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Tell Your Story, Heal Your Heart: A Conversation With Nicole Nelson
Today Nicole Nelson, founder of Okay 2B You, gives us the scoop on her training with Teal Swan, her explorations into Taoist and Tantric philosophies as well as her insight into the power of storytelling. Through these she has found her balance in life by keeping it positive while keeping it real. Her focus in her practice is on assisting others in finding their balance by building confidence and releasing limiting beliefs.
To find out more, check out the podcast here or on iTunes. The transcript for this interview is posted below.
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Thanks for tuning in:)
MK- Thanks for joining us Nicole!… So fill us in- what does it mean to be a Completion Process Practitioner?
NN- The completion process is a technique designed by a woman named Teal Swan. She suffered many years of PTSD because as a young child she went through a lot of ritual abuse and sexual abuse. Everything she tried was not working for her until she came up with the completion process where she was finally able to work through her own trauma. Then she began using it with other people and noticed the same results in others. She then created a program where she began teaching it to us practitioners.
The completion process is a really fascinating technique that combines emotional Vipassana with inner child work and guided visualizations. That’s why it resonated with me so much because Vipassana has been a huge healing modality for me, as well inner child work… and then I’ve been a fan of the guided visualizations.
MK- Oh yeah, those make up the power 3… you’ve got all of them in there. I’m actually about halfway through her book called ‘Sculpture In The Sky’ and it is awesome! It’s right up my alley- kind of a combination of the Law of One material and Abraham Hicks.
NN- She’s really an amazing writer. The Sculptor In The Sky is a great book… her second book is actually even more fascinating to me because it’s more practical- it’s Shadows Before Dawn. It’s a tool kit for cultivating self love and it has all of these different exercises you can do to cultivate self-love. I really like that one because a lot of time when we are listening to our teachers… it’s kind of like ‘everything you’re saying is really nice, but how do I apply this to my specific situation to help me get out of the darkness that I’m in?’ So I’m really into the exercises and that’s what Shadows Before Dawn is all about. Actual exercises to help you turn your perspective around.
MK- I’m going to ask you about you in a minute, but I just want to mention this for our listeners- she has a bunch of free YouTube videos and the other night I was watching one. I think it’s called ‘working with your shadow self.’
I really appreciated it because she’s expressing the importance of how positive thinking, positive focus and the whole ‘you manifest your reality based on your focus,’ is very good and the way things work- but if you are triggered and something set you off- take a moment and look at it (i.e. don’t ignore it.)
For example, you can understand if this (xyz) made me feel angry, then I can understand that I’m resonating with anger at some level, but let me go further and ask what stimulated this anger in the first place? And basically however you want to confront it is fine, but use knowledge to transform it first and then you can put your rose colored glasses back on. So I really appreciated that, I think it’s really important for spiritualists- for people who are into self transformation.
NN- Right, I think that in my experience I see a lot of people- when we start learning about these concepts and practices… a lot of us start off with something like the Law of Attraction- the idea that our thoughts and our perspective create our reality. Teal Swan jokingly calls it spirituality 101. It’s a really important part of the process, but then you get to a point where you realize that sometimes you need to dive back into the shadows to be able to unhook that thing that’s keeping you stuck where you’re at. So although positive focus can really benefit us, sometimes it can benefit us more to actually go into the negative thoughts and dig around- so that we can begin to develop positive thoughts more naturally, rather than trying to force them.
MK- Totally. I’ll just give an example from my personal life. Someone in my life triggered me. They kind of imposed their will on me and because I wanted to keep the peace- I backed down, but internally like I said it triggered me, it bothered me. So I told them because I don’t want to suppress stuff, that’s not my style either, so I gently told them…‘look, this really bothers me, but I get it and I’m willing to let it go and let bygones be bygones.’
Internally I worked on it for like a little while- probably a couple hours (it wasn’t a couple minutes,) and I realized that what I felt was that he was imposing upon my freedom which is my number one quality in life that I value. I then realized that I’ve actually been feeling this kind of feeling lately with little things in my life and this just kind of amplified it.
It showed me that this is what I’ve been feeling. So I didn’t necessarily do the inner child work the way she might have suggested it, but I looked at that and I began thinking maybe I’m just not looking at all the freedom I do have in my life. Because it’s pretty ridiculous how much freedom I do have! So just by taking a moment- or the two hours that I took to figure that out- I realized how much freedom I have. I don’t work a 9-5 job, I come and go as I please, I do what I want… it’s a blessing. So basically what it did was it shifted any potential for me to potentially blame him and it allowed me to kind of reconfigure my perspective- to see what was really going on there. That’s how I approached it… but I really loved that she drew attention to this in that video and that’s a lot of what you do right?
NN- That’s a great example of how if you take the practice of positive focus in that situation you may have just been sitting there for days going ‘I need to love this person, I shouldn’t feel triggered, I just need to focus positive.’
MK- Right! Where you are boomeranging internally between ‘I can’t believe him and no…I should love him!’ But neither one of those is what’s really going on.
NN- Exactly, what you are doing is suppressing this feeling that is trying to come up and what we talk about with the completion process is that these feelings are like little children inside of us who just want attention. That’s all that’s going on- we just need to give them attention. So although it may seem we are taking ourselves out of positive focus by validating this emotional trigger that we’re having- by giving it attention and validating it- it allows us to integrate it so that it no longer nags at us.
MK- Totally… Well it definitely shifted my energy. And I think if you caught me a few years ago I would have been pissed at him for a long time.
Can you tell us what got you into this in the first place and then once you became a practitioner what have you done with it since then? I know you started Okay2BYou. Can you tell us more about that?
NN- Actually the vision for Okay2BYou began before I even knew that I was going to be applying to the completion process program. I will try to make this long story short- I was an EMT for eight years and then once I started getting into spirituality, new age and natural medicine- I just became appalled with the system and I didn’t want to do it anymore. I quit on the spot just like that- with no back up plan. To pay my bills, I worked for Lyft and Uber until I could figure out what I wanted to do next. I spent a year feeling very very depressed- it was the dark night of the soul because here my friends were having babies and getting married and I was starting all over again. I had no idea what I was going to do as a career.
That year I did a lot of soul searching. I went on the 10 days silent meditation Vipassana Retreat and then a 12 day Ayahuasca Retreat. Those two things combined really provided a lot of healing for me, but it was a few months after returning from the Ayahuasca Retreat that I took a class called Vaginal Kung Fu by Kim Anami. And basically what this class did for me was give me the self-awareness that I have been seeking. So the Vipassana and the Ayahuasca provided a lot of healing. But with this Vaginal Kung Fu class- I came out of it thinking ‘I know who I am, I know what I want and I know how to get it.’
The class was a Taoist and Tantric approach to sex and sexuality. A lot more onion layers were removed through that.
MK- You know what’s crazy? (laughing) I don’t think there is a center to the onion! I think it just keeps going…I think it’s infinite!
NN- I know it sucks! (laughing) So I had been exploring Tantra and a Taoist approach to sex for several years, but everything I came across- I kept feeling like that although there’s something here for me, I still haven’t found exactly what I’m looking for. This class finally gave me what I was looking for, it made it very simple. It was: utilize the breath, relax your muscles and ask questions about the feelings that are coming up. And when I finish that class, I had this huge epiphany that this is what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to teach teens and young adults the concepts that I had been learning through Tantra and Taoism.
I just had this vision of orchestrating these workshops for teens and young adults that revolve around a conscious approach to sex, relationships and communication. So that is how Okay2BYou began. The whole goal of Okay2BYou is to one day do in-person workshops with teens and young adults. I knew I was nowhere near that. I knew that I was going to have to gain more experience and there were probably going to be more things that I would want to study, maybe more certifications before I put these workshops together. However, through the process of creating this coaching business, I applied to the Completion Process Program and ended up getting in.
MK- Do you work directly with Teal Swan?
NN- So I was trained by her… it was a pretty incredible experience. Now that I’m out of that program, I mostly have been working with people via Skype in Google Hangouts and what not. Lately, I’ve been attracting more clients that I work with in person.
MK- Cool and so how does this tie in with the storytelling. Have you always been a wordsmith?
NN- As you know, you and I met through storytelling. It was a hobby of mine that I loved and had been a powerful healing modality for me. Like I said, I wanted to do workshops with teens, but I wasn’t ready for the ‘conscious approach to sex workshops,’ but I wanted to do something. Then very synchronistically I ended up getting offered a guest teaching artist position at a Reason To Survive which is an after school arts program for adversity facing children and teens in National City. So I got a job there teaching storytelling workshops. The storytelling open mic was supposed to be for my students there and also part of my vision for Okay2BYou because I do believe that storytelling is so healing. So it complemented my work with my clients quite nicely.
MK- The thing is that we all tell stories and when you tell your story, you heal your heart…. For example, when I went to the storytelling event you hosted last week- I was so moved. I would say even more moved than in the ones that we have within our own community because these are younger people and there are even a few people with speech impediments. It was just so moving to see everyone opening up and sharing. I just imagine from an energetic perspective (in terms of the healing potential)- it’s huge. First of all everyone in the audience is sending you so much love and then you are opening your throat chakra… I know this sounds kind of woo woo- but those are profound shifts.
NN- We all want to be heard. We all have this piece of us that wants to be looked at and being onstage provide a platform for that, but many of us are not musicians, many of us do not write poetry, many of us do not sing and act. These are talents that are highly admired in our society, probably in most of the world. So many of us who do not express ourselves that way, tend to feel they have nothing that they can share. But when you go to a storytelling show, you realize that you can get up on stage, express yourself, tell your story and have that cathartic experience that you never thought you could have because you don’t play music or sing or act or whatever.
MK- Well I do some of those things and I still felt like it was a major opening for me.
NN- Well the thing I always say is: storytelling in some ways can be way more honest than poetry or music because with storytelling…
Let’s say you write a poem about feeling depressed. Yeah the audience can understand that that’s what you’re getting at and that is what you’re expressing, but when you tell the story you’re saying- “I was depressed, I was in darkness,” and that’s where I think a lot of the catharsis comes from, by expressing yourself so much more honestly.
You and I have both seen people go through these experiences where they come to a storytelling show and they think ‘I’ll just watch, I’m not going to get up…”
MK- Yes! It’s amazing… even their posture changes. As they become more absorbed and comfortable… it’s almost like you forget what you’re doing because you’re just talking and of course almost everyone talks…
NN- And you can see it in their face, that feeling of- “I get to express myself in a safe place and people are listening to me and accepting me for this.” You see that part of them come out that has been needing validation.
MK- That being said, I do feel that everyone is an artist. In my experience and I feel this very deeply… I believe drawing is like language. Everyone can draw, it’s just that we’re not taught how to see. There’s a really great book called ‘Drawing With The Right Side Of The Brain,’ it’s by Betty Edwards. I went through that book and then I could draw.
It’s funny the way I was drawn to that book, I had this kind of intuition that I’m an artist, I just don’t remember how to see. I know that I know, I just have to learn how to see again. Once I developed that thought, ‘I want to know how to see again.’ I actually asked… and when you ask- it is given! Once I clarified that thought and launched it into the cosmos, I ‘randomly’ found this book and went through it, becoming a pretty proficient draftsman.
NN- With the idea that we’re all artists.. I completely agree. The interesting thing about storytelling is like I said, not everyone understands that concept. Not everyone believes that they are an artist. And when they get up on stage and start telling their story, they start chipping away at the block that’s telling them that they’re not an artist. I’ve seen people go through these transformations where it starts off with just storytelling, but next thing you know they are diving into different art modalities and experiencing and discovering their own unique flavor of art.
MK- Absolutely! The truth is that we are all creators. If you look at all the great religions, past all the surface stuff- the truth is is that it’s about feeling worthy and loved. Ego is something that so many people battle with on the path of self-transformation… where you are actually realizing if this (xyz) is my ego, who is the real me?
I think it’s because we have forgotten/forsaken our intrinsic worth as creators. We are master creators of our reality and then of course that kind of trickles down into all of the different modalities and ways in which we can express ourselves.
That’s my mission- to remind people or inspire them rather… that you can do anything that you want, if you put your mind to it. If you really want it, you can do it! It’s just that we’ve got to get out of our own way, we’ve got to put the critic to bed. We can try and fight the ego or we can just embrace who we really are and then all that other stuff just starts to fall away. The comparisons stop, the insecurities…
When we have this perspective we are ALL conscious creators if we want to be… it just levels the playing field. There’s nothing more to prove… what’s to prove? You just do it because you want to do it.
MK- I love what you are doing with the storytelling, it’s so moving… can you let people know how they can get in touch with you?
NN- The website is a bit confusing with the spelling. It’s Okay2BYou.com
MK- That’s perfect.
NN- Yeah, I loved the name so I went with it. And then through there you can get to my Facebook and the email, all the information about upcoming storytelling events and all the blogging and Youtube videos I do. I record videos of the performances at the shows, so you can go to the YouTube channel ‘Okay2BYou’ to see all those… and there’s some pretty cool videos up there.
MK- If people are inspired by this and they want to start storytelling shows or host events in their area, I encourage them to reach out to you, right? You can give them a head start. Thank you so much for joining us… do you have anything you want to add?
NN- Go check out the videos on Youtube because I really want these kids to feel supported and admired. That’s why I make these videos, I want them to feel special. I think once they start seeing the videos being shared and liked, it really makes them feel better about themselves and that’s the whole reason I’m doing the storytelling shows.
MK- Thank you again for joining me Nicole.
NN- Thank you Meniyka!