AS Seen On

By: Stephan Spencer

Introduction

Dr. Nicole LePera
“Our authentic self is our purest state of being.”
Dr. Nicole LePera

How do we uncover our most authentic selves amidst the noise and conditioning of everyday life?

My guest on today’s show is Dr. Nicole LePera, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling book, How To Do The Work, and the recently released bestselling workbook, How to Meet Your Self. As the founder of SelfHealers Circle, she’s leading a movement helping people heal themselves in the community. With over 5 million downloads of her podcast SelfHealers Soundboard, she’s making self-healing accessible.

In this inspiring discussion, we explore how childhood experiences shape our sense of safety and ability to handle emotions. Dr. LePera gives a raw glimpse into her journey of transcending lifelong anxiety, revealing how she finally found freedom by taking a radical holistic approach that transformed her relationship with her body and emotions. We discuss navigating the ups and downs on the path to self-awareness and tools like cold plunges and journaling to stay grounded. Nicole offers insights on maintaining boundaries when others trigger us and viewing every experience as an opportunity to heal and grow. For anyone seeking to uncover their authentic voice, this episode provides an empowering roadmap and tangible practices to get there.

So, without any further ado, on with the show!

In this Episode

  • [02:35]Dr. Nicole LePera describes her journey and how she eventually gained clarity on the root cause of her emptiness and made changes to fill that void.
  • [07:36]Dr. Nicole reflects on childhood emotional neglect and its impact on their ability to cope with pain and suffering in adulthood.
  • [09:31]Dr. Nicole recognizes the role we play in creating our own reality, acknowledging the power of our interpretations and meanings in shaping our experiences.
  • [18:04]Stephan discusses experiences with angel numbers and messages.
  • [20:04]Dr. Nicole affirms noticing more Angel numbers when she prioritizes self-care and alignment. She also describes her experience of dissociation as a coping mechanism.
  • [29:24]Stephan and Dr. Nicole emphasize the power of seeing the hand of God in difficult situations and understanding where others are coming from, even if they are criticizing or putting them down.
  • [35:14]Dr. Nicole elaborates on the concept of “authentic self” and how it is shaped by early experiences and conditioning, leading to a loss of connection to one’s true nature.
  • [42:21]Dr. Nicole stresses the importance of reconnecting with one’s authentic self and higher self through daily habits and routines.
  • [49:20]Dr. Nicole talks about her workbook “How to Meet Yourself” and the journey it takes readers on to explore their authentic selves.
  • [52:28]Dr. Nicole provides resources for listeners to connect with her and learn more about her work.

Jump to Links and Resources

Nicole, it’s so great to have you on the show.

Stephan, it’s an honor to be here. Thank you for having me.

I’d love to start with your origin story of how you ended up writing these books and becoming such a source of inspiration for so many. On Instagram and social media in general, you have a huge fan base and follower base. How did this all come about?

Well, thank you for sharing these very kind words. If you had asked me a decade ago if writing books was in my future, if being a public presence was in my future, I would have said, “Absolutely not.” As long as I can remember, I was a little girl afraid of the world, very shy, and also very interested in humans, human behavior, and what made people think differently than myself and do different things.

Before very long, I was very motivated. In terms of academics, I was marching toward being a clinical psychologist with the hopes of helping people gain self-awareness and ease the suffering that, on the personal side of my life, I had related to very much having that anxiety-based experience as long as I can remember.

Flash forward, after many years of schooling, I opened up a successful private practice in Philadelphia, where I lived. I found myself feeling very frustrated several years in. I imagine, right alongside many of the clients that I was working with, seeing a similar pattern in people and in myself included, which was that we can have increasing amounts of insight awareness, talk about issues, even problem solve, come up with action based plans to break the habits that aren’t serving us to relieve the suffering that we’re experiencing yet. 

Consciousness is the foundation for transformation. When we’re conscious of our choices, we have the opportunity to make grounded, life-giving choices and escape old, negative patterns. Click To Tweet

Time and time again, week after week, what I was reading in my own life and seeing in my clients was being stuck with the inability to translate all of this insight into action. It really was deep diving into the first exploration, why I got curious, and why so many of us are stuck in so many of these ways. 

For me, it was coming up with new information that, at this point, included our physical bodies and our nervous system, and began to shift the way I thought about our human experience our suffering, and embracing much more of a holistic model, for me then became a platform I utilize, which is social media. Seeing how people were beginning to share their stories was my intention, very much in my profession.

We’re taught in many ways not to share our human journey or the human side of things. Because for the first time, I was making such progress. I was beginning to transform those symptoms of lifelong anxiety. 

I created this Holistic Psychologist Instagram account as a way for me to begin to practice sharing my authentic journey, my story and hopefully tools for other people. As soon as I created the account, it displayed how universally resonating the experience of being stuck. 

Also, this shift in embracing a more holistic model of wellness, creating change, and, of course, something I know, you know, which is the transformation of our entire life.

How to Do the Work by Dr. Nicole LePera

Was there a moment when you hit rock bottom or some sort of dark night of the soul through this journey of dealing with lifelong anxiety issues?

Yeah, so it was me at many different moments in terms of anxiety within my 20s when I started to have my first panic attacks. I’m feeling completely overwhelmed, completely debilitated. At one point, even in a jacket, I was ready to take myself to the hospital for the heart attack that I imagined I was suffering at that moment. There was many moments where I was overwhelmed by my anxiety and unsure how to stabilize myself and what to do.

At that point, I thought it was just an aspect of navigating this anxiety—meaning there was no healing. There was no possibility that I wouldn’t be an anxious being. It’s the only way I knew myself. So, how can I create some level of living with this anxiety but feeling drowning in those moments? 

Another series of moments after I had achieved everything that I thought was going to translate for me into this fulfilling life after I hung my shingle if you will, and had that private practice, after I found myself in a relationship, I had a very active social life. I was living externally in all of these ways that weren’t translating to feeling connected to my life, fulfilled, and having no language of understanding. 

If I’m being perfectly honest, I felt really shameful. I looked around, and if I want to call, you have no reason to feel so empty the way you are. Yet, when I pulled back, I saw that emptiness was a theme throughout my life. All of the endless achieving that I have now come to the end of the right, that endless to-do list, was my best attempt at filling that emptiness, that deep-rooted feeling that I had for as long as I can remember.

I would say it’s more a series of moments of coming not only to enter the suffering of what I very much call a “dark night of the soul” but then gaining clarity as to why I was feeling that way, which then allowed me to create the change in my life that I’m currently living.

There’s this adage that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. You’ve mentioned a few times you’re suffering. Do you believe it is true suffering, or is it just pain that maybe you mislabeled, or maybe people are mislabeling?

I think pain and all aspects of emotions are very much part of our human experience. The question is, when we shift into an aspect of suffering, what is our relationship with that pain? 

I know that being emotionally under-supported early on in my childhood, I didn’t learn how to tolerate pain or any emotional discomfort because I didn’t have that safe, attuned human in the form of my mother, in particular, who was the primary caregiver for me and my two siblings. 

Pain and all aspects of emotions are part of our human experience.

Without that space to learn how to navigate my emotions, I adapt it just like we will all do. I began to distract myself from suppressing my emotions, creating this cycle of suffering because, to simplify what I was doing, I was overwhelmed by any emotions in general. To deal with that overwhelm, I distanced myself, only creating an accumulation of that suffering-based experience.

Again, saying all that, I love that we’re going down this rabbit hole because I think some of us have the idea that living a centered life is to get to some hypothetical utopian place where pain doesn’t exist. That’s not the case at all. The question is, what is my relationship to the very real inevitable ups and downs, and painful experiences of life? Am I someone who can keep myself safe and support me during those painful moments?

Was there a moment where you had this epiphany or download or perspective shift that we live in a matrix, or this is all an illusion, or I’m in a video game, or this is all divinely orchestrated, or I see now that this is something I created for myself or whatever the epiphany was? Was there some sort of moment like that for you?

I will begin by being honest and sharing that as I read those concepts, which I met in books, other people living their lives in the embodiment of that reality. I very much fought it. I denied it. I reserved myself as this extra special being, but that isn’t the case. I disempowered myself. 

I think living the habitual patterns that many of us do when they exist outside of our awareness, and we have no other option but to feel like the world around us is impacting us as opposed to impacting the world around us. We’re even going as far as being a creator right into the world around us. 

That’s understandable and natural because when we are driven by that autopilot that so many of us are locked in on the day-to-day, we don’t feel like we have that space to step into that creator role. It very much feels like things happen. I’m now caught up in the feeling, the reaction of how I feel about what happened. If I’m lucky, I’m catching myself while I’m reacting to those emotions. 

I met this beautiful concept of, “Wait a minute, that’s not the case at all. You are a being with an agency. You are impacting the world. You can create the actions and your responsiveness to the actions or the happenings around you.” As many of us do, when we meet a new idea and when it doesn’t match our lived experience, we refute it. I rolled my eyes, though. It’s great that you have the power to be a conscious creator in your world. I don’t for all of these reasons. 

If we don’t live in trust, we attempt to manipulate, change, shift things, and deny our circumstances.

As I began to see the conscious role that I was playing, the interpretations, the meanings that I was making of these events that were leading me into those reactive emotional cycles. I began to play that part, embodying that part of being that conscious participant. I’m laboring this because, for me, it didn’t come immediately. 

It was something that I defended. I battled, which wasn’t the case until it was the case for most of us. I saw in my own lived experience how to wait a minute. I am creating what’s happening, even though it is really difficult to see in real-time that I am somewhere in that trajectory.

There’s a moment, for most of us, where there’s that glitch in the matrix. It cracks open our reality or sense of stability in this supposed reality we think we’re living in. For me, just one example was when I was listening to a podcast. It was the Melissa Rivers show in the background. 

I was also reading from an introduction or first chapter book, and I hadn’t even purchased it yet. It was read inside the book feature on Amazon. It was a psychic medium that wrote this book. Anyway, I was reading it and also listening to the podcast in the background, which I don’t recommend. It’s not very effective to do both at the same time. 

But as I was doing this, the word I read at the moment, I read it came through the podcast, which was really bizarre. I’d never had that experience before in my life. I didn’t know what to do with that. So I just kept reading. It was an uncommon word. I don’t remember the word. But I remember that’s very weird. “This is not normal.” So I kept reading. Five minutes later, it happened again. 

The universe sends us signs to point us in beneficial directions and gently guide us away from poor choices. Click To Tweet

What are the odds of something like that happening? So I knew that this was a sign that I needed to do something with that. I went to the author’s website and joined her Patreon community, and it’s been life-changing. It’s been life-changing. It wouldn’t have occurred if I hadn’t taken those two nudges, connected some dots, and said, “Okay, I’m supposed to do something with this rather than just read her book.”

I’m curious if you’ve had that kind of paranormal, extrasensory, out of this extraordinary, out-of-the-ordinary kind of world experience that you can’t explain away.

Yeah, I actually got chills listening to you share those two moments. I think it’s many moments, throughout even a general day, where I’m thinking about someone, and that email or text comes in. I’m thinking about the most recent one, and I’ve been thinking about a new book idea, actually. I’ve been toying around with the concept, and it’s still kind of very new. 

As I’m thinking about it, and I go online, I see that concept presented in a different lens in a different light. For me, I take those moments throughout. They can happen in small micro-moments throughout a day where something comes to my heart, to my mind, to my awareness, and I’m seeing that reflected in that email message or that meme that someone else posted that I don’t even follow their account yet somehow it’s crossing my pathway today. 

I’ve learned now to be very open to those moments even to have the possibility of seeing that alignment, which means that my attention is present in that given moment, which is not habitually how I operate it for so long. My attention was every other place than what was immediately happening for me. 

How to Meet Your Self by Dr. Nicole LePera

And also to have trust in that affirmation to see the universe as a collaborator, as opposed to working against me and coming again, from childhood having had different beliefs modeled to me again, being raised by humans locked in their own overwhelmed survival mode. The message I got in childhood was that the world was actually scary. 

It was not conspiring with me. It was actually, and I very intentionally described myself as a little girl afraid of the world who embodied this anxiety because that was so much of the messaging. Things out there are scary, or overwhelming, or dangerous. The universe isn’t something to cooperate with me. It’s against me, and one of my family mantras for a long time has been: “It’s always something.” 

I very much embody that always looking to the environment, the universe, if you will, not to provide me with that positive, supportive, collaborative, something of affirmation, but to be the threatening thing that prevented me from even bringing this full circle, being someone who’s a conscious creator, in the world around me. Even being open to conversations like I’m having with you, these small moments where the universe is nodding at me is a huge embodied shift from my past lived experience that began in my childhood.

Wow. It’s funny that you use the terminology you did because the book I’m working on will probably come out in at least another year. But it’s Living in a Friendly Universe.

There’s a nod from the universe in our conversation for you.

Yeah. That title, by the way, just came to me. It was gifted to me from above. We live in a friendly universe. It’s not conspiring against you, as you say. It’s conspiring with us to create such amazing, miraculous experiences, opportunities, love, and growth. Yeah, it’s magic.

I couldn’t agree more. I love that you acknowledge it just came to me, and I have so many moments of that when I’m speaking, when I’m teaching, when I’m having conversations like this when I’m thinking about creating another entity such as a book. That is the best way that I would describe it as well. 

I’m in this flow state, whether or not I’m speaking something outwardly in my flow state. But words, ideas, and concepts are just coming to me in that particular sequencing, language, or word I chose to use at any given moment. The same thing happens. 

I had a conversation with someone else who was an author getting ready to write a book, and they were looking for some practical suggestions regarding whether “Should I be reading other people’s books when I’m creating my own book?” I shared from my own lived journey, and it’s when I’m not reading, when I’m having a moment in the sun when I’m on a walk by myself, that I have those download moments where concepts come to mind, or particular sequences of ideas, where I get clarity and book titles, or the such comes in.

I pay attention to when I get angel bumps.

It’s not when I’m doing it or my attention is on someone or something else. It’s when I’m in that what for me just feels like that alignment, where my intention is just so present, to myself, to my physical body, and to my awareness of that moment, that it does feel like it drops down from somewhere above. It’s just there on my tongue, in my words that I’m jotting down or what have you.

Yeah, magic. These messages and collaboration are ubiquitous. It’s everywhere. I didn’t realize to what degree it was. Somebody will give a reading, for example, a psychic reading, an intuitive reading, medical intuition or something like that. They can use more than just the clear audience of the clairvoyance that they might have. 

Something might cross their path, and the window behind them or in front of them, they see that, and that was not random. That was part of the message. That was part of the guidance. You got chills, you said a few minutes ago, as I was relaying my story about the word in the podcast happening simultaneously with me reading it. 

So chills, what I learned is that’s not goosebumps, as much as it’s angelbumps, that’s confirmation from your angels that what you’re experiencing is truth, which is really cool. Sometimes, you’ll notice a number on your clock, the computer, or a road sign, and it just jumps out at you. That’s called an angel number. You’re meant to look that up and decode the message. 

It’s not just a hello. It’s like, oh, that’s the third time today I got 1111. That’s weird. That’s not weird. It’s a message. It’s part of what you’re supposed to work with. That’s part of the clay that you’re creating with. I just find that really amazing. Things like you turn on the radio, it’s this song that maybe is 30 years old that you never hear anymore, but that was the second time you heard it that day. These are messages. Do you have a lot of that happening, or is that just kind of a once-in-a-while occurrence?

Funny enough, when you affirmed angelbumps, is that what you call that?

Yes, an angelbumps.

At that exact moment, I affirmed that that is, indeed, through my own. For me, it’s very much I pay attention to when I get those angel bumps of chills that even sometimes can be energetic, or I feel tingly in that same moment, which is very much affirmation. I take that. I note those moments when they happen. 

I don’t know if you heard me. He’s here with me behind the scenes. Before we got started, I proclaimed, “Oh, 1111,” when I picked my phone up, and interestingly, I love this kind of question. To answer your question, do I notice those moments? Absolutely. I do notice the variation. When I noticed more of those moments, and what I mean to say at this moment is when I’m very aligned with myself, when I’m taking care of my body, which for me is foundational. 

Making sure that I have moments before I go into my doing mode of all of the things that I can be, allotting my attention throughout the day, usually a work project, something very inspirational. For me, I know how important it is to be the being that’s going to be the channel for all of those projects later on in the day, which is taking care of my body and making sure that I’m grounded. 

I’m attentional to how my body’s feeling on any given day, then giving myself the opportunity to move it if needed, if there’s some stagnant energy out there to rest, if it’s feeling a bit tired to make sure that it’s getting the nutrients that it needs, and sleeping well, and all of the things. 

When I’m in alignment when I’m making sure that I’m taking care of my body, and I’m able to then be in that flow state for more moments of my day. What happens when I notice more moments of those angel numbers of my own body is that antenna or that sensor or that thing walking by, or that song on the radio that I know for me has a particular message. 

One of my habitual coping mechanisms is to go to that dissociated, disconnected state where my mind almost becomes blank.

Similarly, there are many moments where I’m stressed out. I’m not doing all of those foundational things and feeling more agitated and overwhelmed. Those are the moments where I’m less likely to be in that alignment state to be seeing those messages. It might not be that; they might be very much there in my environment. But the question then is, Where’s my attention? Is it possible to receive those messages? Am I distracted? Worries in my mind and fears about what is coming? Or am I just somewhere else entirely?

One of my habitual coping mechanisms is to go to that dissociated, disconnected state where my mind almost becomes blank. I’m physically present to things that are happening around me, but I’m not attentive. I’m not in that alignment of presence. 

I’m just again laboring this point because I think many people have this idea that it’s more like a light switch. Once you get into this state of alignment, there are never moments where you see those habitual coping mechanisms, or you’re just distracted or dysregulated, or agitated, or explosive, or all the things that we naturally become when we’re not dealing or ground it within our stressful life experiences. 

Almost going back to when we began this conversation, emotions are going to happen. The question is, can I navigate them happening in that grounded responsive state? So I do have moments still to this day where I’m not grounded, where I’m not doing the things that my body needs for me to be able to sustain stressful experiences. Those are the moments where I’m less likely to see the presence of this alignment that I believe is always there.

It makes sense that, like I say, a super state of consciousness where you’re feeling so connected, plugged into the fabric of creation and one with the Creator. That is not necessarily where you’re going to stay. Most likely, you’ll drop because it’s like a roller coaster where you are in the superstate. 

You’re connected, you’re flying high, and you don’t have the desire to do anything because you have already recognized that you’re in fulfillment. Everything is already there for you, so there’s nothing to build and to do. Just bask in unconditional love. Then you have to crash back down to earth and get back into the desire.

“Alright, I’m going to build something. I got to hustle.” The fulfillment seems so far away, even though it’s already there. It just hasn’t materialized in the physical plane yet. Then you build, grow, hustle, work hard, deal with your demons, get back into a super state of consciousness, and “Whoa, this is amazing.” Flying high again and back and down and up and down and up and down.

I couldn’t agree more. I even love that the message woven here is that the discomfort that I described earlier, which I avoided at all costs, actually has value. It indicates when things aren’t aligned for us, when we’re not feeling that elevated state of consciousness. It gives us an indicator of things that aren’t working in our lives or keeping us safe. 

Many of us, myself, for sure, get so good at suppressing the discomfort of life and distracting ourselves from disconnecting from it. We lose the value of the message.

Again, I say that because so many of us, myself, for sure, get so good at suppressing the discomfort of life and distracting ourselves from disconnecting from it. We lose the value of the message. So for me, having those moments where I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, I have achieved everything, yet I feel so empty.”

If I didn’t allow that emptiness, I wouldn’t allow myself to be present in that emptiness, and I wouldn’t have been able to see all the different things in my life that weren’t necessarily working for me. I think this speaks to the point again that our emotions have value, even our discomfort. So many of us because we’re not equipped. We didn’t have the objective physical resources in our childhood to have a safe environment.

We didn’t have the emotional resources of the other caregivers to create emotional safety, and our adaptation, the way that we’ve learned to feel safest is by not allowing ourselves to be present to that discomfort. It doesn’t mean that the discomfort isn’t there. We get so good at distracting ourselves. Yet, over time, this is what I live the experience of. It’s just accumulating. Being present to us, having those bottoms, that dark night of the soul and feeling that suffering that is included in that is, for many of us, what allows us to see the areas in which we want to begin to make those changes. 

Yeah, because all growth happens outside your comfort zone. Do you invite these opportunities in, maybe even go online and see what your detractors have to say about you on the negative Amazon reviews on your books? Or you’re looking at YouTube comments on your videos to see what the haters have to say, or do you just try and stay well away from all that?

I absolutely look, and I’m aware they’re there. One of the things that prevented me, not only messaging I was getting from my field of not sharing my human side, of not being a being in the room. For me, it was a lot of deep-rooted shame that I didn’t have the safety of an attuned caregiver. Just be curious about who I was and how I was, showing myself in any capacity. 

This is again why, when I began my background story of even creating the Instagram account, it wasn’t necessarily to give other people tools, as much as it was an exercise for me in learning how to be seen, be seen for all of my humaneness, the messy, the imperfections, not just how I’ve curated this life of achievement that in the areas that I was very naturally gifted at—athletics and academics. 

That felt safe for me. I was really practicing with this account, The Holistic Psychologist, in just being me. So, sharing all that to say that I still have that little wounded girl who’s so afraid that she’s not enough, so afraid of negative feedback, of misinterpretation, of people just not liking me for whatever reason. That’s a familiar, habitual pattern for me. 

Now that I have the objective reality, I know that there are endless opinions from misinterpretations, just outright people who don’t like me, for whatever reason, out there in the world. There are many moments where I can find myself cycling into seeking out that account, looking at that comment, not looking at the five-star reviews on my book, but looking specifically at the one stars to upset myself. 

The universe collaborates with us; it never works against us.

For me, it’s really becoming aware of when those moments happen, and those moments happen, typically, when I’m feeling stressed out and when I’m feeling insecure. Maybe when I do have something new that I birthed out into the world, and that little girl who’s so afraid of what people are going to think wants to find in some way that affirmation that I’m as terrible as I imagined myself to be, that I’m just as unworthy as I once thought. 

Being that conscious participant, going beautifully full circle on this conversation means, in those moments, watching myself,  asking myself before I click on Amazon reviews or that hater account to read those opinions, really giving myself that one moment to consciously decide why I’m doing it if I have the resources to tolerate how it might feel once I see what it said. 

Then I gave myself, in that moment, the opportunity just as much to not click on that. But again, I would be lying if I said no. I only look at the good. I channel all my attention to the positive. I look at all of it. Again, I’m more likely to look in those more difficult spaces when I’m already feeling bad, feeling down and insecure about myself.

One thing that is hard to do, but it’s so powerful if you can achieve it, is to see the hand of God and all of these people who are poking holes and trying to criticize and put you down. It is so powerful. It’s like you’re outside of the video game. You’re in the video game. You’re in the world, not of the world. You’re in it, and you’re out at the same time. It’s very powerful. 

Okay, this is just a message for me from above. This person and the feeling I’m feeling in my body, the sensations, the triggering. These are all messages for me, just like I might get a message of a bluejay landing on the windowsill. If I feel that that’s a message, it probably is. If I feel that I can learn something and grow from this detractor who’s saying something completely unfounded and untrue, then I see it as the voice of God speaking through that person.

There are still moments when I have to protect my physical well-being, emotional well-being and groundedness for my relationships. It’s important to me to put up that boundary.

I 100% agree. I think what has been important for me to remain in my awareness is the physical aspect of things that how I feel. I think historically, I got really good at having this idea that I was being so compassionate to other people, understanding where they came from. Even with people who were outright hurting me in the relationship in whatever way that it is, I would almost compassionate myself and overstep the hurt, the pain, the wounding that was happening in those moments.

I was almost giving them a green card for doing, saying, being, however, it is that they want it to be in the moment because I understood it was coming from a painful place. My emotional experience of what they were saying or doing or how they were being didn’t matter. So what has become really important for me is to expand in that space and say, “I can compassionately understand, see the hand of God, see the hurt, being in the love that is still a channel through them.” 

At the same time, I become aware of when I don’t have the resources and when my limits are being reached. Because until I became aware of that, what would happen for me is I would have this idea that there is no impact. “This is just a wounded human. Let me see what they say.” 

Meanwhile, internally, my body is tensing, and my muscles are tensing. I’m growing agitated, and then I’m signing offline. Then, I’m turning to my two very loving partners. That agitation is now coming out in my interaction with them. Making space for the reality that I can understand is I can see the hand of God and I can see where they’re coming from. 

There are still moments where I have to protect my own physical well-being, my own emotional well-being and groundedness for my relationships. It’s important to me to put up that boundary not to look in that moment, to look at a time when I have the resources available, and I can be more grounded to give my experience and how it impacts my body some space and some light because I hadn’t done that for so long. 

All I had done as a result was accumulate all of that anger of being violated or not speaking up for myself instead of taking responsibility like I’m doing now and saying, “Well, wait a minute. You didn’t give space to it. You didn’t put up a limit. You didn’t tell someone that this was problematic.” I just pointed the finger at everyone else that was causing the problem.

If we can see the gift and absolutely everything, it’s all miraculous. For example, the lack of safety that you experienced from your caregivers when you were a child and see those as soul contracts or sacred contracts, to see them as gifts from the Creator, as something that you signed up for knowing full well what you were in for before you even incarnated, because you could see the other end of the tunnel. 

Then you’ve forgotten because of the veil of forgetting when we incarnate, but I’m curious to hear what your take is on that.

We are conscious participants in our earthly experiences from before we are physically present.

Yeah. I think you know we are conscious participants in our earthly experiences from even before we are physically present on earth. Once we become present and we are now with other humans who’ve gone through that same cycle of evolution, who’ve gone through the same impact of living with other human beings, we can only be and model that which we learned from our own previous caregivers.

Now, we create this cycle of human suffering. Again, many of us lose the big picture, and many of us fall into blame. For those who have hurt us, it’s not to say that we weren’t hurt or victim to our circumstances. Absolutely. You know, many of us were in early childhood, but you tend to use myself. 

I don’t hold my parents responsible for their emotional unavailability in my childhood. I see it as a function of the impact of the other humans that they were raised from, the circumstances, and the context in which they were raised. Seeing then how it is to be a soul, have the greater picture, have this awareness, have even this intention of what our journey is meant to be.

At the same time, navigating the human experience of all of that, in the impact of past human experiences becomes the complicated nature of living as a human being here. I very much think that part of the entire journey here is to make sense of those different layers of our reality and our journey.

In your writings, you write about the authentic self and how to reconnect with her or him. Is the authentic self with or without personality? Is it the soul on the other side of the veil or up in the heavens? Or the higher self, the light avatar or whatever you want to refer to it, oversoul? Or is it just a human, flawed personality that we might have inherited as our soul incarnated?

I think that when I put it this way, the term authentic self is our purest state of being. So whether or not it’s the word soul, or spirit, or essence, it’s before we were conditioned and impacted by the external, the 3D, the human world around us. That connects to this idea of the soul, the spirit, that greater being that has a bunch of lived experiences and is impacted. 

Then we form into even—love that we’re bringing up—this concept of personality. I think a lot of what we’re calling personality, and what a lot of us think is genetically imprinted on us, is actually a constellation of our habitual patterns of dealing with those earliest environments. I do believe that we all have natural gifts, talents, quirks, and ways of being. 

My unique expression in the world will be different than anyone else’s.

My unique expression in the world is going to be different than anyone else’s. The way I say things, the way I make sense of things, make meaning of things, in my pure state of being, is going to be unique. To me, I think what a lot of us are calling personality is just all of our habitual patterns that we’ve grown and wrapped around ourselves as an identity. 

The work that I’m interested in doing is first creating space and awareness that most of what we’re living in, most of the habits that are directing our life, are actually conditioned from our very early experiences. Then, over time, we can create space to begin to get curious and drop into those deeper sets of authentic wants, needs, interests, purpose, passions, and everything in between. I think we retain with us through life what happens over time as we just become very separate, disconnected, and even shut down from its expression.

You mentioned constellation as a word a minute ago, and what came to mind was Family Constellation Therapy. Is that something that you’ve studied or practiced?

I probably  have studied or learned about every single way to practice or think about a human being inside and outside of my program. I was always endlessly learning all the different types of modalities. So yes, from Family Constellation, this idea of the physical individuals present in our family systems to internal family systems. This idea of the different parts of even ourselves that make up our daily habitual expressions. 

All of that is very important to consider. Oftentimes, those two are related. The people we’ve grown up with or around, the beliefs modeled to us in those earliest relationships, in terms of our family constellation, often impact the different parts of ourselves that we express in the world around us.

Yeah. Something you said earlier, too, about it’s just a tape in your head of it’s all always something. That manifests that horrible reality when that’s the tape you keep playing. That reminded me of Tony Robbins’ teaching about the primary question in the Date with Destiny. The primary question is, how do I stay safe, or am I safe? That question that might be in deep, deep layers of the subconscious would shape the person’s reality.

The people we’ve grown up with or around, the beliefs modeled to us in those earliest relationships, in terms of our family constellation, often impact the different parts of ourselves that we express in the world around us.

Let’s say she’s going to a party or on a first date. If that’s the primary question, how do I stay safe? That creates a whole reality that sucks, probably. It’s creating a lot of pain and discomfort. That may be necessary for their path. But what a difference a better primary question or a better kind of primary statement would make if you chose to select that instead?

Yeah. I lived that, the embodiment of that. “Am I safe?” I’m not only in the thoughts in my mind, though, the thoughts in my mind. This is the impact of the shift and working holistically in the messages that my body was sending my mind as well. It was reflected in the tension in my muscles in the almost hunched-over protective posture. 

As long as I can remember, I was on the taller side. When you’re a child, you usually have to line up in size order. I was always usually at the end of the line. So, I was always taller for my age group. My mom would always urge me to stand up straight. All of this tension, this hunched over this protection in my body, really was the embodiment.

My answer to that question, overwhelmingly, for decades, was, “No, I’m not safe.” The world outside is scary, as was my lived experience of living in a city with very real crime and things that happen that could create a lack of physical safety in my life and a lack of emotional safety when I didn’t have that attunement. Before long, my body and the way I carried myself in the world were constantly sending my brain that message that, “No, Nicole, you aren’t safe.” 

No amount of affirmation, of nice ideas, of just getting yourself over it, think your way to safety. For me, and for many of us, most of us go as far as to say it won’t work. Because while our mind is so incredibly powerful, so is the message stored in our body. 

If our nervous system is constantly on alert, not feeling safe, if our muscles are tense and not relaxed, then we can try and white knuckle and affirm our way to safety. All we want, unless we start to teach our body safety, how to be present to what’s happening around us, we’re never going to shift that actual pattern.

Yeah, there’s a modality that I just recently tried for the first time. I had the creator of this modality, and it’s called TRE (Trauma Release Exercises). The inventor, the creator’s name is David Berceli. A couple of years ago, I had him on my show, and we talked about it, and it sounded really good. 

He also put out an offer to me that if I wanted to experience it myself, he would do a free session with me. I did nothing with that. Then suddenly, out of the blue, boom, it comes to me from above. It wasn’t just sitting in my subconscious somewhere, and it was definitely a message from above. You need to take him up on this offer two years, three years later, so I did.

My wife, Orion, was in on the session with me. He worked on both of us, and it was incredible. You get to this place where your whole body is shaking because you’re stressing your muscles, your leg muscles or some muscle group that is a big muscle group. Stress it to the point where you’re just holding it until it starts shaking, then you keep that going, then your whole body starts shaking, and it’s as if your body’s releasing trauma. 

If you’ve ever seen a dog get hit by a car, hopefully not. But if it lives, then it starts shaking off the trauma. That’s what’s happening. So wow, I was just floored by that experience, and so was my wife. You can do it by yourself. You just lay down somewhere, put your butt up in the air, try and hold that position until you start shaking, then the shaking spreads across your body. Have you ever heard of this or ever experienced it? 

Yes. I fell upon TRE’s concept practice several years ago and through YouTube. I love learning via YouTube. I did exactly what I learned and those individual practices of stressing my muscles out and falling into that shaking cycle. Very interestingly, I’m happy to bring this up, Stephan. After practicing that somewhat regularly, my mom died about a year and a half ago.

While our mind is so incredibly powerful, so is the message stored in our body.

Around that time, I was going through a lot of grief. I had many very tearful moments of emotion coming out of my body, not only from my mom’s physical death but from a lot of the healing that I’ve been doing, even before she left her physical body here. In terms of the reality of my relationship, that distance, a lot of grief around my mom. 

When she physically passed, she came up to the surface, and I had many moments and one in particular, I remember I was sitting on my couch, and I was in a fit of hysterics, crying, grieving, letting all this emotion out. My body went into a shaking spasm on its own and almost connected with that practice that I had been doing in those moments of TRE, and allowed my body to go into that.

I just allowed it to happen. I was just present to it, heaving and crying, and now my body was shaking, and it was very much this whole, overwhelming, energetic experience that ultimately, then on the other side of it, led to a release. I think we are energetic bodies. I think somatic-based practices, especially around this holding in of trauma of tension, I think so many of us are carrying it, sometimes even for lifetimes in our physical system, can be such an incredible tool in the beginning to release that valve.

Yeah, amazing. Some of these modalities can be life-saving, and there’s so much out there. It’s overwhelming. I’ve found that the more I just trust, sit back and relax into this experience of life, and let the river carry me instead of trying to swim it. The certain modalities that are meant for me, or my wife, or my son, or one of my daughters.

It just shows up when it needs to, like the TRE session we did two years after I interviewed David. It wasn’t me; it wasn’t my research or reviewing my to-do list. It just popped into my head. So yeah, we just tend to get in our way and kick up resistance in our path, as Abraham Hicks describes. 

I think beautifully, this all connects to when we’re not connected to ourselves to be able to live in that aligned trust that I can be present to the universe that’s sending me signs that are reminding me of this thing that would be beneficial, that’s alerting me or affirming my choice. When I don’t trust, or I’m not connected to that inner being, then I do attempt to control the world around me. 

I am in these habitual patterns where I don’t even feel that I can be receptive. I’m not safe enough, or I can impact the world around me. All this comes beautifully full circle when we rebuild that connection. What we’re really rebuilding is that trust for all of us who are under-supported and don’t feel worthy and don’t feel like we can have that present relationship with our emotions.

Personality is just a combination of the habits and characteristics that form our identities. Click To Tweet

At one time, we were completely overwhelmed by them, by our body’s physical presence, by the emotional experience of being a human, that we’ve detached out of that felt protection so as we become more connected to our being. As we learn to create more internal safety, then we can be safer to open ourselves up to the beautiful messages of the world around us to work in collaboration.

In my opinion, that begins with trusting ourselves first and foremost to be present with the messages as we need them to be able to flow with life. When we don’t live in that trust, we try to manipulate, change, shift things, and deny things as they are.

Well said. Are there particular daily habits or routines that you use to reconnect with your authentic self, with your higher self?

For me, it’s building the foundational basis daily in terms of my body. In the mornings, before I go about the schedules I have for the day or the to-do list. For me, I’ve carved out time when I’m up at an hour where I can have those moments to focus on myself, and it looks different each morning, though. 

I will have moments of movement, where I’m doing Yoga and gentle stretching to release all that tension that I’ve been talking about, which is incredibly helpful. I might do a movement, gentle stretching type practice in my morning time,  stressing my nervous system and learning how to be in a stressful experience. 

We are energetic bodies.

I have actually. It’s cold-ish in the mornings now, so I might go stand outside in the cold weather or get into my cold plunge. I have really tested my body’s ability to tolerate stress. That’s in the morning time, and having moments for peaceful reflection, which might be me writing in my future self journal or reading a more spiritually based book, just usually for a handful of minutes. 

Then, throughout my day, my other commitment to my body is not only building in moments of rest when I need it. If I’m not feeling up to doing whatever I had on my docket for the day, honoring what my body wants and what my body needs, but also making sure that I’m fueling my body with the nutrients that make it the most energetically available to me. Then, I end my day with sleep because to get up in the morning, I need to make sure that I’m getting the amount of hours I need. 

Any version of those promises is always top of mind to me, unintentional commitment. That’s not to say that every day goes exactly like that. There are still many days when with that endless to-do list, with those habits that are always urging me that I must do something to perform, to be good enough to be worthy. There are many moments where my focus is on that old habitual pattern of doing or activating or not protecting those morning hours and diving right into work. 

I just like to paint the full picture because I think sometimes people here, someone like myself, talk and have the idea that every day I’m checking all those boxes so beautifully, being grounded, paying attention to my nutrition, resting, and moving. That’s simply not the case. It’s my intention to be present in those moments in my day. 

That’s why consciousness is always at that foundation. Because if I can show up as a conscious being, at each moment of those choices, I allow myself to tend to my body or not to, shift back into that old pattern or show up in a new, more grounded way. So, for me, it’s always being conscious of the moments where I have the choice and then allowing myself the choices that I make.

Progress, not perfection. 

That’s right.

Our emotions are valuable — even when they’re uncomfortable.

Do some of these exercises exist in your How to Meet Your Self Workbook? So people can go through some of these processes.

I very intentionally imagined most people would pick up a workbook entitled How to Meet Your Self. The self, of course, that many are aware that I’m referencing and that we’ve been touching upon here in this conversation is our authentic self. I intentionally separated the workbook into three major sections, with the meet your authentic self not coming until section three. So, very much mirroring this entire conversation we’re having here today. 

As you progress through the workbook, the first chunk of work is becoming conscious of the fact that we are so habitual, from the habits that take us through our day, how we care for our body, to the habitual ways that we make sense or assign meaning in our mental world to the moments around us, to the habitual ways that we deal with our emotions. Becoming conscious will be the first set of tools that you’ll meet on the journey throughout How to Meet Your Self: The Workbook.

Then we begin to peel back all those layers, first exploring the physical body and the need for safety and regulation in our nervous system to even be able to be this grounded, aligned presence that we keep returning to. Then, peeling the next layer back and seeing all of this mental world, of our ego and our inner child that’s coloring our interpretations of the world and our reactivity. Then, peeling that back finally, giving yourself that space that we’ve been talking about to get curious and explore that authentic self.

That journey, that roadmap and all the tools that you’ll need to begin that journey are all in the pages of How to Meet Your Self and are also something that I talk about daily on all of the content platforms that we put out content, here on my own, the podcast, The SelfHealers Soundboard. In many ways, I’m trying to promote these tools, these concepts and these tools even outside, of course, by purchasing the workbook.

When we learn to protect our inner selves, we become open to the amazing messages that the universe sends us. Click To Tweet

Amazing, and I’m guessing that these themes are covered on your podcast as well.

Yeah. Actually, as part of the podcast, my co-host and partner, Jenna, and I talk about not only concepts but also conversations in terms of our healing journey in general. We’ve made a commitment to spend, and I think we probably have about three episodes out already, and we’ll do several more where we’re deep-diving into the workbook itself. 

If you choose to purchase the workbook, you can follow along with us. If you choose not to purchase the workbook, you can tune in to those specific self-healer soundboard episodes. Usually, it’ll be noted How to Meet Your Self in the title. You can listen to us go through exercises, deep dive and talk about us doing those particular exercises so that you can follow along throughout the journey.

Awesome. You’re doing amazing work in the world. Thank you for that. Best of luck in the unfolding of your journey and all the amazing things you’re up to in the world.

I look forward to your next book, whatever that ends up being.

Yes, thank you. Thank you so much for the work you do and for having this conversation with me. Thank you for all of you listening to this conversation. Yeah, I’m super excited about my next book as well. It’ll be on relationships.

Awesome. Again, where do we send our listeners to if they want to listen to your podcast, buy your books, become part of your community or your SelfHealers Circle, help heal themselves and change the world?

Yes, all the things. Whatever platform you consume content on, you could search for @the.holistic.psychologist on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, or Twitter. You’ll find our account there. The workbook and my first book, How to Do the Work, are available wherever major book retailers or books are sold. So wherever you prefer to buy books, you could take a look there, and chances are they will have that. Our podcast, SelfHealer Soundboard, is on Apple and Spotify. We even have a YouTube channel if you want to watch the visual of it at @selfhealerssoundboard on our YouTube page.

Awesome. Thank you so much, Nicole, and thank you, listener. I hope this interview has as much inspired you as I have. Now, you have to put it into action. We’ll catch you in the next episode. I’m your host, Stephan Spencer, signing off. 

Important Links

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Previous Get Yourself Optimized Episode

 

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Further Resources

 

Checklist of Actionable Takeaways


?Consider a holistic approach to self-healing. Recognize the connection my body, mind, and nervous system share in my healing journey.


?Recognize that self-awareness needs to lead to actionable steps. It’s not enough that I understand my issues. I should address these issues and overcome them.


?Pay attention to moments of synchronicity and alignment in my life. Realize the universe is collaborating with me, rather than working against me.


?Realize that discomfort and pain are part of my growth. They serve as valuable indicators of areas in my life that need attention and transformation.


?Create daily moments to align my intentions with my physical presence. This alignment can help me receive messages and guidance from the universe.


?Balance compassion with self-care. Practice empathy and compassion toward others, yet still prioritize my well-being. Realize when I reach my emotional limits, and don’t hesitate to protect myself with healthy boundaries.


?Heal generational patterns. Recognize that my behavior and coping mechanisms are learned from my initial caregivers and their experiences. Learn the root causes of generational suffering and forgive those who have hurt me.


?Address my trauma and tension. Consider somatic-based practices like Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) to release my physical and emotional tension. These practices can help me reconnect with my body and release stored trauma.


?Rebuilding trust starts with trusting myself. Learn to be present with my emotions and experiences. Trust my ability to flow with life rather than attempting to control or manipulate it.


?To explore Dr. Nicole LePera’s valuable resources for personal development and self-healing, connect with her on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitter, @the.holistic.psychologist. Listen to her podcast, SelfHealer Soundboard.

About Dr. Nicole LePera

Dr. Nicole LePera is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestselling Book “How To Do The Work” and the recently released Bestselling “How to Meet Your Self” Workbook. She is the creator of the #SelfHealers movement and founded SelfHealers Circle, the first virtual self-guided healing membership where members in over 100 countries are joining together to heal in the community. She is the host of the weekly ad-free podcast “SelfHealers Soundboard,” with over 5 million downloads.

Disclaimer: The medical, fitness, psychological, mindset, lifestyle, and nutritional information provided on this website and through any materials, downloads, videos, webinars, podcasts, or emails is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical/fitness/nutritional advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Always seek the help of your physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, certified trainer, or dietitian with any questions regarding starting any new programs or treatments, or stopping any current programs or treatments. This website is for information purposes only, and the creators and editors, including Stephan Spencer, accept no liability for any injury or illness arising out of the use of the material contained herein, and make no warranty, express or implied, with respect to the contents of this website and affiliated materials.

 

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