How to do your own internal healing and liberation: A Conversation with Natalie Gutierrez, LMFT, Author of The Pain We Carry
Episode #138: How to do your own internal healing and liberation: A Conversation with Natalie Gutierrez, LMFT, Author of The Pain We Carry
About the Episode:
I’m pausing our self-discipline series, to share a conversation that will help you think differently about the pain you carry, and may help you rethink how you approach the year. We’ll be back to our self-discipline series next week.
In this episode, I bring you the author of the most impactful book I read in 2024. The book is called "The Pain We Carry," and the author is the brilliant Natalie Gutierrez, LMFT.
Natalie shares her wisdom and genius as we dive into so many important topics pertinent to the sacred healing and self-liberation journey we are all on.
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The Pain We Carry
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Full Episode Transcript:
Full Transcript Here
138.How to do your own internal healing and liberation: A Conversation with Natalie Gutierrez, LMFT, Author of The Pain We Carry
Welcome to the Empowered Brain, the only podcast using science, psychology and coaching to help you rewire your brain and create a life you love with your host, Dr. Vanessa Calderon, a Harvard grad physician, master coach, and mother of two.
Hello, sweet friends before we start episode 138. I'm jumping in to quickly share with you that we are taking a quick pause from our series on self-discipline. We did part one last week, and we are going to do parts two through parts four starting next week. But today I'm bringing you something really special. I'm bringing you an interview with the author of one of the books I read for me in 2020, in 2023, was the most impactful book that I had read. And I'm sharing this with you because first of all, she's incredible. But also because I think it'll be really helpful for all of you as you're thinking about what you want to create this calendar year, to come from a place of intention and purpose. So without further ado, enjoy the episode, sweet friends.
Hello, sweet friends, we're back. And today I have a special guest. She is the author of one of the most impactful books I have read in my entire life, but definitely, all of 2024 Her name is Natalie Gutierrez. And she's sitting in front of me right now, because we're on Zoom, and I'm like crying being around her energy. Because honestly, it's it's healing. So it's a gift, what you've done with your work. So I'm gonna bring her on. And we're gonna go through just like the beautiful journey that she took to write this book and talk about some of the concepts that I think are the most impactful for me when I was reading, and then maybe whatever else comes up, maybe we can just like go with the flow. Does that work? Perfect. All right, girlfriend. Tell us all about you. Welcome.
Thank you so much for having me, Vanessa, I appreciate just like I was sharing with you earlier, your support of my work and just what you do as well. So thank you, thank you, thank you. a little bit about me, I am a bagua psychotherapist, space holder, and medicine woman. And I've been holding space for people I want to say unofficially my whole life
as a parent of a child, as a listener as an intuitive Empath, and professionally for 15 years and I have dedicated my heart my life to serving folks of the global majority healing from complex post-traumatic stress.
And that ranges I want to say from like sexual trauma, racial trauma, poverty, trauma, migration, trauma, the toxic stress that folks experience in their bodies that wreak havoc on the nervous system, right that that causes long term cardiovascular disease and respiratory issues and really impacts us on a soul and body level. I that that's, that is my passion. And I am going to be doing that until the end of my life cycle.
Yeah, I'll stop there. I'll stop there. I'm a mama. I'm a mom of two little people who also trying to move away from breaking these very cycles of generational trauma
that are also part of complex trauma. Yeah, absolutely. I think one of the beautiful things of the things you do and, you know, the mission of the organization I formed is essentially to do just that is to end generational ancestral trauma, these wounds, and the internalized systems of oppression that we all hold, you know, from living in these types of spaces that are full of trauma. And so, I just so honor the work that you do because of that, but you know, one of the things that inspires a lot of the students that I work with, and my clients is that, um, I can say, hey, when you heal this for yourself, you heal this for your child, you know,
man, so I'm glad that you throw in the mom part because that's just the story. Yeah, you're full story, spirit, and a part of my identity that just feels so important. And part of the reason why I do it, why I do, and if I want, I want this world to be better for all of our children. Yeah, absolutely. So you know, we're gonna dive deep into the work that you do. We're going to dive deep into the book. The book, by the way, is called The Pain We Carry and
Um, but before we do, I know you have a super awesome retreat coming up in May. So I want you to just talk about it. Because if people can still, you know, register for that I wanted to go, I can't wait to go next year and I can't make these dates this year. But um, if you don't mind just kind of mentioning that and where people can find more information. Yeah, absolutely. So we have so I'm co-facilitating a retreat called Reclaim My Voice, and roots, healing or reconnecting with stolen ancestral wisdom. I'm co-facilitating that retreat with Dr. Liliana Garcia, another Bagua healer, medicine woman, and psychologist and we've come together to curate this space for BIPOC women and femmes to get together and, reconnect with their original blueprint with who they are, underneath the burdens that they carry, right underneath the messages that they've received about themselves from racism and oppression, who they believe themselves to be right from thinking that they are their burdens thinking that they are their trauma, but we aren't right, we are so much more than that. It is.
Trauma and oppression are the things that happen to us. But that is not who we are at our core. And so our retreat serves to help people reconnect with their soul reconnect with their intuition, and also strengthen relationships with their ancestors and, and reclaim or begin reclaiming their ancestral wisdom. And a lot of the time,
women of color, right are struggling with having a voice because we are conditioned to shrink our voice, we are conditioned to silence it, we are conditioned to not take up space. And so that retreat is centered
on really helping us to reclaim our voice and who we are in all the ways.
And I just want to put a plug in because So where can people find information? By the way? Yeah, so you can go on my website, which is Natalieygutierrez.com. And there they can see the retreat offering as well as my group offerings and other offerings that I have. And the retreat takes place in Puerto Rico and Eduardo, which has a beautiful, rich history of Puerto Rico, from May 1 to the fourth beautiful. What's your middle name? Yvette. Okay.
My middle initials are also wide, but it's yes, mean? Which is hilarious. Yeah. So just to, I'm gonna put the plug to your website in the show notes for all those that are listening. And I also just want to plug the retreat one more time, because I went on, you know, before I had before I spoke to you, I went onto your website, and I found that retreat and it looks magical. And it looks beautiful, looks healing. So for those of you who are interested, even if you're not sure, just go on and take a look and watch that video, there's an intro video there, and just see if it calls to you. Because I just think for me, it was very inviting, beautiful. It felt like it was going to be a very healing experience. I can't wait to go next year. So just another plug. Oh, yeah, for sure. That we just have you know, no returns gonna be so exciting.
So let's, let's jump into your book said, yeah.
You know, before we do that, I just want to mention this word, you said the global majority. And I think for people that are new to this work, if you're at the beginning of starting doing this work for yourself, which is, you know, healing yourself from generational trauma from internalized racism, if you're doing that work for yourself in the beginning, that term is not something that you might use, or you might not hear. And you often refer to yourself as another term, and the term might be a minority. And I think it's really important language matters so much, because what we say out loud is what we internalize and what we believe. And that's how we show up in the world. And so do you mind speaking a little bit to I mean, you're very intentional chose the words you chose? Yeah, I appreciate you weaving that in because it is true. I think we've been conditioned, you know, black, indigenous, and people of color have been in have been conditioned, had been programmed to believe that we are the minority. And perhaps at least when it comes to, you know, Turtle Island or the United States, we are the minority here, for now.
But in the world, we are the global majority, we are the majority, right? So that feels important on two fronts, one, because we refer to ourselves as minority and when we when we tell that I'm the minority, I'm the minority. There's something about a shrinking energy that comes from
that I am less significant. I, you know, matter less I am, I am, there's less of me out there. And so there's, there's a, you know, you're a minority, right? You're not that you're not like the rest of it, you're a minority, right? And that takes some elements away from our power. But what we understand globally as a collective, that we make up the majority of the world, that is way more empowering, that says, You are not alone. There are so many people in the world granted, yes, they may look different from you have different customs, maybe you have different religions, whatever that is, but we are still as black as indigenous, as people of color. As folks of mixed race, we are the global majority, right? But we have been taught through white supremacy, right through systems of oppression and racism, that we are the minority, and that is false. And part of that language is used to oppress is used to say, ah, you know, you are the minority, kind of like what I hear, and that is like, stay in your lane, you're in the, you know, you're in the minority. And when we see
that we are not that we see that we are connected to a wider global people.
I want to invite folks to see how that just feels in their body because for me, it helps me feel more empowered.
And a million percent, it does feel like it lights me up in a way that kind of increases my vibration, right. And so, so invitation to everyone else, perhaps like for me, too, I sometimes go back and forth, because I live and work in a white space. And that term is thrown around all the time, we've got to treat these, you know, minority patients, or, you know, we got to, and so it's an when I'm communicating with other people, you know, if I'm in a work meeting, or whatever, those are the terms that are used. And so just an invitation for me to remember that that's an illusion. It's not true. And it was an illusion created to oppress people of color. And so it's an invitation to try it out for yourself, try using the term global majority from now on, when you say, you know, recruiting these programs, you know, for the communities that these folks in the United States, the global majority, as opposed to the other term, right? Totally. Yeah, it does feel much more expansive.
So, um, let's start at the very beginning with your book, you know, you know, now that you've just published a book, I have never published a book. So I don't know the feat, but I imagine that it is no small feat, the writing the rewriting the editing, going back and forth. For someone like you who was already doing the work in such a powerful way, you know, on client bases of familial basis, it sounds like with your community, what inspired you to put all of this into this book, which is a gift, you know, for me, so I'm glad you did it. And I'm just curious, what inspired you to do that. Thank you so much, Vanessa, I, you know, I've always wanted to write and I, in the past, and growing up, I wrote a lot.
That was just my form of channeling my anxiety, channeling the moments of sadness, the moments of grief I wrote. So I have always wanted to write a book, you know, some people, you know, they want to grow up, they want to get married, they want to have children, I didn't want to that wasn't like my thing. I always wanted to write a sandwich, I want to be a journalist. That's what I wanted to do. I wanted to write.
and it was through, you know, being again, and in whether it was community mental health, but, you know, being more surrounded by white therapist, and being supervised by, you know, white supervisors, I began to really see and also, of course, in grad school being taught by predominantly white teachers,
there was something that just didn't feel complete about all that was being shared. Right. And I remember at some point, you know, when I had graduated grad school, and I was working on my hours, that my white supervisor would often share things like, oh, they, you know, this probably this diagnosis, or you should do this and this and that, and I'm like, Well, of course, they're anxious, like they, they don't know how they're going to pay rent next month, or, you know, of course, they're anxious when they are undocumented. And they're, you know, they're afraid that they're going to be reported or they feel like they're theirs.
They're afraid of seeing the cops they're afraid of. So, of course, that anxiety makes sense. And that that anxiety is connected to something bigger. It's not a defect within them. Right? It is not something that is them, it is what is coming from the larger system that is perpetuating this stuff, right? This is how they're responding
to all of this. So it wasn't sitting well, it wasn't. I wasn't vibing with it.
And then fast forward, you know, I started private practice, and had joint you know, social media and all of that. And then my publisher, and acquisitions editor from my publisher, actually somehow found my my page and reached out to me, because I was talking a lot about complex trauma and reached out to me, and, you know, asked me, Hey, like, we are looking for someone to write a book on complex post-traumatic stress. Are you down for it? So it's like, yes, you know. And so they were like, send me the table of contents that added on. So I put together this whole table of contents, and I sent it to them.
But and this is this is how like, universe and ancestors speak through people sometimes. Because my acquisitions editor received it. And then she said, Nathalie,
what is the book that you want to write from your heart? What's the book that you want to write from your heart? And then I said, Well, it is about complex trauma. And, you know, an intergenerational trauma it is about it is about this.
But it centers the global majority essentials of people that are constantly forgotten, and conversations and other psychology books that you know, in all, the plethora of textbooks that I've read, always feels like I'm forgotten always feels like my people are forgotten. It always feels like black, indigenous, and people of color are either forgotten or pathologized. So then I said, Yeah, I want to write about complex post-traumatic stress, but I want to, I want to write it for the global majority, I want to write it for us.
And so she said, go for it. And that was like, and so that is how that book came to be. It was gonna be a general complex trauma book. But when the invitation was given to write that book from the heart, that's what it was. Because I wanted to write an extension of the research. That is that is out there, you know, that all these white sis male psychologists put out there that often feel like they're not including so many things, right? When we think about complex trauma and all of our writing, everyone goes to relational trauma, intergenerational trauma, and attachment wounds, and that is correct. That is correct. But also, it doesn't start there. Right. It didn't start there. It didn't start with my mom, it didn't start with my grandmother, it came from generations upon generations back. And also, it didn't start there, either. It's not just there.
Right? It stems from historical trauma in our lineages. And it didn't just it's not just that either, right. It's also what has happened in our nervous systems, and also, in our minds and in our spirits, when we are living in very racist and oppressive systems and how we have to constantly whether it's assimilated, whether it's, you know, try to keep up and, and make ends meet by working three jobs and missing out on all of our children's things because of capitalism, because we are constantly having to, you know, do all of the things and juggle all of the things and that impacts our nervous systems, that micro aggressions right that aren't that don't feel so micro in our bodies. How does subtle acts of exclusions hurt us or hurt our bodies? How does racism and oppression hurt us? How does that and or how has that also hurt our families?
And how also are the remnants of historical trauma passed down inherited and also part of that perfect storm? So that essentially is what I wanted to make clear. In the pain, we carry that one. We need to stop blaming ourselves, when so much of the pain that we feel
so much of the burden energy that we feel comes from external forces that we've had no control over. And actually, that it makes sense that we are anxious, that we're depressed that we struggle with having a voice that we struggle with impostor syndrome.
that we struggle with fighting one another that we struggle with scarcity that we struggle with competition. And, and feeling like there isn't enough because there has not been enough for us for such a long time, right? So, so much of this healing journey, which is what I see as the road to liberation, is reclaiming all of that stuff, reclaiming our relationship to ourselves to our bodies, to our ancestors to each other. Right, so that we can begin to slowly feel safer in our bodies, and be able to push back against the systems that we are also part of that are perpetuating harm.
1,000,000% and million percent, there's so much there that you said, one of the very first things you said when you answered is how you started seeing things differently in your role when you were, you know, being taught, mentored by, you know, these people that were not people of color that, you know, are the global minority and or white sis male, you know, that which, you know, very similar to me as a physician, when I have all my attendees were like that. But what I, what I really appreciate is that you and not just your voice, but your leadership when you're like, hold on a second, that's not the of course, this is so obvious. This is why this is happening, you know, and I highlight that because that is the power of having women of color who speak up in these spaces,
which change systems, we change the story, we change the narrative, and we change outcomes.
And I just really want to honor your voice and your courage, because as a woman of color, that's the other thing. It's so scary to speak up. Yeah, yeah. It's not a popular thing to talk about racism and oppression, right?
People don't like that. Particularly the people who benefit from that racism and oppression don't like that. But sometimes it's also our very own kin, that don't like that, right? And I can understand, I have a lot of I've grown, it hasn't always been easy, but I've grown a lot of compassion to the people who don't want to speak about it. Because it's easier to just, you know, brush it under the rug, it's easier, because it's also how we survive.
It's also how we survive. And also, when can we
finally believe from a core level that we are deserving of our healing, and, and do more than just survive, but to really thrive to really embody healing, embody liberation, I don't want us to live in captivity of our own minds. But also,
you know, from anyone, right, I want us to really be free and we are not yet free.
1,000,000% I am so grateful that you followed your heart and that you will guided you know, in this direction to follow your heart. And you did that? Because I think that's why obviously what right, white White's had such a big impact on people of color. I love what you said about the liberation. And, you know, here's my invitation to everyone who's listening, if you are still holding on to the illusion that you're not worthy of living a life without guilt, or that you're not worthy of living a life without scarcity. I just want to remind you that that is an illusion that was created outside of us to oppress us. And when we believe it, and when we act upon it, we are doing the work of the oppressor. You know, we now do the work of the oppressor ourselves. And again, I just so much compassion for everyone listening and for me in past versions of me that held on to that illusion and to that story, even now, you know, I do my best to hold space for myself when that shit still comes up for me because I'm still in a journey. I still live in these spaces, and I'm still doing my own work to create freedom and liberation for myself.
Absolutely, me too. Right. And I think this is a lifelong thing. It isn't. We don't we don't just read a book or 12 books and say, Well, I'm liberated right.
We we need to continue to wake up it is a daily choice to say how can I make this state better for me and others, right, how can I
continue to see bring light to the colonial wounds within me to the to the colorism within me to all the ways that I have perpetuated cultural isms and pain right? That is a hard thing. That is a hard thing to do.
We want to we want to believe that we are good and we are and also we all have
Shadows, right, we all have things that need healing because we've all internalized we have all internalized racism, we have all internalized
oppression, it's just, you know, it's like pollution it's in, in the air that we breathe, it's in the water that we drink, it's in the lack of access to water that some people even in the United States don't have, right. It's in all the inequities, and restricted access to really important resources, whether they're food, whether it's housing, whether it's medical, mental health, there is just so much
and, and gatekeeping, I want to say, of people in power,
that are white, and it's in the subtle nuances of what we see. And I think that
it's in the big things, and it's an all the little things. And I think it's you know, what are we afford, not just a combination of subtleties for the you know, for the rest of our life. And so, when we, when we create space for our own healing, I know, for me, it helps me create more compassion for people in power, and when they don't want to let go, because it's hard for me to even see my own privilege, you know, my own while I've benefited.
It's interesting what you said about it's a choice that you make every day, an intentional choice, you know, part of my ancestral lineage comes from Mexico and Toltec, ancient wisdom says, you know, part of you being awake, it's a choice that you make every day that you open your eyes to open your eyes, you know, what I mean? To like,
you know, whatever, yeah. And so, and it's a choice that you make every day. And I have this ritual now, and I open my eyes, I take a deep breath in, and I take another one and I say, okay, spirit, I'm going into the world, you with me? so that I stay awake, you know?
Because it's so easy to forget, you're living a lot of what we're living in, is it you know, in your brain and your thoughts and the illusions that you've got to stay awake? You got to remember, you know, you're you're not the stories that you've been told you're not the story, the nuances that you've seen, you're not at the oppression that you know, people have been trying to make you believe that's not you. Yeah. Right. Right. Right. Right. And they will try really hard to make you believe that that's who you are.
So many ways, right? And so many ways. And it's important that we that we are courageous enough to hold on to ourselves. And to say, No, I define me. You don't define me?
Yes, you are a sovereign being. I am a sovereign being. Yeah, no one has rights over me. Yeah.
So you know, one of the things you said was one of the inspirations behind the book is to really tell the story of how the trauma that you have didn't start with you, it didn't start with your parents or their parents, it was back and back and back and
just reflect anecdote from my own life. I, you know, experienced trauma like everybody else, and I had done so before I read your book about trauma therapist, you know, I've worked with trauma coaches, I work with spiritual healers, years and years and years of doing all these things. And, and I'm so committed to my own healing, and you know, to making myself available to help others also heal. And I can't do that unless I do my own healing. And I think one of the things that spoke to me in your book, it was really early on, I think it's in one of the stories you told, Oh, no, maybe it was in the middle. It's one of the stories you're told about
alcoholism in men. And, you know, from back in the generation and how the pain that they come with, why do you think they do that? Oh, maybe they don't have a job. And maybe they did have a job. Maybe they will be little at work, maybe this maybe that's and I think, because of the, you know, generational trauma that the women in my lineage experienced, you know, coming from poverty coming from the machismo culture, where they had very little say, you know, Manchester for those listening Spanish word for the patriarchy, you know, coming from so much um, verbal, physical, sexual abuse in their own homes and their own marriages and having to deal with that. And when I read that, in your book, I was like, Oh, my gosh, so much of the stories that you that you wrote about, were just, I just resonate with so many of the people that you spoke about, and for the that was the first time in my whatever journey 10 plus years journey into all of this work even longer than that. Gosh, the first time I saw therapist was 20 years ago when my husband said he wanted to get married and I was like, nothing
Next marriages end in divorce.
I was like, alright, well, I guess I clearly have some work to do here if I believe all marriages end in divorce, so and so to know that like,
for you just, I just want you to know the power of your words, you know, and I'm an I'm an educated human being I have access to like, you know, and, and I had never heard anybody say the things that you said, and the way that you said them, which is why I think, um, I just get so emotional. And, you know, I've told you this already. But um, just for all those listening, I have referred this book to everyone. It was the first book that we chose for Book Club and my program inside the journey, I've sent it to all my cousins, I meet, I just when I meet somebody, an incredibly powerful woman of color, I'm like, Oh, girl, have you heard about this book? You know, and I just like, No, I actually have a picture of it in my phone that I just share with people. So I just want you to know that the words that you said, resonate in a way that the work out there has not, you know, it has not resonated. And so I just really want to honor you for that.
Thank you so much, I really appreciate that it was
I didn't write this book alone. You know, I,
I channeled those stories or those stories, channeled people
throughout my whole life
that I've met and seeing their struggles, right, I grew up in, in New York City, New York City Housing Authority, we call it Baruch projects, and Laurie side.
And, you know, my, my publisher said, you know, when you're writing, think of an avatar, think of someone think of like your, your reader who you want this, you know, the person
who you want this book to essentially be for, and write for that person so that they understand.
I was thinking of
the the avatar that was someone that was searching for a book that could explain what it was like to grow up in poverty that could explain what it was like to be, you know, a person of color and also being forgotten in the in the mental health field, and in so many important fields.
Really taking in for the first time, why they're not crazy.
And why they may be struggling with rest, right? Because we do, we struggle so much with slowing down and resting. And what's that about?
That they could see,
of course, I feel this way. Rather, they can offer themselves compassion, the same compassion that they offer other people so beautifully, that they begin to turn it back to themselves, because of course, they will feel this way. Of course, they're going to feel shame. Of course, they're going to feel crazy, and they're going to feel out of control. And they're going to feel anxious and depressed, or what folks consider by when is it bipolar? Right? Between manic and super depressed? Is it that or really, is it the survival strategies that are trying to kick in for you to navigate these toxic environments that we are finding ourselves in right? On top of that, if you are a survivor of sexual trauma, now you're navigating that? Now you're Navy, now you're navigating if people have never believed you, now, you're navigating
the the imbalance of treatment, if you are living in a black body, when you're in school, right schools, a lot of our institutions are created, so that there is a lot more leniency and compassion for white bodies than black and brown and indigenous bodies. Right. And we also see that in the media as well. We see it in the media as well. It is often I want to say all of the time, but I'll just say most in case I'm wrong. Point 1%.
It is always
it is always the Black and Brown and indigenous people that are you know, people of color that are painted as the bad people that don't receive the compassion that are seen as you know, the rapists, the thugs, the gangbangers and all that stuff. And it's always the white people that are seen as with more compassion, essentially with leniency, they're treated with more leniency. They're treated with more compassion and
And they're seen as the victims, they're seen as you know, the saviors
that is just embedded in the very design of the structural,
the structures, right, the structures, our institutions, all that loss is embedded in all of it, we have a real problem. So, of course, of course, you're going to be feeling anxious, of course, you have all of this happening, right. But with, but even with that, it felt important in the book to also say that you are not broken, right? Because a lot of people I've heard so many of my clients, I feel broken, I'm broken, and they're not broken, right? Everything, the collective spirit, right, the systems that were designed to oppress and be racist, that is broken, that needs a whole dismantling, and, you know, doing something else that was already stacked, creating that, right, that that was that the odds are already stacked against us. So this is really just
of all of that, that the pain that we feel, is a response to all of that, which felt really important for the title of the book to be the pain we carry, right? The pain we carry, we are not the pain, we just carry it.
1,000,000% to everything you said, you know, I didn't share this with you either. But I first got your book, because I think they saw it floating around somewhere online. And I was like, What is this book? What is this book? What can it teach me? And so I kind of got it, and I got it on audiobook, and I started listening to it. And within like,
five minutes, I paused and I was crying. I was like, Oh my God.
And then I kept trying to listen to it on audiobook, but I kept pausing because I kept wanting to be like, wait a second, and reflecting on what you were saying. So I was like, I gotta get the book. So I got the hardcopy.
And I actually, I would read it and then listen to it, and then listen and read at the same time, you know, and it would just land differently. And it's funny, so I told my girlfriend's about it. And she bought it on a new book immediately. And then she paused and she was like, Why didn't you tell me I needed to buy the book I was like.
So for those of you listening, if you buy it on audiobook great. And if you realize that you need a hard copy, that's okay, too. You could give us
you know, it's funny. Not funny. But one of the things that you said right now, which is why is it so hard for us to rest? That was one of the first things that I read in this book that, like, so many things brought me I think, to tears because it was speaking to my soul in so many ways, you know, that hadn't been spoken to before. But how you said in the book, if you believe that you have always been behind a horse, it's going to be hard for you to rest. Mm hmm. Yeah, I think I was talking to myself when I wrote that.
Talking to myself, because,
you know, we, we it is ingrained in us by our well intentioned parents and caregivers and grandparents, that we have to, you know, be the best. And I get that right. We want to make sure that we are granted the same opportunities, as you know, as white students, as white children as white peers. We already know
that, you know, the odds are stacked against us, we already know we're up against so on a very, you know, on a on a level of compassion. I really understand why so many of us are conditioned to,
to really be overachievers, to really be overachievers, because we're, we feel like we're trying to keep up and it does such a disservice to our bodies. It does such a disservice to what we're communicating about ourselves. Right? That we're actually communicating because we are black and brown indigenous because we are people of color because we are growing majority that we are innately behind
and so I am that's that's a burden when I said that I am still unburdening because it is so core of, of how I was how I personally was conditioned to be especially, you know, growing up and witnessing a lot of violence in my home and experiencing you know, sexual abuse as a kid for me school was my refuge
So I put everything into school because school was what kept me safe. That was like where my secure attachment would be, right? So
I really have to continue unlearning the love for achieving things and really kind of like decouple that really, really separate that from the charge of, I need to catch up, I'm behind, I need to catch up, right? Because there's always, we always have a voice of like, I'm 40 years old, I'm 41 years old, I have to do this, look at this person, 27 years old, and they're doing so much more than I'm doing. And I'm behind and that. And again, it's part of also that that conditioning of scarcity, that conditioning of we have to compete against each other, especially, you know, when we compete against our own people.
And we have to really begin to divest from all of that, we really have to begin to see where that lives within us. How that shows up in our bodies, and really be in relationship with it. We don't want to judge it. Because that that again, is that part of where we are internalizing our oppressor and we're oppressing ourselves. You don't need the white man anymore to do it, right? We do it ourselves.
That we are really bringing curiosity to those wounds within us because they're there. And, and really bringing that love and compassion and care and tenderness to those parts and be in relationship with them. And then saying, okay, sit down, go play, or go have a cup of coffee, me rooted, Natalie. Got it. Got it from here, right, I have us from here, we are not going to sign up for all of the trainings and all of the, you know, get 20 Millions agree so that we can feel good enough so that we could feel like we've caught up, right? Because our soul doesn't care that we've written 25 books doesn't care that we have bachelors, masters or doctorates, it cares that we are feeling worthy
And there are no external accolades that can give that to us. Only we can do that.
Yeah, that's really beautiful. I want to spend a little bit of time here because a lot of people listening are smart, ambitious, they're high achievers. And I think what I have come to learn is that the truth is you can achieve for the sake of achieving, if you want to live life back, that's a beautiful gift to be able to do. And where we get to sort of, you know, be intentional, or sort of check ourselves is when we're doing it, because we think we need to prove something, or when we're doing it, because we don't think we've done enough. And so I think that that is such a beautiful fine balance. I know for me all the way up, you know, until probably very, very recently, and still now I got to check myself to make sure I'm not doing it. But you know, I remember I was so fast, achieved, succeed, propel achieve succeed propel, you know, this degree isn't good enough, let me get also this joint degree, this isn't good enough, let me just do this too. And then I, you know, I was super young department chief, and that wasn't good enough have to be a CMO, you know, and like, super. And eventually I remember it was like, you know how generous our ancestors and the universe can be with us when they're like, Hey, hold on, and on the wrong path, on the wrong path. And I'm just so blessed that I listened, you know, and that I had the courage to listen, when I was tapped on the shoulder, probably yelled at in the ears, what I should say was probably been on tap on the shoulder for a while I wasn't listening. But point is, I think, um, for me, when I realized, oh, my gosh, I can achieve because I want to, just because I want to, just because I want to be in service and like, what else can I do? How else can I have more people? Not because I haven't helped enough people not because I haven't done enough. You know, and I think that was
that was a really beautiful kind of awakening moment for me. And so just an invitation to those that are listening. I know you're smart, and you're brilliant. And you you know, you have a lot you want to do in the world. And just ask yourself, you know, like, where is it that I'm afraid to slow down? Because if there's fear to slow down, it's probably because you're holding on to some pain there.
Yeah. And also asking
themselves, right, asking
am I wanting this? Because I genuinely want this or am I wanting this? Because I feel like I need to have it.
Because this is a legacy burden of achievement. Is this coming from a place of a trauma reflex response of needing to have it just to have it or is it coming
From a place of like, no, I really want to experience this and have this for myself knowing that it doesn't add to your to your self worth.
Huge. That's huge if you think you're doing it because it's going to make you better than that's your first check. Like, that's your first like, hold on a second. Because nothing can make you better. You're, you're already so brilliant. Yeah. So you do so many beautiful things in the box. So if you're watching this, here's the book. I love the cover. So amazing. Okay, so just for those of you if you haven't yet, read it, go buy it right now on Amazon, as you're listening to this. It's quick and easy. But you know, one of the things that you do that I love so much as you explain in the very beginning all the isms, and so people can quickly identify and say, Holy smokes, I've held on to this one, or I've held on to this one, you know, or, and I love how you do that. And the other thing that I think you do so brilliantly. Oh, by the way, Eric Gentry that you talk about in here. He's one of my teachers, when we back in my younger days, when I when I saw you mentioned him, I'm like, Oh, stop it is this really?
Wild? Circle? I know, it was shocking. I do resiliency and wellness work for this large national physician organization. And he was one of my first teachers and the resiliency work. Yeah, he's amazing. I really appreciate him very much. He's one of the very few
white sis man I will listen to.
And I've learned a lot from him. Yeah, absolutely. The other thing that I love so much about this, and if I would love to hear just your thoughts about this is how you use your gift in you know, in storytelling, because you said I always wanted to write a book, because there's so many people, I think that are experts that are brilliant, that sit down to write books. And, and the books feel very academic, you know what I mean? It's like,
I'm thinking of, I'm looking at all the books on my shelf now. And they're great. And I learned a ton, but they can be dense, and they can fill academic and they don't really resonate with just like, and I think one of the beautiful things you did in your book is you made it so easy to digest. And I think a beautiful thing to use was storytelling, all the cow that was so powerful. I'd love to just hear your thoughts behind that.
It was exactly that reason that you mentioned why we wanted to add storytelling to this one. Because of the books. All the psychology books that I've read, didn't have our stories. It was always about Barbara,
or can or was, it was never even Kenyan Barbie.
It was never about money. It was never, you know. So it was important. Out of all the things, it was important to me to weave in our stories, to have our names there, right. I have not read many books. And I'm trying to think off the top of my head, I want to say I have not read a book that has a channel that isn't written by an author of color that had our stories and our names in these books. And so
it felt super important for me to have our names there, it felt super important for me to have our stories there, so that we could see ourselves in this book. Otherwise, it's going to be just like every other book, every other psychology book. And I didn't want to do that I felt the responsibility of like if this is going to be centering the global majority, and the lived experiences of the blue majority, that our stories need to be told, our stories need to be woven in there. And even then, even with the stories that I've shared, I know that it's incomplete because I can't share every single person's story in the world, right. And so that's one of the things I encouraged in the book and name like I know this book is, is it can't be all encompassing, because I also have privilege, right as a light skinned Latina. And so
I'm going to do my very best. And also
come in and share your story to write come in. Let's continue this conversation. Right. This is not, this can't just be the book has to be a continued conversation. So the stories were absolutely important. They were fundamental to this book, because it was for me how I connect with books when I see my story in there when I see when I relate and I'm like, Oh, yes, I know this. I was just feeling this this morning. Yeah,
As a thank you, thank you for for, for naming this for naming the struggle that has felt important. And also, it feels, it felt like an ode to the people that have come before me to, you know, the aunties and the projects that took care of me to the theater as I looked out the window that also, you know, took care of me, who are not my family, right, but we're community, we all knew what it was like to grow up without. And we looked out for each other, right? So these stories are emblematic of those people, and they channel the energies of those people. And, and that just feels so important. And also, from an ancestral point of view, right, that storytelling is a very important key piece to indigenous wisdom, right? To how we pass out our stories. So that is like, the, the, the route is the storytelling piece in this book. For me, it's so beautiful, and you did it so well. You're so talented. Honestly, I just feel like you spoke to the different stories spoke to different cultures, you know, to men, to women to different gender identities. It was oh my gosh, it was every story. I was like, yes, yes. Oh, no wonder, ah, so good. I love how you say about the ancient wisdom, I think about you know, my grandmother who couldn't read and write, but to him, that woman was brilliant, you know, and so she passed down her, she, you know, in Mexico, you write songs, and you pass down your stories through songs, and, or to a story, you know, and, or through a saying, or through, and my grandma, my mom's always repeating things that rhyme that and they're come from my grandma, right? It's like,
and, you know, in, in a lot of ancient wisdom, you know, in my experience, or at least what I've learned is storytelling is such a respectful way to teach a lesson. Because when you can tell the story, you're not trying to be pedantic, you know, you're just sharing a story, if you resonate, take wetlands with you.
Oh, my gosh. And I think for me, when I read the book, so much landed with me in the stories, you know,
and honestly, the beauty of storytelling, too, it's the way the brain works, right? Like, your brain is going to remember more from what you hear in a story than, you know, all of the other stuff of like, you know, process a process B, but this is what this person experienced. This was their healing journey. You're like, Oh, okay.
That's exactly, that's exactly it. And we learn more from the storytelling than from, you know, this is what it is. And this is what is that? We learn from the stories, we're able to make the connections within ourselves and the world through stories.
You know, I'm so I'm so excited for everyone who's listening to go out and read the book on their own and have your own experience. And then let us know your experience. Follow Natalie, on Instagram, where what are you on Instagram? Natalie? What's your handle? It's at Natalie Gutierrez LMFT. Okay, so follow her and let her know what your experience was because she wrote this book for you. So let her know. And let me know too, because I'm just curious, I just want to know so because the other thing I love that you did is you broke it up in parts. Part one, here's the background, part two, here's what you can do. Part three, which is some of the most beautiful things that you do that I like started practicing myself, is how you can bring in all of this ancient wisdom into your daily rituals in your daily routines.
That was tell us all about that. Yeah, I you know, I saw another thing that I thought was missing. In our psychology books, even the ones that you know, our names, holistic, wasn't really like holistic
Because a lot of what is important to the global majority, and to our communities of color are
the incorporation integration of ancestors and ancestral wisdom, because that is the very thing that that has been lost through colonization through enslavement, right through a lot of the historical trauma in our lineages. And so we're, there's so much rupture there. Right. And that's, that's, that's part of when we talk about historical trauma. We talk about epigenetics, and we talk about the origins are the genesis of intergenerational trauma. Historical trauma is the genesis of generational trauma, and oftentimes, people conflate the two but they're not the same because
Has generational trauma didn't just happen, it stems from it's connected from it's rooted in the historical trauma, the ancestral trauma, right. And so, it feels important that when we are really truly talking about a holistic care that we are talking about the body, and we're talking about the mind. And we're also talking about the spirit, both like the soul, and also connection to the wisdom of our ancestors. And then we're also weaving in community.
And we're weaving an intention, right, because part of this conversation, and we have talked about this earlier, is, we are certainly needing to be clear about the systems that we exist in. But also we need to be clear about the ways we partake in them, we need to be clear, right? Going back to our shadows, we need to be clear about how we also are part of the system, the system isn't just a brick and mortar building, right? That's doing stuff into it. It is it is we've also, naturally each and every one of us in some sort of way have perpetuated some of this harm, right? It's what continues. And so how do we bring that
that curiosity to how we do that right, every single day.
And so, at the end of each part, are just some ways for you and some invitations for ways that you can take care of your body, to also take care and learn more about your inner child, right? And the ways that generational woundings show up, in how you see yourself, and also how you see the world, and all and all the people pleasing, right? The burdens of people pleasing the burdens of secrecy, the burdens of loyalty, all of that, that I that I explore in the pain we carry. And then,
and how we also need to begin reclaiming our connection to ancestors, whatever that is right ancestors known and unknown, because not a lot, all of us have the privilege to, you know, know our ancestors, but where
we all came from somewhere, right? We all we all are connected and have ancestors. And so even if our social practices is, you know, honoring the earth,
that is enough, because the elements of the Earth, right, there are our original ancestors. So how do we create something that isn't just us?
necessarily going to therapy, but what is a practice that we are also beginning to connect with, again, that our ancestors knew
was helpful, right, that our ancestors knew?
I want to say was life saving, really? How do we reconnect with that? And then again, how do we then bring intentionality with who we want to be in the moments where the world is not being who we want it to be? When our partners, our friends, our community, or our colleagues, our bosses, our supervisors, whatever, right? Who do we want to be in the moments that, that people are being who they don't want them to be? So that we walk away, feeling like we are aligned with who we wanted to be in that moment that we are aligned with our values, we are aligned with who we want to be in that in that in that moment, and we are connected with that vision of ourselves? Otherwise, we continue to
feel more shame. And the more shame we feel, the more rage we feel, the more despondent and the spirited we feel, the more helpless, hopeless, we feel, right? And it becomes this whole vicious cycle. So how do we begin to step out of that cycle by also, you know, leading with more intention in our lives, and also reaching out to community because we cannot heal by ourselves? Like there's so much there's so there's so much happening collectively, that's very difficult to just heal individually. We have to come together and have hard conversations, hard, courageous conversations, we need to learn how to have conflict in healthier ways. Because a lot of the time now we have conflict and everything is like canceled, you're canceled. Right and and how,
how much loss? Do we then experience within our own communities when we're just cancelling each other, rather than trying to implement more restorative justice, implement more repair, so that we can do hard courageous repair work and really come together like fundamentally as a community, otherwise, that that divide and conquer tactic
from, you know, oppressive systems is going to continue to win.
Yeah, it's so interesting that you brought in the word cancel, you know, in my experience, canceling feels like such an
eagle response to fear, you know, ego response and
and we think we're being braver, stronger, but it's really just the ego, because if we were really coming from a heart space, we would see that, wow, this is actually much harder to face this, to have a conversation about this to hear why they even would think that you know, like, and of course, you're not always going to agree. And that's not the point here. It's not like and you don't try to prove the other person wrong. The point is, like, how can we even just begin to understand or create, you know, create space for some of us that are not our views? Sometimes the views are hurtful, and we're not going to agree and you know,
but yeah, it's interesting that you brought that term. And the other thing you said is, you know, for us to be mindful of how we continue to perpetuate systems, I just want to put this into the space because I think when you start when I started anyway, to have these, my my entire journey into my own healing, especially my, the racial healing that I had to do, I started seeing how I was a part of the problem, you know, in how I've internalized oppression myself, you know, and how I had to believe that I had to be better than other people, or else like I was going to be at the bottom, and all of those types of things. And when I started doing my own healing, you know, part of my journey is I read a ton of boxes into the books that you actually quoted in the book, you know,
I don't have them on the top of my head, but um, I think the sweet grass book you talked about here. And so anyway, I had done, I had read some of those books, and I also read how to be an anti racist. And you know, Dr. Abram candy. And so if you haven't yet read this book, How to be an anti racist by Dr. Ibram, kendi. He's a PhD in anti racist studies. And he's a black man. And I say that, because what he says in the book that really just like was like, for me, like, huge moment of like, yes. Was that listen, I'm a PhD in anti racist studies. I'm black. And I have to choose anti racism in every moment. And I was like, Yes. Like, that's it right there. If and if you can be honest, if you can have the courage, to be honest to say that, I want to put this into the space because if you're listening, and you miss, you know, it's hard to believe that we may have a bias, it's hard to believe that we might have internalized racism and that we might be perpetuating the system because we're kind, and we want to be helpful.
So I just I want to put that out there because I want for us to understand that it's a moment to moment decision, just like what you said about intentionality. As I think that's a great place. Girlfriend, I would talk to you for ages and ages. But I know we'd have to end but you know what I think a great place to end is what you talked about, oh my gosh, if I were to just flip through this and show you all my notes in here.
You know, one of the things I think you might even be in your last chapter, about empowerment step live intentionally to change unjust systems.
That's exactly not one of the things you said is like, listen, the world is going to be what the world is, and you get to decide how you show up. And that was so powerful for me, because I was getting retriggered every time I'd reenter certain spaces, because I wasn't preparing myself mentally, physically, spiritually for how I wanted to be when I would show up in that space. And I read this book, and I reread the book right before the holidays last year. And so when I would when I showed up into places where I'd get retriggered, you know, childhood things, and I realized myself having the courage to be who I am authentically, you know, and it was just such a powerful practice. And, again, I just saw much gratitude for you giving me the gift and the tools. You know, you also said, um, come together in community because I've realized learning happens individual, you could read a book, but healing happens in community, right?
Right, we learn so much about ourselves. When we are together, you are going to learn when you are in a group, right? You are going to learn what it feels like
to be vulnerable in that group and have other eyes on you. So now it's not just you feeling and your vulnerability and seeing your vulnerability, but now it's you are taking the risk of opening yourself up and being seen by other people and seeing other people, right. You're also opening yourself up to see how you show up in groups. Do you shrink? Do you do this? Do you want to take up all this data is this is all information right? And rather than bring judgment to it
We can bring curiosity and see, oh, of course, naturally, I'm gonna want to do this. If
you know, XYZ was my story, or naturally I'm going to want to do this if XYZ is my, my story, right? And rather than
get upset with ourselves for it, how do we actually, again, bring that compassion to ourselves? The same way that we do with so many other people? How do we bring that, that care that love that tenderness to ourselves? There's so much tenderness within each and every one of us. But we have been conditioned to detach ourselves from it, we've been conditioned to believe that that tenderness is dangerous, that it's just yucky and uncomfortable. And like, you know, nobody Levina to like it doesn't what is the word? It's not necessary to doesn't matter. Go there. Right. But we need to go there. Yeah, that is, that is what is crying out for our attention. We need to go there, we need to witness the parts of us that are carrying these burdens that are calling for healing.
Absolutely. And you see that in community, you know, um, there's a, there's a very, very wise good on that. Medicine Woman, a healer, her name is sadita Reese, she's passed.
And her a lot of people don't know who she is, but a lot of people know her students. And one of her students is Don Miguel Ruiz, you know, the guy that wrote The Four Agreements. And sorry, that was his mom. And he learned everything he learned from his mother. And one of the things his mother says is an intentionally sent saying on yesterday that taught us because I want people listening to know the power of Quran that us and medicine women and healers. And even though they were maybe not the person that wrote the book, guess where the learning comes from, it comes from the Great Divine, and you know, the feminine and the and the beauty and the power that they hold and just holding space. One of the things she says kind of speaks to what you said at the end there, which is you're on a journey to fall in love with the love of your life, and that love of your life is you. And until you can get to know you and love you on every level. You will you will always be on a journey like that is your journey everyday you get to choose how can I get to know myself more, accept myself more love myself more?
And that right there is reclamation.
That right there takes courage. And that right there is how we resist
all of these systems that are not wanting us to exist. That is how it was a no, no, I'm here.
I'm here, and I see me.
I want to just give everybody a moment to feel that because I felt that.
And if you have the ability to read, listen to this, and just look at yourself in the mirror, you know, and see yourself see your beauty. You know,
it's so powerful, so powerful, and so beautiful. I'm not that I want to wrap up, but
we've been talking for a long time.
And you know, again, I just want to hold space for you and honor you, Natalie, for everything you brought out into the world for you honing your gift and sharing it. And for those of you listening, this is why it's so important for women, for women of color for fans, when you have a gift to really like step into courage and share your gifts with the world when you're telling yourself the story that it's not good enough, just remember you're keeping your gift from healing the world. You know, I just I honor you so much because your your book and the healing that it had for me and for so many others. And it will live on for generations and 1000s and 1000s of years your book will live on for 1000s of years. And it will continue to live on and it will continue to heal. I mean, imagine the power of that. It's just like, oh my god, I'm just so grateful. And so for those again, it's called the pain we carry healing from complex PTSD. And you know, it's specifically it says healing for people of color. But I have referred this to any marginalized community if you consider yourself even a woman, oh my gosh, it's so healing even if you're like so what doesn't matter if you're an immigrant, you know, I just I really even if you're immigrating from a white space, I want you to know that this book is going to be healing, it's going to speak to you. And so I really just recommend this to everybody. A few other things. It's so easy to read, so easy to digest. There's amazing
things that you can do along the box. So
You say like posture reflect amazing reflections. So this is all available to all of you, when you read the book and do it for yourself. I'm gonna link, Natalie, in the show notes here, your website, your Instagram handle, I'll put the name of the book and link the book in here as well. So you guys can all find it easily. And I know you have a second part coming out of this book, I don't know if you can talk about it yet. Maybe I should have said that i can i So I'm reading the workbook for the pain we carry. And it's going to have a lot more exercises connecting with the mind body spirit and intention community. So it is essentially part two, it's part two. So I'm, I'm excited about it. Can I add one thing? It's just important to share that, you know, folks asked me, I've had white people asked me, could I read this book. And I think it's important to say, yes, you absolutely should read this book, especially if you are, you know, mental health provider,
any sort of provider, or a friend or family member of people of the global majority, then it's important for you to read this book, so that you can get a glimpse of how to support care and also of the struggle of the global majority. So I definitely recommend it to everyone. That's a beautiful point. I think, um, if you consider yourself an ally, you need to read this book, because I have colleagues that consider themselves allies that, you know, they still hold on to stories that it's the same for everybody, you know, and so I'm still creating patients in peace and love for you know, people like that. And that if you consider yourself an ally, or if you even want to be an ally, or if you see why it's so important to support women or women of color, or fans, I really just encourage you to read this book, I just, it's thank you for sharing that bring that up. Any last parting words, Natalie, before we go,
I think I just want to invite people
go at their own pace in their healing. I think it's just so important, because one of the ways that that these colonial messages also come up for us, and that are really fueled and rooted in white supremacy, is that sense of urgency, as well as doing the right or the sense of like perfectionism, right. And so now you went from not doing any healing at all to like joining all the therapies that exists.
And I just really, I just want to I just,
if there's anything that people take away from this conversation today, that it be that they begin to lean into trusting their own intuition, intuition, more and more, and that they begin to see themselves for who they are at the root rather than who they believe themselves to be because of internalized messaging received from whether it's, you know, the familiar the generational wounding, or systems of oppression or racism that
that they commit themselves on the journey to reclaiming it is the only
road to liberation and liberation of
our lands, our minds, our hearts, our souls.
1,000,000% I felt so much love coming from you in your book at the end of the chapter when you said take time. Do you need something right now? Take time. It felt so loving. It felt so compassionate.
I was like, I can't believe she even included that sentence. So so loving, it was just wow, I was like, Wow, this woman is like, this is like just love and body. You know what I mean? It's
I think about like,
I wanted it to feel that. I wanted it to feel that so thank you. Oh, that's beautiful that that was your intention. That's what I felt that you know that Bob Marley quote, emancipate yourself from mental slavery. That just came up for me when you were saying, you know, it's the only way to liberation. It's all of his songs. You know, I remember in high school listening to them, because that's what people listened to, but I didn't I never actually listened to the words. And, you know, a few years ago, as I started on my own journey of healing, I started listening to his music and I was like,
okay, no wonder
and um, but ourselves can free our minds. Yes.
it. My gosh Natalie, again, I just honor you, I honor your gift. This was such a sacred conversation for me that just, you know, I really, I want you to know that it's going to mean a lot to everybody that's listening. Your book, I hope everybody goes out and buys it please the pain we carry, here's your invitation to go buy it again. And if you are a part of our group and the journey Natalie's coming to our group to share her lovely wisdom and her power and all of the goodness, so, just um, thank you so much for the gift that you offer the world. It seems such a blessing. Thank you, Vanessa. Thank you so much. Thank you for having me. And thank you, Lily. Absolutely. All right, sweethearts. We will see you next week. Adios.
Hey, sweet friends. If you love what you're learning, then you've got to join us in the journey. It's my all inclusive program and the best community out there giving you the education you never knew you needed to help you create a life you love. Join us at Vanessa Calderon md.com forward slash join. I'll see you there.
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The Empowered Brain: About the Podcast
This podcast is for all women, those that identify as leaders and those that don't, yet. You'll learn how to let go of guilt and self-doubt so you can show up with confidence everywhere you go. No more questioning if your idea is good enough to share, if it's worth it to speak up, or if you're a good enough leader. All that self-critical B.S. stops now. Listen in as masterful educator and Harvard grad physician, Dr. Vanessa Calderón, teaches you how to let go of the things standing in the way of your success as a leader. Get ready, this podcast will accelerate your personal and professional growth.
Dr. Vanessa Calderón, MD, MPP has over 20 years of leadership experience. She is a Harvard grad, ER physician, Life and Leadership coach, and a mother of 2. She's a first generation Latina and is dedicated to uplifting her community. She's the founder of the Latina Leadership Accelerator, where she uses education and coaching to support the personal and professional development of women at all stages of their lives and careers.
The Journey (to your empowered brain)
This evidence-based coaching program has everything professionals need to be more productive, feel better and get more done, in only 12 weeks.
Learn more and join here: www.vanessacalderonmd.com/join