346 Transcript: Somatic Practices to Regulate Your Nervous System (with Nicole Smith Levay)

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Intro: [00:00:01] Are you ready to expand your soul's capacity for joy? Then this podcast is for you. I'm Dr. Jen Riday and welcome to Vibrant Happy Women.

Jen: [00:00:13] Hey, everyone. I'm here with Nicole Smith Levay, who is a professional dancer turned energy coach who integrates somatic therapies, breathwork, and meditation into her work. She helps folks struggling with anxiety and depression, which I'm sure all of us have at one time or another. And she uses body-centered techniques to help with that. Nicole holds an MA in somatic psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. And we joked with her, I'm like somatic psychology, I want to take that. And she said, There are only two places in the US that offer it Boulder and San Francisco. San Francisco. Okay. She is a well-known workshop facilitator, hosts wellness retreats around the world, and since founding her practice Power with Healing in 2013, Nicole has helped hundreds of people overcome their energetic blocks in order to step into their power and live out their purpose. So energetic blocks. Let's start right there. Nicole, What is an energetic block? Because we've all heard it, but I'm not sure we all understand it.

Nicole: [00:01:19] Yeah, Well, thank you so much for having me, Jen.

Jen: [00:01:21] Yes. Welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome.

Nicole: [00:01:24] Oh, yes. I love this question. So energetic blocks are truly somatic in nature. Somatic means mind, body, and spirit are interrelated. They're not separate. It's not that your mind works from the neck up and your body works from the neck down. And so an energetic block is, you know, it's like a pattern almost. You find yourself in a situation over and over again. There may be physical symptoms related with it, emotional patterns related with it, mental patterns related with it. And so the whole of it is called an energetic block because you're frustrated by this, you feel blocked, you feel, you know, tense about it. And to work through them, I really find a combination, a multi-modality approach. It's alchemical in nature, which means that, you know, there's a little bit of stoking the fire to move the energy a bit and then there is a release and then there is an integration process. But I use Kundalini breathwork and somatic coaching to get that result of the energetic block really clearing and resolving itself.

Jen: [00:02:35] Okay. So cool. And how did you, you know, you've been doing this for a long time. How did you get started? Because you would have been one of the early adopters. Somatic work is becoming really big right now, but you've been doing it for a while. How did you get there?

Nicole: [00:02:50] Yes, well, actually started when I was a teenager. So I began enrolling in training pretty soon after college. I was always like the youngest in my certification programs and things like that. But there was a calling. And this is connected to how I help other sensitive, high-achieving women reclaim their energy through resurrecting their soul work. I say, because that was happening to me. I was like living one life on the outside. But the inside was feeling this calling towards how can I help people therapeutically in the way that I'm helping myself right now as a teenager? So I would have huge energetic blocks, I would have big, kind of breakdowns, whether it was towards panic or towards shut down and depression. And I would go to the dance studio. You may hear some music in the background because I'm in a coworking space right now with other dancers, and I would go to a dance studio and or just find space in my home most times and put on a song that felt representative of that block and would kind of just do whatever I wanted. It wasn't technical dancing, you know, It could be like very minimal. I might just, like, use my hands or it could be like totally crazy, like stomping around, throwing myself on the floor, like there was a wide range. But at the end of it, I would feel like the small catharsis I would hear my thoughts more clearly, I'd feel more space in my breath, in my body, and then I'd relax a little bit. And relax a little bit afterward. And this. I was doing this when I was like 14, 15, 16, because I didn't have a therapist. I was not involved in any like support, like church or, you know, I didn't really have even female role models to help me, like, process this kind of deep emotionality. And so when I graduated college and fell into Kundalini yoga classes and which are very fringe at the time, very, very fringe, hard to find. I like stumbled in one because I happened to be working at the Lululemon next door. That led me to all sorts of other alchemical, energetic healing work, like a breathwork journey that I lead now facilitate now, as well as meeting a therapist who was a somatic therapist in New York City. Her name is Michelle Miller, and I think she's become so well known she was even on TV or something. But I happened to find her because of the word Kundalini, because she talked about Kundalini ascension. And I think she had had her own Kundalini awakening. So she was the first somatic therapist.

Nicole: [00:05:41] And the very first day I met her, we did some inner child work where we were combining like the image and the physical sensations, and I was like, This is the coolest thing ever. And I want to, you know, deepen my learning in this. So after all my yoga meditation breathwork certifications, I did go to California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco because I wanted something that would put it all together for me and also, you know, have a firm foundation in the science of it as well. I'm a little. I'm a little nerdy. And yeah, I always love science. And so it was great that the woo-woo worked. I didn't want to overanalyze it, but also just on some level was like, I'm a dancer. I'm like a body mechanic in some way. I want to understand how my body systems are like working this out. You know, it's not just like voodoo. It's not like a magical thing where this thing is. It's like. Like the limbic system, the endocrine system, the nervous system. There's all these little shifts that affect how I'm breathing, how I'm talking, how I'm communicating, how present I am and how much I'm enjoying my life. Right? So, um, so yeah, that's. That's the whole story.

Jen: [00:07:06] Wow, That's so neat. I'm very jealous. Somatic psychology did not exist when I went to school, so I did, I think I did child development. But, you know, there was social psychology, industrial psychology. Who even cares about that? Okay, maybe some of you.

Nicole: [00:07:23] But child development is a foundational piece of all this work. I do believe that. And that tied so much together for me when I understood developmental phases. I have a three-year-old now, so I'm like actually in it. Yeah, seeing it in real time. But yeah, just the energy center systems, the chakra systems, they talk about the nerve plexuses kind of fully coming online in a modality called Body Dynamics. So they talk about the different energy centers coming online, like fully developing through those develop child development phases as well. So. Wow.

Jen: [00:08:08] Yeah, that's neat. Yeah. Well, so I guess we're doing, we're discussing, but I have so many questions for you. But speaking of child development, you know, when I first learned about somatic work, I was like, whoa, wow. We spend all of this time trying to discuss and what should you do? But none of that really matters until the nervous system is regulated. So can you speak to that, maybe perhaps using examples from your three-year-old, why we would need to regulate the nervous system before even beginning to talk about or think about behavior 100%?

Nicole: [00:08:45] And it's like the foundation of any of my programs. And training, too, is the first stage is like ground and de-escalation and getting to know the waves of your nervous system the highs and lows. Um yeah, we can't think our way out of things. You know, positive psychology work is so important. Once the body is more fully able to receive and be present with what is actually happening, otherwise, the resistance to the top down approach to the mind over the body, to the mind over matter. They, you know, folks say it won't sink in as much. It'll just be like a temporary fix to help you get to the next time that that thought pattern comes up again. And that is my favorite Pema Chodron quote is “Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” Um, yeah. So if you're ever feeling frustrated that you're coming back to the same things repeatedly, you know, I try to see that as good news now in my life. Like it's a spiraling. Nothing's linear. It's not like we're just, like, plowing through. Right? Yes. So maybe we're revisiting something, but with, like, a deeper embodiment, understanding of where we've been before as well. So yeah, so for instance, with a three-year-old, you can't, you know, my husband and I my husband is more a thinker scientist too. I remember hearing that in one of your podcasts and I'm a feeler, obviously. And um, yeah, we've just learned like the distracting or trying to rationalize with the big feelings. Um, that's, that's not where it's at. Like he. Yeah, he needs to be seen and met in that moment, like dropping down to his level and we have to really hold, even if we're feeling triggered, our deepest seed of right now, in this moment, we're safe, we're together. We're taking deep breaths and we're normalizing the experience. I understand that you're upset right now. I know that that's frustrating when your truck breaks and still we don't throw it. You know we don't. Right. We can't do that. So because it could hurt someone. But, you know, like just finding that calm space within ourselves as parents. How, however, sort of difficult it is to get there at that moment. You know, sometimes I really am like hunkering down into my feet, my seat. It helps me to drop my hips to the ground. And then I really sometimes have to go, you know, like an exaggerated inhale and exhale because these are just such precious moments in his life. And I really want to you know, I don't do it perfectly at all, but I really want to be, you know, make the change that I wish that I had had as a child, you know, not just go from intergenerational patterns of, you know, previous mother-child relationships.

Jen: [00:12:03] So for sure. So you mentioned the deep inhale, exhale. That was so your son's nervous system would begin to mirror yours more, obviously. Yes? I was just making sure that's what you meant.

Nicole: [00:12:14] Yes. Mirroring, mirroring and just like taking a big pause. I mean, he might not take a deep breath when you're in the midst of like the crisis moment or you're in a state of dysregulation that's at the peak of anxiety or the peak of shut down, sometimes deep breaths don't feel like invitational. They don't feel welcoming to you. And so that's where I use other somatic tools and tricks to come back to the present moment. Grounding, orienting and centering.

Jen: [00:12:49] Yeah. Tell us about those. Yeah.

Nicole: [00:12:51] So grounding is basically like if you shook a snow globe and the snow moves around like our energetic field is like that as well. So in moments of dysregulation, our body is in its, it's in its primitive, sort of animalistic, primal state. So it's, it's trying to run or flee or fight, even though we're just existing doing what we need to do. Right. We're triggered by something. We're still having the conversation or we leave something, but our energy is going out to our periphery. It's like leaving our heart, our center. It oftentimes is going up as well. So our energy, whether you call it your energy field or your aura, it starts to feel a little scattered. You can like I often ask people if you could put an image to that, if you were painting that or if you were describing it to someone, what is what do you feel like when you're in that triggered state? When that person says that thing to you? And they might 

say like, I feel like there's like spikes all over me or, you know, like outward or there's like rocks all over. I often feel just like a, like a is it the daffodils that you blow on and the daffodils?

Jen: [00:14:04] Dandelions.

Nicole: [00:14:04] Yeah. Dandelions. Like I feel like all everything just kind of hovers and I'm, like, slowly leaving my body, you know? You have a matrix, you're in the matrix, right? So got to, like, collect that and down. So grounding is just letting whatever you're perceiving in your energy field, sort of escaping the center of you, the grounded seed of you. You're just allowing that to come in and down, settle through the head, through the heart in that direction, press your feet down, press your feet down, drop your breath a little bit lower, gradually. Just feel things sinking. So that's grounding simply. Orienting is opening your eyes to what is actually happening in the present moment. So just softening your gaze because when we feel attacked, what the nervous system does is things can tighten here, you know, like looking for something or our eyes get like a filter over it, you know? Have you experienced that before? When you're triggered like that, it feels like you're perceiving things a little bit differently than they're actually happening. So like, almost just like moving, like.

Jen: [00:15:11] Like seeing red.

Nicole: [00:15:12] Yes, yes. Like seeing Red. Exactly. Like seeing red or just like. Perceiving something not as it actually is in the present moment, but as you have experienced it before. But things get a little tight around here, so orienting is just softening your gaze, like kind of pulling back a little bit, widening your focus and just like looking around to what is you're seeing in your space and looking for the good, looking for the nourishing things in the room, the colors that give you a little bit of peace or, you know, like even just like looking to the trees or the sunshine when you've been in an office all day, like just orienting yourself to something in the present moment that is not pulling you into your inner world, but is instead bringing you out to the presence of what is actually happening, what is around me that's orienting. And I'd like to start with grounding and orienting because it feels like coming from the outside in centering is now that you're a little bit more here now, how can you welcome the deep breath at this point? How can you drop down into the belly heart now? And so now you went from being really distal out in your periphery and, you know, in a fight or flight freeze, and now you're warming yourself, you're defrosting, you're coming into the heart, you're feeling the sweetness of your heart and you're taking nice deep breaths into your belly. So, you know, you could do that for yourself in 3 to 5 minutes wherever you are, supermarket driving like your eyes can be opened. You don't have to do a formal meditation practice, but it just kind of yeah, it's when people say, relax, take a deep breath, it's almost like, no, can't. And so, yeah, you're not ready. Orienting and centering to get there.

Jen: [00:17:02] Yeah. Wow. One of my go to's is the hand on the heart. Yes. Me right away. So would you call that a grounding or a centering maybe?

Nicole: [00:17:12] I don't know. I think it's both. I think it's both. I was just doing that before we got on the call. This was like a major way I stopped having panic attacks, was just putting my hand on my heart when I started to feel panic and telling myself like the divine in me, Me and the divine are one like I'm here, like soul is moving through me. Everything is okay. My body may feel unsafe for some reason in this moment, but I'm here and I'm present and it's all okay. So yeah, just hand on heart is huge.

Jen: [00:17:43] Yeah. I guess I want to just share a few of my thoughts about energy to address everyone out there who is like, “Energy? There is no science behind any of this.” Well, we could argue a million ways, “Yes, there is.” But first of all, I'll just speak from experience that this stuff really works. You know, a lot of times I teach my listeners to uplevel their thoughts. That's the top-down approach. Like fix your thoughts, you'll start to feel different. Yeah, but sometimes you're so dysregulated you can't even begin to fix a thought. So I'm really becoming, really more clear that we have to start with the body. Yeah, get that nice and calm. Then you can go work on the thoughts. Um, and I also want to just say, I assume you would agree, you can kind of just feel into what your body needs, like you did as a dancer all those years ago and do anything that feels good to you. Don't know what you think.

Nicole: [00:18:44] Oh, I love that you just said that. Yeah, Yeah. What does your body need? I say that to clients all the time when they bring up things that are habitual. For them and it upsets them and they're noticing their bodies more like moms who wake up in the morning with like this one client kept talking about it like a pit in her stomach. It's just like a pit in her stomach. And I said, well, what does your body want to do when you feel it? She's like, I just want to curl into a ball. And I was like, Is there a way that you could set your timer ten minutes before you're supposed to wake up and really just let yourself curl in a ball on the bed and breathe in a ball? Yeah. And she was like, okay, I'll try it. And of course, like, just that, that womb-like shape for her, you know, that that, that fetal position, it curls your head into your belly and it just makes you feel like “I am whole.” Right? When we're in the womb, we're so like, whole. We have everything we need. We get all the nutrients, we're warm, we're swimming, it's lovely. So like, she's taking care of everybody. She's someone that was like an overfunctioning, you know, doing everything for everybody and then also working full time in a high management position. So like, yes, give yourself ten minutes. You can do it in Child's pose, right? That's also the same position with your forehead to the floor. That's nice because the heart kind of dips into your brain like it's a nice little relaxation. But I said, if you want to stay in bed and breathe there, don't resist that and judge yourself. Instead, Just stay there and see what happens. So, yes, give your body what it needs. Yeah.

Jen: [00:20:18] Oh, that's so cool. I'll share two examples of this. You mentioned… These are very recent as in last night and this morning… You mentioned the womb. So I took a warm bath last night and again this morning. And I had a friend I was messaging. I know it was cross-contaminated with technology, but I was messaging a friend saying, you know, about something else. And she messaged back, “Glad to hear you're taking care of yourself in the bath.” And this thought popped into my head: “Yeah, I'm recreating the womb.” And truly that warm water for my nervous system, it is just like that fetal position. And I feel like it's it's unique to all of us, what we do. So that's my first example. Love it then. Then last night, um, I have six kids – I don't know if you know this – 22 down to 9. My 13-year-old is really struggling. I feel like she has spent her entire life in fight or flight. I mean, from birth. She was born with this little scowl like the world is dangerous and I have not yet successfully helped her come into full baseline regulation where her baseline is calm. But she'll have moments and dips here and there. Well, last night, some issues at school kind of worked me up because it feels hopeless. It feels like there are no answers or solutions, which sent me into kind of a freeze or a shutdown response. Right. And intuitively, I'm just sharing this so everyone knows you can just have an image pop in your mind and go with it. So intuitively, I'm lying in bed crying. I have music to match my mood on. Like, you mentioned earlier, I knew to do that intuitively, and I see this circle of women, some of them in my mind's eye, started out as angels, but then they started to have faces of people in my life, like Michelle Obama was there. I don't know why. And Oprah, my mom, my grandma, my best friend, all these amazing women. And I was just in the middle of them. And then suddenly a canvas appears. And to the beat of this music, they start to rock me. And I'm not really rocking. But in this visualization, I can feel the sensations. It was so amazing. Just the end of that song. By the end of the song, my tears ended. I felt this deep emotional support from women who weren't really there, but energetically, I bet you they were sending me something. If energy works the way I think it does.

Nicole: [00:22:53] A beautiful example. What a beautiful example of, “Yes, go with it.” Like you said, like something comes to you and you can't do it wrong. Yes, I often get that question too. Like, you know, if I'm on podcasts for specifically high-achieving women or very successful perfectionists, you know what? Can we do this wrong? That's what everyone's thinking. And I'm like. Not really. I mean, I think the worst thing that would happen is it would stay the same, you know, and that's okay. And then maybe you need to bring in a support person at that point. Right? But I just love, I just want to, like stay with that for a second because I feel I was getting goosebumps that that image is very powerful, maybe for your listeners, too, of, you know, these women that you respect who are mothers and you know that they've been there, too. And they're like, “We're all doing our best here and let's calm you down, too. We need you to be here. We need you. We need you here, all of you.” Jen that;s so, so beautiful. Um, I'm going to remember that one also in those in those moments. And the full moon's coming. The full moon's coming. So give ourselves some grace. When we have the big feels around the full moon. Everything's coming to the surface. I've been studying astrology as long as I've been into all this other stuff, too, So, yeah, of course it themes through everything.

Jen: [00:24:19] Yeah, well, I want to come back and just talk about energy in general, but while we're on somatics specifically, I have three autistic kids fully diagnosed at this point. That 13-year-old is one of them.

Nicole: [00:24:32] And my brother's on the spectrum.

Jen: [00:24:35] Yeah, I find it interesting. They intuitively will stim or flap or rock or do things that are really actually helping them regulate their nervous systems. So maybe a decade ago we would all be like, “That's weird. Don't do that. You need to mask more, honey.” Yeah, but, you know, with my kind of visualization of that rocking, I Googled it and I saw, I happened across new research that rocking chairs that have been around for ages have gone out of mode, reduced depression by up to 30%. Rocking chairs. I'm like, “oh my gosh, I need to fill my home with sensory and vestibular stuff, swings and trampolines and I just want it all for everyone. Just use them.” We won't even know.

Nicole: [00:25:27] We have a little mini trampoline in our house. And yes, my brother is on the spectrum and I feel that, yeah, this is just a moment to, I think, give credit to that experience of being his sibling in the 80 seconds. I'm getting emotional. Yeah, when I think there's like some very emotional music playing back there too. Autism was just looked at so differently then. And he was. He was very othered and bullied. And when he would play video games, when he would finish playing, he would. You know, to calm himself because he was both excited. But he was watching these video game characters. He would kind of act out their movements repeatedly. And I would I would just like watch him enjoy because I was a young dancer and I was doing those, you know, kind of wild improvizations for myself to calm myself down. And I got it. Yeah, I got that. It was just like helping him find, his baseline. And yeah, I think that I feel like folks on the spectrum are a gift in teaching us about our energy too. And about truth, truthfulness. Yeah. Yeah. My brother is very authentic and tells it like it is and like there's no people pleasing or, you know, whatever it's like. And, he's just been such a great teacher for me. So I'm, I felt very called to the piece that was going on in the background was about breaking intergenerational trauma.

Jen: [00:27:11] Oh yeah. What's the name of it? Do you know the title?

Nicole: [00:27:15] Yeah, the show is in New Jersey at Twio River Theater. Um, and the piece of music, I just played it the other day. Oh, well, we'll send it to you. We'll link to it in the show notes. Beautiful piece of music. But anyway, yes, that was like that. You were sharing that about your children at the same time. I was like, think I have to give a little shout out to David and how really that was, you know, my first understanding of like movement, healing, healing the body and just like being self-regulatory.

Jen: [00:27:49] Yeah. I have to interject a side note that just popped in my head. Wow, we're going all over the place. But there are themes, right? Yes. Um, with the stuff that happened with my daughter in a bath last night and this morning, um, clearly a lot of us would say, “Oh, I don't want to go do a podcast interview, right?” Honestly, I still have bedhead. I showed up because you scheduled once before and had to cancel. So I was all in. And then here we are. The point being, ladies, when it seems awful, just go do it anyway, if at all possible, if it involves another woman. Because I'm so excited, Nicole, to feel your grounding earthy energy. And I hope we can be at least online friends after this. Because I really like you. I really like you. What a gift.

Nicole: [00:28:37] We showed up today. Yes, yes, yes. And a friend of mine who I'm co-hosting the retreat within Costa Rica just yesterday, you know, she reminded me, she goes, I know you teach people this, but, you know, in this moment, I just want to tell you, we in those moments where we surrender control and just show up messy anyway and just do the thing. However, I was talking about like audio issues, if my husband doesn't come to help me on the retreat and whatever because he's my guy. And she was like, I just want to remind you, it's the same thing you teach others. Like you don't know the magic and beauty you'll miss out on. If you let that kind of run the narrative like let it go. Yes, show up messy and see what is going to come from. It was like, I know. Okay. Thank you.

Jen: [00:29:27] Okay. Yes, I agree. Well, okay. This is the greatest segue because “show up messy.” Let's talk about showing up in the right energy. I have thoughts on this and I'll share them, but I want to hear yours first. So to kind of lay the foundation, I've thought a lot about public speakers and retreat styles even. Yeah, some people teach or lead a presentation or a retreat with information and slides a top-down cerebral energy. Some people try really hard to bring in emotions, but they themselves are so nervous that they're closed energetically. Right? And it's so hard for the crowd to connect. So with that said, I'm guessing you're the third type who just lays out your energy bare, like standing there naked and wrapping your energetic arms around them, which is also my style. Anyway, share your experience of what I'm trying to talk about. There aren't a lot of words for it, but I would love to hear your thoughts.

Nicole: [00:30:30] It was, it's been a gradual process, such a gradual process to get here. So be kind to yourself on the journey and allow yourself to have the times when you overprepare and are so nervous that you can't drop into yourself. Right? But here are the things I've learned through the years. That helped me have like enough structure and preparation that I'm on the task of, like what I promise to deliver, right? But also enough presence and grounded energy before I begin that, I, because I have had a huge fear of public speaking. So putting myself in the seat of teacher and speaker in front of big groups of people was torturous at first. But I just was like determined as a dancer. Everything takes practice. Everything takes practice. Just let yourself fall again and again and again. And the little tips that help me now, like for instance, today, you know, it ended up being this kind of double scheduling where I'm helping with the performance. I'm going to be managing backstage. I want to be present for them and grounded for them. It's all coming together kind of last minute. So a little therapeutic support to wanted to be present with you. So I gave myself that, you know, 20 to 30 minute prep time. Always where things are going to go wrong. The tech's going to be sloppy. It is what it is. You just give yourself extra time. I also make sure to do one of my three-minute practices beforehand. I did. I did my calm heart meditation, which I think I could probably type out notes for if you want to include it after this. Um, I'm not sure I have a recording of it anywhere, but it's a mudra with the left hand on the heart and the right hand in an oath with your pointer and thumb touching and you have a closed eyes focus, or you just kind of gently peer forward with your eyes slightly open, and you take, it's like a four-part breath where you inhale deeply. And suspend. And then exhale completely. And suspend. You just do that for three minutes and then you take three deep breaths. Nice at the end. Yeah. So made sure to do that. And, um, besides, like a little time for that and making sure to do something that shifts your energy field. I think also just being present with other people too. I think we can often as speakers or someone who's doing about to do something sort of extroverted, we might feel like, okay, I can't talk to anyone right now, but I also feel like it helps me right before I go out to actually be present with one person, two people and just talk a bit because then I have more of that like co-regulation energy to of like I'm about to go out there and communicate with more people. I don't want to be like all in my little self. I want to be connected to heart. So those are like three things I often do.

Jen: [00:33:47] I love that. Yeah. And like you said at the beginning, it's a practice. “Yes, I'm here to connect with these people.” I often add some thought work like, “It doesn't matter what they think of me, I'm just offering what I have to give. They can receive it or not.” Yeah. You know.

Nicole: [00:34:02] So I also tell myself, “There's definitely going to be people that don't like this.” So I just accept that I'm not trying to please everyone. I think if it speaks to you, you've listened this far and if it doesn't speak to you, you stop listening before. So you know.

Jen: [00:34:21] Right, Right. It's all good. Yeah. Awesome. So just to kind of overview where we've been, we've talked about somatic practices to help the nervous system shift out of fight or flight and freeze into kind of a safe and social state, being fully embodied, trusting, you know, how you want to soothe yourself. And we talked about autism and group work. Any other topics you'd like to add that feel relevant for you?

Nicole: [00:34:48] Yeah. I think what you just outlined, all those pieces, and like in your early podcast, the happiness formula, you know, the, part of me that is very structural and scientific. I like to use methods that work, you know, and not just constantly go with the flow. I mean, in the beginning of my practice, I definitely was like, “Let me just see if I'm really present, what evolves, you know, what comes intuitively.” But now I'm like, “Yes, the de-escalation piece first, grounding somatic work, getting your nervous system, as you know, responsive versus reactive as possible.” And then like the next phase from there is cleaning up your energy. And I'm not talking really internally as much as when situations and relationships have you gotten yourself into at this point that are not where you want to go, and cleaning those up, setting healthy boundaries to, you know, speak your needs and see where the cards fall after that, because that gives people a lot more space and time to connect with like soul work with purpose, work with their central self. So many sensitive, high-achieving women are doing it all for everyone. And so how can they even locate what they want their future to feel like and look like? Right? And then like phase three of that is then take that space for yourself, whether it is, you know, taking a retreat or going on a retreat or just like having more space in your day. Silence, creative practices, writing, painting, moving, you know, activities that don't have a goal, you know, just empty space listening like go taking a walk on the beach or in the woods and just really hearing, you know, getting out of our mind a little bit. And then that's where my coaching self and my Aries personality, I'm an Aries sun, which comes in handy, then I feel we can start to make some moves. We can keep things moving, we can put things into motion and action. So yeah, that's, that's my happiness formula. Even though you didn't technically ask for that, but I wanted to lay it out there.

Jen: [00:37:11] No, I love it. I think I have to add that question back because that was the most unique and beautiful answer. It's time. Maybe I'll write this down. Happiness formula. Okay, So, Nicole, where can people connect with you? By the way, before you tell them, um, last night I also made a list of women I would put in that circle, women who feel emotionally grounded and safe. And. Nicole, you're one of those women now. And I'm sure all our listeners feel it, too, so they'll want to connect with you. So where should they go?

Nicole: [00:37:46] Thank you, Jen. And you're in my circle now too. Um, so I'm on Instagram most commonly or often, guess I should say at Nicole Smith Levay, spelled out like it is here in the notes. I'm on the same name on Facebook and yeah mean pretty much from there. My link trees are there. You can find out more on my website about any offerings I have. 

Jen: [00:38:15] What's your website?

Nicole: [00:38:16] My website is a little long: thepowerwithinhealing.com.

Jen: [00:38:23] Yes. Wow. the power within healing. That's pretty good. Yeah. Okay, so, Nicole, you do retreats. What other things do you offer?

Nicole: [00:38:32] I also offer a four-month immersion that goes through that happiness formula I just mentioned before. It's called Forward Momentum. Yeah. Yeah. And it's multi modality. Oh neat. So it's got kundalini breathwork. That's somatics. Yeah.

Jen: [00:38:48] Yeah, that's the next podcast. We have to talk about Kundalini awakenings, everyone. It's so cool. Haven't had one that I know of. Maybe a little bit. Yeah.

Nicole: [00:38:58] Well, I think we're, I think like we're kind of all having them collectively but it's some, some happened really quickly for people and those are the people that can identify it's a kundalini awakening, but other people, it's more gradual and it's like developmental phases too, so…

Jen: [00:39:15] Oh. Good, Well I'm definitely having an awakening, so if I can call it Kundalini awakening, I'm solid.

Nicole: [00:39:22] Love that for you.

Jen: [00:39:23] Good. Okay. Well, Nicole, thank you. You're amazing. I need more of your energy, so I'm going to follow you myself. And thanks for being on the show.

Nicole: [00:39:32] Thank you so much, Jen. Let's keep in touch.

Outro: [00:39:48] If you enjoy this podcast, you'd love Vibrant Soul, the place to heal, transform and expand your soul with like-minded friends. Join us at jenriday.com/vibrantsoul.