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The Secret Fears That Keep Us Sick & Struggling – And How to Heal

“You’re going to grow up, go to college, and not depend on a man!”

This was the message my mom started programming me with from a young age… 6, 7, 8 years old… born out of her trauma of struggling in a marriage where there was never enough money  to cover our family expenses, married to a man who thought it was “women’s work” to help out at home with the kids, housekeeping and shopping.

Growing up, my mom was a strong woman … SUPER woman, who did it all raising 4 kids:  worked full time, managed our finances, kept up the house, handled all the shopping, helped us with our homework, took us to church.

She carried a heavy load, and as the firstborn, I was mom’s little helper, taking care of my siblings, making sure everyone did their chores and lightening mom’s load wherever I could.

My mom’s grandmother (my great-grandmother) was married to an entrepreneur.  He owned a furrier in downtown Columbus, Ohio, and they were a very affluent family of six children.

In 1934, her husband died of double pneumonia, and the townsfolk offered to take the kids in…

That was the only way that the family typically survived in those days, separated.   

In the 1930s, there were no single mothers or female entrepreneurs, yet my great-grandmother asked the man helping her husband run the business to stay on and she took over, running the business and raising six kids alone…

Growing up, I’ve seen my grandma and mom display the same grit, strength and courage… we’re all imprinted to take care of everyone and do what it takes to survive.

I was raised to take care of everyone … to be a problem-solver, to give selflessly and to act independently, so as not to burden others.

In the waiting room before my second surgery to fix a prior one that almost cost me my life, I was alone and scared.  I hadn’t told any of my friends what was happening with my health and felt so uncomfortable asking for support…

But I needed someone to be there with me.

I was scared that if I reached out for help, I might be a burden.  People are busy… I typically don’t need anyone’s help … 

I was afraid to reach out – I was embarrassed to NEED support!

This belief that I shouldn’t need help showed up a lot in my life… 

I didn’t know it at the time, but it was keeping me stuck in patterns that weren’t serving me.  

I started cycling through burnout after these surgeries… my body just wasn’t as resilient as it had been, and I realized I had some deeper healing to do.

In this interview, Cory and I  talk about how high-performing women can learn to cultivate the vulnerability that is required so we get the support we need to heal and thrive in our lives.  

We don’t have to suffer in silence and isolation… we can embrace the deep work of deconditioning and show up in a way that allows others to support us. 

This was a very emotional interview for me… and I’m so excited to share some of this magic with you!

"The nervous system doesn't seek out what it wants; it seeks out what's familiar."
-Cory Muscara

ABOUT Cory Muscara

Cory Muscara is a former monk, host of the Practicing Human podcast, and bestselling author of the book, Stop Missing Your Life.

With over 500K followers across his social media channels, Cory has gained popularity for his down-to-earth, engaging and accessible teachings on mindfulness, wellbeing and mental health.

He has taught Mindful Leadership at Columbia University, is an instructor of Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and for the last ten years has offered mindfulness keynotes, workshops and retreats around the world to companies like Bank of America, Prudential, Johnson & Johnson, Principal, Travelers, BlackRock and more.

Named by Dr. Oz as one of the nation’s leading experts in mindfulness, Cory’s meditations have been heard more than 25 million times in over 150 countries. His goal is to share wisdom teachings in a practical and accessible way.

resources mentioned

Subscribe to free text messages on mindfulness, mental health and mindsetSend the word MISTY to (631) 305-2874.

Timestamps

  • [03:17]
    The turning point in a high-performing woman’s life that made her take a 90° shift towards vulnerability
  • [05:15]
    Tricky reason why most women are more inclined to give than to receive
  • [08:19]
    The foundation of transformative work and how to find the path to get there
  • [10:27]
    Where isolation and misplaced independence at adulthood may come from and how to heal these tricky patterns
  • [14:23]
    The response you’re afraid to hear when you ask for help
  • [16:02]
    FACT: Why it’s easier to ask for support from people you barely know than from those you have intimate relationships with
  • [16:33]
    The critical role of community in your journey to vulnerability and where to find these support groups
  • [17:57]
    The pain we’re trying to avoid within existing relationships when we begin deconditioning from taking on too much responsibility
  • [23:28]
    3 Practical ways to grow out of reacting subconsciously and start responding with intention
  • [27:00]
    10 minute morning habit that will help you create a safe space to be vulnerable
  • [30:39]
    How to reconnect and trigger a conversation with your younger self to escape a cycle of self sabotage
  • [34:03]
    The one and only person who can give you permission to break apart from isolation and silence to thrive
  • [36:24]
    The art of making people understand and acknowledge your experience and vice versa to create a support system
  • [41:12]
    3 FREE ways to get practical healing strategies for your body, relationships and al aspects of your life!

Transcript

Misty Williams  00:01

Hey, sister, this is Misty Williams, founder of healing rosie.com. And I’m so excited to welcome you to Rosie radio, tune in to find clarity, direction and hope for your healing. New episodes drop every Tuesday, we created this show to empower you to regain control of your life and feel like yourself again. Yes, sister, it is possible. 

Misty Williams  00:21

All right, super excited to have my friend Cory Muscara back with me today on Rosie radio, I interviewed him for an event I did a couple years ago. Your best sleep ever, we were diving into the topic of sleep. 

Misty Williams  00:32

And one of the things that I got really present to you while I was doing interviews for that event was how important it was for people to not only consider what they do in that span before bed to sleep, but our parasympathetic nervous system, especially in the western world is often so locked up like we get so stuck in the sympathetic side of our nervous system that we have a hard time even accessing the parasympathetic to begin to move us in the direction of being able to sleep and unwind. 

Misty Williams  01:02

And for a lot of us, when we think of dealing with a lot of stress carrying a heavy burden of stress. We think, I need to get more sleep, I should take better care of myself. 

Misty Williams  01:11

But there’s really a bigger conversation that we should be having as we dive into these kinds of topics. Because if we have a parasympathetic nervous system that is basically dormant inside of us, because the sympathetic is just running over it all the time, then, not only are we going to have challenges sleeping, but we’re going to also create a lot of disease in our body because we’re constantly in a state of chronic stress. 

Misty Williams  01:34

So we’re going to dive into that more during this interview today. And one of the things that’s been really on my mind, because I’m talking to the women in our community about it so much is this idea of creating a life where we’re getting more support, for many women, we are the supporters in our lives, right, and supporters for everyone that we love and allowing people to give that support to us moving out of doing doing doing all the time into a more receptive mode can be really challenging and hard.

Misty Williams  01:34

That is overwhelming everything, it’s hijacking everything. And what I love about Cory’s work is that he’s really committed to helping all of us access this internal part that is still in quiet and can help us to start relating differently to what we’re experiencing and creating in our lives, moment by moment. 

Misty Williams  02:15

 I have my own experience with that. I know a lot of women will relate as we’re diving into this conversation. So we’re going to crack that one open a bit and talk about some of the ways that we get stuck in our patterns of not having the support we need. 

Misty Williams  02:27

But it’s really important. If we’re really committed to healing, we must be supported. We cannot build a life where we are the ones giving and contributing and doing all the things all the time, right. 

Misty Williams  02:35

We also need to be nurtured and we need to think that we’re giving to everyone else. And it’s really, really important when we need our bodies to heal too. 

Misty Williams  02:42

So, Cory is a former monk, co-founder of mindfulness.com and best selling author of the book, stop missing your life. He has taught mindfulness leadership at Columbia University, is an instructor of positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and for the last 10 years has offered mindfulness keynotes workshops and retreats around the world. 

Misty Williams  02:58

Named by Dr. Oz is one of the nation’s leading experts in mindfulness. Korea’s meditations have been heard more than 20 million times in over 100 countries. And his goal is to share Wisdom Teachings in a practical and accessible way. You can familiarize yourself with Korea’s teachings by listening to his podcast, practicing human or following him on Instagram. He posts video teachings and writings. Welcome Cory.

Cory Muscara  03:16

Thanks, Misty. Hi, everyone.

Misty Williams  03:17

Yes, yes, well, I’m in my head. Even as I was reading your bio, I was like, gosh, there’s so many directions, I would love to go with this conversation and we’re not gonna be on here for three hours. So definitely check out his podcast y’all because I’m sure there’s gonna be lots that you can learn from Cory that we’re not gonna be able to cover on this call. 

Misty Williams  03:35

Let’s just kind of start with this idea of support I was telling you before we started recording a little bit about my own experiences with this topic. And I know a lot of women in our communities have struggled with support and I was really confronted with the way I was living my life that really didn’t include making sure I had support at all. When I was 35. And had to have my first surgery they found an ovarian cyst on my left ovary and to have it surgically removed, it was supposed to be a 25 minute surgery. That was outpatient, they were gonna send me home after and it ended up being a two and a half hour surgery. Because they found endometriosis once they opened me up and had removed all that scar tissue from my abdomen. And so they still sent me home after and stitched a part of my small intestines, unbeknown to me or them. 

Misty Williams  04:17

For the next six days, I couldn’t keep down food or water. It was terrifying. And I remember when I finally was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday, the following Tuesday. So this happened on a Thursday. I remember the doctor telling me that I was gonna have to go back for surgery again and my heart was dropping like no more surgeries, right? And this time they were going to admit me and actually begged the Doctor, please don’t send me home after this. Like let’s make sure things are okay. 

Misty Williams  04:42

I remember after the surgery, sitting in a hospital room feeling like I needed a friend. But I hadn’t told any of my friends about the first surgery my mom knew about. And my roommate knew and that was it. And I remember feeling shame. Like shame that I didn’t tell anyone and also shame Ain’t that I wasn’t strong enough to confront this situation alone. There was a lot there that came up for me during that time that I didn’t even know was like simmering below the surface. 

Misty Williams  04:47

And when I talked to women in our community, it’s the same for a lot of them, they are conditioned to be the ones that you’re the mom, you’re the wife, you take care of the home, you’re taking care of your aging parents, right, you’re taking care of siblings that need help and support. You’re involved at school, taking care of home rooms, you’ve got a career, a high powered career, and you’re very committed to your work, we give and give and give and give. And we’re not taught to be receivers, I was a little girl at four and five and six years old. Mom’s helper, I was mom’s helper, and I loved it. I loved that role for my mother. But it taught me from a young age that I couldn’t need help, I needed to be the one that gave the help. So this is a very common experience for women. And part of all of us breaking ourselves open and confronting this part of ourselves is not just recognizing the reality that this is what we’re creating. And I had no conscious awareness around creating this life for myself, right. But that’s what I was doing. 

Misty Williams  06:10

When I started seeing that, I’m doing this, because it was so foreign to me, I didn’t have a clue what I should be doing differently to start creating differently, it really took me years to figure it out. And the shifts I’ve made, they almost seem like these little two millimeter shifts in my way of being, but they have put me on a very, very different path in my life. 

Misty Williams  06:32

Today I have a wonderful partner, I dated a ton when I was younger, the first 20 years of my adult life and had a couple boyfriends in there, but no one that was really a partner, and I see that my way of being didn’t create space for someone to be that contribution to me. So that has massively shifted and the way I manage my teams, the way I show up as an entrepreneur is so different because I have a ton of support now. I set things up with the expectation of being supported, I actually consider before I take on a responsibility, if I’m going to have the support, I need to be able to sustain this commitment. And that dichotomy was not even something that ever crossed my mind, right when I was younger. 

Misty Williams  07:11

When I talk to the women in our community, and especially in Healing Rosie University, almost all of them are caregivers, aging parents, children with special needs. And I see that the conditioning to give is the thing that for a lot of us has us creating these lives, where we’re dealing with chronic symptoms, and even diseases that we don’t know how to break out of and of course, conventional medicine tells us we don’t know what causes anything. And we’ll watch this until it’s really bad. And we can start prescribing things for you. Right? 

Misty Williams  07:40

What we really need as women, we need a different framework, a different way of relating to these kinds of topics and issues. And we need to dig in a little bit and start examining how we’re living our lives. And we need practices that get us present to ourselves and our knees where we can actually get quiet for a minute, you know, instead of being caught in that rat race of doing. So, I’ve offered a pretty big frame here for where we could go with this conversation. 

Misty Williams  08:08

But I would love for you just to kind of chime in here because I know this is something that you’ve committed your life to supporting people in this way with these kinds of things. And you have so many tools and perspectives that we could benefit from today.

Cory Muscara  08:19

Yeah, thanks, Misty. And thanks for sharing. I think people just hearing your story coming from a very embodied and vulnerable place allows it, opens the door for each person to check in with where this has been true. In my own life. Yeah, which has to be the foundation for any sort of transformative in our work, the willingness to even go there. 

Cory Muscara  08:40

And so there’s what’s called, like, vicarious self efficacy that gets developed in watching you do it. It’s like, oh, maybe there’s something I can touch into myself. As you were sharing, there are three things that stood out to me. The first thing was this, wanting something and not wanting it at the same time. So sitting in the waiting room, and desperately craving having a friend there and support. And yet there’s another part of you that pushed that away, to get to the point where there wasn’t actually anyone there and didn’t tell anyone. 

Cory Muscara  09:12

The second thing was the shame that was arising in that moment as you started to really let yourself connect to that pattern. So I want to talk about that. And then the third thing was the tenderness that arise as you were speaking about it. And anytime that there’s a tenderness like that, it’s usually when we’re connecting to a pattern that is related to a younger part of ourselves, and some sort of need that desperately wants to be met, but is not met either by ourselves or others. 

Cory Muscara  09:42

So let’s start with that first one of wanting something and also at the same time not wanting it in the context of asking for support. I think you did it.

Cory Muscara  09:59

There’s a tremendous amount of self awareness that you’ve developed around this pattern for yourself. And I think a lot of people can see themselves in this, maybe being in a caregiver role when they were younger, maybe associating strength with not having needs, or just developing a lifestyle where it felt like the only way to get through it and to survive was taking care of everything around us. 

Cory Muscara  10:18

And anytime, where we take care of ourselves that either feels like too much, or there’s just no time to do it. And so, there’s an infinite number of reasons why something like that could get developed. 

Cory Muscara  10:27

But let’s look at it in the context of what you shared here, at an earlier age. We all from a developmental perspective, we all have core needs, when we come into the world as infants and even later into childhood, especially needs like attunement and connection, love. And so when a certain need isn’t met by someone else, the system doesn’t have the ability to go on being like ourselves, the six year old self, five year old self doesn’t have the capacity to go. Alright, well, I’m not getting this from mom or dad or caregiver. But that’s okay, because they’re doing a lot right now, I deserve this connection, I’ll be able to get this in some other place. And maybe I could even give it to myself and develop a meditation practice or something at five or six, you just know that there’s something that wants to be had, and there’s no way to get it. 

Cory Muscara  11:18

The mechanism around that is to actually create a new identity that feels empowered in the context of not getting that thing. And there’s two developmental psychologists, Eileen Lapierre, and I forget the other author, but they wrote the book Healing Developmental trauma. And what they call this is creating pride based counter identifications. So the shame based identification in that moment is I want connection, but I’m not getting it. So I’m not worthy of connection, or I’m not worthy of being supported. That’s really hard to confront when we’re young. 

Cory Muscara  11:50

And so what we do subconsciously, is we go, Well, I don’t need to be supported, I’m strong, I can do this alone. And I’m going to be the person that takes care of everyone else. And so it becomes this, like the ego identity that we generate from a very early age to not have to touch the deeper pain of getting the thing that we want. And this is why we can go an entire lifetime, then over the next decades, really being that person that’s a shoulder for everyone to cry on, we show up for everyone and are applauded as being the person that’s always there. 

Cory Muscara  12:19

The reason that’s so tricky is because nobody’s going to really condemn you for being that person. It’s not like, let’s say, getting caught up in drinking or drugs, which like culturally, people are gonna go, there’s something wrong here. If you’re showing up for people, if you’re being the shoulder for people, if you’re like, I can do this alone. It’s like, wow!, this person is strong. So these patterns become really tricky when they’re not culturally looked at as issues. And so we just keep sustaining it. But it puts us in a place where we’re doing all this stuff, we’re getting a certain praise for it. 

Cory Muscara  12:46

It’s fulfilling some need, but it’s not fulfilling a need on the deepest level. And what I would say is like, your awakening moment in the waiting room was the realization of like, I’ve been doing this for so long, it’s gotten me so far. And there’s an incompleteness to it. And so the first step of that is having an honest conversation with yourself. And that’s where the tenderness arises, you go from being the strong person that has it all together that doesn’t need anything, which is it’s a barrier, it’s a wall to the deeper pain, to who, wow!, this hurts, like, what’s going on here? How did I get to a place like this? 

Cory Muscara  13:23

There’s something that I need that I’m not getting at this moment. And then that’s where the shame can come in. Like, wait, why do I need this in the first place? Right, that’s the younger self that didn’t get the connection. That said, the only way to get through is to not need connection. And so it puts shame on it in order to survive. And I’m really going into the details of this because this will come up for every single person around some sort of childhood need or younger need that didn’t get developed. And it’s always going to be caked with some form of shame or judgment. And the feeling in the moment. That is really the heart of the thing that prevents us from reaching out is the pain we associate with trying to get the thing that we want. 

Cory Muscara  14:05

This isn’t a therapy session, we won’t go fully into it with you. But chances are when you’ve contemplated the idea of asking a friend to be there in the waiting room with you when you’re done or reaching out to family and really sharing what’s going on. There was probably some uncomfortable feeling associated with doing that. Yeah, whether you and Is that fair to say? Yeah,

Misty Williams  14:23

I actually remember witnessing this in my grandmother. They would hardly ever ask. And in private moments, I would say, I don’t ask because I couldn’t bear it. If you said no. Right? It’s so vulnerable to ask, and I was imprinted with that. I can really see that. That was something that I also deeply felt. And you know, when you start looking at other modalities, look at the five love languages, my number one love language is acts of service. And it’s kind of like, fitting right? Yeah, that’s what it would be for me. It’s also the same for my mother. I would guess it’s the same for my grandmother, though. I was Intuitive at a time when she was alive and we can talk about it, that would have been fun. 

Misty Williams  15:03

yeah!, for sure, asking for help was a very vulnerable thing. I feel like now I’m so much better at it. But every now and then I hit my own edge with it too. I imagine this will be a lifetime of unraveling. But the fear back then was that I would ask for it. And they would say, No, right, I’m going to ask someone or they’re going to be too busy. And then there was also a little bit of the shame of, I didn’t tell any of my friends now. 

Misty Williams  15:28

10 years later, Misty looks back. And he’s like, my friends would have dropped everything if I would have told them, right. But at the moment, we have these stories, and until we start getting conscious of what’s happening, these patterns just play out in our lives, and we don’t even realize it’s happening. So back then it was just like the needwood. I actually called a friend that I barely knew to pick me up from the hospital. So weird, right? Like this person? Hey, I’m in hospital, can you? I’m sure from her perspective. She’s like, Yes, I’ll be there. I wonder why I’m getting this call. Because we weren’t. But it felt less vulnerable to me to ask someone that I didn’t really know.

Cory Muscara  16:02

Yeah, yeah. Well put. And yeah, the higher the more intimate the relationship, the higher the stakes. If they were to say, No, yeah, because this is someone who’s closer to your heart, someone who’s closer to that place of actually being able to fulfill the connection, and therefore someone closer to and with more power to take it away. So I’m curious, then what was your process of the transition to where you are now? What were the steps you took, that actually helped you start to shift this pattern and feel more comfortable reaching out to friends,

Misty Williams  16:34

I don’t think I started actually shifting this for maybe two years or three years. I started seeing it more for sure. But I just didn’t know what to do with it. So it’s something that I sat with for a while. And eventually I started finding these communities where there was a lot of talk of vulnerability, and how to be more vulnerable, just moving into these more transformational type spaces. And as the language would come up in the communities, I would see myself in it and start feeling like oh, there’s someone to go to. 

Misty Williams  17:03

The big, big kind of defining moment for me was listening to Allison Armstrong. I don’t know if you’re familiar with her work, but she has a bunch of audio stuff on Audible right now that people can download pre inexpensively. Our programs used to be pretty; her audio programs used to be pretty expensive, but she’s made those accessible. And I listened to one called Celebrate partnership. And in this program, they were talking about provider protector energy and supporter enhancer energy. Some people call that male female. She really tries not to use that language, because we all have both in us, right. So she talked about how much easier it is for a lot of men to embody provider protector energy and expect support because of the energy they’re embodying. 

Misty Williams  17:41

And I remember being like Slade when I heard this, because I have noticed that they expect support easier, but I didn’t connect it to well, they’re taking this responsibility, because I didn’t do that, right. So I started looking at how this energetically was playing out in my life and examining all of my relationships. So I examined my relationships with my team, where I was actually feeling, I’m the one that’s always accountable for everything. And I wasn’t getting accountability from the team, like I needed and it was very stressful, I was going through these cycles of burnout because of it. And then definitely in patterns with my family, things that I would take on that I’m not going to get the support I need, right, so I’m just like having to kind of power through it. 

Misty Williams  18:18

And I also started realizing that vulnerability is tough for me, like the way that I was able to kind of open up and share what happened to me at the beginning of this podcast, that was not accessible to me a decade ago, right, I couldn’t have gone to that place and spoken about something so vulnerable, and tender with some degree of like holding myself together. 

Misty Williams  18:35

So anyway, I just the convergence of these worlds, I think, and really her work of helping me to see it like the way she communicated the difference. And then I was able to start examining, where am I being accountable, which was everywhere. But do I have the support to successfully be accountable in a way that’s not burning me out. And that was super confronting, in fact, a couple years later, after kind of starting to play, and maybe it wasn’t two years, it was probably like a year later, I actually went through this big implosion on my team, because I was trying to realign things energetically where I could expect more from them. But that’s not the deal. I negotiated when I hired these people, right. And there was a lot of resistance to moving into this place. And it just wasn’t sustainable. So I went through this mass incineration in my life, I had a couple clients poached and lost a lot of team members. And it was a lot of toxic stuff and all burned up and it was scary. 

Misty Williams  19:26

And I mean, the universe kind of has a way of like, we’re going to help you get this fully get the lesson. But what it did is it put me into a place of deep surrender. I did not really know surrender before that experience, and I moved into a place of really deep surrender where I started letting things come to me more and I start I quit trying to control and be the solution for everything and my life was able to start flowering in a completely different kind of way with a lot less effort and I started just making smarter decisions about what I took on and asking for what I do. He did. Right. So it’s not something that happened for me quickly. I wish it would have probably made some things a lot easier. But you know, it’s a lifetime of being a certain way that it took a while for me to really crack that open enough that I could create the shifts that ultimately I’ve created in my life. And I still do these check-ins with myself all the time.

Cory Muscara  20:20

And everyone’s journey and timeline is going to be different. I think the beauty of this kind of work is that there’s almost nothing more worth our time than this kind of work. The dividends that it pays in terms of our own well being and the well being of everyone that we care about, is just like proportionate to how we go into it. So whether the timelines are a month, or 10 years or 30 years, it’s like anything you’re doing to chip away at that, or understand that more deeply as time really well spent.

Cory Muscara  20:47

Two things I also took from what you just shared here, one was the role of other communities that we’re talking about. And I think that can be something that could easily be glossed over. But when it comes to these patterns that we have shame around, it makes me think of the Brene Brown quote, if you put shame into a petri dish, and you add silence, it grows. But if you give it voice, it wilts. And so shame is inherently not a social construct, but the seeds of it are embedded in our relationality. 

Cory Muscara  21:20

The reason we feel shame is because it is some way to make ourselves wrong, so that we don’t do something that will get us kicked out of the tribe, who I said a bad thing to. I’m a bad person. And then like self braiding, where self judging causes us to make sure we never do something like that again, so that we continue to preserve the connection with other people. And it’s why so many of us live our lives in shame, and don’t talk about it. Because what shame is trying to tell us inherently is not to tell anybody about this, because you’re bad. And if you tell people, they’re going to know they’re going to find out and you’re going to lose connection. 

Cory Muscara  21:52

The irony of that is that it’s actually like the opposite. And when you can actually talk about what’s alive for you and an embodied and truthful way people see themselves in your experience, it actually brings you closer. And one of the ways that you fast track that is by finding communities as you were doing that talk about this more. Now, some people might be listening, going, where do I find those communities? Or what does that look like? You’re kind of doing it right now, just by listening to this podcast, you’ll hear people Misty, specifically talking about her own experience. And just in hearing that, and hearing your own story in that allows you to start to feel like Oh!, I’m not alone in this, I’m not wrong because of this. And that makes space for this to be more safe to bring out and to share with others or to share with your partner or your friends. 

Cory Muscara  22:41

And so you could just start there, if you don’t have, let’s say, a community of people that you could go to. And that is really important. alkalizing work, it shifts that shame that keeps us in silence and isolation to something that’s actually a form of empowerment, and becomes a gateway into all these other ways that we connect with others. The next thing, though, that is then required is this embodiment piece. 

Cory Muscara  23:05

Now, you talked about men typically having more of an ability to embody that provider quality. Now men have their own complications around conditioning, when it comes to asking for help and feeling like they have to bear the burden themselves. So I don’t want any men listening, that this is totally easy for us. I know, it’s difficult. And it’s not always gendered as clearly as this. 

Cory Muscara  23:28

But I can resonate with that part of me that really feels good in the provider role, and also an expectation of that support as well. And so for someone that is now looking to embody a different kind of energy, this is where you can actually do practices in isolation to work with that uncomfortable feeling that comes up when you think about asking for help. And this is where something like meditation or visualization can come in. If you see that this is a growth edge for you. 

Cory Muscara  23:55

What I would first invite someone to do or anyone listening to do is bring to mind what that growth edge is, say he’s going into the hospital, you want to reach out for some help. First, just imagine yourself doing that. What does it feel like to imagine texting a friend, someone that you know, someone that you’re connected to? And saying something like, Hey, I’m going through something difficult right now, I’m feeling a bit scared. And I’m really looking for some support? Is it something that you might be able to help me with and just see what that feels like in your body? And chances are if this is like a growth edge for you, it’s going to feel uncomfortable. And that’s where we typically reach that point and then quickly withdraw because it’s too uncomfortable. 

Cory Muscara  24:37

So now what we’re doing with presence, mindfulness and awareness, while simultaneously grounding our system, is we’re letting the waves of that move through us so that we have an opportunity to respond intentionally rather than just react subconsciously. The more you allow yourself to cycle through that, the less the discomfort of that actually takes hold. 

Cory Muscara  24:58

And then what I would do is Imagine yourself five years from now or a year from now, being someone who embodies the capacity to reach out to others freely and almost expecting that, of course, they’re going to be here. Like you said, right now, you think of any friend that you have. And you know, of course, they’ll drop everything to show up for you. So maybe you’re not in that state right now. But imagine what it would be like to be in that state. Or imagine a friend that you know, who is like that, and they just, everyone is there for them whenever they want, this is totally easy for them. And go, what would that feel like to be able to do that, what’s the energy of that you can even say, because everything has like a certain vibrational quality to it, and we don’t have to get away with it. 

Cory Muscara  25:41

It’s more an emotion of joy that has a vibration in the body, emotion of sadness has a vibration, emotion of shame is going to have a vibration, we’re going to feel it in some way. So what’s that energy or that frequency of being able to receive and be open and allow others in whether you see it in someone else, or your future self, and then spend time in your meditation, just sitting being still with your eyes closed, feeling what that’s like in your body, allowing your nervous system to reorganize around it and get more familiar with it. 

Cory Muscara  26:10

The nervous system doesn’t seek out what it wants, it seeks out what’s familiar. And so this requires a reconditioning and a re familiarizing with a different embodied quality. So those are the two things like, well, three very practical things, one, start moving into circles, or bringing into friends, what’s actually coming up for you. So the vulnerability of that, two imagine yourself in the scenarios that are typically uncomfortable and get familiar with what comes up in you in that space, and just practice breathing into it, and then like spreading it out throughout the body. And then the third thing, embody the new energy that you want to step into, even if you don’t have it yet, imagine your future self having it or someone you know, has it. And allow yourself just to spend five minutes dwelling in that feeling and breathing that in throughout your entire mind and body until it starts to become more comfortable.

Misty Williams  27:00

Yeah, I’m thinking about just the power of a practice like meditation, having the 10 minutes in the morning to, visualize, or to do some of this kind of work, when we’re not used to creating that kind of space that can feel maybe odd or confronting or like we’re wasting our time. But I personally have gotten a lot of centering and settling and perspective, just taking the time you’re describing to visualize to see the future that you want to embody and breathing through the discomfort, instead of locking up, I observed that pattern in me a lot, actually, if that tightness would come in the chest, in fact, my whole body would clench, right. And so much of shifting is really a somatic process. It’s happening inside of our bodies. And when we are trying to reconcile things in our minds, think our way through, you know, resolving these issues, we can, we can stay stuck a whole lot longer. So these are really great

Cory Muscara  27:59

recommendations, even just a practice of stillness, right. So I offer more of a visualization type practice here. But let’s just say you want to do basic mindfulness meditation, where you take five or 10 minutes in the morning, either sit down or lie down, place one hand on your belly, and just bring your attention to the body breathing, and you make that your singular focus point. And then when the mind wanders, you gently bring it back to the breath. It’s like meditation one on one, what you’re doing is you’re training and expanding your capacity to be with the waves of your life as they are arising and passing, whether they’re different thoughts, difficult emotions, an itch, that you immediately want to scratch all of these little forms of discomfort that we typically retreat from, you’re training yourself to actually be with them and to flow with them, and to not be as scared by them. 

Cory Muscara  28:44

You’re also training your ability to find a sense of groundedness and relaxation, stability and ease. And that might sound like, oh!, that’s my grace period where I restore and then like, I go back into my life, it’s not like you are actually developing the qualities that are going to equip you for the most consequential moments of your life. If you think about any sort of moment where you have to make a decision. That’s leading to certain patterns. The pattern is not like the singular static thing is happening in a series of moments of decisions. From when I got the call, to needing to go into the hospital, what happens next, it’s like my mind goes into solo mode. I gotta figure this out, take care of it. So there was a stimulus. And it was a response stimulus being the phone call, the response being, this is how I work with it. 

Cory Muscara  29:28

Most of the time, that’s happening subconsciously, with a practice of stillness, you are training yourself to actually watch the moment to moment flow of this internal experience to be grounded in it, so that you can see those moments of oh, there’s a stimulus. And here’s my normal pattern. I’m going to try and do this myself. I take a breath and then you can go, what’s a different way of doing this? What am I actually feeling right now? And what do I actually need? 

Cory Muscara  29:51

That little space is what allows you to start to make these changes in an intentional way. And they’re small, which is why they’re often overlooked, but They’re not trivial, they are the foundation for any sort of behavior change that you want to make. It’s also the foundation for re parenting that inner child. And so the one of the first things I talked about when you’re sharing your story is that we all have some part of us that learned how they needed to be in the world in order to be safe, loved, or to get praise. And we’re carrying that around with us whether we want to or not. And so if we didn’t get the kind of parenting for that child that we needed, at a certain age, the real next journey into adulthood and into growth is becoming that source of groundedness for ourselves. And meditation practice does that inherently. 

Cory Muscara  30:39

But what you can do at the end of a meditation practice, or just taking five minutes to be still with yourself, is you touch into that part of you that maybe is living in fear, or is caught in a particular pattern. And you imagine, give that part of your form that you can visualize, like, what would be the visual representation of this? 

Cory Muscara  30:39

Let’s say it’s just younger Cory. And when I’m giving it the name, Cory, I would say, Cory, you have been working so hard to keep everything together to get what we need to make sure we’re liked to make sure we’re safe to make sure we’re getting the connection we want. And I can just tell you how exhausting This is for you. And I’m so happy and proud of you for doing all of this work over these years. And I want you to know that it’s okay to take a break right now, we have different resources than we had when we were five or six. You don’t need to be on top of everything in every moment. And I’m going to be here with you walking side by side with you through all of the difficult challenges we have. And you can allow me to take on the burden of navigating these rather than always feeling like you need to be in control.

Cory Muscara  30:58

Is it actually a younger version of myself as a character from a movie? If I’m feeling shame, what does that look like for me? Sometimes it comes up, as I’m Gollum from Lord of the Rings, just like really withdrawn and scared. And so I’ll imagine that and I’ll imagine it sitting in front of me in a chair. And sometimes you could do this with an actual chair that you set up, or you just do it by closing your eyes and imagining it there. This now allows you to have a conversation with the part of yourself that’s usually operating subconsciously in the background. And what I would say is and have a conversation where you are getting to know that part of you and you are beginning to show it that you’re here for it. 

Cory Muscara  32:27

What you say is going to take a different language based on what you feel like that part of you needs to hear. But the point is, instead of creating more shame around that part, or chastising it, or getting angry at it, which we typically do, what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I get this right? Why do I keep falling in this pattern? That part needs to know that you see it, that you appreciate it, that you know what it’s trying to serve, and that you have different resources other than it to try to get the outcomes that you’re looking for. 

Cory Muscara  32:56

And that’s where the adult self has to start talking to the younger self. And if they don’t have a relationship, the younger self is always going to be operating in the background, and will always get caught in cycles of self sabotage. Because the adult self will say I want this, I want this I’m creating, I’m imagining I’m excited for this life. And then we get closer to it. And the younger self says last time we had something good that the second shoe dropped and everything went to crap and no way we’re letting that happen again. So we self-destruct. 

Cory Muscara  33:20

And, so that process of re parenting I think is core for all of us whether you want to put that language on it or not. We really have to develop a relationship with that younger self and a practice of stillness does that but bringing in that visual element as well. I found it to be incredibly useful because then in the moment you can talk to that younger self. It’s like oh, Cory, I see you and might be you know, I call it CJ, which is what my family called me growing up Cory Jr. CJ, I see that you’re coming out here right now. It’s okay, we got this and just like you putting a metaphorical hand on their shoulder goes such a long way for that fear part to soften and feel reconnected to the larger hole of who you are.

Misty Williams  34:03

What’s coming up for me, it’s I’m here, hearing and you’re talking about this is obviously this has happened for me in my journey where I’ve had to recognize that I’m playing this pattern and little misty, very often believed that she had to do whatever the thing was, right?There wasn’t even a really questioning about it started so young for me. I had three individually, four younger siblings, and my mom was working full time and my dad was very patriarchal, you know, men, housework is women’s work. And you know, he just worked and came home and watched TV and really my mom was taking care of everything and I was helping her. 

Misty Williams  34:37

So as I started reckoning with all of this in my own life, this idea of permission started appearing for me and I started realizing and this is language that I picked up along the way, right? I started realizing that I didn’t believe I had permission, then I needed to give myself permission, like this idea of permission presumes something outside of you. It is what is going to permit you to have whatever it is you need in the moment. And the truth is that the person that needs to give us permission really is ourselves, right? 

Misty Williams  35:10

I need to give myself permission and actually being able to kind of break that apart and see it as, I can’t like empowering myself with the permission to give myself permission, right!, was actually really profound for me, because I think that when you’re younger, you really are looking for something outside of you to give you permission for everything. I mean, it’s kind of the nature of being a very dependent child, but as an adult, the person that ultimately needs to give you permission is yourself, right? 

Misty Williams  35:39

I remember, along the same lines, being in a relationship, after the big burnout experience, when I was getting present to a lot more things, and I wish I could remember the details of what I was sharing with this guy who was dating, because it would probably make the story more interesting. But I remember sharing,  something that was deeply personal and vulnerable for me, and I was sharing it, knowing that what I was sharing was actually contradicting with what he might need in the moment, so I had kind of wrestled with Do I state my perspective, do I kind of let his overshadow which was actually my previous pattern, you know, I just would kind of, they can’t meet my need, and what would go up, and I remember sharing it and getting this getting this aha of like, I actually don’t even need you to do anything with this, I need to see me, you know, I, 

Misty Williams  36:24

I need to acknowledge that this is my experience. I was constantly looking out likes, someone see what I’m experiencing over here. And until they saw, I didn’t feel permission to kind of fully embody my own experience. But there was like a shift for me, I actually, I need to see me, I’m the one that needs to see and acknowledge. And there’s something really liberating and freeing about reclaiming this, these parts of yourself and these needs that you have, you know, putting it out there for someone else to figure out and feel and realizing that there’s things I can do for myself. And there’s permission that I can give myself and me being seen in this moment doesn’t depend on the other person seeing me as much as it depends on me seeing me and me putting myself out there. 

Misty Williams  36:24

And, I even see in how I navigate my relationship with Roderick, where he’s having an experience where he wants a situation to go, whatever his way is, and I try to be really conscious of, let’s put both of our experiences on the table, right, I recognize that you’re having a different experience, right? I’m trying my best to see it. And I need you to see what my experience is. But more importantly, I need to know that I’m putting my experience on the table to mean these are things that have taken years to learn how to do but they’re really important practices, I found in my journey that nothing was more powerful than actually doing it. 

Misty Williams  37:46

I could think about it, and even the visualizations, which are very powerful, probably set the stage for me to be able to do it right there. But the actual, the vulnerability and putting myself out there, the same person. I don’t remember how that conversation went. But I remember not too much longer. Later, he said, you’re like velvet with a steel bar inside, you know, like soft and tender. But there’s so much strength I was occurring for him as being so strong and being able to be so vulnerable. And these were all the time, especially very new parts of myself that I was exploring, you know, but giving myself permission and seeing myself and acknowledging and making sure that my perspective was always on the table, that I was like a spirit still as a spiritual practice. But back then it was really a spiritual practice for me. Amazing. Yeah. 

Misty Williams  38:34

Well, why don’t you talk to us a little bit, as we’re wrapping things up here about how you got into this work. Every time I talk to you, I feel like we go into these really sacred places, you know, and I would love for everyone just to learn a little bit more about your background and how you get into this work. And what is the work that you’re doing today?

Cory Muscara  38:50

Yeah. Yeah, my journey into this work didn’t start for any noble reasons. I started meditating, because I was trying to impress a girl, I had a college girlfriend who was in meditation, and I wanted her to think I was cool. So I started meditating. And then she broke up with me a couple of weeks after that. And it was the pain of that that actually caused me to start taking this more seriously. 

Cory Muscara  39:11

And simultaneously, I just started asking big questions about what I wanted to do with my life. I thought I was gonna go into finance, and was just becoming disillusioned with that being like a path, or at least a guaranteed path toward fulfillment. And so everything in this line of inquiry, just like what I want to do, everything kept being reduced to something that could be perceived as quite trite. But I want to be happy. And it was just a profound realization at the time that like, everything that I’m doing is in service of that. And so if that’s the end point, and I’m kind of taking Gamble’s trying to do certain things to get there, 

Cory Muscara  39:47

I should probably first understand what that actually means and what happiness and fulfillment actually are, and then reverse engineer from there. And so that caused me to pivot my direction and a year later I was in a monastery, doing a very deep dive into passive meditation, also known as mindfulness meditation, and came back and was like, Okay, this really transformed a lot. But it didn’t give me all of the answers. And so over the last 10 years, I’ve just been, basically, living my life as intimately as possible and asking what’s needed? What am I knowing and what do I still not know? And then trying to fit together the puzzle of just what fulfillment looks like, in my own way, and then sharing about it. 

Cory Muscara  40:36

And that’s taken me into trauma work, positive psychology, hypnosis, P. Every mindfulness training under the sun, and all just like in service of what does it mean to live well. And so these days, I still always have a hard time describing what it is I actually do. But it’s basically teachings on life. And I tried to take teachings that you might hear from a guru, and make those much more practical and accessible, and then teachings that you might hear from a life coach, but add some more depth to them. 

Cory Muscara  41:12

And I teach on social media a lot, a lot of people find me through social media on Instagram, or Tiktok. But I have a daily podcast called practicing humans, which is different. There’s over close to 600 episodes now on just every topic that you can imagine. And all my meditations can be found @mindfulness.com. So there’s, if people want to interact with my work, there’s lots of places to do so. And one of my more popular offerings is my free text message community, where people get a free text message on mindfulness, mental health mindset. And so if anyone wants to join there, you just text the word Misty, to 1-631-305-2874. And it’s free, and you’ll start getting messages the next day.

Misty Williams  41:58

That’s awesome. Well, I love this space that you hold so much, it’s really a pleasure to have a conversation with someone where we could go somewhere deep and true and real and talk about things that I know are really relevant to what we’re experiencing in our lives every day. Peel the layers on that and unpack that I find that to be the juiciest conversations I get to have in the space that I hold for all the women in our Healing Rosie community, so thank you for sharing and swimming with me in these waters today. 

Misty Williams  42:23

I hope everyone listening was able to take away something that makes you think maybe opens up a part of you that you haven’t visited in a while. And I hope all of you really consider what you need to be supported and really deeply believe in your heart that you’re worthy of having the support that you need. So thank you so much, Cory. Thanks, misty. All right. We’ll see you guys soon. 

Misty Williams  42:44

That’s it for this week’s episode. Thank you for listening. I hope you’re feeling more empowered to overcome your flabby, foggy and fatigue and to reclaim your life. If you haven’t subscribed yet, don’t forget to hit that subscribe button right now so you don’t miss any of our episodes. We have some awesome shows coming right up. I love reading your reviews and comments too. They inspire me and encourage other Rosie’s to hang out with us and learn all these amazing strategies for healing and living our best lives. Till next time sister. Bye

CATEGORIES

About Misty Williams
& Healing Rosie

Misty Williams spent years struggling to reclaim her health and vitality after surgery to remove an ovarian cyst, life-threatening complications and an endometriosis diagnosis sent her into a brain fog and fatigue tailspin.
Her doctor told her that the only remedies for her issues were drugs and surgeries, that her labs were “normal” and she could “google” to learn more about what was happening to her body.
At 35 years old, Misty embarked on the fight for her quality of life, enduring many more challenges on her road to healing, including an unexplained 45-lb weight gain, debilitating brain fog, fatigue, hypothyroidism, and premature ovarian failure.

She founded HealingRosie.com to provide high-performing women with the resources an community to successfully confront the unexpected chronic health issues that women often experienced as they age.

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