7 Keys to Courageous Self-Expression | Vulnerability (Part 2 of 2)

Candice launches the Summer Season of TDP with a continued exploration of the 3rd key of courageous self-expression - vulnerability. She opens the episode with a story from her past and a peek into an intimate therapeutic breakthrough. She speaks about how social conditioning shapes our relationship to emotional expression, and the role that privilege (or lack thereof) plays in the development of emotional resilience. She illustrates the primary difference between coaching and therapy through story, and candid exploration of unresolved trauma and the role it plays in our ability to self-regulate expression. And then finishes up the episode with a crash course on the nervous system, offering tools and insights that will support you to ‘do’ vulnerability with greater presence, integrity, and grace. (DISCLAIMER: Some listeners may find content triggering. Listen at your own discretion.)

BONUS DOWNLOAD | This episode includes access to a FREE Online Workbook offering 6 Tips for Self-Regulation along with a variety of other resources to support embodied mindfulness as a way of life.


0:38 - The Dreaded Serpent (story)
9:23 - The subjugation of emotions
11:27 - Privilege, resilience, & trauma
14:57 - Pathology of expression
18:40 - Mother-In-Love (story)
23:23 - Coaching versus therapy
26:42 - Emotional regulation & the nervous system
35:39 - Link to free download

#9 | Trauma.Triggers.Truth.

Hello. Welcome back to The Deeper Pulse. This is Candice Schutter.

This is the first episode of the summer 2021 season. I'm returning after nearly a month long break. And I'm so excited to be picking up where we left off, with Part 2 of a deep dive exploration into the third key of courageous self-expression - vulnerability.

My dear listener, please be aware that this particular episode contains content that may be triggering for some. I trust you to listen at your own discretion.

Now let's dig in.

It was three months before my 38th birthday. My partner, Chris, and I were seated together on a love seat in our therapist's small office in Northeast Portland. Our therapist had come highly recommended. Her name was Jessica, and she was a regional Hakomi therapist and trainer, who was in high demand. Chris and I had been facing some relationship challenges too heavy for us to hold on our own, and we had been fortunate she had space in her schedule to accommodate us. Only three sessions into our work together, she'd already proven to be a godsend.

On this particular occasion, it was my turn to talk and Jessica was listening intently. I could feel her taking in my body language as I gestured with emphatic frustration about a fight that Chris and I had gotten into a few days prior. I knew we needed a major intervention, because I'd thrown a coffee cup into the dining room wall. Left a dent there, evidence of how unhinged I'd become. I'd always prided myself on my ability to temper my emotions, and my anger in particular, but something wild in me had been set free, and it refused to stay silent any longer.

When I finally pause to take a breath, Jessica asked if I might be willing to go a bit deeper. I nodded my consent, as did Chris. In the last couple of sessions, we'd spent a lot of time focusing on him so he was more than willing to let me be the one in the hot seat for a change.

My last therapist had also been a very well-respected somatic therapist. His had been an intuitive approach. He once changed the subject of our discussion by standing up, holding a throw pillow at his chest, and inviting me to approach him, push the pillow forcefully while repeatedly saying the word no.

I remember thinking it must be a little off his rocker, but I stood up to do as he asked. Or at least I attempted to. Much to my surprise, and likely not his, it took me several tries before I could assert myself boldly enough to actually push against the weight of his body. Looking back, I think it was his way of asking my body a question that my mind was entirely unwilling to entertain, let alone answer.

Now that it was a few years later and I sat across from a woman who spoke in warm and soothing tones, I felt more seen, more safe, and more held... simply by virtue of her feminine presence. And Chris's willingness to rest there next to me, anchored me in a way I could hardly allow, let alone fathom.

When I was ready, Jessica asked me to close my eyes. Then she invited me to follow sensory cues in my body, as I traveled back in time to a childhood moment that echoed the terror, anger, and fear that I had most recently been feeling.

I landed in early childhood. Jessica urged me to make room for any and all emotions that surfaced, and she waited in silence as I verbally sorted through them one by one. Hungry. Scared. Sad. Then came a flashbulb of anger that lasted for only a second before it morphed into something more insidious and painful, a discomforting blend of shame and disgust. I began to squirm. My knees curled into my chest and my head began to shake from side to side. Tears streaming down my face. There were no pictures. There were no words. Only a compulsive desire to tuck my hands between my thighs.

After inviting me to breathe and open back up a bit, Jessica encouraged me to stay connected to my body. And then she asked me:

"Candice, can you feel Chris there next to you?"

I nodded, my bottom lip quivering uncontrollably.

"Good," she said.

Grounding me with her soothing ferocity of presence, she invited me to become more expensive in my breath. As I sat there in full possession of my younger self, she asked another question:

"Candice, what would happen if you were to trust Chris? What if you were to allow the love he is offering you? What might happen then?"

I felt my jaw tightened; the air frozen in my chest. I could feel answers emerging, but I just kept shaking my head from side to side, repeating over and over again in my mind: no words, no words, no words.

It was then that I realized that this younger self occupied a pre-verbal space where there was no language for what she was experiencing.

Jessica probed a bit further: "What if you didn't protect yourself? What if you let him in?"

I could feel the love in her asking; her voice lighting my way through the dark. My eyes were still closed and my hands suddenly felt like tiny balls of clay; my fingers curled in around my palm.

I was inching closer to something, or was it to someone?... and sensing this, Jessica asked me one last time:

"Candice, what might happen?"

A decade of self-inquiry, personal growth seminars, and a degree in psychology had prepared me for all of the usual answers. My mind had flipped through them reflexively. I will get hurt again. He'll lose interest in me. He will cheat and leave like all the others. I'll become dependent, and lose myself trying to love him.

Each explanation floated to the surface and then dissipated into thin air. And I realized that under it all, there was something else. Something innocent began to emerge. Hers was a pre-verbal awareness. It had no expectations of fidelity, sentimentality, or interest in the drama that had brought us here. Hers was a fear that loomed so much larger than fear of betrayal.

And just like that a searing blast of darkness came in. Knowledge of a presence smelling like scotch and tasting like metal. Like a dreaded serpent, rising up from my groin and catching in my throat. I felt my body hurl forward as if to purge; an avalanche of emotion beginning with an uncontrollable cough, eventually morphed into a gagging dry-heaving wail. My body seemed to take on a life of its own, lashing at the space around me, unleashing young, infantile, guttural cries that ripped through denial and shook the walls of that old building.

After three and a half decades, I finally felt safe enough to stop running from the shadow in my doorway. An unfettered expression of rage, shaking him free from my bones for the very first time.

When I came back to my senses, I could only sort of hear Jessica speaking in soothing tones. My eyes were still closed and I was tunneling through time as if I were on the cusp of a death of sorts. Scenes from my life flashed on the screen of my mind. Me huddled under the covers as a small child. The flash of Benny Hill on the TV set. The blankets never tight enough around my body. The painful teeth-bleeding tension I felt whenever a man's eyes grazed casually over my form. Unspoken vows of chastity. Drunken nights of doing it anyway. Brownie bingeing. Numbness in my face, feet and legs. And two decades of sex without sensation. A deluge of memories came flooding back all at once, showing me how each pain point had sprung from this same dark well of unspoken emotion.

Just as I was feeling the hugeness of it all, out of nowhere, the spell lifted. My body had reached its limit and the numbness had set back in.

I opened my eyes to see Chris looking at me, his eyes wet with love and emotion. Jessica was still speaking, suggesting I tune into my surroundings in order to feel present again. But she didn't need to show me a way out of the pain, I'd been doing this all my life. An all too familiar fog had already descended all around me, and as they both gazed at me lovingly, I felt the familiar numbness and distance from it all.

I felt rattled, naked, and exposed, so I waved away their concern with a snotty Kleenex and a laugh. I attempted to break the tension with my smile, acting as if we all just watch the scene of some dark movie where the protagonists was someone else, someone who only looked like me.

This is Part 2 of the vulnerability series. In this episode, we're going to get into the nitty gritty of emotional development and how it impacts our expression over time.

Now, while the feeling of things is universal, the ways in which we go about expressing the emotions we feel... this is unique and personal. Because our expression is profoundly shaped by our life experiences.

In fact, our emotional responses are shaped not only by what happens to us, but also by when it happened to us, and what resources were available to us at the time. Essentially, how we 'do' vulnerability is fashioned by our early experiences and how we were taught to respond to them.

Expressions of vulnerability are commonly discouraged in everyday life. As the patriarchy has done with all things deemed 'feminine,' we are conditioned to subjugate the emotional self. Similar to the untamed woman, vulnerability is labeled high-maintenance, hysterical, irrational, and counterproductive in a hyper-capitalist society. Regardless of background, individuals of all gender orientations have had to learn to survive in a world that all too often requires self abandonment. We wed ourselves to productivity and escapism. We numb out through food and booze, pills and doomscrolling. We learn to live with the suppression of authentic expression through retail therapy, consumerism and addiction; all of this to hold ourselves at an arm's length from feeling it all.

And I gotta tell you, what I find most maddening about it all is that the symptoms we label as 'pathologies' are more often than not natural indicators of emotional imbalance, of unhealthy and maladaptive conditioning that has resulted in an incessant, psychological cry for help.

A great many mental health challenges can be traced back to a culture that is unwell. Systemic injustice, traumatic experiences in childhood, and a fragmented worldview that projects its broken bits onto us through dis-ease and diagnosis.

I am recording this podcast during Pride month, and two days after President Biden declared Juneteenth a national holiday.

When you understand the costs and the rewards of vulnerability... when you know that vulnerability requires safe spaces where we can tell the truth and experience the stability that comes from emotional self-regulation... you come to understand that standing for the rights of those who are most marginalized and discriminated against is much more than a moral imperative. It is not only the right thing to do. Not only is it just, and is it true. It is also the most sensible way forward... laying the groundwork for a world in which everyone feels safe to occupy an equal amount of space, in full possession of the truth of their story, the flesh of their body, and the authenticity of their expression.

It is a privilege to be able to walk in the world as we are. This is not a political statement; this is a fact. Privilege of any sort, be it due to race, class, gender, or ability... privilege means that we are statistically less likely to experience trauma. Research has demonstrated, again and again, that marginalized groups experience more trauma, and that developmental trauma directly correlates to chronic dysregulation and the poor choices that often result.

Privilege typically offers a certain degree of stability, consistency, and the ability to control one's environment. Not to mention, it is a privilege to fit in. We experience more acceptance and unconditional belonging. And all of these things, stability, choice, belonging, they all help us to build resilience slowly and naturally over time.

Stress is not a bad thing. Hardly. It is needed and necessary. It shapes our emotional agility over time. And a regulated nervous system is more resilient to stress. But when stress becomes a way of life... when we are consistently denied resources or the liberty of self-expression... when our safety and security are constantly in question... we cannot be expected to be in our right mind.

Again, this is not opinion. This is science.

We can not tap into the countless benefits of heart-to-heart connection across racial, gender, and political divides, without understanding how nervous system regulation or dysregulation is at play in each and every one of our daily interactions.

When we expect a traumatized child to sit still; a dysregulated youth to make wise choices; or racially-profiled woman to understand our intentions... we grossly misunderstand how vulnerability functions in real life.

When it comes to understanding vulnerability and why it means different things to different people, we must be willing to go deeper. We must look at both the systemic barriers and the developmental undercurrents that can result in chronic emotional dysregulation.

I've come to believe that it is the suppression of our stories, of dark emotional truths, that most profoundly affects us physiologically, emotionally, and socially.

When we deny who we are, how we are shows up as a pathology.

And yet, the trouble is, when we go at it alone... when we attempt to get a handle on the deeper pulse... some of us find ourselves drowning in emotion. And we shake our fists at vulnerability. We say to ourselves, who in the hell can afford to live a life like this?!

So we do another shot, take another pill, buy another pair of shoes, or obsess about yet another unavailable lover. But none of it works. When we chronically reject an opportunity to be vulnerable, or worse yet if we can not afford to indulge in emotional expression, we confuse ourselves with our emotions. We come to define ourselves based on how we feel. I have anger issues. I am depressed. I've always been a jealous person. Defining ourselves by our emotions and feeling our emotions are two different things.

We come into the world a live wire of feelings and sensations, and we must learn how to disidentify with our pain. In order to learn how to express our emotions freely and do vulnerability in functional ways, we must do three things:

First, we must stop believing the lie that the problem lies solely within. Secondly, we must be willing to reimagine a society where vulnerability is honored and celebrated. And perhaps most difficultly, we must recondition our responses to life via mindful awareness and an understanding of how emotions function in real time.

We internalize the social stigma around the expression of vulnerability, and we turn judgment inward. We blame our emotions for pestering us all day long. Like an unfit parent, we send our unruly inner children to bed without their dinner. Then we chase our to-do list with a few glasses of wine. Pop an Ambien to ward off anxiety, and overlook the tragedy at the heart of it all... that the very things we point to as 'problems,' the sensations that humans naturally experience when masking what is real - sensations like overwhelm, fatigue, tension, violence even... we imagine that each of these dark directives are they themselves a problem, rather than emotional indicators pointing us toward the solutions we so desperately yearn to find.

There is a profound intelligence that lives within the emotional body, if we unlearn reactivity and develop the internal muscles that help us to maintain a sense of equanimity and presence when the experience of vulnerability threatens to hijack our ability to choose in the moment. Feelings of vulnerability can set off an internal alarm system that robs us of clear-minded presence.

Perhaps we didn't have a parent or loved one who was consistent and knew how to soothe us. Perhaps our current experiences of attachment are unstable and cannot be relied upon. We learn to self-regulate through our relationships, and if our past or present interactions are emotionally dysregulated and chronically unstable, we become reactive as a force of habit. We lose touch with honest vulnerability because we are trapped in the cycle of reactivity. We are unable to move forward in the present because we lose traction reliving the past.

Chris is my partner of nine years, and he and I recently moved to Arizona to live closer to his mother. I want to share with you a little bit about my relationship with her, because it has been pivotal to helping me understand nervous system regulation, trauma, and the hefty prices we can pay for emotional dysregulation.

Chris and I are not married, so I call her my mother-in-love. My mother-in-love is a survivor in more ways than one. She survived polio, emotional abandonment, and abuse. And for decades, she's been estranged from all of her living family members. Chris is all she's got. And I am the first of Chris's partners who has forged a lasting bond with her.

She is, in fact, a kind, warm, and generous individual. She has a lovely natural temperament. However, when things get hard, she becomes owned by her emotions. Feelings of vulnerability send her nervous system into a hyperactive stress response, which impacts her ability to perceive reality in real time. In short, how she feels overrides what is actually happening. As a result, she often doesn't remember things as they actually occurred. Instead of tuning into her surroundings, her mind unconsciously invents a narrative that she uses to justify the overwhelming flood of emotions that she is feeling.

And so, a knock from an inquisitive neighbor is perceived as a threat to her safety. Or my suggestion that we have groceries delivered to her door is misconstrued as a message that we will never again come and visit. A pointed letter from a family member is used to justify total estrangement. She has sabotaged countless friendships and relationships in her life because when she is activated, she's unable to read the room, so to speak. Instead of engaging in curiosity and intimate dialogue, she becomes consumed by her emotions, projecting her feelings of terror and insecurity onto the people around her.

It is for this reason that Chris's previous partners have, quite understandably, thrown up their hands in defeat when faced with her projections. But from the moment that I met her, I felt a sort of soul kinship. From the very beginning, I was able to look beyond the surface and understand her pain. Probably because I can identify with some of her tendencies. In some ways she is me, only amplified.

I share her story with you because, while she may be an extreme example, her tendency to rewrite her immediate history based on a long ago past is not uncommon. The truth is when our brains are hijacked by emotional triggers, more often than not, we get it wrong when it comes to our perceptions of what is right in front of us.

In our efforts to cope with emotional dysregulation, we use our limited capacities to make sense of the pain we feel, even when it makes no real sense in the moment. In our efforts to cope, we ignore the evidence all around us.

You've probably heard it said: don't believe everything you think. Well, I'd like to add to that, that oftentimes what we feel is coloring our thinking much more than we care to admit, particularly when we feel stressed or insecure.

Over time I've come to see my mother-in-love as a teacher of mine. I've learned to appreciate the relationship we have and, as much as it might challenge me from time to time, I've learned not to waste my breath attempting to reason with her when she is dysregulated.

It's taken me some time, but I've learned to swallow my pride, steady my breath, and sidestep my need to be right. I do my best to dip beneath the narrative and speak to the need that her pain is revealing.

While I can't say I would have wished for it, I'm deeply grateful because I've been forced to walk my talk, to learn how to respond versus react to her projections. As a result, I'm letting people around me off the hook. I'm learning to regulate my own nervous system. I am able to more effectively defuse reactivity and respond with greater love, empathy, and understanding.

When I steady myself and circle back to her strengths. When she is lucid and present, and in other words, not activated... She's available to open-hearted dialogue.

Now there are, of course, instances when we aren't so lucky. When our loved ones are never really available for shared vulnerability. In which case, a discussion of boundaries may be in order. But we'll get to that when we reach the fifth key.

For now, know this. As an adult, you are never really free until you learn how to consciously regulate your emotions. Sidestepping all-the-feels will never work for long, because the soul speaks to us through our emotional body. Strong emotions are not a problem. But an inability to regulate them can quickly create one.

In the first moments of meeting a new client, it is important for me to determine whether my services or the services of a therapist are in order. I get in touch with this by teasing out a question:

Do you feel as though you have access to choice when it comes to how you are responding to life? In other words, if I become your coach, can you (or will you) take the actions that you know are best for you? Or does it feel like you're in a bit of a holding pattern? Have you tried and failed to move your life forward more times than you can count? Does it feel like you know better, but you can't for the life of you figure out how to get yourself to do better?

When you feel as though you have little to no control over your life conditions and your emotional responses. When you're consistently unable to show up for the goals you've set for yourself, coaching alone may not be enough. In fact, it may even be counterproductive.

People who are experiencing this sort of stagnancy, may require a skilled therapist or at the very least a coach who is trauma-informed or who specializes in mindful emotional regulation.

You might be thinking, what about that friend or family member who's been to therapy and can tell me exactly why and in what ways they're wounded, but nevertheless, doesn't seem to do a damn thing differently. What about her? How come her life isn't changing?

Well, not all coaches and therapists are trained equally. When the nervous system is stuck in a pattern of reactivity, a particular skill set is required. A highly-skilled therapist facilitates close examination and deliberate rewiring of the emotional body, helping us to repattern our responses to life. Where, and again this is generally speaking, a skilled coach supports us in habituating these new adaptations, shaping them through action into the life we've long imagined for ourselves.

When feelings of vulnerability tap us into another time and place, the choices we'd most like to make in the moment may not even feel available to us. It takes deliberate patience and practice to repattern the nervous system.

In order to take the first step, we must first find our feet on solid ground. Understanding our personal history helps us to know how and why our nervous system functions the way it does. When we come to understand our reflexive responses to life, we develop compassion towards our own emotional reactivity and uncover the tweaks we will need to make in order to shape our responses slowly over time.

An embodied understanding of vulnerability helps us to develop true empathy. And in order to know empathy, we must understand what vulnerability means to a given individual... learn what emotional suppression has saved them from or what vulnerability has cost them in the past.

My very first visit to the ER, I was 16. I took a hit from a stranger's pipe at a Black Crowes concert, resulting in what the ambulance crew had called a drug overdose. As far as we know, it was just a really strong strain of pot, and it sent me into a full-blown hallucinatory panic.

This unfortunate high would catalyze a low point in my life, setting the stage for a full-blown panic disorder that would last another two decades.

I know a great many people who enjoy altered states because being out of their minds offers a sense of relief. But being high is the opposite of escape for me. Lack of control is profoundly triggering, and psychotropic substances often catapult me into emotional landscapes that I get lost in.

When we face novelty or uncertainty, we are smack dab in the middle of vulnerability; and, for some of us, vulnerability of any kind, such as being broke, being naked, or being altered can set off a hyper-responsive alarm system that disconnects us from the body, the present moment, and any sense of reason.

Patterns of reactivity can become so entrenched that they continue to operate long after they're helpful. Some run from the pain. Others learn to fight against it. For me, trauma occurred so early on in life, that I only had access to the third option. I learned to hover. To exit the scene. To dissociate from reality in order to survive it.

Let's get brainy for a moment, with a quick crash course on the nervous system and how it functions. Now, I'm going to simplify things a bit and keep in mind I'm no expert on this topic. But I can offer you a general and helpful overview when it comes to approaching the emotional body with more mindfulness and grace.

Our brains develop from the bottom up - from brainstem (the ancient primal self) to the prefrontal cortex (the more evolved, present day self). And when trauma interferes at any stage of development, we become programmed for dysregulation.

We begin by focusing on the two primary branches of the autonomic nervous system, sympathetic and parasympathetic.

When it comes to emotional responsiveness, you can think of the sympathetic nervous system as the gas pedal and the parasympathetic as the brake pedal. When we face any new experience and/or potential stressor, it is normal and natural for the sympathetic system to activate; to mobilize in order to meet a new challenge or potential threat.

The sympathetic system is like the alarm center in the brain. It serves us when we need to 'act before thinking.' In short, it mobilizes us. Real or imagined danger brings it online. People who've experienced trauma or chronic neglect in times of emotional distress may have a sensitized response to stress, to novelty, or to vulnerability of any sort.

For them, even the tiniest bit of stimuli might trigger a primitive aspect of the brain and allow it to dominate. You've likely heard of the fight or flight response, which are two common adaptations to immediate or prolonged stress. And yet, as I've already mentioned, there is the less talked about freeze response, also known as dissociation.

Dissociation can feel a bit like hovering above the scene or numbing out in the face of challenge. And this is a more common adaptation in women, because when it is unsafe to push back or walk away from dysfunction, we must find a way to live inside of it. So we go numb and we stay put. We become a shell of a person; pleasant, compliant, malleable to influence. But that's the nature of reactivity. It's all consuming. It's an emotional override that divorces us from authenticity and from the choices available to us in the present moment.

Now, of course the sympathetic system, the gas pedal, it isn't all bad. Our instinctual ability to act before thinking is at times essential to our survival. But what if we've developed a pattern of reaction that is more or less a reenactment of a habitual response that is a reflection of the past and exponentially out of sync with our current reality?

Through awareness, we can get in touch with more options. We can learn to regulate our responses by stimulating the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system, the brake pedal, the relaxation response in the body that helps us to self-regulate and find what is called our "window of tolerance."

Mindfulness practices help us to consciously bring the parasympathetic system online. When parasympathetic response is activated our heart and breathing rates slow. Blood pressure lowers. And proper digestion is supported.

A pattern of chronic sympathetic dysregulation can look like anxiety, neediness, restlessness, aggression, and tantruming.

A pattern of chronic parasympathetic dysregulation can look like lethargy, numbness, depression, dissociation, withdrawal, and avoidance.

Do any of these sound familiar?

Just we don't want to spend all of our energy with our foot on the gas pedal, nor do we want to succumb to lethargy and get stuck in a parasympathetic holding pattern. With practice, we can learn to shift back and forth from sympathetic to parasympathetic response; from the gas to the brake pedal, to bring the integrative structures of the brain online.

Neurologist and teacher, Dr. Bruce Perry describes the prefrontal cortex, this integrative structure, as the part of the brain that can tell time. It is the most recently evolved portion of the human brain. It enables us to coordinate the right and left hemispheres, and it helps us to naturally regulate our emotional responses, because the prefrontal cortex is responsive to life as it is unfolding in real time.

In a new book that he co-authored with Oprah Winfrey called What Happened To You?, Dr. Perry writes: "Unresolved trauma creates inexplicable actions."

And then he goes on to explain why. When we are caught in a hypersensitive stress response, (aka: when we are triggered), we've lost touch with our capacity for higher thinking and reason. This is why understanding our story and coupling it with embodied mindfulness is so profoundly impactful when it comes to our mental health.

Mindfulness is not about perfecting half lotus or learning the latest series of asanas. It is about retrieving autonomy over our responses to life. It's not always enough to want change, to employ a simple shift in mindset and line up all the variables. Change requires vulnerability. And if the vulnerability being required of us is activating a regressive response, we will most likely backslide and the change won't stick.

If we want to receive the many gifts of vulnerability, we must be willing to closely examine our emotional reflexes, restore a sense of accountability, autonomy, and choice.

Now, I'm not going to lie to you. Living with an open heart in a world that devalues vulnerability, it's not always an easy path to walk. Like me, at times you will feel shaky and exposed. But the connection that results from courageously showing up with our stories can bring about an unparalleled sense of joy and belonging that makes it all worthwhile.

The one thing I know for sure is this. We cannot any one of us do it alone. We are made whole when we are witnessed, bones out, in the fullness of our humanity.

As trauma expert and speaker, Dr. Gabor Mate explains: "Children don't get traumatized because they're hurt. Children get traumatized because they are alone with their hurt."

A misunderstanding of vulnerability is perhaps the most detrimental and overlooked barrier to our health and emotional wellbeing. If we want to create a world where it is indeed safe for us to feel it all, we must not only engage in emotional reeducation and do the inner work... we must simultaneously address the many social barriers that exist to safe self-expression.

Next week, we will begin to explore empathy, because if we want to be free to self express, we must help one another restore choice and harmony when it comes to our emotional responses.

Thank you for your attention. Rather than overwhelm your head space, I'm offering an add-on workbook to accompany this episode. I offer you a list of books and online resources that support emotional development and trauma-informed mindfulness practice.

You can download your free workbook at thedeeperpulse.com/episode9.

There is no greater gift that you can give to yourself than to show up transparent and free. And remember, it takes just as much strength and vulnerability to say, no, not now, not here, and not with you. Honor your innermost truth, and show up as you are.

I know it's scary as hell sometimes. But I've found that walking through the fire is always (and in all ways) worth it in the end.

Until next time, know that I love you. Big.

& keep on moving toward what moves you.

Bye, for now.

© The Deeper Pulse, Candice Schutter