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About this Episode


In this podcast episode, Alicia Mathlin discusses her philosophy of sitting or standing ‘in your majesty’, being responsive rather than reactive, and the benefits of a strong meditative practice. She shares personal stories of resilience and heart-opening experiences, challenges the idea of the imposition of happiness based on external factors, and offers a new framing around finding joy through inner peacefulness. The conversation also covers nuanced communication, techniques for uncomfortable situations, and the serendipity of their meeting.

Show notes

  • What it means to 'sit in your majesty,’ and how those words lend themselves to our posture and more heart opening.
  • Alicia shares her distinction between responsive and reactive and how that shows up depending on where you are at in your self care.
  • The benefits of having a strong meditative practice and considering meditation as the training and mindfulness as application of that training in the “game” of life.
  • If you think that you cannot meditate because you can never have a blank mind, Alicia shares her tips on how to make meditation manageable and states what she believes to be the true goal of meditation.
  • How men and women's brains are wired differently. Especially when it comes to being able to compartmentalize things and having the ability to quiet-down during the practice of meditation.
  • Alicia shares a personal story of defiance and how she dealt with a devastating 'gut punch,’ when she got diagnosed with cancer.
  • Her story of heart-opening and how she stays open by increasing the quality of her self care, healing thoughts, and ideas. She shares how her personal practices and believes were put to the test during her recovery and fight to live.
  • Alicia talks about the false idea that we are supposed to be happy all the time and how she had to rethink what happiness meant in the last year. She shares that happiness is not the goal. The goal should actually be peacefulness. And then joy will follow.
  • A technique on how to respond if someone says something to you that makes you uncomfortable, that you don't like or that you're unclear about. And that there's value in taking a moment to leave room for understanding and the magic of differences.
Profile photo of Jennifer Spencer looking at the camera

Episode Guest

Alicia Mathlin

Alicia Mathlin, the founder of Meditation Pusher, Alicia has been teaching meditation and mindfulness to dynamic teams, professional athletes, entertainers and young people for almost a decade. She teaches in a warm, funny and relatable manner. Alicia is also a yoga teacher, holistic nutritionist, and co-founder of Theine Foundation. Her background is in international business (London, Paris), and her favourite food is a burrito with extra guacamole.

Alicia’s personal statement

"My work and my teachings are an invitation for us to explore the strength of the mind, the infrastructure of the heart, the systems of the body and the energy of the soul; to cultivate our inner resources and to connect things within, so that we may better understand how we connect to everything.

My hope is that through meditation, holistic wellness, yoga, essential oils and conscious living, we experience life with more reverence for ourselves and each other".

Find Alicia on Instagram

For meditation and mindfulness and mindset work: @Meditationpusher

For holistic wellness and exploring self-care in a more profound way: @the.deeper.wellness

Connect online

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Host: Karlee Vukets

Featured Guest: Alicia Mathlin

Produced by: Karlee Vukets

Editing: Andre Stewart @ Mixed by Dre

Branding: Leon Murray & Cathy Jones @ Bold Move Studio

Intro Graphics: Craig Mazerall Designs

Music: Night Moves by Ivy Bakes

Karlee’s Photo Credit: Olivia O’Young Photography

Alicia’s Photo Credit: Paul Buceta for STRONG Fitness Magazine

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Karlee: Welcome back, my loves. It is a pleasure to introduce you. Our guest for today, the marvelous Alicia Mathlin. Alicia is a meditation and mindfulness instructor through her platform at @meditationpusher or @meditationpusher, and founder of the Deeper Wellness Community and co-founder of Theine Foundation, which is actually how we met, which will save maybe that story for later in the episode.

[00:00:44] Alicia: Sounds good.

[00:00:46] Karlee: Her talks are like poetry, and I cannot wait for you all to hear her wisdom today on the show.

Alicia, welcome to Leave Room for the Magic. It's such a pleasure to have you here today.

[00:00:56] Alicia: Karlee I am so honored to be a guest on your new show. I think the fact that you are doing this for people in your community, your clients, your students, everybody who works with you, I think this is a marvelous add-on to what you already offer.

[00:01:22] Karlee: Thank you so much. Thank you so much. So we'll kick off today as we kick off each episode with a beautiful intention. And I know we each brought one today, so I'll let you begin with yours.

[00:01:26] Alicia: Thank you, Karlee. My intention for our time together today is to remind your listeners how powerful they are, just as they are, without any need or change in their lives or themselves. That's my intention for today.

[00:01:46] Karlee: I love that. I love that. Without any need for change, that really hits home.

[00:01:52] Alicia: Yeah. It's important that we know that we're good enough just as we are.

[00:01:58] Karlee: Yeah. Yeah. I love that. Thank you. I always start off my intentions – Thank you, universe of the highest good and compassion, and the eternal loving presence for creating space for Alicia and I today to film an incredible podcast episode. Thank you for speaking through Alicia and myself for helping people to connect to the memory of their magic and move from a place of their majesty.

And I'm gonna start there.

I'm gonna start there with you because your majesty is a phrase you introduced me to through your work, and I would love for you to introduce this audience to the concept of being in their majesty.

[00:02:46] Alicia: Of course. So it has many layers to it, but it actually began through my work as a meditation instructor and this would, I'd say the first layer, which is the physical layer, right? When we meditate, our posture is so important because, by lengthening our spine, we create space to connect to what's above us and what's below us. And we allow oxygen to flow freely through our body, which ideally creates an optimal sense of awareness and presence, both in our mind and in our heart.

So that's the physical layer. The second thing I would offer is that it, when I remind people to sit in their Majesty, it's an automatic queue that gets you to kind of…

[00:03:35] Karlee: yeah, I just did it.

[00:03:37] Alicia: Yeah, we both kinda got a little more upright and a little bit more open. So it reminds us that even though the world may have us kind of collapsing inward or folding inward, our majesty exists within us and is not defined by what's happening outside of us.

That's why when I say sit in your majesty or stand in your majesty, you automatically know what to do because there's a memory of your worthiness that emerges in your mind when you hear those words.

And then the final thing that I would say about sitting in your majesty is that sometimes when we're in our lives, and this might be an energetic perspective, but when we're in our lives and we're being confronted with challenges or with people who don't know how to love us or make us feel like we're hard to love, sometimes it's nice to just say to yourself and speak to your own heart: Find your majesty. Stay in your majesty.

Because otherwise we get pushed and pulled by external circumstance or other people's wants and needs of us, right? Yeah. And when we can say to ourselves, stay in our majesty, it reminds us to come back into the present. It reminds us to ground inward, and it also reminds us to be responsive and not reactive.

[00:05:00] Karlee: Speak a little bit more about your definition of responsive to reaction or versus reactive. I'd love to hear.

[00:05:07] Alicia: Sure.

[00:05:08] Karlee: How you consider those.

[00:05:10] Alicia: Yeah, so I think this comes through mindfulness and teaching mindfulness for as long as I have. Most of us are often reactive, right? When something happens, we don't even think we re, we react within a split second.

And what that means is that we are reacting from memory, right? Reacting from what we think about the past through the lens of the past, or through the lens of the future. Very rarely, if at all, do we react in the present moment, right? So what that means is we are layering in experiences from the past or layering in perceptions of the future into our reaction, right?

The most obvious cue that we are not in the present or that we are reacting is that we are taking whatever's being said, personally. Even if it's just a neutral statement. Even if it's just a fact, we take it personally and we feel like what's being said to us is a statement about us indirectly or directly.

When you're responsive, you are mindful of the space between stimulus and response. So stimulus is the thing that's happening. Whatever's happening or whatever's being said, and the ability to take a breath and choose how you respond, right? And very often a response comes from you being fully in the present moment and receiving the information or the situation as neutral and not as personal.

So that is how I make the distinction between responsive and reactive. So the more you, for example, meditate or practice self-care, the more likely you are to be responsive. The more you are in flight or flight response, the more you are without rest for extended periods of time or perhaps not eating properly. The more likely you are to be reactive.

So responsiveness and reactiveness is also a statement of where you are at in your self care as well.

[00:07:20] Karlee: And your practice, right.

[00:07:22] Alicia: And your practice especially, yes. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:07:26] Karlee: In my experience like that and what I've seen as well in other people who have a strong meditative practice, that pause gets longer over time, you know...

[00:07:38] Alicia: It does.

[00:07:38] Karlee: That gap between the reaction, the stimulus, and that reaction.

[00:07:43] Alicia: And I think I'm really happy that you said that because I think people often think that a meditation is about just sitting and engaging in the practice. That's part of it.

And I think that it's important to consider meditation the training. But mindfulness is actually the game. That's where you're playing the game of life, right? So the training happens when you sit and you meditate, but mindfulness is how you apply what has happened in your practice into your life, right?

Because it's not serving you if you can't take the practice and the lessons from the practice into your life, right? So yes as you practice more, that space between stimulus and response increases, but it's not time that increases. It's your perspective of time that changes, right? So three seconds can feel like an eternity for someone who practices mindfulness because they have a healthy relationship with time.

Three seconds can feel like not enough time for anyone who has a stressful relationship with time. And so what practicing every day does is it helps you slow and expand time for your own reactions, for your own responsiveness, for your own integration, right? So you're almost shaping the way the world is unfolding around you because of how you're interacting with it.

[00:09:19] Karlee: I love that. It, it reminds me of a very popular online saying that's or meme that around meditation that says everybody should meditate 15 minutes a day. And if you don't think you have 15 minutes, you need an hour.

[00:09:32] Alicia: Absolutely. Absolutely. It's so true. We underestimate the value of the practice time and time again.

[00:09:42] Karlee: Yeah. Yeah. And how much, even just a handful of minutes of meditation or mindfulness integrated into your day can be effective.

[00:09:51] Alicia: It's a game changer. When I first, when I start teaching in the very beginning, the first thing I teach is just to master doing 10 deep breaths. And people say to me what about meditation?

And I, and I assure you, you will get there. But if you cannot sit still and practice 10 deep breaths with ease, right? Without being distracted, without, letting your thoughts run away, right? You should pause before you try to dive into a meditation practice. That's why so many people begin meditation and they aren't good at it.

First and foremost, nobody's good at it in the beginning. I've been doing it for 10 years, and I still don't think I'm good at it. And that's why it's a practice. There's no final destination to meditation, right? And so the initial steps, in my opinion, when you're learning is can you just reconnect to the quality of your breathing?

Can you center yourself? And that's what 10 deep breaths can offer, right? And I feel like if you could manage 10 deep breaths in the morning when you need them throughout the day when you're feeling overwhelmed or you're feeling reactive, can you find those breaths that you've been working on in the morning and that lays the foundation for developing a deeper practice.

[00:11:15] Karlee: Yeah, I love that.

Now, question for you, because I don't know if you and I have ever talked about this, so I'm curious from your perspective of it, which is if somebody who's never meditated before thinks… I just can't quiet my mind. That's a typically an objection to why people don't meditate.

I know in my experience, I believe there's different kinds of meditation, but I haven't fully studied it.

What is your take to that objection that people have of my mind is never blank. I can't just get a blank mind and I don't know how I can sit for 15 minutes with a blank mind.

First, what's your take on that?

[00:11:58] Alicia: Yeah. So first and foremost, I think people are often misinformed about what the experience of meditation is. Yeah. None of us can achieve a blank mind. It is impossible. So let's take that right off the table.


The goal of meditation is not to arrive at a blank mind.

The goal of meditation is to learn how to manage your thoughts so that your thoughts aren't managing you. That's what we're working towards. And what you'll find happens is in the beginning, the minute you start to feel quiet or you encourage yourself to quiet and calm, your thoughts are gonna flood in like a wave.

They're gonna come in fast. They're gonna come in hot. They're gonna be like, oh, it's my turn. Every one of them, every one of them are gonna jump in and say, it's…

[00:12:46] Karlee: Like… Here! Here! Listen!

[00:12:49] Alicia: Like they're not distracting, right? And so what I would say is, in the beginning, as you're learning, expect to be flooded with your thoughts.

That doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong. It means you're starting to learn. About the volume and frequency of thinking that is happening in your brain throughout the day. Because you're present for it, you're starting to see it.

And every time you sit down to practice you start to have a dialogue with yourself about those thoughts and in time you will start to discover a quiet that comes over you when you meditate. It doesn't mean that your mind is blank. It means that as your thoughts arise, and the volume will decrease, because you'll already know what's important and what's not important. As your thoughts arise, you'll be able to say, not right now. I'll get to you later.

So they're not steamrolling you any longer, but that happens in time and I think that this is a really important thing to note, is that we're living in a time where we feel as though results should happen instantly. We feel like if I do A, then B should happen and it's done.

And what's beautiful about meditation is that it reteaches us how time works, how patience works, how self-compassion works. And the greatest importance in my opinion, is how discipline works. Because so often those things that I have just mentioned, they're kind of being pushed by the wayside and we're forgetting that those are the things that really inform our quality of life.

[00:14:38] Karlee: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:14:40] Alicia: So don't worry about not having a blank mind. I don't have a blank mind. I dunno what that would be. I, yeah. That's not the goal. We don't wanna empty out our thoughts. We just wanna be able to manage them.

[00:14:58] Karlee: I'm thinking right now, and I was, I had another question lined up, but I'm actually thinking right now about something I've heard about men where they actually do have a nothing box, and I've heard that women or those, I don't know if it's those who identify as women or but anyways, so sometimes when men are like, oh, I'm not thinking about anything, Apparently they're not thinking about it.

[00:15:25] Alicia: So that has more to do with their ability to compartmentalize. The way a woman's brain and I do have to say woman's brain because I don't know if we, I don't think we alter male and female brains for those, for gender things. So I, forgive me, anyone who, who feels like I'm getting it wrong, but I can only speak to what I know. And we're all, both Karlee and I are always open to learning more, so please let us know.

But the way women's brains are wired is that all of the major functions are interrelated, like they're wired together, right? And this comes from our ability in a very primal way to mother, in an effective way, right? We are always aware of everything, all of the time for the safety of our children. That's just how we're wired. I'm sure there's more scientific language for this. I just don't have it available to me just now, so bear with me guys.

Whereas men, their brains are compartmentalized, right? They… it's not like everything is wired together quite the same way. So they actually do think differently, process differently, receive information differently. And this might be a talk for another day, but that's actually why sometimes when we communicate, miscommunications happen easily and frequently.

So just something to think about. But particularly with relation to meditation, this is often why I hear women tell me that it's more difficult for them to meditate, right? Because if your brain is designed to be aware of everything all the time, yeah, layering that on top of an ask to quiet down completely and stop paying attention is very difficult.

Because it's a primal need and skill to be able to do that. And meditation essentially asks you to slow that down, tune it down and parse it out a little bit.

[00:17:30] Karlee: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. Wonderful.

My next question that pops up actually goes back a little bit to what we said earlier, or what you said earlier around meditation being the training ground and mindfulness, taking that out into the world and staying connected and responsive, to things that come to us. And it reminds me, Alicia and a partner of hers, Sabrina Verde, do these incredible transformation series through with all as well as, in conjunction with Meditation Pusher. And in the fall, you did one on, was it defiance, was that the theme?

[00:18:08] Alicia: Yes. Yeah. Defiance! Wonderful. It's my favorite subject.

[00:18:12] Karlee: Well we're going there. We're going there.

[00:18:15] Alicia: So let's do it.

[00:18:16] Karlee: Alicia, you talked, in your philosophy section of that event about how life is full of champagne and gut punches, which I believe was shared with you from a friend as well, and it stuck with me.

And I think in a conversation of leave room for the magic. Oftentimes that can be, let's just focus on the positive and that toxic positivity portion of it as well. One of the things, I know you've been through a personal gut punch over the last year, and I was hoping that if you could talk a little bit about your personal experience and how your practices helped you through that.

[00:18:56] Alicia: Yeah. Yeah. About… it's fascinating to think about it, but almost a year ago, so June 3rd, I was diagnosed with stage four B ovarian cancer. They basically found cancer in my bones, my ovaries, my stomach, my lymph system. Anywhere you can think of, there was cancer in my body.

And I will say that, at this time I'm in remission.

I had my last chemo in January and I'm feeling pretty good. I'm taking good care of myself and I'm being monitored on a quarterly basis to ensure that I'm still on the right track. But I will have, I mean, if we wanna use the language, gut punches, that was probably the biggest gut punch I've had in my life so far.

And a friend of mine at the time, her husband said, life is all champagne and gut punches, and it never felt truer than in that moment. But then when I reflect back on my entire life, then it's always been true. And I think it's true for all of us, right? We have moments that feel like. We're sipping champagne. Assuming that you enjoy champagne. Maybe yours is...

[00:20:18] Karlee: The metaphorical.

[00:20:21] Alicia: Yeah, high quality kombucha. I don't know. Whatever works for you. But the idea though has more to do with, the fact that we typically use culturally use champagne for celebration, right? Those are the moments we celebrate. Those are the moments in our lives that are worth celebrating.

And then the gut punches are the things that come up and blindside you. And for me, the last year has really tested everything I teach, everything I believe, and everything I've integrated into my life over the last 10 years. Right.

This was the moment to really see and discover if everything I've been teaching and everything I believe in actually works in a moment of utter devastation and grief and despair, because I would say the Tuesday before the Thursday I was diagnosed, Karlee, that Tuesday I had taught what I thought was the best class I'd ever taught to one of my corporate clients.

And I remember saying to myself, Which I often do. I felt a sense of gratitude and joy about my life and my work and the way everything was all coming to fruition, right? We work hard, we, but there are moments where we lean back and we can see it from a broader vantage point And we can feel really good about where we're at and I remember that Tuesday closing out that call and saying to myself, we're here. We're at the level we wanted to be at and let's pause for a moment before we level up or pursue other visions or goals. And I felt an overwhelming sense of joy and certainty about it. You know…

And I'm always weary of certainty cuz I tell people to be weary of certainty. But in that moment I felt it and I was like, I've got this all figured out. And then that Thursday I got my first, gut punch in about 10, 12 years if I wanna be honest, right? I do wanna be honest, I don't know why I said that, but it, I had to think about how long it had been since I'd felt that feeling of being knocked off my feet.

And after the initial shock, after, the initial doctor's appointments and the hospital stay and all this kind of stuff, I felt two things, and these were directly related to my practice. First, I was at peace with my life, and if in that moment was my moment to say goodbye to this physical body and this time here on Earth, I was ready to do so. I felt such a tremendous sense of peacefulness about myself and the life that I had made. I had no regrets. I had no one left to forgive. I was just, I just felt a calm and steady readiness. If nothing can be done, I am okay with that. It's my time. I have built a life and a legacy that so far I feel good about.

Yeah. And then, The second thing I felt was, I probably need to stay here for the people I love, because even though I'm at peace with my passing, they are not, and I cannot hurt the people I love. And so I'm gonna fight to be here and fight to stay. And engage in the protocols that were prescribed to me to have a fighting chance.

And that's mindfulness in a nutshell.

You can hold two different vantage points and be at peace with both. Even if they contradict each other. Our inability to be at peace with duality in our lives causes so much suffering. And so what the practice gave me in that moment was a path forward that felt safe, peaceful, and also helped me preserve my dignity.

Right? Which is also very important in these kinds of crucial moments. And I just wanna say that …. I might lose my train of thought … Seven rounds of chemo does something to your brain.

[00:25:15] Karlee: All good. Keep going.

[00:25:16] Alicia: The brain fog is real. So I just wanted to say that so often we think the practice is about sitting every day and we don't necessarily know why we're practicing or what it's for.

So in the short term, you will change, right? You will become a more compassionate, more optimistic, creative, present person, and that is wonderful. But the cumulative effect of the practice every day shows up when you receive that gut punch and you may wobble a bit. And you may even fall over, but you can get back up fairly quickly.

You are strengthening yourself. You are strengthening your mind, body, and heart a little bit every day so that you are fortified mentally, physically, emotionally, for the moments that feel like gut punches in your life.

[00:26:22] Karlee: Yeah. Thank you, Alicia. Thank you for sharing all that. I truly appreciate that.

[00:26:27] Alicia: Yeah, my pleasure. Yeah.

[00:26:31] Karlee: It reminds me of, at your recent event at Rebirth we were talking about heart opening. We go back to that concept of majesty, heart opening, and being open. But I asked you some advice at that event around how you stay open. If something comes, hurts you, throws you off that center. And you gave some really great advice. Do you recall the advice?

[00:27:05] Alicia: I was kind of looking at you...

[00:27:06] Karlee: Sometimes you're in the moment and it comes and it goes.

[00:27:10] Alicia: …to see if you give me a clue.

[00:27:16] Karlee: No, I'd love to hear what's coming to you.

[00:27:18] Alicia: How about I say what I'm thinking right now and if I miss anything, you remind all of us what I said.

[00:27:24] Karlee: Perfect. Perfect.

[00:27:27] Alicia: So first and foremost, when things happen to us, it's really important to feel it all. And I am dealing with right now, a lot of grief from my experience, a lot of hurt. And when I say hurt, I just mean that the process of physically healing the cancer happened very quickly, right?

I shouldn't say very quickly, it was seven rounds of chemo, a total abdominal hysterectomy, and parts of my stomach removed, so I shouldn't say that, that was quick.

What I mean by that is, the physical part of the healing and repair happens very quickly relative to the mental and emotional component. Right? And so I am still feeling the grief of that process. And what I want anyone to know is that you can grieve and heal at the same time. Number one.

So allow yourself to feel it all, sweeping it under the rug, denying the depth of your hurt is not good for you. It's a form of self-harm. So first and foremost, acknowledge the entirety of what you're feeling.

The second thing I would say is don't expect to open back up right away. Give yourself the grace of the time needed to open back up in a way that feels safe and healthy for you.

The third thing I would say, is, don't stay closed because then that becomes a form of self-harm. And so what that means is to open back up again, and then to stay open, lines up rather nicely with the quality of our self care and the ways in which we seek not just healing modalities, but healing thoughts and healing ideas in our lives.

One of the things, I can just tell you what I do and then you can remind us what I said to you if I haven't dipped into it.

Okay. Yeah.

I always read something every day that opens up my heart. So whether that's poetry, whether that's some kind of religious reading, whether it's some kind of contemplative reading, I always lean into something that is heart opening because we cannot always expect ourselves to be both hurting and opening. Like we have to hand it over to other people sometimes.

The other thing I would say is I increase my self-care in a really intentional way. If you have gone through something or are going through something, first and foremost, you probably need to sleep more. You probably need to engage in activities that connect your mind, body, and heart.

So low impact fitness, like Yoga or Pilates or just walking, beautiful walks in nature. The third thing I would say is expose yourself to anything that feels healing for you. If going to an art gallery resonates with you, do that. If being in the company of your best girlfriends, not your frenemies, your girlfriends, right?

Like we gotta get that right. Let's be clear. The friends that make you feel good and whole, then do that, right? If you need to pray or meditate, wherever those two things or both those things land for you. I engage in both those things. And finally, I would say that being open and keeping one's heart open is actually the highest expression of resilience.

It is actually the way that we engage in self-compassion.

It is the way that we move through life, because if we close ourselves off, we're not just closing ourselves off to the pain of what we're going through, but we're closing ourself off to the possibility of healing and beauty and help that is out there for us.

That's what feels like my answer today. I don't know if I covered all the things that I said on that day.

[00:32:01] Karlee: You encapsulated it all and more.

[00:32:04] Alicia: Oh, good. I'm consistent then. That's wonderful.

[00:32:08] Karlee: You're very consistent. Yeah. The expression that what felt very calming to me on that day was that permission that if you need to close and cocoon, give yourself permission to do that.

It's not always about being open and staying open all the time or forcing it. And that was really unlocking for me, I guess I would say.

[00:32:35] Alicia: I'm so glad. Can I just tuck in something to that note if you don't mind?

[00:32:40] Karlee: Yeah, please do.

[00:32:42] Alicia: I think that one of the things that we experience is the idea that we are supposed to be happy all the time.

And we associate happiness with open-heartedness. And those two things, while they go together, they do not require each other. And so you can be open-hearted and still be neutral and healthy.

I really had to rethink what happiness meant in the last year. And the things that I've been saying to my students in our community is that happiness is not the goal. Our goal is actually peacefulness. And if we lean towards the things that create peacefulness in our lives and prioritize that and really input a lot of intention around your peacefulness, your own heart's peacefulness, happiness comes, but the happiness that follows is more joy than the fleeting nature of happiness.

Joy is a, I would say, if we go back to the start of the conversation where we were talking about the difference between reactive and responsive. Joyfulness is a responsive way of being. Happiness can be a reactive way of being, which also means that it can be fleeting and conditional, and if your happiness is conditional, you will always require external inputs to create happiness within yourself, right?

Whereas joyfulness is something that is generated from within through your own peacefulness, through your own self-awareness, through your own sense of worthiness that is not defined by anything or anyone else, right? And so when we're going through those moments, and I love that you said cocoon, when we're going through those moments and we need to cocoon right…

We have to remember that just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, she turned into a butterfly. And that's what happens when we cocoon. That's what happens when we hibernate or we turn inward. Healing, transformation, repair, strengthening. All of that happens when we turn inward, right? And so I hope that if people take nothing else from what we've said so far, that they start to think about peacefulness as a goal and move away from the imposition of happiness that is placed upon us by society, and by marketing and by social media platforms, et cetera, right?

[00:35:39] Karlee: Yeah, if I could share a little story, actually about the word happiness, I think it would be relevant today.

[00:35:45] Alicia: I'd love you too.

[00:35:46] Alicia: I love you.

[00:35:47] Karlee: Which is why…

[00:35:49] Alicia: I said, I love you.

[00:35:51] Karlee: I love you too, girl. Little freudian slip.

[00:35:55] Alicia: Yeah. I do love you so much and I'm so happy you're doing this. If I didn't say it already, I wanna say it again, but please share a story.

[00:36:02] Karlee: Okay. Wonderful.

So the nuance in language, right? It's something I talk a lot about on this podcast. And what I always encourage people to do is to be their own translator. Because the example that I'll give around happiness is when I was in California I had a lot of moments of happiness and joy, especially when I was there a lot through my work and through my friends.

But when I went home at night and I lived by myself, that happiness was fleeting. And I didn't always feel happy. And I have a very wide range of emotions that I feel at different moments of the day, different days. And I had a really hard time with that word, happiness, cuz to me it was just one of the many emotions I felt.

And I felt if I wasn't happy, was I wrong? And at the time my dad, who in his biggest heart. And best of intentions just kept trying to nudge me towards happiness. And he said when was the last time, when are you the most happy? What makes you the happiest? And I felt a lot of pressure from him to be happy.

And I rebelled against that idea cuz I went, I'm not happy all the time, Dad, that's not my experience in life. And him and I had the good fortune to sit with a communications coach one day, and she was looking at us and we were going back and forth in almost an argument fashion. And she goes, you're talking about the same thing, but in different language.

And then I said well what do you mean when you say happy? And he described it to me. And the words I used at the time were, I had to have more complete acceptance and compassion for where I was at. So complete acceptance was the words that I was using and I said, what do you hear when I say the words complete acceptance?

And he described something. I said, okay when I say complete acceptance, it's actually the same as you saying happiness cuz whatever you heard when complete acceptance is not what I mean when I say that. So I adopted this idea of same feeling, different words.

[00:38:23] Alicia: Yeah.

[00:38:25] Karlee: And the nuance is so beautiful, and when we develop those nuance in our own language those are important. But then oftentimes too, if somebody else is saying to you, hey, I'm really happy in this moment, you don't need to make them wrong by saying, no, it's joy. Yeah. You know what I mean?

[00:38:45] Alicia: 100%.

[00:38:48] Karlee: The nuance between the two because I'm sure I'm not the only one who felt that pressure to be happy all the time, as you were saying. It's a big pressure that can come to us on social media as well.

[00:38:59] Alicia: Well I think, sorry, Karlee, did I interrupt you? I apologize, go ahead.

[00:39:02] Karlee: No. I was just finishing my sentence of that distinction and then without me needing to say, have him adopt my language, which he started to anyways naturally after we kind of level-settled on our language.

But if he said happiness I didn't get mad at him for saying it, I would just translate and be like, oh, he means complete acceptance. Or he means joy cuz I did adopt joy more so and peace in recent years. More so than this complete acceptance. So it can also, that language for yourself can evolve over time as you learn these absolutely nuances and you're like, yes, that and what you just said.

I'm like, yes that.

[00:39:42] Alicia: I think what's so beautiful about that story is that you illustrated mindfulness in a nutshell. Like perfectly, right? Because what happens is, very often we're so interested in being heard. That we're not listening to the other person. And what mindfulness does is it creates so much more space for, one, for you to hear what's actually being said, for you to understand what's being said, for you to remember the context in which it's being said, right?

And also to take the time to take from it what you will. And let go of what you need and without having to go through all the friction. Because people are always gonna offer their advice. They're always gonna say what they think, they're always gonna, tell us what to do.

Especially parents. That's part of the game here. And we'll never have any control over that. Yeah. But what we will have control over. Not that control is desirable, but what we will have management over, let's say, is how we receive it all, how we integrate it all, and how we take it.

The other thing to think about there and I've dealt with this and I and I think it's important to bring up, is that, as a culture, as a society, we are not comfortable with a broad spectrum of emotions.

And so we do this very reductive thing where we say, are you happy, sad, or angry? As if those are the only things that one could experience. And so I think what's really, what was really good about what you shared is that you sought help and you took the time to, you cared about the relationship enough to get input and to figure it out.

But so often we don't try to figure it out. We just keep miscommunication with each other. And so where mindfulness comes in and the practice comes in is that you start to, in that pause, in that brief moment, whether it be three seconds, a minute, one deep breath, three deep breaths, you are able to return to the present moment and actually just take what is being said or have the presence of mind to say, so the way I interpreted what you just said is…

So you're not just reacting, you are responding. And what I often teach my students and clients is that if someone says something to you that makes you uncomfortable, that you don't like, that you're unclear about, the safest and best thing you can do before you respond, and I'm hoping you're responding and not reacting, is either repeat it back to them… so what you said was… say it back to them. Cuz sometimes people say things in a way that they mean something totally different, but they're saying it wrong, yeah. Which is what you pointed out. And we jump down their throats instead of taking a moment to actually find out if what we heard is correct.

Because I think so much of the divisiveness and othering and polarity that we're experiencing right now on a micro level and a macro level has to do with the fact that we do not believe that what someone else is saying deserves understanding first. We're just so interested in being right. Let me show you how I am. I'm not even really listening to you. I'm waiting to say what I have to say and that's how we're communicating right now. Yeah.

And social media is training us to communicate that way because it's a one-sided conversation. We're just talking at people all the time, and we're forgetting that actual communication with a person in real life teaches us that you're gonna encounter opposing views, you're gonna encounter like different cultures, different contexts, different back stories, different history, right?

And we have to leave room for the magic of those differences.

[00:44:30] Karlee: Yeah. Oh I could talk to you for another hour on, but thank you. Thank you for everything you shared and all your wisdom, Alicia. I always love to end with a story of synchronicity, so if there's one that comes to your mind, I would love to hear that as we wrap up here.

[00:44:56] Alicia: Sure. So in 2018, my husband and I decided to leap forward and learn about becoming philanthropists through a program called Vision 2020. And on that occasion, I had the unique pleasure of meeting you, Karlee. At the time, I don't think we connected that much beyond just a general appreciation for each other and some clarity around similar values and things of that nature.

And here we are five years later, just following a thread, a very fine thread that we've both been holding on to and we're making something in this moment together that will have a ripple effect for every person that listens.

And so to me that feels like a real time moment of synchronicity, and I'm honored to have shared it with you and to be here with you today.

[00:45:57] Karlee: Oh, I'm crying right now. Actually, I will rewind. I will. I'm gonna add on to your story of synchronicity.

[00:46:06] Alicia: Okay. Please do.

[00:46:08] Karlee: Because how I made it to the Vision 2020 program was also fairly magical. So I was sitting at my office working late. And I had just started as a financial advisor at Freedom 55. And I'm sitting in, all the new advisors sit in this, they called it the bullpen. None of us had offices, we're all just at this big desk working. And my client the next morning canceled. So now I had a little bit of free time and breathing room so that I could do my work in the morning instead of that night.

And still working away and one of the other advisors actually asked somebody else first, that he couldn't go to this event and he had a free ticket to a Walrus Talk [like a TED talk] that evening at 7:00 or 8:00 PM and I looked at the clock and it was like, let's say it's at seven, it was 6:30. And I was like, oh, I could probably get there, but I just wanna go home and rest. I've been working so late, and I went, you know what, it's on the way home.

And I looked at who was talking, and another colleague of ours, Roz McLean, was talking from that Vision 2020 group. And I went, oh, she's talking about young philanthropy and volunteering and all the things I like to talk about.

So I was like, I'm gonna go, I'm gonna go check this out. And in her talk, she announced that she was a part of this Vision 2020 group at the Toronto Foundation. And I literally went to the reception and hunted her down after, and I said, you need to introduce me to whoever and she introduced me to Aneil of the Toronto Foundation and the rest is history.

But I got there because I was working late and a client canceled and a colleague of mine had a ticket that he couldn't make it.

[00:48:01] Alicia: And my husband and I were at that talk, sitting in that audience.

[00:48:06] Karlee: We were circling already.

[00:48:08] Alicia: Circling already. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you so much for having me here today, Karlee. I really loved this talk and the layers, and I'm excited to see, how people respond to it and how they feel about it.

[00:48:24] Karlee: Likewise. Thank you so much for being here. And if people do want to follow along with your philosophies and your teachings, how can they connect with you? So for meditation and mindfulness and mindset work, that would be @Meditationpusher on Instagram. If you're curious about holistic wellness and exploring self-care in a more profound way, it would be @the.deeper.wellness on Instagram.

And once you click the links in those profiles, everything will be available to you.

[00:49:10] Karlee: Wonderful, wonderful. And we'll have those linked as well in our show notes for our guests. Alicia. It was a true pleasure. This was such a beautiful conversation and so thrilled to share it with you.

[00:49:14] Alicia: Thank you, Karlee. Thank you so much for having me on your show today. I appreciate it.

[00:49:18] Karlee: Awesome. Mwah.

Thank you all for joining us today, and we'll see you on the next episode. Don't forget to remember your magic... until then.

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