Mary Hyatt’s Journey to her Authentic Self | IT 030

Jul 22, 2020

Are you being radically honest with yourself about your feelings? What are the effects of today’s world on your emotions? How can you manage the influence of the COVID-19 era on your mind and body?

In this podcast episode, Kathryn Ely talks to Mary Hyatt about her come-to-Jesus moment that saved her life, how to begin healing from trauma and how self-acceptance can change how we look at ourselves and our body.

Meet Mary Hyatt

Mary Hyatt

Mary Hyatt is a life and business mindset coach who specializes in helping high achieving female entrepreneurs move from living a life of burnout to a life where they’re connected to their emotions. Their body and their spirit. She helps bring her one-on-one and group coaching clients back to their enoughness wholeness and femininity. Mary is the host of the living fully alive podcast

Visit Mary’s website, listen to her podcast, and connect on Facebook and Instagram.

Get Mary’s FREE anxiety recovery kit.

In This Podcast

Summary

  • Being radically honest with yourself about your trauma
  • Women’s body image and body acceptance
  • Your personal journey is valid
  • Managing the influence of this COVID-19 era

Being radically honest with yourself about your trauma

The reality is sort of like the beach ball analogy. It’s like you’ve got a beach ball and you can press that underneath the water and you can press and press and press and press as hard as you can, with as much force as you can, but, eventually, that beach ball is going to pop back up and hit you back in the face. You know, it’s like, you can only avoid them for so long.

When someone experiences trauma, whether it’s chronic trauma overtime or a large traumatic event at one time, they often disassociate from their body and try to escape from the pain, hurt, fear, and anxiety caused by that trauma. For a long time, Mary had not even acknowledged that what she had experienced was trauma, but rather that they were just “hard things” and “challenges” that had happened in her life. Instead of addressing their feelings and acknowledging their trauma, many people tend to create a ‘buffer’ between themselves and the pain, or to bury their emotions.

But the buffer does not last, and the feelings don’t stay buried, so the time comes when you have to stop avoiding them. The first step on the path to getting better and to returning to your truest self is to be radically honest with yourself about your experiences and challenges. Take your trauma seriously and recognize that it needs to be addressed.

Women’s body image and body acceptance

Mary works with women and their feelings towards their bodies, and she sees very often how, when society bombards women with unrealistic standards and expectations, women end up hating their own bodies and become obsessed with that hatred to the point where they can’t focus on anything else in their lives. They focus on finding things to take away the pain of that hatred, but often find other painful things as distractions, like ending up in dysfunctional relationships, having unhealthy relationships with food, and depriving themselves of food and pleasure. In order to address those distractions, which are actually secondary problems, Mary tries to help her clients to understand where the trauma and pain starts and to acknowledge that first.

Your personal journey is valid

Remember that your emotional journey is personal and individual, and it doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s journey. You can process your situation and trauma in your own way and in your own time. There is no ‘right way’ to feel your feelings and to experience your emotional journey, even when other people might not acknowledge or validate those feelings.

There are two cases where people’s right to acknowledge and experience their feelings is undermined:

1.Being too emotional

For women, who are often told that they are being “too emotional” and that they are weak for expressing those emotions, it can be difficult to confront your feelings without anticipating judgment or shame. It is important to make sure you push that judgment and shame aside so that you can address your feelings and work on being your authentic self.

2.“First world problems”

For people who live in a first world country or community, then you’re likely to experience some first world problems, and that’s okay. Instead of listening to people who undermine your problem because it’s a stereotypical “first world problem”, push the shame aside and address those feelings to solve your problem. Yes, there are situations out there that are worse than your “first world” situation, but comparative suffering does not help, and it’s not fair to place all of that guilt on yourself when you’re already experiencing the feelings of being overwhelmed by your so-called “first world problems”. It is important to still maintain that empathy for other people and their problems and experiences, but you are also allowed to address your own problems without those added feelings of guilt and/or shame.

Managing the influence of this COVID-19 era

COVID-19 in society has caused many people to experience higher stress, among other feelings. Rising stress levels contribute to higher cortisol levels which, in turn, can change people’s eating habits. As a result, people’s bodies might be changing and not necessarily in the way they want them to. This is just one of the ways in which the current state of the world is influencing us, our minds, and our bodies.

Accept that the world is collectively experiencing one giant trauma, and it’s completely understandable that it’s going to take its toll. Even if you aren’t personally dealing with the virus and its repercussions on your health or your job or those of your loved ones, there is a general atmosphere of stress and tension, energy in the air that you are probably picking up. In these times, now more than ever, you need to prioritize self-care, such as practicing mindfulness. If you focus on living in the present moment and being mindful, you can return to a neutral space that is not overwhelming or stressful whenever you need to retreat. When you start to feel anxious or overwhelmed and your fight-or-flight reflexes start kicking in, you can ground yourself and focus on returning to that neutral, safe space. Start by focusing on your breathing, paying attention to your surroundings, and asking yourself simple questions. Check-in with your senses as a mindfulness exercise, and ask yourself:

  • Where are your feet?
  • What is around you?
  • Where are you right now?
  • What can you see?
  • What is real?

Useful links:

Kathryn Ily

Meet Kathryn Ely

I’m Kathryn Ely and at age 50, I’m enjoying my very best life. I spent years as a lawyer and then stay-at-home mom helping others go out into the world and live their best lives. While this was very important to me, I did not realize that I was losing myself in the process. I followed all of the “shoulds” like “women should always care for others” and “taking time for yourself is just selfish”.

As two of my children were getting ready to go out into the world I realized I was lost, without my next purpose, and it was scary. So I went back to school and over the course of several years, I not only found myself, but I designed the formula for women in midlife to achieve their most fulfilling lives. It is my mission to equip as many women as possible with this design and the tools to make this chapter of their lives the best chapter.

Thanks for listening!

Did you enjoy this podcast? Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media! You can also leave a review of the Imperfect Thriving Podcast on iTunes and subscribe!

Imperfect Thriving is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you thrive, imperfectly. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom Podcast, Beta Male Revolution, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

Podcast Transcription

[KATHRYN]:
Welcome to Imperfect Thriving Episode 30. Today, I have Mary Hyatt, a Life and Business Mindset coach and fellow Southerner out in Nashville. If you’ve ever struggled with body image and acceptance of yourself, then this is the episode for you, because Mary shares her “come to Jesus” moment that changed her life, how to begin healing from trauma, and how acceptance can change how we look at ourselves and our bodies.

Welcome to the Imperfect Thriving podcast, for all of us women in midlife to discover your self-limiting beliefs, determine exactly what you want your life to look like, and the imperfect actions to get you there.

[MARY]:
For everyone listening, it’s sort of like giving ourselves permission to go through this in whatever way that we’re gonna need to go through it, and that it doesn’t have to follow anybody else’s journey, or look like the way anybody else is processing it, like, you get to go through it the way you need to go through it. So, that’s kind of first and foremost.

[KATHRYN]:
Have you gone to imperfecthriving.com to pick up your Blueprint to Thrive yet? The Blueprint to Thrive is a nine-part, free email course that I designed based on the therapy and coaching that I do with my clients in office. So, it is a proven method that can take you from being unsatisfied and unfulfilled to being so much happier and more fulfilled in all different domains of your life. So, it’s there for you at imperfectthriving.com when you’re ready. And have you joined the Imperfect Thriving Facebook group? This is a group where I provide information and post (inaudible) to help improve all the eight domains of your life, and it’s a group of people who are there to lift each other up and nudge each other to our best lives. So, that’s the Imperfect Thriving Facebook group.

Now, if you’ve ever struggled with body images and how you see yourself, you’re definitely not alone. Right? It’s really easy to do because, as women, when we are bombarded from a very young age with photographs and magazines, on the television, on movie screens, of what the ultimate, perfect, desirable woman should look like… And, just like every other domain in our lives, if we are going to hold ourselves to the standard of perfection, we are going to be miserable. And that’s where Mary Hyatt comes in. Mary has been on her own self-acceptance and body journey and has become a coach for others and she shares her journey with us today. Mary is a life and business mindset coach who specializes in helping high-achieving, female entrepreneurs move from living a life of burnout to a life where they’re connected to their emotions, their body, and their spirit. She helps bring one-on-one and group coaching clients back to their enoughness, wholeness, and femininity. And Mary is the host of the Living Fully Alive podcast.

[KATHRYN]:
Today we have Mary Hyatt on the show. Mary Hyatt is a life and business mindset coach who specializes in helping high-achieving, female entrepreneurs move from living a life of burnout to a life where they’re connected to their emotions, their body, and their spirit. She helps bring her one-on-one and group coaching clients back to their enoughness, wholeness, and femininity. Amen to that. Mary is the host of the Living Fully Alive podcast. Welcome to the show, Mary! I’m so glad to get to talk to you today.

[MARY]:
Hey, Catherine, I am just so excited to be here. It’s gonna be an awesome conversation.

[KATHRYN]:
I know, I can’t wait. So, I’d really love to start out with just learning more about your story, how you got to where you are today.

[MARY]:
Yeah. So, I am, like you mentioned, I’m a life and business mindset coach, and if you rewind the clock probably eight or nine years ago, now, my life was very different than what it is, but I feel like, for those of us who are entrepreneurs, typically the work that we do is a direct result of what it is that we have gone through in our own lives and our own journey, and that is definitely the case for me. So, when I was, gosh, in my early 20s, it was sort of when I went to through a, what I like to call… In the South, and I’m from Nashville, Tennessee, so I am, like, Southern through-and-through, and we call it a “come to Jesus” moment. Yes, we did. I had a big “come to Jesus” moment and kind of where I was when I had that moment is… I was 80 pounds heavier than I am now, I was dealing with, like, horrible and intense anxiety and depression to the point of suicidal thoughts, to the point I was really unable to function very well in my life. And, I also was dealing with a lot of medical issues, including autoimmune stuff and a lot of physical pain, and was just on every kind of medication you could imagine what it was for, nausea or pain or just sleeping or my depression. I was just doped up on all this stuff, and I felt like I was, what I would consider, like, the walking wounded, just at this place where I was numbed out, checked out, completely disassociated from my body, from my emotions, from life itself.

And so, my “come to Jesus” moment was this moment where I sort of caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror. And I had lived in a house where I didn’t have full length mirrors, like, I had just made this agreement that I did not want to see my body at all. But I caught my glimpse of my body in a mirror, and all I could see, I could recognize, were my eyes, and I had this moment of sort of looking at myself going, Oh, God, there has got to be more to life than this, than surviving this, completely just devoid of any kind of joy or aliveness. And in that moment… and of course, it always takes more than just one moment. But in that moment, there was this sort of, like, agreement that I made with myself to figure out where I had lost myself, to figure out a way to come back home to my authentic self. The truth was I didn’t even know who that was. I mean, I had spent so many years wearing masks, and in the South being taught to be the ‘good girl’, and I didn’t even know where to begin, but what I did know is I’m probably not the first person that’s been on this journey. So, I ended up going on Amazon and ordering like 20 different self-development, self-help books, and I had always been really interested in psychology, I was a psychology major and in college, and so, I was bent in this way, but I had to do my own work first. So I embarked on this beautiful journey of coming back home to myself, and learning how to make peace with my body, my emotions, the truest form of who I was, and, through many, many steps, eventually led me into this coaching path that I’m on today, and to help other women who are dealing with this kind of burnout and exhaustion and just, you know, sort of living a fraction of who they were created to be, and helping women now come back home to the fullest version of who they really are.

[KATHRYN]:
I absolutely love that. And we’re very kindred spirits in that way. I didn’t go through exactly what you went through, but I sort of had a “come to Jesus” with myself when I went back to school for counseling, and realized that I had been living for 46 years with great anxiety.

[MARY]:
Yeah.

[KATHRYN]:
I didn’t understand it, realize it, and how it limited me. So, I can appreciate a lot of what you said in this story. So, how did you pull yourself after reading however many of those books that you read? What worked for you? What stuck with you and led you down the path to want to share that and be a coach of other women?

[MARY]:
Yeah. Well, I think the most powerful thing and piece of my journey was coming back into my body. And I think anytime that, and you know this as a counselor, anytime the individual, and myself in this story, have experienced versions of trauma, we leave the body, we escape the body, we go to any other place that does not experience the pain, and the hurt, and the fear, and the anxiety of the said trauma. And I think it’s important to… and for the longest time, I didn’t think of it as trauma, you know, just sort of, like, Oh, these are just the hard things that have happened in my life, or these are challenges that I’ve experienced, and I’ve never really labeled it as trauma. And that limited me, because the expectation that I had on myself, that sort of admitting to and being honest about the severity of what was going on, I was able to sort of say, you know, it’s not that big of a deal, or other people are dealing with this, they’re able to get past it, they can handle it, you can handle this as well. And so, I sort of attached this pressure and shame into the equation, that I should be able to have sort of superhuman strength to just be able to handle it. And then the reality is that, what I’ve learned is, when we go through anything that’s challenging, whether it’s a ‘little t trauma’ that’s, you know, chronic over time, or whether it’s some big orchestrating event that’s sort of a ‘big T Trauma’, there are ways that we escape the pain of what we’re experiencing, whether it’s that, you know, chronic stress over time, dysfunctional relationship, like I said, you know, a real big event, we end up escaping.

And so, as I started to see that I was leaving in so many different ways, whether that was through compulsive eating and food to numb out the pain, whether that was through alcohol, whether that was through work and overworking and becoming a workaholic… Part of my journey, and sort of the first piece of the puzzle for me, was to come back to the body, like, to embody the part of myself that I had escaped before. And, for me, that required several different sorts of external things. But internally, it was about radical honesty. It was about getting really clear and honest with how I was actually feeling, because I had become a master at sort of, like, sidestepping, and jumping over, and sort of getting around the issue at hand, and sort of pretending, and being in denial that it really wasn’t as bad as maybe I thought it was. And so, that radical honesty piece was really the first piece of the puzzle of, like, saying, you know what, actually, this is really hard. This is really challenging. There’s some serious dysfunction happening in my life and traumatic instances that are going on here that we need to breathe some life into and admit and get honest, so that then we can work at processing through. But it sort of came back to, how can I come back into the present moment to my body? And start there.

[KATHRYN]:
Yes. So, I see this a lot with clients, and what I’m hearing from you is that you were telling yourself, this was not a big deal, so I should be able to handle it. But then these rush of feelings come on that tell you, like, this is not okay, so let’s do anything we can to avoid those big feelings.

[MARY]:
Yeah.

[KATHRYN]:
How do we avoid those feelings? Well, we avoid them with not very healthy ways, right?

[MARY]:
Exactly. And I think we’re all sort of prone to disassociate in specific ways. So, for some people, like I said, that’s going to our work. For some of us it is over giving, over helping, sort of becoming the martyr. For some of us that is looking like using food to check out or using it to experience pleasure when we kind of have a deficit of some of that self-care. But, you know, when I think about numbing, and I think about what I like to call, like, a buffering, right, between ourselves and the pain, creating a little bit of distance between what we’re experiencing. Each of us has, sort of, that well run path that we go through again and again and again to help us avoid and not have to deal with what we’re actually feeling, and it looks like stuffing, it looks like kind of burying those emotions. But, the reality is sort of like the beach ball analogy… It’s like, you got a beach ball, and you can press that underneath the water, and you can press and press and press and press as hard as you can, with as much force as you can, but eventually that beach ball is going to pop back up and hit you smack in the face. You know, it’s like, you can only avoid them for so long. And I think that’s where that sort of, like, radical “come to Jesus” moment is, like, no, this is real, and it’s okay that it’s real, and it’s okay that it’s hard, and it’s okay that I’m having a human experience, that I’m human, that I don’t have it all together, that there’s really no way to do this perfectly. So that is a great starting space.

[KATHRYN]:
I love that beach ball analogy, because it’s not only “is it going to pop back up?”, but what is happening when you’re spending all of your time and energy pushing it down?

[MARY]:
Yeah, it’s exhausting.

[KATHRYN]:
It’s exhausting. And we can’t be living our lives out in the world, we’re living our life in our head, right?

[MARY]:
Oh, yeah. I mean, it’s like, you think about this. I do a lot of work around body image and body acceptance, and I see this so often when women deal with this as it relates to their body. They’re so obsessed with their hatred of their body, and it kind of becomes this whole, you know, it takes on a life of its, a whole secondary problem, that they can’t focus on anything else in their life. It’s like, anything that takes us away from the present moment and gives us a relief, and sometimes that relief is in the form of shame and pain, like, it’s not necessarily that the relief is joy, or happiness. I mean, it’s just sort of, like, anything to distract. And sometimes we choose things that are painful to distract ourselves with; drama, dysfunctional relationships, unhealthy relationships with our body, with food, deprivation, starving, all of those kinds of things, is a way of trying to push that beach ball under the water. And there’s a way of focusing on the beach ball so much that you don’t even realize that it’s not about the beach ball at all. You know, it’s like, that’s kind of the secondary issue.

[KATHRYN]:
Yeah, yeah. So, along those lines, thinking about all that everyone has been going through recently, whether it’s been COVID, whether it’s been race relations, equality… All the things that are going on right now. I don’t know about you, but my emotions have been all over the place.

[MARY]:
Yeah.

[KATHRYN]:
How do you feel and process your emotions with everything that’s going on? And then maybe you can also share how our audience can use what you do to do the same.

[MARY]:
Yeah. Well, I think the first acknowledgement of sort of this journey of coming back to how we’re feeling, I mean, there’s so much fear oftentimes around what we’re feeling. It feels scary to admit that we’re feeling overwhelmed, or that we’re feeling anxious, or, I know that, at least for me, I went through a lot of grief during the beginning of COVID. We actually had a tornado hit in Nashville, right before everything went on lockdown, like two weeks before. And so, that was a very challenging experience. It was like three streets away from my house. And there’s a lot of grief, you know, all these places that I love to go to, were now closed. And now of course, with COVID, it’s, like, even more true. Our life as we know it is not the same, and the argument of whether that’s good or bad we’ll kind of save for another conversation, but just the fact that we’re experiencing a loss, experiencing sometimes very tangible loss, like loss of finances, loss of jobs, loss of our freedom, loss of the ability to kind of, you know, do whatever we want to do when we want to do it, or seeing people we love, loss of connection, like physical contact, physical touch, all of those things… I know it feels like a year since we were in the real strict part of COVID, you know, every week feels like a year. But if we rewind, you know, just a couple more months ago, there was, for me at least, a lot of grief. And if you think about all the stages of grief that you go through, you know, it’s multifaceted there, there are multiple experiences of that. And so, for me, it was being able and being willing to give myself permission to say, this is uncharted territory and I actually don’t know how to navigate through this in the way that maybe I could navigate just everyday stress, or things that pop up that maybe I’m more familiar with. And so, I think just sort of that permission of it’s okay to not know how to deal with this one.

[KATHRYN]:
Yeah.

[MARY]:
None of us have been through this particular thing before to the extent that we’re going through it. Even all the stuff that is coming up about race, and especially if you are white person, you’re experiencing a lot of knowledge that we’ve had the privilege to not know until now. And so, there’s a lot of uncharted territory that we’re walking through that feels overwhelming, and exhausting, and to sort of just make peace with, it’s okay that there’s confusion, that there’s sadness, that there is frustration, that there’s loneliness… And I think we have to start with that, like, that it is okay to feel however we’re feeling. Like, I don’t know if you’re listening to this if you’ve felt this yourself, but I know that, for me, at the beginning, there was a lot of pressure to kind of get it right. Like, I gotta make the most of this time. You know, I got to come out the other end of this with a thriving business, or a book that I’ve written, or a fit body, you know, it was some way of sort of utilizing this to my advantage. And what I sort of quickly found out was, like, Yeah, I don’t have the bandwidth for that. Like, I don’t actually have the energy. I’m, like, in the emotional journey of this. And so, I think that for everyone listening is sort of like giving ourselves permission to go through this in whatever way that we’re going to need to go through it, and that it doesn’t have to follow anybody else’s journey or look like the way anybody else is processing it, like, you get to go through it the way you need to go through it. So, that’s kind of first and foremost.

[KATHRYN]:
Okay, well, there were at least three different things I want to follow up on that I love that you said there. And the first is, you know, I think so often we think of grief only in association with death.

[MARY]:
Yeah.

[KATHRYN]:
We have to grieve all of our losses, anything that falls out of that picture that we have of what our life is, and what our life should be, we should give ourselves the space and the grace to grieve it. So, I love that you said that. The second thing is the giving ourselves the permission not to have the roadmap for this for our actions or our emotions, because I think when we give ourselves permission, we drop expectations. And I think expectations are the killer, right?

[MARY]:
Totally. Yes.

[KATHRYN]:
And then, to allow ourselves to feel whatever it is we feel.

[MARY]:
Yeah.

[KATHRYN]:
So, that sort of 3-piece process, and not necessarily in that order, of grieving what you don’t have any more that you’re gonna miss, giving yourself permission, and letting yourself feel however you feel.

[MARY]:
Yeah. It’s so valuable to bring in tenderness and compassion and gentleness into the equation. I mean, I think sometimes there’s this idea that, as adults, we’re supposed to sort of just grit our teeth and bear it and just go through it. And if we have any response to what’s happening, then it makes us weak, you know, especially as women we get this message, you know, to not be too emotional. And I think that I’ve sort of had this going around the sun and coming back again moment, or it’s, like, actually, our ability to be really present for what we’re feeling is one of the healthiest, wisest, most mature things that we can do, actually. Where we can say, “this is really hard”. Like, even – I know, this is like 100% first world problems – and I was having a group coaching call earlier today, and one of my clients in my group coaching, she said, “Okay, first world problem, however…” and I said, “Well, guess what, we’re in the first world, so you can have a first world problem! Like, first of all, let’s not add shame to it, you’re feeling it so it’s okay. But it’s sort of, like, that moment where, you know, we couldn’t go out to eat anymore, and we had to cook everything at home. I don’t know about you, but I go out to eat a lot. I’m in Nashville, it’s a super social place, so I don’t do a ton of home cooking. And there was this moment where I was just feeling really exhausted by having to, now, a new routine of having to cook all my meals at home, do dishes three times a day, do meal planning, go to the grocery store, kind of, have a whole new category in my life that I was giving more attention to and I was feeling exhausted by that. And it was interesting to kind of witness and observe my response to that because, at the beginning, I thought, oh my god, like, “suck it up! Is it that hard?” You know, kind of getting to that first world problem. “Is it that big of a deal? You can’t go out to eat?” Like, if that’s the worst thing that this is about, like, you know, quote unquote, “Cry me a river”, like, get over it. And I think that we do this to ourselves so often, this idea of, “just get over it”, “suck it up”. That languaging internally…

[KATHRYN]:
“You should be able to handle this.”

[MARY]:
Exactly. And I think something that’s just been so healing for me is just, sort of, being able to give voice to whatever it is that I’m feeling. Now, there’s a difference between feeling and ruminating.

[KATHRYN]:
Yes.

[MARY]:
I think that there comes a point where you go, Okay, this is hard. But, you know what, truth is, I can do hard things, and I can move myself through this and get to the other side of it, and choose things that are healthy, or implement some new self-care that I might be needing with this new emotional experience I’m feeling. But I think to try to, like, pretend that Oh, this isn’t that big of a deal, or I’ll be fine, or I just need to, like, get over it, to me, is just a shame conversation. It just adds shame into the mix which really isn’t helpful. So, I think being able to say, like, you know, Yeah, it is actually really hard that I had to cook at home. And yeah, I’m gonna get over it. Yeah, we’ll be able to be fine. And you know, it’s not going to really be a huge, huge thing, but right now, I’m just frickin’ tired. And I want a break.

[KATHRYN]:
I hear ya! Oh my gosh, yes. And even as a counselor who helps clients with that very same thing all day long, I was feeling that same first world problem, and beating myself up for having it. We had two college kids come home, another teenager at home, and one of my daughter’s friends came home to us to stay for the full shut down. So, I had four mouths to feed in addition to mine, my husband’s, and my two dogs, and three of them were swimmers, so you might as well add three more people. So, it was like I was feeding nine people every day.

[MARY]:
Gosh, yeah.

[KATHRYN]:
And it was in the forefront of my mind every single day… “Do I have enough food?” And, on one hand, it made me very much feel for people who are in a position that they don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

[MARY]:
Yeah.

[KATHRYN]:
But I also found it wasn’t helpful to put that all of that guilt on me because I could provide the food.

[MARY]:
Right

[KATHRYN]:
It’s more of, let that motivate me to help someone else, but not beat myself up for it.

[MARY]:
Well, yeah, you know, it’s like, it gets really tricky, I think, when we get into the game of comparative suffering. And we start saying, Well, I don’t have it as bad off, so and so. Or at least I don’t have Corona. Or at least I still have my job, or whatever it is. And we start sort of making these ways in which we say, Okay, well, I shouldn’t probably be feeling what I’m feeling because it’s not as bad as so and so again, introducing shame. Introducing that feeling of, man, I got to get it together, and I’m obviously not doing enough, or I’m complaining too much, or whatever. I think the beautiful thing, and what you’re saying, Kathryn, is like, Oh, I can simultaneously be feeling like this is a lot, and give myself the validation that yes, this is a lot, and simultaneously allow that to increase my empathy for other people who are going through something that is challenging as well. Again, maybe more or less, but we don’t have to put the comparison to it, but just saying, Yeah, there are other people who worry about this every day. And now I have just entered into a space that has cultivated more empathy. And so how can I use that empathy to then go in and create some connection, take action, create change? And that’s when we look at something and it becomes empowering, versus disempowering, because if we stay in the place of well, it’s not so bad, it’s not as bad as so and so or, you know, I’m not you know, when growing up there was the ‘Clean Plate Club’, which was, Hey, there are children starving in Africa so you need to finish all the food on your plate. And it’s sort of, like, well, does it really actually matter the food that is on my plate today? No. But when we can use that to increase our levels of empathy, and then decide, well, maybe I want to go over and help some of these less fortunate people, or contribute or donate or do something in a way of action, of social justice, sure. But to be in the conversation where we just kind of feel bad about ourselves that we’re not that bad off, it paralyzes us and then we don’t really do anything.

[KATHRYN]:
It really does. That negative reinforcement breeds inaction, whereas treating yourself with flexibility, forgiveness, and allowing yourself the space to feel what you feel is positive reinforcement, which breeds action. So, I totally agree with that. There are so many things that I want to talk to you about. And one of them is about, you know, you said you were 80 pounds heavier, and really, like, leaving your body. And I know a lot of people are struggling right now, you know, their stress is up from COVID and everything else, therefore their cortisol levels are up, therefore they’re eating differently, they’re gaining weight… Whatever is going on right now is affecting that. How do you stay in your body right now and help your clients do the same?

[MARY]:
Yeah, it’s such an interesting time because, whereas typically, you know, you may be in a season of life where maybe you’re going through a divorce, maybe you are experiencing a loss of a job or stress at your job, or something’s happening with your children… There’s sort of these seasons that we have, these peaks and valleys. And it’s interesting to be in a time in history where, collectively, universally, all of us are sort of going through this, like, one giant trauma, one giant, collective grieving, and you can feel it. I mean, it’s, like, palpable in the air and it just, it’s interesting, it kind of keeps reiterating itself and having different reiterations of, of this this collective grieving I mean, now we’re kind of, you know, going from one thing to the next now we’re in the sort of social injustice piece of it. And so of course, that is going to take a toll on your body, like, not only if you’re dealing with it personally, like, maybe you still have your job intact. Maybe you know, you haven’t been super affected by somebody you know, who’s been diagnosed with COVID. But, collectively, we are picking up on that energy, from a human-to-human, in-the-air kind of way. And so, when that is happening, to me, it is so important and so much more of a necessity and not just a luxury – where maybe we thought about self-care before as, maybe, oh, I’ll get around to it if I had the time, or something I should put on my goal list – to me, now, it’s like, no, no, this is, like, a non-negotiable? Yes, this has to be a line item that comes before pretty much anything else, just because we’re being so taxed in our nervous system, kind of from all different fronts, all different levels…

And so, to me, that coming back home to our body looks like grounding. And, if you think about it, if so much of our energy is on social media, is listening to the news, is scrolling and reading and digesting all of this content and information, our nervous system… it’s like having our foot down on the gas pedal at 90 miles an hour, we’re running hot. So, when that happens, we are operating from the part of our brain that is our fight, flight, or freeze. It’s our reptilian part of the brain. So, our ability to make good decisions, that sort of, like, higher-executive-functioning, frontal lobe part of the brain is sort of offline right now, like, we’re in survival mode, just get through. And so, when that’s happening, when our nervous system is, like, fully activated, and we’re running on cortisol and adrenaline, to me, grounding gets us sort of back to a place of neutral, maybe not like totally recovered, but at least we’re not in, fourth and fifth gear, and we can kind of come back to a space of neutral.

And so, to me, one of the quickest ways to do that is coming into the present moment. And so, for my clients, what that looks like is, having those moments of mindfulness where it’s as simple as ‘find your feet’. So, one of the things that I love to help my clients with is saying like, “Where are you?” because, typically, in this hyper-aroused state, our brain is anywhere but where we are physically. So, we are in worst-case-scenario-thinking, we are in Doomsday-thinking, we are in the fear loop, and we’re just playing out all that stuff. So, to say, “Where are my feet?” meaning “where am I actually right now?”, “What is around me?”, “What can I see?” “What is real?” Because if you think about all this other stuff, all the mind chatter, all the fear, all the anxiety, it’s sort of, like, that it’s real. It feels real, but it’s not true. And what’s true is, I am, right now, sitting in my office on this call. Right now, I am safe. Right now, my belly is full. Right now, I might be a little bit thirsty. Right now, I can feel heat in my body, under my armpits, you know, I’ve got that energy going. Right now, I’ve got a little pain in my lower back from sitting in this chair all day. But it’s like coming back into what is real, right here, right now. And usually that looks like, again, finding your feet, noticing your surroundings, and then pausing to breathe. That breath is like when we’re in stress, it’s shallow breathing. It’s quick breathing. And so, when we come into the present moment and just give ourselves permission to just, like, literally, take three deep breaths in, fully expanding the belly, expanding the lungs, exhaling fully, bringing the navel into the spine. Just three breaths, it’s like a reset button. And so, to me, the breath is the invitation back into the body, and the present moment is the invitation back to life. So, it requires for me presence and breathing, and that helps us become more embodied.

[KATHRYN]:
Yes, I love that, and I completely agree. I do a very similar mindfulness exercise with my clients and I just say, if you’re everywhere and you’re going through all those negative ‘what-ifs’ in your head that can happen, check in with all your senses.

[MARY]:
Yeah.

[KATHRYN]:
What can you smell? What can you see? What can you feel? And that can pull you back out to the present. So, I could not agree more. I hear that you have something wonderful that you want to share with our audience? A gift for them?

[MARY]:
Yes! Well, one of the things that I’ve created specifically for this time is an Anxiety Recovery Kit. So, I am a Kundalini yoga instructor and a certified hypnotherapist, in addition to my coaching practice that I have. And so, one of my favorite things to do is offer guided meditations. So, I created an Anxiety Recovery Kit that includes three different guided meditations to help you recover from stress and anxiety, including one for panic attacks. So, if you suffer from that it’s a great resource. And then, I also have a short breathing exercise that is a breathing technique to immediately lower your cortisol levels. And then, I also have, inside of this kit, my favorite essential oil blend recipes specifically created for anxiety and stress. And so, all of that you can get, totally for free, my gift for you. And it’s at maryhyatt.com/recoverykit. You can snag all those meditations in the recovery kit.

[KATHRYN]:
Oh, thank you so much. I hope everybody takes advantage of that. That’s an awesome gift. But I do want to ask you, this is completely off anything that we’ve already talked about… I want to know what it’s like to be hypnotized and what you do with that with your clients? Like I think that’s really cool, and I don’t know much about it.

[MARY]:
Yeah, you know, it’s a fascinating technique, because I think the misconception is that it’s, like, the person going on stage, and you think about the, sort of, Las Vegas hypnotists, you know, it’s like, you know, getting people to do stupid things, and walk around in their underwear, and just, sort of, be out of control. And so, I had to kind of get over that, because like, I’m really not interested in that. But what I learned is that being a hypnotherapist is very different. It really is using the techniques and your language. So, hypnotherapy is conversational. So, there’s no having your client be out of control, or being, you know, in a place where they can’t think about what they’re saying… it’s actually just a conversation like you and I could have at any kind of moment, but we’re in a place where we’re able to access our unconscious mind. And, to me, all of the answers to life’s problems are in our subconscious, are in that part of our brain that, when our critical mind is online, we can’t access it. It’s sort of, like, we bypass the subconscious when we have the critical mind in full throttle. So, hypnotherapy is a way to, sort of, turn the critical mind off, the one that’s analyzing and interpreting and kind of thinking about what we say before we say it… And hypnotherapy, kind of using the technique of guiding people through visualization, or asking questions in a way that bypass that critical mind, can get to the heart of the matter, get to the solution that is in the subconscious mind. And it’s really powerful so if you know anything about NLP, or neurolinguistic programming, it’s very similar to that and it’s that you’re using phrases and language to get past the conscious and into the unconscious mind.

[KATHRYN]:
Okay, that’s super cool. I want to know more about that for sure. And I could definitely talk to you all day long, but as we wrap up our time together, I conclude every podcast… Well, first, where can everybody find more about you?

[MARY]:
Yeah. So, my website is just maryhyatt.com. Definitely check that out. I’ve got all my social links there, my recording of the podcast, the Living Fully Alive podcast that comes out every single week, is there on the website. So, that’s like the easiest place to go. And then, definitely, if you’re on Instagram, connect with me there. I love chatting in the DMs. So, follow me, send me a message, let me know you heard this episode, and I’d love to talk with you. It’s just Mary G, like Grace, Mary G Hyatt @maryghyatt.

[KATHRYN]:
Perfect. Now, back to the question that I like to wrap up the podcast with is, what do you recommend, what is one imperfect action that you would recommend that we all do today that would get us a little bit closer to our best lives?

[MARY]:
So, my favorite exercise is so easy and so simple, I do this multiple times a day, is putting a hand on the heart, taking in a deep breath, and asking ourselves “what do I need?” So, you close your eyes and you really connect with that part of yourself that, again, sort of, knows all, the all-wise version of yourself, and just slowing down to take that mental, emotional, spiritual check-in. What do I need? So often we’re running so fast, and we’re doing so many different things, multitasking, to have that sacred pause, to ask ourselves “what do I need?” will allow us to really move ourselves to that life that we deeply want and desire. It’s sort of like our barometer. And that simple check-in; hand on heart, deep breath, what do I need? and really pausing to listen without judgment, without needing it to be any different, without critiquing it, just letting whatever answer pops up, pop up. That is a powerful place to begin, and then honoring whatever answer you receive.

[KATHRYN]:
Well, I absolutely love that. Thank you so much, Mary, for being on the show today.

[MARY]:
Thanks so much for having me.

[KATHRYN]:
Loved this conversation. So, I just want to reiterate to y’all what Mary has suggested that we do today, and I was actually doing it, you can’t see me, but while she was explaining it… put your hand on your heart, close your eyes, give yourself a minute and the grace to ask yourself what you need Especially as women, we tend to focus on everyone else’s needs and put ours on the backseat, and what that teaches us is that we’re not as valuable as everyone else, that we don’t matter as much as everyone else. So, not only will this help you check in with what you actually need, it’s positive reinforcement for understanding your worth and your value. So, until next week, go out and take imperfect action, and we’ll see you right back here.

[KATHRYN]:
Imperfect Thriving is a part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you thrive imperfectly. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom podcast, Beta Male Revolution, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network. If you love this podcast, will you rate and review it on iTunes or your favorite podcast player? Also, I have a free nine-part Blueprint to Thrive email course. It’s a step-by-step guide to find out what you want your life to look like, exactly what’s holding you back, and how to get to that life you want. Head on over to www.imperfectthriving.com/course to get the course today.

[KATHRYN]:
This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information with regards to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, Practice of the Practice, or guests are providing legal, mental health, or other professional information. If you need a professional, I encourage you to reach out to one.

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About Kathryn

I’ve created Imperfect Thriving to help you get back to who you really are, and live your best life possible, imperfectly.

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