Ep 211. Making Pivots & Creating Deeper Levels of Presence with Abby O’Keefe

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In this episode, we discuss:

  • How the presence of children brings a new perspective into our lives
  • The way motherhood intertwines with our nervous systems
  • How Highly Sensitives function and misconceptions about them
  • Walking in integrity and staying true to yourself with career and business changes
  • How to know when to let go and shift into a new beginning

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Episode Transcript:

We have attachments to these emotional experiences like when we get attached to joy and then we get worried that we’re going to feel fear again or we’re not going to always stay in this forever. Being human is a spectrum of emotions that we have to be okay with and fully accept. But the story in our minds comes from the state in our body.

This is a Soulfire production.

Sarah: Abby, welcome to the show. I am just so thrilled to have you here today.

Abby: I’m so excited to be here. I can’t wait for this conversation.

Sarah: I was just telling you that we needed to push record because we were already getting into so much juicy stuff. And oh, I feel like we are in similar phases of life right now as entrepreneurs and mamas and seeing how much our children can; for you, children, for me, child, can teach us. And you just got back from this beautiful vacation and I’d love for you to speak to how our children can teach us and looking and seeing life through their lens, how that can bring a different level of presence into our lives.

How the presence of children brings a new perspective into our lives

Abby: Yeah, absolutely. So we were just talking about this right before we hit record. But I was in Florida on vacation with my family. I’ve got two daughters, a three-year-old and a 10-month-old, and my husband, and my parents; we were staying with them. And I didn’t want to be on my stories, I didn’t want to be on social media. I really wanted to unplug for the week. And so, I didn’t have any calls. I totally took the week off of my business. And I said, I’ll just start recording these little snippets, like five, 15-second clips of my life and what we’re doing. And I realized it’s like with one kid, you take pictures and videos of everything, when you have two it’s like, I swear I wouldn’t be this person, but I have so many less photos of Lily and videos that I honestly was like oh, just take photos and videos and really soak up some of these little magic moments.

So I started taking videos and it was just on a whim. I was like, I don’t share much of my personal life and my kids online. And there’s not massive intention behind it I would say, it’s just, I just don’t. I work by myself during the day and when I’m with my kids, I want to be present with my kids so it’s just not even something I think about. So I started taking these videos, put one together, posted it with music because music is deeply regulating and activating for me and I love setting it to a soundtrack. So it’s like this little mini 60-second movie and I posted it. And so many people responded to it and were loving it. And it just felt good. And I was like, I’m just going to do this, and I did it all week.

And I feel like I’m a very present person in my life, but they always say kids are your greatest teachers and they can be your greatest teachers and they’re such great mirrors for us. And something that I just told you, Sarah, off recording was it was the end of a super long day taking care of both kiddos and Isla was running around, my oldest, and she still had all this energy and I was like, how do you have all this energy? How are you still going? It’s like 7:00 and I am so tired. And it was like she didn’t even need to answer me. It was this light bulb moment where I realized, oh, she only exists in now. She doesn’t carry anything. She isn’t stressed out or thinking about or attached to anything that already happened and she’s not worried about what might happen.

And in that moment, it realized to me this deeper level of subconscious weight of the world essentially, of even the weight that can be there from goals and dreams and these big things that we want and there’s that subconscious fear of am I going to have it? Am I going to get it? Is this thing from my past? Can I interrupt it? And it was like, it kind of all blurred away for me and the fog lifted and I was like, she hasn’t learned to carry it. And I started just asking myself some rhetorical questions of like, when do we learn to carry it? Why do we carry it? You know? And it was a fascinating, just self-reflection for me, but I’ve been really sitting with that. And I think one of the biggest joys about having kids is that they bring me so much back to the moment. And even when I’m observing them, I feel like I’m more present in each moment than I ever have been.

The way motherhood intertwines with our nervous systems

Sarah: Mm. We talked about this a little bit in this free embodiment experience we collaborated on called “The Reclaimed Woman” and how our nervous systems are affected also by being mothers. And what you were just talking about, a light bulb went off in my head around how she can also be so free and so just alive in the moment because you’ve also supported her in co-regulation to not have to… I don’t know the answer to that rhetorical question, right? of when do you start carrying it, but it’s probably different for all of us. And I think that when we have powerful co-regulators as parents or primary caregivers in our life that maybe we get to bathe in the present unadulterated yet childhood and the magic; the magic of not having gone through all these things in life yet.

So let’s talk nervous systems for a second. And I know you also have or have just hosted this experience for highly sensitive nervous systems and that resonates so deeply with all of the listeners of this podcast. So what do you feel like is important to know about our nervous systems, especially as highly sensitives, and how can things like being really present in our children help to regulate but also maybe challenge our nervous systems a little bit?

How Highly Sensitives function and misconceptions about them

Abby: Yeah. Yeah, totally. Yeah, I did just do that masterclass and it was really fascinating. I didn’t even realize that I had never done anything specifically for highly sensitives before and I’m like, that’s me though, and you. That’s what you do and it’s so amazing. And so, just doing this two-and-a-half-hour experience was really cool when I got to just talk to my people. It was probably the easiest masterclass I’ve ever done because it was yeah, me and my crew, we were just having a chat about how our bodies and our minds and everything work. You know, I’ve seen some things online floating around here and there about how narcissism is the work for highly sensitives. I find that so icky, like sticky.

I find that highly sensitives are still really misunderstood. It’s still something that’s newer. And even though 20% of the population is probably highly sensitive, it’s too many to be a diagnosis and it’s too few to be highly understood. And so, we’re often misunderstood because of that. But highly sensitives’ nervous systems are like, I think of my nervous system as a lot of live wires and the practices that I do help to cap those. So the wire still exists, which is the depth of the feeling, but the trigger, the reaction doesn’t happen when I regulate. And that involves meditation and breathing and grounding and anchoring in myself. And so, that requires training. I think you just posted a reel the other day that was practice. I love that audio so much. It makes me laugh because I’m like, that is the key, especially for highly sensitives where you…

I get my space to practice by myself so that I can be present with my kids. Because if I don’t, then it’s like the sounds, the loud noises, the smells, the everything is so overstimulating and overwhelming. But the highly sensitive nervous system is different and the brain is different. Our mirror neurons are different. We are natural-born entrepreneurs, natural-born leaders, but a lot of times it doesn’t feel or look that way because we almost pull ourselves back so that we can read everyone else. But then we fill in the gap so well. There are so many amazing benefits to being highly sensitive and it really is a gift but it can feel like a curse when you don’t understand how to manage it and regulate it. And for me, the way that I do that the best, the way my body loves the most is kundalini. And so, that’s what I gravitate towards. And I know when I’m not doing it, I can tell when I’m like, okay, we need to get back. We’re dysregulated, we’re…

Sarah: I want to talk about this concept of the body does hold the breakthrough and that we do heal through feeling and sensation and embodiment practices. And I know that’s something that really reigns king or queen on the pedestal for you as far as how we heal through the body and that your work focuses on not speaking to the mind, but speaking to the body. I’d love for you to just elaborate on that.

Abby: Yeah. I think it’s like, it just makes sense to me. Highly sensitives are the feelers of the world. So then how could we possibly heal by thinking, you know what I mean? And so, we’re such deep feelers that’s how we communicate with the world. I was telling my husband this yesterday because sometimes when we’re having conversations and I say something like, I feel like I’ve been let out of this jail I didn’t even know I was in, he was like, but why can’t you say it in the positive way or I’m pursuing this new thing that’s really exciting? I’m like, listen for a highly sensitive person, when I have the thought or when I have the feeling, if I don’t let it out of me, it lives in me until I release it. It is how my body works. I will be sick, I will ruminate. It will travel from the feeling to thinking and that’s how I ruminate, that’s how I obsess, that’s how I try to control or anticipate. And so, for me, it has only ever made sense to me that it happens through the body because that’s where I experience life. I told him, I do not experience this world through knowledge. I experience this world through subtle energy and feeling.

Sarah: When did you realize that Abby? So for you, if you rewind your life, do you feel like you were always that way or was there a realization point around that? 

Abby: So I always go back to this moment when I was six years old. But I wouldn’t say there’s any wild thing that I know of that happened, but it’s the first time I remember being completely overwhelmed by sensation along with the knowing this feeling of subtle energy and world-shifting energy. It was the first time I ever remember feeling in my body that I had a capacity to shift the energy of the world.

Sarah: Mm. Wow. And that’s a big thing to take on as a six-year-old.

Abby: Yeah. And because I didn’t know how to, it went to my mind. So I would always think about how do I change the world? What do I invent? What do I…you know what I mean? Then it didn’t actually integrate. It was like it was almost too overwhelming. I was the kid that I couldn’t sleep. I checked on all my family every night. I was feeling into the energy of everyone all the time. It was like it manifested as very intense anxiety and fear cycles for me because I didn’t know how to manage it and nobody in my family would’ve related to that. But for three years of my life, it was probably from around six when that happened until nine or 10, where every night I had to tell my mom everything that I did, thought, felt during the day or I couldn’t sleep because it was so overwhelming. We had a ritual. I would go in and sit on her bed and I would unload it.

Sarah: Right. It’s like you’re discharging all that energy that builds up throughout your day. You probably unknowingly were doing that so your nervous system could regulate and so that you can actually fall asleep.

Abby: Yeah. That’s exactly it; so I could sleep. And my mom was the best. She never questioned me, she never asked why, she never didn’t let me come in, she never told me it was bad or whatever. She just would listen and say, okay. And then I’d literally walked to my room and go to sleep.

Sarah: Mm-hmm. You also just recently shared something about how the problem regarding the nervous system, the problem isn’t in the story, it’s in the state. And I think a lot of people either don’t understand that or would love to understand how that applies to them. Can you speak to that?

Abby: Yeah. So when we experience the world and we’re through this concept of neuroception, if you’re familiar with polyvagal theory, I know you are, but if you’re listening and you are, we’re always looking for cues and signs of danger and signs of safety. And that happens whether or not you intellectually understand this. You’re subconsciously taking all of this in through feeling. Your body feels safe, it feels unsafe. It feels regulated, it feels dysregulated. So you’re in a state, whether you feel balanced or you’re angry, you feel sad, you feel joyful. And then from that state, you can feel it and then open up and create the space to feel something different. So feel it, not get attached to it, move through it, move on to the next thing, or your body feels almost too heightened, the state is so heightened that you want to know why, you want to understand it. So that feeling starts to travel through your physiology, through your nervous system, up to the mind. And then from that feeling, you create a story around it, which is where the attachment comes from so then now you have this trigger, now you have this, not only a nervous system trigger, but you have a mental trigger.

So say you’re in a position, for an example, you feel fear in your body, that fear doesn’t feel okay to you, you don’t feel safe with that fear, that’s what happens to a lot of people, right? Fear doesn’t feel safe, it feels uncomfortable. We’re not okay with being uncomfortable. We want to be comfortable and we want to feel good. So we don’t feel safe with that fear so then our mind is like, why am I feeling this? What’s happening to me? Am I in danger here? Is there something I need to be worried about? And then you start searching for why you should be worried about it, other things. And then the state gets heightened, the nervous system is like it’s like a ping back and forth and each thing grows. The state grows, the story grows until now this thing happened, you felt fear, now you have a story.

The next time it happens, you feel fear. Even if it’s in a different situation, you can flip back to that story so quickly that now there’s an attachment to fear. And that’s when we get into cycles of stress and feeling on edge, or we get startled easily or scared easily because we have attachments to these emotional experiences. And that goes for fear and it goes for joy like when we get attached to joy and then we get worried that we’re going to feel fear again or we’re not going to always stay in this forever. Being human is a spectrum of emotions that we have to be okay with and fully accept. But the story in our minds comes from the state in our body.

How to know when to let go and shift into a new beginning

Sarah: So interesting because in the interview I was just on, it came to the surface for me on how I have been so much more comfortable for the majority of my life, in the struggle, in the chaos, in the stress. Sarah knows how the fuck to navigate the hard shit. I’m good at it, I’m comfortable in it. It’s not what I consciously desire, but I am very much comfortable in it. And so, I feel like I tend to unconsciously or subconsciously magnetize more of this. Because it’s like, oh, you know how to do this girl? You got this girl. And it goes back to the beginning of our conversation where, and even pre-pushing record, I’m just so desiring to live this beautiful life with like… Yes, there’s always going to be challenge, there’s always going to be struggle like you said, there’s always going to be the shadow work, but that has been the big thing at the table.

And I’m so ready for the majority to shift and instead, for more beauty and presence and fun and play and romance and seduction and flirtation to just come into the room and want to party with me. But the state that I am very much or have been attached to is what’s the next challenge? I will conquer it. And I’m shifting, I’m learning how to shift into let’s not search out the next challenge. Let’s just be with what is as is and not always be in a state of seeking; like seeking the next income level, seeking the next accolade, seeking the next client, seeking the next payment, seeking the next even way in which we build our family or the next house that we buy or whatever. 

But it’s really challenging in that I have to break old attachments in order for that to really enter into the room and allow myself to shift towards that. And it’s interesting because this is the second-to-last podcast episode and this is one of the actions that I’ve taken to release the attachment, right? The podcast has become a thing that doesn’t feel in the most alignment for me moving forward and the highest alignment for me moving forward so I’m choosing to step back. But the old part of me that’s attached to that state is like, wait, no. You have to keep going. Why would you let go? Oh, can you resonate with that?

Abby: Oh my gosh, so much. So much so. Have you ever read the book “Existential Kink?”

Sarah: No, but it’s in my Amazon wishlist.

Abby: Yeah. It is so fascinating. And I haven’t made my way through it, but I’ve talked to people about the work and it’s like that. It’s like there’s a part of you that likes the struggle, that likes the chaos and I so resonate with that. And my husband, Tim and I were having this conversation yesterday, and even in Florida, we were having this conversation of he was saying to me, he’s like, I just want you to feel good with where you are and not feel like you’re digging out of a hole. And I didn’t even realize that that’s what I create. It’s like, I’m looking for the next one to dig out of to prove that I can do it.

Sarah: Yeah. It’s exhausting to do. It’s like a constant seeking, seeking, more, more, never enough. And it’s such a consumerism capitalism society that we’re born into that I think makes us strive for that. And the strive, the drive is not inherently bad, but it becomes, I think, detrimental to actually living our lives if it’s all-consuming or if it’s this obsession that we create or we’re constantly finding the hole to dig out of like you said.

Abby: Yeah. Yeah, totally. Absolutely. And I just keep thinking there’s so much more to life than what we’re taught in society. And part of that is presence, which we opened with and talking about the kids, but I just…yeah, I don’t want to keep doing it that way either. I’m so in that place and that’s part of… I know I told you, I’m pivoting what I’m doing, but in that pivot, I realize it’s not about eliminating what I do now, it’s just about opening up to the possibility that I can do a lot more variety of things without it having to be one singular thing. I’m multi-passionate, I’m multifaceted. I can do lots of different things and enjoy it all instead of feeling like I’m in this one place and I have to do this one thing. It’s like, I don’t know, the sweetness, the good parts of life are in the now. And yeah, when we’re chasing the next thing or seeking the next thing, it’s like we’re not there. So then  I do that for a little while, I look up and I’m like, what the hell happened, you know?

My kid’s three and my kid’s 10 months. And so, especially since having kids, it’s really, that’s a question I ask myself all the time, not months or years, but days. Every day probably almost at this point. I’m like, what am I doing? Is this worth it? I’ve got two tiny kids that I want to be present for. The priorities are different. And we talked about that in the embodiment experience too.

Sarah: Mm-hmm. It really has shifted the lens in which I see the world and therefore the priorities of my day-to-day. And then also when I zoom out, big picture going, okay, what road are we traveling down right now? And is it the road that I want to be traveling down? And not that I have to commit to that one road forever, but is it the road that I want to be on right now? And that’s where my own pivot is currently in process and happening. And let’s talk about the bravery, the courage, the willingness to actually do the pivot, to take the pivot. Because I know I look at my business and I think that saying ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, right? It works. My business works as it operates today, but is it the business that I want to be spending my time and energy on? Is it the path that I want to be walking down?

Abby: Yeah.

Sarah: What has saying yes to the pivot looked like for you?

Abby: Yeah. When you’re asking me this question, what’s coming up is fascinating to witness for me. So I’m just going to say it, and it’s probably going to sound a little messy. Because you use the word bravery and courageous and I would say that people around me, when I’ve made big pivots because I ran a really successful online personal training business that made multiple six figures a year that I shut down because it wasn’t aligned, but what I will tell you is that I have not felt brave or courageous in any of those moments. In fact, I feel that making those decisions is so easy for me, it almost doesn’t make sense. When I say it out loud, it doesn’t make sense to say it that way. And I’m sure it is brave and it is courageous, but for me, it feels like not taking the easy way out, it just feels like an easy decision. Like it’s just…

Sarah: Well you said that getting out of jail, that it almost feels like there’s a sensation of when you say yes to the pivot, this relief, this expansion, this deeper alignment that you’re at a point or have been at these points in life and at business that it’s just allowing the truth of how they’re not aligned or they’re uncomfortable or they’re no longer just for you to actually enter into your field so that then the decision to pivot is actually easy because you’re like, oh, okay. Moving on to the next thing; letting myself evolve and be a human and not have to stick with the same thing forever.

Abby: Yeah. I think now that you say that, you reflect that, I think that the feeling brave and having that courage comes from allowing myself to ask the really hard questions of does this actually feel good? Is this what I want to do? The decision always feels easy because my body’s already decided. And I’m an, if you’re familiar, I know you’re a reflector. Yes?

Sarah: I’m a pr–

Abby: No, projector. You’re a projector and I’m a generator and I am an emotional authority. So, I feel like most highly sensitives have to be emotional authorities. You would see.

Sarah: Yeah, over here.

Abby: Yeah. And probably I’m sure there are some that aren’t. But giving myself permission to ask those really hard questions. And earlier this year, “Camp Kundalini” is a program that I’ve run so many times. It’s a signature program and I was running one at the beginning of the year called “Fear Shifter.” And I couldn’t figure out why doing content was like pulling teeth. It would not come out of me. I was like, what is happening? And I had a friend say is this the camp you want to run? And I was like, no. The word came out before I even thought about it. It was just a full-body no. Fuck no. We do not want to do this. And so, that day I just sat with it and this whole new version of camp came out. And in 24 hours, eight people had joined after I burned it down, rebuilt it. It was wild. And that is the alignment. But if you’re not asking yourself the question, is this what I want to do? then you’re not going to get those answers.

And so, when you say, do I want to pivot, is this the business that I want? and your answer is no, then it’s like I have to follow that through. And I knew that what I was doing wasn’t what I wanted to be doing at the end of January. And again, the night before my 34th birthday, which was at the end of February, my husband and I had such a long conversation about I don’t want to do it this way anymore and I still didn’t change anything. And on this trip in Florida, I actually made the decision and it was like my get-out-of-jail card. It was incredible. Nothing on the outside had changed, but my whole internal world had changed.

Sarah: Yeah. Being an empath, it was like of course I experience through feeling and it’s like I can feel the exhale in your body of just allowing that to enter and to actually make the shift within your internal knowing of this is what I’m doing now. And I think Abby, you’re a really beautiful example of, well, first of all, being in high integrity in your business and in life, but also this reminder that there really aren’t that many rules. And we create these rules and we think we need to abide by these rules and we have to do it a certain way and I feel like you’re not afraid to say those rules aren’t real. I’m going to make my own damn rules and do this the way that I desire to do this.

And an example that I’m thinking of that I’ve witnessed, and I don’t know all the details of but I’ve witnessed this from a distance, is you had shared how you wrote this book years ago and didn’t publish and decided to create an experience out of it where it seems like people are side by side with you going through the content of a book, but in a very innovative way. And to me, that’s creativity, that’s innovation. It’s looking at a situation or a structure in which something exists and being like, what if there were no rules around this, how would it want to come to life? How would this want to be birthed? How would it want to come to life? And then acting upon that. Can you talk about your process in that?

Abby: Yeah. Oh my gosh, yeah. This is my favorite project I’ve ever done. And it was fascinating just the way synchronistically that it came back to life. Because this was something that I wrote five years ago so I completely forgot that I wrote to be totally honest because I’d compartmentalized it so deep. Because when I went back and revisited it a year later, I was like, this is terrible, this is so bad. I was just overanalyzing it. And then my husband was talking to my nanny and I happened to walk in at the exact time from the basement where he said, yeah, Abby wrote a book, because our nanny had written a book, and I was like, no I didn’t. And he was like, but yeah you did though. And I was like, well, I mean, yeah, but I didn’t publish it. And I got all defensive and weird about it and I was like, huh, that probably means I should look at my book. And I pulled out my book and it was everything I needed to hear in the moment and what I was going through.

So then I just, I’m sitting there and I’m reading the book and I was like, this gets to come to life. And what happened, for the first time, there was no structure around this, it wasn’t in my quarterly plan, it wasn’t part of my projected income. It was just this would feel really freaking good if I did it. So when I was looking at it and I was like these words, I was thinking about how I experience books because I love books. But I read a book and I’m like, but how? But how? I outline and I highlight and I journal and I’m like, but still how, though? I’m stuck. And so I’m reading my book and I’m like, no, this comes to life through embodiment. That is what this does. And in the first 24 hours, it was 30 people signed up and we now have over 40, which is my biggest live container I’ve ever done, and it’s having such amazing impact. It’s just so fun. It’s just very fun to do.

And yeah, I wasn’t even consciously… That’s a moment where it was like my guard was so fully down. I was so in that moment with my book that there could not have been a rule. And so, I didn’t even have to ask myself that question. But what you just said was what I was doing, which was, if there were no rules around this, would I actually publish it the traditional way or would I do it differently? But my emotional authority had taken over and decided there was no other way that I was going to do this. And so I knew, but when I’m every day living right now, that’s one of the questions I’m asking myself.

And thank you for the kind words that you said too about this, but I’ve been asking myself what rule am I brushing up against? Because humanity loves linear things. We like compartmentalizing. We like pretty boxes with bows of understanding who this person is, who this person is, who this person is. And now what we’re seeing the world turn into is truly this big melting pot of how our physiology, our physical human form, and how all of that is fluid and sexuality and gender. It’s like it doesn’t have to be the way that it’s always been. But there’s a lot of fear around that changing so you’re going to brush up against that too. In anything where there are rules, where there are patterns, whether it’s conscious or subconscious, you’re going to brush up against fear, but you have to be willing to walk with it.

And that’s been one of the biggest teachers for me in having a relationship with fear and not wanting fear to then being like, okay, fear. You’re just part of my human experience, you get to exist with me. There’s nothing I need to be scared of you for. I get to learn from you, you get to be fuel for my personal evolution. And so, whenever I feel that I’m saying, what rule am I brushing up against? What lesson is there for me to learn here? What is this activating inside of me? Does that answer it? Does that make sense?

Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. I feel like after having been in business for so long where the focus is us, like you are your brand, I am my brand, and this is something that came up in my interview with Kelli, the episode that just came out the week that you and I were recording this, and she also decided to make a decision to end her podcast for now. And we were talking about how there’s so much healing that can come along with sharing your story, with being the brand, with creating programs that center around things that you’ve been through and overcome, and the learnings you’ve gained from that. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but what her and I were observing, and I’m just curious what your perspective is on this as well, is that there comes a time, that I would say, there comes a time where I feel called to let my energy be more sacred and go more inward and be just for me, more for me and my loved ones than this outward exhibition of it and let this journey that I’ve been on and the skills I’ve developed along the way be used to help other people amplify their voice because I’ve done that.

I’ve done this for six years. I have amplified my own voice, I have healed my own throat chakra, I have let the focus beyond me and my story and all the things I’ve been through. And you mentioned you had this very successful, personal training fitness brand, now you have this embodiment kundalini brand, and it’s the season of pivot. And I just, I’m curious what your take is on the energetic component of being so outward with our energy and sharing us versus letting some of our magic be directed towards amplifying the voice of others?

Abby: Yeah. It’s so fascinating. And yes to all of this. I think that you and I…I’ve known you for over a year, right? We’ve been connecting through Instagram and things, but the way that we’ve reconnected since we started doing this experience, we are in such similar places and it’s really just I wanted to just thank you because it’s refreshing to just hear somebody else say what you’re feeling. Because as much as I give myself that permission, there is still this part of you that wonders, is it the right thing? It’s what I’m going to do because I’m trusting myself, but am I making a wrong decision here? Which there isn’t one, but you can get confused with your consuming a lot of stuff online and you feel like you need to do it this way or whatnot, or this is the way you’re successful.

And so, everything you just said is exactly how I feel. And I can’t even say it better. It’s like I am fully at the point where I have been deeply desiring to retreat for a year and I’m finally giving myself that permission. I mean, for years, probably, because at the beginning of 2020, I took six months off social media and it was the happiest that I had been in a long time and my energy was mine. And I communicated with my clients in my private Facebook group and on my email list, but I really kept it for me. And yeah, for me, it’s not like it takes too much for me to share my journey. It’s not that. It’s just it is; it feels more sacred. And I think it has to do with having kids. There is something. It’s like with the priorities, the energy changes, there’s other places where you just want to devote your energy and time and I don’t want to think about and feel like I have to share that all the time anymore.

And I deeply have loved sharing it and there are parts that I always will, and I’ll always want to share some things here and there, but I absolutely feel this pullback of I never thought I would be somebody that would want to help other people amplify their voices. I really always thought it would be me as the brand and I feel completely the opposite now. Yeah, I’m ready to help people build their space. And it feels really fun. It feels really fun.

Sarah: It’s such an ego-death at the same time, right? where it’s like I’m not everything.

Abby: Yeah, it’s weird. It’s like I don’t… Yeah, it’s like I don’t feel like I’m a narcissist because I’m sharing my stuff, but then there’s this piece of, because it does start to feel for me and it has recently, it just feels self-serving a little bit now. It feels like it’s complete in a lot of ways, some of it, and then when I choose to do it anyway, it’s like ugh, that didn’t feel so good.

Sarah: Uh-huh, uh-huh. And I obviously don’t think you’re a narcissist, but I do think that anyone who has a brand that their face is the center has some level of, I don’t even know if I want to say it this way, but like a little narcissistic energy. Not that they’re narcissists, but kind of this look at me, look at me, I’m important sort of vibe. I know I have had that and have that where it’s like look at the shit that I’m doing. It’s important, people. Open your eyes, stay here, watch me. And it’s interesting that you brought up how it shifted with kids because, and I’m not saying this is true for you, but it has been true for me that it’s had me take a step back and go, huh. So I was treating my business like my baby and now I have a real human baby. And how do I break the codependent bond that I’ve built with my business baby and not then project that onto my human baby?

Let’s just chop this attachment of codependency, but I’m not going to then shift it over to my child because that’s not fair to her either, and really calling all my energetic chords that I’ve thrown around back home and taking sacred responsibility and ownership for them and reeling them back in so that I, something that we talked about also in “The Reclaimed Woman” is this sovereignty of bringing my energy back, taking ownership over my energy, the circulation of my energy, and all the places that my energy has been projected onto.

Abby: Yeah, totally. I mean, yeah, I think that’s a really fascinating connection to think about that. And yeah, my business was my baby for so long, since 2014, and yeah, having human babies, it’s just, it’s different. It’s different. There’s a reciprocated energy that’s not the same in business. I love my clients and I love my programs and I love my offerings, but it’s not the same. And it does, it just shifts. It really does shift things. I can’t possibly imagine it any differently, right? It’s incredible. It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever witnessed for sure.

Sarah: What do you think changed most? Because obviously, we change so much in the evolution into motherhood, and now having two babies, being a mother of more than one, of multiple. And what do you think has shifted most about your identity over these three, four years?

Abby: Mm. That’s such a great question. I think trust in myself.

Sarah: Mm. I love that.

Abby: Yeah. I think that I always believed in myself very strongly. Because before I had kids, I built this really successful business and I always believed in myself, but I didn’t trust myself. And when I became a mom… I love…it’s so funny, but every night when I go to bed, I put my hand on my belly and it’s so soft and there’s extra skin and it’s my favorite thing. It feels like home. My body really feels like home. And it’s funny you asked that because last night I did that. I do it every night. And it’s like, as soon as I do it, I’m out. It’s how I fall asleep. I turn my reiki on, I got my hands on my belly, and I just, I’m asleep. And I was thinking right before I fell asleep that I feel even more at home in my body from being someone else’s home and from going through that process of giving myself that proof and that it’s like the proof of that belief almost. I just have such a deep relationship with my body and I trust her for everything. Yeah, I so trust her now.

Sarah: I have chills. And I love the distinction you made between believing in yourself versus trusting yourself because I feel like sometimes those get a little mistaken or overlapped and there is, there’s a difference. And I feel very similarly where it’s like, I’ve had a strong belief in myself and I think it comes from being a super independent kid and just having the evidence over and over again of being able to do hard things, being able to accomplish things, being able to overachieve. But trusting yourself is a different frequency. It’s a different energy that doesn’t necessarily automatically coexist with believing in yourself.

Abby: Yeah. I think there’s this like… Believing, to me, this is in my body, belief has this subtle energy of control for me and trust has a subtle energy of surrender.

Sarah: I feel that.

Abby: Yeah.

Sarah: It does. It’s like surrender. It’s releasing attachment to the outcome when…

Abby: Yeah. It’s like belief is I can do hard things, trust is no matter what happens, I will be okay because I’m home.

Sarah: You’re speaking to my soul right now. I love it. Yeah.

Abby: I can’t wait to listen to this back because I don’t even know what I’m saying.

Sarah: What is time? What is reality? What…?

Abby: Oh my God.

Sarah: That’s the beauty of podcasting I will say that I’m really going to miss is in these conversations, I think new truths and curiosities, realizations come to the surface that might not have otherwise revealed themselves. But it’s in these intimate, uncensored conversations that, whether it’s from my voice or my guest’s voice, you today, Abby, yeah, they unearth and come to the surface. And it’s so cool even to see my team, love you team Soulfire Productions, pick out the…usually they pick out three or four little snippets for quotes that go onto audiograms or graphics. And I always love to see what they end up picking out because I’m like, damn, that was said. Oh yeah, okay.

Abby: That’s so great. I love it. And it’s funny because you’re closing down your podcast and I told Sarah I’m starting a new one and Sarah’s going to come on. I was like, girl, you can come on anytime, we’ll have these conversations. But also with that, I just wanted to say that yes, with these conversations, because life is about connection and engagement and we think it’s about convenience and we think it’s about things being easier and more accessible. And I’ve been thinking about this because my daughter is in love with her gymnastics coach. I’ve never seen her love a teacher as much as she loves this woman. She adores her and I am like, no matter where we move in this state, I will drive to this person. 

And then I was thinking, huh, well, what if we live an hour away? And I was like, Abby, life isn’t about what’s most convenient and what’s the easiest. Life is about real engagement and connection with other human beings and having community and finding people that are important to you and having conversations. We forget that because right now technology and everything is all about making life more convenient. And so, I feel so passionately about that. That’s why these conversations are so amazing because it’s like this is what life is about, right? Yeah, this is what it feels like to me.

Sarah: It’s so much more intimate than social media to me. It really allows us to be present with each other here even if we’re across a screen. I wish I could be next to you right now, but even across a screen, it is, it’s just a different layer of intimacy and connection like you said. And it’s just given me so much to think about so I appreciate you and I appreciate this conversation and I’d just love to wrap up with any last thoughts that are on your heart that you feel called to share. And also if you could let everyone know where to find you, learn more, and create that real connection with you.

Abby: Yeah, absolutely. So I think the last thing I want to say is really just what I just said. I would say today, just connect with somebody, just take an invitation, really see someone, really connect with somebody. Maybe it’s the barista and you ask them an extra question or whoever it is, just don’t forget to live your life and really be there for it. And being there for it is having authentic connection. That’s what it means to be there. And whoever that is with, if it’s yourself, your kids, your partner, your family, your friends, whoever it is, just be there now because you don’t get to the end of your life and look back and feel sad about the moments that you were there for. You feel sad about the moments that you were looking at your phone when this amazing thing happened or whatever it was. So just connect with somebody today.

And then you can find me on Instagram. You’ll have my stuff. Mostly, I’m on Instagram and I’d say we talked a little bit about coming home, that’s my favorite thing I’ve ever done. So if you want a taste of what I do and embodiment with me, my book brought to life: “A Reclamation of Power, and Body, Mind, and Spirit,” and it’s a really beautiful thing. We’re going for months. It’s going to be a six-month project, we’re only in month two. So yeah, it’s really fun. So I’ll give you all the information for that too. But it was just amazing to sit here and chat with you, Sarah. And thank you for having me on. I’m honored to be your last interview and in one of your last few episodes. It’s just such an honor for me.

Sarah: Thank you, thank you, thank you. And yeah, this just feels perfect to have you be officially my last interview guest. We are at such a similar phase of life that really to me was just like I need to have Abby in to have this conversation with somebody who really gets it and speaks my language right now. So thank you for this conversation, but also thank you for just being you and for being a presence in my life and somebody that I can connect to you. You hold such beautiful space and it’s just, yeah, my absolute honor and delight to have known you and to continue to get to know you. Thank you, Abby.

Abby: Thank you. I love you.

Follow Abby:

Instagram: @iamabby_o

Website: abby-o.com

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Work with Sarah:

Online courses | 1:1 coaching | Send show requests to sarah@theuncensoredempath.com!

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April 14, 2022


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