48 Transcript: Reawakening Sex and Intimacy Through Self Care, Trust & Listening (with Kimberly Johnson)

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J: You're listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 48.

K: They're so focused on taking care of their children, on taking care of their husband, on taking care of their house, that their own physical well-being and health is the last thing that gets attended to.

Intro: Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, stories of vibrant women living happy lives. And now, your host, Jen Riday.

J: Hey there, everyone, welcome to Vibrant Happy Women, I'm Dr. Jen Riday. On our last episode I spoke with Anna Seewald and she was talking with me all about slowing down and taking care of yourself so you can be a happier mom. And I really loved that episode; if you haven't listened to it, go back and do that, but it also inspired me. This is February, it's typically a very bleh-meh month because there's less sunshine and you can feel a little tired without all of that sun and vitamin D, and it's cold out here in Wisconsin. So I thought, “You know what? We need a happiness challenge,” and I've created one; it starts today on Monday, February 6. It's called ‘The 10 day get happier challenge’; it's free. I would love for you to join us. You just need to sign up by going to jenriday.com/happy. You'll get an email every day with a strategy or a tip or 1 little action step that will help you get happier over the course of the 10 days how. Everyone who's a part of the challenge is going to be discussing what they did each day in the Vibrant Happy Women Facebook group. So you'll need to do 2 things; sign up at jenriday.com/happy and then join us in the Vibrant Happy Women Facebook group; again, it's free. It's called ‘The 10-day get happier challenge’ and we start today. Again, those links are jenriday.com/happy, and join us in the Vibrant Happy Women Facebook group.

On today's episode, I'll be talking with Kimberly Johnson, all about reawakening sex and intimacy through self-care, trust, and listening to your body. This an important topic for moms because many of us suffer from some type of birth trauma something we need to heal from after childbirth, and many of us also give all our time and energy to our kids and our spouse and to taking care of everyone else so that we're a little too exhausted and not very interested in physical intimacy. So go ahead and listen to this episode and see what you’ll learn. You might find some great ideas that will help you in your relationship. Also, while this episode is perfectly appropriate, I feel comfortable with everything that was shared, it's probably not for small ears so you want to listen with ear buds or headphones.

Hey there, everyone, welcome to Vibrant Happy Women. I'm Jen Riday and today, I'm talking with Kimberly Johnson who is a somatic experiencing trauma resolution practitioner, certified sexological body worker, doula, postpartum care advocate and single mom. She works at the intersection of birth, sex, and trauma, specializing in birth injuries, birth trauma, and sexual healing. She created a process called ‘the birth rehearsal’ to help women somatically prepare for birth. She's the author of the upcoming book, ‘The Fourth Trimester. A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions, and Restoring Your Vitality. Welcome, Kimberly.

K: Thanks, Jen.

J: I'm so glad you could be here.

K: Me too; I'm excited.

J: Now, all you listeners that are freaking out that we're having an episode potentially talking about sex, just settle in, this is going to be perfectly G-rated.

K: (Laughs)

J: And we're going to start out with Kimberly's favorite quote.

K: My favorite quote is from a Mary Oliver poem called ‘Wild Geese’.

J: Mm-hmm.

K: And I'll just tell you the… a phrase of the poem which is, “You do not have to be good, you do not have to walk for miles on your knees repenting, you just have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”

J: Mm, that's great. It kind of matches up with a phrase I like which is, “Feel the way you want to feel. Do the things that give you the feeling you want.” Say that last part of the poem again.

K: “You just have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”

J: Ah, that's great. So how does that apply in your life; that quote?

K: It applies to everything. My personal life and my professional life are quite intertwined and by that idea that we can really trust the felt sense of our body, we can really trust our instincts and our intuition, and that if we're really close to this soft animal of our body, and I think especially as women, women in our generation, we've been so independent and so strong and fought for equality and think that we can do anything that men can do and do it better. And just resting back into that softness and trusting that it's enough that we don't have to… there's nothing wrong, we don't have to repent, we don't have to try, try, try, but we can really just trust and relax and surrender into our natural impulses; which sounds easy, but it's really my life's work helping guide people to that place.

J: Hmm. Well, so tell us more about how you're using that to help guide women.

K: Well, I see women in all different stages of life. I… I do specialize in preparing for conception, birth, and specifically postpartum; which is what my book is about. But I work with women to really learn how to listen to ourselves and to reframe our desire. So we're so conditioned to help others, there's a strong conditioning about spirituality and sexuality that kind of, the more pure or holy or spiritual we are, then the less sexual we are or the more we're moving away from body; we move up towards spirit and away from this like physical reality. And I really believe that there's… and I've experienced a natural intelligence of our body that's 100% trustworthy, much more trustworthy than our mind or our memory. And if we can return to that wisdom through the present moment, we don't have to go excavating for why we are the way we are and why do we make that choice and why does the cycle repeat; that it really presents itself in the present moment through deep listening. And I facilitate that process.

J: Hmm. So I would imagine that really works in all areas if… you know, if you're giving advice to a couple about sex or helping with birth or healing from all of those things, that listening would be a component all of those, so I can see why you do all of those things; that's amazing.

K: Definitely, yeah, it's listening through my ears, listening through my eyes, listening through my own body. Miraculously, I can do sessions over Skype which even surprised myself when I would do audio or phone calls. But there's just this thing about being a human animal and the way that our system is to respond to each other that we can feel each other through time and space. And through that resonance in my own system, I can help people find that in their own systems.

J: Mm. Well, so you wrote the book ‘A New Mother’s Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions, and Restoring Your Vitality’.

K: Mm-hmm.

J: Well, the thing I hear most often from women is, “I'm exhausted, I'm frazzled, I'm burnt out. I don't have enough time for myself,” so how would your book address those kinds of topics?

K: That's a great question. And those are all very real considerations and I think one thing I always want to point out is that, this is not an individual failure. So, women, we’re so hard on ourselves and we think that we're not doing something right and now self-care has just been this one more thing to add to our to-do list that we're not, you know, getting enough… like people are feeling so bad that they're not doing enough self-care. And it is a societal and a community problem that we don't support new mothers, that there isn't a rest period that everyone

knows is important and is collaborating together to assist a woman in experiencing.

J: Mm-hmm.

K: That being said, since that is the reality, you know, there's all kinds of things like very practical things to very conceptual things. Like, we have to change our mindset. We have to move out of our inheritance of the martyrdom that like mothers are martyrs and that, you know, we're worth more if we sacrifice ourselves for the good of our children, and really turn that around to, “No, I actually deserve the care. It's not a luxury, it's a necessity that I care for myself in the most fundamental ways.” I mean, I work with women who have incontinence, prolapse, painful sex, hemorrhoids, debilitating pain after childbirth, and they haven't taken the time to even get a diagnosis, to even talk one about it because they're so focused on taking care of their children, on taking care of their husband, on taking care of their house, that their own physical well-being and health is the last thing that gets attended to. And, as we all know, 1 happy radiant, you know, vibrant happy woman means a vibrant happy family, means a vibrant happy community, but we have to really become protagonists of our own story and not give ourselves away in service of this idea of, “I'm better if I'm a martyr. I'm better if I'm not experiencing as much pleasure,” there's so much guilt around taking care of ourselves.

J: Where do you think that guilt comes from? I think of it all the time and I can't figure it out, have you wrapped your brain around that.

K: Yeah, I think it comes from thousands of years of our patriarchal inheritance where we've forgotten that women are the center of the spiritual foundation of life and that we are the creators. And when that is overlooked and belittled, then there is a sense that we don't deserve it, that… and we inherited it from our mothers and our grandmothers and our whole puritanical culture is sacrifice that, the harder you work, the better person you are, that the more you give up, the more holy you are; the more spiritual you are.

J: Yeah. Do you feel like it's shifting back into the right direction into better balance?

K: I hope so.

J: So do I (Laughs); I think so. If self-care is important now and one of those things we need to be doing, I hope (Laughs)… I hope it's going back.

K: I mean, I think that's what you're doing, that's what I'm doing and that at least the conversations happening. This is the first presidential election where maternity leave and paternity leave were addressed as, you know, important like no election has ever even mentioned those things as part of the discussion.

J: Mm.

K: So it does seem to be that there is… you know, but then we're experiencing a huge backlash as well against the feminine; so it's both ways.

J: Wow. Well, let's go into your low point; we kind of glossed over that for a moment.

K: Mm-hmm.

J: But let's go back and share your story of, you know, hitting that low point and then an aha moment or something you learned from that.

K: Yeah. Well, you know, I've had several low points in my life; I call them kind of ‘dark nights of the soul’. And the one that I'll share today is, I moved to an island in Brazil and it was a paradise; 100 beaches, no cars, I fell in love right away. Two months later, I was pregnant, I had this, you know, completely idyllic pregnancy, living on an island, swimming in the ocean, dolphins, waterfalls. And then I had my baby and I had… I had prepared a lot for childbirth and I was always very excited about birth. I was a yoga teacher and a body worker and I knew my body and I was totally confident like, “I can do this. I know how to do this.” I always wanted a home birth so I moved to Rio de Janeiro so that I could have a home birth. And during my birth, I had a very severe tear, a birth injury, and I had no idea that that was even a possibility. I hadn't… I hadn't given one iota of thought to what it was going to be like after birth, all I had prepared for it was childbirth; like a lot of women.

J: Mm-hmm.

K: So I had no idea. I thought, “Oh, well, becoming a mom, like I babysit, I'm the oldest in my family, I love kids, what could I possibly need to know?” And so I was very harshly surprised when I was living out of my country, I didn't have any family nearby, I didn't really have any friends, I didn't speak the language well, I found myself with a birth injury where, all around the world, there's a… you know, a dearth of resources for that. And I was having extreme pain and my SI joints in my lower back which I had never had chronic pain before. I had hemorrhoids, I had fecal incontinence. I wasn't able to get enough to eat because I couldn't walk for 2 months, I couldn't get to the store and come back and my partner wasn't helping at all. And then, my daughter started losing too much weight because… and I didn't even know she was losing weight, I didn't notice, but other people were telling me, you know, like, “I don't… I don't think she's looking very good.” And so then I ended up having to do something that I really didn't want to do was supplement breastfeeding and real… like just not understanding that something so natural like, “Why couldn't my body produce enough milk for my child? Like how could we survive as a species if that natural connection didn't happen?”

J: Mm-hmm.

K: And so that was really my low point where I sort of spent all my financial resources, all my energetic resources. I couldn't work because I was a yoga teacher and I couldn't speak the language. So I could have taught if I had a body that was able to do things, I could demonstrate, but I didn't really have any of the normal capacities that I had before. So that was a low point.

J: Wow, wow, that's a big pile of low; of lows.

K: Yeah.

J: Well, so how did you get out of that place, that low, low spot?

K: Well, I got to a place where it was non-negotiable. So every couple of months, I would tell my husband, “You know, if things don't change, I'm going to have to leave, I'm going to have to move to the US because I don't have… I'm getting depressed and I don't… it's not chemical. I… I don't have anything I need here, so if you can't help me and we can't find some solutions, I'm going to have to leave.” And then finally, it came to a point where it was just obvious, like if I… if I stay any longer, I'm going to fall into a deep pit. As it was, I was in a pretty deep pit.

J: Right.

K: And so I decided to move back to the US with my daughter alone. And I really had to get honest with myself; I really had to look at the marriage that I was in, I had to look at my physical condition, and I had to start asking for help.

J: Mm-hmm.

K: And that was a long process and it… every low point in my life has become my next career in a way, the next level of offering that I have for the world. So my full postpartum recovery took 6 and a half years; and when I say that, I mean full access to my life force, my physical body feeling capable like I could do what I wanted with it, having a healthy functional relationship, feeling like my energy was my own again. So through that time, I went around the world and I learned about postpartum health because I thought, “This can't… why is it so difficult? I'm a body worker and a yoga teacher, if I can't find help, how's a regular person who has no access to these resources going to have help?” And I was told I needed a full pelvic floor surgical reconstruction.

J: Ooh.

K: So all of the modalities, sexological body work and somatic experiencing are the modalities that were the most helpful in my path. And so I put those together so that I can help women prevent what I went through and recover if they do happen to have some post birth sequelae. I don't know if you know, but 47% of women have a pelvic floor injury after birth; so it's very common and it's just not in our public discourse.

J: So did you end up needing the surgery or were you able to heal in other ways?

K: No, I've had no surgery and I'm 100% healed through the holistic modalities.

J: So can you go there a little further because I know there's got to be a few people listening who want to know the tips and tricks. (Laughs)

K: Yeah. The first thing is just to go to a pelvic floor physical therapist or a psychological body worker to really understand what's even going on.

J: Okay.

K: If there's birth trauma that also is together with an injury, then it's really helpful to work with a somatic therapist. I happen to have a lot of scar tissue because of the tearing, and scar tissue needs to be dissolved. And one of the ways you can dissolve it is with castor oil and heat; there's more specifics about that on my website. But I really think that there's a lot of healing one can do on one's own, but the most powerful part of my healing process was really having expert witnessing from people that I trusted because so much of my fabric of support had been torn at that point in my life that I really needed to restore that fabric in order to feel safe and being able to move into the next level of healing.

J: Mm, mm, okay. So where's your website if people wanted to learn more?

K: It's Maga mama, m a g a m a m a.com.

J: Okay. And what's Maga stand for?

K: Maga is a sorceress.

J: Hmm.

K: So I speak Portuguese, I lived in brazil for 8 years and, in my neighborhood, everyone called me a Maga decodable, which is like ‘the sorceress of the body’. And when I was starting to do more of this women's work, I realized that like, as modern women, we have to be sorceresses because we're balancing so many things in so many realms, especially as mothers. And so that's kind of what it means that just every mother is a Maga.

J: Ah, love that.

K: And learning how to harness that energy.

J: Yes, yes, magamama.com. Okay, so advice you might have for anyone who's struggling with any of these areas; with their bodies or a birth trauma or anything else.

K: My advice is to prioritize it and find a practitioner and invest in yourself.

J: Hmm, perfect.

K: The hardest thing, people contact me and then they… they tell me they're really pretty big problem, in my estimation, because if you have a pelvic floor injury or if you're incontinent… you know, an incontinent just means like if you are leaking when you do certain things, if you leak when you sneeze, if you feel like disconnected from your pelvis in general, if you feel like you don't know… you know there's more to your whole sexual and central life, but you don't know how to get to it, then… so people will tell me, “Oh yeah, well, I have 3 kids and I have a stage 3 prolapse and dah-dah-dah-dah-dah.” And then they say, “Oh, and I really want to come see you, so how much do you charge?” and then I tell them my rate, and then they say, “Oh, I'm sorry, I can't afford it.” And I'm like… or they usually say, “I have to ask my husband.”

J: (Laughs)

K: And I want them to say… when they want to ask their husband, I want them to say, “Well, go ahead and ask your husband also, ‘How much is our sexual life worth to you? Like, how… how valuable is our intimate life for you?’” And I'm pretty sure that every husband would pay almost any amount of money to preserve that part of a relationship.

J: (Laughs). Yeah, that's true, that's true; that's funny. Well, so what else is exciting you and how are you living a vibrant and happy life today?

K: Well, I'm extremely excited today; I'm kind of an excitable person to begin with.

J: (Laughs)

K: I've got fiery red hair and I kind of live on fire a little bit. But I spent the last 2 days recording interviews with many of the women that I've worked with because I… part of my job is also raising awareness, not just working with people because sexuality is so shrouded in shame, and probably like you said, even just hearing the word ‘sexuality’, people are always like, “Well, I don't know.” And so part of my job is like de-creepifying sexuality in our everyday conversations.

J: Mm-hmm.

K: And I have a 17 year old client whose mom brought her to me. And when her mom brought her, she… on the phone, her mom said, “I'm bringing her because she's never had an orgasm.” So I was already like, “Whoa, this is so radical. Like, a 15-year-old’s mom bringing her to me to talk about orgasm. Okay, like I have no idea what the session was going to be like; no idea.” And what it turned out to be was this young woman who had started using drugs really early like at 12 or 13 and was having a lot of sex while using drugs, and she came to a point where she was like, “I don't want to have to use drugs to have sex and I want to understand what I'm doing.” And so we had 4 sessions over the course of a year and a half and her testimony yesterday was just, we were… the filmmaker was crying, we were all just like crying and laughing because she just said, “You know, since I've worked with you, I haven't had meaningless sex, I haven't had drunken sex, I haven't had one-night stands,” and then she paused and she's like, “Actually, I don't even have to have sex.” And it's so the opposite of what most people would think. People, I think their fear is like, “Oh, someone might come to work with me,” and then they're like their libido is going to get off the charts and then they're going to like start being reckless and like, “Oh, no! Look out for like sexual energy!” when actually, the work was all about her reclaiming herself. And she said, “I respect myself so much, when I look in the mirror, I love what I see now. And before, I wasn't so… I didn't look forward to the future.” So that's just so exciting to me to think about a generation (and I have a daughter who's 9) of girls who could grow up understanding, being connected, knowing what their choices are, and having moms that support them in doing that.

J: Hmm, that's great. Well, so have you worked with any clients that are busy, busy moms that just don't have time for anything? Any testimonials from someone like that?

K: Yeah.


K: A few of those.

J: (Laughs)

K: Yeah. I mean, I don't really have any clients that come in are like, “Hey, I'm just so chill! Like, I don't have anything to do.” Everyone's like, yeah, busy, fitting it in. Yeah, I mean, it's hard for me because I have a lot of specifics about… like specific birth injuries and how we worked through a birth story that led them to healing. But, you know, there's a lot of energy tied up in our birth stories and because our society is really… you know, birth’s been taken away from women and now everything is so medicalised, and sterile women end up in a lot of different situations that are not optimal for birthing. And as a result, there can be a lot of stuck energy back at the birth experience that's affecting… you know, every… every woman's sexuality changes after birth. That's… it's just… it's a rebirth. When we're reborn as a mother, our sexuality is reborn. And as such, we need to feminize sex; sex has to change. Penetration’s not comfortable right after sex, which I think is nature's way of encouraging us to broaden our palette of relating and intimacy and connection. So, yeah, I work with a lot of women who are really busy but, you know, it's about priorities. I always joke with my boyfriend because he's very productive, works in the corporate world, and I always say, “You know, like connecting is one of the most productive things we could do.”

J: Mm-hmm, true.

K: So we got to make time for it.

J: Right. Well, so while you were talking, I remembered a time I was at a book club and someone was talking about sex, not in a dirty way, but she kind of said she didn't enjoy it at all and it was a task. And then I was so surprised and even shocked that 3/4s to maybe even 4/5s of the women in the room (and there were many women there) were nodding their heads in agreement. Have you worked with a client like that where you were able to help her shift from thinking that sex was a task to something that was actually enjoyable?

K: Definitely. And also, this is one of those other reframes where, you know, I… I work with a lot of postpartum women. Like, there's different phrases where people will say maintenance sex, like, “I just have my….

J: (Laughs)

K: “… sex with my husband to like keep him happy,” kind of thing.

J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

K: And, again, that's that goes back to the martyrdom, right? Like, I… and it goes back to a lack of a right to have pleasure and to admit that you want pleasure. So I always challenge… I… I don't actually let my clients get away too much with low libido unless, you know, there's… there's obvious trauma or hormonal stuff. I really think that's laziness on our part as women of really leading our men and telling them what we do want. What is the sex that you do want? You don't want the sex that you're having, but what is the sex that you do want? Because any one of these women, if I ask them, “Could I play with your hair for 5 minutes?” they'd be all over it. And then they'd say, “Yeah, yeah, I know, but then… but then he expects something.”

J: (Laughs)

K: “But then if I ask him for that, then he's going to hope that something more is going to come and then he's going to get disappointed.”

J: (Laughs)

K: And I'm like, “But have you even tried? Like, have you even started that dialogue?” Because I'm pretty sure, most of the women who come to me, their husbands are not assholes, their husbands are really caring, kind people who want to do the right thing, but they're clueless; they don't know how to… they don't know the way in anymore. And they're waiting for their wife to show them the map, to tell them what they do want instead of what they don't want. Because, as women, we kind of get good at talking about everything we don't want, but we don't have the self-awareness or knowledge or courage to say what we actually do want.

J: Yeah.

K: And the more maintenance sex you have, the more painful sex you have, the more times that you're doing that because you're just doing it out of obligation, the more your body doesn't open up because there's that association with discomfort and a self-betrayal. Like, we have to stop betraying ourselves. We have to be honest with ourselves about what we really do want and we have to stop doing what we don't want.

J: Hmm, and maybe that really just begins with, “How do I want to feel during sex?” and getting really honest, kind of like you said.

K: Yeah, “How do I want to feel? What might make me feel that way? Can it be an experimentation?” Here's one thing just to start today, like take ejaculation and climax off the table; like just take it off the table that sex doesn't have a goal, you're not trying to get somewhere, it's about the experience of connecting. Slow it down, what would happen if you gave yourself 4 hours instead of 15 minutes? Most people go, “Oh my god, 4 hours, like what would I possibly do?”

J: (Laughs)

K: And when I hear 4 hours, I'm like, “Oh my god, 4 hours is like a minimum because you've got a like transition into it, you’ve got to like have it… have the experience you're having, transition out of it so that feel totally disorganized. But we're so impoverished as a culture about how we talk about sex. We talk about how many times a week you do it, we talk about like, “Oh, how big is someone's cock.” We talked about like such base level, superficial crap when it comes to the thing that is like… has the most transformative potential out there, including creating other human life, that we have to take responsibility for that and we have to start creating parameters where we can have small successes and where we can enjoy it and look forward to it.

J: Nice; I think that's great. Well, everyone, we're going to move into talking about some of Kimberly's favorite things, but before we do, Kimberly, do you have anything else you want to add? That was a great conversation.

K: No, I think that was great.

J: So if you were to sum up what we just said, I think we need a summary because that was heavy… (Laughs)

K: Okay.

J: Go ahead.

K: So something that people could just start today is really paying attention to the small things that bring you pleasure and then also creating different parameters around the kind of intimate interactions that you want to have.

J: Yes. And, you know, I think also having a little faith in your spouse or your partner that they really do want you to enjoy yourself and allow them to help you enjoy that, not just assuming that, “No, it's never going to work.”

K: That's true. And I think a preface is always helpful. Men, they want and need to feel that they're still desired, so even if penetrative sex is way off the radar, they need to understand what you're working towards; so even just a simple statement like, “Our intimate life is important to me too.”

J: Yeah.

K: “I know that it's challenging right now, but here are some things I want to try so that we can return to our intimate life.” You know, and enrolling the person and saying, “This is a process, I'm confused too. I'm not sure what… how to do this, but here's an idea I have. We… are you willing to try it?”

J: Yeah. And also, maybe there's a shift that some women need to make to believe, you know, human intimacy is actually a spiritual experience, not just a physical experience and that connection, like you mentioned right at the beginning, it's also important and it's very therapeutic for a relationship to have all of that connection.

K: Mm-hmm.

J: So, perfect. Well, thank you, that's really great advice. And let's talk about a few of your favorite things. What is a habit that has contributed to your success?

K: A habit is just checking in with my body about things. So when I have a decision to make, rather than making a list in my mind the pros and cons, just noticing the sensations that arise in my body that might lead me to know which direction, and allowing pleasure to be a part of that; so something that feels good, not thinking, “Oh, well, that's not challenging enough,” to be able to allow myself to go towards what feels good.

J: Oh, nice. And a favorite easy meal that you like to eat regularly.

K: I like to make roast chicken; it's easy. It takes a little time, but all in all, it's pretty easy.

J: Mm-hmm. And a favorite kitchen gadget.

K: I have this old-fashioned orange juice squeezer; it's basically just a lever, but it really comes in handy for a lot of for squeezing lemons and limes and orange juice.

J: Yeah, yum, I love fresh orange juice. And favorite books; 1 or 2 or however many. Some people cannot limit themselves to one.

K: (Laughs). Fiction or nonfiction?

J: Whatever you want.

K: I love ‘Women's Anatomy of Arousal’. That's just an awesome book about sexuality and Anatomy and there's so many things. Like, I've often said that I wanted to… like as a public service, that I wanted to Xerox one of the chapters and leave it in like every bar and cafe around town.

J: (Laughs)

K: Because I think every man and woman should read it.

J: Mm-hmm.

K: So I love that one, ‘Woman's Anatomy of Arousal’. And then my other favorite book is… but I don't think it's necessarily so relevant to your community, but I love ‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X’; it’s just sort of the book that I always go back to.

J: Mm, I haven't read; that I'll check it out. And the best advice you've ever received.

K: Hmm, the best advice I've ever received, that's a hard one. That… not that many people give me advice; I guess they're always asking me for advice. I think just, “Have faith in doing what I love,” because I was a dancer and a yoga teacher and I did a lot of things that people say like, “That's not a career and you can never make a living at that,” and my whole path has been… that's not everybody's path, but mine has been lain before me with my life experience and then weaving that into what I have to offer back to the community and the world.

J: Mm-hmm. And then finally, if you had to create a 3 to 5 part formula of things that maximize your happiness, what would that include?

K: It would include deep connection, collaboration, and hysterical laughter.

J: (Laughs). That’s great. You say hysterical laughter and I start laughing.

K: Yeah.


J: Oh my goodness, that's funny. I might have to write out words ‘hysterical laughter’ on my wall.


K: Is that an automatic effect?


J: That’s so funny. Well, thank you so much for being on the show, Kimberly. And I'll let our listeners know that they can find links to everything we talked about, including Kim's website at jenriday.com/48. And now as we say goodbye, I know you already shared some great tips, do you have a final challenge you want to give to our listeners.

K: Yeah, I want to challenge everyone listening to you have one moment of expressing to their partner just how they're feeling in their body at that moment. So that could be anything, just a pause, and then a communication that's like, “Oh, I'm noticing right now that I feel tense in my shoulders,” because that will help them be able to connect in the present moment with the people in their lives. And it's amazing how doing that without getting into stories and, “I feel this way because you do this and…” you know, I called ‘the church of feelings’ because our culture was really disconnected from feelings, but then therapy came into play and now everyone like worships at ‘the church of feelings’ and has got to like express their feelings all the time; which is great, but then there's this other level of connection which is just like, “What is happening in my body right now?”

J: Yeah. Ooh, I can't wait until we make that shift as a society.

K: Mm-hmm.

J: That's going to be great. Well, thank you, Kim, this has been amazing; I appreciate it. And, again, everyone can find links at jenriday.com/48. Thanks for being on the show, Kimberly.

K: Thank you.

J: Take care.

Thanks so much for joining us today and be sure to come back next week when I talk with Sophie Sabbage, author of ‘The Cancer Whisperer’. She shares her story of getting a terminal cancer diagnosis and being devastated, but learning to say, “You know what? I have cancer, but cancer doesn't have me.” She learned how to allow cancer to be a transformative experience and to make her better. She feels like she is healthier than ever (even with cancer), happier than ever, and I really love this episode; it touched me to the heart. So if you or anyone you know has cancer, you're going to want to listen to that and to share it. Also, the ‘Get happier challenge’, well, it starts today. Don't forget to sign up by going to jenriday.com/happy. And if you're listening to this episode after the fact, the challenge will still be available; I'll keep it permanently available. Just sign up by going to jenriday.com/happy. You'll get the emails for each day of the challenge, 1 through 10, and they’re actionable steps that you can implement at any time to make your life a little happier. Again, that's at jenriday.com/happy. Alright, everyone, make it an amazing week, thanks for listening. Take care.

Outro: Thanks for listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast at www.jenriday.com.