Welcome to the introductory episode of The Deeper Pulse. Candice shares a personal story from her early adulthood and then offers an expansive definition of courageous self-expression. What is the deeper pulse exactly? And why is it so important? We will discuss how (and why) it's not always enough to respond to life's horizontal narrative; and why it is essential to tend to our 'verticality' in order to express what is most alive in our bodies, hearts, and minds. Candice provides a brief history of her path as a life coach and how it is she uncovered the practical tools she plans to share with you in upcoming episodes.

1:42 - Taking Up Space (story)
9:16 - Wanna be great? Be willing to suck first.
12:07 - Movement begets clarity, not the other way around.
13:22 - Definitions: expression, impression, depression, oppression
17:09 - Social pressures & the tension of opposites
20:53 - What is the deeper pulse?
25:49 - Why courage is absolutely essential.

#1 | Welcome to The Deeper Pulse

Hello hello to all you courageous souls out there. Welcome to The Deeper Pulse with Candice Schutter. I am an educator, coach and storyteller who is passionate about inspiring your most courageous self-expression. Thank you for the privilege of your attention. Now let's dig in.

So I've been putting off the launch of this podcast for some time now, doing all sorts of things to get in my own way. I plan. I make lists and then I make lists of my lists. I tell myself I have to get it just-so before I sit down and hit the record button. I do anything I can possibly do to get in my own way... all to stay safe and outside the bounds of my free-flowing expression.

But today I had had enough. I came inside after a long morning walk, I kicked off my shoes, and I sat down to press record. It's all very glamorous, really. I'm coming to you from the floor of my mother-in-law's walk-in closet. I'm sitting cross-legged, my laptop and a mediocre microphone resting on a small table in front of me. But, you know what? It's enough.

In this first episode of The Deeper Pulse, I'm going to introduce you to the deeper pulse and to the purpose of this podcast. But before we go there, I'd like to tell you a story.

The year was 2000 and I was 25 years old. I was post undergrad, still living in Lawrence, Kansas, the land of my Alma mater. I'd been working for nearly two years as the general manager of a fine dining restaurant. The job wasn't something I had ever envisioned for myself, but I'd been offered the position right out of college. At the time, I was feeling drained by a double-major and the extra two semesters I'd spent completing an honors thesis.

I was hugely burnt out on academia. The fast pace of the food service industry had been appealing. I'd been working in restaurants on and off since I was 15, and waiting tables was not only a means of survival, it was the ideal outlet for my chronic restlessness. And so, when the proprietor of a fancy new restaurant - who happened to be female, which was somewhat unheard of in those days - when she offered me a lofty series of promotions at her swanky new restaurant, I had eagerly accepted.
But now, I was two years in and I was exhausted. On call 24 /7, I was working 50+ hours a week. I ate most of my meals after hours with a two cocktail minimum. I was a natural when it came to leading the staff of 20, but schmoozing VIP's and keeping the books, these were not at all my forte.

I'd gained about 15 pounds of extra weight, but I was feeling anchored by a gravity I couldn't name; a heavy feeling that something was just off in my life. I had been faking it for months and the anxiety was becoming unbearable. I couldn't contain my dissatisfaction any longer. So I quit my job, and I convinced my college sweetheart to move with me to Boulder, Colorado, a town I had always imagined myself living in.

A couple of weeks after our arrival, I took a job waiting tables and began flipping through the local yellow pages for a way to get in shape. Yes, the yellow pages; that was still a thing back then. Millennials, you may need to Google that one. In said yellow pages, under 'y' for yoga, I found an advertisement for a class that promised a mix of yoga and dance. I headed to the studio the next morning.

I was told my first class would be free, which turned out to be a very good thing because I couldn't follow along with most of the movements. I felt awkward and insecure. Everyone around me seemed so at home in their bodies, fluid and free, the teacher kept guiding us using flowery metaphoric language. I found it both soothing and unsettling; not to mention suspiciously optimistic. Midway through class, I was a little unsure about the whole mind body movement thing, but whenever I felt the temptation to give up the teacher would somehow know and flash her brilliant smile toward me at the back of the room.

At the end of the class, I laid down on the floor, panting wet with sweat and, for reasons I couldn't quite understand, I felt as though I might start crying. There was a sense of relief that came over me. And for a moment, something deep inside of me surfaced; a swell of sorts. Something I couldn't grab a hold of before my whole being was once again shrouded in the familiar feeling of weighty numbness.

I wanted to feel that feeling again. So I bought a six-class punch card on the spot. I began attending classes three to four times a week. I had expected that my body would begin to change, but I had no idea that moving my body would lead to seismic shifts in my life.

Week after week, I moved and I exhaled. I learned to kick with precision, and giggle shout with glee. I began to take up more physical space than ever and... well, just like that everywhere I went there was suddenly more of me. Giving myself regular permission to self-express catalyzed a metamorphosis of sorts. It felt like death and rebirth all contained inside of one pulsing cocoon of conflicting desires. I was rapidly transforming into someone I knew myself to be, yet I didn't yet recognize her. You might say that for the first time I was unearthing all of me. And as a result, both the best and the worst versions of me began to show up in my everyday life. Soon enough attending classes became a daily obsession that everything else in my life just simply had to work around. To further complicate matters, I became romantically infatuated with a woman at the studio I took classes with. We became friends, and this became a problem. When I confessed my feelings to my boyfriend of three years, he handled the news with his typical even-tempered grace and understanding. Of course I was relieved and grateful, feeling certain that he and I would just move through this 'phase' of mine in due time.

But no, as it turns out, I was unable to contain this new self and her inconvenient numinous hunger. And so... well, I will save you the dramatic plot twists here, but my once healthy relationship ended in a painful breakup. Filled with shame and confusion, I saw a therapist for the very first time. Thus began a long and arduous journey of healing that would last nearly two decades, but that is a story for another day.

So it was less than a year into my time in Boulder. I was newly-single with a shaved head. Again, a story for another time. And I was taking classes at the studio five to six days a week. I was studying Qigong and martial arts on the side. I was obsessed with everything movement, and it was during this time that I decided that I wanted to become a dance fitness facilitator.

Now here's the thing. I was passionate, but I was no Jane Fonda. I had never been what you would call a fitness-y person. Nor was I what you would call a 'dancer'; not unless you count the times when I would get liquored up and go out dancing at dive bars with my friends. And even then my participation had a two drink minimum.
I was highly inflexible, physically speaking. I couldn't even touch my toes. I had been categorically rejected when I tried out for the drill team in high school. And even though I had been dancing at the studio regularly for months, I was often behind the beat in class, struggling to keep up with the choreography. Not to mention I was now living on my own paying double the rent. Teacher trainings were expensive, with little promise of return on investment. Essentially, there was nothing on the surface of things that pointed to the fact that this was something that I should do. But all of that was irrelevant. Something had been awakened in me and it wasn't going to rest until I took action.

So for the first time ever, I chose to do something that defied logic or reason or popular opinion; something I would do for one reason and one reason only: simply because I wanted to.

I worked double shifts at the sushi bar for three months and maxed out my credit card to secure a spot in an upcoming teacher training in Santa Barbara. It was November of 2001 and I was one of 12 participants in the week-long training. Carlos was our trainer, a sort of shamanic fitness guru who would later become a mentor of mine. During our very last day of training, Carlos informed us we would each be required to teach a portion of a song in front of one another while he looked on offering pointers. It was an anxiety-inducing exercise made all the more brutal by his unpredictable and dispassionate feedback. One participant broke down in tears less than a minute into the exercise. Of course I began second guessing the endeavor, wondering what fresh hell is this? Nevertheless, I powered through and, feeling certain that I'd both given it my best and mostly failed at the exercise, I joined the rest of the group in a closing circle. Then and only then did Carlos tepidly celebrate our courage. I felt the group beginning to relax a bit. And then he said something that has stayed with me since.

He said to us, "If you want to become great at anything, you have to be willing to suck at it for awhile."

We all laughed at the time, partially because of his choice of language and mostly due to relief. And, true to form, when it came to facilitating my own classes, I did suck for quite some time. At first I was impossible to follow. I missed my cues. I would fall off the beat. I would panic and forget the choreography entirely. But over time, I conditioned myself to show up anyway. And eventually, I became a highly skilled instructor, one of the highest paid dance fitness instructors in the Portland Metro area. But it took me years to get to that point. And I would have never gotten there if I didn't show up in those moments when I was unsure of my own expression; moments when I was sure to suck.

And really, that's why I'm here with you today. I don't have any experience creating podcasts, but I'm willing to figure it out along the way. I'm willing to suck a bit because this project has been whisper-shouting at me for months.

I am here, not because I am ready, but because I feel called to be here.

If we wait until we feel ready or confident or certain; crystal clear about the next move we're about to make. If we tell ourselves that we need to master a certain skill set before embarking on any new adventure, we will never go anywhere. Courageous self-expression requires we make a move. Not later, but now.

As a life coach, I sit across from people all the time who drum their fingers on the table wondering when our conversation might move them to perfect clarity. But here's the thing: Movement begets clarity, not the other way around. If we want to get clear, we must take the next step... and then the next and the next and the next. The fog will lift when we begin to step outside of it.

So I have learned over the years to simply trust the fire at my belly to make the next move that feels right and next and true and clear. And when it comes to this whole podcast thing, I'm just willing to let this process teach me. So here I am.

You will come to learn that self-expression is my greatest passion. Not because I always have faith in what I have to offer. Hardly, in fact. Most days my inner critic is hard at work. No, I self express because just like physical movement, it keeps me healthy and sane. I keep on sharing myself with the world because life has taught me that expression is the way through anything and everything that stands in my way.

Expression is life flowing freely through us. And agency, which is our ability to express ourselves through our choices and actions, agency is contingent upon our freedom to know and self-express what is alive inside of us.

You see, we are built to express ourselves as we are. As we are. Not as we have been conditioned to be. Not as our very own carefully-curated self representative based on a series of stories we tell about ourselves. And certainly not according to the caricatures that others have shaped us to fit inside. We are built to express ourselves freely, authentically, courageously.

Healthy expression is a direct lifeline to joy and personal fulfillment. But having said that, our self-expression isn't all about us. It is, in fact, a very humble pursuit. Expression is life's way of moving through us. Making us a one-of-a-kind embodiment of life itself. We are nature made manifest through a unique set of talents, our own personal brand of empathy, our own flavor of universal care and compassion.

Expression is from the Latin word, exprimere, which means 'to press out'; essentially to take something from within and move it outside. The opposite of expression is impression. Translated from its origins, it means 'to be pressed in'; something outside, moving inward. Much of the time, our actions and things we might call 'expressions', they only appear to be pressing outward when they are, in fact, undercover identities that have been impressed upon us. We show up based on external influences. We defy our innate impulses in order to fit into social expectations.

You might know exactly what I mean. You know, those times when you feel as though you're doing an impression of who you think you should be; playing your part in some sort of group charade. You may even spend a ton of energy on the interaction, but then you leave feeling unseen or misunderstood in some way. We all do a pretty darn good impression of ourselves from time to time. This feeling of disconnection from authenticity? This is an indication that we might be doing an impression rather than expressing ourselves.

Depression, on the other hand, which means 'to be pressed down' has three primary psychological origins. There is the depression that results from a biochemical imbalance. There is depression in response to loss or grief or sadness. And then there's what I've come to call soulular depression. The psycho-spiritual ache that results from chronic self-abandonment. When it comes to this sort soulular depression - which is in my experience, the most common -there's a deep ache for an action, or set of actions, that will release the weight of inertia or confusion.

And yet it's worth noting that many of these actions might not be readily available to all of us, which brings us to perhaps the most insidious and damaging of all - the negation of self-expression known as oppression; when an external power-player or social institution 'presses against' an individual or group of individuals, holding them hostage to systems or circumstance.

Now in all instances, when we talk about expression and each of its variations, pressure is the common ingredient. But what is that pressure, exactly? We could devote 10 episodes to that topic, but for now, let's just call it a tension of opposites. There are two opposing forces: the social constructs you live within, and the innate forces that live within you.

You are a unique and one-of-a-kind expression, built to be a deviation of the norm. And therein lies the tension, my dear. But here's the thing, this does not have to be bad news. Just like any form of strength training, tension makes us stronger. And what if that tension can be, in some way, seen as a benevolent force?

I'm not saying that we throw our hands up to oppressive systems of injustice. Of course, we want to work on the surface of things - on that horizontal plane - to make changes and to move the narrative in a different direction. I happen to believe that two things can be true at once. We can do our work internally and externally as an activist to shift the narrative for good. And we can also make peace with the pressures that live in and around our lives.

So consider this, what if the same force that moves the world through seasons of change, shifts the tides, spins the earth on its axis... what if that same force is the force that's moving through you? What if you are not a tourist to this planet, but an essential aspect of its unfolding.

What if your nature, your naturalness, is just as real and important and, well, pressing as any other. Perhaps the pressure that builds inside of you is meant to feel like a mismatch with your environment. What if that's the whole point? What if the point is that YOU be expressed; that YOU are set loose upon the world, regardless of how many feathers it might ruffle along the way?

When you find the courage to express what lies at the heart of you, when you dive into your depths and seek to excavate what has been left unsaid, undone, and unrealized in your body, heart and mind... it's true, you will discover dark shadowy truths. And yet, it is within your power to transmute what you perceive as imperfections into an expression that provides meaning to yourself and others. When you embody courageous self-expression you restore a sense of agency in your life and you are free to actualize yourself in the world.

ACTualize YOURself. Essentially, take one-of-a-kind action that matters, to you.

Now keep in mind, we express ourselves in so many different ways, not just through the words we speak, but through our body language, our thought patterns, our choices, and how and where we place our attention.

Let's face it, being you is a lot to keep track of. Within each one of us lives a cacophony of voices. Various selves that are vying for the spotlight. All too often though, we allow the loudest, most stubborn to run the whole entire show. How often do you pause and ask yourself: Is this who I want in charge of my life? Is this the most authentic version of who I know myself to be?

If we want to balance the incessant demands of a superficial world, we must continually go deep. We must ask ourselves braver and braver questions. This is what I mean when I invite us to tap into the deeper pulse. Tapping into the deeper pulse invites us to more properly diagnose and understand the drama and the discomfort in our lives. We come to know ourselves better so we can begin to move our lives in constructive new directions.

After over a decade of coaching individuals, I have noticed that, more often than not, we seek to solve our problems by moving around the pieces on the surface. We make pro-and-con lists. We examine our next lateral move. And all of that is well and good. However, when all we do is shift the horizontal storyline, we rarely get the results we're after. We must also do the work that supports the verticality we are secretly reaching for. We humans are meaning-seeking creatures, and when the dimension of depth is overlooked, we suffer greatly.

But if that's true, why is it that so many of us shy away from the deeper pulse? Well, because conditioning. And also because superficial changes are so much easier for us to stomach. Getting in touch with the deeper pulse means facing difficult truths. It requires a tremendous amount of faith and courage because, when we tap into it, we usually have to challenge everything we've come to know about ourselves and the world around us. We experience a sort of psychological friction as we rub up against vulnerability, ambiguity and existential uncertainty. And typically change is inevitable.

How do I know all of this? Well, I started working as a life coach late in 2006, and the first few years of my career, I tell you what, I really had no idea what I was doing. I mean it, I had no clue. I only knew that I was called to be there. So I would say a silent prayer before every coaching session; please allow me to be of service; and then I would open the front door and hope for the best. I listened with everything I had in my heart. I would reflect back patterns I saw. I'd offer perspectives, situational reframes, and stories from my own lived experience. And though it never, ever seemed to happen the same way twice, something would always emerge. Something would happen. And when many of my clients began experiencing dramatic shifts in their lives, I was, of course, thrilled; but I really didn't at all understand what was going on. I would ask myself, why was it working? And what was it anyway?

It would take me a number of years to begin pinpointing the themes at the center of my work. Fortunately for me, I took diligent notes; and eventually I caught myself writing the same things down over and over and over again. I began drawing models to illustrate the patterns I was witnessing. And when it came to processing change and restoring a sense of agency, boundary and self-expression; there were indeed patterns.

I was able to identify common barriers to authenticity, and I found a sort of predictability around the places we get stuck in our lives. So, in 2012, I created my first comprehensive online program; and another in 2014. Since then I've found more substantive evidence for many of my early, intuitive hunches, so I've since pulled down that material and I'm in the process of revising it. But in this podcast, I'm going to share with you many of the tools that were in these programs, along with some new ones I haven't ever shared before. Now, the resources I share with you will be expanded upon when courses roll out again later this year. However, let it be known that the content in these podcasts have the potency to power your self awareness, direct you toward internal ah-hah's, and inspire you to make immediate shifts in your life.
This I promise you, my friend... if you tap into the deeper pulse and you follow through with expressive action of any sort, your life will begin to change for the better. This is not me on some sort of commercial high-horse, making a soundbite promise to you. No, I'm speaking with a confidence that comes from real, lived experience. When you move toward what moves you, like it or not, your life moves with you. That said, change ain't always comfortable on the launch; but it's always worth it in the end.

Sounds simple enough, right? But that doesn't mean it will be easy. Courage and self-expression go hand in hand. As Brene Brown often reminds us, "there is no courage without vulnerability." And so, tapping into the deeper pulse will likely require you to take some risks, to examine your blind spots, and to make movements to move your life forward in new and often audacious ways. But you can count on me being here with you every step of the way; encouraging you to tap into depth. I will do what I can to keep you vertical, above or below the drama, so that you can stop wasting your energy and start tapping into the clarity and courage you need to express yourself as you see fit.

And so, it is my deepest desire and hope that these episodes help you to turn on the light in your own life. I want to help you listen-to and reframe your discomfort so that you can learn to trust that your own liberated self-expression will lead you toward choices that are more bold and self aligned than you can even now imagine.

Regular episodes will roll out in the Spring of 2021. And I so look forward to sharing more with you. Until then you can find me at thedeeperpulse.com.

Until we meet again, drop down into your heart and keep moving toward what moves you
Caio, my friend.

© The Deeper Pulse, Candice Schutter