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Altschmerz, Tonglen, and Trusting Ourselves


I am by nature a very upbeat person. Those that know me will tell you I’m optimistic, and probably even folks who don’t know me but can tell…I am wired to see the good in people and situations, and that I have a positive energy that can give the Energizer Bunny a run for his money. In fact, this upbeat, we-can-do-this outlook can be too much for some. My mom once remarked after having too much of my trying to reframe what to her was a hopeless situation, “Well, we can’t all have rainbows and unicorns fallin’ out our assholes, Natalie.”

Oh. Well. OK. NEXT!

This insistence that I am living in a beautiful world full of amazingly beautiful people with beautiful opportunities for growth and love and connection! certainly doesn’t mean I haven’t acted negatively or experienced struggle or extended periods of pretty serious doom and gloom. Being quick to give others the benefit of the doubt has gotten me upside down in many cases, and more times than I can count, I’ve found myself in uncomfortable situations where no amount of positivity or rainbow glitter was going to do any good. I’ve had to learn to establish boundaries, recognize red flags, and keep a hand on the dial of my energy to avoid exhausting myself in the pursuit of good.

Good stuff. I like good stuff. Good humor, good conversation, good vibes. The desire to find good in my life is what gets me up every morning, makes me a better person, a partner, a mom, a good friend. 

I have to say, though. It’s been tough lately to keep my chin up. Especially since COVID when it felt like something seriously shifted in the universe. I understand from my teachers and sisters and brothers in healing circles that we are in a period of intense change in humanity. Look outside. Look online. Look locally and nationally and globally.  There’s some serious shit going down.

So keeping our shit together, as individuals, as a community, as a collective across time zones, is requiring us to dig deeper, have greater compassion, and trust more than ever before. Hackers, kidnappers, war. A volatile situation brewing in our government. Guns, drugs, and attacks on character and the planet on which we live. Women’s rights, human rights and access to care, a safe place to sleep, food, education…The stress from uncertainty in today's world has many of us feeling drained, worried, or even hopeless. Navigating our way through the day and keeping it REAL when everywhere we look we’re tempted with loaded headlines and soundbites of reasons to run and hide is…well…HARD.

That's why I’m grateful to have connections like my guest, Ariana Friedlander, MPA, founder and principal of Rosabella Consulting. Ariana is an organizational anthropologist, a leadership development expert, and an author. As well, she is a master facilitator, coach, speaker, Certified Conversational Intelligence® Coach, certified HeartMath mentor, and a trained Breathwork practitioner.

Ariana is someone with whom I can think out loud about hard questions and know I’m going to get an honest perspective. In this episode, she and I tackle topics worth listening in on, including:

🚨 Trauma response: when you don't recognize yourself

🍬 Oh sweetie: climbing out of Altschmerz and the same ol' shitty sitch

💑 Tonglen and the global vibration of Heartmath

🫥 Circumstances of self-awareness, interpreting thoughts as facts vs perception

💔 Where we are at: a global emotional recession, (dis)trusting ourselves

💡 A brilliant idea: connecting with Ariana as a client

Connect: LinkedIn



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