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How often do we feel connected to our bodies and aware of our nervous systems? It’s not uncommon to feel disconnected from our own bodies. Achieving weight loss is difficult without breaking down and going deeper to heal childhood wounds to the nervous system and finding that mind-body connection. On the Tougher Together Breakthrough podcast, our host, Rebeccah Silence, sat in with Audra Baker to discuss the characteristics that make Breakthrough such a big part of change and growth.
Breakdown is where Breakthrough starts. It’s often called “rock bottom,” a place where there’s nowhere to go but up. Audra explains that sometimes Breakthrough is sudden, like a “light bulb moment.” Still, it often takes a while to shake out of the breakdown without doing considerable work. Sometimes, Breakthrough is a series of baby steps in the right direction.
Whatever the rate of change, Breakthrough that causes lasting change requires a shift in the nervous system. As Audra puts it, “You can’t willpower or positive affirmation through it.” As you repair these wounds to your nervous system, you can begin the process of healing and reconnect with your body and your feelings.
The connection can start with breathwork, and you can start simply with a deep belly breath… noticing your breath and the sensations in your body. When you are lost in your thoughts, notice what you are feeling. Connecting with your body and feelings is key to achieving Breakthrough. Audra’s best advice: Learn to expand your capacity to feel your feelings.
If you would like to learn more about Audra Baker, go to her website. We’re always Tougher Together! Please tune in to other episodes of our Breakthrough podcast and explore the human connection between us.
Rebeccah Silence, is a speaker, coach and international media personality, who survived cancer while pregnant and has impacted hundreds of thousands of listeners through her radio programs and appearances. She is the Creator of the HEALING IS POSSIBLE movement and courses and is committed to helping others heal their traumas. As a certified world-class Emotional Healing Coach, Rebeccah is uniquely qualified to facilitate breakthroughs to wellness and transformation while she inspires hope and possibility in even the most challenging times. She is best known for healing heartbreak, and her clients frequently tell her that she brought them “back to life”!
Rebeccah [00:00:00] Today, I am honored and excited to have the phenomenal Audra Baker joining us to share her experience of breakthrough in a really unique, and to me, super inspiring way.
Intro [00:00:15] We’d like to thank our generous sponsors, Mint Home Loans, and The W Home Group of Next Step Realty for making this show possible. So, what is a breakthrough? It’s finding your way out of suffering and stuck. It’s that feeling of new energy, renewed life and excitement. When I was seven months pregnant with my second baby, I received a life changing diagnosis. I had cancer. When I told my older daughter, she said “So, you’re going to die?” And the only thing that saved my life during that time was knowing how to emotionally break through. Welcome to the Tougher Together, Breakthrough podcast. I’m your host, Rebeccah Silence. I’m a speaker, coach and the creator of Healing is Possible. In each episode I prepare you for life no matter what challenges you’re facing. I’m going to invite you into the stories of real people who are living life in breakthrough and making the world a better place. If they can do it so can you. Breakthrough is your right. Get ready to break through. Get ready for the rest of your life.
Rebeccah [00:01:26] Audra, welcome to the podcast.
Audra [00:01:29] Thank you, Rebeccah. I’m so excited to be here. Honored to be here with you. Thank you.
Rebeccah [00:01:34] Oh, my goodness. It is such a gift to have you. The work that you do in the world is transformational, and I’ll say it again, in a very unique way. Tell us what breakthrough means to you and what your experience with breakthrough has been.
Audra [00:01:52] I thought about this. You asked me that question before, and I’m like, breakthrough, what the hell does breakthrough mean to me? I know that, you know, in my 20s, breakthrough had this sense of like screaming and crying and like getting to the other side and just like being stuck somewhere and just trying to, like, break through some glass ceiling or break through some other level of consciousness or just being in a way that you don’t want to be any more in the sense of like it’s this intense moment of shattering that happens and all of the sudden things are different. And I’m a lot older now and a lot wiser now. And in my experience, breakthrough, while you can have moments that can sometimes feel like that, like a drop in the bucket, moment of weight, I’m never going to do that again or wait. This is how it’s going to be from now on, and that in and of itself that one thought can, like, literally change the trajectory of your life. The deepest breakthroughs I’ve ever experienced tend to take time. Tend to be, over the course of time, tend to be staying the course and taking these like baby step actions in the right direction. So, yeah, I think that’s my experience of a breakthrough, at least.
Rebeccah [00:03:08] I love it. And why is breakthrough important?
Audra [00:03:12] Well, you know, I don’t know if it’s important to everybody on the planet. I imagine if somebody is listening to your podcast, it’s important. There’s a lot of people that are OK with wherever they are in their life. They don’t necessarily have the consciousness around what it would mean to evolve in a way; like, to either evolve their consciousness or make their lives better in some way. I know that that’s never been me. I’ve always been a person kind of always striving for what’s like next level of evolution for me. And so… ask the question one more time. I’m sorry.
Rebeccah [00:03:49] Yeah. So, I’m just saying, why is breakthrough important? Because obviously there are people that are interested in breakthrough and people that aren’t. And then, your work is transformational and you’ve done work to breakthrough in your own life, but you’re also working with the masses to help them breakthrough. Why?
Audra [00:04:08] Because somebody is legitimately in a place where they are just… I think it requires, like, a rock bottom. It has for me all the time. It requires a moment where you go, I cannot deal with whatever this thing is anymore. I cannot feel this way anymore. Whatever it might be; it might be in a relationship, it might be with your body, it might be with your health, it might be with, just I mean, you name it there; but there is something inside that goes, I need to shift, I need to change, I need to do something about this. And I think that’s when somebody is actually ready for breakthrough. And that’s definitely what I do, at least in the realm of weight release and in the realm of actually liking your body and in the realm of creating more energy and vitality into the body. Yeah.
Rebeccah [00:04:54] Yeah. And then you take it so much deeper than an intellectual understanding. You’re actually helping people connect to unconscious parts of themselves and their nervous systems. Will you speak to that?
Audra [00:05:07] I love that you said that because ultimately there is no such thing as a breakthrough, if you just think that you can positive affirmation your way through it; if you just think that you can willpower your way through it. There’s a lot of great mindset coaches out there. And I have, over the last two years, really enjoyed learning more about mindset, because I’d always pooh poohed it so much, so I’m not saying that mindset isn’t great, but to think that you can just change your mind and ultimately everything in your entire life shifts, I think that that’s really superficial, because breakthrough or transformation, like really, truly moving into who you want to be. That’s a nervous system shift, that is a shift of your nervous system. That is an embodiment that runs down to your bones to be able to be on the other side of it and go, oh, my God, like, I’ll never go back to that way again. And it’s not just because I thought positive thoughts and decided to make a change. It’s because there’s a nervous system shift that happens in the body.
Rebeccah [00:06:12] Yeah. Will you tell us a story, either one of your own or one that you’ve experienced with a client, where literally on a nervous system level breakthrough occurred?
Audra [00:06:26] So… One client that I had started coaching a while ago—I’ll use her as an example and then I can also use me as an example—she came to me really desperate in terms of really wanting to lose weight. So that’s the thing. I find that clients will come to me because they’re like, I’m sick of this; I need to get this weight off; I needed the weight off yesterday. And they generally don’t come to me in like superficial terms. That’s the other thing. I mean, you know, somebody that wants like a bikini beach body—and not that there’s anything wrong with that—but somebody that has like this kind of simplistic mindset of like, I know if I can just like diet myself down, exercise myself, I’ll get there. People, women that come to me have tend to have tried that for their whole life and have self-sabotaged, gained the weight back, which is very, very common. And they’re like, clearly there’s something else to it. It can’t just be about food and exercise. And so that’s usually when somebody comes to me because we’re able to go in and work with the sabotaging behaviors by healing the underlying reasons, the things that actually break through the embodiment piece, the nervous system piece. Heal at that deeper level so that they can stop self-sabotage and so they can reach the goals that they’re looking for. So, I just remember this one client—I’m not going to say her name—and I just remember what she came for, and we just started working one on one together. And it was over an eight-month journey and it was real… And this is the thing. It is so painful because it’s not like we do one session and then all of a sudden all of this amazingness happens. The level of breakthrough that happened from the inside out, the best way I can describe it is when we would first start working together she would sit here and go, you know, I hate my body, I’m struggling with this, I can’t figure this out, I can’t go to the gym, all of these different pieces. And so, we start working with embodiment pieces. We start working with what’s really going on on the inside. So, it goes a little deeper. We start working on where she even learned that in the first place. There was a lot of abandonment with her father. And so, we were able to go in and do a little bit more of work on that. So as an example, breathwork around that, embodiment practices feeling into the sensations in her body, really connecting her out of her brain. That’s another thing. Oh, my gosh. Breakthrough, for so many people there’s so much talky, talky, talk, talk, talk. And we’re so up in our head. All we want to do is talk about it and talk about it and talk about it. And when it’s all said and done, the more that there’s a deeper connection into the actual body, into the sensations, right, is when things start to shift. So, she went from, like, always talking about it, always a thing. I know what’s wrong with me. It’s this thing that happened when I was a kid. Why can’t I get past it? And then over the course of eight months together, at the end of the day, she’s like putting boundaries. We’re having conversation and she’s putting boundaries around people at work who she needed to put boundaries around. She’s putting boundaries around how much time she’s working because she feels like she deserves it. She’s having better communication with her partner. She’s healing her relationship with her father. And then we’re sitting here talking about all these big things and I’m crying, and she’s like, I know. It’s so weird because inside of her, the feeling is, well, yeah, of course, I put boundaries up with this person that I worked with or of course, I asked for what I needed at work, right? And I’m having to remind her, like, do you not remember the conversations we just had six months ago around, like your fear around that, how you kept getting stuck up against a brick wall? And then I think what topped it off is at the end of the conversation, I was like, you know, we haven’t talked a lot about your fitness or what you’re doing to move your body. She’s like, oh, I decided to do this race and I ended up like I’m training like four days a week. How did we not talk about that? And I’m like, you hired me to want to talk about like nutrition and fitness. We totally go another route and I’m finally remembering maybe I should ask her, like, what’s going on with her fitness? And she’s like, oh, like four times a week I’m training for this race and I’m having the best time. And that’s the thing—it’s not a small answer, Rebeccah—it’s a real shift over time when we’re able to start to heal at a nervous system level.
Rebeccah [00:10:48] Audra, this is so good. And I love what you’re saying about breakthrough not being a quick fix and not being instantaneous. It’s a process. And then what would you say to people that are frustrated at how long the process is taking, or feeling like they’re on the verge of what you talk about self-sabotage or wanting to quit?
Audra [00:11:10] Right. I think I can mainly speak to just women struggling with their body. I think that’s where my expertise is, for sure. The hardest part is, it’s really easy to like scroll down Instagram and see somebody that just dropped 40 pounds in 30 days, and it’s like click bait and you just want to click on it and do the thing. And sometimes it takes people a lot of times doing those things, trying real hard. All right, I’m going to do it right this time and I’m going to lose the weight this time. And stats in research and evidence shows everywhere that 95-99% percent of any kind of weight loss diet, restricting foods, restricting calories, counting points, counting the things, they don’t work. They literally don’t work. There are studies that followed thousands of people in even Weight Watchers, which is one of the biggest ones on the planet. And within two years, people started gaining the way back over and over and over again. We get hooked on wanting a quick fix. And I think, at least for me, I finally have just… like, I’m done. Like, I just… I’ve let it all go. I’m like, clearly this takes longer than I think it’s going to take. Clearly, there’s more to me not being able to come into a body that I love, and I got to figure it out. I mean, talk about a breakthrough moment, Rebeccah. That was a breakthrough moment for me. It was literally, I owned a huge fitness company in Silicon Valley. I’m a holistic nutrition educator. I’m teaching in in Silicon Valley. I have five locations. I’ve got like 9,000 people running through my doors in my fitness nutrition company. And I’m supposed to have all the answers, right? This is what to eat. This is how to move. I’m an expert. And yet my clients would have some success. And then they would disappear for a few months. They would disappear for six months. Why would they disappear? Something inside of them? They would feel tired; they didn’t want to do it; they would be going through a big change in their life, right? And then they would come back, and the weight would be back again. And I know for me it wasn’t just me looking at my clients. This is back in the day in my late 20s, early 30s. But it was… it was me. I’m sitting here going, how do I know all this information? And yet I keep gaining and losing the same 40 pounds 40 times. It was intense. And I kept thinking this must be the answer. You know, you scroll through Instagram and see somebody who lost it that quick and you’re like, just get it off of me right now. But it’s often not the answer; and the moment, at least for me… I was just in enough pain. I kept watching every diet I would try, work and then not work. I would watch my obsessiveness around food and my obsessiveness around my body, and I would write it off. Well, I’m an expert. I’m supposed to be thinking about this shit all the time. And it was a disaster. And it was I guess, again, the pain was enough inside of me that I’m like, I can’t do this anymore. I cannot put myself through this anymore. And it happened when I gained the weight back for the last time. And in that moment, the breakthrough moment was finally like, clearly what I thought was the answer isn’t the answer. And there has to be another answer. I might not know what the answer is, but I’m not going to stop until I figured it out. I figured out one thing though; I figured out I had to stop dieting. And I think that that was really an important first step. And I encourage any woman who might be listening to this, like get off the diet train right now, because it’s not the answer for sure. But that was like the very first thing. I’m like, all right, I’m pretty sure that I got to figure that shit out. I’m like, I got that down. Now, I’m not quite sure what to do now, but the tenacity of I’m not going to stop until I figure this out. I’m going to continue to figure out what I need to do, because the answer is clearly deeper. And so, for anybody that’s just frustrated that why can’t I just snap my fingers and everything gets fixed? You just need to look at how long have you been struggling with this in the first place? Right? Like, how long have you been stuck in a body that you don’t like, that you wake up every morning and beat yourself up with, you know, crappy self-talk, that you struggle getting through your day, either obsessed with food or obsessed with your body? Like, how long have you been doing that? I mean, most of us have been doing this since we were teenagers. And so, for you to think that you can just snap your fingers and hate your way to weight loss by depriving yourself on a diet and thinking that that’s the answer, it’s just not going to work. It really requires like a deep breath and going, OK, I’m willing to go deeper. Society wants us to believe everything is a quick fix and a superficial answer and it just isn’t. It just isn’t. I know that. In a real way, breakthrough happens because of a nervous system healing; like a legitimate nervous system ssss [deflating sound]. OK? There’s a reason why you’re struggling, because your nervous system is, like, jacked up from shit that happened to you because of the stress you had last week or the stress you had from a shitty relationship that you had in your 20s. You know, I always say nobody escapes childhood without trauma, right? So, we have nervous system wounds that are actual, physiological wounds that create the thoughts that you have, create the actions that you do every day. And until we can go deeper and heal at that deeper level… And unfortunately, that takes time. You have to relearn. Your nervous system is designed to keep you safe and alive, right? And so, let’s say that you… our ancestors passed along and saw wolf and oh, my God, and you had a nervous system freak out, right? And you got away from it and you’re OK. That doesn’t mean that your nervous system just automatically feels great again, because why? Well, our nervous systems are designed to keep us safe and alive; there might be more wolves out there. So, if you’re living in the caveman era, you’re kind of on alert in that way, right? It takes time to learn safety, right? Safety, like we’re generally in today’s time and era we’re not so scared of wolves, right? Because we don’t have them barking at our back door, right? There already is a nervous system like, yeah, I’m not so worried about that. But there are things that do happen in modern day life. Shit that goes down, things that happen that don’t feel good and that do challenge our nervous system, that put us on high alert. And it is in the healing of that, which is in the body, through the body; not just talking about it and talk therapy.
Rebeccah [00:18:10] Yeah. And how do people, Audra, connect to their body so that they can listen when our minds in those voices in our heads can be so loud, drowning out our sensations?
Audra [00:18:25] Yeah. So, understanding that whenever we have a stress response in the body, like our primal brain, our autonomic nervous system, this is the part of our brain that is like under conscious, like it’s unconscious. When this part of the brain gets really activated and you go into fight or flight, if whatever situation happened is so big and so overwhelming for our nervous system, like to a point where your unconscious autonomic nervous system is like, oh, crap, I can’t run away from this and I can’t stick around and fight it. What ends up happening is an overwhelmed nervous system. You go into its freeze mode. And so, freeze mode is literally the next level of being able to dissociate you from the actual experience that you’re having, because the actual experience is so painful according to your nervous system—everybody’s nervous system is different—and in that moment, you learn how to freeze, you learn how to dissociate, you learn how to kind of like pull away. And so, it’s actually quite common to not be able to connect to the body. I just wanted to say that so people can really understand it’s very common to not be able to have that connection. And then the way that we do have that connection, a lot of times we’ll go, well, I’m going to go work out or I’m going to go for a walk or I’m going to go do a yoga class. And by all means, all of that is great. I know for me, personally, I started teaching fitness when I was 18 years old. I was teaching 20 classes a week, like exercise was my jam, but it didn’t really do anything to really reconnect me to my body in like a healing of my nervous system weight. In fact, what exercise did for a long time for me, it kept me in flight mode, was like a great way to just feel like I wanted to go fight or flight, fight or flight. And it felt great because it gave some level of release for sure. But really, the way that we connect with our bodies is first through the breath. It’s first through taking like a big and how we do it together. Really fill up the belly; now, let it go. Most of us have really dysfunctional ways of breathing, so we, especially women, what do we do? We hold our belly and we hate our belly. We’re shamed by our bellies, so we suck it all in, right? And so, this is a way to reconnect and expand your belly and have like a big Buddha belly and really take a bunch of air in, and that’s a really powerful connector to be able to ground a little bit into the body. And so that’s the first thing. Just noticing your breath, noticing the sensations, like if you breathe in through your nose, let’s both breathe and notice if you notice it’s cold inside your nose. Cooling. Exhale. Notice the heat through your nostrils. Like, those are sensations, coolness in the nose, heat in the nose, and it sounds so elementary. Yet what most of us do—and I want to be really clear, there is zero judgment here—we do this because we’ve been trained. Our IQ, like our thinking mind. We always want to think, think, think, think. And because we haven’t ever really healed some of this shit that lives in our body, it’s a real simple thing to want to disconnect from our body and to live from the neck up, right? So, it does take practice mainly because we just haven’t put the reps in. We haven’t practiced that enough of what does this feel like? Where is that feeling? Does it feel contracted? Does it feel expansive? Is it hot? Is it cold? Is it dull? Is it sharp? Right? So those are examples of how to just start being able to go, wait a second. Because what do we do? We’re like, we’re up in our head all the time, right? So wait, how can we go and feel into the body? That’s a definite, important first step that anybody can do at any time to just feel good. Yeah, yeah.
Rebeccah [00:22:36] One of my very first mentors said to me once, Rebeccah, as a coach, your body is your greatest tool. And at that time, I was horrified to hear that because I was in perpetual war with my body, hating my body, not wanting to connect to it. And then what I will say is that if you’re here and breakthrough is important to you, your body is the vehicle that will take you there and your body has the answers and the guidance that you’re seeking, not the external world, not the right number on the scale. And, Audra, I think your work is so important to help people get beyond wishing and hoping things were different, and actually creating that permanent change. We don’t need to manage our way through our lives or our circumstances or a past. We are tougher and, Audra, I just love the work you do. I’m so grateful to have you here. Breakthrough is possible, and if you’re working on breaking through in your relationship with your body, today’s episode is a really important one. Audra, we like to give our audience homework. So, will you give us some homework?
Audra [00:23:54] Yeah, that’s great. So, here’s your homework. And you can do this anytime, anywhere, you can do it sitting in your car at a red light, but any time that you might start to notice that you’re just really lost in your thoughts. So that’s the first thing. Half the time we don’t even have consciousness around being just kind of lost in our head and lost in our thoughts. And in that moment, when you can catch yourself and be like—and it could be anything, it’s no big deal, just yeah, it’s normal to be lost in our thoughts—but that can be like an anchor to go, wait a second. What am I actually feeling? Are there any sensations? And just tune in and take maybe three deep breaths, maybe even just one deep breath, like don’t make it complicated and just tune in and go, is there anything that I’m experiencing in my body? So some of the simpler ones are I can feel my hair on my chest right here. I can feel my clothing on my shoulders. I can feel the earbuds inside of my ears right now. I can feel my butt and my legs on the chair. I can feel the weight of that. So those sometimes are the first place to go. And then you maybe just check in and go, I wonder if I can feel anything on the inside. Do I feel a contraction? Do I feel an expansion? Do I feel hot? Cold? Is there something inside of me that feels bubbly or, you know, like, you know, like butterflies? We all know butterflies. Do I feel butterflies? Do I feel something that feels like pain? Does it feel sharp? Does it feel dull? It’s ultimately just a little scan, and it, really again, it sounds elementary, but the more that you can continually just know that your body is safe and the way that you start to know that your body is safe is that you can feel a feeling. And you know that that feeling isn’t going to… it’s not going to kill you. It’s a feeling and the feelings are there. And so, you start to learn to expand your capacity to just feel sensations in your body.
Rebeccah [00:26:04] Yeah. And what I love about the possibility that you bring to the table is that even if you are in an unsafe situation, you have the capacity to get yourself safe.
Audra [00:26:18] Yeah. Yeah, and when you say unsafe situation, do you mean like an outward situation? Like literally…
Rebeccah [00:26:25] I was in a domestic violence marriage. It was unsafe. I’m a cancer survivor. That time in my life was unsafe. So, I just want to make sure that our audience is hearing us say, listen, you know, you have it in you to be safe, to create safety for yourself. And then, especially in the middle of a global pandemic, we do have listeners that may not actually feel or believe or be in a safe situation.
Audra [00:26:55] OK. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. And that you do have the capacity to find safety. To be with safety. Yeah.
Rebeccah [00:27:03] And to create it. And you’ve got the answers. I can promise you that. And it’s not going to be fun. And, Audra, you’re sharing breakthrough isn’t overnight and it is a commitment. And then I do believe that it takes a willingness to do whatever it takes as long as it takes.
Audra [00:27:23] Can I like just add to that, because you were like, what can I do to break through? And I was like, well, I probably want to keep it like to my business or what I do, how I help women. But let me tell you, I have been in a real bad relationship situation. I mean, yes, domestic violence, everything about it, and he was a doctor of psychology and I gave all my power to him. And I remember finally googling after being in this relationship for way too long, thinking, oh, it must be me getting gaslit, a gaslighting, all of the things. And I finally googled power and control and abusive relationships, and the cycle of power and control in abusive relationships. And it hit every single one of them. And I remember in that moment… talk about breakthrough. So sometimes the breakthrough is like something switches and go… And it happened in that moment. I had a switch that went off as soon as I saw the pattern I was in. That was like the best advice anybody ever gave me. Would you just google power and control in abusive relationships? It was exactly what I needed. And in that moment, I was able to go, I’m getting myself out of this. And it did not… I mean, I had no other mission over the next, however many, one or two or three weeks, but to like plan and figure things out and do things and all of these different… whatever I had to do to make it happen. And then there it was; there was my safety. I had created safety for myself in that moment. And so, I think that’s the switch that you’re talking about. So it feels hard, like it feels impossible, but like to take that action and make that happen; I totally agree. And then from that moment on, the breakthrough just kept happening, right? Because now it’s, I never want to be in that situation again. What about me? Do I need to look at heal and continually having breakthroughs so that I never end up in a situation like that again? And that the kind of slower, continual breakthrough of that inner healing and that personal work. Yeah.
Rebeccah [00:29:34] Yeah. And it’s just about connecting to the possibility first and to making a commitment. Audra, I’m so glad that you brought this up, because breakthrough is different for all of us and it’s an opening. And then so much more opens just because of willingness. And it does require willingness and commitment to do whatever it takes, as long as it takes, to have the life you want and be brave enough to commit to that life you want. And others here today to speak to being gentle and listening to your body in a brand-new way, because your body is what will take you to breakthrough. Audra, thank you so much for being with us.
Audra [00:30:21] Thank you so much. It was a pleasure.
Outro [00:30:25] Please note that the content of this podcast is not meant to be therapeutic or to replace any personal growth work that you are already doing with a coach, therapist, or mentor. Take the content, have it inspire you, and then keep working with your support system. Breakthrough is your right. Breakthrough reminds us that we’re tougher together and that we’re connected to possibility even in the most challenging and possibly darkest times. I’m Rebeccah Silence, creator of Healing is Possible and proud host of the Tougher Together, Breakthrough podcast where we come together and we tell stories of real breakthrough that exist for you as well. Get ready to break through, get ready to live more free, and get ready to experience more breakthrough. Because that’s your right. Join us on the Life’s Tough Media website and stay tuned for more. If you want to get in touch with me visit, rebeccahsilence.com. Your time is now. Your breakthrough begins now.