You may have heard the phrase “Baptism by fire”, but today’s guest is here to challenge that paradigm with “baptism by ice”! Amy Morrison is a MA level therapist and XPT coach and she counsels others to their full potential and authentic self. Her technique includes a unique approach of integrating ice bath therapy with breath and mindfulness practices to help you unlock and access parts of your deeper consciousness.
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Mike: [01:04] Hello, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of the Cured Collective podcast brought to you by none other than Cured Nutrition out of Denver, Colorado. I’ll be your host today. My name is Mike Spaniol. I’m the Director of Operations over at Cured Nutrition, and we’re bringing on more and more of our team members over at Cured. We think it’s important to get our whole community involved as we are the Cured Collective podcast. Now, if you haven’t done so already, hop onto our site, and if you find something that you can’t live without, use the coupon code COLLECTIVE at checkout. It’s a special code that’s just for our podcast listeners. That’s collective: C-O-L-L-E-C-T-I-V-E. That’ll get you 15% off in our store. It used to be 10; we decided to up that to 15 to help you guys out and also to thank you for tuning in to our podcast. It’s a lot of fun getting on these things and hearing some of your feedback, and positive feedback we’ve gotten on the show has really been motivating and it really empowers us to continue doing what we’re doing; and we love doing this. So, thank you, thank you all of you. If you have any questions for us, jump over to our website and scroll to the bottom; you’ll find the Cured Collective – or Cured Nutrition – blog, and on the blog you’ll find recipes, you’ll find new topics of interest in the CBD industry, in the health and wellness industry. There’s a lot of really good information on there and it’s updated weekly, so go check that out. And also, if you haven’t done so yet, on our website you can sign up for our weekly newsletter. It’s an email newsletter that will give you sneak previews into some of the new products we’re launching, you’ll get invites to our events that we host not only in Colorado, but around the U.S. You’ll also get specials on the email newsletter that you wouldn’t get anywhere else; so, it might be discount codes for new products, we may be doing a collaboration with an awesome company that is synergistic with us. There’s new opportunities on there all the time, so go over to our website, sign up for that newsletter, check it out, and definitely let us know what you think. We appreciate your feedback. Something new that we’ve put on the website as well is a CBD guide. If you’re new to CBD, say it’s something you’ve been considering taking but you don’t really know a whole lot about it or you don’t know where to start, or you have some questions, we created a guide for you. If you scroll to the bottom of our website, you can find that guide, and it’ll answer a lot of the questions that you may have if you’re just starting out in this space if you’re looking for a product to take or to try for yourself. That’s free for you to use as a resource and we highly recommend you going to check it out. So, thank you so much for coming on, tuning in today. I’m new to the podcast here for the Cured Collective.
[04:34] I was on a few weeks ago with Joe where we sort of had an introduction, kind of went into my background, but now it’s time for me to jump on and introduce somebody who’s had a great impact on my life recently, and that’s Amy Shank Morrison. She lives out here in Colorado, and I was introduced to her about 3 months ago, maybe 4 months ago through a colleague of mine who is going to her for a very unique style of therapy. Now Amy, she started a company called True Core Health, and she is making waves with this company in Colorado. She is looking to align – or she is working with people to align the spiritual, mental, and physical aspects of their life through counseling, breath work, and personal training. When I signed up for one of her sessions, it was for an ice bath therapy session. It’s called Denver Ice and Heat, and I went there and what we did was we spent 5 minutes in an ice bath, freezing cold; I mean, we’re talking 34 degrees, 200lbs of ice in a trough. You’d get in, dunk your head all the way under and try to stay in, basically, as long as you can. It’s really a mental battle and a physical battle all in one, and once that time is up, you start to warm up standing outside for a few minutes, and then you go into a sauna – hot barrel sauna that she has at her house – and you spend about 15 minutes in there heating back up; and you heat your body up to the point it’s slightly uncomfortable, and then you repeat the process over again. You rinse off, you hop back in the ice, and you do that 3 times. I’m telling you, when you leave that session, you feel like a new person. You feel like you just climbed a mountain, but you feel relaxed, and it’s amazing. It’s hard to put it to words, you just have to go and try it yourself. So, that was kind of my introduction, and after that first session, I began to get curious – what else is she up to? So, we begin to dive into this in this episode of the podcast. We recently worked with Oasis Yoga in Denver, and she put on an awesome session centered on our nervous system, how we handle stress, breath work, we did a meditation session at the end. It was a very powerful experience, and we got Cured involved; we had products there, we gave out a ton of samples for people to take home. It was a really good, collaborative effort, and she actually has 2 more events coming up in October and November that we’re super excited for. Amy is about 2 months away from getting her counseling license. She is going to be a professional counselor and therapist. She’s helping people get through hard times in their life, helping people grow and manage stress in a better way. She’s a lululemon ambassador, she’s helping people in the community that way. She’s really doing a lot, and I can’t wait for you guys to get to know her a little bit better. We touched on some awesome topics during this conversation; there’s so much more that we could dive into and hopefully we have the opportunity to jump on here again and update you guys in the future because there really is a lot to be learned here and there’s a lot to experience. So, without further ado, I bring you Amy Shank Morrison. Thank you for tuning in.
[08:46] Alright, hey Cured Collective podcast! This is Mike, your host today, Mike Spaniol, and I’m here with Amy Shank Morrison. We have a lot to discuss here today. I first met Amy at one of her sessions. I was introduced through a friend to do an ice bath therapy session, which was something completely new to me. I was familiar with the Wim Hoff method of breathing and listening to his stories of swimming under Artic ice and running in extremely cold environments, and was always kind of interested in how that could benefit you, how putting yourself through stressors can provide benefit to your life both cognitively and physically. So, I went to one of her sessions and had an amazing experience and couldn’t help but sign up month after month after that, and begin this interaction with a new group of people and with myself, and beginning to learn more about the work that Amy is doing. Welcome, Amy. Thank you for coming.
Amy: [10:14] Thank you so much for having me.
Mike: [10:16] I wanted to touch into a little bit of your background and some of the work that you’ve done. You’re a licensed counselor; so, you help people work through some of the challenges they’re going through in their life, and you have found a very interesting way to connect that to the physical side as well, people’s health and fitness, in that way. I think it’s really neat that you’ve been able to convert all these different aspects, all these different pieces of the whole picture of health. You know, it’s not just working out hard. It’s not just eating or following a diet plan. There’s so much more that goes into it. I’m curious kind of where that started, where that inspiration really started for you.
Amy: [11:17] Hmm. So, for me, I feel… like I first started with my own self, and experiencing a lot of awareness and healing around the way that food impacted me; then moving into how is movement impacting me, and is taking care of my body impacting me; then realizing the impact on both of those things on my mental health. It’s been a lot of… just trial and error on my part of figuring out what works, and I think it’s always interesting to go back in time and consider like what that version of myself was like. So, back in 2011, I graduated from college and felt kind of lost and didn’t really know what to do; so, I went and nannied for a family in Spain for 3 months and then came back and needed structure; I needed something to help me feel more grounded. So, I actually tried the Whole 30 diet for 30 days and felt a huge shift in my body; started to learn about how wheat and gluten impacts our systems.
Mike: [12:37] For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Whole 30 diet, it’s very much, from what I understand, it’s focused on eating whole foods. Not going to the store Whole Foods and buying food, but actually eating real food that’s not processed. Maybe if you want to touch a little bit on that because it seems like it was kind of the beginning.
Amy: [13:02] Yeah, of course! So, the Whole 30 diet is essentially 30 days where you focus on eating meat, eggs, veggies, some fruits, nuts, seeds, essentially. So, it’s a lot of vegetables, a lot of variation in that. There’s no grains, there aren’t any processed foods, like you talked about, no dairy. There’s a lot of research around those inflammatory foods that are like wheat and gluten and eggs – no, sorry, not eggs – dairy is actually a common allergy that people have. So, if you take out those foods, what happens to your body? For me, what happened was I experienced a reduction in inflammation, and I felt like I was able to process things better, my brain felt clearer, all these different things I noticed after 30 days. So, for me, that was something that allowed some switches to kind of be clicked and realize I have a choice here; I can make a choice with my body. I think a lot of us, even the way I was raised, and I remember dating a guy and being like, oh, well, if we grow old together or something then… I just never want to lose – I don’t ever want my body to like, for me to be disappointed in where I am now. I want to maintain essence of health.
Mike: [14:29] Sure.
Amy: [14:30] And he was like, “Oh, well, it’s normal. You’ll gain weight.” But I was like, well, ok, maybe gaining some weight is normal over time. Just this mindset and shift of I have a choice, I choose what my life looks like in the future; and a big pathway to that is nutrition. I think you can go to whole30.com and figure it out more if you’d like.
Mike: [14:52] Oh, yeah. There’s books and cookbooks on it. It’s really – people are putting in on their labels that it’s Whole 30 approved too.
Amy: [15:01] Yeah, that’s right. I forgot about that. It’s interesting now; I think, for me, I’ve moved past that after, I mean, that was 8 years ago. So, after that Whole 30, I actually started… I worked for lululemon in Houston – I was in Houston at the time and got connected to a bunch of different gyms, because part of working at lululemon is they actually give you a stipend to be able to use that money to workout. You can go and use that money for your health and fitness and the community. You get to take classes and the company pays for it, which is really cool.
Mike: [15:36] That’s an awesome program.
Amy: [15:38] Oh, yeah. It’s really cool. Obviously, you wear the cool clothes out in the community, so there’s like a win-win there, but it’s like, ok cool, we’re getting fitness for free. For me, I got to try out a bunch of different movement, you know, ways to move, and at the same time, emotionally and mentally, I realized how much of an impact movement had on my mental health, and how much of an improvement I saw in my health with eating. It’s really interesting because I dated a guy who was out of town, so he was – he lived in Denver at the time – and he would come back over the weekend and come visit me, and he didn’t really have a diet or anything like that. He was a little bit more of an intuitive eater, so we would eat kind of whatever; and for me, that really didn’t work, because I would eat gluten and I would eat wheat and I would eat dairy, and I was experiencing these big shifts in my emotions.
Mike: [16:34] Oh really?
Amy: [16:35] Yeah. If I even fast forward up to this point now, I can notice a shift in my body if I, you know, accidentally eat gluten or that kind of thing. If I realize I had, oh, if there’s something that’s been cross-contaminated, I can tell in my mind because it makes my mind race, I can’t sleep, and all these different things. So interesting!
Mike: [16:59] Yeah. Do you feel like an inflammatory response? Because I get this feeling in my arms and my legs, almost like a tingly pressure from the inside when I have high carb meals.
Amy: [17:15] Yeah. Does it kind of feel like restless legs type stuff?
Mike: [17:19] Absolutely. Kind of antsy, and for me, I didn’t really notice it until I took a great shift in what I was eating. And, actually, I did Whole 30 for a short period of time, and my…
Amy: [17:36] For 30 days?
Mike: [17:37] Yeah, for a short period of time, about 30 days. Yeah! And my mom was doing a – she started out on the Atkins diet and moved into more of this modified ketogenic diet, so I was interested in it because it was one of the only things, you know, programs that she’s followed that she’s actually seen sustained results from. So, once I started doing that, I kind of became keto adapted, where my body was using fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. That’s when I really realized that when I shifted back, I started eating carbohydrates again, that I would really feel it.
Amy: [18:19] Interesting.
Mike: [18:20] In my body in a physical way as well as a mental way.
Amy: [18:24] Yeah. I think that’s fascinating because what we get to see is that you and I have very different reactions to food even though we have some similarities, in the sense of we have that body awareness; like, this is what happens when I do something that isn’t quite in line with what my system needs. And I think sometimes for people, we can look and see if somebody like an influencer or someone is doing something, and we’re like, I’m supposed to do that diet or I’m supposed to be fully keto, or whatever; and it’s, you need to figure out what works for you, because you may be great at processing carbs. I don’t think anybody should be going over 150 grams of carbs a day; like, that’s excessive. although not really for the standard American diet.
Mike: [19:10] Yeah. What if you’re really – you’re an extreme athlete, if you’re really cranking in the gym or out on the field – that might be a rare case where maybe they go a little bit higher.
Amy: [19:25] Oh, yeah, of course.
Mike: [19:26] And that kind of makes sense for recovery.
Amy: [19:29] Because they’re just eating more calories in general.
Mike: [19:31] Totally.
Amy: [19:32] So things are going to have to balance out.
Mike: [19:35] Yeah, so that’s also important, is the balance. If they’re eating more carbohydrates, they’re eating more fat, and protein as well.
Amy: [19:44] Yeah, and I think that’s interesting – I don’t know if you’re into CrossFit or anything at all much.
Mike: [19:51] Oh, yeah.
Amy: [19:52] I’ve followed it a little bit over the years. I was way more into it about 8 years ago, but even like I just saw somewhere, like an article, the guy who won the last 3 years – I can’t remember his name -like the CrossFit games or whatever, he talked about getting in… he lost or something a few years ago right before he started winning everything; and the thing that was happening at that time was he wasn’t in tune with his body; like, he wasn’t in tune with his diet, and he was kind of like eating whatever he wanted.
Mike: [20:24] Oh wow.
Amy: [20:25] And kind of giving himself that freedom. Even if you’re an elite athlete, sometimes there can be a temptation of I can just do what I want, as far as food goes, but there’s a reality of he had to home in on his diet. That’s what shifted everything for him.
Mike: [20:40] Wow. And that made him a champion.
Amy: [20:42] I don’t know if that was the only thing, but it was something that he mentioned that was a big deal.
Mike: [20:46] The catalyst to it. Yeah.
Amy: [20:49] Anyway, we jumped down a rabbit hole.
Mike: [20:50] We did! Yeah, we definitely did. And then, did that sort of lead into XPT – which is Extreme Performance Training – and your interest in that? Which I know the breath work that we’ve done and the ice sessions were stemming from that training at XPT. Do you want to intro that?
Amy: [21:16] I’d love to. So, fast forward, I moved out to Denver, and decided to move out here basically just as an excuse to be in the mountains. I just love the – so moving from Texas to here – I love the seasons. Being close to nature is really important to me. So, I pursued a master’s degree, and I graduated with my master’s degree in 2017; so I’m still working towards licensure. I think you mentioned at the beginning I’m licensed, and I’m like 2 months away from my licensure.
Mike: [21:45] Oh! You’re right at the homestretch!
Amy: [21:48] I know! I’m so close to getting all of my hours.
Mike: [21:50] So what was your masters – what’s the master’s program that you’re in?
Amy: [21:54] It’s a masters in clinical/mental health counseling that I graduated from, so I got that in 2017, and then have been working in the mental health field since then; but at that time, at the time that I graduated, right around then, I started my own business and company – True Core Health – around this holistic wellness aspect of our lives, and how can we be well in a lot of different areas. So, I was really interested in physical fitness and mental wellness, and not just what’s happening in that one on one session with your counseling [inaudible – client?]. I’m way more interested in all the hours outside of therapy. So, for me, that was something that I was focused on. I started this website, I started social media and everything and just kind of followed brands that I liked. XPT was one of them, and the company, early summer 2017, they put out a like, win a spot at a – they do these 3-day experiences, or pretty much retreats.
Mike: [23:02] Cool.
Amy: [23:03] I was like, oh, okay, and it was like, you had to email why you should be chosen, you have to repost this picture, and all this stuff.
Mike: [23:09] Yeah, tag these 3, hashtags, follow these 3 accounts.
Amy: [23:12] Right, which I’m sure we’ve all done.
Mike: [23:15] Oh, totally. Shamelessly.
Amy: [23:18] Yeah, I want that camping kit!
Mike: [23:19] Definitely!
Amy: [23:20] Anyway-
Mike: [23:21] I never win.
Amy: [23:22] Oh, no, right. Well, I won. And I won a spot to the retreat, which is so interesting, Mike, because I had entered to win, and I was like I’m going to win this. I had this internal knowledge that it was going to happen.
Mike: [23:34] You could feel it.
Amy: [23:35] Yeah, I could feel it. Then, I got the email a couple months later, and they were like hey, you won, so come.
Mike: [23:42] And you were like, of course! Of course I did. I could’ve told you that.
Amy: [23:47] So, it was in in Montauk, which is basically the end of the world. If you don’t know where it’s at, it’s the end of Long Island. So, you drive, or take a train, all the way out through all the Hamptons, all those wealthy areas and stuff.
Mike: [24:00] Oh, yeah… check out the houses.
Amy: [24:03] Yeah. Then, you get to Montauk and – so, I got to Montauk, made my way to the hotel where it was at, and, it’s really funny because they were like ok, you have a spot but you have to figure out your lodging and that kind of thing, which was understandable; it’s real expensive to pay for the hotel. And I get there and I knew two of the people who were working it. I knew them from Houston. They were like, “Wait, we know you!” And I was like, “Wait, I know you!” So, I ended up getting immediately connected with the team – there’s this whole team behind the stuff that happens – and they were like, why don’t you just come stay at the staff house with us. I was like, “Ok!”
Mike: [24:48] How serendipitous.
Amy: [24:49] Yeah, it was really cool. So, they took me into their wing. I was still a participant, got to experience everything, did my first breath work class where Laird was teaching for – it was like 45 minutes to an hour – and I was really humbled because I realized how much I needed help with my breathing, and I was also really inspired and empowered. That same day I did my first official ice bath; you know, I’d done some cold plunge and that kind of thing before, but did my first couple rounds in an ice bath and sauna. This was August 2017, so it was about 2 years ago; and just fell in love with the company, fell in love with the training program, and got to really enjoy my time with the company, and Laird and Gabby. Laird Hamilton and Gabby Reece are the founders, and they were just excited and interested in introducing their own training methods to the world. It’s focused on the 3 pillars of breath, movement, and recovery; so at the 3-day experience you do all 3 everyday in some way, which was really fun. And I made some amazing connections with people. I’m actually going out there this weekend to Montauk to visit people that I met.
Mike: [26:05] Wow. Is it the first time in 2 years that you’ve seen these people?
Amy: [26:07] No, I saw them last year.
Mike: [26:09] Oh, nice! Ok.
Amy: [26:10] So, I’m going to see them again, which is really fun.
Mike: [26:12] That’s fantastic.
Amy: [26:13] And, yeah, just really sweet, which is the cool thing about so many things, especially when you do different experiences like that. It’s about the people you meet, about the people you get to connect to. So, that’s how I got connected. It’s funny how I tell people I won a spot on Instagram.
Mike: [26:32] Yeah, and look at how that, that one thing, that one entry has completely transformed so much in your life.
Amy: [26:40] Oh my gosh, yeah. It’s incredible just that one thing how it’s impacted, even the way that I operate on a personal level, professional, and even when I think about what I want to become in the future, it’s all connected.
Mike: [26:55] Yeah. About August 2017 was right when we – or right when Joe and Taylor had founded Cured.
Amy: [27:05] Oh, that’s right!
Mike: [27:06] It was getting started and they made some decisions in that time that have had huge impact on my life and everybody here at Cured, and the people we interact with. It’s, you know, I look back at those times and I, in reflection, I remind myself that, at times, if things aren’t really going well, or if I’m down, or something bad happened, you can always remind yourself – and sometimes it’s hard – but if you can remind yourself that just around the corner that something might happen that you shouldn’t take for granted, that you should really look deep into – it could completely change your life for the better; but that has absolutely helped me in some of the darkest days get through. I think with each year that goes by, that feeling is stronger and stronger, and I use that tool.
Amy: [28:08] Yeah, I think about – even over that summer was a really hard time for me because I was struggling in my relationship in my marriage, I was struggling emotionally with being on this new career track and just feeling really down regulated and like what am I doing. I remember, my therapist at the time having – she was like, ok, you can’t do it right now, but I’m going to have faith for you that this is going to get better, that things are going to shift. So, I think when we’re able to do that for ourselves, it can get really, really cool, because we get to get curious and interested in like what would happen if I could just have faith that something’s going to come up. Not necessarily faith in like a religious sense, but just have that enduring belief that something different is out there for you.
Mike: [29:02] Yeah. It can have a hugely positive impact. And that’s looking at kind of a broader timeline, a longer timeline. I notice a similarity there in the short term. Say, when you first dip into the ice bath and you have this rush of, I mean, it’s almost panic; it’s your sympathetic nervous system firing, you’re in fight or flight, and every cell in your body is saying get out of there, get out of that environment. What you’ve taught me is to return to breathing; and in that, I think, in that mental space that goes along with returning back to the parasympathetic through breathing is reminding yourself that this is intentional, that you’re going to get through this, you’re not going to die from sitting in an ice bath; you’re going to just breathe and you’re going to power through and thrive. So, I see that this type of therapy that you’re doing is so powerful because it can affect you in such a positive way in the short term as well as the long term; and I think that’s really cool.
Amy: [30:22] Yeah, and it’s that reminder that we have a choice. Like I talked about at the beginning, just the concept of being able to choose what you eat and choose your health, it’s the same kind of situation when you’re in an ice bath, or maybe if you’re having anxiety attack. So often we feel this overwhelming thought of I can’t do this, I can’t, I can’t; whereas, what happens when you bring in the concept of choice and it’s like, ok, I can choose to not do this or I can choose to be here. Allowing yourself to have that flexibility, that openness, that realization that like I could or I couldn’t instead of I simply cannot, right? I mean, which if you’ve experienced any kind of severe anxiety, that’s such a reality for so many people.
Mike: [31:11] Absolutely. I think without some of that training, sometimes it’s hard to learn that on your own. It really is. So, just this past weekend, we did an awesome session. You put on this program at a yoga studio called Oasis here in Denver, a beautiful spot. We had, I’d say, 15-20 attendees. Very intimate group, and we talked about stress, and we talked about – we did a meditation – and we dove into that therapy; and it was the first of three sessions. We’re doing 2 more over the next 2 months. And that was exciting and powerful.
Amy: [32:09] Yeah, I think those are the kind of events I get really excited about, in addition to the ice baths and sauna sessions and getting people into more of a workshop setting. It’s fun for me because I know I can help multiple people at once and give them tools. It doesn’t replace therapy, but it might make it to where somebody could experience a little bit more momentum for themselves vs. that stuck feeling of like I don’t know what to do. It’s like, oh wait, I know more about my nervous system now, so I know maybe I can get a little more aware of where that choice is.
Mike: [32:49] Right. Yeah, maybe – I think everybody there, I mean, it was apparent in just how many people signed up for-
Amy: [32:58] The next one.
Mike: [32:59] All 3 sessions as they were leaving, if they only signed up for the first day. I think everybody, or almost everybody, signed up for the whole thing, because you take away tools that you can use, that are tangible tools that you can use down the line. That’s really cool.
Amy: [33:19] Yeah, that was so encouraging, for it to end and people to be like alright, alright, I’m coming back in October or whatever, right?
Mike: [33:24] Yeah!
Amy: [33:25] And I think that’s something that I definitely want to move more into, is that enduring relationship with people, and knowing that I get to see those faces again in October and November is so cool, because then I get to ask, how is this work changing you? How are you shifting? What are you choosing? And that is the coolest thing versus someone just dropping into a workshop, which is really fun; and if they get to come back like you’ve been able to come back, then that’s neat because we’ve built a relationship and a friendship.
Mike: [33:59] Absolutely.
Amy: [34:00] But for me, I get really pumped on that relationship and just the fact that they want to stick around. Feels good!
Mike: [34:10] Yeah! Yeah, you’re very much, in that way, building a community and fostering this community. I want people out there to know that there are people out there like you; and there are people out there that are different, but maybe you share a lot in common, and there are opportunities to grow together. Humans are, we’re tribal beings. We get things done by banding together and helping each other out; it’s in our nature. So, to be a part of something like that is so powerful. If you’re feeling stuck, or you’re in a hard time, there’s other people out there that are experiencing that too. Go out there and try things like this.
Amy: [35:03] Yeah, exactly. I think we all have that tendency to hide away when something is going on in our lives, so making that active choice to pursue community when you feel like you are not worthy of it, it can be so healing.
Mike: [35:26] So, what are the – we have an event in October and another in November – and what are those two going to be focused on? There’s still a few spots open, right?
Amy: [35:58] Yeah, there’s spots open. So, the whole program is called Destress and Meditate, which are like… big words. It’s just overarching, like, lunch and dinner. It’s like, ehh, what’s happening? So, I think… what we talked a lot about right in that first session was kind of the basics of our nervous system and how we respond to stress, and what happens in our bodies when we feel stressed or anxiety or that big response, or even those low-grade responses. We talked some about the polyvagal theory, our autonomic nervous system, and really dug into the basics with that, and as best as I could. Then, we talked about this mindful model of change that I’ve been working on with my own clients in different settings, both in counseling and on the coaching; so, we always start with awareness. We always start with awareness because that’s the place where we can just get in touch with happening, what is, and we can kind of understand our why a little bit.
Mike: [36:50] Oh, sure.
Amy: [36:51] Because – I’ve talked about this before – just so many of us are kind of stuck in old patterns, you know, of childhood or the way we were treated or what was taught to us.
Mike: [37:02] Oh yeah, we are certainly creatures of habit.
Amy: [37:04] Oh, yeah. Well, it’s kept us alive, so I never want to shame that adaptive structure we’ve created for ourselves. We’ve created these adaptive responses to stress, and the next step after that awareness is compassion, because we can be really tender and compassionate towards ourselves for that. Then, from there, we can create some action items that are more centered in that compassion. So, a compassionate action you can take towards yourself if you’re having these overwhelming thoughts of I’m not good enough or I’m not interesting enough, and it’s like, oh, that’s right, it all came from that experience in my childhood, and then I can choose to seek some help for that. I can choose to talk to somebody about it. I can choose to ask for some help. Then, hopefully we see some behavior change from that. So, the first session was kind of an introduction. The second session we’ll do some review, we’ll go over those basics again just as a reminder; because I know for me, when I was first learning this work, especially around the nervous system and the polyvagal theory, it was like I couldn’t hear it enough. I had to hear it under a lot of different mediums, so I want to make sure that we cover that because if there are people who come to the 2nd and 3rd who didn’t come to the first, I want to make sure that they feel supported. Then, we’ll move into more tools and steps you can take that are action oriented but are filtered through that compassion. We’ll start to get pretty specific with people individually, kind of like what they need to do; so, it’ll be some mindfulness and journaling around coming back to yourself and coming back to what you need. I tell clients this all the time, it’s like you’re an expert in yourself; there’s nothing I can say to you that’s going to be more than what you know about you. Let me give you some insight into some unseen things that you hadn’t thought about yourself in a while, but your body has this internal knowledge and this internal wisdom of you specifically.
Mike: [39:12] Of course.
Amy: [39:14] I can’t even begin-
Mike: [39:15] It’s developed over decades.
Amy: [39:16] Yeah, yeah. So, what I get to do is I get to be a witness – a person who journeys alongside you and basically gives you some keys. I give people this vision all the time of we’re walking down the hallway and there’s a lot of different doors, and so we’re like unlocking the door, I’m opening up and I’m like “Hey, do you want to go in?” And they’re like, “Uhh, nope, “ or “Yeah, let’s go in.”
Mike: [39:41] Each door is a part of yourself?
Amy: [39:44] Yeah. So, we’re tapping into these different pieces of you that you already have the keys to, but we’re just figuring out where the doors go to, what they unlock, what the keys unlock. So, you know, there will be some pushing back on the people who are attending and just connecting to themselves in a deeper way. Then, of course, with receiving guidance from me on those more action-based items that are filtered and compassion. We’ll do a lot of compassion-based mindfulness work to see how people feel with connecting to that part of themselves. Then, the third session will be kind of a wrap-up and we’ll review everything that we’ve talked about so far, and talk about what have you seen change. Has anything changed? Has nothing changed? What do you hope for for your future. You know, we talked about it at the first session of like, what do you see for yourself in 90 days? What could you be like?
Mike: [40:44] Yeah, that was a very interesting exercise where you said, “What if you made one change? What if you made a small change? And you did this consistently over the next 90 days, where would your life be like?” I remember my thought was, what if I connected with people that I haven’t reached out to in a long time? Where would it be? What relationships would I rekindle? And how could that help the other person, and myself, and create new opportunities, and build those relationships up again. That was just one example, but a lot can happen in just 90 days and I think we’re going to see that with this session with a lot of people who are coming back for the third one… see some actual tangible change from it.
Amy: [41:44] Exactly. Just staying in touch around that. If anybody’s interested, they can absolutely come to one or both of the remaining sessions. I fully believe in meeting people where they’re at, so you don’t have to be perfect to come; you don’t have to be fully aware and integrated. This is for all of us. This work is a continual practice and so, when I think about this mindful model of change, it’s a circular pattern, so we always come back to awareness, then we move into compassion and action behavior change. I think I talked about this, but we have – if we have a pain point – it’s at the base of that circular structure, if we think we’re cycling around that model; and then as we get better, we just experience elevation on our problem. Our problem doesn’t change; you know, the way I was raised as a kid or my issues, or that kind of thing. The thing that happens is that I get to gain elevation on it. I don’t stay stuck in the weeds. I get to have that different perspective.
Mike: [42:55] That’s so powerful.
Amy: [42:56] Yeah.
Mike: [42:57] That’s so powerful. Where do you see yourself going from this? We have this workshop, you have a lot going on at True Core Health, and you’re 2 months away from becoming licensed. How do you want to help people in the future as you develop your own skills and your own passion for this?
Amy: [43:23] Yeah. For me, I see myself being even more integrated with this work of helping people connect to self-regulation. That’s what I feel kind of my mission is, to be able to help others connect to different ways that they can self-regulate. Self-regulation is one of the most powerful things you can do for your own self because that means you have a connection, you’re integrated, you’re aware, you’re able to bring yourself down when you feel that anxiety. Because there’s so many times where we feel out of control or we feel like our situations are intense or scary; so, if I can just help somebody with that, it makes them a better partner, it makes them a better parent, it makes them a better coworker, it makes them a better boss, because if you can connect with your own body and connect with yourself, then you can actually shift the entire energy of a relationship you have with somebody, and it can change the energy in a room, which I think is so cool to just give people that super power; it’s like what?! If I can keep doing that, then that’s awesome. So, what that looks like for me is needing to kind of step away from some things that I was doing and focus more on workshops like this in Denver, and get to connect with groups and that kind of thing.
Mike: [44:53] That’s fantastic. I sure hope you keep pressing, pushing down this path, because I’ve seen in my own life how impactful it’s been, how positive it’s been, and I really appreciate what you do.
Amy: [45:06] Aww, thanks for saying that. I really appreciate that, thank you.
Mike: [45:11] Unfortunately, we’re getting close on your time. I want to be respectful of your time here; but I did just, you know, kind of one last question, sort of ending our discussion here. Is there anything that somebody might be able to take away from this? Is there any routines, like a daily routine that you might do to, say, remind yourself in the morning that you can be mindful throughout this day? If something impacts you negatively, say, like even this morning, I’ll admit, I walk out to my truck and there’s a parking ticket on my truck because of the street sweeping day in Denver. And I immediately saw that and I’m like, “Oh, of course.” There was this response inside that I wanted to just clench a fist and be frustrated, but I stopped, breathed, grabbed it and got in my car, and just continued on with the day and didn’t let that 10 seconds affect the rest of them throughout the whole entire day. So, what do you do each day that helps remind you to be mindful?
Amy: [46:39] Hmm. Something that came to my mind was sunshine before screen time.
Mike: [46:46] I love that!
Amy: [46:47] Yeah, so if you can get some sunshine – even just sky time if it’s cloudy – you’re still getting some sunshine.
Mike: [46:54] You live in the Midwest where I grew up.
Amy: [46:58] Yeah. So, get some sunshine. Start your day away from your screen. It can be a really powerful initiation for your own mind of almost like thinking about – it’s a little existential in the sense that there’s something bigger than me. So, there’s just something bigger out there. This is the sun, and there’s a lot of physiological effects, like we know that the morning light is really powerful for our circadian rhythms. Even if you’re taking any Cured products, like Rise or Zen, it’s like those can be really powerful partners with getting the right amount of light. If we start with that, it can kind of set off our day, I think, in a really powerful way. And I’m all about simple. I’m all about keeping it simple and starting basic. You know, for a lot people, I think they’re given a 5 ways to improve your day. And what if we just got 2 minutes of sunshine before looking at the screen? What could you choose?
Mike: [48:05] What if everybody did that?
Amy: [48:07] Yeah. I think it would be massive.
Mike: [48:10] Awesome. Thank you. And thank you for the shameless Cured plug. We were discussing the Rise before we hopped on the podcast today, and you had just been trying it for the first time; I gave you a couple of sample packs.
Amy: [48:26] Not sponsored, by the way.
Mike: [48:28] Right, she’s not getting paid for this advertisement.
Amy: [48:30] Nope.
Mike: [48:31] But we’re finding ways that we can supplement our lifestyles with natural products to help that, give us positivity in the day. Maybe we – you get a better night’s sleep, you’re going to have a better day, and it’s this chain reaction and that flows throughout your whole entire day, and that’s powerful. I really appreciate you coming in here and taking your time to sit with me today and chat and connect, and I’m sure we’ll have many more conversations like this in the future; hopefully we can jump on for a round two down the line.
Amy: [49:07] Yeah, absolutely.
Mike: [49:09] Thank you, Amy.
Amy: [49:10] Cool. It was so good to be here.
Mike: [49:12] And thank you everybody who tuned in today to the podcast. We really appreciate your support, and if you have the time, you have a minute or two, hop on and leave a review for us. Even if it’s just a star rating, it goes a long way to helping us improve on what we’re doing and allows us to continue to find ways to provide value for you. We appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you so much.