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Sara Gustafson on the Four Feminine Archetypes and Finding Purpose

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Hello, and welcome to “The Wellness Mama Podcast.” I’m Katie from and And this episode is a Part 2 with Sara Gustafson, and it’s about the mental, emotional, spiritual side of women’s health. We went deep in our first episode on the physical and medical side and the mismatch there between men and women both in research and treatment. But, we ran out of time before we could really delve into these other areas. So, today, we go deep on what she calls the four feminine archetypes and how those each relate to women in various periods of their lives, and even in a smaller basis throughout the month and throughout shorter periods of life, as well. She works with many women and many people in general in resolving trauma, working through health problems, and a lot more. She’s a CHEK practitioner and has direct experience helping a lot of people work through issues, both physically, mentally, emotionally. So, we delve into some really fun topics like intuition, and balancing those archetypes, and having a proper amount of each in our lives. And it was a new concept for me, so I’m excited to share it with you, and let’s jump in.

Katie: Sara, welcome back.

Sara: Hi, good to be back.

Katie: I am excited to chat with you again, because our first episode, we ran out of time. Moms are the often busiest people I know, so I try to respect the time constraints of podcasts, but we got through so much fascinating information about physical health, and the mismatch in care in the medical world. And there was so much more I wanted to chat with you about, so I knew I had to have you back on. And in this episode, I’d love to really go deep on the parts we didn’t get to go as deep on last time, and talk about the mental and spiritual differences and experiences of the feminine archetypes. There’s so much to unpack there. But I think for a lot of people listening, even the idea of… and the words “feminine archetypes” might be a new concept. And I know you speak a lot about this and explain it so well. So, to start broad, can you kind of define what that is? What that means, and the different feminine archetypes?

Sara: Yeah, so an archetype, if you think of… Let’s see if I can put this in the most layman’s terms of what an archetype is, is if you’re watching a movie, an archetype would be, like, the hero, the mentor. The shadow would be, like, the bad guy, or all the other characters along the hero’s journey in the movie, because every movie that we see or every story, every show, every fairy tale, has a hero’s journey. That is always the theme. So, archetypes play roles within all of these hero’s journeys. There’s always a trickster. There’s always, you know, somebody in there that has to throw, like, the stick in the wheel and cause problems along the main character’s way. But that trickster is also part of the story, to help, you know, bring lessons for the hero.

So, hero would be an archetype, but also, it’s an umbrella within, underneath the hero, there’s so many other archetypes that would fit in underneath. So, when we think of archetypes, we think there’s universal archetypes. And then there are archetypes within our own personal consciousness, that are always playing. These are actors that are always playing out in our consciousness, or unconsciousness. So, let’s think of, there’s personal consciousness and there’s collective consciousness. Collective consciousness would be using a duck and a chicken, for example. When a chicken first hatches out of the egg and it sees a shadow of a, you know, like, a hawk flying over, it immediately runs for cover, because it knows that’s dangerous. Even though it just hatched out of the egg, it doesn’t know anything. It knows that’s dangerous. That’s collective consciousness for the species of the chicken. Now, for a duck, the duck is a different species. And when it hatches and is born, first thing it sees, doesn’t matter if it’s a hawk, a human being, or an elephant, that’s its mommy. So, that would be the collective consciousness imprinted on the duck, the species of the duck.

So, the collective consciousness for those two are very different, even though a duck and a chicken are kind of similar, a bit. So, for humans, the species for us, we have a lot of all of it. We have, you know, collective consciousness of the trees, the birds, and everything, but also for human beings. And within that collective consciousness, we have these actors that play out, like the hero’s journey. And within the hero’s journey, we have all these little actors that are these archetypes. And so, we’ve got, you know, the magician, and the innocent child, the mother, the Amazon, the wild woman. I’ll list out some female ones, specifically. The witch, the medicine woman, the priestess, the queen. You know, all of these archetypes, they’re like movie actors. They’re like the roles that we play. And we will subliminally and consciously identify with certain roles. So, if you think of, when you watch a movie, you may be very pulled toward one specific character of a movie. That’s giving you a clue as to what certain archetypes are really drawing out of you. Like, you’re pulled to a certain character role in one movie. For instance, when I was a kid, I loved “The Karate Kid” movies. And I really felt like I connected with Daniel. And so, for me, at the time, at that age range for me, it was the underdog. So the underdog would have been that archetype for me, during that time in my life, if that makes sense. So, those are archetypes.

Katie: That makes sense. And I know from some reading and listening I’ve done of your work in the past, there seem to be some really common ones. And that, often, people will embody multiple archetypes, or parts of multiple archetypes, like, we’re rarely one thing and only one thing. And especially women, I feel like are so multifaceted. We are maybe not even meant to be only one thing. And there’s a balance here. So, when it comes to the feminine archetypes specifically, what are those common ones that you see a lot and that, like, maybe we are meant to embody parts of?

Sara: So, when I wrote my course, actually, for the CHEK Institute, “Holistic Health and Performance for Women,” I looked at the archetypes and how those play a role into our health, and how we become disconnected from these roles because we are…since the ’60s, probably, we have really… Women collectively have moved into very masculine roles and a masculine essence of our energy in how we…even mothers, you know, play into society. So, it was difficult for me to really narrow it down because there are so many archetypes that really women can all identify with, but there are four basic, universal archetypes that every single woman will experience, and does have within her essence, from the day that she’s born.

And so, it starts with the maiden. The maiden is, like, a developmental archetype. And she begins, you know, when she’s young, 0 to maybe 9 or 10 years old. She’s innocent. She’s curious. She’s unashamed. She’s playful. You know, she’s very creative and out there. She’s not afraid or ashamed of herself or her sexuality. She’s just very out there, swinging in life and in nature. And then, you know, if you think developmentally, then, between ages of 10 to say, 18, 19, we meet the wild woman. This is all about individuation, finding out who you are as a woman, as a person, as an individual, your unique qualities, your unique talents, and you start to really refine, because the maiden is really learning about the world, is really assimilating what things are, and she’s dependent upon what she’s learning, and what she’s being told and guided. The wild woman is like, “No, I am who I am.” And so, she is very assertive. She’s learning how to assert herself. She’s learning how to be herself, create boundaries, and she’s really up to the challenge. And so, this is a phase in development about refining and learning more about your own special and unique skills and gifts.

So, then, after the wild woman, comes the mother, and whether you have children or not, every woman has the mother archetype. So, we could be mothers for many things. When we move out into the world on our own, we all become a mother. We become a mother of our education. We become the mother of our own home and our own space, become the mother of our careers, the mother of our gardens, the mother in our kitchens, mothers of our meals. We nurture, because that’s what the archetype of the mother is, is to nurture and to grow and to guide, and really take care of what she creates, because that is also part of the mother archetype, it’s creating. So, anything that the woman is creating, she’s nurturing and protecting. And that’s the mother archetype.

So, after the wild woman, we move out onto our own, we are creating. And now we are protecting and nurturing all that we create. After the mother, and that’s a long development archetype, that we hold for a while. So, after the mother comes the wise woman. That’s the fourth. The wise woman is all about experienced wisdom, and sharing that with those that she loves, her community, and in her career, and with the world. So, she has reached a stage in her life where, you know, she’s not trying to do a lot of creating anymore. She has now created enough. She has now experienced so much that she has gained all the wisdom to now share and pass on. So, you can also… You may hear of it as the crone or the, you know, wise old spinster. But, you know, I like the wise woman, because we all have it. So, even from the day we’re born, we have the wise woman in us. She’s always in us, that essence of the wise woman. And, as a mother, when we’re in that season of our life, the wise woman is there, and the wild woman is still there. So, these four archetypes are always in us. This essence of these four are always playing in us, and we can access them at all times.

Katie: I love thinking of it in those stages. And it makes me wonder, like, what happens if someone either doesn’t get to or isn’t allowed to experience some of the phases of developing these archetypes? Like, I can think of examples of maybe children who something happens where they have to grow up too fast, and they don’t get to be the maiden for very long, or, you know, girls and adolescents who are taught either overtly, or more just subtly, that the wild woman is not okay and that it’s not safe to be that. Like, can we get stuck if we don’t have the developmental phases of some of these?

Sara: Absolutely, yes. I talk about that, too, with my clients. I have some webinars on that. This is when the shadow of these archetypes will play into our psyches. So, an undeveloped maiden will have the shadow of the maiden. And so, when we move into the mother archetype, it is very important for us to re-mother the maiden, so we need to re-bridge that connection to our inner maiden and re-mother the maiden. Same for the wild woman. We need to re-mother the wild woman. And the mother may have those shadows playing out, and not know how. So then she’ll call on the wise woman, who she may not have met yet. So she’ll be calling on the wise woman to help her re-mother. So, the shadows that you may see manifest are either overexcited or underdeveloped, is what I say.

A underdeveloped maiden will probably, in later years, say, you know, the 20s to 30s, you’ll see her in the creator stage of her life, she will be rigid, have very strict boundaries. She’ll have a lot of anxiety, a lot of fear, a lot of perfectionism, a lot of doubt, a lot of self-doubt, afraid of taking risks. And to her, risk is anything. Whereas, you know, a lot of other people will be like, “That’s not a big deal. You know, it’s just trying a new restaurant.” You know, so for her, it’s like, that’s a risk. And she might have a lot of fear of change, and hoarding, material fixations. She might even exude things such as extreme vanity, because, as the maiden, she was told all the time, or even taught, or conditioned, that the only thing truly that was a quality of her was her beauty. Right? There was never anything about structure, nothing about discipline. It was just, “You’re such a pretty little girl.” You know, parents don’t always, and family members, aren’t always intentional about this, but when we put this on children, especially little girls, “You’re so pretty. You’re so adorable,” and those comments get programmed in, to the point where later on, women believe that that is truly their only quality that they have. And they get so fixated on that, where they are terrified of not being pretty. And it becomes an obsession, and a fear.

And that’s the anomaly that you’ll see out in society, where these beautiful, fit or athletic women are usually the ones that have the most insecurity, that they’re like, “I’m so fat,” you know, or “I hate my hair.” You know, they’re so fixated on themselves. You’re like, “Relax, you look fine.” You know, that’s usually the girls that when they were little, were just constantly always commented, “You’re so pretty,” you know. And so it becomes an issue, and that becomes the shadow of the maiden. Now, on the flip side…I can just talk about this forever. Maybe I’ll send you my webinar slides that you could give to your listeners. On the flip side, there’s the overexcited maiden. This was the maiden that had no structure at all, from either parents. And she had either one parent or two parents that were not modeling the proper type of structure for her. And there was maybe just too much freedom, too much liberty. And so, she may exude more of over-sexualization, or maybe a need to protect herself, but she’s utilizing… Like, she has very poor boundaries. Whereas the other one, she was like, rigid. The other one has very poor boundaries and she doesn’t have the ability to respect others’ boundaries. And so, she may go off to college and change her major, like, six times, then switch universities, and then drop out, and she’s festival-hopping, and, you know, because she never really had that display of structure, and was given the opportunity to understand her gifts. And, you know, she was just given too much freedom.

Katie: Oh, definitely follow-ups to that. But before moving on, I love that you brought up the idea of parents. I’m sure, often very unintentionally, but praising daughters, especially for beauty, and how that reminds me of in parenting podcasts I’ve done before, you know, how people have explained, if you praise your kids for something that’s supposed to be innate, like, whether it’s beauty or intelligence, then that’s something they view as a fixed thing they can’t change, and so they become so afraid to have that challenged or to not be that. And so, for kids that are praised for being smart, this was my experience, I became afraid to try things I wasn’t good at, because so much of my parents’ love was built on being smart and being perceived as smart from them, because I heard that so much. It makes me wonder, with daughters, especially, how can we make sure that we’re affirming them in a way that’s nurturing and uplifting and supporting of that developmental stage? And is it the same as with not praising intelligence of praising a variety of things and not the innate quality, but the expression of it, or the hard work, or the creativity, or, like, finding a specific thing, like, “Oh, I love how you did this one specific thing,” or how creative you were when you put these two things together, or any guidance around that?

Sara: Yeah. So, what I really like for… So, I have three daughters. And I learned this very quickly with my first daughter, because she was brilliant. She started talking at nine months old. It was unbelievably shocking, in sentences. And so, just everyone commented on how smart she was. And she was writing letters, numbers, and, you know, knew colors and everything. So, by the time she was actually in school, she developed so much anxiety, because she was afraid to not be smart. And so, what I really like is, like you said, not really focusing on the innate qualities of a child, and instead of saying, “You’re so pretty,” you could say, like, “Wow, you look just like your mom,” or, “You look just like your auntie,” or “You remind me of…” And “I love the way that your eyes twinkle when you look off this way, or when you’re laughing.” And really, and something to inspire, because in that developmental age of the maiden, they’re curious, they’re playful, they’re learning, they wanna know more.

And so, you know, making comments that may be leading them into more curiosity, to inspire, is really helpful, so, just, if they’re, like, writing and doing things, instead of saying, like, “This picture is so amazing. I’m gonna put it on the refrigerator” and then you’ve got 20 just crappy pictures on the fridge, instead, saying, like, “I really like the way that you put that color in there. What other colors can you add? What other animals would you like to draw?” And, you know, “You don’t know how to draw a dog. What kind of shapes could you put together to make it look like a dog?” Or, you know, just really inspiring them, instead of just praising everything that they do, is really good way to nurture those qualities in them, without creating a complex.

Katie: I love that. And so applicable, of course, to boys and girls, but I think you’re right that the physical stuff often gets more directed at little girls versus little boys. And as you were speaking of these, it made me see patterns even in myself, and certainly societally, of, like, over and under-expressed parts of all of these. So, I wonder, like, what is a, like, well-balanced expression of the female archetypes look like in someone?

Sara: A well-balanced expression would be, and that’s very, you know… So, we think of the four archetypes in a woman, and I like to sort of compare them, or mix, like, an abstract of all the four archetypes fitting into our cycle. So, for a woman in her fertile years, it would be, like, the wise woman would be the week of our menstruation, when we are bleeding, because she is all about getting, you know, you through the tough times during… She’s all about transformation, painful transformation. So, you go to her when you need help going through a transition. She’s the wise woman. She sits with you through the pain and through the change. And so I like her during menstruation. The maiden is more of, like, when you start to have this new, blossoming, youthful energy coming out of menstruation, she appears.

And so, a well-balanced woman, with all four archetypes, is woman who is all balanced in all of her hormones. Her hormone levels are all balanced, because you’re gonna see the essence and energy levels in sync throughout her menstrual cycle. The wild woman comes out during ovulation. I mean, she is laser-focused. She’s got her boundaries. She’s knocking out that to-do list, she’s knocking out her workouts, and she’s getting all things done. She’s much more horny than usual. And then the mother and the nurturer comes in, because both estrogen and progesterone dip pretty rapidly, and your immune system is suppressed, right, you know, the week prior to menstruation. So, the mother wants to nurture herself and take care of herself, in preparation for the onset of menstruation. So I like to look at it in comparison to the hormone cycle, because if your hormones are imbalanced, you will see a reflection of all of these archetypes reveal themselves to you.

Katie: And it seems like, especially in today’s world, it’s pretty easy to detach from one or more of these archetypes. And it seems like, I know I did this, especially with, like, the young baby phase, to get, like, over-focused in the mother archetype and over-nurture. But even, like you mentioned, you don’t even have to have kids for that to express. It seems like there’s a tendency for women to, like, over-manage and over-nurture and over-caretake everyone in their lives, and then to kind of lose themselves in the process. And it seems like a reoccurring thing I’ve heard from a lot of women, is kind of that loss of self in the process of motherhood, which, of course, comes with many of its own beautiful journeys and expressions and realizations, but maybe a loss of those other three. So when they say a loss of myself, it’s like a loss of those other parts that are supposed to be there. Is that your experience in working with people?

Sara: Yes. Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, I work with a lot of women who get burnt out. And they are trying to do everything. And there’s this perception that they are, you know, doing all of the mom things, when in reality, they’re doing a lot of… They’re not really being the mother at all. They think they are, but they’re not, because the nurturer, and the mother, both the same things, is all about self-nurturing. So, you’re connected to yourself. That is the mother archetype. So, the mother, you know, if you’re getting really obsessed into the motherhood, you’re not really in your mother archetype. You’re in a complex of doing. And truly that’s transference. That’s projection. And you’re probably more in your maiden shadow, more than anything, than in the mother archetype. And so, you’re transferring on to the children what you did not get as the maiden.

So, the underdeveloped maiden, or over, you know, like, helicopter parents, maybe. So, whatever you did not like as a child, you are transferring onto your children and trying to not give them, you know, pendulum swung the other way. So you’re not in the mother archetype. You believe you are. And so, that’s where I try to reconnect women to themselves, because the true mother is connected to herself, her true essence, how you are. And in order to know how to truly mother and nurture that which you create, whether it is your children, or your education, or your career, or your home, you have to know who you are. Otherwise, anything that you’re doing to nurture and take care of and protect, it’s a ghost story. It’s just you in a ghost form living out through the stories of other people. And so, you’re regurgitating a life of somebody else, or many other people, based on what other people perceive or you perceive they expect, and what you’ve learned. You have to know who you are. And if you took your children away, and you took your education, and your career, and you took all of that away and you just, you know, zapped you out of your home, and everything was gone and everything around you is just white, then who are you? Even your name, you don’t say your name.

Like, who are you? What is it about you and your essence that makes you special and unique? And that is an answer that not very many people can provide when I ask. But, from that, once you get to that point, once you’re able to get to that point, and know who you are, man, you can be an amazing mother, and you can integrate the wild woman when you need to, when you wanna establish boundaries, and when you need to be assertive. Because you gotta call in that assertiveness as a mother, because some mothers, they don’t want to discipline. They don’t want to raise their voice. But sometimes you gotta call in that wild woman, because there is an issue of safety and structure that you need to call in. And if dad’s not there, you know, you gotta call the wild woman in, because the wild woman has a lot of masculine energy that you gotta bring in sometimes. And so, it is important to know who you are, in order to really be a good mother, or to step into the wise woman.

Katie: I’m so glad you brought that up and that we ended up here. I was hoping we would get here in this discussion, because I think in women, I know I can speak at least from my own personal experience, there is a tendency to fall more into that pleasing, matching energy, and matching those around us, making sure everyone else is happy and taken care of at all times. And that’s a question I’ve been facing this past year and really trying to delve into, is that question of who are you? Because often, you’re right. I think when we are asked that question, we start rattling off a resume, or a list of accomplishments. And that doesn’t actually answer that core question and that touch on that idea of finding purpose and knowing who we are internally. And certainly, that’s the thing that’s helpful for us to know personally, and to be able to model and help our kids discover. So, you said most people don’t know how to answer that question. What are some of the steps on the path to being able to learn how to answer that question and to find those things?

Sara: I like to use symbology and art therapy. Because when you think of the mother, she’s a creator. And when I use art with my clients, that’s one of the first things I go to, is art. And in the very beginning with a client, it’s so difficult. And you would think it isn’t with women, because, you know, you go back to childhood, like, what did we do all the time? We were always doodling and drawing or painting or, you know, cutting out pictures and stuff like that. And it is a very feminine thing is to create. And, you know, we’re decorating our homes all the time. You think throw pillows and pictures and all kinds of stuff. But for some reason, it can be so difficult. When I say, “Think of your name, your full name,” you know, full name, the first, middle, last name, “and think of what the essence of that is. Now draw a symbol for it.”

And every time, they just get stuck. And I’ll get text messages or emails just saying, “I can’t do it. I don’t know what to do. What do I do?” And then I’ll say, “Try using your non-dominant hand.” Usually, it’s the left hand. Because if you’re right-handed, it’s the non-dominant hand. Try using your left hand, and just close your eyes and put, like, a paintbrush or a marker, because it usually flows better. And just close your eyes and just sit and get very calm and still, and just repeat that mantra over and over, “I am. I am. I am.” Until you hear nothing, until, over and over, just, “I am. I am. I am.” Until it’s a rhythm. And then it becomes in sync with your heartbeat. “I am. I am.” And then, when you feel like you’re in sync with your heart, write the first thing that comes to you. Or draw. And just free draw. And you would be just so amazed with the things that women have shown me, that they come up with, and they’re, I mean, beautiful drawings, beautiful, like, sketches, and the colors. And sometimes it’s just the first word that comes to mind.

And, you know, one very recently, a woman that I worked with, I helped her through it, because I’ll do some drumming, sometimes, if they can’t get out of their mind, on Zoom, I’ll do a little drumming, just to beat out any noise outside of them. And the first thing she wrote, is primal movement. “I am primal.” And then moving. Primal, moving. And it really gave me some goosebumps, because at the core of our feminine essence, that’s really what we are, is that it’s that primal movement. We are…everything, whether man or woman, came from woman. And that is the primal essence of the woman. It all came from woman. All the way back from creation, it was all born of a woman. And when that came from her, when she said that, and that one thing she was struggling with was connecting to her femininity, it was a really beautiful moment. And so, when you can connect to your own feminine essence, truly, then you can really start working with that, working with that wisdom. And that is when you can really tap in, tap into these archetypes and really see the gifts that you have, that are those innate gifts, that were there before you really had a conscious, like, waking memory of things.

Katie: And to tie this into our first episode, like, the idea of repressing those things, often I don’t think we think about, but their, that whole mind-body connection being so important, and the idea of the body keeps the score, that kind of delves into the science of it. And you’ve talked about this, that repressing those things can actually lead to physical manifestation of disease in the body. Can you delve into that a little bit more?

Sara: Oh, yeah. Well, you know, for instance, I think of, like, the reproductive organs and the reproductive system. This is like the center of our body, and the zone of our body where we are creators, like, this obvious, you know, you got the uterus, the ovaries, this is our womb. This is the center of our creative space, as a woman. And I look at, you know, in metaphysical science, what we see is every system has a polarity. Everything in nature has polarity. And nothing would exist without duality. Nothing. If everything was the same, we’d all cease to exist. And so, even in our own bodies, women, and men, but let’s just take women, for example, the ovaries have dualities. So, the left and the right. So, the left ovary has a polarity of qualities to the right ovary. So, the left ovary is more about the flowing. That’s more of the feminine side. It’s all about surrender. And then, the right ovary is more of the masculine ovary, and it’s all about more of an active and creative force.

And when we have any type of problems in our reproductive system, or our, say, our left kidney is on fire. We’ve got maybe kidney stones that’s going to affect that side of the body, that’s going to affect that left, feminine side, and it can freeze us up. It can freeze that feminine essence up. And in that reproductive zone of our body, that’s where we pull our creative essence. And then, you know, you could sit somebody down to do some creative project, they could get locked up. And so, that’s where there’s some interchanging and interrelated issues and challenges, where you want to ensure that health is there, you wanna look at clearing up any organ, glandular, soft tissue issues, even scar tissue, work out that scar tissue, to ensure that all oxygen and circulation is flowing freely through there. Because, you know, think about, also, when we breathe, if we’re not taking full belly breaths, and we’re only breathing, you know, say from here up, we’re not getting full circulation and oxygen to all the organs down here, which is our reproductive organs. And those are very important.

So, if we’re not getting circulation down there, then they’re just getting hot and they’re drying up, and then you start to see issues such as PCOS, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disorder, infertility, and, you know, all kinds of stuff down there. You’ll see a lot of inflammatory issues. So, what comes first? Chicken or the egg? Most of the time, what comes first is the meta, which is, came before and beyond. So it’s the thought. It’s the sensing. I think I have that behind me. Maybe I don’t. No. No, I don’t. So, we sense something, those are our sensory… So, it’s, you know, smell, taste, feel, all those things. And we can go one of two ways. We can have a feeling or emotion, or we can go into ourselves, intuit, intuition.

So, based on our sensories, we’re intuitively perceiving or we are emotionally perceiving. If we go into emotionally perceiving, which is most of us, like triggering, then that will then lead to the top, the thought, so, the emotion, the thought. And the thought then will lead back to another feeling, and then back and forth, thought-feeling, thought-feeling. And that whole process, the HPA axis, right, it goes along the neuronal loop, that hits our endocrine system. And the endocrine system goes through all the glands. It lights up all our hormones, tells our body what chemicals to send, and whether to increase our heart rate, lower or raise our blood pressure, all those things. And so, we are at constant high alert, based on what we’re sensing. That’s gonna cause problems down here. It’s gonna restrict our breathing. All these things are all autonomic, so we’re not aware of these things that are happening. So, it’s all really here and here. And the longest road you’ll ever travel is from here to here. It’s from your heart, and your head, well, for most people from your mind to your heart.

And so, that’s how the physical is going to manifest. What’s up here will show up all over your body. Because it all starts with something out here triggers something here, and it sends signals all throughout the body, that we are not really in control of or aware of, because our body is so intelligent that it’s reading these signals, and it’s preparing us, because, you know, it wants to survive and it’s protecting us. So, we have to be very aware of these things, and mindful of when we have that sensation, what was that thought that I just had? What was that feeling? Where did that come from, and why did I think that?

Katie: And it seems like even asking those questions helps to start to just that awareness, starts to cascade into a deeper understanding of that, versus just accepting, like, what’s that cliche quote of, like, “Don’t accept…or don’t believe everything you think,” or “Don’t believe everything you feel.” Whereas that’s an easy thing to fall into. I also love that you brought up the idea of polarity and the importance of that, and maybe tying that in also with the idea of people we have relationships with in our lives, and the importance of that there. because it seems like often, when women start doing work, especially to work on themselves, that can create issues in relationships as well. Like, I’ve heard of many women who do work to process trauma or childhood stuff, and then it creates a mismatch in their relationships, especially with a partner or a spouse. Do you see that in your work as well? And if so, what are some ways to help women when they experience that?

Sara: Yes. I try to mitigate this from the very beginning. I think I was sharing this with you before that one of my questions when I onboard a client, before we even get started, I do an onboard interview with a client, and one of the questions is, “Who’s going to support you as you change?” Because when working with a client, it is absolutely certain, 100% guaranteed, that she’s gonna change. She’s gonna go through, you know, some very subtle, and also very noticeable massive changes, whether it’s physically, mentally, emotionally, and/or spiritually, all of the above, most likely all of the above. And this will create a lot of mismatches with anyone in her life. It’ll be from children, partners, family members, those in her social circles, co-workers, mentors, you name it. She may no longer like the same shows that she watches. She may not have the same routines anymore. She may not enjoy the same activities, foods. A lot of that is gonna change as she changes.

And so, those in her life who are not ready to be on board with that will pose a challenge and some obstacles in her way. So, I will ask her about this and we will have a very transparent conversation about that, because if there is, especially a partner, an intimate partner, whether it’s, you know, a boyfriend, long-term partner, girlfriend, or husband, for example, if the relationship is already a bit unsteady, or communication is not there 100%, that’s going to be a problem, so we wanna prepare for that. We wanna have conversations. And I will likely wanna pull that partner in to some of our sessions to have a, you know, dialogue on, “Let’s talk about these things. How can we co-create your dream together?” So the partner is not feeling left out. We don’t want to bring someone… You know, if you truly want this relationship, you wanna sustain the relationship, partner’s gotta come with you. And, you know, as you change, partner’s gotta come up with you. Otherwise, there’s gonna be way too much polarity. And that’s gonna create a lot of conflict.

And conflict is either going to pull you back down, or it’s gonna end the relationship. Either way, it’s not gonna be pretty. So, let’s prepare, make a plan for that. What is your desired outcome for this? And if your desired outcome is to maintain the relationship and maintain a healthy relationship, or even improve the relationship, then let’s get the partner on board. So, I already have, like, binders for relationship boundaries and creating agreements and working with the couple. So, even if the partner is not working with me, I’m giving her the work to do with that partner. Like, homework assignments, you know. And then I’m checking in, “How’d it go? How’d it go?” Because those things are very, very important.

Katie: It seems like maybe…certainly, like, massive transitions, like the ones we’ve seen societally in the last couple of years, and/or maybe these transitions from kind of different phases or the different archetypes, can lead to, at least, like, relationship struggles, or, I see women who, at a certain phase in life, don’t feel attracted to their partner anymore, or maybe don’t want the relationship to continue. And it seems like that might be on the rise right now as well. Like, I’ve seen many, many people transitioning out of relationships. Are you seeing that as well, and, like, are there any guidelines or help for women either, like, trying to figure out if they should stay in the relationship and/or transitioning out in a healthy way?

Sara: Both. I would say 50/50. I’ve worked with a lot of women who are transitioning out, in a healthy way. I’ve had a few that have had partners that just were not doing well with their changes. And in spite of a lot of work to get them to bring the partner in and do the best that we could, they just did not like the work. So sometimes, you can’t help it. You cannot make any one change. You cannot force your partner to do anything. And that’s something women have to learn. That is a very important lesson for women, is to let go of that attachment. One of the seven dark arrows, number one is attachments. Having this attachment that we are responsible for someone else’s pain, someone else’s reactions, or responses, or feelings, or someone else’s needs, that’s a big one in my lessons with relationships. That’s what boundaries are. We are only responsible for our feelings, our needs, our desires. We can express them. We can request for our partner to meet them, by saying, you know, “What is your level of commitment to meet this need? What is your desire in meeting this need for me?”

But they don’t have to, you know? And if they say no, that’s okay, because that is their boundary and it’s totally valid. So, if they don’t, then that’s back on you to meet that need, and decide whether or not you can meet the need, or if this just is not gonna work. So, sometimes, it just, you cannot force the person. And if they’re not gonna do the work, then you have to make a decision. So, I have had, you know, women who have had to make the very tough decision, especially with kids, to transition out of a relationship. And it’s valid. It’s valid. You know, you evolve or you regress, you know. Because if you’re in a relationship that is not supporting you, you’re not really gonna just stay the same, because if you’ve made some changes, and you’ve grown, and that relationship is not evolving too, it’s gonna pull you back.

And like I said, you can’t make somebody change. So, you have to make a decision. You’re either going backwards or you’re going forward. And that’s where I get… You know, I have a little bit of tough love, and I’m very real about it. It’s just, you make the decision. It’s absolutely your decision. And there’s no shame in it. Because you do what you do when you’re ready to do it. And that is absolutely okay. Sometimes it just takes a lot of courage, and you gotta be ready. Don’t jump ship when you’re not ready. If you do that, then chaos will certainly ensue. So, just because, you know, friends are saying, “You gotta get out of there” or a coach or a therapist is saying, “This isn’t healthy for you,” if you don’t feel 100% in your core ready, then probably shouldn’t. You could probably wait. Unless you’re in danger. But wait until you’re ready. You need to have the strength, and you need to be fortified, to do this. So, this decision is all up to you.

I have had couples that have jumped ship too quick, and then regretted it. And that is very painful, extremely painful, when you are not very intentional and mindful about making the decision. It is so painful, when it’s all said and done, looking back and going, “Ugh, did it quick.” Because if you don’t wait until the two of you have both done your work, and you jump ship, and then continue to do the work, and then you realize, like, “Oh crap, this was meant to be, you know, and we didn’t wait.” And then maybe one partner has already, you know, made their peace, but the other partner is like, “I really made the wrong decision.” You know, so sometimes you really have to know, like… Because if the other person’s willing to work, and then both people are going, but they’re just, like, on different timelines with it, like, sometimes they just gotta be patient. Just be patient. Don’t jump ship so quickly just because this is that or that’s annoying, or whatever. It is okay. I’m gonna say this right now, 100%, to get rid of your ideas and perceptions of how relationships need to be, like, “You gotta be in the same room, you gotta sleep in the same bed, otherwise, it’s, like, unhealthy or toxic, or you gotta go on vacations together. You gotta do everything together. Otherwise, why even be married?”

It’s not true. You can just be separate, and work on yourselves, and take care of yourselves. Create nice, sacred boundaries around each other individually, while you work on yourselves, and love each other, and still co-exist, and have that relationship, because what you’re doing individually is nurturing that “we” space, and creating a “wevolutionary,” you know, relationship, whether it worked out or not. But either way, working on yourselves individually, and supporting that for each other, you’re not doing anything but good for the relationship and each other. You don’t have to be in the same bedroom. You don’t have to go on vacations together. You don’t have to do everything together, eat meals together, and, you know, all this stuff. It doesn’t have to be this, like, Instagram relationship, which, by the way, doesn’t even exist. Like, you know, who walks around like this all the time in their relationship? Like, 99.9% of the couples that are, like, you know, doing selfies over dinner plates, like, the other 99.9% is actually the good stuff, you know. The difficult conversations, and the tension, and the, you know, “Did you get the mail today?” and all those things. That’s the cooperation of a relationship that’s really worth needing and noting about yourselves. You know, going on a vacation and having selfies, that’s not the important stuff of a relationship. It’s the cooperation of a relationship. Just, note.

Katie: Beautifully said. Absolutely. And I want to circle back to the idea of intuition as well, because you touched on that briefly. And I know we’re getting to the end of our time again, but I’d love to kind of end on a note of what are some ways as women that we can help nurture our intuition, and learn to tune into that?

Sara: That’s a good one. So, intuition, again, I like to get into the creative space, because that is one of those innate gifts that women have. We are peripheral creatures. I don’t know if I shared this on the last recording that we did, but women are a lot more peripheral than men. And what I mean when I say that is, on a somatic level, we are wired differently. So, not to say that men don’t have intuition. They do. But, you know, if you looked at a brain. and you saw it from, like, the front… This is a terrible photo, but, if you saw the brain, a woman, this little area here in the prefrontal cortex is smaller. Whereas a man, it’s gonna be a bit wider between the left and right. So, because a woman has a smaller space between the left and right…I’m getting to intuition, I promise, the neurons have very shorter to travel between left and right.

So, women are able to utilize both left and right at the same time, which is why, usually, it’s harder for women to meditate. However, because, you know, if we are, we got monkey brain, we can’t turn off that side of the brain. We’re still thinking about, you know, “Oh, what time is it? When should I leave to go pick up the kids?” And, “Did I forget to write that down on the grocery list?” And, “The dog is scratching at the door?” Like, it’s hard to turn that off on the brain. However, what we need to recognize is that other side of the brain is always functioning. Which is why we talk so much. And this is why we can utilize emotional language, with logic and reason at the same time. It’s why we are so good at multitasking, because we are always using both sides of the brain. Now, in order to utilize that gift that we have, which is the peripheral, is we can utilize both sides of the brain and the peripheral, which is the sensing. So, when back in the day of, say, Neanderthals or whatever, the men would go off to hunt, leaving the women in, you know, the teepees or the caves or whatever to hold down.

So, for survival, women have extra sensate functions. And that’s where the term, you know, “eyes in the back of the head” come from, because the smell and the hearing and everything is picked up. And you may have noticed this in any of your pregnancies. Maybe your smell was enhanced, your hearing enhanced, that sense of knowing is kind of enhanced. If something was wrong, you can just feel it. Women have that. That’s peripheral. That’s the peripheral sensate. So, to strengthen that, what we can do, especially women who can’t turn off that, like, thinking, logic part of the brain, is to create, is to use a pen and paper. Because then you’re utilizing all the thinking, processing, and you’re funneling it in through that creative side of your brain. And you’re using the soul to speak in through you. So, something like music, art, dance, storytelling, any kind of…like, poetry, free writing, journaling, all of those things are going to help develop that intuitive process.

Storytelling is great. That’s the wise woman archetype right there, by the way. Storytelling is, you know, if you’re sitting around with your kids, or even your girlfriends, and just chatting, and you want to enhance the story by bringing in some funny concepts, or maybe exaggerating something, that’s going to enhance your intuition, because you’re pulling in information. You’re imagining. So, that’s the key word, imagining. Imagination is not lying. It’s not insanity. It’s not craziness. The term “imagine,” or imagination, if you go back to, like, the original, origination of the word, even back to Sanskrit, “imagine” means to “in see.” It’s seeing in. So, it’s projecting the image from inside the mind, and putting it out and materializing it. Materializing what is in the mind, outside. So it’s like the artist may see something in the mind and then paint it. That’s the imagining. So, dreaming is a way of imagining.

So, another way to enhance your intuition is to write down your dreams. And a great book is the “Dreaming Awake” is the name of it? I forgot the author. I’ll send it to you so you can put it in your show notes. And “Inner Work,” by Carl Jung, which is best listened to on audiobook, because it’s pretty heavy. But dream analyzation is probably my number one way to enhance your intuition, because that is… When you’re dreaming, that is, like, your subconscious is speaking to you in symbols that only you would understand. So, when you write down a summary of your dream, and you look at the words, you underline all the nouns, basically, and then you write down, like, what is the Webster’s Dictionary of the noun, like a bench. It is a, you know, long public seat to sit down and rest on. And then, you go, all right, so based on that my, ego’s objective identification of what a bench is, a public seat, something to rest on, what is the first thing that comes up for you? Symbolically, what comes up for you for public feet to rest on?

And then, that’s the word that your subconscious… What that’s doing is it’s pulling your unconscious into the personal consciousness. So, you’re, like, dragging the unconscious into consciousness. That’s exercising the intuitive process and connecting you to your soul, unconscious into now the consciousness. It’s a beautiful way to exercise intuition and connect to your soul. And so, I definitely recommend dream work. So, the book “Inner Work,” by Carl Jung, and audiobook, for sure. It’s hefty. But wonderful. Wonderful work. And then, again, mandala art work is an amazing tool. And there’s so many things online that you can get to start working on mandala work. I start my day every day painting. I, you know, get my tea or my coffee and my collagen, and I sit down and I paint. And you can even see, like, I’m in my office, but right there, this is where I start my day. That’s my painting studio right here. And then I flow and I come in here. Because that’s, you know, where I sit down, I start the day creating, and I connect to myself. So, intuitively, and I’m using my imagination to think about my day, and how my day is gonna go, and I intuit my way into the day, rather than start my day already overthinking, in overdrive. And that allows me to set my rhythm.

So, creative work, anything that is creative. And, again, the four questions of the shaman all have to do with expressing yourself. So, getting yourself back into the maiden, she is not afraid or ashamed or inhibited in any way. Storytelling, dancing, singing, get some music on, any music that calls to you, and just move. Move the way your body wants to move. And if it weirds you out at first, do it, you know, when you’re alone. And then, I really like the book, it’s by Penney Pierce, and it’s called “Intuitive Way.” “Intuitive Way” by Penney Pierce. Most of my clients, I would say, like, three out of four, I recommend this book to, because it’s not a book you’d, like, read front to cover. It’s just full of exercises. It’s just a bunch of exercises and little things that she gives you to do. And they are so amazing. It’s like little challenges and things that she will prompt you to do. And they’ll shock you, you know, because they work. And once you start getting towards the end of the book, you’re like, “Wow, I didn’t know this about myself. I didn’t realize I could do this. I didn’t realize, like, I had this much creativity and this much power of mind.”

And, like, one of the exercises in the book is to sit down and really focus and concentrate on somebody that you haven’t talked to in a while. Imagine what they’re doing. Imagine what they have been up to. Imagine what they’re wearing, and, like, really get into all the details. And just make it up. Imagine it. That’s the key word, imagine. And write it all down. And then wait a few days and then call the person up, and just have a conversation with them, and you would be absolutely shocked at how, probably, 5 out of 10 of those points you were correct about, at least. So, it’s a really good book. I like that one, “Intuitive Way” by Penney Pierce.

Katie: I love that. I put all those in the show notes so you guys can find those. And you answered the other question I always ask at the end, which is about book recommendations. Those are perfect.

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I know we touched on so many things. And I’ll, of course, put a link in the show notes. You mentioned webinars that you have. If you’re willing to send me slides, that would be amazing. But where can people delve more into this if they are interested in keeping learning?

Sara: Oh my gosh. So, we are launching our expanded experience. So, if you wanna get into some webinars, it’s going now… We’re gonna be launching in a few weeks. So, if you go to the, I will be doing… And my partner, my husband, Alex, he’s a master CHEK practitioner. So, it’s a membership platform, where we have tons of students come on there, and it’s weekly. Twice a week, we have free open office hours, where we engage like this, but it’s live, and we have all our students come in. It’s all Q&A right there. And we have live courses every week. And also, all the courses that we have on the platform, you have full access to, all the recordings, all the downloads, the PDFs, the resources. And it’s sort of like a social media platform. So, there’s all these little circles and groups where you go in and you have all these downloads, PDFs, videos. It’s just a learning platform. And it’s amazing. So, you’ll find all the webinars and the videos, and the guides, and the exercises, and the journal prompts, and the courses, and everything on there. It’s really, really awesome. We’re really excited about expanded experience launching soon, because that is a 12-month group journey, that’s gonna take you through everything from the physical, to then the emotional and the mental, to then, you know, connecting with your spiritual body, and it’s pretty powerful. It’s really fun. So, the And you can also find me on Instagram, which is the Wise Women Rise, and

Katie: Perfect. All those links will be in the show notes as well. And I will respect your time and everyone listening, but thank you so much. This is such a fun, wide-ranging conversation, and I’m so grateful for your time.

Sara: Yeah, I can just talk forever about all of this stuff. But thank you again. It was good to talk to you again.

Katie: And thanks as always to you guys for listening, and sharing your time and energy and attention with us today. We’re both so grateful that you did, and I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of the “Wellness Mama Podcast”.

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

Thank You For Reading!


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