your development and your curiosity and your needs or your dreams don't actually matter. What I say matters. This causes trauma. 

Sharad: Hi, everyone. Welcome to how to live. A podcast that explores ways to live a good life. I'm Sharad Lal. This is episode 66 of the How to live Podcast. We don't shy away from tough conversations. Today, we're diving into a challenging topic. Trauma and its impact on the workplace. 

You might think I've never experienced a major tragedy. Yet trauma Isn't always the result of overwhelming events. It can stem from experiences that might seem minor, but leave unresolved issues within us. Consider the workplace with personal baggage and high stakes. It can create a breeding ground for toxicity.

We are fortunate to have with us today Natalia Rachel, a trauma informed therapist And award-winning learning and development educator. Natalia is also an acclaimed author, keynote speaker and social entrepreneur. She has been awarded the woman icons Asia award For his social contributions. Rights regularly for Her world and works with companies and creates a healthy workplace. In our conversation. We cover how trauma shows up at work, the journey to healing, authenticity, belonging, and more. 

Before getting into the episode. Thank you very much for your support. Folks in over 130 countries listen to us and we are in the top 5% in the world. Do consider following us. And if you love the show, please do rate us. Thank you in advance. Now here's the conversation with the incredible Natalia, Rachel. 

Sharad: Hi, Natalia. Welcome to the How to Live podcast. How are you doing this morning?

Natalia: Thank you for having me. I'm feeling really good this morning.

Sharad: You've done so much good work on trauma. Thank you very much. It's a very difficult topic, but you've brought it out in the open and talked about it in such a deep way.

One of the things that I found very interesting was how trauma is so present in the corporate world without us realising it. There's so many leaders who have trauma that they may not have dealt with, which comes into play and affects their team. So I'd love to dig into that and understand that better. 

Natalia: Trauma might show up as disrespectful behaviour, or volatility, or even sometimes abusive behaviour in order to be these high performers and overachievers and keep growing and scaling and building, 

If we're pushing down our trauma we're not listening to the signals that are happening inside us all the time that say, hey, there's something really deep that you need to work on and heal.

We talk about this a lot in terms of romantic relationships, but the workplace is a place where our relational junk is commonly triggered. And that's for two reasons. One is because We're very close with the people we work with. We're spending most of our time with them. And so when you're in proximity to someone, it's more likely that our junk's going to be lifted.

And the second thing is there are power dynamics at work.which is in every single workplace, it's more likely to lift our past wounds, So the workplace is this minefield for our trauma to come up. 

Sharad: As you were speaking, it just struck me that sometimes, let's say we had a bad day and we're angry. But trauma strikes me as something that's deeper. Maybe we can understand the difference between trauma, something that's deeper, and just having a bad day or having an argument with a spouse and an immediate effect versus a long term effect.

Natalia: effect. Perhaps we can begin by getting clear on the definition of trauma. My definition of trauma is when a past experience of threat and exclusion that is over, is living and breathing in us now.

And it can affect us mentally, emotionally, physiologically, and relationally, socially. trauma isn't the past thing that's happened to us. It's how it's left unmetabolized inside us 

So when we have trauma we're often seeing the world and the people in it through these lenses of threat.

Natalia: And I think it's very different to having a bad day. 

Sharad: A really good indication is if our reaction or our experience seems to be far more than the issue at hand. So if someone is technically doing something small that shouldn't really bother us, but we feel enraged or distressed or abandoned or quiet, that's an indicator, okay, maybe it's not about what's happening here.

Natalia: Maybe there's something deeper for me to explore. 

Sharad: That's a great practical tip. And it's interesting that you talked about the leader or the person in authority doing something to us. Have you seen it the other way around? Like you're a leader and there's someone out there who's bordering you, really strongly upset with. So does it work both ways?

Natalia: Absolutely, it is common for leaders to be triggered by people, and there are so many complex relational wounds that can come up. but a couple of the really common ones are, why aren't you listening to me? So sometimes as a leader we have these good intentions, and we're really trying to get things done and to meet the goals, and there's also a lot of pressure.

So we're trying our best, and then somebody takes us the wrong way, or reacts to something we say, and what it can lift for us is why can't you see me, why can't you hear me, and why am I being persecuted? 

And I think as leaders we need to sort through that stuff from our past in order to not project it onto the people we lead. Another one that can come up is the lack of reciprocity. So often as a leader, we're giving and giving and serving and serving, and we don't feel matched, And we don't feel respected and we don't feel we are receiving, we will actually feel this imbalance or inequity and unfairness.

And it really is triggering often a deep past of not being cared for and not receiving, I guess the love and affection and care that we need. So it's really complex relational stuff that comes up for us as leaders. 

Sharad: You work in trauma, and when a corporation gets you in, it's like, for them, it's alright, it's gone so toxic, and I don't know how everyone reacts, or how they position you when you come in, I'm just curious.

Natalia: This has and continues to be a really interesting journey for me. so either a company will come in And say yep, things are bad. We're ready for you now. Or they might come in And say to me, look, we love your work, but you can't talk about trauma. That will confront our team. No one will come.

So there's always this question of how do you pitch trauma? How do you bring it in without upsetting everybody? And some years back, I was in the process of turning myself and my work into a Trojan horse. And so it'd be under mental health, you know, a DI and belonging and let's make it all pretty. But I honestly feel in the last two years or so, We need to check that story that we're not ready to talk about trauma.

The whole world is talking about trauma. We are ready more than ever to heal. And so now when someone says to me, I don't think we can bring you in. Trauma's too confronting. I say, let's check your narrative. cause I think it's no longer true. And as the leaders and the people who are showing the way, we are the ones that have to say, yeah, let's bring trauma work in.

It's been a really hard few years in humanity, things are not okay. Because if we just keep putting it under the rug, not much is going to change. so it's interesting to see how that shifts.And another really interesting piece is the cultural piece in the USA they feel far more ready for me, whereas here I often get,

Is Singapore ready for this? And I honestly answer, look, I think Singapore might be about a decade behind some of the other cultures that I work in, but I think we are. And if we are not, it's time that we push the boundary a little bit and it's time that we get uncomfortable.

And in the end, to be very blunt, it comes down to budget. Where is an organisation going to find the dollars to do the deep work?

Sharad: huge kudos to you that you're not hiding behind a Trojan horse. You're bringing out, confronting things to them, and you're going that way, so congratulations on doing that. 

I love the word you put in, uncomfortable. Having extremely real uncomfortable conversation, and taking your team with you for that. And I think a huge thing there is trust, so that everyone's ready to be uncomfortable as you come in and work together.

How have you seen Uncomfort, trust, play out in teams? 

Natalia: When a team trusts that their authentic expression is welcome, we will go really deep and we will unearth the truth about what's not working and what needs to happen. When teams trust they feel unsafe There'll be far less authenticity in the room, so it's really hard to get to the root cause.

Or what can also happen, in that scenario, is quite a bit of aggression in the room, and sometimes directed towards myself. cause, we don't want to feel uncomfortable, cause sometimes if we look under the hood, the beast is gonna raze into the room. And of course,it sometimes feels as if I'm poking the bear a little bit.

but I think part of my job is to understand that's probably quite needed and to hold the space for those emotions, for those feelings, for that anger in the best way. And if leadership really can help and promise to co create this space for this truth and for what I like to call divine rage to come up, there will be the most incredible collective transformation. So a lot of this is about getting comfortable with how uncomfortable we are with anger and discord and dissonance. We want everything to feel nice and pretty and to move along in this neat line. But trauma work and any kind of transformation, trauma aside, is messy, is disruptive, it causes reorganisation, it is about being uncomfortable.

Sharad: And if we're not uncomfortable, Things aren't going to change. Such an interesting point. It's like I had a visual of everyone on the team just getting into the mud and dirty and figuring out their own work and figuring out collective work and there's so much going on 

Many leaders might think, or many people might think, hey, I haven't had a really tragic event in my life. I don't know whether I have trauma, like maybe it's just normal things that are going on, but you defined it as something that remains with you. maybe if you can talk about all types of things which could lead to trauma, whether it's small, big, so people get a sense of, yes, these are things that may have happened which are impacting me.

Natalia: So we want to remember, trauma isn't about a past event. it's about the way we're altered afterwards. So Two people could live through the exact same difficult experience, and one person could come away totally unscathed, and the other person could be deeply traumatised. so it's such a unique experience.

The biggest indicator as to whether we will metabolise our difficult experiences and go on to heal, is the quality of our relationships. And the ability to be seen, heard, welcomed and validated during and after difficult experiences.

And I think that's so important for us to understand. For example, one person might go through a really abusive relationship and they never speak about it. And in fact, perhaps they're shamed, they're invalidated. That person will likely go on to have changes in the way they perceive, express and relate.

Whereas another person could go through a very similar abusive relationship. But they have someone holding space for them, who's going to listen to them and welcome their story and validate them and care for them. And that person is more likely to heal and to not be altered. Now trauma isn't just about some big abusive relationship, it's also about What's not given to us, what's not modelled for us, and also the concept of misattunement. It's a really common story for people to say, Oh, I didn't go through this huge abuse experience. I didn't go through a car crash or anything awful.

I had everything I needed as a kid. a nice house, parents who worked, favourite toy, had Nike shoes, all that stuff. I didn't have any trauma. but sometimes we could have all these sorts of physical boxes ticked, but maybe our parents didn't listen to us.

Or maybe our parents didn't ask us what we thought or felt. Or maybe we weren't encouraged to the career of our choice, or the creativity of our choice. Maybe we were told, be quiet and follow a set path, and actually your development and your curiosity and your needs or your dreams don't actually matter.

What I say matters. This causes trauma. Maybe we had nice parents, but they never held us and we cried alone in our room at night. This also causes trauma. Maybe we were left alone while our parents were travelling all the time. This also causes trauma. 

And this is where we look at the intergenerational piece. Our parents' focus was not on attunement and making sure we were seen and heard. Our parents' focus was mostly on financial stability. and getting a house and having a good income, and making sure that the kids were safe in this growing capitalist world that we live in.

And we, as a generation, have adapted because of that. 

Sharad: a fascinating point. You could have the worst tragedy, but if you have the relational support, healed from it, and it doesn't come into play.

But you could have had some small incidents happening in life, which you're not aware of, which could be showing up. That is what makes trauma so difficult to figure out for many leaders who may not have gone through this, but there are these things that come up. So I think that's the first thing people need to know, that there could be things. The second point, I think, and maybe we can dig deeper into it, is intergenerational trauma. What is it, and how does it affect us?

Natalia: Intergenerational trauma is when we carry the wounds and the unhealed trauma and the organising principles and bias of past generations and we perpetuate them now into the present generation and then we pass them on to our children.

Persecution is a big one that many of us from many different cultures and places on this planet are holding because our ancestors, whether one, two, three or more generations back, were shamed or blamed or witch hunted.

So for me, I was born as a Jewish Australian and my grandmother escaped Poland during the Holocaust. She lived very similarly to Anne Frank. She dyed her hair, she changed her name and she got in a boat and she went to Australia. And that's where my father was born. 

everything that she went through around being persecuted, for her race, her culture, trickled through to my father, and you need to fit in, you need to excel, you need to almost make up for and prove that you are equal, or good enough, or even better.

And then that then trickled from him to me as, you need to put your head down, you need to be careful. You need to not be creative, not make a scene, not be different. You fit in and you follow this path. And a huge part of my piece, Breaking the Cycle of Intergenerational Trauma, has been saying, no.

That doesn't work for me, and I feel like this is the task of our generation. Another piece that's very strong through many cultures is around self deprivation and self abandonment. So I often say self abandonment is the disease of our generation. we are taught. That our needs don't matter, our health doesn't matter, that everything else matters first, again, if I look back to, my particular intergenerational history, again, this story of coming from nothing on a boat from Poland and having to be very careful to survive and to hunker down, to save, to scrounge, to never spend. There's a lot of financial trauma that many of us hold from these stories of there never being enough.

And so many of us hold, even today, this sense of there's not enough and I need to get more because there's a storm coming, there's a rainy day coming and I need to make sure I've got supplies. And then if you think of that and you think of our very commercial capitalist world that tells us the same thing, more, more, more, more, more, we're a little bit screwed, right?

In terms of how we think, there's this lack of mentality. So the intergenerational trauma trickles down in so many ways and it makes us feel fearful, it makes us feel persecuted, it makes us lose our expression and in some cases it also makes us feel like We're pretty angry about it, and we want to change it.

But when that anger that we hold for being persecuted, or not having enough, when it's unconscious, and when we don't link it to our trauma wounds, the way we express it tends to cause more friction, and tends to cause another cycle of actually exactly the same thing.

Sharad: Natalia, and thank you for sharing your story. I've never heard the intergenerational piece explained so interestingly. Again, as you were talking, I was relating to my own story where there are many people who have grown up in places like India where money is a big thing because it was a developing country, money was scarce, this was ingrained into us, that money, you need to save money, you need to save money, you cannot spend money, 

And because they're going down that track, they're not able to explore other parts of themselves. Even though it doesn't sound like trauma as we think about it, it's a traumatic thing that sits within us as a limiting belief which affects us.

Thank you for sharing that. The other thing which you briefly touched upon and want to go deeper into is my needs are our trauma of our generation. My needs are not important. I'm going to look after everything else. Can you talk a little bit about the origins of this and how this comes into play?

Natalia: about the origins of this and how this comes into play? Whether physically or emotionally. so if we haven't been shown that we are so worthy of love and care and attention, and if we haven't been taught how to wash ourselves well, and to look after our body and eat well and exercise well, we're going to learn that none of that is really important.

So that's one way that it can develop. Another way it can develop is if we live in a volatile household. Where either there's a parent, or a sibling, or a relative of some kind. Sometimes it's an aunt that's living with us, particularly here in Asia, who takes up all the space with their volatility, their anger, their emotions, their needs.

And we have to learn to adapt, to please someone or to minimise potential harm or shame or exclusion. So we learn to tiptoe around and make sure that everybody else is happy and our needs don't matter. And as long as there is some semblance of peace or being pleased by others in the home, Things feel a little less chaotic.

Things feel a little more peaceful. And so this manifests as us becoming people pleasers. And so we grow up and we become these really, nice agreeable people who are always thinking of others and always putting others first. And often it ends up we might feel resentment that our needs aren't being met or we might enter burnout.

because we're actually not listening to our capacity. We might also just feel super unfulfilled because we're not in touch with our desires, and all of the things that we truly want. So many of us have no idea who we truly are or what we really want, because we've grown up learning that I better focus on minimising mum's distress or making sure daddy doesn't hit me or something like that.

Sharad: Thank you for painting so many of these templates. I'm sure people are going to be able to associate with a few of them. Now, once we identify some of these things that have contributed to our trauma, what's the healing process like? 

Natalia: healing from trauma is a complex, messy, non linear and very personal thing. So it's a process and a journey, not a destination. It is not something that we can do with biohacks or quick fixes or band aids or five step plans, which are all the things that we love. it's about first and foremost the relational piece.

so much of our trauma happens within the context of relationship, and so does so much of our healing. In my book, Why Am I Like This?, I share the premise that if we don't receive three key relational things, we will experience trauma, and they are safety, belonging, and authenticity.

The remedy always lies in the root. So if we know that safety, belonging, and authenticity are the things we were lacking, they are the things that we need to seek out dynamically and relationally. 

So what if we begin with the question for ourselves of getting in touch with our safety? Am I feeling safe at this moment or unsafe at this moment? And if the answer is unsafe. What do I need to do to increase my sense of safety just a little bit? And the answer will be different for every single person, and it will be different in every single moment of every single day.

Sharad: As you were talking about safety, what can I do to keep myself safe?

It's difficult for someone to figure that out themselves because they've been dealt a hand which hasn't been too safe because of which they've reached here. And now trying to figure out safety for oneself, that's such a deep thing. How can you do that?

Natalia: such a deep thing. How can that, how can you do that? So we have no idea what it feels like, and in fact our wires might be so crossed that we experience distress and discord and disrespect as safe, and safety is very scary. 

I believe doing nervous system work is a really important piece when it comes to this. So when we get in touch with our nervous system, it's actually our nervous system that is always asking that question. Am I safe or not safe? 

So if we can learn to tune into our somatic signals, our nervous system's code that's telling us we're safe or we're not safe, that's a really good start. Then we can develop our toolkit of self regulating tools and also relational tools.

So we can self regulate using breath, using mindfulness, movement, and meditation. But it's not just about the self, it's also relational. I wrote an article, it's on my website a while back, called relational maps to safety. And sometimes when we're with someone and we're not feeling safe, the thing that's going to make us feel safer is to be in connection and have a conversation.

Sometimes it's going to be to sit in silence. Sometimes it's going to be space and to exit and not be around that person. And so as individuals, we need to learn this. No one can give us the answer. We have to learn what's true for us. 

Sharad: Very interesting, and somatic wisdom, I guess, is the difficult part for many people. Being in touch with yourself and really knowing where you're feeling safe. 

Authenticity. Maybe we will go into that. So how, and what struck me when you said authenticity, it could show up like you're living the life path your generation set for you, whether it is in terms of fame, money, et cetera. Once you figure that out, what is the work that you do to heal?

Natalia: finding our authentic selves is a lifelong journey. It's continuous. Something that's really common for those of us with unresolved trauma is that it can feel like the me that the world sees and is relating with is different than the me on the inside.

So there's this split or this fragmentation. So most of us have these personalities, I call them external shells, that are a very complex amalgamation of survival and adaptation responses. We develop, we adapt in order to belong and in order to thrive in community and in the world at large.

so to begin to notice all the ways that our personality is actually a function of survival. This fundamental need to belong is really important. And then we want to get curious and start testing,

Is it true? Do I need to adapt this way in order to belong? Sometimes the answer is yes, unfortunately, but sometimes the answer is no.

So there's this really interesting journey of welcoming our complex, messy, non curated self into the world and then learning where it is welcome? And where is it not? And if it's welcome, wonderful, that's where intimacy is born. And that is something we all deeply crave and need. But when we sort of test, and it's normal to test and we learn, either we'll suppress it in order to belong, or we will exit.

And so we're seeing culturally today a lot more people choosing the exit. I've had enough of this. I'm not going to live this way. I'm going to dance to the beat of my own drum. The thing is, as humans, we have a fundamental need to both belong and individuate. But the way the world is structured, and then our trauma on top of that, it usually asks us to choose one or the other.

And what we want to see, as humanity continues to evolve, is that we can create a world where you can both individuate and belong.

Sharad: That's such a powerful concept. I don't know if you've heard of Toko Bahturna. She's written a beautiful book on belonging and she was also part of the podcast and I look up to her.

And she had this phrase, the longing to belong leads to false belonging, where you can just go astray and then you take a choice. And I like the interesting point that you made, that we still need to belong and we need to be authentic. So we need to co create. What is the way for us to figure out how we can remain authentic and how we can belong?

Is it a compromise? Is it values? What's the way to find that sweet spot? 

Natalia: Again, I think it's an evolutionary journey. And I think we also have to be realistic, particularly in the corporate space. We are there to work and we are there essentially to generate profit and to make a business run. That's the goal of being there. So it's not a corporation's job to help us feel like we are our unbridled authentic selves.

So we got to be a little bit clear. Maybe we shouldn't have to shut ourselves down too much in order to be accepted. But when it comes to the deepest belonging, that's outside the workplace. That's with our close others, that's with our partners, our children, our friends, our peers.

That's where we want to practise. and it can be as simple as speaking our preferences. Setting boundaries. and these things are things we might not always do. For example, we might go to a big dinner when we're actually exhausted. Or maybe we don't have the money to pay for the dinner and we go anyway, because we're pleased.

So it can start in these really small ways where we say, actually, this is my preference.

this is my boundary, and if we're not used to that, it can feel incredibly scary to even start, to even say, I prefer something different. Oh, no, thank you. Not tonight. and again, it's through that repeated lived experience where the other person says, Okay, sure. Of course. No problems.

We're like, Oh, I can both individuate and belong. There is no repercussion from my authenticity. The bigger issue that many of us face is that we're existing in relationships, whether at work or at home, where our authenticity isn't really celebrated or welcomed. So it might be, oh, sorry, I can't come to the birthday party, I just really need a quiet night with the family.

And the person gets really angry, how could you abandon me? And then we think, oh my goodness, okay, I'll go. or it might be that we say, Oh, look, I'd rather do A rather than B. And the person's that's not fair. Why are you making trouble? when we have this experience, which is not the experience you want, it's gonna cause us to question the relationships we're in.

And sometimes relationships need a little bit of time to adjust, so there can be that individuation and belonging. But sometimes we learn. Actually, some of the people that I'm in a dynamic relationship with are not in support of my well being and are just not in resonance with me as a person. So there's a really common point on the healing journey that I talk about a lot called relational recalibration.

So when we start testing, am I welcome here? Is my truth welcome here? We're going to learn that in some places it is, in some places there needs to be a little bit of an adjustment, but in some places. We need to pull away, or maybe even say goodbye. And this is a very painful part of the journey.

And most people experience a lot of deep loneliness here. And so again, building our capacity to sit with that loneliness and put our boundaries before belonging is a really important piece. 

Sharad: Such an interesting point and what you said about it being a journey resonates strongly because you're testing it out and just personal experience as I started doing some personal work and started getting boundaries. I realise, yes, I'm getting my authenticity, but I'm getting sidelined from the group.

And I enjoyed being part, a major part of the group. So where does that sit? And then I recalibrate. Does it mean this? Does it mean that? And it's adjusting because the group is still important, but individuality is important. So what's the way I sort it out? It's an ongoing journey. And that's the interesting part as well.

Natalia: I also think that as long as there's a conscious choice, there's no right or wrong.

So as long as we're connected to our consciousness and our agency, if we want to choose the group and let go of some of our preferences, that's super fine. and if we want to say no because it doesn't work for us, that's fine. It's when we're unconscious about it and we feel like pushed to one way or another that's when it creates internal torture and then often this again this relational manifestation where we start behaving in not very helpful ways.

Sharad: Once we are conscious and make a decision, we also see the other side of the picture that helps us evaluate which side is better and then helps us adjust to a sweet spot over a period of time that works for us.

Natalia: it also helps us welcome other people that are also on the exact same journey. Because often when we're struggling with our own boundaries, we struggle with other people's boundaries.

So it's the flip, right? Someone else says, ah, that doesn't work for me. We might get upset about it. But as we do our work, we realise, okay, that person's making healthy choices for them. And it is not about me. And therefore I don't have any distress when someone's choosing themselves. 

Sharad: trauma is a lot of work when Sometimes we get caught up too much in our heads and our bodies and are very internally focused. And we lose touch with just doing things in life. what's the balance of saying, Hey man, I've been too much inside. Let me go try different things and get that balance right.

Natalia: Over processing can be another trauma trap. So when we get so focused and it almost turns like our healing becomes another mountain to climb.

That's a signal that we're actually just in another trauma loop. where we're seeking perfection, we're climbing a mountain, we're trying to get to the other side. So we do need to check ourselves. The whole point of all our healing work is to increase our capacity for aliveness, connection and expression.

So it's not about trying to be the perfect person that's making things right all the time. So we want to watch our tendency to go into this very ruminating space of over processing, whether that's on our own, Oh, did I make the right decision? Or whether something I see commonly is People over processing together.

You made me feel this way when you said this. What would have been better is if you spoke to us, so we become each other's parents. and so it's important we catch that. We're doing the healing work so that we can play, so that we can connect, so that we can be creative and come alive together.

Sharad: Very interesting. You use the word capacity, which struck me as there's already things in you and you're able to play all those parts. Is it being whole? Is there anything different between a capacity and just being a whole person? Or is it the same kind of concept?

Natalia: It's a really interesting question. To me, capacity is about resources and energy. So we all have a certain amount of capacity for being alive. When we hold unresolved trauma, our capacity is decreased. So if you think about yourself as a cup, every day we are using energy where the water is decreasing and we want to increase the resources we have inside us to be alive but also to share.

So that's the way that I think of capacity. So many of us are existing beyond our capacity. And so many of us are asking others to exist beyond our capacity. And when we are existing beyond our capacity, it's really hard to show up in ways that are peaceful, powerful, sustainable and collaborative. And that is the goal.

Sharad: We always talk about purpose. And I was wondering if we're just shifting topics, if purpose means something to you and how does it sit in your head?

Natalia: in your head? Or in your body, let me say fully, how does it sit with you? 

Sharad: Individual purpose, let's talk about. 

Natalia: I'm questioning because part of me thinks, oh, my purpose is to bring trauma work to the mainstream and make it acceptable and digestible and inspire people to integrate it into culture and daily life, to take it out of the clinic and into a social context.

Part of me thinks that's my purpose. But another part of me thinks that my purpose is to be the most peaceful, empowered, relaxed, playful, creative human in the world, and the best mother, friend, partner, and peer that I can be. And isn't that so interesting that they're two very different purposes?

And I wonder can both things be my purpose? And again, it's something I'm processing at the moment is this sort of inner conflict that I have, between wanting this quiet, connected, creative life that's quite small and contained, and then also wanting to have this beautiful ripple effect on the bigger world.

Sharad: They could work together.

Natalia: And I'm exploring that right now. And I think part of, Planting myself in Sydney is about that. So when I'm by the beach and living quietly and I'm often up at sunrise and in the ocean at sunrise, that's me nurturing myself, my personal purpose. And when I'm speaking and teaching and flying around the world and doing things like this, that's my collective 

if I didn't hold on to my personal purpose, my collective purpose would not be sustainable. 

Sharad: Thank you very much for that, Natalia. I have one more question. This is the question I ask everyone.

Natalia: At the end of your life, how would you know you've lived a good life? If my children are happy. 

Sharad: It's beautiful. Thank you very much, Natalia, for all the beautiful work you're doing and for bringing this very, very important message in its truthful form out there. Thank you very much. I loved the conversation with you today. 

Natalia: Thank you for having me. 

Sharad: Thank you, Natalia, for such an enlightening conversation. For more Natalia, check out the show notes. Here's an action step. All of us could consider. Let's take a few minutes and reflect on any area of drama that affects us. Is it around safety, belonging, authenticity? What are its origins? How does it show up? What does it tell us about ourselves? Let's not try to judge and solve this. Let's just spend some time being curious about it. I would also encourage us to work with an expert. Best of luck. I hope you enjoyed this episode. 

The next episode will drop two weeks from now on May 7th. Do join us for that. Till next time, have a wonderful day ahead. Bye bye.