Episode 59

Releasing Trauma with Elina Kadaja

Published on: 20th June, 2024

In this episode, Teemu Arina meets Elina Kadaja to discuss the harrowing experiences which led to her becoming a trauma release therapist.

Elina Kadaja is a renowned therapist specializing in transformative meditation, breathwork, and the mind-body connection. She has facilitated healing for over 2000 individuals through both private and group sessions. Elina's expertise lies in helping clients achieve profound peace, clarity, and trauma release, guiding them to reconnect with their true selves.

Her approach is particularly effective for emotional and psychosomatic issues that resist conventional medical treatment. An avid traveler, Elina has enriched her practice with insights from ancient cultures, having trained extensively in Ecuador and India, where she became certified in tantra yoga and meditative therapies. She is joyful, curious, and always open to engaging in conversations about her global adventures and learnings.

This conversation was recorded in June 2024.

Visit https://elinasufia.com/ and follow @elinasufia_breathwork on Instagram to learn more!


Check https://biohackersummit.com for upcoming events & tickets!


Devices, supplements, guides, books & quality online courses for supporting your health & performance: https://biohackercenter.com


Key moments and takeaways:


00:00 A teaser of Elina Kadaja's gripping story

00:36 Introduction by Teemu Arina

02:05 Elina's background

03:49 The relevance of an individual's story

04:19 A classic case

05:22 Trauma is not what happened, but the response

06:40 A mother's lack of sleep

07:49 Where in the body do we store emotions and trauma?

10:40 Wilhelm Reich's body map

13:03 Shaking things off (literally)

13:38 Freeze, fight or flight

15:56 Showing vulnerability is a challenge

17:05 When breathwork goes wrong

19:25 What you might now know about Arnold Schwarzenegger

20:57 An example of astrology

22:14 Elina's baby sister

22:57 Elina tells her gripping story

24:54 Emotional rollercoaster ride with a sociopath

25:51 Not really a refugee camp

27:00 The fate of children, women, and men under ISIS

27:59 The escape plan

29:50 Trapped in a nightmare

30:23 Six hours at gunpoint

32:07 Waiting for the bullet

33:51 Taking the risk

34:42 No PTSD for years

36:25 Trauma response

37:39 Expressing what is triggered is crucial

40:27 Doing therapy work helps you unpack

41:13 Rage is an important catalyst

42:45 Don't gaslight yourself

43:55 Going through various trainings and meditations

45:40 Discovering breathwork

46:53 Altered states and micro trips

48:34 Subconscious trust

50:32 Mirroring each other's experiences

51:00 Lack of proper communication tools

52:05 Using dance movements to calculate the numbers

53:06 We don't even know how to use our brains

53:21 Just surrender in trust

54:16 The difficulty of the hero's journey is a gift

55:24 We come from oneness

56:18 Elina's current goals and outlook

58:52 Appreciating what you have needs the right frame of reference

59:41 Elina's dream (the question she wanted to answer)

60:33 Elina is coming to the Biohacker Summit

61:01 How to get in touch and work with Elina

Transcript
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(Intro) He was pissed off that I wouldn't crack.

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He was trying to break my spirit, but I was so angry with him.

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It was stress response to smile, and he would just hit me with a gun when I smiled.

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And I had to break.

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Then I was just waiting for the bullet because I just wanted it to end.

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The bullet was the best thing.

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Just get it over and done with. In my head, I already had said my goodbyes.

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Music.

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Welcome to the Biohacker's Podcast. My name is Teemu Arina, and today I am interviewing

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Elina Kadaja, who is specialized on trauma release, breathwork,

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and in the biohacking community, people do breathwork.

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Something like Wim Hof method is extremely popular,

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but this is a very different type of breathwork because this is designed for

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trauma release and people store trauma and memories in their bodies and breathing

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is probably one of the most direct ways to access your autonomic nervous system.

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Autonomic meaning absent from direct thought or intervention but actually through

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breathing you can access consciously your nervous system and we will discuss that with Elina.

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And Elina has an incredible story.

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Just like many who are on this healing, biohacking, wellness path.

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She has her own personal story that got her here to do this kind of work.

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And there's this Greek mythological concept of the wounded healer,

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and she's definitely a wounded healer.

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And what she has done is help over 2,000 people breathe through their traumatic experiences.

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And I don't know anyone who has seen so many people like individually breathing through their stuff.

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Welcome to the show, Elina. So nice to be here. Thank you, Demo,

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for opening up this space for me to be vulnerable, but also share cool stuff about breathwork.

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I love it so much. So today I'm mostly doing one-on-one sessions on breathwork and trauma release.

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And I'm using bodywork techniques like deep tissue massage and breathwork.

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Breathwork I use to trigger the nervous system to the fight or flight response

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to the parasympathetic where we see where the body keeps the score.

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And then we use massage, yoga exercises, and sounds, and active meditation,

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and talking, and psychological tricks to...

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Recondition the subconscious mind. My favorite part or why I got into this was

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because I didn't want to talk about what happened to me.

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I did not know how to talk about what happened to me.

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And I would just blank out when I needed to share my story.

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And this is why this worked so well, was because I didn't need to say anything.

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I just could allow my body to express and release stress.

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So today I can help other people to do the same, to just get the emotions out.

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Because a lot of times people come here and they ask, so I have this dysfunctional

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pattern in my life, but I don't really have a trauma.

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So do I need to have a trauma to come to your session?

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And I'm like, no. And also, we're not looking for the story behind your dysfunctions or your pain.

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The story is only relevant to the extent that we can find the trigger in your body.

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Because oftentimes it happens also that a person has one story about an event

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that happened in their head, and then they release the stress from their body,

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and the story changes. Can you just give some example?

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Can you give some example? Oops, what? Made a story of someone with anxiety, or they release it.

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How? Yeah, the most classic case is that somebody is angry at their ex.

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And then after breaking up, every time they see somebody with a similar behavioral

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pattern, they get all these emotions coming back, as they did with their ex.

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And they come to the session, they release the anger, they express it here,

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they go into the shake, they cry.

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Normally sadness is always under the anger. Anger is just sadness that was not witnessed.

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It becomes anger. But because we're good people, we don't also express our anger,

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then it becomes passive aggressiveness.

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And then people start to ruin their other relationships or start to hurt themselves.

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So basically, they had a traumatic experience, they get to a new relationship

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or new interactions with other people.

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And they are responding to those situations, is not based on what's happening

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right there, but what happened to them long before.

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Gabor Mate talks about that trauma is not what happened to you,

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it's your response to it.

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So the response keeps on repeating over and over again.

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And it's quite, it really puts you in a kind of a prison of your own making, right?

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Yeah, and we just get stuck in the loops and we keep telling ourselves the stories that,

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oh men are always like that or women are

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always like that but it is just our personal story

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loop that we just keep on visiting because I

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really like how neuroscientists how they explain how every cell in our body

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is always striving towards harmony and also us as humans we always want to create

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more harmony around ourselves and inside of us so we're looking for partners who can bring

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out things inside of us that are not yet harmonious, so we can heal them and

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become more harmonious.

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So if we don't recondition.

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Ourselves, we look for somebody who helps us to recondition.

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So this is the most classical case people come with is some breakup trauma.

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But I also have mothers who cannot sleep because they have little children.

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And specifically, there was a case where a mom had two babies.

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One could not fall asleep without snapping the mother. This is snapping, yeah?

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Pinching. Pinching the mother, Yeah. And the other baby needed to be breastfed the entire night.

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So she could only get two hours at a time for the last three years.

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And she was a nervous wreck. And she comes to breathe.

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And after the breath session, she was crying for two or three days at home.

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I was in Iceland and she messaged me. What do I do? All I do is cry.

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I'm like, do we need to, are we going to do an online session.

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She's like, no, I can do it. And after the week, she comes back for a second

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session and she said that she can sleep now.

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One of the babies is wanting to sleep alone now, and the other one does not

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need to be breastfed at night.

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So all she needed to do was to calm her nervous system down so the kids could

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calm down and sleep at night. I see.

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Can you describe the different parts in the body where people store trauma?

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I've seen this study from Finland, almost like a heat map of the body where

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people describe different emotions and someone might hold things on their shoulders

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or feel heartache in their chest area or stress in their stomach.

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So is that also reflective as an example of where people typically store certain types of emotions?

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Absolutely. And I love how our scientific community today can also prove that,

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for example, a safe, secure,

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loving relationship where you feel loved and you can love is boosting all areas of your life.

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And heartache is physically harmful for your heart because your heart is not getting enough oxygen.

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So there's special exercises, those trauma release exercises that we can use

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to release tension around heart.

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And of course, heartache is around heart. And like you said,

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the trapezius muscle is storing the extra weight.

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And normally what happens is that, especially again, moms, but also dads,

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they take a lot of responsibility on their shoulders.

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So these trapezius muscles get tight and then guilt kicks in because we can

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never do all the things we were promising to ourselves or our families,

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or we just need to take the superhuman cape off sometimes.

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So guilt and shame is on the shoulders. And sometimes when people are in sessions, I grab their necks.

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Is grabbing their kittens from the neck. Yeah.

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And this releases so much humiliation because we humiliate ourselves in our heads a lot.

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Sometimes it is that we talk to ourselves in our head.

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If somebody from outside would talk to you like this, you would be like,

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get the fuck out of my life.

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But somehow it is justified to talk to ourselves in our heads like this.

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And I'm not saying that everybody does this, but we are our worst critics.

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And then when self-esteem issues step in, then the diaphragm gets tight and

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this is connected to your stomach.

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So digestive issues, people get overweight, liver is connected to the diaphragm.

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You cannot process toxins and there's connective tissue that goes all around the heart.

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So we get heart issues and yeah, fear in the kidneys, shame, and the hip, and so on.

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Control issues over back, ancestral stuff in your legs, in your knees.

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The list is long. Getting cold feet. Yes, yeah.

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And being grounded, Wilhelm Reich, the Austrian analyst who built the body map,

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the psychoanalyzing map for us to see people's personality types based on their

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body structure and how they respond to situations and how their childhood trauma was,

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explains very well that when somebody has, for example, very long hands,

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then it could be that when they were a child, they wanted to be picked up a

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lot by their parents, but they were not picked up.

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In Soviet Estonia for example it was written in books that you should not pick

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your child up when they are crying because you're going to spoil them.

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So when people have very long hands it's a lot of times that they have fears

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with intimacy asking for intimacy and when they have.

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That are extending out then it

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might be that they were missing some breastfeeding or sucking yeah so they enjoy

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a lot of sucking the body parts that were malnurtured is that the word got extended

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or when people have very narrow legs they need a lot of grounding if there's a person

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who has very thin legs is going extreme

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with spiritual stuff they're gonna fly

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away real fast so if you

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want to do spiritual stuff and you have very thin legs you

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better exercise your legs to stay grounded yeah i see is that also gestalt therapy

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and like looking at facial expressions muscles in the face structure in the

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face i am not trained in that therapy but this person you Wilhelm Reich.

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Your method is based on Wilhelm Reich. His teachings, yeah.

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Got it. All right. There is many books out there.

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For example, the Dutch author Van den Kolk has written about how the body keeps the score.

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Levine has written about these things. Also how animals shake off trauma.

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And as humans, we tend to suppress emotions, while animals in the wild,

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they have like different body-based techniques of shaking off the trauma.

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And there's this technique called TRT or trauma release technique,

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which is helping someone to get into the shake, to shake off something.

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So do you do something like this where you help the person to release the tension

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that is stored somewhere deep when they are going through a certain experience?

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When people come to group sessions, I always in the beginning show them the

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basic trial release exercises and it's.

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When your nervous system is triggered to the freeze, fight or flight response,

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the stress area of the nervous system, we normally have three responses.

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Either we're going to freeze, we're not going to do anything anymore.

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When a stressful situation happens, we just blank.

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We fight. We either pick fights with others or in breathwork sessions,

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people start to breathe really fast to avoid going into connection with their emotion.

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Or they're gonna run, run away in stressful situations, or in breathwork situation,

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they will start moving really fast.

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So trauma release exercises are there to do very slowly, much slower than you breathe.

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And this is to show your nervous system, to prove your body that you are able

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to stay present with your sensations.

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It is always very important when you go to trauma release to resource yourself

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in your body or just have an inner smile or really I anchor people with compassion

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before we go in a session.

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So when they have a difficult emotion coming up, they can hold it with a lot

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of acceptance and then move really slowly through it and give it a sound,

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give it a facial impression.

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Hug themselves. There's areas on our bodies that when we stroke,

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start releasing hormones.

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Yeah. And it's just magical how it works.

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A lot of people I know go to breath sessions and they're like in cramps all over their body.

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And they're like, I can do it. I'm going to go over it.

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And this is also trauma response to not listen to yourself, to just fight on,

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to disconnect connect through overworking to pushing yourself too far.

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This is why private sessions are so effective is because here we can find your

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little strategies of avoiding healing because it's very comfortable for the

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brain to stay in the way your nervous system is right now.

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But when your nervous system wants to start making changes, your mind first

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panics because it needs to start working with another operating system and remodel itself.

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That's why it's useful to have a therapist to work with you so they can see what are your escapes.

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So you are in a vulnerable state and you don't want to show that to others.

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And when you are in group setting, you want to be the good boy or the good girl.

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Not necessarily even this, because in a group setting, everybody's laying on

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their mat and eyes are closed.

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You cannot see what others are doing. The music is loud. And I have never heard

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so rare that somebody is bothered by other people's expressions.

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Of course, sometimes people hold themselves back a little bit.

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But in a group setting, it is more that when you have an emotion coming up and

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you are not familiar with the work yet, you can stay in one emotional loop.

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Just keep venting the same emotion.

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Or you get your escape strategy.

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For example, this fight response. You don't go into slow moving or slow breathing

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when the motion comes up, but instead you.

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More speed on you start racing more

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or you when emotion comes up you

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freeze or you stay in this body cramp you

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don't go into the trauma release exercise when you have

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cramps in your body the cramps just come because we

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have a fear of expression coming up and we

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go into the freeze response sometimes people say that oh yes i've been to a

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breathwork session and it was horrible because my entire body cramped and that's

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because they were not taught the techniques how to get this shaking happening

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in the body that helps the body to release stress.

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The breathwork workshops are not to give you more stress.

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They're there to help you to balance your nervous system.

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So people have a lot of different coping mechanisms that they develop throughout their lives.

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Can you maybe describe a little bit about what kind of strategies people have,

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how they develop those, how they avoid trouble.

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I see that a lot in highly successful, high-performing individuals,

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that they're driven by never feeling being enough.

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Over always surpassing their own achievements, and never feeling fulfilled.

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Achieve something, there's always someone who does better, or like this kind

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of lack that drives their need to be recognized, accepted.

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And in the end, they just don't accept themselves. And that's the driving force

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behind that kind of behavior.

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And there's people end up in different places in society because whatever happened

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to them and that program is running and you might become an entrepreneur or

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you might become an artist or you might become a speaker,

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a podcaster, who knows, because of the imprint that you received earlier in life.

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There's no one, I wish there was one simple answer.

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Of course, there's first mirroring your parents' nervous system,

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the way your parents were dealing with difficult emotions.

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Then there is how you were punished, how you were rewarded is going to drive you.

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But also, I know there's people in terms of astrology, believers and disbelievers.

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But the more I study astrology, the more it helps me to realize that there's

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no one answer to one person or that, OK,

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if I'm going to reward this behavior and punish this behavior and act like this around my kid,

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this is how they will grow up.

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It's not like this. For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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Do you know this documentary? It was on Netflix. So he was a very competitive

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kid, but his brother was a very artistic kid.

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And their father was a military guy in Nazi Germany and gave them a very competitive

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upbringing, very strict, very disciplined. plant.

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And Arnold Schwarzenegger is now a governor and his brother committed suicide

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and became an alcoholic.

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So there's just, this is why I like the one-on-one session so much is that we can just,

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I can just mirror your nervous system and give you the kind of breath work that is tailored for you.

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For example, last week I had a lady here who has dedicated her entire life on

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raising her boys. She has three boys.

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And we do personal analysis tests.

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And she's like, all I care about in my life is my boys, my husband.

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And there's one more area, oh, sports, but she doesn't do sports anymore.

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So she just cares about her boys and her husband.

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And we're like trying to see what else can she, she was looking for self-fulfillment.

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And her problem was that she's always getting

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in fight in her boys school

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she's always getting in fight with the teachers to defend

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her boys and i asked her so do you

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know when you're born and she gives me her details

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and i tell her that you are born on mars

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and moon's node this means that your life

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is about community and masculine warrior

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energy and if you're not doing sports to offload all your warrior energy you're

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gonna start picking fights or you're gonna look for fights so I told her that

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now you need to learn about Mars energy because you're born on Mars if there's

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it's it is boiling inside of you to.

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Things right and get some discipline in and you

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have three boys no wonder you're feeling

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fulfillment from raising them because this

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is where you can get your masculine energy balance and then she said oh actually

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yes when i was being born my parents thought that i am a boy and i was wearing

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all blue clothes when i was growing up because everything everybody thought

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that boy is going to be born.

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So she was raised as a boy. I see. How were you raised?

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How was I raised? That's a big question. I asked my mom, how was my childhood?

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And she told me that you raised yourself. I was a middle child.

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First, I was a second child. But when I was nine years old, I had a baby sister born.

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And I took it very seriously when she was born. I took her as my little kids.

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I was babysitting her a lot and I even got comments on the streets that you're so young.

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You've ruined your future with getting a kid so young. I was like, she's my sister.

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But it was funny. I love to take care of her. And I was a very active kid. I was very creative.

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I played a lot of music. I've written five plays and staged them and been to acting school.

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So you're a doer and you get things done and you come up with all kinds of projects all the time.

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Let's go into your story of what got you into becoming a therapist yourself.

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I guess that was not your plan in the beginning to become a therapist.

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No, it was not even on my radar.

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I went to Estonian business school. I studied entrepreneurship and sales and

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I went to Copenhagen Business School, studied event management and marketing.

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And then I was working in a photography agency in Orange County in LA for a little bit.

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And then I was looking for another job in US and I got an offer from American

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company that was planning to save the world.

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And it ended up me being traffic,

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human traffic to this con artists who used me to steal about $10 million from the Kurdish soldiers.

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How did that happen?

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So first he told me that we're going to build a refugee camp and he was interviewing me.

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I was in Estonia and he was interviewing me for a month and he looked like a proper family guy.

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And I've been interviewed before because I had profiles up for employment.

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And of course, there were guys who were looking for a third wife saying that,

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oh, we have this assistant job.

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But by the end, it turned out they were just looking for a hookup.

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And I was going through this scenario with him as well.

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He was just so solid and saying that, yes, he loves his wife a lot and his children.

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And in a weird way, I don't remember a lot about this interviewing process.

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I just remember this feeling that I always knew that it was very important to

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show up when he He says that he needs to have another talk with me.

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And I remember there was a lot of emotional roller coaster also in the interviewing process.

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I ended up being there for almost two years and it was filled with emotional ups and downs.

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This is how I cannot give him diagnosis, but this is how the sociopathic people

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do is that they find your weakness. They build your ego up.

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And then they tear you down, give you an impression that your life depends on them.

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They can do whatever with you.

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And he got me to sign a NDA, like 60,000 as a penalty if I say anything that he has told me.

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And he was offering me a good amount of money and I could save people.

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That was when ISIS was very active in also Europe and in Middle East.

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And I could save those women and children.

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But it ended up being something different. It ended up me needing to,

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now I know that's a weapons factory.

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So I was just finding people from all over the world to recruit them to Iraq

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and to go to China to bring materials and stuff. So you thought you were building a refugee camp?

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First it was a refugee camp. Then I found out, of course, it was a weapons factory

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because that's what I was people and equipment for.

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But I knew that we're doing this to get rid of ISIS because ISIS there was killing

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all the Kurds and was also coming to Europe.

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And I was told that the only...

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Ground militia that is actually taking ISIS off is the Kurdish army and everybody

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else is doing like airstrikes and ISIS was also using underground tunnels and

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I was given an impression that nobody actually wants to get rid of them.

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They like the chaos they're bringing there so they can just sell more guns and

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nobody's actually wanting to get rid of them.

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So I thought every day I was watching news and documentaries and stuff and seeing

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how the children were just taken to the ISIS training school and women were

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taken as sex slaves and men were either killed or recruited to ISIS.

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They didn't have any other choice.

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And it really fucked up my mental health because I was told that it is my fault

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that they are dying because I have not built the weapons factory I figured out

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to fucking build strings.

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So you ended up in your 20s. I was 23, yeah. In your 20s to build a weapons factory in Iraq.

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Yeah. Forced to do that. Yeah. Thinking that you're helping the world by a sociopathic person.

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So you are physically now in Iraq doing this work.

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And when this became, all the facts became a reality for you,

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you start to unravel what's happening here. I assume you wanted to escape.

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Yeah. So my escape plan was that I found a guy from Philippines to train.

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I was going to train him to take over my work.

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And I told my boss that I need to go back to school because he wanted me to

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start building an ammunition plant.

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And I was like, what? Somebody smokes in the freaking factory?

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We're all being blown up. What the heck? And it was just insane.

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And I told him that because I saw how he was manipulating with the money and how it was all shit.

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I realized that this is not what we're not saving the world here. He's stealing money.

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And there was also a lot of sexual harassment that was going on there.

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And Stockholm syndrome developing from there.

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Hormonially, women are very well manipulated through sex.

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And so my escape plan I was

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developing it half a year I was training the

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guy from the Philippines to take over and I was giving all

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my tasks to other people so started in

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November and I said that in May I'm gonna go back home to finish school so I

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can come back and he was like yeah you can do it I'm gonna even pay you some

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little salary so you can for your apartment and you're You're definitely going

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to come back. And I was like, yeah.

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And when the date came closer for me to leave, he started doing crazy stuff like.

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Ordering us to go to his apartment three o'clock at night and giving like very

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scary speeches and scaring us with the military and asking everybody to stay with him.

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And I was always like, no, I'm going to go. Like we had an agreement,

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I'm going to go. And he got very angry.

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He called the military to pick me up, to put me in a compound so I would work from the prison.

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But luckily the military didn't agree because they had worked with me.

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So they knew that I'm definitely not the person to put in

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prison if anybody is it's him and then

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he tried to kill me himself but I think what helped me

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was that I really tried to

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heal him with love I thought that if I love him enough he will become good he

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will come to his senses and I think he couldn't pull the trigger at the end

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because of that I don't know what he was preparing to have me killed for over six hours.

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Yeah. And finally he allowed me out or maybe he just realized that he will be

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killed himself if he kills me.

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But when I finally got out, he was put in prison himself in first in Iraq.

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And then he got back to the US and now one month ago, finally he was sentenced for 70 years in prison.

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Were you in a position where you're ready to die? Yeah.

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How did that intimidate him that you were ready for it? He was pissed off that I wouldn't crack.

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He was trying to break my spirit, but I was so angry with him.

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When somebody has been raping you, your employees, stealing money,

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lying so much, torturing people, and you just kept on believing that.

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I can heal him with love. You just get so angry in the end. And I just hated him so much.

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And I could just smile at his face when he was there. Because I was just so pissed off.

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And then I think it was stress response to smile, of course.

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And he would just hit me with a gun when I smiled.

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And I had to break. and

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when I broke then I couldn't

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hear him anymore it was it was like I was under

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water everything like this and I would only have this one song in my head it's

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lyrics just repeating in my head and then I was just waiting for the bullet

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because I just wanted it to end the bullet was the best thing that could have happened that moment.

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Because if you're just being threatened and hit, it's way worse than to just

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get it over and done with.

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In my head, I already had said my good ways.

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So he let you go? Yes.

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First, he said that there's a meeting in three hours in the office,

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and you can choose if you come or not.

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And of course, I went because I was under an impression that if I do any moves,

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the military is going to come and pick me up because I had seen it happen before.

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So I was really scared to cross him.

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I didn't know at the time that he already tried to call the military to pick

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me up and they didn't come.

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If I knew this, I would have been way ballsier than I was.

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And yeah, so I went to the morning meeting and I just cried there.

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I convinced me to stay through compassion he

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told me that the only he has he

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loves me as much as he loves his daughters he told me he tried this way so they're

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gonna kill me if you leave and all this kind of stuff and in my head I was like

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it's crazy how they can manipulate you and then I had these voices in my head

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they were just yelling at me Alina fucking go this is your opportunity.

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And then I went to the other, to my friends and I told them that,

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okay, there's, I think there's a window to leave.

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And they were also skeptical. They were like, but what if we leave and they're going to pick us up?

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And we decided to take the risk. We just booked the tickets and.

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Taxis and packed our stuff I think like in

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10 minutes something like this I left

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a lot of stuff there too and then just took taxis to another city and got back

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to Estonia and and funny enough I didn't cry I wasn't I didn't have any deep

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emotions I was just in hyper focus and we were even like making jokes and humoring,

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because somehow body is so smart that when you are in a high stress situation.

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It's going to do whatever it needs to get you out of there in one piece.

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And I would say that the post-traumatic symptoms kicked in five years after

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the event, five, six years after.

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So you were functioning normally four years, five years? There was,

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of course, I had the rape symptoms, the sexual stuff and like the muscle things.

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But I had a friend who told me a couple of years ago that, hey,

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Alina, just tell me how much money you have and I'm going to help you build up your business.

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And this sentence was such a big trigger for me that I started believing he's

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a psychopath because my boss in Iraq, he had told me that you need to give me

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all your money and I'm going to let you home.

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And there was just a sequence of how they said it. And when this friend two

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years ago told me he wanted to help me.

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But it was such a big trigger for me that I got in a horrible paranoia loop.

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So I started like living in a parallel reality that I needed to keep telling

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myself that it is not true on a conscious level.

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But when I would find some kind of proof that my paranoia is valid,

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my mind would jump on it right away. Yeah.

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And this is when the true work started. This is when I had to implement everything

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I started studying right after I got back from Iraq.

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When I got back from Iraq, I started studying right away, all the yoga,

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meditation, breath work, body work. But I thought that if I start working on

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myself right away, I'm going to be well.

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But the post-traumatic symptoms kicked in years later, and that's when the work started, actually.

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In terms of trauma response, often how you see it is people have,

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considering the situation, a substantially overreactive response to what is going on.

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So you see the anxiety building up or the fear or escape mechanisms.

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Like social anxiety, for example.

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You just want to get out from the situation, although nothing is actually practically

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threatening you, but you have this really deep program that goes over any kind of logic.

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Emotion that overrides you. You had something like this going on there where

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you started building paranoia to a quite very generous offer,

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but you were already calculating what is the plan here, right?

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You have seen a lot of people, helped a lot of people who have had similar responses.

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At what point do you see those things coming or how do you see it coming?

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Let's say you are talking to someone or you are using different techniques and

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you're helping them to get back to the trigger point.

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Are you trying to get them to the trigger so that you can see them the physical

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response and then you're mirroring it?

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Yes, I'm allowing them to express what is being triggered because normally we

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want to suppress what is being triggered because first of all we don't want

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to yell at our loved ones and we don't also understand that it is not them who made us angry,

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but it is anger that was rose inside of us.

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I like from Oprah Winfrey book, What Happened to You? It's a really good book.

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She made a book with trauma specialists.

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And there's a story of an orphan of a boy who was raised in a household where

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his stepdad would would beat him and put him to sleep in a dog's house in a garden at night.

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And he had issues at school, because he was misbehaving in one particular teacher's class.

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And they tried to understand why is he always behaving in this teacher's class,

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and it turned out that he was using old spice deodorant.

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Which was the same deodorant that his stepdad was using.

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And that was triggering his nervous system to rebel against the teacher.

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So it's such small things that can just bring out irrational responses from our nervous system.

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So you are now back in Estonia and you went through this experience.

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I guess you were paranoid that he's going to come over and get you for years.

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You try to rebuild your life and all of that. that you are still in fight or

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flight for close to five years before you actually start to learn back that.

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What did you do? When did the path open to help yourself so that in turn you can help others?

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It's a very good question. When I started studying, I started practicing right away.

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Because what I see with this healing work

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is that the people who come to you always

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mirror you your own processes and it's not that it's a matter of how you interpret

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their stories there's just something in this universe that operates as mirrors

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and I could have a person coming to a

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session with a sexual trauma and they are

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processing it releasing the

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emotions and then afterwards I'm driving

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home and I am getting all these emotions out and like she helped me to process

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something that was untapped for me yet because I couldn't find the amount of

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compassion towards myself that I was able to feel towards her.

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So while doing this work it helped you to unpack.

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What is still hidden from yourself even. Now, how do you avoid getting other people's problems?

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Because you are actively mirroring, consciously mirroring their reading, their responses.

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How do you walk away from a situation like that without suddenly having someone else's trauma?

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First, I don't believe really in picking up other people's trauma.

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I believe that when somebody has, Like some people say that,

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oh, this is not my emotion. This is somebody else's emotion.

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I think that people give us acts to emotions that we have not integrated in ourselves yet.

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I think that if I am at peace with anger in myself, and when somebody in the

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session is going in full rage,

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then I celebrate that.

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I celebrate their rage because I know how much power there is behind there because

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I've been through that rage.

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I've expressed this monster inside of me and this Kali energy in Hinduism,

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the tantric goddess who is so powerful.

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And I don't see good and bad emotions. I think we're way past from describing good and bad emotions.

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I don't think that I pick up other people's emotions. I think they can trigger

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emotions in me that are not integrated.

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People tend to externalize things. So instead of taking responsibility or seeing

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that this is actually my emotion, it's a form of bypassing.

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It's a kind of a spiritual or psychological bypassing that they externalize

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it, that my behavior is not because of me.

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My behavior is because there's sounds coming from the road or because someone

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looked me in the wrong way or at the wrong deodorant or whatever,

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because mercury is in retrograde.

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And that's why I'm doing what I'm doing.

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I guess you're postponing the work by trying to find excuses outside of yourself

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constantly instead of looking in the mirror that actually I'm responsible for

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all these emotions. I'm actually creating all this.

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Yeah. And also I think it's very important not to gaslight yourself and to take

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care of your social hygiene.

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Like when the when you

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don't have enough resource inside of

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you to be in a toxic environment

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you should not be in a toxic environment if you

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have parents who has been

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abusive to you you don't need to put all your effort in in fixing that relationship

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you need to put all the effort into making sure that your environment is harmonious

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and you don't have this trigger in your environment.

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We don't need to also accept things that are hurting us.

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What did you practically do then to access your body again?

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What kind of training did you go through?

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Did you do yoga? Did you do breathwork meditation? You explained earlier that

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you have a certain person whose work your work is not based on.

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But I guess you tried a lot of different things.

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Yeah, of course, the first thing I knew where to go was yoga.

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Everybody knew yoga. I had no idea about breathwork.

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I got to breathwork because I went to a massage training and I went to the massage

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training because I wanted to get a lot of massage.

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And I heard that you can get a massage for one week straight and

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I'm like and luckily I'm very

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good at saving money so I had saved all

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my salary from the IRA key work so I had a

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lot of money to put into trainings you had still money from IRA

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yes escaping yeah yeah well he did want to take all my money away but he didn't

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but my mom had taken care of my money so yeah I just started paying all teacher

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courses because I just wanted to get to the essence. I wanted to get.

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Healing from the best, always going for the best. And then I started practicing

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Osho meditation, Zakti meditation, the Kundalini meditation.

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I went to spiritual retreats. I went to Tantra yoga and shamanism school in Ecuador.

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I spent eight months in South America studying shamanism and healing through

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the oldest healing techniques.

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I just really wanted to get to the roots of the medical practices and studying

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in Osho's ashram in Pune to know how meditation actually works.

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So I always took the facilitator's courses because I wanted to get behind the curtains.

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Go straight to the source, find the best masters and teachers.

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Yeah. So you went around the world and how did you end up with Reich?

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Body Awareness Institute.

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Nisarga was my teacher and he was teaching this bodywork.

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And right after the bodywork massage course, there was a breathwork course.

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And he had told me that, hey, Alina, I think that breathwork course would be nice for you.

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But my boyfriend at the time was that, Alina, you can't just keep taking courses.

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Come on, practice some of it or give yourself a break.

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But I still went because after the first breathwork session,

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I got out of it and I was like, why do people take ayahuasca? You can't just breathe.

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It was, because I had just had my first ayahuasca experience a couple of weeks

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before that. And it was horrible.

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I've had more now that were wonderful too. But at the time,

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because I was so traumatized and full of control

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it was really difficult for me and my

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body was hurting and all that but breath work was gentle enough

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of approach to get this trauma

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response trauma release x response activated in me and just gently start shaking

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it all off and our body produces dmt our body produces all kinds of hormones

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that give us altered states of consciousness.

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And I loved altered state of consciousness.

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And to have this little modality to help me trip inside of my subconscious was just so fascinating.

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And also, I liked how open people were with each other, how they hug them each other.

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I was like, you don't even know this is a stranger. And you're hugging them

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like I don't want to be like this, what the heck?

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Because I was very stiff. I was scared, I was stiff, and I didn't even realize

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how stiff I was now that I look back.

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To the videos and pictures then I'm like

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I knew was I was in shit but I

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didn't know in how much I was and

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also I think it's very important to realize that healing is not the linear path

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that it's not that you start you get on a healing path and then it's just oh

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slowly getting better and better you get better and then you get worse and then

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you get a lot better and you're gonna Then you get worse again,

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and it just goes as a spiral.

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And to cherish the downtime is, I think, where the real growth is,

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to have the capacity of compassion for ourselves in the lowest of lows.

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The Greek archetype of the wounded healer, what Carl Jung spoke about it,

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is that the wound inspires the wounded to heal.

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And often when we find teachers

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find those who have the same

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wounds we have or have had or gone through them so

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we are we like subconsciously a we trust

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that person understands me because that person

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has gone through that it's quite hard sometimes to communicate with people

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who have no idea of your experience right but if

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they have gone through it like you feel maybe that

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person person understands you and then there

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is the other side that as the healer you have compassion because

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you know what it is all about right and then you also have the story of digging

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yourself out of that place and that person is just in the beginnings you can

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help guide out so that they don't do all the same mistakes you did so it can

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be faster so there's this intrinsic motivation to help.

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Others to avoid the same pitfalls you

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went into so in by hacking for example like

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people often have had autoimmune issues or

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gut issues or all kinds of problems

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medical problems health problems and when they

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fix themselves let's say it was the intervention

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was fixing their gut so then it becomes all about healing the gut or if it was

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through breath work then it all becomes all about So it's like also tips you

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into a direction where the medicines or whatever the thing is that helped you out of it,

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that becomes then the central thing that can heal everything and everyone, right?

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Sense now you obviously

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have an incredible story and i hope

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at least no one we work with you

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need to resonate exactly or they resonate exactly with your wounds like that

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they went through being like tricked into running a weapons factory and escaping

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near death and having to rebuild themselves but what do you feel resonating

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with do you feel do you meet people who

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you like, or are the people who you work with often who get most benefit from you like somehow.

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Mirroring your experiences?

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Yeah. There's so many women who, for example, are having sex against their own will.

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They're doing this to just have a peaceful household, but actually their emotional needs are not met.

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They're not feeling emotionally safe. There's emotional chaos

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in a family but the only thing that is bringing

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peace is sex so they're having sex against their will and this is raping yourself

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we don't have communication tools to open up a vulnerable emotionally satisfying

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environment also there's a lot of people who are working

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in positions they don't really want to work in, but they lack the strength or,

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the trust in themselves or the faith or respect towards themselves to change the situation.

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And like this mother I was speaking about before, who was dedicating her life on.

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On her voice it can sometimes feel that

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there's no way out but if we look

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at the stars our destiny might be written there and right now i am studying

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gurgiev i'm practicing yes and through this practice what this practice has

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teach me the most so who doesn't know about gurgia he's basically teaching us how the matrix works.

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And we are just using these dance movements to calculate the numbers,

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the mathematical lines that create the flower of life and all this.

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So we learn how we are expanding.

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And what I've learned from this experience the most is if we have free will,

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it takes a hell of a lot of

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energy to exercise free will and

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the one thing that gets us to grow in mistakes mistakes are the most natural

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part of being human of growing and meeting ourselves and it is beautiful no

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i forgot why i started to talk about gorjeev oh okay so the destiny.

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Personally believe that this consciousness

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that can create nature that

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is so intelligent that can create human

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body is way more

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intelligent than us as humans who we don't even

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know how to use our brains we use such a

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little amount of our brain and we're we have so much still

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to learn that there is a

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path that we're all on and if

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we just surrender in trust and recognize

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how loved we are and how much this all is good and well and getting better and

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better then we this is why my brand is relaxing to life because when we relax

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into how much we are loved and how perfect everything already is.

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I think that we have the illusion of free will just because we're so loved.

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So we would feel free that we can make our own decisions and we are in charge

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because it's part of the game.

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But I think there's, as the law of the opposites, the exact opposite is also true.

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That actually this is all just one big explosion or pulse and we are here to enjoy the ride.

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Enjoying the ride of hero's journey, also like what you have described,

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often when we face difficulty, we don't understand why the difficulty actually is a gift.

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It's like we only realize it after. And maybe it's not living your purpose.

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Maybe it's the journey of finding your purpose.

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Or if you found your purpose, maybe it's the journey of sharing your purpose.

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Or maybe if you have shared your purpose, maybe it's the journey of losing your

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purpose. One of the most beautiful practices I've found was bhakti yoga.

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Bhakti yoga is practice of tantra, where you sing the name of the divine,

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and they sing also about the separation from the divine.

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And this is how they get to the deepest spaces of their heart,

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the deepest spaces of love. Like when you're separated from your beloved,

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this is when you feel the love, love the strongest.

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This is where you cry and this is when the love songs are created.

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And I believe that when we were born, then we are separated from oneness.

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We come from oneness and then we are separated in a human body and our entire

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lives we're longing to feel connected again.

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And those little glimpses of feeling connected either with our beloved or through

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art, this is what life meaningful, yeah?

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And if we relax enough, and this is why we do breath work,

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is that we relax our nervous system and then people feel like,

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I met God or I got connected to myself and they have these blissful experiences

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where they laugh and cry at the same time and they're orgasmic.

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But actually, they just relaxed enough to feel connected.

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This is what we always long for. All right.

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There's definitely a lot to talk about, but to wrap this up,

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what do you long for? What do you want to achieve now?

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Okay. Yeah, that's two different topics. What do I want to achieve?

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I'm right now doing a practice where I'm writing down 300 dreams.

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I need to show it to my coach next week.

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But to answer, okay, so I am striving towards enjoying the ride because I need

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to remind myself every day that this is the life that I wanted.

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It and all the dreams that I'm writing down are just for me to know the direction

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of how it can go even better.

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The real goal for me is not to

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forget that it's happening this is

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it you're living the dream i'm living the dream every day

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because i love my life i love myself i am so honored to have friends like you

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and it came to my birthday like i can't love my friends and from this space

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of gratitude and And seeing the greatness, it can only get better.

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And when hardships come, then there's just another story to tell afterwards.

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About 10 years ago, I had a customer, American, who lived in Thailand at that time with a Thai wife.

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And we worked for quite some time.

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And then if you remember the tsunami in Thailand, he basically lost his property,

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his apartment, everything.

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Everything next thing that happened he was diagnosed with

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cancer then the wife left him and he

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told me this we worked remotely and he told me this like all these things happened

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and it's been challenging but he's in a good place now as like how can you after

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all of that see that you're in a good place and he said that once you have seen

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the bottom there's only one

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way which is up so every day there is stuff happening which is

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he knows how bad it

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could be like basically like it's just winning from

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there on yeah so people who are on the top who have achieved everything

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who have everything they want in their lives they have so much to lose there's

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only one way down which is down and then when you have been in the bottom you

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have been a weapons factory get afraid to even leave even though you have the

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opportunity for it like you know how bad things could be.

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So every day is a gift now of giving and enjoying the fact that you're living your dream.

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And it's sometimes hard to understand or to be grateful of what you have until you see the contrast.

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And I think in life, it's not really the being high all the time.

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It's like what Ram Dass described.

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In a sense, like a lot of people seek the high

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just to come down and trying to

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get back up there and it's for him at least the meditation

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was just to be there all the time to have

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no come down and it didn't come true psychedelics anymore

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after that point i guess we have to see both opposites of good and evil and

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the worst it's like in dickens stories the worst of times is the best of times

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simultaneously once you have that contrast then you can appreciate like even

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the smallest things in a sense. Yeah.

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And I want to, because I really believe in sharing dreams, I want to answer

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your question also in a way that maybe you meant it by.

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So my dream right now is that I would like to really publish like a very practical book.

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And audio series, which would be like a first aid kit for people at home when

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they feel anxiety, anxiety attacks, nervous depression.

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So to just give them all the tools they need that would be really easily accessible for them.

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I've been writing out those practices for the last six, seven years.

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So if there's anybody out there who could help me to package it,

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then you're welcome come to help me out.

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I would love to see that happen, to materialize. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

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And Elina Kadaja will be speaking in Biohacker Summit, 2nd and 3rd of July in

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Helsinki. It's our 10th anniversary.

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And as much as biohacking is about a lot of the physical stuff,

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so people talk about nutrition, the body, workouts,

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even breathwork, optimizing biomarkers, sleep

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all of that but i think psychology and mindset

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is as essential part those are

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not separate mind the body are connected and

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i appreciate very much this conversation because

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it's a wonderful reminder very practical reminder also of and I admire your

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positive mindset that you have nowadays and willingness to help although you

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went through probably worst possible struggles goals and that one can have in this lifetime,

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I think you will be very successful in the opposite direction as well.

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Sharing your gifts and lessons and

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learnings and i'm very happy that you

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will be in Helsinki to share your story

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and if anyone wants to have sessions with you what does that look like can you

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do it remotely do you do it face to face what do you recommend if they want

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to get in touch with you and how people can just message me on instagram or

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facebook elina kataya or elina in a Sophia breathwork.

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I do online sessions, which are very effective, also for couples.

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Sometimes people come alone to the session, or sometimes they come as couples,

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so I can teach them how to support each other in session.

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And of course, if you are in Tallinn, or we're in the same city,

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we can do a session like this.

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And sometimes even people have had me to their family vacation.

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So I just spend one week with the family, do sessions with each of them.

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And it's a wonderful way to also structure your family vacation with breathwork.

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I guess family is not the worst after an experience like that.

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Yeah. And also some companies. I just went to Fatser last week.

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So I go to offices as well, do breathwork sessions.

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It's so important that we We acknowledge the importance of these embodied practices

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because it's so cognitive, it's so cerebral, often how we try to solve problems

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at workplace or in relationships.

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We try to talk through things, but sometimes there's something in the body that

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needs to be also released and worked on and recognized and appreciated and loved.

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Yeah, if this body releases distress, the story also changes.

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Let's get out of the story loops. Let's get out of the story loops.

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Thank you so much, Elina, for this interview and I wish you all the best.

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Thank you, Teemu, so much.

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Music.

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About the Podcast

Biohacker's Podcast
Become a healthspan optimizer and live longer, eat better, recover faster, perform better, and get more done.
Welcome to the Biohacker's Podcast, where we explore the intersection of technology, nature, and self-development.

As biohackers, we view our bodies as complex systems that can be analyzed and probed in order to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves. Through controlled experimentation, we pursue ways to optimize our physical and mental health, increase our longevity, and enhance our cognitive abilities.

Join us as we delve into the latest research and innovative techniques in biohacking, while also exploring the natural world and how it can aid in our self-development.

Produced by Biohacker Center, the leading healthspan optimization company focused on bringing you the world's best content, supplements, technologies, courses, and events to help you champion healthy habits, prolong your healthspan, and lead a productive life.

Learn more at: https://www.biohackercenter.com

About your host

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Teemu Arina

Teemu Arina has a professional career of two decades as a technology entrepreneur, author, and professional speaker. Mr. Arina is one of the forefront figures of the biohacking movement. He is the co-author of the bestselling Biohacker’s Handbook series, curator of Biohacker Summit, and co-founder of the Biohacker Center. Mr. Arina has received the Leonardo Award (under the patronage of the European Parliament and UNESCO 2015), was selected as Top 100 most influential people in IT (2016, TIVI), and was awarded the Speaker of the Year (Speakersforum 2017), and Leadership Trainer of the Year (Turku School of Economics 2018). In the year 2022, he was invited to join Evolutionary Leaders, an initiative by the Chopra Foundation and The Source Synergy Foundation that focuses on the future of conscious leadership.