Ep.22 - A Return To Our Senses | Erika Ruber - Part 2 — Candice continues an inspiring dialogue with psychotherapist and friend, Erika Ruber. In part two, Erika offers insight into how each of us can consciously expand our ‘window of tolerance’ when emotions are high. She explains why and how a willingness to surrender to relaxation directly impacts our ability to find and sustain center, then explains what clinical research has revealed about shame and its effects on the body. Candice puts Erika on the spot about a recent Instagram post — involving a trip to Costco and a tiger track suit, yeah you read that right — and the two discuss why it’s so imperative to actively choose playfulness when life feels ho-hum-mundane or challenging. They discuss the critical difference between the top-down processing and bottom-up feeling of emotions, and examine how self-awareness helps us to live inside our values. Toward the end of the episode, Erika shares 3 Q’s that have the power to anchor us in authenticity and presence in any given moment, then the two wrap things up with an acknowledgement of how the painful moments in life create resilience and force us to source ourselves internally.

Erika Ruber offers a unique, integrative approach to health and wellness, combining her education in Clinical Social Work with extensive training in movement, dance, and mindfulness. As a psychotherapist, Erika combines a focus on integrating traditional talk therapy with whole body awareness, achieving effective results in helping people to recover, heal, and strengthen themselves and their relationships. As the founder of Emerge Movement, Erika combines mental health with movement, allowing participants to explore what emerges in body, mind, and emotion. Erika worked for years as an individual and group therapist at Morrison Child & Family Services Family Sexual Abuse Treatment Program. She has received training and certification in Sensorimotor psychotherapy, a body centered approach to trauma treatment.  She has developed and implemented a Body Mind wellness curriculum for middle schools and co-created the Mindful Parent and Caregiver Program with Mark Lilly, Founder of Street Yoga. This curriculum teaches everyday skills using movement, yoga, and mindfulness to decrease stress, increase self care, and live more powerfully as a parent and or clinician/social worker. Erika is happily married with two teenage kids in Portland, OR.  She loves being out in nature skiing, hiking, biking, paddling, and playing every chance she gets.

movinginsideout.com | Insta: @emerge.movement

Ep.22 - A Return To Our Senses | Erika Ruber - Part 2

Candice Schutter: 0:08
Welcome back to The Deeper Pulse. This is Candice Schutter. Has it only been a week since the last episode? It feels like yesterday. Sometimes I wonder how it is that the world is spinning so fast on its axis. It could be because I am swiftly approaching the age of 50, and time seems to be speeding up with every passing year. But it's also possible that that's just how life is now. All of us racing to keep up with a world that is rapidly shifting and changing. I can't be sure. One thing I know is that pandemic life forced us to face many truths. Everything slowed to a stop, and when it did, we realized we weren't exactly sure how to follow suit. We're taught to reach and clear the next hurdle. To define who we are based on our achievements and our ability to power through. But when we stop with all that doing, that's often when we start to feel our feelings. Because when we pause, our body tells us all of its secrets. What if it's possible to become a better listener? To respond versus react when we're faced with an overwhelming flood of emotion or sensation? What if 'making sense' of our physical sensations is less about logic and it's more about surrender, relaxation, a gentle nudge versus a strong armed redirection? Today, I'm back with part two of my conversation with my dear friend and psychotherapist and somatic educator, Erika Ruber. We're going to speak a bit about the vast continuum of human emotions, and about how we might be able to expand and become more vertical in that middle ground, between life's highs and lows. In the last episode, Erika and I discussed some of the challenges in light of all of the many everythings that we continually face as humans. Erika illustrated the basic how tos of self-regulation through her own personal stories of trauma, healing, and recovery. If you haven't yet listened to part one of our chat, I highly recommend you do, because today we pick up right where we left off. To refresh your memory, in the last few minutes of episode 21, Erika shared intimately about a physical trauma, a downhill ski injury she suffered two years ago. And how, despite considerable pain and two surgeries, she returned to the mountain to face her fear of skiing. She walked us through the long and deliberate process of using the skills she learned while working as a trauma informed therapist, to ease herself back in and restore a sense of safety in both mind and body. We're going to pick things up right there as we move into part two, and share a bit about the nervous system and how an understanding of it can help us to become more responsive to our needs in any given moment. So let's not waste another minute. Here's part two with Erica Ruber. One of the things I heard you saying when you were describing how you used mindfulness to notice the self-talk that was just adding to the trigger and adding to the activation. And then you chose to shift that, one of the things you said in terms of describing that process for you, I really heard you speaking about your senses, your five senses. And I think it's really important, as somebody who had a panic disorder for many, many years, that there's this reflex when the body starts screaming and shouting to try to numb the sensation, to try to turn it down, because there's this sense of being hijacked by your body and what I learned is sort of counterintuitive. That actually tuning into my physical senses is sort of the way out of that nervous system hijack. So when you said, I began to breathe more deeply, I looked around and I saw the trees. You feel your feet on the ground. My rib cage is expanding as I'm taking bigger, deeper breaths. Just activating any of those five senses can bring us into the present and help us to connect to that relaxation response. Do you find that to be true?

Erika Ruber: 4:24
Yes. Yes. So well said. Thank you for pointing out the five senses. I mean, clinically we call that orienting. Orienting to time and place and the body and it's happening now, our breath is happening right now. It's not happening two years ago. It's not happening in five minutes. It's happening right now, that deep inhale and exhale, so it brings us back. I think of Pat Ogden's work, she developed a technique called sensory motor psychotherapy, which I practice. And one of the tools that she talks about is the window of tolerance. And the window of tolerance is an incredible tool to understand our nervous system. That we have this window in which our nervous system operates, and sometimes it's out of the window and sometimes we're in the window. And when trauma happens, the window gets really, really small. It closes almost shut. And so, the healing from trauma is really about how do we broaden the window? And the window is a calm, regulated, nervous system. It's being calm and regulated. When I explain this to people, they often say, oh, I have to be like joyful and happy, and that's when I'm in my regulated nervous system, and that's not true. We can have great emotion in a regulated, nervous system. We're just aware of it and we're tracking it and we're in charge of it rather than it ruling us. So when we start to get that activation, as you described, you know, the panic or in my situation, just this activation of, oh no, and this fear, what can happen is we get hijacked and we get in what we call the red zone. So above the window, right? And the red zone is that activation, that hyper arousal, that fight or flight, that anxiety response that we can't settle ourselves. In terms of trauma, it's intrusive thoughts or memories. And then we are so uncomfortable there that we often plummet down to below the window, which is that hypo arousal, because it's just too much. So what do we do? We avoid, we check out, we numb out. Substances, TV, I mean there's a million ways we can distract ourselves, right? And we use avoidance. And we all do this. Our nervous system is meant to have those three settings of hypoarousal, of calm-regulated, and of hyper arousal. It's just that when we spend most of our time ping-ponging between the avoidance and the activation, we miss this landing pad of this middle zone. And I think that that's really been happening quite a bit. I mean, to go back to present day and this threat of world war, and ongoing pandemic, and racial reckoning, and so much happening, it's like our nervous systems are just hijacked, and we're trying to regulate, but we often are inundated with news and we're reading and we're consumed and we're in this anxious spiral. And then that so much that, what do we do? We check out, I'm done. I'm going to numb out. I'm gonna, you know, drink cocktails or I'm gonna just watch silly TV. And the thing is, is that, we have to kind of come back to a landing pad. You know, we have to understand that those things are normal and that they'll happen. But we have to be mindful of where we are and how do we get back in, right? So if we are mindfully taking a break from consuming news and what's bombarding us. And what I've been trying to watch a lot of comedy and funny stuff, because that levity right, is, is... all this heaviness, I mean, what can we do? So that is part of the regulation. I think just having that roadmap sometimes and knowing, through the mindfulness, it's all through the awareness... where am I at? So that's the first step of tracking that.

Candice Schutter: 8:01
I love that. I love you describing those three very essential aspects of how we navigate regulation. And I know sometimes when there's a sense of overwhelm, and I want to check out for a bit and I want to take a breather. And I love what you described around allowing that to be something that the body and the being does naturally, and also coming back to this landing pad. And I think one of the things that sometimes gets in the way is that the expectation that we place upon ourselves to be able to sort of stay out of certain zones altogether. Like I should just live in this landing pad at all times, and I should never feel hyper aroused and I should never check out and distract. And so having this permission, giving oneself permission to say, I'm a human and I'm going to land in each one of these zones and to not get... I know this happens a lot when I speak with clients, whether they're naming it or not, I can feel the undercurrent of it. And I know personally, I've struggled with this growing up in personal growth circles for the last 20, 30 years... that when I go into hypo, let's say, I'm just going to watch reruns of Friends that I've seen 10 times just cause I need a break... that sometimes I don't even benefit from the hypo because I am bringing shame to the fact that I just need a minute. I just need a goddamn minute here. This humaning thing is...

Erika Ruber: 9:30
Timeout. Right.

Candice Schutter: 9:30
too much. Yeah. I can't be mindful. I can't ride the rollercoaster. I just need to check the eff out while conscious and awake. I love you speaking about the voice that comes in and is like, it's okay, honey. You know what, you have the next two hours to just be horizontal and completely in that sort of nebulous space of relaxation that isn't conscious relaxation or mindfulness or anything like that. I have to take that pressure off of myself.

Erika Ruber: 9:59

Candice Schutter: 10:00
And I... I think that people who are on the path of healing... and are wanting especially to be conscious, loving contributors and bring positive impact into a world that's kind of off the rails a bit... put this pressure on ourselves. I need to be continually doing everything I can to stay in that zone. And when I just need to check out, I'm sort of judging myself and shaming myself, and we know that shame... and maybe you can speak to shame because I think it's a really important thing to speak to... like, the way that shame actually doesn't, shame of that variety, toxic shame, doesn't serve us...

Erika Ruber: 10:34

Candice Schutter: 10:35
What are your thoughts around that?

Erika Ruber: 10:37
Oh, I think you said it so well, it's like shame just shuts us down. I often say shame is like game over. There's no movement. There's nothing happening. When shame is at the helm it's like, we're done. It's this incredible stuckness. And so, it's all about the intention. There's the same action and behavior, but the intention behind it will drive the outcome entirely. There was an incredible study a while back, and I don't remember all of the details, but it was really mind blowing. They had these two groups, and both groups were instructed to eat ice cream every night for a set amount of time, maybe six weeks. I don't remember what it was. And the one control group was given a script and the script was something like "you, fat pig, you are a lazy piece of blah, blah, blah," right? It was this awful, critical, shameful experience of what are you doing and why are you doing this? And judgment and criticism. And then the other group was given a different script and that script was this self loving, incredible, "you deserve this. And this is one of life's pleasures, and enjoy this at the end of your day. Isn't this lovely?" What was fascinating about this study was they studied the physiology of the body, the changes internally that happened. Our bodies listen. It's not just in our heads, right? Our bodies are receiving this. And when I say it melts away, it literally melts away. What happened in that group with the loving script, their metabolism sped up. The group that was given this critical, judgmental, shameful script. Guess what happened? Their body went into lockdown. Their metabolism slowed. They were in fear response. So their body didn't think they were safe. And so they had all these physiological, and I don't remember all of the many... except the metabolism, but there were others, right, that they monitored that started to wreak havoc internally. And so back to your example, if we're giving ourselves a break, then take a break. If we align what we're doing with what we're thinking. When we're sitting and binge watching Friends, and we're saying to ourselves, I'm going to give myself this break. And the world is heavy and I'm going to take this evening or this day or whatever it is and enjoy it and rest for a little bit and check out for a little bit. So that, guess what? Now I've done it. And so now I'm resourced and ready to come back.

Candice Schutter: 13:05

Erika Ruber: 13:05
With the other example, if I go, "oh, I shouldn't be doing this. God, what's wrong with me. I should be back doing the work. I should be offering myself and my services and contributing. And God, I feel guilty and ah, but I want to watch one more." And we're in this shame spiral, what happens? It takes longer. We probably will stay there longer.

Candice Schutter: 13:26
Definitely. I find that to be true. And similarly if I'm kind to myself in the moments that I want to check out and I just allow myself to check out, what I thought would be three hours is 30 minutes.

Erika Ruber: 13:37

Candice Schutter: 13:38
I'm like, oh wow, I just allowed myself to just go sit in the sun for 10 or 15 minutes, and I am consciously relaxing my body. I think that's the key. It's like, we keep coming back to this, but coming at it from that perspective. Instead of how do I script the mind so that it will adhere to these feelings that I want to have? That can be helpful. Thoughts can be helpful to track. And for me, I've found it's much easier for me to relax in my body than it is for me to tame my mind. Way easier. So, I tend to come at it from the perspective of, okay, I'm sitting here in the sun. I'm thinking about my to-do list, my shoulders are really tense. And if I can just feel like, okay, I'm just going to let my shoulders fall back into this cushion. I'm going to let my head tilt back. I'm going to release my jaw. I'm going to stop clenching my fists. I'm going to feel my, my teeth floating in my mouth. Like all of these different sensations. If I just tune into those sensations, then my thoughts automatically shift. You know, we talk about power poses.

Erika Ruber: 14:39

Candice Schutter: 14:40
It's a similar framework, right? If I, if I take on the shape of surrendering, then my mind eventually tends to release the reigns a bit. And then I get the benefit that much quicker. Yeah. I think you described it beautifully.

Erika Ruber: 14:55
A hundred percent, right? Because we talk about the body mind connection. Sometimes clinically we talk about like a top-down approach, which would be, when we change our thoughts, we change our behavior. So if we lead with, I'm confident and I'm going to do well, our behavior will follow. But I think it goes the other way, too. I often talk about bottom-up processing, and that's what you're talking about, when we start with the bottom. I always say there's more points of entry. I love that because when there's more places of intervening, we're more successful. Sometimes it works to change the script in our head. But a lot of times, if we have an overactive headspace, then we can go to the body. And when we start to relax the body, the mind follows suit, the heart opens up, the thoughts start getting more fluid. And again, that's the benefits of when we go to the body, there's an alignment that happens so we can start to arrange everything a bit differently.

Candice Schutter: 15:49
Yes. I love that bottom up.

Erika Ruber: 15:51

Candice Schutter: 15:51
I love that. Which, you know, most of my listeners out there already know this, having heard me speak over the last year, that a lot of what led me to the work that I'm doing and why it's called The Deeper Pulse is, for me, the bottom-up approach has worked best for my healing, and the top down was necessary as well. And so I love you speaking of it in this clinical framework, I think it's really helpful to hear you articulate in language what I've sensed in my own healing process, and in giving language to it. So thank you for that. I think it's beautiful. And I love that you spoke to the fact that, I'm going to take kind of a hard turn here. Because I want the listeners out there to know you in all the ways that I know you. And you spoke to when you're in that place where you're, you decide to watch things that bring about a sense of levity to sort of balance the heaviness of everything that's going on. And it just reminds me and makes me think of one of the things that I've always found so fabulous about you and your husband, AJ, and your connection. You've been married how long?

Erika Ruber: 16:54
21 years.

Candice Schutter: 16:57
Beautiful. You two have just the most beautiful connection. And one of the things that's always been so remarkable about you is I feel like you are a human who is very balanced in terms of depth and levity. And I think a lot of people get magnetised toward one or the other. And, this synergy, I feel like you embody where you're able to go the places we've been going today, and do this deep inner transformative work, and also you have this joyful levity about you. And you and AJ have always been such a source of just joy and playfulness. You genuinely appear to enjoy one another and life together in a way that I don't think a lot of grown adults do. It's sort of as though you, you understand that life is a place that we're meant to enjoy. And that pleasure is a part of it. Self-expression is about expressing that joy and that play. And, this is just something that I've always admired and loved. And, you know, we had planned to have this conversation, and so of course, as it would be in the algorithmic creepy social media world, all of your posts are now showing up because somehow it knows that I've been emailing you. So I've seen it seen you... they know it's so wild. So I'm seeing you more on the social media. And I saw just recently an Instagram post that you and AJ... oh, my gosh, y'all... maybe I'll link to it in the show notes. It's so fabulous. If you're okay with that. You and AJ decided to wear these kick ass track suits and go to Costco... what are they, tiger suits?

Erika Ruber: 18:37
Yeah. They're tiger suits. Like, they have this incredible tiger tropical print all over them. Yeah.

Candice Schutter: 18:43
Yes. But they were like track suits. So it's like this mix of... yeah, they're track suits with, like, tiger print. And you, you recorded this video of the two of you at Costco, and it was just classic Erika and AJ. It's like, okay, these are parents of two children who have busy lives and...

Erika Ruber: 19:04
Who were mortified, by the way... Just to be clear, our children were mortified. Like, wait, what is going on? Right. They were mortified. So yeah,

Candice Schutter: 19:13
You two consciously took time out of your busy lives to create this little piece of art of the two of you being silly and playful, with just perfect poker faces the whole time. The sense of play and levity... Do you bring it out in each other? Talk to us about that, because I think right now, that can be the thing that is hard for people to connect with and to touch in on. And like, you just cranked this thing out and shared it with the world. And tell me about the role that, that kind of thing has it in your own mental health journey and, and in your family.

Erika Ruber: 19:46
Oh, that's so critical. I mean, it's just such a key part. And it's funny because we did get quite a bit of feedback from that video. And, a friend had texted me something and I sent it to AJ and he wrote back, "healing the nation one tiger suit at a time." You know, and we were cracking up because it did apparently strike a chord. And what what's so cool about that experience was it was so organic. I mean, it's really funny how that all emerged. Again, in this vein of, sort of organic, spontaneous nature. We had gone out on a date the evening before, out to dinner, which was a big, exciting thing these days, right? And we were going to this new restaurant in Portland and who do we see right before us but, literally like our best friends. One of my friends had just turned 50 and they were out celebrating and we were just like, what are the chances? You know, that just felt exciting in its own right. And they said, oh my gosh, you guys would you sit with us? And we end up having this really really fun evening that included a lot of champagne and a lot of incredible food. And somehow at the end of the evening included singing Christopher Cross songs. And so, that was that evening, and it was so fun. And then the next morning, since we hadn't really gotten our own personal date, I knew I had to do this arduous task of going to Costco, and AJ said I'll go with you. We didn't get our date. I don't have much going on, which is a very rare thing by the way, right? For both of us to even go to Costco. Who wants to go let alone, both of us go? Well, that's not entirely true. I actually do have a secret. That's a whole nother story, but I secretly do like going to Costco. People are kind of amazed with that. I think I love being able to feed and nurture my family. So that's where that comes in. But this kind of surfaced, and I literally looked in the closet, and we got these track suits for a cruise that my entire family had gone on, and we all wore them on the cruise. And it's in my closet, and I said to AJ, let's wear our tracksuits to Costco. And he said, really? Like, the whole thing? And I said, like yeah, oh my God, that's going to make it so much more fun. And that was that. We said, yes, let's do it. So we get in our track suits and then we were having breakfast, and of course, we were talking about the evening before, and we start playing Christopher Cross as we're eating breakfast, before we go to Costco. And one thing leads to another and he says, oh my God, we should make a video of us at Costco with this song. For the two couples we had been with, because it was so funny singing the song. We start choreographing as we're in the car on the way to Costco. Then the whole thing emerges. We're taking videos of each other and people are like, wait, where did you get these suits? People are coming up to us. People were taking photos of us. And some people were just walking by, like, who the hell are you and what are you doing? And intermixing, by the way, oh, wait, what else is on our list? Really down to business and logistics. Don't forget the cereal. And then we're like, oh, I have a great scene, right? And so it becomes so playful, and we get home and we were editing it and we get so into it and we send it to our friends and that was that. And then we're like, oh my gosh, we should post this. This is actually pretty funny. And so the whole thing, what I love about it is it was so super playful, and I do think that is an element in our friendship and partnership and marriage that has been present. It's not always present of course, because nothing is.

Candice Schutter: 23:00

Erika Ruber: 23:00
But my marriage to AJ is something that I do feel really proud of. I feel like we both understand that a relationship requires tending. And I think we both really do a good job of consciously choosing to contribute to our marriage each and every day. I don't think that we take it for granted. We're living evolving dynamic beings. And our relationship is living and growing. It will die if we do not tend to it. And I think, we have a deep respect for each other, even though we have very different ways of being out in the world and things that turn us on and things that we enjoy and are connected to, I think because of that deep respect, it's like, oh, tell me about that thing that you love. And tell me about that thing that you love. And, especially now bringing it back to the time we're in, we don't have much stimulus. So, the things that normally we can go to, live music or shows or dinners or celebrations even, that generate this excitement or playfulness, that's not there. And so I have really been finding that we have to dig deep and we have to turn on music in our kitchen, which we do often and have a dance party with our family. And it's not every night. There's plenty of nights that we have big family blowups and everyone goes to their room, too. So let's be real, you know. But I think when we can access that, it's really, it's medicine. It really is medicine. It's healing.

Candice Schutter: 24:31
Thematically, in terms of everything that you've described in your work... and I think we do the best work in our lives when our work is an expression of the embodiment that we are. And I hear you, even in talking about your marriage and your partnership and your friendship, which I think is really key to what I have always witnessed with you and AJ over the years, is this sense of curiosity that you bring to everything that you do. And curiosity really is fodder for organic emergence... the emergence that you provide space for, whether it's in a therapeutic setting, whether it's in a movement format, whether it's in a conversation with your partner. And this sense of, of course, I'm not surprised knowing what I know about you and hearing you speak today, that the video emerged from this series of unpredictable events and that you were creating it on the fly. And what I love so much about it as a metaphor when you were describing being in Costco and doing the things, is that you were shopping and creating...

Erika Ruber: 25:37

Candice Schutter: 25:38
...at the same time. You didn't abort the pragmatic mission of feeding and caring for family and filling your cart. You found a way to toggle back and forth. There are moments in the video where, you know, you're making a scene out of trying to cram one last thing into the cart that's really full. I know that it was a thing you needed, that wasn't an act. And that's what is so beautiful about what you're describing is this sort of creative emergent self, it sits right up against the human, carnal self and they dance together. And I feel like, as I said, you are an embodiment of this. I often talk about the difference between the higher self and the deeper self. And one of the things that I've always loved about you is I feel like you have a really wonderful, balanced relationship to both. And when you embody that relationship and that synergy, then it's no wonder that people want to sit across from you and entrain to that frequency. And then themselves get connected to their deeper self and their higher self. And there's so much room in the space that you hold for both. And I just love that so much about you. And the higher self doesn't always have to look like, this sort of stoic, contemplative energy. It can look like what you and AJ created, this levity, this play, this exploration, this like, let's create this thing. Not having any idea what the purpose of it is just because we feel moved to create it, and it brings joy into our hearts. And then, oh yeah, we can share it with other people. Like aren't those the most wonderful and magnificent creations is the things that we show up to create simply because of the joy of creating them. And then, oh yeah. And that's that being seen versus being visible thing, right? It's like, we're showing up to be present and be in that spaciousness. And then, then we can ask ourselves the question... do I want to make this visible?

Erika Ruber: 27:30
Exactly. Yes, yes. Well said. I think you just nailed it. Right. It's the authenticity. And thank you for seeing me. And I want to say right back at you. I love how you named the higher self and the, how did you say it?

Candice Schutter: 27:44
The deeper self.

Erika Ruber: 27:45
The deeper self. I love that. And I think you're right. I think when we have access to both, it is a really authentic place. It allows us to reside in a big space, which I think is why I'm drawn to you as well. In my personal world, I think that is who I am drawn to. I think the deep pain gives access to the deep joy and laughter and playful side. They're so interconnected. When we avoid one, we avoid the other. You said it really well. I think there is something about that that's where our authenticity comes from. Because again, it's about the intention behind it, right? When I'm at home, having those mundane moments, can I bring levity? My daughter is so good about always having music on in the kitchen. That just is her world. And I love it, because just music, I mean, again, shifting the state. Cause you can be doing the really mundane thing that we have to do, which is cook the dinner every single night or whatever. I fold the laundry. And then when we can just remind ourselves, what do I want to bring to the scenario? I'm often urging people to ask that question, and I urge myself, you know, what do I want to bring in this relationship, in this interaction? Because then when we're conscious of it, we can choose mindfully instead of just going through the motions of going to Costco, which by the way, plenty of times I do, but that one was extra fun. And I don't know if we could ever do it again, but you know, who knows?

Candice Schutter: 29:05
Well, in speaking of your more mundane journeys to Costco where you're going solo, I love that you also spoke to the... cause there's the joy of the higher self, the levity, the expression, the sharing, the putting it out in the world. And then there's this deep and abiding joy of the deeper self, which to me really is our connection to meaning and our personal values. And that you can also have a deeper self experience at Costco. Where you said, you know, I enjoy going to Costco, because it speaks to values that matter to you. And, I won't put words in your mouth, but it sounded as though you were saying that because you love providing these resources for your family, there is a sense of meaning and purpose and joy. It's just a different quality of joy.

Erika Ruber: 29:51

Candice Schutter: 29:51
Like a bubbling up from underneath. And I love that you expressed both of those. It's not about us advising everyone to go out and turn everything into a exuberant experience. And we all experienced joy in different ways. And I think that there's sort of this continuum in terms of how we embody joy. And sometimes we can be in a state of deep joy and no one around us can even tell.

Erika Ruber: 30:17
Right. I mean, just to circle back to the healing experience I mentioned in Maui. That same man, one of the teachings he shared with our group was this concept of mana in Hawaiian. It's thought of in a lot of different ways, the way he described it was sort of this mana or this power. This internal power and alignment, is the way I understood it anyway. And he said, every morning you wake up, you ask three questions. Who am I? What am I doing? Where am I going? And he said, those three questions anchor us. And they align us for that moment, for that day, because it's always changing. That's, again, this mindfulness, right? The sense of, when I wake up and I'm scattered and I'm doing a million things in a million ways, and I'm a million people, I'm a mom. I'm a therapist. I'm a dancer. I'm a friend. I'm... It's too much, right? And so the example, sometimes I give is, it can be as mundane as. Who am I? I am a mother. What am I doing? I am going to shop for my family. Where am I going? I'm going to Costco. That's it. And then I can reevaluate, once I've done that. But I'm not... when I'm in my most aligned self, I channel my mana. I channel my power rather than, let me check my emails as I'm there and get all pulled into this other space that then diminishes what I'm doing. I can align with this activity, this identity, this sense. And it changes over time, but we have to be cognizant of it. So I love that.

Candice Schutter: 31:44
And I love that tangible tool that you offered to help us right now when we're feeling pulled by the collective grief and questioning and all the things that are pulling at us. Having this really simple anchor to keep us connected to our center point, as we move through it all. And maybe the answer to the question later in the day is, who am I? I'm a social activist? What am I doing? I'm going to write a letter to my Congressman or whatever the thing is, I'm going to volunteer. Like we're able to be present to that, and we don't need to be that at all times.

Erika Ruber: 32:19

Candice Schutter: 32:20
I often say to clients compartmentalization often creates integration. I can compartmentalize for this moment, and I'm a mother going to Costco. And I can be so committed to that and connect to the meaning that that gives me, and then I can shift gears and now I'm holding space for a client in therapy. And I think that's really helpful. I appreciate you sharing those questions with us I think that I know for myself will be really helpful. In terms of grounding in the moment when I'm feeling myself start to maybe even leave my body a little bit, because of the overwhelm of it all. Using the tools of regulation that you provided, asking myself those questions, deepening my breath, connecting to my sensation. All of what you offered is exactly what is so critical for us right now, and I just feel so grateful that you have done the work that you have on yourself so that you can actually embody these tools as you're speaking to us. So it's not just lip service. That it's an actual lived experience that we can lean into and feel support around. So thank you for articulating all of that so beautifully.

Erika Ruber: 33:21
Oh, you're so welcome. Thank you so much for giving me space to do that. It's a work in progress as we all are navigating these challenging times. We're all having to dig deep, and we're all having to find out new ways of being in the world, and do these tools work? What works? And how do we do it?

Candice Schutter: 33:41
Yeah, yeah. I really find this more and more, especially the older I get and the more that I see the world going through what it's going through is just this sense of, there's so much value in resilience. And resilience is born in those moments when we struggle and when we have something to push against and we get strong as a result. And we do the opposite of what our intention is, and then we find our way back again, in that that sense of resilience is really what's going to carry us all through this. Not a sense of performing it perfectly, nailing the landing. We've been fed this idea in American culture that it is about that perfection. And it's really, as you illustrated earlier, when you spoke about the people who have at all, not seeming to have it all, when it comes to their mental health, like, what is that about? And it's that, connecting to that inner voice and the inner vehicle. And I've found for me, I get most in touch with it when the shit hits the fan. That's when I learn to listen. And I'm like, oh right, okay. There's nowhere for me to go but within. There's nowhere. It's just dead end after dead end after dead end. And so I guess, I will go within. And that's where I find that source of resilience and the tools. It's easy to make it sound like, oh, like reaching for personal growth came from this place of wanting to be better and whole and all of that. And sometimes it does. More often, the things that I learn come from...

Erika Ruber: 35:00
Yeah. It's out of necessity.

Candice Schutter: 35:01
I'm on my knees crying out saying, oh dear God, something, anything. Right?

Erika Ruber: 35:07
That's a really interesting point. I agree, Candice. And I, it makes me wonder, right? Cause then collectively, it's powerful in a certain way that we have all been brought to our knees in this pandemic. When have we seen an event of this scale globally to all be really stripped away of the world as we know it. And I'm not sure what will transpire, what will be birthed from that. All of us are kind of wondering, individually and collectively, but there's something about the collective experience. Because you're absolutely right. It's in those moments that we are driven to dig deep, that we have to. And we do. We've all faced them.

Candice Schutter: 35:46
We have no choice.

Erika Ruber: 35:47
We have no choice. And so, it's just sort of trust that process a little bit, and see what might come through. We don't really know quite yet still.

Candice Schutter: 35:57
Yeah. And it's how we learn to trust ourselves.

Erika Ruber: 36:00

Candice Schutter: 36:01
Which is really the greatest reminder. Everyone's looking for somebody to trust out there, and everything's falling away. And then it becomes a question of self trust. Do I trust myself to survive this, to live through this, to become stronger and more resilient as a result of this? And to link arms with people around me who are striving to trust themselves, too. Do we trust ourselves to walk through this fire together? And you are one person that I trust. I just really do. And I just am so grateful that you agreed to do this with me.

Erika Ruber: 36:33
Well, I love that you're doing this work. I want to say that it's so suits you as I've watched your journey from afar. We've interconnected in these different ways and through our dance and movement training and seeing you continue to follow your path and your heart, which you so clearly are meant to do.

Candice Schutter: 36:55
Thank you so much for saying that. I appreciate that, thank you. And thank you for doing this with me.

Erika Ruber: 37:01
Yes. Thank you for having me.

Candice Schutter: 37:03
Give the family my love. I will. A wholehearted thank you to Erika for being so brave and generous with her time, her personal stories, and her expertise. If you'd like to join me and follow Erika online, you can find her on Instagram @emerge.movement, or you can visit her website at movinginsideout.com. As you know, an hour long podcast is in no way a substitute for the one-on-one support of a trained professional. If any of the topics discussed in this or the last podcast resonate deep within your heart, particularly as it relates to trauma triggers and a desire for greater degree of self-regulation, I urge you to seek professional support beyond these ethers. Podcasts, books, social media posts. These are all wonderful resources. And yet, we must remember that the journey of mental health is a very individual one. It requires a specificity of support that no formulaic approach or online program can possibly compare to. I say this as someone who tried all of the above before finding a somatic therapist who had the skills required to help me rewire my brain and nervous system one deep dive session at a time. And I also say this as someone who was at one time, a purveyor of such programs. Back in 2012, I launched my first online coaching program, followed closely by another in 2014. I found that these programs did prove quite successful when and only when they were accompanied with one-on-one support. That's when I gave up my dream of passive income doing this work, because I realized that lasting personal growth requires a level of intimacy and trust that can not be packaged and sold in mass. I'd like to offer one final thought and it's on the subject of mercy. As I reflect back on my conversation with Erika, one of the major takeaways for me is the critical importance of self empathy, kindness and compassion turned inward. I've come to believe that our capacity for self-compassion is often reflected outward in our ability to offer mercy toward others. Indifference. Insincerity. Unkindness. Each of these are an outward representation of our inner world. When we practice compassionate mercy toward ourselves, we soothe the pain inside of us so that we no longer walk through the world like a live wire, a gummed up ball of resentment and envy that spills all over the world around us. It's a meta truth. How we feel about how we feel shapes our level of reactivity. What does that even mean? Well, consider this. Sometimes when I feel anxious, I push myself to just suck it up and get 'er done. And the more that I push and push myself, the more inconsiderate I am of my own needs, the more likely I am to feel judgment and irritation toward those who are allowing their emotional experiences to slow them down. Or let's say I have an experience of anger that I fail to consciously acknowledge. It's pretty likely that this silenced voice will somehow find its way to the surface. More often than not, it shows up as controlling or aggressive behaviors at home, or even a self-righteousness towards strangers. Or consider that person you know and love, the one who seems to you incessantly positive. They seem invested in always having something to smile about. And every time you bring a challenge, you face to them, they're quick to point out the silver lining. Whether we're showing up with some straight up asshole tomfoolery, or reading from the Pollyanna playbook, the inability to offer empathy can often be sourced to an unspoken pain inside of us. One of the great tragedies of trauma is the loss of self-compassion that results. And how, when that mercy towards self is lost, it is a tragic disconnection that gets projected outward. You might even say that when we fail to respond tenderly to our own humanity, we are much more likely to dehumanize others. My pain, your pain, their pain. We all have tender spaces inside, crying out for our attention. If we want the world to be a different place, we must own and understand the role that invisible wounding plays in the creation of drama and dysfunction. Once again, big thanks to Erika for showing up for us, and all of my love to you. Thanks for being here and keep on moving toward what moves you. Ciao.

© The Deeper Pulse, Candice Schutter