[E141] How to be Strong Like Water with Aundi Kolber

Episode 141 May 16, 2023 01:04:09
[E141] How to be Strong Like Water with Aundi Kolber
Empowered to Connect Podcast
[E141] How to be Strong Like Water with Aundi Kolber

May 16 2023 | 01:04:09


Show Notes

Prepare for a remarkable episode of the Empowered to Connect podcast as we explore the transformative pages of Aundi Kolber's book, "Strong Like Water." This captivating work not only acknowledges the courage it takes to survive but also equips readers with practical tools to transition from mere coping to embodying true strength.In "Strong Like Water," Aundi Kolber's voice rises like a wise and gentle guide, resonating with those navigating their own deep waters. With profound insight and compassion, she calls forth your inner strength  and resilience.

Join us as we dive into "Strong Like Water" and uncover the transformative wisdom it holds. Aundi's practical tools and heartfelt guidance will empower you to rise above, embracing your own resilience and gaining the embodied strength needed to navigate life's journey. Don't miss this inspiring conversation as we explore the transformative power of Aundi Kolber's "Strong Like Water."

You can find Aundi online @AundiKolber on Instagram and you can buy her book on any major platform (though a local bookstore would be preferable)!

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:04] Speaker A: Welcome to the Empowered to connect podcast, where we come together to discuss a healing centered approach to engagement and well being for ourselves, our families, and our communities. I'm JD Wilson, and I am your host. And today on the show, we've got brilliant author, one of our favorite people. Her name is Ondi Kolber. If you've never met her before and have not heard from her before, you are going to love her. So Andy is the author of multiple books, most recently, most notably, the books try softer and her newest book, strong like Water. We wanted Ondie to be on to talk today about a myriad of things. We wanted to hear her story, hear her thoughts on her new book specifically, and some of the ideas that are, that are held within that book are just great. You're going to love her. And I want you to stay tuned after the episode. If you listen to the episode and you're like, man, I really want to get that book, strong like water. Just know we are giving away one of the, one of the books, one of Andy's books after the episode. Stay tuned and we will tell you how you can win one of those books from Andy. So strong like water is her new book. You're gonna love her. Here she is. Andy Culber. Well, as we said in the opening, we are here today with Andy Kolber. And you may know Andy from her first book, try Softer. But she has recently released a new book, which I'm sure many of you have already read, called strong like Water. And we just wanted to talk with Andy about not just her writing, but just her work in general and her background, all of that. We have felt a deep kind of kinship with her and have been fans for a long time of her work. And so we're positive you will, too. But, Andy, thank you for being here. And before we jump off, why don't we just start for people who are unfamiliar with your work or who you are, do you mind just giving us a background of kind of who you are and how you got into this line of work? [00:01:56] Speaker B: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Well, thank you both so much for having me. It's really good to be with you. So I am Andy Kolber, as you shared, and I am a licensed professional counselor. I've been practicing for about 16 years, recently relocated from Colorado, which we were there for, gosh, 17 years. And now we're in western Michigan. So been going through some pretty big transitions in our family and in our life. But, yeah, my work alongside of it is rooted in, I really do what I can to come from a trauma informed perspective. And I say it that way because I think it's sort of a constant process. I think a lot of humility is required to actually seek to do that because we're always in process of saying, okay, how can we shift and attune and better meet folks in ways that are honoring? And so, and part of that, for me, I'm a clinician and partially private practice, but also, as you said, an author. But you know, in my work as a therapist, I reached a point where I really realized that talk therapy wasn't getting the job done and not that there wasn't value, not that there wasn't connection, but I, partially, because of my own story, because I am also a survivor of trauma, that I realized this parallel process of only being able to go so far and so probably about, gosh, it's probably been about eleven years, I had really engaged sort of my own after grad school, while already a therapist, going deeper into learning about somatic work and things like EMDR and body centered perspectives and interpersonal neurobiology. And so much of my work is, and then also I often integrate, particularly from the christian faith tradition, some of my gleanings of that. And so bringing that all together, that is a lot of where my books have come from, but also, as it's helpful to my clients, bringing all of those tools to help them in their own healing. [00:04:18] Speaker A: So just not that much. Right. Like you haven't doing that much lately. Thank you for that. So we have a thousand questions and we'll get through some of them today, but obviously with mental and emotional health being kind of at the forefront of so many discussions in so many different places around not just our culture, but worldwide, from school shootings to individual traumas, to collective traumas, generational, all of that has brought those things to the forefront. And there seems to be always this emphasis on, as parents, we are always kind of talked about, you know, needing to be strong for our kids and having to be the ones who are there for them. And, um, and, you know, like, if you need to cry for me, cry for me, but just make sure you're there for your kids and you're strong for them. You talk a lot about, um, emotional health, looking not, not always having to look like you're being the strong one. Uh, will you talk more about that and kind of why we need to change our thinking in that perspective? [00:05:20] Speaker B: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I think that's well said. Um, and I think that's exactly how it's often framed in our culture, like, you are doing a service to those around you. And particularly as a parent, I myself am also a parent to kiddos that I love dearly. And I feel that messaging around, like, this is what's required of you. And what I would just say is that. I mean, there's so many layers to this, but one is that I think for many people, their need to be the strong one really is rooted in survival. Like, at some point, particularly if you have a history of unresolved trauma, I think we. Our bodies are like survival. I mean, that's. That's what we are wired and created to do. And then what I think gets confusing is when that is, like, socially praised. And so, like, you know, again, speaking myself as a trauma survivor, I looked very strong in many respects growing up. Like I sometimes say, my particular trauma responses that were maybe more outward facing looked good, like they were people perceived that that meant I was okay. But really, that was just. That was mostly rooted in survival. And it's not that I'm not grateful for those things to some extent. I'm grateful to my body for being able to adapt. But as an adult, I had to unpack a lot around what strength really means. And so in this context of this question, I think part of what we need to understand is that sometimes all we can do is survive and that there is value to that that is deserving of honor. But when we are talking about strength, I am a huge proponent for expanding the definition, because really, when we're talking about parenting kiddos, what we're wanting to do is to be able to offer safety, to be able to offer emotional space. And in order to do that, we have to be, in many ways, tending to our own internal experience, because otherwise, what we are doing is creating. I mean, there's lots of things. One, our kiddos are gonna pick up that that's incongruent. [00:07:52] Speaker C: Yes. [00:07:53] Speaker B: That it's not a real, like, I'm, you know, us saying, I'm okay. They pick that up. They know some things off. It also models that we should suppress our emotions. Right. Which is not what most of us really want for our kids. And I think it also cuts us off from the ability to co regulate and really walk with them deeply through the intensity. That is very valid. I mean, we have an intense world right now. So in many ways, the need to be able to move through hard things with our kids is as high as it's ever been. [00:08:33] Speaker C: In your book, you talk about the flow of strength. Can you unpack that a little bit I loved that. I'm a word picture kind of gal. So thinking about those different kinds of strength and how it flows, I loved that. So would you mind breaking down the different kinds of strength? [00:08:51] Speaker B: Yeah, I'd love to. So the flow of strength is my attempt to explain an expanded view of strength. And so, on. One side of the flow is what I call situational strength. And situational strength, again, is that survival energy strength. And in the book, I give lots of examples of what that could be. It could be things like hyper vigilance. It could be like. It could even be checking out because it's too much. It could be being just a profoundly hard worker. There are lots of ways our body says, this is what I have to do, or else it's essentially feels, whether to other people it looks this way or not, to us, it feels life or death. And so that's what that situational strength is rooted in. And then as our body picks up cues of safety and we can unpack that as we go, but essentially, as we get enough safety, we move along that flow of strength into what I call transitional strength. And transitional strength is this place in which, from a neurobiological perspective, what I would say is that in survival mode, the top of our brain, our prefrontal cortex, is offline. It's almost like, and this is important, and you all have probably talked about this a good amount, but for folks who need that reminder, that's what allows us to bring more of our full self, to be able to see sort of the big picture and plan and be able to access all parts of ourselves. So when that is offline, it's a big deal. And as it's coming back online, part of what that means is we can then observe and be with that survival energy. Now, this is important because this is where we begin to have some choice about what's really happening. Depending how far we are into that survival energy, we lose choice. [00:11:05] Speaker C: Right. And to be honored, like you said earlier. [00:11:10] Speaker B: So as that happens again, we move into the. It's sort of a both and ness. You know, this is where I think a lot of healing work happens, is that we then can begin to listen to our bodies. We are listening to the pain. We are listening to what's coming up for us. And then as our body again continues to have the resources it needs, the internal and maybe external attunement, we move along that flow of strength towards what I call integrated strength. And that integrated strength I think of as a sense of completion to this pain or this disturbance that has come up in our body, that we have what we need to metabolize it. It. And that it would ultimately be sort of filed away correctly. Right. And that we can then, we can then learn from it, we can reflect on it. We can say, oh yeah, that happened in the past. And one thing I'll just say here is that for some folks, they might be moving through the flow of strength in five minutes. Like it's a survival energy. I'm with the pain. It's moving through and it's over now. Yeah, for some other folks it may not be so quick, it may be okay, I'm getting that survival energy and maybe I'm staying in that survival because for lots of reasons, maybe they don't have enough resources, maybe they don't have support. But I would say a lot of trauma survivors, until they continue to get that support, might go from situational to transitional quite frequently. And again, that's not bad. And it's not a criticism. We need all types of strength, but it is a sign that our body may not completely have what we need to move what's coming up for us, the disturbances all the way through. And so that can be a heavy load. Because I would say that that situational strength is not, it's not sustainable, it's difficult to sustain. That's where the impact of things, where things can turn into maybe like chronic pain or chronic illness or that exhaustion or you're seeing it really make profound impacts on your day to day living. And so it's like we need it and as we are able, you know, I just love to help folks look at this differently and how they can access safety. [00:13:55] Speaker C: Something that's sticking out to me that I'm over here doing like a little internal, you know, cheerlead is even the strengths based perspective that you're offering us on thinking about and honoring that situational strength. Because I do think sometimes when those things are stirring up in our bodies, we can be pretty quick to even shame ourselves or feel a sense of discouragement. I'm still here, or this is still happening, or I wish I didn't respond this way or react whatever those messages could be internally. So I just want to say thank you for even honoring like our body's reaction, the way that we are wired to respond. So you hinted at something and I'd love for us to park there for a minute, which is about the resources and felt safety that help us move maybe onto transitional. And I'm wondering about that both because many of our listeners are coming at this as a parent or caregiver, and many of them are maybe even providing support and care for children who've experienced adversity and trauma. So I've got two kind of questions to that. One is how, as a parent, if these things are stirring up in you, can you talk to us about what does it mean to create resources and felt safety and those areas of compassion for ourselves? And then what does that look like to maybe offer that to the kiddos that could be in our families as well? [00:15:21] Speaker B: Yeah. Yeah. Well, this is such a great question and one that I have, in many ways, had to live myself as a parent, as a parent who's a trauma survivor, because I think, you know, there might be seasons of our lives where we have maybe more space to be able to be, like, not only do I have resources, but I also have space, and to be able to access that and that. And if you're in that season, that's amazing, and I would invite you to take all of that goodness in. But also, the reality is, I find a lot of parents like this stage, that stage of life is a time there can be a. Almost a cracking open around our own places of where we have not, maybe had the care we did need, or it reveals places where there's woundedness that we didn't even know about. You know, maybe it was like, you know, the way that you were parented, and it reveals, like, oh, when my kiddo is struggling in this way, like, I do not. It does not go well for me, you know, and it reveals a lot about our own story because it tends to be, like, the way that maybe our pain has been received or cared for often is the instinctive way we will lead with. With our kiddos. Right. So I say that just to acknowledge, I think, that that's a real thing. And so, you know, I think there's going to be a lot of variation. People probably have different levels of support, different levels of, like, even if the different between. If they've got really young kids versus, like, elementary school, you know, like, all those different things. But I think a really good place to start is to be able to, as you're able, see if you can step outside of, like, I think sometimes pain and chaos makes us really go like this. Right? Like, we zone into the point that we are losing. We're losing the big picture, and sometimes we can't help that. So I get that. But if you're able, I think sometimes pulling out helps us to say, well, what really matters here? Like, when you're in those seasons and you're like, man, my margin is so thin. [00:17:50] Speaker C: Like, I don't even see the, like, microscopic line then. [00:17:55] Speaker B: So the harder the season that we're in, a mantra that I have is the harder the season, the gentler we must become. Yes. And I think what I wanted to say is that includes very much to ourselves. [00:18:09] Speaker A: Yeah, yeah. [00:18:10] Speaker B: And. And I hope that that would then give us ideas to creatively say, so what matters? What matters here? What matters, like, is, like, my, like, my basic safety, my kiddos, basic safety that we have some food that we have, like, you know, even those basic needs. Like, I think sometimes we're like, oh, yeah, but the floors are a mess. And you're like, oh, sweetie, you haven't eaten all day. [00:18:39] Speaker C: Yes. [00:18:39] Speaker B: You know, like, how about we all. [00:18:41] Speaker C: Just drink a glass of water? [00:18:44] Speaker B: Right, right. And it seems like, I think when, like, it's easy to hear that. And you're like, well, of course, yeah, but no. Yeah. [00:18:53] Speaker C: Yep. [00:18:54] Speaker B: Because when we get into survival mode, oftentimes, especially if your default messaging is I come last, I don't matter. I have to make sure everything else is okay before I matter. And you're in that kind of season, like, you're never gonna matter. And ultimately, like, I think it's important to hear you matter because you exist. But also you will be a better caregiver. So being able to say, okay, so first we zoom out and say, well, what matters? Like, those basic things. But then we zoom in and we say, okay, well, how do we make that happen? We make it happen by getting basic needs met. By making sure that things like getting. I'm having some water. I'm getting at least some food. I'm getting these things. And then as we're able, we build and we get creative. Because now that we know what matters is really not the fact that, for example, like, you know, your house is perfectly clean. Now we can say, okay, well, what's going to help me regulate a little bit? Okay, well, you know what? I need to get outside. Like, for example, I have all this to do list, but is like, what is the cost to me to prioritizing these things that, not that they don't matter ever, but in this moment, if I make them matter more. [00:20:22] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:20:23] Speaker B: So I think it's like flipping on our head, the. Like, something I used to say when my kiddos were really young is like, if I don't have sanity, then I got nothing. [00:20:35] Speaker C: That's right, sister. Nothing. [00:20:37] Speaker B: I got nothing. [00:20:38] Speaker C: And neither does anybody else, actually. [00:20:40] Speaker B: That's right. Yeah, that's right. And so, and so for me, or, and I think this is true for all of us, though, right? Because what I'm talking about is if I'm in situational strength, everything, it's just a house of sand. It's going to fall apart, is not sustainable. And so always the question is what's going to bring me back? What's going to bring us back? And I think that's where we start. And so sometimes that might be saying, okay, yeah, maybe you have to do a little bit of extra screen time for a little bit. If that's the. If that is the way that you have at least some time and space to regulate a little bit, then do that thing. [00:21:16] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:21:17] Speaker B: You know, if. If there are practices that help you co regulate with your kiddos because you're able to do it together, then do that thing, like, to prioritize. It's that flipping on its head of what we think actually matters in service of what. What will actually bring us back to places of safety. [00:21:36] Speaker A: Yeah, that's so good. [00:21:38] Speaker B: One of the things. [00:21:38] Speaker C: Well, Jd, do you mind if I jump in real quick? And I think. I think you're going back one more. So in, in the book, you talk about being flexible and adaptable as, like, part of that process. And I feel like that's even what I hear you hinting at right now, is like, what does it mean to be flexible and adaptable with ourselves and the circumstances and our children. [00:21:56] Speaker B: Yes. [00:21:57] Speaker C: In order to be able to show up for ourselves and them. Right. [00:22:03] Speaker B: And this is why I think it was so. I had a fire in my belly to write this book because I just. Particularly the season in the world that we're going through, you know, like, you know, going through a pandemic, going through just, I think the color, collective grief and trauma that's been experienced, the overwhelm that has really never gone away. We've just put it into different boxes. Right. I don't think that that's been metabolized. It's still in our collective nervous systems, I believe. And so I wanted to speak to, like, well, we got to talk about how we're seeing strength, because if we don't begin to say like it is, the strength that we really want to live at is not thinking that we can do it all, that we can just stiff up or lip it, pull up our bootstraps. You might be able to do that for five minutes, but I promise you, the harm that comes from that will cost us so much more than taking the time to say, it's not that these things don't matter, it's that they can't matter more. Yes. Then our personhood, then our well being, then our ability to connect with our kids, then our ability to emotionally regulate all of these things. When those go out the window in service of a image of what we think strength is, we will just dig ourselves deeper into that ditch. And I think that's where a lot of people. I think that's where we get stuck, and that's the flexibility. It's the flexibility to say, wait, could we think about this differently? [00:23:46] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:23:48] Speaker C: When we. You know, a lot of our work over the last, you know, lots of years has been supporting families who have grown through adoption or foster care. And I cannot tell you how many conversations we have around the word flexibility. And often what we're wanting is our, you know, kiddos, to be flexible, because that sure does make the day flow a little better if they've got this reservoir flexibility. Some of them do, and some of them don't have as much flexibility for understandable reasons. But we talk a lot about what does it mean then, for us to be flexible? So I just loved how you tied that idea of flexibility and adaptability into. To being strong and, like, the. The healthy, good part of strength, um, with ourselves. So, anyway, it was. It was wonderful. JD, I'm sorry you had something that was on your mind earlier. I just wanted to talk about, y'all know, flexibility is, like, my favorite thing, probably. I'm not a very flexible person, so I get to practice that. Okay. [00:24:50] Speaker A: So, yeah, to contrast that, I feel like flexibility is one of my great skills in life. [00:24:56] Speaker C: It is. JD, we're so. You and I are swearing so wonderfully different in that way. It's so good. [00:25:01] Speaker A: The detriment of other things, obviously, at times, but. So I resonate with that. And I think about. For us in particular, we've been hard, a hard season with one of our kids. We're coming out of that, and now we're just, like, unforeseen into, like, you know, those brain stage developments. Sometimes you have regressions and you're like, what the heck? I thought we were past this, you know? And so we're just going right back into one of those now. Something that was really refreshing and that I just needed to think about and hear about is you talk about compassionate with ness, being able to be with someone compassionately, because I know I've needed that. But I'm fortunate enough that this is my job and I'm kind of in this world a lot. So a lot of times I'm getting refreshed and heading back home with. With fresh doses of compassion or empathy or whatever. For those who might not be in a situation or those who. This is a brand new idea. Will you kind of walk us through that idea of compassionate withness? [00:26:00] Speaker B: Yeah. Yeah. Well, thanks for pulling that out because. Yeah, this is a phrase I love to play with words, you know, sometimes because I feel like there's. It's like pulling, trying to get to even more of what I want to say, you know, sometimes as you play with that concept. And yet compassionate withness is something that came to me because I was thinking about originally that, you know, I think part of our trajectory of work as people, maturity, growth, we learn to begin to have a compassionate witness in ourselves. Like, that's part of where we're going, right? Like, when we experience enough of that good enough caregiving, the good enough, and even just like, the care around us, we begin to internalize that. And that's sort of where we're going. Right. But what it got me thinking about was that a preemptive to that? Was that. I believe part of it is that we experience compassionate with ness first. Like, it is inexperienced in compassionate withness. And sometimes that's with a parent or caregiver. Sometimes that's with a friend. Sometimes that's with a therapist. Sometimes that's with God, potentially. Sometimes that's with even nature, you know, even sometimes hearing, like, when we're really getting creative, like, we might find a character from a movie or a book. And the way that they are with people in their lives, we begin to notice that their posture, all of these things. Right, I think are sort of a resource to us around, because really, part of what I'm talking about here is attachment work, you know, is being attuned to, like, having someone with you, you know, in strong, like, water. I tell a story about my husband being with me, and it was this memory that I, you know, that I have of my parents had a very contentious divorce. I have just a pretty intense experience of a lot of unresolved, well, I shouldn't say completely unresolved, but a lot of childhood trauma is what I will say around relationships, verbal, emotional abuse, all those things. And so I am in this story. I'm 24 years old, and it's the last time that I am in my childhood home that I've known my whole life that has, like, a lot of memories, for better and worse. [00:28:43] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:28:44] Speaker B: And I'm sitting on this couch in our. In this old house, it's like the day before. My mom has to have everything out of the house, and we're just visiting. Brendan and I, we're newly married, and I'm pretty early in my own journey of healing, but it's beginning. And I. And I. What I say in the book is that it was not new to me to be in pain. Like, I have known a lot of pain in my life. This was not new. But what was really new for me was the way that Brendan was with me in that pain, the way that it was like. It really was. It was sacred, like the withness. Right. And it was like a. Sometimes I think of that, and I experience this at times with my clients and. And I've had many instances of this since. But there's almost like. The air feels thick to me. Like it's like. It's a. You know, like there's like a. There's like a sacredness that I'm trying to describe with words, but it's hard to. And that with Ness was like a balm. And I felt that pain so deeply, but. But being with someone who cared about me so deeply shifted something in me. And so when I think about this concept of compassionate withness, I think about how that changes us to be attuned to. It doesn't make the pain go away, but it sort of makes our container bigger for the pain. Right. So that ultimately it can move through. And I think about that, you know, for folks who are hearing this and. And maybe they haven't had those experiences, maybe they have not had the attunement, the compassionate withness, maybe for. In lots of different ways and areas of their life. And. And what I would just say is, like, almost going back to the beginning of me answering this question, there are. There are a lot of ways to access that, and it certainly requires a little bit of risk. So I just want to acknowledge that, because to let someone be with you in pain is a. Is a vulnerable thing. [00:31:02] Speaker C: It is vulnerable. [00:31:03] Speaker A: Yeah. Yeah. [00:31:04] Speaker B: It's a very vulnerable thing. So I want to just acknowledge that sometimes you can't just be like, hey, I just met you. Like, your body probably not going to let you do that. I'm going to just do this. [00:31:14] Speaker C: That's right. [00:31:15] Speaker B: Your body's going to need to be able to build trust with that person. But all, like, even in instrument like water, I talk about, you know, lots of different resourcing ideas, but. But if you want to think about that through the lens of compassionate witness, that it could be people that you. Or it could be experiences that you even haven't thought about. So, like, if finding a therapist feels too big, you might consider, like, truly, like, is there, like a. A tv show character that almost, like, when, you know, maybe as you're beginning to think about what would it like for someone to be with me, it's like, what would that person be like with you? And maybe that would just build that bridge a little bit. Right? Yeah. To be able to say, okay, so that's starting to feel good. Like, is there someone else in my life that I could then reach out to, to say, hey, listen, I got some stuff going on. I wonder if we could just get together sometimes, you know? And these are things that, again, something I say a lot is that the more complicated the trauma, the more complex the healing. And so if you are a person for whom there's lots of complication around that, I think it's really important to honor that, but also to know that just like our bodies shift to accommodate pain, we can also shift to accommodate and really move towards healing. [00:32:44] Speaker C: Thank you for sharing that story. I'm going to admit to you, when I read it, I thought, she is sharing something so vulnerable and sacred with us to be able to, like, to bear a little witness to that place of vulnerability between you and your husband. And I am getting a little emotional right now. Like, I just, you know, those are holy, sacred spaces when you get to just sit with somebody and you know that you're just with them. So thank you for sharing that. I didn't know my tears were going to come, but it just means a lot. And I think we all know, like, you know when you're safe and, you know, when you can just let that space down and be with someone. So I have a little bit of a practical question. So I think, you know, for parents and caregivers and the adults, we do need to figure out how to create that space for ourselves. Many of our families and parents are trying to figure out how to be your husband may be hurting children in their homes that may not be ready for that level of witness. And so even when you said, like, your body may not allow, like, somebody to come in that close, I immediately was thinking about so many parents and caregivers who maybe are hurt by that. And, like, so I think understanding the complexity and new wants of what may be happening, especially maybe if a teenager is coming into your family or home, and, man, you so badly want to be that felt safety in that place of safety. Oh, but it might take a little while. So what are your thoughts when you hear me talk about that? What's come, what comes to mind? [00:34:18] Speaker B: Yeah, well, I want to just. Yeah, I mean, I say I use the word honor a lot, but it's because I think it's a really powerful word. I think it evokes dignity and respect. Yes. And I think that when I think about both sides of first and foremost, you know, maybe a kiddo who's coming in, maybe having experienced significant harm or wounding, I want to just say that I think that experience of them being guarded or not being open to that is really valid. And it actually makes a lot of sense. And it's the wisdom of their body. Right. The wisdom of their body has taught them that in the past, connection has not been safe, and it is their body doing everything possible to keep that from happening again. And so I think as caregivers, I just would encourage you to, as you're able to meditate on that reality. Like, that's what. That. That's what is happening for that. That, kiddo. And, like, that's. That's actually really good. That's a, that's a. In the sense that the body is trying to act in service of safety and that we want that. And as the body. Here's what's so cool, is that as we perceive on a body level that there is enough safety, it will shift. It does shift. And it's, as you know, as you both know, I'm sure that it's not a cognitive process, but it's a somatic. It's happening on, like, our neuroception is shifting. And so one, just as much as you're able to continue to remember that, that's actually magnificent that our bodies are capable of saying, like, that's how much our bodies are made to be for us in the sense that they are, like, showing up with everything they have to protect us. And that is. And it can be hard from the person who's getting sort of the wall or whatever that looks like, but it also is a really important function. And for the folks who are working to try to communicate the safety, I think this is probably not something you haven't heard, but there's a couple of things. One is, as much as possible really working to ground yourself. Your nervous system, first and foremost, because your body is constantly communicating without words. [00:36:46] Speaker A: Yes. [00:36:47] Speaker B: Your posture, your face, your tone of, you know, well, this is potentially words. Your tone of voice. Everything about you, your nervous system is communicating. Like, in terms of, like, is sending off these cues so your work of being grounded and. And really regulated is the work, like, is the work. You cannot get to step two or three without that. Right. So, first and foremost, I would say that. And then the second thing is continually reminding yourself that to do what you can, to not take it personally. [00:37:29] Speaker C: I was going to say if you didn't, I was going to be like, and it's okay if it's hurting your feelings or feelings pushed away because your body is made for you. So it's okay if that doesn't feel right or good. [00:37:40] Speaker B: Absolutely. It's going to feel weird. It's going to feel sad. It's going to feel. But as much as you're able to have that internal talk around like this, a lot of things happened before we even got to meet, you know, a lot of things. Right. And so then also the, you know, like, self compassion practices, maybe not so much when you're with the kiddo, but after, or, like, in different spaces, to offer yourself that compassion of, like, this is hard work. This is hard work. It doesn't mean it's not worthy work, but it's hard. And we, in order, again, to continue to regulate and show up means that we are honest with ourselves, because otherwise, again, we're just pushing ourselves into that emotional suppression. So finding those spaces where you can be honest, that doesn't put the burden on the kiddos. Right. So that's an important dynamic that we want to continue to, I think, communicate safety, but recognizing the inherent power dynamic that it's not the kiddos job to make you feel good about how they're feeling. And as they are able, they're going to. They're going to continue to respond. You know, they're going to, but it's. But it's going to take as long as it takes for their body to sense that safety. And so bringing in things, I think even, you know, things like humor and play are sometimes undervalued, you know, so finding ways to, like movement or things that feel a little less pressure, you know, like, you know, throwing a ball, getting outside, is there a project? Things like eye contact can be difficult, right, when you've experienced various types of attachment trauma or being seen in really critical ways. So just knowing that maybe it's something where you're not looking at each other, but you're working alongside each other and thinking of it like you're putting deposits of trust. And almost like their deposit, their bank account of trust is in the negative, and that's not necessarily your fault. But in order to be able for there to be some work with that sort of trust bank account, there's going to have to be quite a few deposits before we can work with that. [00:39:55] Speaker A: Okay, so JD and I are going. [00:39:57] Speaker C: To have to, like paper, rock, scissors. JC, you get to go. But I do have a couple more questions. [00:40:02] Speaker A: It's a beautiful picture in that of, obviously, you could draw all the analogies spiritually to the Bible and God paying our debts and all of that. That's probably the greatest example of that. So I don't mean to now choose a better one, but that's one that everyone can think of. So the idea of us having to compassionately pay back somebody else's wrongs in order to build trust with a kid is something that is a really profound picture. And we're all different. We all have different personalities, different motivations. All that from my personality, me personally, like, that would be a massive motivator to keep grounded and to maintain the level head and to remember, all right, we're just not paid up yet. Like, we've got to keep working toward that. I even think about. So, in our home, we've got kids through adoption and kids biologically. And, you know, oftentimes we're trying to strike that balance of there. There are sometimes, like, disproportionate needs, and not just for the kids through. Through adoption, like, for everybody. Like, everybody's got these disproportionate needs, reacts differently to everything. So sometimes it feels like we're bouncing back and forth, um, and we're always, uh, having to, like, turn toward the most difficult situation at one given time. Sometimes as a parent, that feels like, I don't want to do this. Like, I would like to not turn. I'd like to ignore the difficult and just find whoever's nice to me right now and just be with, you know, for a moment. Um, but you. You do talk a lot about the need to compassionately turn toward difficult things. I know in the context you're talking about, you're talking about with your own healing. Right? But if you're facilitating healing with somebody in your family, why don't you talk about the importance of leaning into the difficult places either with yourself or, you know, with. With a kiddo. [00:41:57] Speaker B: Yeah. Yeah. Well, one thing I'll just say, I'm going to answer this, but even just like, with a little bit of that, that faith integration point that you made, one thing that it makes me think about, you know, again, coming from that sort of christian faith tradition, like, I often talk about that and I talk about this in both books, but in try softer, I talk about it through the lens of, like, compassionate attention that, you know, I think that God has a deeply, profoundly compassionate posture towards us in ways that I think, honestly, that I don't think we can fully comprehend. I think in our limited humanity, I don't think we can fully hold that. And I almost think about a lot of work that we do is stewarding this compassionate attention that is offered to us. We're actually stewarding. We're participating in offering it to ourselves. Offering it to the parts of ourselves that might be hurting or, I mean, all parts of ourselves, but particularly the parts that are on the most margins. Right. Like the parts that are, like, hiding the most. Yeah. And I think that this perspective continues as we, again, from that sort of faith integration, love our neighbor as ourselves, that we, again, we steward. We steward something that is already ours and almost to direct it in those ways and to those kiddos in sort of remembering that. And this is where, for me, I really do find faith to be a resource, because there's something bigger. There's a bigger wealth to draw from. [00:43:36] Speaker C: That's right. [00:43:37] Speaker B: In my limited capacity, I have some capacity, but I am limited. And I think of that compassionate attention, like, almost a big c. Like the compassionate. [00:43:50] Speaker A: Yes. [00:43:51] Speaker B: Of the divine right that it is a bigger well to draw from. And that it allows me to drink, but it allows me to offer something to drink to others, too, that I love in my life. And. And moving towards that pain, I think as we move towards the pain in our own selves, we can more deeply attune and have deeper compassion for places that I think sometimes we want to run from, kiddos, from relationships. And it's not to say that every issue, like, particularly, like, let's say it's happening outside of our family. We can't fix the whole world. Like, we are limited. Right. But what is ours to steward and what is ours to offer? And I think that's the work. That's the listening. Like, where do I participate? [00:44:45] Speaker C: I have found myself barely incapable of fixing much of anything, to be really honest, except just continuing to give myself a lot of compassion. There was a quote in the book that talks about deep work requires deep rest. And I think that really resonated with me. I was probably like, I don't know. I had probably taken to my bed when I was reading that chapter, and I was like, this is what you're doing, Tawna. You're just deep resting right now. I spent two straight weekends, like, outside in my garden, like, hands dirty, sleeves rolled up, pulling plants. And that was just a place of rest for me. So can you talk about, what is that? What does that mean to you? And how could we maybe encourage our listeners to give themselves permission for deep rest? [00:45:34] Speaker B: Yeah. Well, I love that you pulled out this quote of, you know, deep work requires deep rest, because I think this is something that I wrote in my phone a couple years ago just as a touch point and a reminder to myself that, you know, as I'm doing all this deep healing work or as I'm with clients or as I'm writing books, like, there has to be something that responds to that level of intensity. And in many ways, there are so many great metaphors for this, I think, but one I consider a lot is the idea of rupture and repair. And it's almost like the work is the way in which. It's like we are pushing our body sometimes, often into discomfort, or it may have even gone into harm. So what we're doing, I think of the rest as the thing that brings it. It's, like, brings us back, and it facilitates us coming home to ourselves. And all these things that maybe are like, new areas of growth now. We bring them with us in the rest. We are inviting them to now be woven in. I think the rest is the mechanism that's often allowing that which is maybe new growth to really become deeply grounded in who we are. Because the opposite of that is just like, deep work. Deep work. Deep work, deep work. I'm like, it's not sustainable. I mean, it's another way to get to burnout, right? [00:47:10] Speaker C: Can't recover. So deep breaths can be moments, it can be seasons. It can be taken to your garden for the weekend, taken to your bed and Netflix for the day, going on a good walk. Healthier, healthier coping mechanism. There was one other thing that I want to touch on before we have to go. And, I mean, I'm just pulling out the things that were incredibly impactful to me in this current season that I'm in. But you talk about glimmers, and I was like, ah, this feels, like, beautiful and, like, attainable. And so can you talk about the idea of a glimmer and maybe even how, to me, I have those things written together, so I must have been connecting. [00:47:46] Speaker B: Like. [00:47:46] Speaker C: Like, tawna, you can deep rest in a moment of a glimmer. So will you. [00:47:50] Speaker B: Yeah. Oh, I love that you connected that. Yes. Yeah. Well, so, you know, Deb, Dana coined this phrase of glimmer, and I love, love her work, so appreciate it. And it's, you know, she talks about it as like, it's like a micro moment of being able to connect to, especially our ventral vagal, which is essentially like the part of our nervous system that it's like the rest and digest the prosocial. Like you're feeling yourself like. Like all of that, that really grounded, rooted place. So when we get those micro moments, part of what I would say, too, is that there's a couple things I love to stack ideas on each other. It's also. It's also that it's communicating safety to our nervous system. Right? So in my book, I talk about compassionate resourcing. So what I would say is that all of these things intersect. Like, you can take a glimmer. So, like, let's say you go outside and just for a moment, the way the clouds are, like with the sun behind the clouds and the way it's coming through, and just for a moment, you notice an opening, right? Like, I experienced that, like, my heart literally, like, almost like, oh, there's just. [00:49:02] Speaker C: It's like a ray of sunshine coming down from heaven for just totally. [00:49:08] Speaker B: There's like something. And I really feel like I. It's such an embodied experience of like, like, possibility, hope, renewal. Be okay. Yeah, all those things. And I think that glimmers. As, you know, these are these opportunities where I think as we learn to be with them, to notice them, to have the eyes to see, we can harness them into what I would call the compassionate resources. So being able. And I go through this in the book, I talk about how sort of really getting, you know, being able to spend more time with. Through things like whether that's bilateral stimulation, which is, you know, so being able to stimulate both sides of your body enhances our processing. And so, like, for example, with a lot of my clients, I love, like, I love resourcing. I geek out on resourcing because particularly trauma survivors tend to have not had a lot of opportunity to be with goodness. And it's almost like we're nourishing. Like, if there's been a malnourishment of goodness, we were wanting to, like, really hone in on that and almost get all of that nourishment that's been lacking. Right? And this is true for. I mean, I think anybody benefits from resourcing, but I think trauma survivors, it's like, it's essential. Like, it's like it's groundwork. It's an everyday, as you are able, we want to build this capacity for goodness. And so for me, glimmers are like, the opportunities to see, like, oh, where is their goodness available to me? And that often when we lived a lot of time in that situational strength, we've had to ignore the goodness. And so for me, a prayer that I have prayed a lot in the last couple of years is, God, give me eyes to see the way you're already here. And for me, that translates to, like, all the ways, like, all the goodness that is available that I haven't been able to see before now. But as I come back into the present moment, into my body, into the truth of who I really am, into the truth that there are people who love me, it's available. And I think we actually often have a lot more resources than we realize. And it's really cool to begin to help people get on that upward cycle of seeing what's really available to them. I love that. [00:51:51] Speaker A: Yeah. And as you wrap up, I think one of the things that, this might not sound like a great, happy tie up. Final question. But I just think about even yesterday, read about two more tragic things. And then there was a, we got a text alert in the middle of the day. There was an active shooter situation near our kids school. And I would say miraculously, there ended up being like a negotiation. Right. People were there and person was not harmed and didn't harm anybody else and was taken in. And there's some mental health issues that was considered. And so, anyways, and ended fine. But I just think about how often people in our world are dealing with grief and loss and how typical it is to be coached to push that grief away quickly and not to go through it, or being willing to go through it and having no roadmap whatsoever for how to actually hold grief and deal with it. And like you talked about at the beginning of the interview, like, how to file it away correctly. Would you mind talking about that for a few minutes to kind of, how. How can we, how do we, with, like, unthinkably sad things happening personally to us or around us, how do we handle that grief in a way that's not dismissive or running away from it? [00:53:19] Speaker B: Yeah, I think this is such a valid and a timely question because this is, I think, part of being here in our world today. If we are paying attention, then we will be impacted by world events, by things happening to our neighbors and sometimes to ourselves. And so I think in many ways, what I will say is that's even part of, I think, why I wanted to write strong like water, even though it's not only about grief. One of the things I talk about is that grief is part of what makes us human. And Gabor, Doctor Gabor mate says that in many ways, genuine grief is the opposite of trauma. And I just think that's a profoundly powerful quote, because it's like, it's not if we will grieve, it's will we be able to. Will we be able to feel what we need to feel when the grief comes? Because the grief, it will come because that's part of what it means for us to be human, is that we. Grief is the process that facilitates the emotion that comes with change and pain and loss. And so there's nothing about that that is, like, that's appropriate, is what I would just say. It's an appropriate experience. And the problem comes when we don't have the support, the capacity, the, you know, or when we are shamed, or even when we've internalized the belief that we can't feel. So then we cannot grieve. That's the problem. And so it's like. And again, it's not to say that the grieving is easy, and it doesn't mean that we always need to. I think we certainly can bring principles of understanding. You know, for example, like, our window of tolerance. Like that we want to be mindful. Like, if we're feeling something, we want to try to stay at least 1ft connected to our window even as we're grieving. So that a. That's what allows that to actually metabolize. But also, it's that we don't want to get. We don't want to get so lost in the grief that we take to. [00:55:52] Speaker C: Our bed with a binge watching of Netflix all weekend, like I did a few weeks ago. I told my husband's like, I'm just going to go lament in my bed with Netflix for a while. He's like, I'll see. I'll see you soon, honey. [00:56:05] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:56:06] Speaker C: And sometimes, I don't mean to make light of it, but I mean, for real. Like, grief and lament are so present right now. [00:56:13] Speaker B: So. Yeah, absolutely. Yes. No, thank you for saying that. And I think that's true. It's like, there's. If that happens, it can. It happens. And it's not that there's shame to that, but I know all of us, like, we also need to take care of our kids, and we need to. So it's like. It's like, I think of it, like, dancing with the grief. [00:56:30] Speaker C: Yeah. [00:56:30] Speaker B: We are honoring it. We can think of it almost. Sometimes it might be helpful to think of it like a part. Like there's a part of us really holding the grief, and we can say, oh, I love you so much, and I want to take good care of you. And we spend time taking care, and then we say, okay, you know what? I need to take a little bit of space, but I am coming back. And then as that still exists, as the grief still exists, we come back. And that's what allows our body to give us the space, because we build trust internally. We actually do come back to it. But I also am a proponent for pacing ourselves because, you know, the reality is, is that we could also get lost in the grief, and there might be seasons that we do. And if that happens, okay, okay. That's all right. But building those practices, those rhythms, those. Those people. Those people that we can say, hey, ooh, I am really connected to this grief today. And I just, you know, I just needed you to know, or, like, maybe we can get together or whatever that looks like. And that, I believe, is how we move through it. We move with it, but we also continue showing up to our lives. [00:57:55] Speaker A: Well, thank you. That's like. I mean, that's exactly what I was hoping to hear. [00:57:58] Speaker C: Yeah. Yeah. [00:58:00] Speaker A: Andy, this has been awesome. And I feel like we could probably just talk for the next 6 hours and just keep on having this conversation. So what that means is we've got to have you on again at some point to finish. [00:58:11] Speaker B: I'd love that. [00:58:12] Speaker A: Right. But thank you so much. Any last kind of words or last piece of advice that you want to give to folks who are. Who are maybe new to this conversation? They're like, okay, great information. I feel like I heard a master's course, and I don't even. I'm not even through high school yet. You know, like, any of those first step kind of pieces of advice you want to give? [00:58:34] Speaker B: Yeah, I mean, two things. One is. Is to say, I think when you hear information like this, it can feel a little. It can feel overwhelming. It can feel like, I don't know how I'm ever going to get to the point where I can do x, y, or z. And I think one thing I just want to remind listeners of is, you know, I absolutely come from a perspective that our value exists beyond anything that we do. Like. Like, our ability to grow and change doesn't come from, like, the fact that, like. Or our ability to be valuable doesn't come from the fact that we're healed in many ways, even just if you need to borrow the language that I'm using here just to remember that we start from this place because we matter. It's because we matter that we can even begin. And so I just would invite you as you're able to receive that in the ways that you can, because I think it's such a hamster wheel to be like, man, once I heal, then I'll be good enough for x, y or z. Right? And so I think that's my first encouragement. And then my second encouragement is do what you can to start really small. Because in nervous system, work small in many ways makes the biggest impact. So if you, you know, are read, you know, if you end up getting my book, for example, like, I tell people all the time, I'm like, you just pace yourself. Like, you just, like, if there's. If you don't want to do the practice at the end, like, listen to your body build, like, you, you listen to that pace and honor that pace because paradoxically, that's literally the work that. [01:00:24] Speaker C: Is the work that is actually how you move forward. Right. [01:00:28] Speaker A: I love that. [01:00:29] Speaker C: Can you restate that one little statement? You said you matter. Like, can you restate that? Like, put a. [01:00:37] Speaker B: Put a. Yeah, I think I said, you know, I want people to know that you matter because you exist. And so because of the work you're doing, not because of you're crossing a finish, finish line, not because it's like, your value is not produced because you're healed. I think we heal because we more fully begin to experience the reality that we matter. And everything else it just comes after. Like, that's the first and foremost thing, that this is not a checklist of ways to be more valuable. [01:01:17] Speaker A: So good. Andy, where can people find you to keep up with you here? [01:01:21] Speaker B: Yeah, you can find me on my website, ondykolber.com. And I do have some free resources on there if folks are interested. You can also find me on Instagram, excuse me, Culver, and also on Twitter. [01:01:37] Speaker A: Awesome. Hey, thank you. Seriously, thank you so much for joining us today. This has been great. [01:01:42] Speaker C: And I would say buy the book, run to Amazon, go right now, put it in your cart, hit checkout, sit it beside yourself. [01:01:49] Speaker A: If you didn't stop this interview and buy it during the interview, then you've got more work to do. [01:01:53] Speaker C: Personally, honestly, I loved it so much. It was such a joy. Thank you for sharing honestly and vulnerably and helpfully and just honoring, I think, our listeners in such a way that. [01:02:03] Speaker B: Is near and dear to us. [01:02:04] Speaker C: So thank you for. For being with us today. [01:02:09] Speaker B: Absolutely. [01:02:15] Speaker A: Well, just a huge thank you again to Andy for joining us today. And, you know, when we got done recording the episode, Tana and I just stopped and we were like, all right, she's our people. Andy is our people. She's with us. We really, really enjoyed having the. Having her on today and just brilliant stuff from her. So thank you to Andy. Now, if you are listening and you're like, all right, get on with it. I've got to get a free book here. Here's how you get a copy of strong luck Water from us. First of all, you got to be following both Ondie Kolber. You can find her social links in the show notes below, and us empowered to connect on Instagram. Then we need you to tag us in a story. So that means making sure that you're posting a story, preferably showing the podcast episode, linking the podcast episode for your friends, or sharing something from that episode that you, you learned today. And make sure you tag us and tag Ondie on the podcast, on your story. And if you do that, we will pick one person at random, and we will send that person a copy of Strong like water. It will be our joy to do so. You will love the book. If you don't win the book, please go buy it anyways. It's really, really great. You're gonna love it. So that's all for us today. Make sure you're following Ondie and us. Make sure you story Instagram showing something that you learned or some part of the episode that you love today. And with all that said for everyone here at empowered to connect, for Kyle Wright, who edits and engineers all of our audio, for Tad Jewett, the creator of the music behind the empowered to connect podcast, I'm JD Wilson, and we will see you soon on the empowered to connect podcast.

Other Episodes

Episode 74

March 08, 2022 00:47:10
Episode Cover

[E74] Brain-Body Parenting with Mona Delahooke!

In case you've missed the exciting news, one of our favorite authors on planet Earth, Mona Delahooke, has a new book that comes out...


Episode 20

November 25, 2020 00:55:44
Episode Cover

[E20] Transracial Adoption Pt 4 with Brett Carleton and Dave Overholser

If you don't follow the YouTube channel 'Yes I'm Adopted, Don't Make it Weird' you'll want to do that right away after hearing from...


Episode 1

June 20, 2020 00:25:57
Episode Cover

[E1] What is ETC?

In episode 1, we're joined by Mo and Tona Ottinger, who give leadership to Empowered to Connect! We talk about what Empowered to Connect...