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Becoming Your Most Authentic Self: Maria Eilersen’s Survival Guide

3 Things We Dive Into In This Episode:

  1. It's never too late to search for and be your authentic self.

  2. How to reflect on the best and the worst experiences of your life to find who you really are.

  3. The importance of recognizing how no one will do what you do the way you do it.


📌Episode Highlights

[02:33] Getting To Know Maria

  • Maria is a third-culture kid. She’s originally from Denmark but traveled around her whole life. Her globalized upbringing gave her a unique perspective.

  • She found yoga at 17 years old through her mom and kept going back because it felt good. Now, it’s a big part of her life.

  • Maria is also an entrepreneur. She found that the journey of a business owner is a spiritual one. It pushes you to get to know yourself better.

  • Regarding business, she wants to lean into the more intuitive parts of working with people.

[07:19] Working With Maria

  • As a PR coach, Maria was usually behind the scenes for her clients. When she started her business, Maria realized she was now visible and had to use her advice.

  • She worked closely with heart-centered people who tended to be overly aware of the space. We need to listen to these people more.

  • Tapping is a tool Maria uses to support people and shift these limiting blocks that are stopping them. She helps them overcome fears and anxiety about taking space.

  • The people she works with walk away with a tangible PR strategy, energetic work, and healing on a deeper level.

  • Her work in PR isn't what motivates her to get up and go. It's the magic of empowering people and seeing how much impact they can make.

[13:59] A Different Approach to Work

  • Many people might feel unfulfilled about their careers. However, we can reinvent how we view our work and how we work.

  • The industry has a grind mentality that makes us feel we need to seize every opportunity.

  • Maria reminds us not to beat ourselves up for missing an opportunity — there will be others.

  • Having a scarcity approach won’t help us. It will only lead to more shame and pressure that can take us away from a place of intention and joy.

[16:04] A Survival Guide to Find Your Authentic Self

  • Finding your authentic self is an ongoing exploration and practice. It's an endless journey.

  • Maria just recently came out as queer. Everyday she’s still getting to know herself better.

Maria: “You're always in a state of becoming, you never arrive. And that's kind of cool. Like when you get older, you start to realize there's not this point you need to arrive at. It's like learning to enjoy the process and continuing to learn new things about yourself.” - Click Here To Tweet This
  • The first step is getting to know our true selves. Take the time to explore and follow whatever we’re curious about.

  • Unlearn the expectations that society has imposed on us. It's never too late, so don't feel ashamed when you do.

  • Lastly, follow the things that feel good. We'll know when something feels true and warm. It can be subtle, but it will resonate with us.

[22:54] Resonating With Your Authentic Self

  • When we change in a way that’s authentic to us, it can be scary. Despite we can get a sense of warmth, resonance, or peace within our bodies.

  • One of the biggest shifts she went through was getting laid off and training to be a yoga teacher. It was a transformative, spiritual experience where she learned about herself.

  • One of the participants was openly queer and often spoke about it. Maria resonated deeply with her and came out of herself.

  • Afterward, she went solo traveling and used that time to sit with the shift and get used to coming out.

  • Travel is freedom. It allows us to be free from our usual parameters and be whoever we want to be.

[30:40] Spending Time Outside of Our Heads

  • Being able to be present can help us have a sense of internal safety. People who aren't present and don't feel safe are also often people who don't know who themselves.

  • Spend time outside of your head. Traveling, taking a mindful walk, or just sitting and listening in the sun can help us drop into the present.

  • Yoga is another powerful practice where we can learn to be rather than do.

  • In the modern world, many things can distract and numb us, like social media. These things can make being present difficult.

[33:29] Tapping Into Ourselves

  • Tapping is an emotional freedom technique we can use anywhere for anything. It can help reduce stress and is also energetic work.

  • To do it, choose an acupuncture point and tap it. While doing so, we acknowledge how we feel and speak out loud about it.

  • In the end, regardless of the difficult emotion, love, accept, and forgive ourselves. From there, we can shift how we feel or how we feel about what we're feeling.

  • Many people refuse or resist their negative feelings. Tapping requires presence and awareness about how you feel to acknowledge it.

  • We often think we must do something about what we're feeling, but all we need to do is feel it. Tapping can help us feel like doing something while also letting ourselves feel.

[41:18] Life's Emotional Beauty

  • Feelings are a part of the human experience. Acknowledge the feeling. It's trying to tell you something.

  • Maria has gone through painful times. There's beauty in being alive and experiencing the full range of emotions.

Maria: “Being alive is not feeling happy, calm, and peaceful all the time. Being alive is experiencing the full range of human emotions. It's feeling it all. And only by feeling the difficult feelings can you appreciate the good feelings." - Click Here To Tweet This
  • We tend to numb or repress emotions society has deemed unacceptable.

  • However, living a beautiful and fulfilled life is living an authentic one. Part of this is the truth that a wide range of emotions exists.

  • If we're not allowing ourselves to feel the full range of emotions, then we aren't allowing ourselves to live wholly — it denies your authentic self.

[45:34] Maria's Work in Progress

  • Maria is still navigating how to market and work her business.

  • Even now, she continues to unlearn things that don't resonate with her. She's still experimenting and discovering what she aligns with.

  • Now that she's single, Maria is also exploring her queerness.

  • The "Q" in LGBTQ can stand for both queer and questioning. It reminds Maria that she's free to explore and doesn't have to know everything.

  • She found that coming out as an adult and finding her authentic self was like a second puberty. She was discovering new things about her identity and attraction.

[49:23] Courage to Be Uncomfortable

Maria: “I would rather be uncomfortable and explore something that feels true in the pursuit of living a more aligned, fulfilled life rather than staying in safety and then knowing that that's a guarantee that I will not find the fulfillment I'm looking for.” - Click Here To Tweet This
  • We can have either comfort or courage but not both. It's in the uncomfortable where we'll find truth and expansion.

  • Being scared and feeling discomfort about our chosen path doesn't mean we're wrong. It might mean it's the right one.

  • We can have times of safety and comfort while taking courageous and uncomfortable steps. Practices like tapping, yoga, and more can help.

[54:46] A Survival Bag for the Journey

  • Maria recommends reading multiple books that can help you explore your authentic self.

  • Practices like tapping and yoga can help us practice being with ourselves.

  • Find a teacher who makes you feel safe and can hold space for you.

  • Living authentically and being your authentic self can be messy. We need to embrace this mess.

About Maria

Maria Eilersen is a PR coach and the Founder of Be Conscious PR. She has experience in the industry landing high-profile press features for clients. As a PR coach, Maria empowers conscious business leaders to build success and make a bigger impact through the power of PR. Alongside her work, she enjoys traveling and is also a yoga teacher.

Connect with Maria: Website | Instagram (personal) | Instagram (Be Conscious PR)

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Maria Eilersen: I feel like traditional PR is very like that. It's like, Okay, what's your target audience? Okay, what do they care about? And then going outside. I think that's the shift, I think that's maybe why the work that I do ends up being so much about healing things because everyone I work with has a heart centered intention. That really means a lot to them.

Caitie Corradino: Welcome to Whole, Full and Alive, a podcast exploring the art and science of falling in love with your life, with your story and with who you truly are. Underneath your titles, your resume, your relationship status, and your bank account. I'm Katie Cortino, a registered dietician, nutritionist, certified fitness and yoga instructor, eating disorder recovery coach, Reiki healer, and founder of Full Soul Nutrition.

But underneath my titles and resume: a big fan of kitchen dance breaks, early mornings, all things chocolate truffles, world traveling and serendipity. I'm here to share no bullshit stories and actionable tools to help you feel unshakably worthy. You have everything you need within you to feel whole, full and alive. Right here. Right now. Let's get into it.

Hey, welcome back to another episode of Whole, Full, & Alive. I’m so grateful you’re here. Thanks so much for tuning in. I am coming to you today from Denver, Colorado. I have been here for about 48 hours now. I just arrived home to Denver after two months of traveling around the world, and I am — holy shit — I have so much swirling in my brain and in my heart right now that I just truly can’t wait to share with you. So many fun shifts and changes and updates that came out of my travels. And yeah, expect some fun and exciting things in the next couple of weeks. But for today, I have a very exciting interview for you that I recorded while I was traveling.

So one of the places I stopped was Lisbon, Portugal. And when I was there, I met up with my friend, Maria Eilersen, who is a PR expert, a public relations and messaging expert, also an EFT tapping coach, which is an incredible tool for regulating your nervous system and squashing limiting beliefs and tapping into a sense of self worth. She’s also an incredible yoga teacher— I got to take her yoga classes while I was there — and a writer and an all around amazing human being who I’m so lucky to call my friend.

She is also my personal PR and messaging coach. She really helped me with that a lot while I stopped over in Lisbon, which was amazing. I’m so grateful to know her, and I’m so grateful for you to hear her voice today because Maria is going to be talking about something that I feel is resonant with a lot of the clients I’ve been working with lately, and a lot of people I’ve been talking with lately: this idea of recognizing what you really want in life, no matter how crazy it is, and taking a risk to go and get it.

Maria is going to tell the story of how she built her very unconventional life that she lives in Lisbon as an entrepreneur, yoga teacher, EFT tapping coach — all the things. She’s also going to tell the story of how she recognized who she really was, and she’s going to talk about her story of coming out “later in life” which isn’t really a thing, right, not later in life, but coming out in adulthood, and how she connected with that truth and the authenticity and how she recognized who she really was.

I have been talking to so many clients lately who are contemplating quitting their jobs, blowing up their lives in some way, or who are just realizing that they’ve been living inauthentically in some way, shape, or form. They’ve realized a new truth about themselves that they want to implement. I’ve also been talking to some people who are wondering if they are living out of alignment but aren’t really sure.

Maria is going to tell her story and provide so many tangible tools for you if you are in this place of just wanting to really know and understand who the fuck you are, and live in alignment with that truth of who you are. I love this conversation with her. I loved being in Lisbon with her. I’m so excited for you to meet Maria Eilersen today. Let’s get into it.

Maria. Thank you so much for being here with me today in Lisbon.

Maria: Well, thank you so much for coming to Lisbon for one and then inviting me on. It's a pleasure to be here.

Caitie: Ooh, this is? Is this my first podcast abroad? No, I did one in Costa Rica. But I haven't recorded any other podcasts abroad. I feel like it's, the energy of traveling does something so special for my creative juices. I'm really excited for this conversation. I have also been spending a few days with you already, which we can get into in a moment. But yeah, the timing of this whole interview just feels really good right now.

Maria: Agreed. Totally

Caitie: Who are you, Maria?

Maria: Who am I? Just like dive straight into the existential question.

Caitie: Everyone always says that's me. I'm like, I want to know who you are, not just what you do. I can't even tell you how many guests have been like, Well, what do you mean? Yeah, like.

Maria: What do you want to know?

Caitie: It's whatever you want to tell me, is what I want to know.

Maria: Well, in the interest of speaking about travel, I'm a TCK. If you don't know what that is, that means third or it stands for Third Culture kid. Even though I have a deceptively American, some people say, Canadian accent. I'm actually from Denmark, but grew up moving around a lot. I had spent a lot of time living in Japan, I lived in Canada. I've been traveling my whole life, which is why it's not a surprise that I've now, I'm randomly now in Lisbon after being in New York and Italy, in London, in my adult life.

I think that's a really big part of who I am that I keep coming back to because I think I see the world differently as a result of that kind of globalized upbringing. That's part of who I am but I'm still a Dane at heart. I still appreciate dim lighting, candles, good bread.

Caitie: Am I a Dane at hear too?

Maria: Maybe, maybe. I feel like a lot of people might be everyone's like very much into like the hygge. That's like, become all the rage. What else? I'm a yogi. That's pretty big I think in my life. I found yoga thanks to my mom, when I was 17. I had no idea really, I did not understand anything about the practice. But I just kept going back because it felt good. It's a really big part of my life beyond the physical asana practice. I’m an entrepreneur, which is something I want to own more, not just be like, “Oh, this is something I do.” Like, no, I'm a business owner.

We've talked a lot about that this week, just how we operate differently. We see life differently. We take risks and it really is, I always say it's like the spiritual journey you didn't realize you signed up for. The healing journey you didn't realize you signed up for, especially when you do conscious work.

Caitie: Yeah. It's so true. It's so true. I think any kind of business invites you to. Not invite you, forces you actually right…

Maria: There's no choice.

Caitie: …to get to know yourself in 360. That is what makes businesses successful is when the people who started them are willing to do that work, and it's hard lesson to learn but you gotta learn it.

Maria: But if you're willing to lean in, the growth you can unlock is really profound and cool.

Caitie: I know that from being here with you in Lisbon, so yeah. You are going to tell everyone next, what it is you do, what you do for a career, why I am here with you in Lisbon, how I got connected with you. But before you share that, I do want to say that the reason I was drawn to work with you is because of who you are. Even more so than what you do. You know, you are a PR coach and you help business owners with their PR and marketing and media strategy and whatever and things like that. But I think if you did like a million other things, I'd probably still be drawn to working with you.

If you were like an accountant, I'd probably want you to be an accountant. If you were just a yoga teacher, I would want you to be my yoga teacher, because you have very impactful energy, very intuitive, compassionate, amazing energy. That is why I was drawn to working with you..

Maria: Thank you.

Caitie: I feel strongly I wasn't even thinking about PR for my business when I was connected with you initially. I was like, I just really want to work with her. I don't know what she does. But it's like, also the traveling, and that part of you too, I think is also something that really draws me to you as well.

Maria: Well, thank you for saying all those nice things. It's always nice to have it reflected back. It is actually something I hear like, often people just don't like you just have a good vibe, but good energy. I’m like, “Okay, how do I package that up and sell it?” You know, that’s my challenge. It's like, okay, well, I just got to be on podcast like this. Show up where it feels good. But it is something that's pretty cool.

It's also like where — which maybe we'll talk about — what I've been leaning more into in my business also is like letting go of the kind of more structured. I need to define everything by corporate means or like by external results and actually lean into the more intangible, intuitive, energetic, some would say magical parts of like working with someone and working with people and the impact you can have. I feel like the more I lean into that, the more it also gets reflected back, which is also quite cool to discover. Thank you also for reflecting all those things back.

Caitie: Yeah. What is that you do now?

Maria: Oh, the anticipation, the build up. Well, yeah. I'm a conscious PR coach and I'm also a tapping practitioner, which has become a big part of the work I do now, because I realized quite early on when doing PR coaching, and even just when I started my own business, because having been in the corporate world, being a PR, I was always hiding behind my clients, right. As the PR person, you are just, you're the one doing the pitching and talking to journalists, but like, your name doesn't go anywhere, your face doesn't go anywhere.

Nothing is attributed to you. You're kind of like this invisible person pulling the strings behind the scenes. When I started my business, and I was like, “Wait, now I have to be visible, like I have to do what I was advising people to do for so long.” I had to work through a lot of my own fears around being seen and a lot of stuff came up. I feel like that's why I began to really have that insight also, and with the clients I worked with, it was like the strategy was never the hard part. It was always the internal piece of being like, how do I allow myself to be seen and heard? How do I feel worthy of being seen and heard? How do I find the confidence and feel good about it because I work with such conscious people?

You know, I've noticed that especially heart-centered people who are really here doing good things tend to be like overly aware, so that they don't, they're like, Well, I'm who am I to take up space? It’s like the very fact that you're even asking yourself that question means that you will not speak out of turn. We need to hear from more people like you.

Long winded way of saying that that's why the tapping is really become a really crucial part of my work now because it gives me another tool that allows me to support people in the internal peace as well. Shift any of those of those limiting beliefs or blocks or emotions that prevent them from taking action and really stepping into the spotlight and actually making the impact that they're here to make.

Caitie: While I've been here with you in Lisbon, you have helped me come up with a specific, tangible messaging strategy that I feel good about for communication around my business to the media. You've helped me formulate a list of media outlets and specific journalists and things that can reach out to you. You've helped me formulate a strategy around, pitching my practice to different media outlets so that I can connect with the clients who need my services and who want to work with me.

More importantly, you've helped me figure out what blocks I have around talking about my business and they go much deeper than I ever imagined. They're related to my childhood and limiting beliefs more so than I could have ever imagined. They're related to a grind mentality that I'm still trying to get out of from living in New York City and growing up in the Catholic Church and growing up with parents who believe certain things. It's so interesting to be walking away with so much more than a tangible strategy for marketing and PR.

Maria: I love it. I might just like tricking everyone into healing on a deeper level.

Caitie: Yeah. I mean, I expected it. But I also didn't expect it. I expected because I wanted to work with you for such a long time just knowing just how much of the energetic work you were and how much about internal work you were. I was like, yeah, if I ever want to do PR for my business, I want it to be in that way. I don't want it to be in a weird gimmicky spreadsheet kind of way, I want it to be in more of an energetic way. That's why I was drawn to you. But I didn't expect it to look like it did. It's been amazing.

Maria: I love that. I also really enjoyed it. I think that's also what's so cool about this work and being able to you know, like, it also took me some time to have the confidence to take what I know from PR and then also leave behind the things that didn't resonate with me because I have a lot of qualms with the industry. I think, can be very performative, it can be very outside in like, “What do people need to hear? What is the right thing to say for it to resonate?” Instead of coming from a place of like, well, “What are my actual values? What am I actually where it was, like, from a place of integrity? Like what is my genuine intention?”

How can I then translate that so people can understand it and be drawn to me, as opposed to being like, oh, it's like, I feel like traditional PR is very like that. It's like, Okay, what's your target audience? Okay, what do they care about, and then going outside in.

I think that's the shift and I think that's maybe why the work that I do ends up being so much about healing things, because everyone I work with, has a heart centered intention, that really means a lot to them. It's also scary to like, you know, it's something you care a lot about, and so to like, it feels quite maybe more vulnerable than someone who runs business from a more traditional sense with a more like, capital sense of like, “Oh, I see a, I see a gap in the market, and I'm going to fill it with this thing and it’s going to make money” as opposed to being like, “No, I want to help people.”

The thing that I can help people with is like, in your case, eating disorder recovery, or in my case, it's like helping people be seen, you know, PR itself is not like, what makes me jump out of bed in the morning. I'm like, “Oh my god, it's like such a fulfilling thing.” But what's fulfilling about it is really empowering people to see their magic. Like, I think that's what really excites me, because I work with people who do such important work.

I always used to be like, work, why can I find my thing? I'm like, well, my thing is like getting to be involved in everyone's all these impactful business owners journeys. Then that fulfills me and being involved in multiple things that are making an impact. But my impact is like helping them be seen, helping them reach more people.

Caitie: I love this, like the idea that PR is not what gets you out of bed in the morning, but it is what you do. You are a PR strategist, you are a public relations person. Also, it reminds me of the episode I did. A few weeks ago with Shelley Kay’s career coach, she was talking about how you don't have to change your work. But if you want to feel fulfilled, and you're not feeling fulfilled, right now, you might have to change how you view your work and might change.

Like how you work, it's not really the what that has to change. Like, when you found that there were problems with the PR industry or you found there were incongruencies with the way you wanted to operate in the world, and how traditional PR agencies were forcing you to operate.

You weren't like, “Okay, I need to reinvent the wheel and go be like, doctor or like something completely different”. You're like, “I can still work in PR. But I need to do this in a different way.” I just wonder how many people who are feeling unfulfilled in their careers right now could look at it in a different way and see if they could take the problems that they're having with what they do for work right now and kind of reinvent how they view their work and how they work.

Maria: The how of how you work, I think, is so powerful. That's been a big thing we've also talked about this week. That's also something that I've brought into how I approach PR because I think this industry is very grind mentality. It's very, like work hard, play hard. It's very, like lack focused focused or scarcity focused of like, “Oh, my God, if you don't get this opportunity with a journalist, it's a missed opportunity.” It’s like, I always operate from the place of like, with my clients, I'm like, there are billions of people on this planet.

There are lots and lots of journalists. There are so many outlets and with digital, people need content all the time. If for whatever reason, you're not able to make that deadline.

Yeah, try to make it especially if it's like a cool opportunity, but don't like beat yourself up if you don't do it and be like, “Oh my god, I missed out and I'm never gonna have this chance.” I’m like, “No, this is where maybe like the spirituality comes in a little bit where I'm like, Well, if as long as you're embodying the practices and you're engaging in your strategy, what is meant for you will also land” you know. Because I don't think having a scarcity approach is going to help you because then you're just going to feel shame, and you're just gonna feel pressure.

Then it's not going to come from a place of intention and joy, like why you got into it in the first place, which was to spread, whatever it is your message is to impact the world in a positive way. Then it's coming from a place of like, yeah, scarcity, which is just never. It's never the vibe.

Caitie: It’s coming from a place of like, success can be defined by these very specific metrics versus by a feeling of fulfillment. Also, it's coming from a place of like, inauthenticity. Which is what we kind of wanted to build your survival guide around is that you're currently living in a way that is super authentic. It's not conventional. You're not a conventional PR strategist. You're not a conventional PR coach, you're not even a conventional yoga teacher, really.

Maria: Sidenote, I'm an Aquarius — can you tell?

Caitie: Yeah, and you are living in Lisbon after living kind of all over the world, and you're doing life the way you want to do it. You also recently later in life came out as I'm sorry, what's the proper term for this?

Maria: Queer.

Caitie: Just queer, right. Okay.

Maria: Yeah, I mean, I also identify as bisexual, but I use queer more often.

Caitie: I mean, again, whatever feels most true and authentic to you is the most important. I really wanted to talk to you today about building a survival guide around this. Because there are so many people who struggle to be themselves and struggle to know themselves.

Why is that so hard? Why does that feel so hard for so many people? How can we bring ourselves to live as the truest, most aligned version of ourselves, even if it makes no sense to our family that we're an entrepreneur, even if it makes no sense to society at large if we're queer, even if it makes no sense, even if whatever lifestyle you're living is completely out of the box. How can you bring yourself to feel empowered enough to make authentic decisions?

Maria: Very good question. I think it's an ongoing exploration and practice. I don't think it's ever like the quote unquote, work is never done. I think that's something the more I've been doing this stuff and getting to know myself and also with coming out and stuff like that. It's like, okay, you're always, we're always kind of in a state of becoming, and especially if you're someone who is into personal development and growth and stuff, like you're always in a state of becoming, you never arrive.

That's kind of cool. When you get older, you start to realize there's not this point you need to arrive at, like learning to enjoy the process and continuing to learn new things about yourself. But I'd say like, the first step is actually getting to know yourself, like getting to know your true self. There's no right or wrong way to do that. Maybe it’s just following your curiosity. Like, I think we are fed this idea that we need to know what we're super passionate about.

Maybe there's nothing that really sets your soul on fire. But they're like, “Oh, I'm kind of curious about dance, I'm gonna go do that.” Maybe it takes you a few different classes to figure out which style you even like, but there's something about moving your body in that way that feels really good that helps you discover a part of you, you know. I just think it's taking time to get to know yourself.

Then I think it's a lot of unlearning also, all the expectations that we've been conditioned as a society to perform or be whether it be gender roles, or like career stuff, or like there's, there's so much that's imposed on us. I also think it's important to also not shame yourself for maybe not knowing what's you and what's conditioned, because we're all living in this society that really heavily conditions us. It's like, not your fault. That you don't know I had to really unpack a lot of that coming out, because I felt a lot of shame because I felt like it was so late. Now, the more I talk about it, people are like, it's not fucking late.

Also, it's never too late, right? Like, whenever your moment of discovery is your moment of discovery, and we all lead, like, have different lives. There's a certain amount of safety that needs to be accessible to you, in order for you to discover more vulnerable parts of you that are not accepted by mainstream society. We've come leaps and bounds in a lot of ways, but we're also going backwards in lots of ways. It's like a very complex, nuanced thing.

Yeah, I would say it's like getting to know yourself and then like, learning about the ways that we are conditioned as a society. Maybe just like, follow the things that feel good. Like maybe it's also just that simple. I was listening to a really interesting conversation, a podcast with Martha Beck, you know, I don't know if you know her.

Caitie: I love Martha Beck.

Maria: I love her.

Caitie: Dream podcast guest.

Maria: Just put that out there as an intention, Martha. If you’re listening.

Caitie: Oh my gosh. It’s so fucking cool.

Maria: I love what she says about just following what feels warm or what feels.

Caitie: Yeah.

Maria: You know? And not intellectualizing it, not setting a deadline or whatever. It's just like, continue to follow that. Then you will just like know, when something feels true to you, it's like really hard to explain. I think it's something that's thrown around a lot like, “Stand in your truth!” It can seem so big and profound, and whatever. It is just like a subtle thing when something really resonates with you on a deep level.

Like we were talking about this before that. I still, whenever I see queer people, queer women, represented on screen, like I was watching The L Word this weekend, it just touches such a deep part of me. Even if it's like the cheesiest movie or whatever, just seeing that representation that I did not see when I was younger, touches such a deep true part of me.

It can almost make me a little bit sad, but it's like a beautiful sadness, because there's grief there of like this was just like, hidden or shut off from for so long. Now, it's being seen, and it's so beautiful. It's being seen, because it's such a true part. I think that's also something that I mean, again, this is like a very intuitive, very emotional focused. But I think following that stuff, and letting it be a more intuitive process, so it's a process of becoming, and it's a process that also feels good and is not another thing that you have to add to your to do list. Another thing you're going to shame yourself for not doing it fast enough or whatever.

Caitie: I think when you follow your curiosity over following your passion, it does feel like more of a playfully following the breadcrumbs rather than taking these big grand gestures and these big grand leaps and bounds. Taking the follow your curiosity versus follow your passion approach allows the process to feel more safe. Like you were saying, you need to feel a certain sense of internal safety in order to be able to make big changes in your life.

Following the curiosity, rather than trying to discover the passions of your life, is something that's going to create a sense of internal safety that will allow you to figure out, “Am I actually feeling safe right now? Does this thing actually feel good? Or is this thing, just the thing that society is telling me to do?”

It sounds like the way you can distinguish between you know, once you've gone through some of that process of getting to know yourself a little bit more, that way you can distinguish between whether you're making this big change because society wants you to, or whether you're making a big change, because internally you want to. It’s just like, how does it feel in your body? Is there an internal sense of warmth? Despite that, it seems unconventional and those things like I was saying before, does it feel kind of warm in your body? Do you feel some sort of like emotional resonance with this change with this thing?

Maria: It can also be like a sense of peace, something that was quite profound for me in my healing was like understanding like, as a recovering people pleaser from a trauma response, understanding that what is more important is the internal peace versus the external. Whereas like the people pleasing coping mechanism is keeping the peace externally at the expense of yourself, acting against your needs, or dismissing your own need, bypassing your own needs or against your values or whatever.

It's like actually flipping it around and preserving that internal peace and you being you staying true to yourself, and what's important to you and your values, etc., is more important than allowing there to be disagreement or disappointment externally. I think it is another piece for me, it feels warm but it also feels peaceful, even if it is scary. There's a part of you that feels calm, it's like the same way that you can distinguish between intuition and anxiety. It's like an intuitive hit. It can be terrifying gonna be like, “What the fuck, like, don’t do that.” But there's a calmness and a groundedness to it, whereas anxiety is like, it's like frantic and like fear-based?

Caitie: It feels really urgent.

Maria: Yeah.

Caitie: Like a fight or flight versus feeling like, this is what you should do next and just kind of feeling more like you said, a more centered, steady, grounded energy to it. What is it tangibly? What did that look like for you when you were coming out, “later in life”? When you were making the decision to be a nomadic entrepreneur, and when you were changing all these things about your life, you've made a lot of changes that I'm sure weren’t modeled to you. So tangibly, how did you know internally? What did that feel like for you when you made those shifts and changes?

Maria: It's a good question. I think when I was younger, I didn't really have the awareness to really understand but I think it was intuition. I moved to Italy when I was 18 then New York when I was 19, and then London when I was 24. It was just kind of like, “I'm doing this, this is fun. It's cool. It's whatever, I'm just going to take the risk”. I've always been a risk taker, which is kind of wild, considering that I've had to work a lot on getting that internal sense of safety. But I think it's again, it just feels true. Like, that's the best way I can describe it. But the biggest shift for me was, when I did my yoga teacher training. I had been laid-off from my job, I was heading up PR for a big travel company, it was fucking great at my job. My boss loved me, she did not want to lay me-off.

But there was a restructure that had to happen. Until that point, I'd like fully bought into the idea of like job stability and that just shatter that illusion because I was like, “Whoa, even if you're good at your job, you can still lose it.'' Why would I try to pursue this if it doesn't feel good? Instead of taking another job offer, I just had this desire to go traveling and being the conditioned capitalist citizen I am, I was like, Well, being a yoga teacher doesn't look good on a resume. But being like, “Oh, I took some time off to do training” that I can justify.

That's why I did yoga teacher training because I'd been practicing for a decade already at that time. Then I went on, you know, the classic Eat Pray Love, travel journey. Anyone who's done yoga teacher training, I know we've talked about this, realizes it's a very transformative experience, especially if you've got good facilitators, because it's so spiritual, and you learn so much about yourself.

There was just something about being in this space surrounded by all these people who knew nothing about me, they didn't even know that I was Danish, they didn't know what I did for work, we just met each other fully in the present. I think that created safety that I didn't realize that I didn't have.

There was someone on that training, who was openly queer. She didn't label herself, but the way she spoke about it was just so refreshing. I was like, “Oh, my God, like, this is resonating so deeply with me” and being in that space just allowed me for the first time to really sit with it and come out to myself. The funny thing is you look back, and you're like, “Oh, my God, there were so many signs, so many signs, but just for whatever reason, I did not feel safe enough to explore those things.” You know, like moving around so much, always being the new kid. Different cultures, there's so much I have to adapt to then I’m adding the queerness?

Especially back then, like now it's like Gen Z's, I think it's amazing how aware they are of everything and how educated they are and everything, but like, back then, it's not like I'm that old. But like, just shows you how much can shift like, and like the 2000s it wasn't like that. I mean, diet culture was crazy. There was like, it's just different. There was more focus on the traditional things you see in high school movies like the jocks, the popular kids and stuff. Whereas now I love watching high school shows.

The queer kids are the cool ones and I’m like, oh, my God, I wish that was what I grew up with, you know. It just goes back to why representation is so important. But that's what really provided them. I mean, one of the bigger experiences for me or bigger shifts, that's where it happened. I went solo traveling around afterwards. That just gave me time to just like, sit with it. I wasn't like doing anything about it. But it was just like me getting used to being out and then coming back and slowly beginning to come out. That's the thing you don't realize is if you're not queer is like you're coming out all the time. All the time.

I mean, now that I'm single people will be like, “oh, like your ex he bla bla bla”, and I'm like, she, you know, like you have to all the time. You have to also be like, “Is it worth the emotional energy of doing it?” But yeah, that was the big kind of moment. I know not everyone has the opportunity or the privilege to be like, “Oh yeah, I'm gonna go do a yoga teacher training in Guatemala for three weeks and discover my authenticity!”

But we've spoken about this like, I think travel does open up something because it's this opportunity to be free from the normal parameters. To just be whoever you want to be. No one knows you. Especially if you're traveling solo, and that can be really expensive. Then add to that the feeling of like, endless possibility and freedom that comes with travel. Like I think that that can be — if you feel safe enough to do it — can be really powerful.

Caitie: I think the bigger theme that it speaks to, rather than it being specifically even about a yoga teacher training or about traveling is that you felt the sense of safety that you needed to feel in order to lean into this authentic place. What allowed you to access that sense of safety was the presence that you cultivated through your yoga teacher training. It’s like whatever it is, that allows you to drop into a sense of present presence, whatever is going to help you become more willing to be more present is what's going to give you access to the sense of internal safety.

That will give you the ability to access your more authentic self, people who are hiding behind facades, people who are not in touch with who they really are, people who have no idea of who they really are, but they just know that they're not living as who they really are. They don't know who it is, or what it is or where it is, are often people who just don't feel safe. People who don't feel safe are often people who aren't present. They’re living inside their brain. They're living inside their head.

Maria: There's a reason why you dissociate when you don't feel safe.

Caitie: I think that I always say that that's what travel does. For me, it helps me spend less of my day in my head. Because I'm constantly always like, “Oh, well look at this new type of building, new food and this new person” and I spend so much less of my day in my head when I travel, which is so amazing. When you don't have the access to travel, the privilege to travel, the resources, whatever it is, or it's just not possible for you on a given day. What allows you to spend less of your day in your head?

Maria: Yeah, and maybe it's simply going for a walk in nature or a park or like, like sitting in the sun. We've been doing a lot of that, actually just sitting and listening. Can be a really beautiful way to just drop into gratitude and drop into the present. Because you can feel the sun on your skin and you can just be with yourself. I think that's why probably yoga has been so powerful for me. Because it's like, in so many ways it’s practicing being, we're all conditioned to be doing. But we don’t really learn to be, you know.

Then we have like, I mean, what everyone talks about, we have social media, we have all these like things that we can, like, numb ourselves with. I don't want to shame people, because like, there's many reasons why we do those things, but that's why presence is hard. Even if it's just like those tiny little things. Or next time you're commuting somewhere, or going for walks somewhere, instead of — that's something that I've been experimenting with — instead of immediately just putting your headphones in, and listening to a podcast and distracting yourself. Can you just like, especially if the weather's good or whatever it can you just like mindfully be on that walk and pay attention to your surroundings?

Caiti: Yeah, walking, even if you're not in a new city, sitting in the sun, sitting in a park, sitting in nature, doing yoga, and also tools like tapping, which is something that you said, you mentioned earlier, you're certified.

I would imagine a lot of people listening to this podcast don't know what tapping is. That's a tool that you can access anywhere. That's well that you can access in the public bathroom of that restaurant, like if you need to.

Maria: Yeah, if you really need to,

Caitie: So can you talk a little bit about tapping and how you found that as well? And how has that been part of helping yourself kind of lean into the most authentic version of you?

Maria: Yeah, definitely. I love tapping, that's like the thing I talk everyone's ear off about at the moment. We’ve been doing a lot of it too. I found it in 2018. It was a coach who introduced it to me and tapping it's also known as EFT, which stands for emotional freedom technique.

It's essentially a stress reduction technique, but it’s also energetic work, because you are physically tapping on acupuncture points, which are connected to like the meridians, they have been studying tapping since the 90s. There is science behind it. Not that there needs to be science behind something for it to work. But there they are really beginning to study it and they've mapped out those, and they've tested also, like if you don't tap on these points, does it still work and it doesn't. You can use it for literally anything. I mean, if I'm feeling overly anxious, I will just and I tell my clients to do this too, like you can just choose a point that you can access.

A common one that most people can reach is just under the collarbone and you can just tap there and what you're doing is you're calming down the amygdala. You know the fight flight, like Animal Response in the brain. Even just doing that can be really helpful like before a big presentation or anything just like drop in.

But what I love most about tapping in the approach is that like you can, whereas sometimes like meditation or other practices can almost be like, Okay, you need to like think your way out of your present or you need to like, just think your way into acceptance, but it can feel kind of hard if you're having quite an intense emotion, notional experience, or belief is causing an emotional experience.

It's like every time you tap, you first acknowledge how you feel and were actually taught to amplify that feeling. Then you do the most crucial thing you say. What you do while you're tapping is you, you speak out loud. That can even, just saying something out loud. Just admitting how you feel out loud can be so powerful. Like, I see that time and time again, when I'm working with people that they're just like, they've just told me how they feel.

Then I have them say it out loud. They’re like, “Whoa” just actually admitting to yourself that truth. Like, this is how I feel right now, is really powerful. Then every single time you do a round of tapping, you always say, “Even though I feel X, I so deeply and completely love, accept and forgive myself”. I think that piece is so important, because you are loving yourself in the difficult emotion, accepting it and forgiving yourself for having it instead of shaming yourself or beating yourself up. Then from there, you can begin to actually shift it and insert a new belief or insert another feeling.

With every tapping session, the goal is to either shift how you feel. If that's not possible, shift how you feel about how you feel. One of two always happens because depending on what you're working with, if it's kind of always talk about it as like an onion, like you're peeling back the layers of an onion. If it's kind of like a bigger issue, you might not just be able to in one session completely get rid of that feeling or that trigger or whatever. But you'll peel back a layer, and you'll maybe accept more that you have that difficult emotion or have more compassion for it. That's going to turn it down. It does really require you to be present because you have to, you have to be, you have to be aware of how you're feeling. Otherwise you can't tap.

Caitie: Yeah, I mean, just that act of cultivating awareness around your feelings is so powerful. Many people cannot identify how they're feeling or refuse to identify how they're feeling or resist how they're feeling. I talk about that a lot on the podcast like how much energy do you use resisting the feelings and thoughts that are bubbling up in you. It's like your body image is getting so much worse, because you're resisting the negative body image thoughts you're having just say them out loud.

That act of just acknowledging it and labeling it and letting go of the resistance to it helps you. I never realized though, how many layers there were to tapping because there's that acknowledgement of your feelings. They're speaking it out loud. Then there's also tapping on the different points that are the meridians that are acupuncture, acupressure points that will connect to certain parts. Where do you tap to calm the amygdala down?

Maria: You can tap on any point. If you say, there’s the side of the hand. there's the top of the head. The inside of the eyebrows? The outside of the eye? Under the eyes under the nose. It's gonna be a long laundry list. Under the mouth. Under the collarbones like that's just like a common one. And it may feel like I've done it on planes that have turbulence and freak out. I’m like, that's a little discreet. You don't feel too self conscious, under the armpit and then the wrists tapping together. There are more points. But those are like the like, the method I'm trained in is like using those points

Caitie: All those points, theoretically calm the nervous system.

Maria: Yeah, they’re all connected. It's not like a specific one.

Caitie: Got it.

Maria: But I like to tap on because like, that’s what it does, it lowers your cortisol. It does reduce stress. If you're anxious about something, if you're in fear about something, just tapping alone, even if you're not saying it will come.

Caitie: I can provide a full testimonial to this. This week, by doing some tapping sessions with you, have unlocked a deeper layer of what was creating so many blocks around my messaging in my business, and so many blocks around my productivity and then so many blocks around my willingness to take time off and all of those things.

I also did tapping during some of the most difficult points in my life, like when I was going through a breakup and packing up my apartment in New York City, I would tap my chest because that was what one of my coaches told me to do. Just tapping that space underneath the collarbone. Like in those moments, when I was starting to feel all the grief welled up, I would just say, I'm feeling so much grief and tap underneath my collarbone.

It was mind blowing how much that created a shift for me. It really is such a beautiful practice. I think it is, if you're open to it, one of the simplest ways to tap into that sense of presence, that will allow you to access that sense of safety that will allow you to access whatever is most true for you. Whatever the next right thing is for you in your life.

Maria: Yes, 100% and it always blows me away when I'm doing sessions with clients, but also in my own practices where I'm like, I'm feeling a little bit resistant. I’m kind of like, I don't really know if I want to tap on it. Then I start tapping in and like, in so many of my own sessions. I will end up getting to the core of something and just be like, bawling my eyes out but it feels like such a release and it feels so beautiful to be like “Wow, I'm really honoring this part of me”

Caitie: Yeah.

Maria: And I'm acknowledging it and I'm loving it and I'm accepting it and forgiving it and then and then you just feel so much better afterwards. I mean, yeah, you can feel a little bit tired cuz It is energy work, but it’s like a beautiful self care tool to have in your back pocket.

When you are feeling something, especially because I think for a lot of people, and this was a big challenge for me when I was starting to learn how to, like how to feel my feelings is because we're so conditioned to do. I remember always asking my first therapist, like, “but what do I do about it?” And she's like, “Nothing.” You just feel it. And I was like, “Ah”. I feel like that's also what is cool about tapping is like, if you're feeling like, “Oh, my God, I need to do something,” it's something you can do. Maybe you kind of trick yourself because you're like, “Well, I'm doing something about it,” it’s putting me into action mode. But you are also feeling it by tapping.

Caitie: Yeah, can really as someone who's always been told by therapists to try to resist my urge to do constantly, to do something about everything to try to resolve everything, constantly. Tapping has been a way for me to just slow down and label what's going on.

That layer that you speak of, I love and accept myself anyways. Like, that's such an important part of the process is I'm feeling this, and I completely accept and love and forgive myself for having this. That is so crucial. Because you'll just allow yourself to feel anger and not feel shame about that anger. Allow yourself to feel sadness, and not feel shame about that sadness. That's something I'm constantly saying to clients is stop having feelings about your feelings. You're adding a whole other layer of muck to whatever you're feeling by having feelings about the feelings.

Maria: You're adding all this judgment. It's like all this unnecessary suffering It's like, feelings are part of the human experience. It's okay to feel shame and guilt and anger and all those things like what's not okay is to take them out on people but it's okay to have a feeling that, you maybe don't want to shout it from the rooftops because you're like, self aware enough to know okay, that's hurtful. That's problematic or whatever but acknowledge the feeling because there's a reason why it's coming up and what is it trying to tell you?

Caitie: I think that's a really good message for people who are stuck in a place where they're like, well, “What's the point? What's the point of feeling my feelings?” I think a lot of people do get stuck there and feel, do I have to process every inch of anger that comes up? And it's like, no, maybe you don't have to fully do a rage practice every time you're angry. You can also say, “I'm noticing a little tinge of anger here right now. Let me acknowledge that. Let me accept that.” Maybe consider what that's about. Briefly, quickly, quietly, peacefully, non judgmentally.

Maria: But also, that's part of being alive.

Caitie: Yeah.

Maria: I don't know. I feel like I've gone through some painful experiences. Even in those painful moments, a lot of good time, there's been a beauty in it, like going through my breakup last year. like, In the grief, that's my favorite definition of grief, grief is love that has no home. There's real beauty, It's being alive. Being alive is not feeling happy, and calm and peaceful all the time, feeling like being alive is experiencing the full range of human emotion, it's feeling at all. Only by feeling the difficult feeling, can you appreciate the good feelings.

It means it's such an obvious thing, but we, because as a society, there are certain emotions that are socially acceptable then there are certain ones that aren't. Then we numb ourselves or like, repress or don't communicate authentically what we're feeling because we feel like it's not okay but it's like, that's actually one of the things that is so beautiful about being alive, is we can feel that range of emotion.

Caitie: The main theme, I know that you and I wanted to get across on this episode, and we were kind of talking about it last night over pizza. We were like, there's just so much beauty in the truth, in telling the truth, in being truthful. Whatever it is, maybe it's a deep sadness, okay, if that deep sadness is true, it's beautiful. Maybe it's anger, if that's the truth, if that's what's authentic to you, in this moment, that is beautiful. Living the most beautiful and fulfilled and kind of, I guess, good life is about living a life that is true. A full range of emotions is the truth for all human beings. There isn’t a human that lives in one place.

Maria: It almost reminds me of that idea when we say, you want to belong somewhere, but if you're trying to be a different person, in order to belong, you will never feel like you belong, because it's not your real self that's belonging. I feel like it's a similar energy if you're not allowing yourself to feel your truth and you're not allowing yourself to feel the beauty of being alive fully because you're performing it, where you are not fully expressing it.

Caitie: You've found a sense of authenticity and truth in your work in a lot of ways by creating a more flexible approach to PR, a more holistic approach to PR. Of course, tapping is part of PR, and you've also found so much authenticity in your gender identity and sexuality and what areas of your life where you feel like feeling like you're still working on. I know it's all still a work in progress. We don't ever arrive anywhere ever. What is one area of your life right now where you're still kind of navigating, you know. What is the most true version of me in this area?

Maria: I think, it’s still when it comes to my business, how I’m marketing it, or it's still part of it. Because I feel like I'm still unlearning so many of the things that I learned to be successful in the coaching space that just really do not resonate with me. It's just like a process of experimentation. But it's exciting because it's also really cool to really discover what's aligned. That's kind of exciting, like not knowing where it's gonna go.

I think being single again, the exploration of queerness is something I was actually reflecting on when I was journaling this morning. What is very beautiful about it? Something that I found really comforting when I came out was realizing that the Q in the LGBTQ stands for queer, but it also stands for questioning.

The very fact that you were questioning is also what makes you queer. Because I felt, I was like, “Oh, it's so late”. I'm like, “It was 27. It's not late”. “Oh, I need to know myself fully, know my identity fully, and know how to fully express it and be totally confident and fully know all the things.” Instead of it being it's this beautiful exploration, ongoing exploration.

One of the reasons why I love the term queer is because it feels like such an umbrella term. There's so much freedom, like you're not identifying, you're not restricting yourself to one gender or one expression or it’s not just straight, everything but. It just gives me freedom to continue exploring. I think now that I'm single again, there's just an exploration because it's been five years since I've last been dating and things have changed, you know.

One thing that we talked about the other day is like, that I really didn't anticipate, is like how coming out especially when you come out, just like not as a teenager, like basically after puberty, you kind of experience a second puberty because you're like, if you think about all the things you go through when you're an adolescent, about your identity, and like attraction. All those things are coming up again. But it's really disconcerting, because you're like, “oh, but I'm an adult, and know myself in so many ways,” but then it's like this weird, uncertain part of you.

It's like a weird fitting to kind of, what's the word I'm looking for, to hold space for. Because it's a part of you, that feels young, compared to the rest of you. But at the same time when that’s to come full circle, it comes back to that truth. But when it feels true, even if it is uncomfortable, and stretchy, and all those things. It still feels worthwhile, and it still feels good.

Caitie: Yeah, it's like the thing that's authentic to you is not gonna feel super cozy.

Maria: Oh no, it’s not comfortable.

Caitie: Yeah, it's not comfortable. There is a deeper resonance that you said, when you were watching The L Word, there was just something in me that I had never felt so seen and validated. That's what you can continue to anchor into while you're exploring these more uncomfortable and newer parts of you, these parts of you that feel young, these parts of you that feel new and uncomfortable. Having to look at the world with a new set of eyes essentially, is totally an uncomfortable experience. There’s still this anchor in you that knows this. This questioning is what feels true and beautiful for me, right?

Maria: Wouldn't I rather be uncomfortable and explore something that feels true in the pursuit of living a more aligned fulfilled life, rather than staying in that safety. Then knowing that that's a guarantee that I will not find the fulfillment I'm looking for.

Obviously, there's no guarantee when you're exploring it, but in the exploration, there can be fulfillment. It also reminds me of that, like the full moon quote that we've been talking about all week about how “You can have comfort and courage, but you can't have both” That's something that maybe really resonates for entrepreneurs also, it's like you really have to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

But that's also where you can really experience some magic and some expansion and truth and beauty. That doesn't mean that we ever gonna hate on comfort. Like we want safety. We want comfort. Yeah, but just that, like courage. You know, I think a lot of people make it wrong when they feel uncomfortable or scared? It’s like, no. That's just a sign that you're expanding your comfort zone, that you're taking a risk that you're growing. It's actually a sign that you're on the right path, if anything, It's not that you're doing it wrong. Because I think people look at other people who are maybe where they want to be. They’re like “Well I'm not confident, though. So I must be doing it wrong”. It's like, “No, you're just practicing something new. It's gonna be uncomfortable.”

Caitie: I said it to clients all the time. Discomfort doesn't equal wrong, just comfort equals, you're doing something uncomfortable. Doesn't mean you do anything wrong. But while you're in the discomfort, you can create these pockets of safety for yourself through practices like tapping, through practices like yoga, through practices like lizarding in the sun, through practices like connecting with people who have been where you are before, and looking at those people who are “ahead” if we want to make it that way, who are ahead of where you are, and saying what can I learn from this person? What can I take from Maria’s Survival Guide and implement it as I'm swirling in this discomfort right now?

But I love that you brought that up. Because I feel like that's been a personal mission for me over the past year, has been leaving everything that I knew was comfortable to me, so that I could find something that allowed me to keep my soul because I felt like I was so comfortable in New York. I was so comfortable in the relationship that I was in last year. I was so comfortable in the way I was doing business, frankly. But I literally felt my soul disintegrating.

I felt like I wasn't doing things that I knew are so true and beautiful to me. I stopped dancing for a little bit. I wasn't connecting with friends in the same way that I was for a little bit. I just felt like there was an essential piece of me, this little spark that had kind of been dimmed during that time, even though I was comfortable.

I had to literally just burn everything to the ground. Yes, you can have comfort or courage but you can’t have both. You have to be willing to let go of comfort. But you don't have to let go of safety. You can create pockets of safety for yourself while you're stepping into discomfort. While you're creating the kind of comfort and the kind of safety that lets you keep your soul.

Maria: Yeah, and you don't have to be encouraged 24/7. Take a courageous step, then you can take some time and comfort but it's just knowing that they usually aren't happening at the same time, you know.

Caitie: I think the full moon quote we were talking about to what? Colin, whatever his name is.

Maria: Queer Cosmos on Instagram.

Caitie: Amazing.

Maria: If you wanna follow this amazing astrologer.

Caitie: Amazing man. He was saying every time something amazing happened to me. It's because I took a courageous step in the right direction. It’s like , I've never, like every time something positive happens. That seems almost serendipitous. I can look back and connect the dots and be like, “Oh, it was because I did that one courageous thing”.

Maria: Yeah.

Caitie: So “I did that one uncomfortable thing”. I love that so much. It’s so relevant to I guess, wherever we are astrologically, right?.

Maria: Yes.

Caitie: February 9th, 2023. As we’re wrapping up such good stuff here. Can you tell us what is in your survival bag? What books would you put in there? What practices would you put in there? What movies, TV shows, whatever if you were going to create a survival kit for someone who maybe they're on that roller coaster or stepping out of their comfort zone? They're like, “Oh shit, like, I need some anchors”, what would you give them?

Maria: I would definitely recommend the book Untamed by Glenn and Doyle. I'm currently rereading it and just rediscovering how beautiful it is. This whole theme of like, what is the most true, most beautiful version? She just writes so poetically and doesn't feel like a self-help book. It's just really beautiful. Definitely put that in there.

In terms of practices, tapping, obviously, no bias. Yoga, again, no bias, but just because it's such a great way to get into the present moment, and you don't need to be able to do whatever fancy poses, you know. It's just the practice of showing up and practicing being with yourself. I think it is so powerful. Just you know, exploring so you can find a teacher that really you feel safe with, that you feel you like holds you, can hold space. I think that's so important. Then I don't know I mean, maybe it's like this is aging me also but I'm like Eat, Pray, Love. Yeah, it's a great movie.

Caitie: You know how strongly I feel about Eat, Pray, Love.

Maria: I just feel like it's a rite of passage. It's like everyone's like Saturn Return or just midlife crisis.

Caitie. I’ve been severely made fun of, for how much I love that book. But because everyone sees it as like a mom book, but it's like no, if you really read it, it's beautiful and poetic and groundbreaking.

Maria: Yeah! So what if it's cliche? I'm like, cliches are cliches because they're hitting something so true.

Caitie: Yeah. No, it's not even cliche though. It's just, it was so good. It was also so groundbreaking for the time as well, like no one has really done that.

Maria: Then if you've also followed Elizabeth Gilbert, I would also just say follow her on Instagram, like her journey of going through the Eat Pray Love thing. Then falling in love with her best friend and coming out when she is, like older and like all that, like just this, like talking about someone who's really living authentically. She’s such a beautiful example of how the messy path of it because I think that's also part of it, like being authentic is embracing the mess it's not going to be perfect and wrapped up in a little bow. Maybe when you tell the story after the fact. You can connect all the dots. It can sound that way but it’s messy.

Caitie: Yes. Something else I want to say too about that is that there's a ten year anniversary edition of Eat, Pray, Love released and Elizabeth Gilbert wrote an updated foreword to the book. After 10 years, like after a decade passed on when it was published. She wrote, “I can't believe how many times I call myself old in this book.”

She’s like “I reread it for the first time in 10 years.” I was reading and I was like, “What the fuck”, and it was so cool to read her interpretation of the book a decade later, just to show that like, even when you write something like that. That's this beautiful piece that can stand on its own that seems to be wrapped in a pretty bow, you're still evolving, and you're still becoming and you're still going to be learning and I loved that version of the book, because it was just really nice to read.

Maria: Well, it’s true. I'm gonna look back “for everyone was wondering like, how old is Maria? Because she keeps talking about how old she is”. I'm like, I'm 33. I'm gonna look back on this mail, “I’m not old”, It's like when you think back on certain things. But yeah, I would definitely recommend it. Do I have anything else? There was something and now I'm totally blanking on what it was.

Caitie: Sorry I interrupted. I had to mention the ten year anniversary edition.

Maria: No, I think it’s great. Maybe especially if you are queer questioning, I found the book Women Don't Owe You Pretty by Florence Given really great. Even if you're not questioning, but you're kind of exploring feminism or whatever. I mean, I feel like now, any people listening to this progress are probably very well informed. But I found it very informative and helpful to really like, look at the ways that I've been conditioned and look at the ways that I didn't realize I was performing my gender role, like with the male gaze, and like all this stuff, which is maybe even more pervasive when you're queer.

But even just as a woman, it's an interesting book to read. She also has a podcast with just all the different themes you could possibly want to explore. You could also just scroll through and find something that resonates.

Caitie: So good. All right. Well, I never want to wrap it up, but I’ve been talking to you for like four days straight, so I guess we will.. Thank you so much for sharing so many pieces of your story. I feel, I know there's something else specifically that I want to talk to you about. I’m gonna have to write you back for round two.

Maria: We just had to come back for round two, stay tuned. Next time you're in Lisbon.

Caitie: All right. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a five star rating on Spotify or on iTunes. I will be back here on the microphone in two weeks. But before then I want to hear your thoughts and your questions and your feedback and please find Maria @beconsciouspr on Instagram and other places, where else?

Maria: Well I also have my more personal account, which is @maria.eilersen. And if you don't know how to spell that, that's okay. I'm sure Caitie can put it in the show notes, my Danish last name.

Caitie: Yes.

Maria: Which is more or less Lisbon life stuff.

Caitie: Yes. So cool. All right, wrapping up here.


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