In this episode we explore the inner observer as we ask ourselves, what is self-observation? Today's guest is Laura Whitehead, a Yoga Teacher, Personal Trainer, Reiki Practitioner and most importantly a Mother. We all have various roles and labels in life, in this conversation we explore who is the one identified with these labels and who is the one that observes the identity of our inner voice and thoughts. I hope you all enjoy this episode with another amazing person who I have valued being a part of my journey.
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hello good people and welcome back to life and sound today I've got a guest on who I knew was going to do this podcast with me from the moment I started it I've had numerous people in mind like-minded individuals that I've known over the years connected with that I've got powerful stories that I know that you guys will get a lot of love and grow from so today I've got my friend Laura on the show I'll let Laura introduce herself in a minute and we're going to talk about self-observation and the inner Observer so when I reached out to Laura I asked her do you want to come and do the show like course and I said let me think about something interesting to talk about because we like to shape a conversation and you said let me have a thing so I was like nice to hear that because you know someone's going to invest in a conversation and you said you've been observing yourself a lot lately so it's like you know what that's a good topic because I definitely do that I know you're the type of person that would do that and you're saying you're doing it in a new way [Music] but there might be people out there that don't have a clue what that is or what it looks like so today we're just going to talk about that in our own Journeys and break it down for the listeners and how we Implement that into our lives so I've known Laura since 2018 I think and yeah which is crazy how quick time's flying and as soon as we met I knew this was someone that I'm on a wavelength with and in our workplace I always felt very comfortable around you and felt like I could talk to you and about things that I probably couldn't share with everyone in that workplace so it was really nice to have you in that space But if you just wanna introduce yourself to the listeners like who you are in in your world and what you do yeah hi everyone I'm Laura um who I am who I am oh that's a big question five hours later yeah I guess right now you could say um I've got a yoga studio I teach yoga I hold space in that way I do personal training I'm a Reiki practitioner so all different ways of working with the body with the mind with the soul sort of holistically from all those approaches and right now I am deep in motherhood that's probably my biggest most important role right now in my life [Music] um it's hard to it's had that question isn't it who am I because those things are not who I am yeah they are things that I do yeah who am I I just am so it's it's a it's a tough one that but right now I guess they're the roles I'm playing I'm facilitating um yeah in and I can tell that's how you're thinking because that is self-observation who am I how can I even answer that in a correct way is there a correct way like I can be anything I want to be you can be someone completely different tomorrow if you want to give up the yoga studio and stop doing Reiki and for sure try and be an actor or yeah you know write a unicycle whatever you want to do you can do that tomorrow so we do get so locked in these identities and I think that's been a thing for me over the past year with as a listeners who know stories I've told over different episodes figuring out your identity and going oh I'm only that because I say I'm not for sure and like I could say I am Laura I am this tall I have this color hair I could say these are the things that make me me not true once I wasn't this tall I was a child I was still the same me looking through my eyes in the mirror the physical form has changed I could damn hair I could shave off my hair then that won't be true I won't be that person who's this tall with this color head doing these things I am inside um and actually a a book that was really impactful on my journey I guess and like my awareness of of being The Observer is Eckhart Tolle's book A New Earth have you read it oh it's there no it's actually there have you read it I started it but I've not finished it oh so this circle one of my goals this year is so I'm really bad at starting a book chapter one chapter two life getting busy and then just never coming back to it so now I'm I'm I've told myself one of my practices now has to be to get into a book and finish it yeah so loads of these are like I'm two chapters in I've got books that I've completed at home so I'm definitely going to get back to that because I finished the power of now I feel like where I was at in my life I didn't take it in and I think when I read text because I've got a creative brain I can read text and have five conversations with myself about yeah yeah I need to do this tomorrow what about that song idea and I've read a full page and it's not and it's not it's not sunk in so I'm definitely going to come back to that so that's a reminder to do that it's a really powerful book and he says in that he speaks about who Am I who is the I yeah it's rather I am I am the person observing my thoughts I am the I am the one behind all that yeah yeah and another it really um really good book is Michael a singer what is the book called now I can't think what the book is called it might come back to me and he speaks about the seat of the Soul so rather than you are your thoughts you are the the one that is behind that yeah like you just said if you can read a book and be thinking about and we all do it you can be thinking what am I going to make for my tea this oh this top feels uncomfortable or does it it's like a running in a dialogue in your head yeah and we become identified with that inner in a dialogue monologue actually because it's just to ourselves but that isn't who we are those thoughts are happening who is the one that hears that voice yeah who is the one that hears that chatter that is US yeah so we can't be the thoughts if we can hear it does that mean does that make sense it's it's a very difficult concept like if the listeners haven't heard this before yeah because we are identified with that voice and ah I hate this traffic or oh that burger was [ __ ] all we have these internal dialogues that we identify with and we attach to yeah and I think it was just probably two three years before we met I spent a lot of time working a computer shop on my own so I had a lot of time to watch and listen to YouTube videos and somebody that really taught me about this was Muji and listening to him and I just resonated with him so much he's like uh Jamaican guy that moved to the UK and then moved to India and became like a guru so culturally I relate to him because I've always related to Jamaican culture the music that accent so I'm like oh out of all the gurus I resonate with you and his voice is just so soothing but he was the first person that really I listened to about The Observer yeah and not identifying with anything because that's what the I The Observer is it doesn't identify with anything that our mind does our mind is there to create thoughts and keep us safe and keep us moving and change dreams and all these things for who is listening and it is it's this is the first time people are hearing someone say this yeah go and look into it fire these teachers because when you start to cross that concept you can live in a bit more peace and understanding that your unconscious is driving a lot of stuff you know someone cuts you off in traffic yeah you're [ __ ] [ __ ] yeah yeah yeah you might then go later like what was that but if you can observe the person asking what was that that's the place of Stillness and it's not easy to reach but you said this is why we're doing this episode today because you said this is a big thing that's going on in your life so when was it that you noticed that this is happening probably for another time but in a new way yeah in this time of your life in this this time right now I think for me um I've got a little girl who's two years old Naomi and I think becoming her mother as really catapults admit into a new level of awareness because I see when we're born we're just these bundles of potential of energy of love and I see sometimes I will say things or behave in certain ways and I'm thinking why am I saying that why am I doing that and because she's so innocent and pure I'll start thinking you know where did that come from where is that it's it's just a pattern that's repeated it's a behavior that's been practiced and a chemical reaction in my brain that's been happened over and over again and it comes out as yeah like you said unconscious things that we say we do our beliefs even um so yeah I feel like becoming a mother going on that Journey has really opened up my levels of awareness and I feel like I'm I'm still very much on the in the middle of the journey I'm in like the the Deep middle of it and so I'm not speaking from the other side looking back and saying wow you know this is where I've come from like I'm literally in it yeah so things I'm saying now maybe aren't fully formulated thoughts yeah yeah it's just kind of what is and maybe like you say in a few years time I can look back and be like oh wow isn't it interesting I thought that then oh well yeah yeah I'm just letting go of that attachment in it because we stay in those cycles of holding on to beliefs yeah well I've always thought that yeah yeah so that's why I think I've always done this so that's what I do yeah I can't do that because I don't do that yeah but it's those are a limit in beliefs and they keep us in a in a in a stagnant Place yeah and a lot of us have done it a lot of us have been guilty of it but when you said this is what I feel like I want to talk about I'm like you know what I've not actually thought about this for a while yeah I do it and I can feel myself doing it and I'll share this because I was thinking about sharing it but I've had a really tough time lately like the past year and I feel like being a typical man even though I'm open and I can speak to people about stuff I have no problem sharing stuff I feel like men carry a lot on our shoulders we're taught to be strong we're taught to you know just crack on do stuff let's say women don't do the same I think women I've seen my mum do it like she just cracks on gets stuff done never complains about anything I feel like men just carry this thing in a different way and my dog's really sick at the moment he's coming to like probably the end of his days and he's a really sensitive dog so if I sneeze he'll jump on my chest and come and check them okay if he knows you're getting upset he'll come and check you okay so I didn't want to make him anxious but I was just with him spending time with him and it was a happy moment but he got me upset so I was like I'm gonna go and get in the shower because when I'm in the shower he knows I'm in the shower and you'll relax so I got in the shower and I just started crying I had like proper breakdown and I'd say 20 seconds The Voice went right you're good now bro I know what was that where does that come from where does that come from the voice that just told me that's enough because I know I hadn't released everything I know I didn't allow that emotion to fully come up and arise and Flow what just told me to man up now yeah so I think this was after you said to me this is what I want to talk about today so I've maybe a couple days later I'm like I can I can share that with Laura because that's interesting yeah it's really interesting like what's blocked it so I'm like processing like I think boys we get told not to cry you know if we show signs of weakness with in other male communities as we're coming up from kids to teenagers to gym goers big and strong now can't show that weakness at that time build up the armor build exactly but what happened is because I was asking questions about what that was I think a day later you'd message me upstairs and I think I said I just had a day in bed and you're replying like some days you just need that and that was the day it all came out and it and it released and there was no man up bro it was chill in bed and if you're upset be upset yeah let it come out yeah and I just thought it was really interesting to observe that really strong interjection of a voice in me that was just like very good now sort yourself up but I'm like I know I'm not though so it's when we can tap into that and listen to these voices that are just sabotaging us all the time yeah if we can observe that and then even if it's a day later a week later a year later when we can process the mechanisms behind this then we can start to change them so you just saying this is what I want to talk about really unlock something in itself because like a couple of days later I had that happen I was like whoa I'm gonna mention this because this is super relevant yeah it's having that level of awareness to even get to that point though isn't it because most of us are so identified with those voices that maybe we wouldn't even be able to step back and say well why am I saying that to myself because it's just our natural way so like you say little boys are taught don't cry man up you know they have this conditioning from being so small yeah and little girls I taught to be good girls and it's for me having my daughter has been breaking me out of this good girl conditioning yeah um and I noticing so many ways how people are starting to do it to Naomi how Society is starting to do it to her because we praise children when they're silent obedient um basically when the good and the sitting still and the being we think that they're so good oh they're so good what are we what are we teaching that child yeah we're teaching that child you're worth is based upon you displaying certain behaviors not your worth is intrinsic to who you are it also teaches what you have to say what you have to express isn't valuable here because we like you most when you're being good when you're sitting still when you're not crying when you're not having births of emotion and it's really interesting too I always felt like when I was a child I was oversensitive and dramatic so I must have heard these words or felt this to some extent and it's through parents in Naomi and seeing her express emotions and see it feeling my natural reaction to that to to want to fix and make everything okay why is that place within me so uncomfortable with normal emotions that humans have a wide like a ray of emotions we can experience oh that's a beauty of Being Human but somewhere along the line I've learned at least certain emotions are good and certain emotions we hide them yeah the secretive you know we don't want to put them on other people when actually all of it's okay all of it's okay and it's like yeah for me it's been through seeing her Express herself freely but it's like wow like that part of me has been shut down somehow how do I access that so it's almost like like my self-awareness how I see it is like up until the age of 30 Maybe I was like putting on layers like an onion yeah like putting on this armor and then from 30 it's like trying to peel back all these layers all these protective layers that I've built up um you know completely unconsciously to protect myself because we're we're built we're wired we're in this world we we are animals and we we're wired to survive so we do what we can to get through things we do what we can we adapt and change our Behavior to our environment to fit in and it's like now for me it's like the backwards journey of trying to unpeel all that yeah trying to unlearn that even this today this conversation for me feels scary because it's a real practice of like just speaking from here and not worrying about it coming out right it being perfect saying the right things yeah um so this in itself is a practice of that trying to unpeel those layers and it feels a little bit uncomfortable for me it is like when I started this it was first thing for me I'm like I've got to speak to somebody um listen to them guide the conversation not mess up what I'm saying respond to what you said where you know I'm fully tapped in yeah and I've noticed that it's made me a better listener and a better Communicator which I've been studying over the years like with NLP and practicing language and reprogramming my mind with certain patterns and how to overcome certain things that's been a really powerful tool and anyone like yourself and Jamie that had just been on the podcast like if you're in that like coaching World NLP is such a beautiful thing and I realize it really does align with spiritual practices because mantras affirmations NLP is so rooted in that but because it's geared towards people who want to be successful or you know be a business person or gain this amount of money and overcome stuff because a lot of the cultures in that world do it for that world you think it's separate to the work we've done so those two things really come together for me and it's helped me become a better listener but this if you go back to early episodes I can hear my voice shaking at the start of episodes when I'm introducing someone and now I'm a bit more calm I can still get those nerves which is which is healthy but I've noticed I can be present and one thing you said before about when I said about you know I can read a page and my mind can be elsewhere another time in life that really stuck with me I don't know where I was but I was doing a show uh with my band and I was on stage and Performing I'm singing the lyrics fully my verse it's my times my my moment in that song and I'm looking at people in the crowd I'm going oh she's attractive oh his shirt is sick where do you get that shirt from and I'm I'm literally and when I clocked I was doing it I went whoa how am I doing this because people are reacting to me singing and I'm engaging with them but at the same time there's an extra dialogue where I'm just talking about normal stuff and I can only think it was a point I hit that place where you know if you're in the in the present moment you meditating or whatever it is and you go oh I'm doing it I'm meditating and then it stops because you you broke that presence you brought in your eye meditating yeah the identifier The Observer was just there being yeah and that again came up from you saying this is what you want to speak about I'm like what in my life at times have I had a thing where I've been doing more than one thing so there's like me the performer in my ego that's what I'm there to do form you need your ego to do that to your best ability then there's the me that's having the conversation with myself about people what they're wearing oh I like that I like that then there was the me that goes what is going on right now when you come out of that you go who's that who's that what is that not who it is what is that because I don't think it's a who I think that's a closest thing we can say to like the universe God however you want to label it presence presence that is I don't think we can put and I I don't think we can put a label on that but when you have those moments in life certain things have stuck with me yeah and that that was one of them because your brain up operates in one way which someone who you know knows how the brain works fully can tell you that was what was happening but we still don't know what this thing is yeah and when you get into those States and you do practices like you've done you know yoga when I've done yoga never not to the level you've done it but I found it a very mentally challenging process where a lot of things come up in my mind bro get out of this position man this is ridiculous this hurts bro stop you know yeah it's those things but when you when you practice more like you will have done for years you can start to observe those thoughts a lot more and what are the things you've done in life where say those thoughts have got really heavy the identity is really winning at that time what are the things and practices you've done to help ease that and help it subside yeah I I relate a lot to that what you're saying about like performing this is this outer external validation almost um so I I used to dance from being a little a dancer um that was all about performing outwardly I think I was in my FL I am in my flow State when I'm dancing when I'm performing so I am in that like present but essentially I ended up going to theater school and it became about not being in Flow State it became about what what other people wanted to say yeah for me looking sounding dancing acting in a way that the directors wanted so I was attached to that and that external validation but I'm sure anyone listening can relate in some way to feeling that they perform in some way or some areas of the life or in all of their life yeah to connect to external validation and again because we're wired to survive if we go back to when we was cavemen if you were shunned from the tribe you know you're dead essentially so it's why it's hard-wide enough to fit in so it's hard widen us actually to seek like external validation yeah however it doesn't you know that that is that for me anyway was not a place where when I'm seeking that external validation that I feel in that flow state that I feel in that presence and I guess it took until I actually had a bit of a breakdown I guess when I was in my mid-20s I can't exactly think what age um and I hit a real Low Bottom like point of my life I had depression um or PTSD I don't there was never like a definitive diagnosis but I guess that's not important what's important is I was just very very low very identified with my mind and the things that my mind was telling me the things it was saying and that's that's actually when I started practicing yoga yeah and it wasn't it was beautiful because it I was moving the body in a way that I could connect I could connect with through my dancing but it was in this different way it was not about performing outwardly it was about going inwards um it was about being present and dropping into my body and it being from me and finding that place of Stillness even if it was for a brief flicker in second um and I guess my yoga Journey has sort of continued on that way in that now my practice is about being embodied and letting go of what it should look like or seem like yeah and doing things in a way that feel good for me and yoga isn't just the asanas or the postures which typically we sort of believe yoga is going to a yoga class and practicing certain postures that's just a tiny Slither of it yeah but essentially going and doing that go into a class and practice him being embodied maybe if you practice that enough of like moving in a way that just feels good for you instead of the way that you think it should look or listening to the direction but instead just letting go of that yeah if you can practice that enough and then start to feel empowered that like ah how I feel inside matters I actually know what's right for me then you can sort of take that lesson off your yoga mat and hopefully like implement it in your life yeah and it becomes like a blueprint for your life so when you're doing something you know it should be like this but what feels right if I just stop if I just pause how does this feel for me right now in this moment it might be different this afternoon it might be different tomorrow it's like that constant check-in with self yeah taking that time to just pause maybe like we could do it now yeah maybe we could do long people listening yeah so if you want to just get config get any little wriggles out and then you can either close down your eyes or if that doesn't feel comfortable you can just soften the muscles around your eyes and just sort of drop your gaze I'll blur out your focus maybe if you drive in don't do that yeah just pull over or something I'm glad you said that and just take a moment to just settle just allow the body to come to a sort of pause and ask the Buddy stops as the physical form is still can you notice anywhere in the body that's still sort of moving or buzzing yeah yeah that movement still somewhere inside and then if thoughts sort of come up like I'm hungry or how long is this Gonna Last almost imagining like you're lay on a really green grassy like sort of verge or in a playing field or something like that in a park and you're just looking up at the clouds and it's a beautiful blue sky and the clouds are sort of passing by the drifting on by so every time you have a thought that like pops into the head you can sort of attach it to a cloud and just watch it drift into the mind and just letting it drift out the other way and then eventually probably another thought will just drop in but sharing our fiddle just Float On by eventually so in the same way that in your mind's eye you'll lay there watching the clouds when thoughts come into the Mind who is that person that is sat there almost backwards it feels right back right in there that sort of watching those thoughts just come in and come out you are not the clouds you are the Observer and then just taking a deep breath inhale into the body and exhale side maybe just wiggling the fingers the toes maybe blinking the eyes open if this height to close hmm that moment when you do this you realize I need to do that more like it's it's such a simple thing that we all got access to I mean it's nice when you've got another voice guiding through it yeah for sure because that's the battle sometimes in it when you sit on your own yeah but I've never heard anyone say that attaching a thought to a cloud and letting it drift off because that's what meditation is people get overwhelmed by meditating I can't do it I just can't do it yeah I just I just had loads of thoughts yeah we all do yeah like we all do there's no wrong way to to do it like especially like the other day I was trying to read a book again like Challenge on I I'm gonna read this book and I was like wow my mind is busy today yeah same so busy so I just did that I just put my butt down I just took a moment and there's just like right let's just sit with this and yeah and observe and and breathe because breathing as as we know breathe slow s your mind down slows your thought down your whole system starts to relax but I've never heard anyone say that or maybe I forgot maybe you said this to me before but yeah just that visual thought of for me I just hooked it onto a cloud yeah and just watched it go so that's a really powerful practice I think yeah because sure enough it always passes but it's it's a lot easier to believe that and too to go with that when you're feeling in a good place yeah you know even when I've last year I was going through a very hard time postpartum um I'm not sure postpartum depression whatever it was like birth drama I don't I'm not really again connected with like a description yeah but just going through a bit of something a bit of Darkness bit of a hard time and even though I knew I've been teaching yoga right for for years now I've been practicing for years I know the thoughts will eventually go the only thing that's constant is change I know that because I've been there I've experienced it however when you're in the depths it's hard right it's hard because you're in it and you're feeling it um but the only way this is a really beautiful quote and it this always sticks of me I think it's Maya Angelou but I could be wrong and the only way out is through um very true and it's you know so when you're in those depths like if you're listening now and you're going through some like heavy [ __ ] then just know it will change yeah in some way but the only way out of it is is through is feeling it is releasing it it's dropping into it which is scary and hard and sometimes we can't do that alone and we need you know professional help to enable us to do that or we need people to hold space for us we need support from family Friends Community anyone um but yeah you've got to feel that stuff sometimes because you know if if you don't you can suppress it drop it down but the body holds it the body holds it oh yeah I think the lights of us that have been through stuff in our life and we've known what that dark space is when you feel it creeping again you're like oh here we go all right right yeah okay I'm back in this it's different but similar I know there's no fire exit like you said there's no oh I'm gonna jump out of this like see that wasn't nice you just got roll with it because it is gonna come to an end it is gonna change and when you come out of that space you're a whole new version of yourself friend Courtney on a different episode put this in a beautiful way people can go back to that and that really was a light bulb moment for me I was like yeah that makes total sense because when you're in those spaces you're doing so much growth that when it does start lifting and Things become a bit brighter you come out and you're not the version you were before you went into it so this is life we have to go through these things there's no one that can go down the yellow brick road for the whole of the life and just skipping going hey neighbor hey neighbor like enough impact happens for the whole life [ __ ] is going to come at you yeah and I think it's easier to speak from a perspective when you've been through something before like we have when we met that's in a way we connected on that when we met you know I told you about my journey you told me about yours and we were like oh so we both we both get it yeah and in our workplace You're such like a caring person of people's well-being and mental health you you really like drove that as a Forefront and you know you're doing yoga classes and other things you you do and people definitely knew you were someone that they could come and speak to you really had a powerful role and people trusted you with with that and one thing that's always stuck in my mind I think I messaged you recently because I found the note that you gave to me so 2018 I was doing the 3p Challenge and I trained for it a little bit but I didn't know I was getting myself into really like I was like yeah I can do that it's probably a good job you didn't know yeah so I should have been like no no no at the time I was start I was part of setting up a amends mental health group called Mentor which is still operating today if anyone you know wants to check that out go and do it and we were doing a three-peat challenge to you know raise money and I remember getting back to my desk one day I think I've been to the gym I think I was training for the for the Three Peaks and there was a note on my desk with a little bag of sweets from you and I can't remember exactly why I said but it was just like you know you've got this like proud of you just words of like just back in what I'm doing and you know like go and smash it like well done I remember people making jokes oh Laura's left to like like school stuff Laurie's left suits and like a note I'm like does anyone else done that it's really nice but the part that meant the most to me and I'll tell this bit first before I sing about the impact is I was on the third Mountain and I was with really fit guys they were like ex-army guys they were stomping ahead they were gone I was like wow my fitness yeah is not anything neither and I was on my own going up Snowden and I I Bob Marley playing out my phone and everyone could see we had these t-shirts on people are cheering us on they know I'm on the third Martin but I'm dying I'm done but I've got I don't know maybe half an hour an hour to go or people are telling me go and you've only got 20 minutes but I've got like an hour and a half so I started to realize people are lying to me and my energy levels are dropped yeah I don't think I'm going to do this you know I think I'm I think I'm done and I remembered you had given me a bag of sweets and they were in my rucksack and I went oh my God and I reached around I got them out and I just said I started eating these sweets and that got me through that little burst of energy so when I think about Three Peaks now one of my core memories is the sweets which came from an act of kindness from you and then years later four or five years later I'm tidying an old draw and I found the letter from you and I'm like wow that little simple Act of just going here's a note here's some sweets good luck on your journey can impact somebody's life five years later because I'm like wow that's a memory I carry with me for the rest of my life when I think about doing the Three Peaks and that's always stuck with me like who you are in the world like we don't have to do these things for people and and when we do we don't even realize the impacts I've never sat in front of you and told you this I know I've messaged you about it and I know I found the letter and I think I sent it to you or told you I'd found it but it's like that's a really important thing as well like when you've been through stuff and you've come out the other side we're just a little more caring we've observed yeah what are dark spot was how difficult that was so you go in Three Peaks maybe it doesn't know what this is gonna be maybe you need some sweets or whatever was going through in your mind like it's just to have that self-observation and do those acts of kindness is so important but you were someone that really did that in in the workplace but what what have you always been that way in Life or would you say going through the dark times when you went through it which is just before we met maybe a couple of years before did that shape you into that version of you that we that you were in 2018 or have you always had that nature from like nurture of parents and grandparents and stuff like that I don't know that's a really hard question I don't know because I'm trying to unpack now what's going on in My Mind by the way thank you for that that story because it's really nice to hear I'm trying to unpack like um I the last few years I've been kind of unpacking this my like people pleasing Tendencies yeah so I'm trying to unpack like hmm do I because that's like um something I'm working through right now do I do like caring kind little things like as like a people pleasing sort of mechanism or is it spread Joy like so I don't know it's the answer I guess I'm like thinking that now like hmm where does that come from um but I just think if we the world we just need more we do need more kindness and reaching out to people like I think especially after what's happened the past few years where we became isolated physically and we live in such insular worlds we all live in separate houses some of us don't even know our next door neighbors we don't live in communities and tribes where everyone supports each other we all think that everyone else is doing okay because it may appear that way through social media or whatever yeah but like really what we need is like to reach out especially to the people who we think doing okay and just give each other those just those little bits of like you know you can do this or you're doing like an amazing job because even if someone is they might have never heard that they might not believe that yeah so yeah I just think that's really important like now more than ever that we all for each other do reach out and do inject those little bits of like kindness and love where we can and yeah but I'm I'm just that is a good question I'm trying to I'll have to think yeah of course yeah it sounds there's no rush don't come back to me whenever but it is it's I suppose it's all identity in it like when I think about my journey and who I am now I'm not the version I was when we met but I know at that time I'd grown a lot I was fully in light a spiritual swing of growth and I was I'd accepted myself at that age like I'm 32 now and I know myself more but me at like 26 that had started that well 25 26 and like what is this so I'm changing people around me have seen me change they're probably thinking this isn't real you've never been like this so when we when we feel these shifts in our life we're dying every day because we're being born into a new year so you have to let go of an order you which is not an easy thing to do and I think the way you're just running the same theme through this conversation and even when you started then it's like I don't have the answers today I can't yeah you could sit here and you know try and come up with an answer because you think oh people need to hear something and that this is my responsibility and it's like I'm just being exactly where I am and to be honest it's a great question that I can't answer and we need more of that because I feel like we a trained and programmed maybe it comes from school where I put your hand up or you what's the answer to this so you try and come up with an answer even if you might not know it yeah and I think just like observing that and not pondering to people and I definitely do that less at this age and I think you you grow as you get older and you become more sure of yourself but I'm more open to knowing that who I am today is not who I'm going to be in five years so I'm hoping to change yeah where when you're younger it's very much this is who I am and my background or where I've come from very rooted in ego and you know like not the nicest area and I've said this before walking down the street as a kid and locking eyes with another guy and it was over you choose to look away or you two are just arguing and fighting in the street over nothing and I felt like that identity stuck with me probably till 21. so I was always a bit of a I've always been an observer of people I love watching people how people tip but it's all kind of like very defensive with it yeah it was always the one like looking out for my friends and they've got a problem with us my friends with my brother relax man like we're all good survival yeah if you look at everything through this lens of like attachment yeah I've been reading about attachment Theory recently if you see what you're saying now through that lens of course you're gonna do that because you've learned growing up I have to survive and where we live this is how we survive I've got to protect myself I've got to stick with the yes I've got to stick with my tribe and I've got to survive and I guess it's like yeah through the lens of that and then I guess through the lens of yoga would be like compassionate awareness of the self being like that version of you that that up until 21. I had to do that yeah you had to do that to survive so like like not holding any blame or like Gill around that because you you don't know what you know when you don't know it so you have to do you have to you know and it's like looking at all these password past versions of ourselves like you said so many times we're going to be reborn I always think of it as like um the metaphor of the the caterpillar so the caterpillar is just getting about his life right I think in his caterpillar I'm a guy or girl like you know I'm just a caterpillar and then one day it scurries on down and it has the Dark Night of the soul and it builds a cocoon around itself and it thinks this is death I'm in doubt complete darkness I cannot see any light I've built these shells around me and the caterpillar knows it's a caterpillar right then one day the shell breaks the caterpillar suddenly sees light for the first time in however long and it has wings if we say identified as the caterpillar that butterfly that now has wings that's metamorphicized it's just going to stay there on the branch if it stays identified with being the caterpillar or as if it releases the identity and says that was all for a reason that darkness that cocoon is for a reason it's time to spread my wings we will have those continuously in our lives at times when we're letting go we're going into that cocoon it's hard it's because it's like we're going through those dark times but if we allow it if we are open to it instead of staying being the butterfly glued to the branch we can spread our wings and release into like a new level yeah and what a trip that must be to experience that why don't you be in a caterpillar and then being a butterfly imagine you've got to imagine you felt you know depressed and you went into a dark space and you literally felt physical things move and this thing came around you and then all of a sudden it opened up and you just flew off like it's but that is what happens to us all the time if we are open to it if we allow it um yeah that's what that's what it made me think of when you were saying that that metamorphosis that constant Evolution that constant changing um so yes some things yeah and I guess like the way I answered before is like cumulating is so hard being a human is body tough like it really is and we don't know all the answers and we don't I'm just starting to peel back the layers of myself I I don't know like I'll probably be saying some things now I'll have certain conditioning certain beliefs behaviors actions now they're in five years time maybe even a year's time I will re-listen to this podcast and be like whoa how could I think that how could I believe that right yeah um but it's just again compassionate awareness being like we only know what we know when we know it and we can't you can't know what you don't know so wherever you're at right now in your life whoever's listening just being gentle with yourself just be gentle with yourself be gentle with other people because we're only doing the best we can and so I think like for me when we talk about going through hard times when I had that spell in my mid-20s when I had depression only now I'm starting to unpick and I'm actually nearly six months sober now so that's like a new Journey that I'm on yeah and that has been really unpicking like wow like I was choosing certain coping mechanisms to deal with you know the turbulence of my mind the hard things I was going through was going out partying and I was you know having fun I'm not saying that like I didn't have fun but when I look at it now I was using it as a way to escape I was using it as a way to connect to other people to try and find that connection that I sold desperately needed with myself um Oswald in parallel going through my um journey of finding yoga and you know moving through that so really interesting actually how in in one way Part of Me Maybe my higher self is trying to bring myself out of this through the practice of yoga and and like taking those lessons into my life but not fully because I was still like stuck in this world of doing what I've just seen as is normal we get taught you know drinking alcohol and going out is is not just it's not just accepted it's encouraged it's it's the norm in our society so I've recently I've been unpacking like what is that and what is that need that I had um and since the day I decided I mean I'm not saying it will be forever I don't know again I can't speak I can only speak for today but the freedom I felt she's out tonight no I don't that's what I mean I don't know who knows who knows but right now this is serving me and the freedom I felt from that decision from being like actually I don't want to have to ingest something to feel confident and free I want to be able to work and access that part of myself yeah without anything I want to be able to be confident and be free and to feel free free is the only word that comes to mind under this this sober Journey for me is a journey of Freedom that's what it feels like I've actually got like an app on my phone that like tracks how many days months yeah and you can name it yeah whatever mine says Freedom yeah that's a good way to look it feels like it and I relate a lot to that because I my crutch was weird so I smoked a lot to get through my darkest days and as I've Revisited well not Revisited experienced new difficulties in my life even if I might have been going for a time where I've not been smoking if just takes a b and F to connect yeah and I'm going back yeah yeah that that was really uncomfortable what makes me not feel that uncomfortable this so I'd always go back to that and I don't even know how long it's been now but this is the first time in my life where I've really felt through very difficult things and just observed yeah all right so this is uncomfortable or you know things that have come up where I can hear myself saying things like a lot of stuff with my dad that came up where my dad's not been in my life growing up I've seen him at the weekends but I don't have any blame and resentment as I've got older because I think people are always doing the best that they can do with with their lives and watching him get sick last year and having to care for him to a certain level it's like so much resentment was coming up because I feel like you've never done this for me and there was loads of chatter yeah yeah yeah but then it's like whoa what is that what is that what is that that needs to be processed yeah because until I processed that that's always gonna stay there yeah yeah yeah and that's what the Observer can do it can let you see your patterns spot your patterns of human behavior learn behavior and that is all it is is you've perceived things in your life recorded it to memory I'm going oh that's what this is so whenever something happens again similar you access that that place yeah of course and you react to it unconsciously where the Observer lets you go whoa well what was that that you just said yeah what was that that James just said the identified James what's that emotion why don't you like that person why does that person trigger you so much it's been a big thing on social media for me especially during lockdown I unfollowed a lot of people or muted people because I realized things were just not serving me but it wasn't well that makes me feel uncomfortable unfollow because that's not that's not the Cure that's not the the process it was right I know this makes me uncomfortable this person at the moment is making me feel a certain way I'm just gonna mute them for now but I'm gonna sit with where's that coming from and to observe these thoughts and patterns and then the hard part is how do we shift that what tools and approaches can we do to change these and that's not the easy bit and I feel like certain practices which I've started journaling which I've never done consistently I don't even need to go back and read it let's Let it go get it out of this system so it's not in your head out of the body get it out of the body yeah up and out that's that's one thing I know how we can work through stuff is Right observe what is that what's that discomfort right how do I work through that and release it and that's all self-observation is really it's observing those and you can do it for positive stuff you can go whoa how did how did I how did that was amazing did I just 100 did I hit like sometimes this bit had a beautiful moment in life again I'd be paraphrasing but I was in I'd be for my friends Alex and Simeon and we have one of those three a.m late night chat tonight before and I just flowed about whatever it was life the universe existence I don't know how long it was could have been two minutes could have been ten minutes could have been 15 minutes yeah and they both just looked at me and went bro that was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard oh and I was like I don't even know what I just said yeah but when you can observe like sometimes we don't even give ourselves credit for who we are and what we can do so you can observe the positives it's not always the negative and give yourself credit for who you are in the world as well of course it's about like taking a step back look in what's there saying what is serving me what is like really working I have certain beliefs that really serve my life I have certain behaviors and actions that really serve my life and make my life amazing yeah I have certain behaviors that again it's like when I was saying about my journey through sobriety I'm not blaming that past version of myself I needed to do that I had to do that it was a coping mechanism and coping mechanisms work that's the that's the reason we use them there's no blame it's truth and that's why we use them yeah yeah that's why people have addictions because it works if you're trying to numb something it works of course I need to numbness yeah it bought it's not sustainable right so it's like right okay no blame but these parts I've got the awareness now these beliefs these behaviors these patterns aren't really serving me and then it's a practice if we've practiced a certain Behavior or is there a certain pattern or a certain thought for say yeah however old I am 33 I think I am yeah we're not currently 33 years of doing something it's not going to change like that it's gonna take a lot of time to practice a different way yeah yeah because actually in our brain I think um is it okay if I pull something up yeah of course just because I feel like it's really so in our brain it's when we're at Birth it's 25 of our brain that's fully developed at one years old 70 of our brain is fully developed and at three years old 85 of our brain is fully developed that young right so already from those first three years of our life our brain has made certain connections it's made certain connections that are there so if you find yourself going into certain thoughts behaviors patterns well you kind of do you didn't have a choice about it because you can't choose how your how you're related to how your what happened to you in your formative years that's just what it is but the amazing thing is is that we know now that the brain is malleable we know it's not just the way it is we are not just the way we are we can actually practice certain thoughts certain behaviors and the Brain will keep firing firing firing and it will stick and the more times we practice it it's like um if we was going down a ski slope and there's a certain path that like everyone skied on yeah you're gonna naturally go down that path and yeah so imagine that as like a certain behavior that you do you practice all your life you're going to go down that path sort of rewiring the brain or practicing new ways of coping or new ways of doing things or thinking it's like fresh snows falling well we can create a new path but eventually we might slip back onto the old path and that's okay being like compassionate to ourselves and being like do you know what of course I'm going to go into that old path but where do I want the scheme where do I want to go yeah it's actually quite um being able to observe ourselves it's actually quite hopeful it's not all like Doom and Gloom it's not like oh well I'm observing that I always think this about myself oh it's actually hopeful we can change these things there's so many modalities and I think there's a different one for everyone if you've like tried one thing and it didn't work for you maybe that's not the one for you maybe you maybe you've tried yoga and it just weren't for you yeah maybe you were you didn't find the right teacher or the right practice and that's what it is a lot of it is you just didn't connect with that person yeah yeah maybe it's just not for you maybe like talking therapy isn't you or maybe it is like yeah we're all so different I think it's about like being open-minded just trying different things seeing what works maybe it's like movement maybe it's shaking your body and releasing maybe it's um you know going in the cold water or maybe it's not maybe that's not for you maybe it's dancing maybe it's hiking maybe it's talking there's so many ways maybe it's going to your doctor and getting some medication that helps like there's and it doesn't have to be one or the other we can work holistically with the body work holistically with the mind yeah to see what works for us you know and I think like we are so blessed that we're in a day and age where we have the internet we have the internet like how cool we can actually access so many free modalities through the internet we can have awareness we can get books there's so many people interesting amazing people researching things writing cool books we can watch YouTube videos like reach out to us you know what I mean if you feel stuck like reach out to either one of us like not that we know the answers because we don't we're like muddling our way through like but we're always trying to invest yeah we're just trying to figure it out and like yeah and what works for you at one point in your life might not work later on down the line so what works me right now is like a 33 year old me might not be what works for me in 10 years time yeah it might be something different so it's just like having that awareness of ourselves being able to bigger pictures take a step back yeah not identify with the Mind look at what's going on and being like yeah what's serving me and what is it that's that's that's it you know just hit a nail ahead what serve me and what isn't and that going back to like the internet social media that was it for me is what is serving me and what is it because that's our diet we get to choose what we consume but the interesting thing I don't follow that page but that's a page you follow though you're interested in that well is it the is it the caterpillar version of you that followed it though maybe you know what I mean maybe it's the identity of that's G at this time you always follow those pages maybe you're on a different stage and that's not serving you anymore and that's okay like and then like you said 10 years you might be like Oh I'm interested in that again yeah of course but it's I'm so glad we've had this conversation at this time because I can tell you're in a a beautiful transition phase and I'm probably mirroring that as well like loads going on I know there's a shift and I'm just open to it because I know now you never have control of it you can just Implement certain things to try and make that boat ride a bit easier do you know I mean you that the tide is going there's flowing a certain way you've just gotta grip onto the side and know that you know maybe if you stay at the or in this direction a little bit it might make the journey a little bit smoother but I'm glad we've had this conversation at this time and everyone that I'm reaching out to in the purest way of having these connections already it feels like everyone's coming to have these conversations at the right time yeah and I know you'll come back and we'll talk about this and go yeah I remember when I thought about that yeah that changed that episode but it's it's been great even since messaging you and asking you what should we talk about that's triggered so many things in my mind and my life and that's what this podcast is for we we have those interactions and we've got people that know people that know people a big circle and it's those little small interactions that shape your life yeah so that's all this is and I keep saying it to the listeners it's in me inviting people that I know and I appreciate and have helped shape my mind in a certain way now let me introduce you to these people and their journey and that'll bring other people into the picture as well and I think that's why sharing is so important like sharing what you're going through with other people because sometimes someone can just say something and it just resonates with you and you're like ah I've like almost sometimes like a concept's been maybe concept's been like on your radar but then someone just says it a certain way or someone explains how they're feeling a certain way and you're like I feel seen I feel heard but the more we can all like open up share invite these conversations with people we know you know start to open up and become aware of ourselves and and it also gives you compassion for other people right definitely because then when you're like thinking because I I'm guilty I'm guilty of that like thought you know you said around like well I wouldn't treat them that way so why why are they doing that or why do you know like of course we have these thoughts dropping but it's like ah but or the people are going through like things too and like we only have a certain level of awareness that we have so it's like understanding that of ourselves and of others and it just sort of frees everyone yeah because we all get stuck in our own story yeah it is when when you can observe your own mind and your your own thoughts attachments identities and and be more present you can because we all really can observe that's the first thing we observe in it other people why have they done that and it that's all identity and attachment to self and I and ego I wouldn't do that I wouldn't do it like that but it's if you can take a step back and go what is driving that judgment yeah yeah what is that how do I work through that and it's not easy but as as we get better at it and I'm like we say I'm we're not neither of us sat here going we figured it out it's just we know we're we're doing the observing and what it looks like to us and we know these deeper levels to observing like when I hear someone like Muji talk sometimes I'm like what anything's rewind that because he spoke so simply yeah and I understood none of it so I need to go back and there wasn't any big words there wasn't any language I've not heard before but the way he said that wow and it's so simple it's just simplifying things like the The Observer you're just trying to simplify things yeah like whoa whoa whoa whoa just just just observe and be present but I want to say thank you for coming today oh you're welcome thanks for having me you're the first person in the new studio this is the first time we've we've recorded here we've moved out of my apartment which is where we started so you've been the perfect first guest to come and do this where can people tap into your world and what you are because you have a lot going on you successfully run new businesses whilst being a mom and I know that's a lot to juggle so where can people find you if they want to connect with you yeah of course so um on Instagram and Facebook it's sunshine and soul Studio and we have sort of regular weekly classes we have monthly Retreat days and we hope we also have a retreat coming up in April which will be like a fully immersive four day three night Retreat which is gonna be so many of these different modalities that we spoke about today so yoga Movement Like Group Training hiking cold water journaling sort of a bit of everything Community Connection yeah all these things um but yeah I just think I just like want to say to anyone listening that like to listen to having that awareness and just trusting that how you feel inside matters and knowing that how you feel and what's coming up for you is your truth and just listening to that inner voice is like a really powerful thing and so just any practice even if like none of those things that we've spoke about today resonate with you just trying to find something just being playful and finding something that allows you to tap into that that place of inner knowing and that place of wisdom that we all have if we can just find the right thing to tap into it so I just wanted to like yeah say it is accessible and if anyone needs any help they can reach out to me just drop me a message and I'll happily chat to you so yeah amazing thank you so much for for coming on and this will hopefully be the first of many many visits and many conversations for our listeners as we're growing and listeners if you can do anything to do all I ask is you feel like this will resonate with someone just pass it on just share it drop it to them whichever way you need to and hopefully it'll help impact their lives but thanks to Laura make sure you check her out she's an amazing human and someone I've always valued having a connection with remember no matter what you're going through life is good life is sound we'll see you on the next one I