Episode 81 (Season 2: Ep 1)
Welcome to Season 2 of the Freedom from Empty Podcast: Building Strong, Effective, Resilient Leaders, Entrepreneurs, and Humans. My name is Booth Andrews, and I am your host. Thank you so much for joining me for this episode.
The last time I published an episode of this podcast was February 24, 2022.
I didn’t set out to take an almost 20 month hiatus. But here we are.
That last episode was about my experience of losing my voice as the victim of childhood abuse.
Not the literal sound created by my voice box, but the voice of the parts of me who were not safe to be seen or heard.
I talked about the early stages of my journey in reclaiming that voice.
I talked about becoming aware that I was holding back–that my body was holding back–and not being quite sure how to bring forth what wanted to come into the light.
And I shared some gentle rewrites of some of the unhelpful scripts that had been running in my head (both conscious and unconscious) for most of my life.
I actually just went back and reread that transcript–because I often don’t remember everything that I write–and, if it isn’t triggering for you, I encourage you to go back and listen to it too.
As I sit here now, writing this episode, I can see how the path I have been on for this last 20ish months has been the continuation of the questions I was asking then.
How can I continue to reclaim my voice?
What parts of me are longing to be seen and heard but are too afraid?
What stories are ready to be told?
What does it look like to step more fully into all that I am and all that I have to share with the world?
What does it look like to thrive–to fully expand into the experience of being alive–beyond sheer survival or those early stages of my healing journey when just the fundamentals felt like an enormous lift?
And how can I release the ironclad grip of my own body that is holding me back?
Just over two months after that episode was released, the primary abuser of my childhood story, who I talked about in that episode, passed away.
Almost 50 years into my journey on this planet, the last of my “three parents” left this dimension, and that part of my story came to a close (at least in the physical plane). I say “three parents” because this caregiver spent more time with me as a child than my own parents, and she was as impactful on me as a parent, for better and for worse.
It felt like a complex tapestry, woven over the course of decades by these three humans, was now complete.
It felt like freedom. It felt untethered. It felt like an opportunity to grieve all that could have been and all that was.
It felt like everything all at once.
I also hosted my first group coaching programs last year and was reminded how much I enjoy holding space for people and helping them get unstuck–whether that stuck is a lack of “know-how” or something deeper that needs to be heard, witnessed, acknowledged, held and honored.
And I had the opportunity to do some speaking engagements for my largest corporate clients to date.
In September of last year I had the opportunity to visit a college friend in the South of France. It was other-worldly in terms of how much of a departure it was from my daily life.
And I was reminded how exciting, fun, memory-making, and good for us it can be to go on a grand adventure to places you have never been.
In November last year, I co-hosted my first retreat for women entrepreneurs with Catherine Porth. It felt so expansive to my nervous system.
And then, there was contraction. I was sick for most of the rest of November.
I spent most of December and January in a trauma loop around resources.
And since “October me” knew something that “December and January me” did not know when I signed up, I spent February through June in Ana Kinkela’s Nectar program: a nervous system healing and expansion program focused on expanding your receiving capacity with money.
That program has been so impactful for me in shifting the way my body is holding (or releasing) the nervous system patterns that have been keeping me stuck and sparking my capacity to expand more fully into my whole self that I have decided to become certified in Ana’s methodology for nervous system healing and expansion. More on that in a minute.
In July of this year, the most formative person in my adult professional life passed away unexpectedly. He was someone who poured gasoline on the flames of my perfectionist tendencies in extraordinarily unhealthy ways and also someone who came to my aid in some of my darkest moments.
Through it all, I haven’t had much to say in terms of podcasts, or newsletters, or instagram posts with the exception of pretty targeted communications with a narrow scope.
Not things that would require me to pull the threads of all that was going on in my body and mind into some form of coherent, transmissible message. Thank goodness that I have help with social media or I probably would have disappeared from the online space altogether.
I have been in the messy middle. Again.
At this point, I have found myself there often enough that it is easier to recognize it. And to be less afraid of this part of the cycle of healing and growth.
I have learned to hold myself through it. Gently, with care and self-compassion.
Allowing the process to take as long as it takes. Not trying to rush things. Holding very lightly to the “shoulds” or dismissing them altogether.
Doing the things that I know are fundamental to my well-being . . . like sleep, water, and food (thanks to my nutrition coach who helps me stay fueled with her own measure of gentle accountability because I am still trying to rewire the pattern where I default to not eating when I am stressed, anxious or overwhelmed).
I have been using my nervous system support tools and practices like app-supported meditation, spending lots of time outside walking the dog, going to the gym when my body is up to it, having at least a couple of mornings a week that I don’t have to rush out the door, time alone (which is getting easier to find as my youngest hits adolescence), and silence even if that just means turning the radio off in the car.
Narrowing the field of possibilities for all of the other ways I “could” spend my time, and focusing only on the few things that truly need to get done–generally because I made a commitment to someone else. But even renegotiating those commitments (or at least the delivery timeline) when my actual capacity isn’t the same as my imagined capacity.
Trusting that I WILL come out the other side and that I will not be in the mucky messy middle forever. But knowing that I am not really in charge of the process and giving myself over to it will make it more easeful even when it isn’t easy.
More healing and expansion is coming (and with it contraction, release, composting, reseeding and rebirth that is a natural part of this process).
And I am both excited and a little afraid. Because I know, for me at least, healing and expansion over this last 20 months (or 8 years but who’s counting) has sometimes felt like a full time job.
In my guest episode on the She Speaks Podcast with Catherine Porth, we talked about how Catherine uses her younger self as a touchstone, by asking, would her younger self be proud? And I remember sharing that, for me, because the abuse started so young, I don’t (yet) feel like I know for sure who that younger self was; before the world got its hands on her and told her who she could and couldn’t be to be safe and earn the love she so desperately needed (but was always just out of reach, seemingly due to her own failures and shortcomings).
As I started listening to some of the content included in the upcoming certification program, I texted Catherine. “I think I am going to get to MEET ME.”
Because I have learned that we splinter ourselves to be safe. And as our nervous system does exactly what it was designed to do, we can lose access to certain parts of ourselves without even being consciously aware of what we have lost.
I have engaged in a lot of intentional work to co-create the conditions in which those parts of me can be rediscovered and reintegrated. But part of me knows that work is not yet complete.
Maybe it will never be complete in this lifetime. And still, I am committed to doing everything I can to reclaim that precious soul who arrived here with a unique set of gifts and qualities to share with the world and the capacity to experience the full breadth and depth of being human.
Can ya’ll imagine how much “good trouble” (and fun) I can be as I feel even better and am more fully embodied and alive than I am now?!?! I get a mischievous grin on my face just thinking about it.
Because I know what I know, it would be disingenuous for me to make an ironclad promise or guarantees about content production. Particularly since I will be continuing to do some pretty intensive nervous system healing and expansion work for the foreseeable future.
And still, my intention with this season of the podcast is to publish 8 episodes over the next 4 months or so (so please hit subscribe or follow now so you don’t miss any!).
Some other business updates . . .
You can now find my 1:1 coaching options on my website at boothandrews.com/coaching.
I launched a texting subscription called Phone Booth! For less than $2/week you can receive well-being tips, gentle nudges and reminders to breathe delivered straight to your cell phone. No spam. And if you reply, I will reply back to you! It’s like having a self-care angel on your shoulder. Monthly and annual subscriptions are available at boothandrews.com/phone-booth.
And I don’t yet know if I will be offering a group coaching program next year, but I do plan to host one or more retreats! These retreats will be curated for women leaders, entrepreneurs and visionaries. If you want to make sure you receive an invite when they are available, you can sign up for the waiting list at boothandrews.com/retreats.
Thank you for listening today.
If you haven’t already, please hit subscribe or follow and remember to rate this podcast wherever you listen to podcasts. When you subscribe and rate, you make it easier for other people to find this content.
I look forward to being back with you next time!