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Slowing Down and Overcoming Overwhelm: Maria Macsay’s Survival Guide

3 Things We Dive Into In This Episode:

  1. How slowing down and incorporating more rest without guilt creates a more abundant life.

  2. How to stop fragmenting your energy to cultivate a greater sense of meaning and productivity.

  3. Specific steps for setting boundaries with social media to prevent overwhelm.


📌Episode Highlights

[05:32] Get to Know Maria

  • I first encountered Maria in a barre class where Maria was the instructor. We met again in a 305 Fitness Class and have stayed in contact since then.

  • The four things that Maria values the most are growth, evolution, connection, and sharing.

  • She is most passionate about embodiment guidance, empowerment coaching, and, most significantly, mind-body connection.

  • Maria believes the mind-body connection is one of the keys to creating the lives we want in integrity with who we are.

[09:00] Let People Mirror Back to You

  • People will perceive you differently than you perceive yourself.

  • Appreciate the moments when you get to hear people tell you how they see you.

  • Allow yourself to let people mirror back.

  • Let people tell you why you’re amazing, why they love you, and what kind of energy you bring into the room.

Caitie: “If we gave ourselves the opportunity to see ourselves through other people's eyes more often, we would be able to kind of soften the blow of our own inner critic a little bit.” - Click Here To Tweet This

[09:07] Honoring Yourself in a Fast-Paced World

  • It is not our natural tendency to go slow.

  • The world we live in is fast-paced. How we consume energy has sped up, and it's easy to get overwhelmed by life as it is today.

  • Even social media makes us feel like we're falling behind everyone else's achievements, and it's a big challenge to leave this narrative.

  • In these times, the best thing to do is to honor and get to know yourself.

  • A good starting point for honoring yourself would be to ask yourself two questions: What are you focusing on? How is your breathing?

[18:36] Why ‘Speedy Living’ is Dangerous

  • People tend to be hypervigilant, especially when dealing with events and traumas they haven't processed.

  • Doing more things faster numbs the feelings. Most people prefer to do that than slow down and deal with their emotions.

  • It might not feel like it, but speedy living can quickly lead to getting overwhelmed by life.

[20:41] Setting Intentional Social Media Boundaries

  • You don’t have to eliminate social media from your life.

  • All you need to do is slow down and be intentional about using social media.

  • Maria has two main boundaries for responsible social media use:

  1. No social media before and after sleep.

  2. Allot and stick to a set time for social media use per day.

  • The state you are in and the impressions you have before you sleep and once you wake up will set the tone of your day.

  • Do not let it be social media.

[24:52] Avoid Getting Overwhelmed by Life: Do One Thing

  • We live in a world constantly trying to pull us into five things at once, creating the illusion that it's possible to do them all. Your body isn’t designed for that.

  • Trying to do too many things fragments your energy, and you won’t have as much potency.

  • Your phone makes you think you can do many things at once, like take a picture and post it on social media while on a call and checking your email.

  • Learn to take presencing exercises. Draw your energy to one thing at a time.

Maria: “That's part of the conversation on slowing down. It doesn't actually mean like moving like a turtle, like, I have to go super slow. But it's the act of engaging present and then learning how to do one thing at a time.” - Click Here To Tweet This

[27:52] The Irony of Being Present

Maria: “It's fascinating how there's such a propensity and like an inclination to draw out of the very thing that we want, and how almost uncomfortable it is to start to sit in the opportunity to have what we want.” - Click Here To Tweet This
  • People want love, connection, presence, fulfillment, and inspiration.

  • The problem is we try to do everything all at once. We end up blocking ourselves from getting what we want.

  • Imagine yourself aiming for peace, yet your mind and body are trying to take you in the opposite direction.

  • A part of you always reaches the future in every moment and pulls you away from the present. Another part wants you to be here, in the present.

  • Be aware of and embrace all your parts. Ask yourself: what part of you aren't you feeding?

[36:44] Maria’s Advice to Help Yourself Slow Down

  • We live in a society that constantly presses a scarcity mentality.

  • It can make you think you need to work harder and faster because you do not match up with a specific person.

  • Do not let yourself be busy for no actual outcome. Be intentionally present.

  • Being present makes you feel safer. You'll also sleep, digest, and feel better. All these things help you rise above being overwhelmed by life.

  • You will also be able to generate more creative possibilities and help you live a life that matches your vision.

Maria: “We sort of have to just meet ourselves where we're at, [and] start to notice the lies that we tell ourselves or the lie that we've taken on from our parents and society.” - Click Here To Tweet This

[42:16] Intentional Shifts to Avoid Being Overwhelmed by Life

  • No more client calls before 9 AM. Maria uses her morning to connect with herself, set intentions, and be more present.

  • Prioritize movement every day. It can be a full workout or as simple as walking to the beach.

  • Be willing to buckle down and do some intense work when needed.

  • Stay connected with people. Check in with your friends and family.

[44:37] The Power of Doing Nothing

  • When you feel like you have to do something, do nothing instead — even just for 15 seconds.

  • By doing this, you can make sure that the action you take will be in a place that feels aligned.

  • Learn the difference between forcing yourself to complete a task out of obligation versus being present and doing something with effort and dedication.

  • Listen to the way you speak to yourself. Understand the purpose behind why you have to do things. Don't just say, "I have to," without knowing the why behind it.

[49:23] Maria’s Survival Bag

  • Maria listens to guided meditations and has several books she reads to keep herself from being overwhelmed by life.

  • Embodied movements can help you anchor the body and connect to breathing.

  • Music that makes you feel good and inspired.

[52:56] The Slow-Down Diet

  • Do not focus on what you eat. Focus on how you're eating.

  • The issue is not about control. It is about being present with your food.

  • Portion control is bullshit. Your body will tell you when it's done, but you have to tune in to the experience to hear it.

  • How you eat is a mirror of the way that you live.

  • If you want to change the way you live, start by changing the way you eat.

Caitie: “Do you have to erase social media from your life? Do you have to erase Netflix from your life? Or do you have to just do these things more consciously and differently?” - Click Here To Tweet This

About Maria

Maria Macsay is a certified holistic life coach, movement facilitator, somatic breathwork practitioner, and yoga teacher. Maria has been on a mission for the past nine years - to help her clients find their way back to themselves. Through the power of movement, meditation, breathwork, and mindset alignment, she has provided her clients with the clarity, joy, freedom, and confidence they've been longing for in their lives.

Learn more about Maria’s work through her website, or you can visit her Instagram or Facebook.

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Whole, Full, and Alive is 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. If you feel like you’re getting overwhelmed by life, take a step back and breathe. Honor yourself and give yourself that moment to slow down.

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Caitie Corradino: When I feel like I have to do something, when it feels like this full body tension of, like, “if I don't do this thing right now, I'm not going to find a sense of relief ever,” to just drop and do nothing, even if it's for 15 seconds, even if I gotta do the thing 15 seconds later, can I do nothing for 15 seconds? Take a deep breath for 15 seconds, so that I'm doing the action from a place that feels aligned.

Welcome to Whole, Full, & 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 Caitie Corradino, 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, I’m 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. Wherever you are in the world right now, I invite you to take the absolute deepest breath you have taken all day. Can you take a nice deep breath in? Let it fill your body. Feel it expand the muscles of your back, and hold it for a moment. Then exhale to release. Let it go all the way. If you didn't actually take the deep breath, take it.

Give yourself this time this moment. To release a little bit of tension. Drop into a little bit more presence. Just notice and get into your body without judging your body. Then let's dive into today's episode. I have an incredible guest on today's episode. And this episode is actually the first interview that I'm doing in a new format. I shared in last episode, Episode 30, that I'm changing the structure of my show a little bit more. And all of my guests' interviews are going to be based on this quote by Brene Brown that says “One day you will tell the story of what you went through and it will become someone else's survival guide.”

All of my guest interviews moving forward are going to be survival guides, so to speak. They're going to be the guest survival guide, about a specific topic. And today's survival guide comes from Maria Macsay, who is a holistic life coach. A somatic breathwork practitioner and embodiment coach. Meditation teacher and incredible yoga teacher. A mentor of mine that I've known for many years.

I'll talk about it a little bit more in the episode. And she is going to be telling you about her survival guide for dropping into more ease. Living a life that feels more easeful. That incorporates more rest without guilt. And that cultivates a greater sense of meaning and productivity by doing less.

Maria is also going to talk a little bit about setting specific boundaries with social media. Which I think is one of the things that prevents a lot of us from living a life that feels more relaxed and easeful. Grounded. Present. She's also going to be talking about embodiment practices and different strategies that she uses to notice when she's starting to step out of ease and into force.

She's going to tell the story of how 2022, for her, was one of the most spacious and kind of like easy years that she's had. Yet she's still made the same amount of money that she made in 202. Still had more, if not greater productivity. 'm so excited for you to hear Maria's guide to stepping into a sense of ease. I find it so, so, so personally helpful.

Maria has been one of my greatest mentors. One of my greatest teachers in dropping into a sense of ease. So if you are feeling ready to find a bit more ease a bit more flow in your life. If you are feeling ready to start to set boundaries with the noise and the chaos that is social media. You're looking to feel inspired to nourish yourself today. Stick around for this interview. It's so beautiful. Maria is an incredible person. Without much else to say, let's get into it.

Maria, thank you so much for being here today.

Maria Macsay: Thank you for having me, Caitie.

Caitie: Very nice, cozy snowstorm in Denver right now. And it's just like a nice vibe to be having this conversation with you over coffee.

Maria: That's cool. It's very sunny here. I don't imagine that it would be snowy with so much sun there. But yeah, do you have some snow?

Caitie: Two feet of snow here [inaudible]? It's actually insane. But anyways, Maria, please tell everyone, who are you, and what do you do? I love to kind of emphasize both because I feel that who you are, you know, your energy, what's important to you, what do you value, who do you want to be in the world, is different from what you do often. Even though they're connected.

Maria: That's such a beautiful distinction. I appreciate that. And as soon as you asked, “who are you?” I was like, oh my gosh, that ever-ongoing spiritual quest of like, “who am I?” It's a great– I love that you frame it that way. I mean, who I am, a human just like you and just like everyone else. And what's important to me is growth and evolution and connection and sharing. Especially sharing.

You know what I'm fascinated by and what brings me greater love and connection and joy. In general, I feel like what embodies a lot of who I am is the evolution of freedom and what that means inside of us all. Whether that's accessing our highest potential, following and dream, being who we really want to be, and usually a combination of that.

And as far as what I do, currently, where I'm at is I really understood that my main thing and what I'm so passionate about is embodiment guidance and empowerment coaching. Which really has to do with another way of saying that is the mind-body connection. And how we can access that to show up in the world and create the lives that we want to live that really are in integrity with who we are.

Caitie: So beautiful. I just want to be like a mirror for you for a second and reflecting that, you know, that really is who you are. I've known you for a long time now I met you in like 2014 or 2015 or something like that. And the first time I met you was so intimidating because I was going to be taking over your barre class. You were teaching a barre class that you could no longer fill the time slot in for and they were like “okay, you're taking over Maria's class next week, go take her class today just to see like, what her vibe is like and try to, you know, be like her.”

I was like, “okay, cool, I’m going to take her class.” And you just had the most present energy I've ever witnessed in a bar instructor up to that point in my entire life. Because barre was something that I saw as a very like, kitschy, like pure bar kind of vibe and you brought this very, like, present embodied sensual vibe into barre class and I was, “oh gosh, how the hell am I going to emulate this?”

It was so inspiring to meet you, and then I reconnected with you a few years later to work at 305 fitness and saw you doing something totally different. 305 was this very hype high energy, Miami-themed class. And yet you still brought that same sort of embodied and present energy to that too, and you've just inspired me in so many capacities. And then I went on a retreat with you in 2021, and that became what that is. It's been so cool to see you evolve into different careers and do different things and to also somehow be a part of all of it in my own way. To see that you're bringing that mission of embodiment, in like, grounded presence to all of it, no matter what it is.

Maria: Hmm, just going to take that in. It's so nice to have these mirrors. Like, I think about how rare it is that that happens for so many people. I just think that we find ourselves in spaces where we give each other that feedback, and it’s really special because they think it’s like I evolved. There is this constant awareness that I still don't see myself the way that others see me. And instead of, like, being hard on myself for that, it's actually appreciating those moments where I get to hear it and then remembering.

There's a part of me, it's like, “oh, yeah, that is what I'm here for and what I'm about,” which adds a lot of energy, and I feel super grateful for. I think it's really cool how we've woven in all these ways. I remember our first connection too, and if I were to say one word about, like, what stood out right away and all these moments I've had with you is warmth. It’s the first word that comes up.

Caitie: That's so beautiful. I really appreciate that sentiment. You know, I often don't see myself the way others see me, too. That's something that I'm still working on, and I think that that's something so many people never give themselves the opportunity to sit with. It’s that other people probably are perceiving you entirely differently than you perceive yourself. We are our own worst critic, classic quote, but so true.

You know, can you give yourself the opportunity, as much as possible, to let people mirror back to you what they see in you? Let people tell you why you're amazing. Can you ask your friends, “why do you love me? What kind of energy do I bring into a room?”

I wasn't expecting to hear that from you today, and that just made my whole day. I think if we gave ourselves the opportunity to see ourselves through other people's eyes more often, we would be able to kind of soften the blow of our own inner critic a little bit. And I think that that's probably the first tool in, maybe, your survival guide that you're sharing with us today.

Maria: It might be. It just spontaneously arose, I’ll take it.

Caitie: Yes, this is very cool. I love that. And also, staying along with this theme of embodiment, embodied presence, you have been such an amazing guide for me in becoming more embodied, feeling more present, and slowing down into, like, more feminine energy. Throughout the years that I've known you but especially in the last year. When I did a little bit more one on one work with you, after moving to Denver.

As I have your amazing brain on the show here today, I would love for you to share with other people, with my wider audience, some of the things that you shared with me about slowing down and feeling more embodied. In particular, something I want to talk to you about today to you is the way you have, kind of, simplified your life and your business.

I can really see that change in you. It happened over the last like five years, simplifying your life in terms of the amount of time you spend on social media. Similar, I guess like virtual, digital things and the way you've kind of simplified your business, as well. And, I think, the way that you live your life in general. What comes up for you when I say all that, immediately?

Maria: Yeah, you know what comes up first is, like, it's so cool to be having a conversation around slowing down and for you to feel like that was what came into your inspiration for us to have a conversation about. Because it's not been my natural tendency at all to go slow. And still, in some ways, I’m like, “is there more room to slow down and to be?”

I think that when we do work with something, that somehow, it does follow us throughout our life, you know? But I guess what comes up is the fast-paced energy that I was so a part of, I think is something that many of us can relate to. If anything, the world has sped up and the way that we're consuming energy has sped up because we have so much access. And to talk about social media, I think that one thing that it can do is cause us to feel like we're behind or like we need to accelerate to get to the thing that someone else is doing, because everything is so visible to us, right?

What everyone is achieving, is presented. And if we have big desires, it can often feel like, “I'm behind, I'm never gonna get there.” And to be fair, I do have those narratives come up too, and so I'll go with this conversation exactly how it's coming up for me. Which is that was one reason why I did start pulling back from social media is like, we really do get to honor ourselves. And the first way to be able to honor ourselves is to know ourselves.

When I can see that when I'm spending more time on social media in a way that's not present and conscious, then it takes me into a narrative that is very hard to get out of about myself. Speaking of like, being our own worst critic. That's one element of why I did start to draw back, and I think it's like, we can have a conversation of like, “social media is awful, it’s this and that,” and I will come into it with “well, it depends on how you use it, and how you're engaging with it, and what your intention is with it,” right? And to know yourself, if it's not working, shift it, what would work for you?

I have found too that, for example, in my relationship, it was starting to become a thing where he was asking me for more presence, and that's such a beautiful thing. Thank goodness, right? Some people are like fighting for their partners to be present with them. And I have one being like, “Hey, could you spend less time on that thing so we can be together when we're together?”

It really opened up my mind to that, to say like, “How can I be more present in each moment? And do I absolutely need to be on this app right now? Or communicating in this way right now?” And I haven't perfected it. So what it is, is the question: “Am I present right now? And do I need to be engaging with this right now? Is it intentional?”

Those are two things. And I think intentionality is what allows us to slow down, meaning we're going to get busy at some points. And then the way to get present is notice. “What am I focusing on? What am I paying attention to?” And another thing that you and I share is the connection to breath work, right? Just dropping into breath, “Am I even breathing?”

Part of my journey, in the many last– at least five years was noticing the tension that I had held in my body from going so fast, which was breathing that was above my stomach, like in my chest and collarbones. And honestly, an inability to breathe low. I remember beginning again yoga training, and that’s so much about slowing down and unpinning fascia. Fascia, being what covers our muscles and our tissues and really binds our body together.

I remember how aware I became of the amount of tension that was in my diaphragm, meaning I couldn't take a deep breath below my stomach, and I couldn't even yawn. So, to imagine how much tension was in my body to not even be able to yawn, it was like I was numb to it at first. And that is something that happens when we speed up from a state of fight or flight. So, a lot of my speedy living was, yes, due to being in cities like New York and all that. But it was also hypervigilance, which was like a way of responding to intense stressful or traumatic events throughout my life that I hadn't yet processed.

It was like if I can just do more, achieve more, go fast. Go so fast that I numb it out and I can't feel my feelings. Then that feels better than slowing down and tuning into all that discomfort in my body, which is also really just another way of saying all of the uncomfortable emotions I'm not willing to feel.

The circle that I'm going in is to say that, by even getting into that place where I noticed this tension, my breath, it started to unlock for me like a real desire to be able to take a full breath. And through that process, there was the evolution of my relationship to food behind that and how I was using that to not feel, and then slowly weaving that into deeper levels of being in my body, and then noticing my tendency to escape through working really hard or just moving super fast. Right?

Then at the end of that, I think what awakened the slowing down was this conversation internally around, “where am I going? Like, what am I rushing to?” And if we all start to ask that question, it’s like, “what am I rushing towards?” I don't know, something opens up.

Caitie: I totally feel that. I totally feel that. I can't even tell you how many coaches and mentors I've had, therapists, and I haven't had that many therapists, I have one therapist. But coaches, mentors, and my therapist say to me, “what's the rush? Like, why do you have to do this right now?” That comes up for me a lot in my life when I feel like I'm behind on something with my business or trying to figure out if a certain relationship is going to work or not work. And it's just like, I have “what's the rush” reflected to me all the time. Where are you rushing to? What is the reason for actually, like, trying to, like go at high speed towards this thing? Where's that going to get you?

If you actually ask that question, I think most of the time, what comes up is it's gonna get you an escape from feeling what you actually are trying to avoid feeling. And I also love the sentiment that like, another really simple question to ask yourself too is, “am I breathing right now?”

That's how you can tell if you're doing something that you don't actually need to be doing or if you're doing something with more frequency than you need to be doing. It’s like if you're not breathing while you're doing it. And I would say 99% of us are not breathing while we're using social media. Like 99% of us are not taking full deep belly breaths while we're watching reels, while we're writing captions, while we're DMing people. That's definitely not happening.

Maria: I love that as an opportunity, though. Like when we get on the app, can we use that as a reminding factor to stay with the breath? And what that might even do, like, if we go into it with breath, or remember the breath, would we change what we're doing on there? Or would we just have a different experience of it? Like I actually think it's a beautiful invitation. I'll take it on for sure.

Caitie: Yeah, no, that's super cool because it's not that you can't use social media. I think you took a break from it for a long time in order to be able to reintegrate mindfully. But a conversation I'm always so fascinated by is how can we use social media in a way that's conscious like you're saying before in a way that still allows us to be present for our lives and in a way that allows us to be intentional, every step along the way.

We don't have to completely eliminate, also, we don't have to eliminate like striving for a certain career goal. We don't have to eliminate putting work into our relationships. We don't have to eliminate putting social events and fun things on our schedule. And we don't have to eliminate the use of social media in order to live more slowly and more simply and more embodied. We can still use all of these things. They all have a place.

It's just like, how? How do you use them? And I'm curious at this point for you, what is your current social media, sort of like, guideline?

Maria: One that I've held pretty true to for almost as long as it's been around is not being on it in the morning. I personally believe that the impressions that we receive in the morning and the state that we put ourselves in, in the morning, shapes our day. So you know, if I wake up, and the first thing that I do is open the app and invest myself into someone else's world, and then potentially, if I have this tendency to then start to compare myself to that, that sets up a tone for the day.

My preference, because this is what I've at least seen and what I believe, is that the way that we start our day is really important. And so I just don't go on it until like my meditations done, until I'm really awake and kind of up and about. And same for the evening. I don't do any like scrolling in bed incessantly. Like, yes, has there been times when I do it? Yes. But the minute I've caught myself, it's like, “Okay, we're done.” And so generally, it's like, the phone goes down.

Those are two really sacred times because we're also imprinting on our subconscious before sleep. And then there's a conversation about blue light and using tech before bed and how that can like, start to wake us up. And so we want to really have like sleep rituals, or we minimize the tech before sleep. So that's one way, and then the other thing is like I don't have strong guidelines around it throughout the day. I did set the timer of like, only 15 minutes of use a day. You can like, set a timer on your phone.

I'll be honest, I've been overriding that so I'm probably like 30 minutes a day. But even that is actually creating consciousness around how much I'm using it. And I think that is helpful because it’s this weird thing that we can fall into and be like, “Whoa, where did like 30 minutes go?” So that's what I'll say about that. And you know, what it makes me think of too is, like, when I'm using it, that's what I'm doing. That's the thing that I'm doing.

I think that's part of the conversation on slowing down. It doesn't actually mean like moving like a turtle, like, I have to go super slow. But it's the act of engaging present and then learning how to do one thing at a time. And if we think about energy, like if I'm doing seven things at a time, like I'm opening social media, I’m eating, and then I'm also doing emails, there's a lot of fragmentation in our energy that's happening.

If we just think about the way that light moves, light being energy, if there's light moving into these seven different arenas at the same time, there's fragmentation occurring, and I don't have as much potency. And the same is true for energy, so if I can draw my energy into like, “Okay, now, I'm talking to this person. And now I'm writing this email. Or now I'm engaging with social media.” What happens is we actually will enhance our energy throughout the day.

If you're someone like, if anyone listening, is someone who generally feels very tired, and just like fatigued and distracted and unable to focus, ask yourself, “Do I split my energy throughout the day?” And the act of slowing down simply could be drawing your energy into one thing, doing it with intention, releasing it when you're done, and moving to the next thing.

Caitie: Yeah, and we live in a world that's constantly trying to pull us into five things at the same time and creates the illusion that that's possible. I mean, the smartphone makes it possible for us to like, take a picture, be on social media, talk on the phone, FaceTime two people, check our email, be at work and not at work. You know, writing a book proposal on the notes app at the same time.

All this stuff can happen within like a three-minute period. And our bodies just aren't designed for that, like our grandparents, not even- like, forget the caveman, forget the ancestors, like our grandparents who are doing this stuff, they didn't have smartphones, they didn't have access to multitasking that we have right now. And it's so tempting to feel like we can want to just strive towards achieving more in a two-minute period when that's possible, but it's like, is it really? Is it really possible to achieve that much in a two-minute period?

Maria: Yeah, it's such an interesting time to live in when that happens. I think, again, like a presencing exercise is even just that, like I noticed when I'm on the phone with someone if it's not like zoom or FaceTime, like there's this inclination and me that like wants to open the other thing, check the email for a second. And just noticing it is like, “Okay, can I use that as a reminder, to like, invest in being present with this?”

As I say that, it's so ironic, because what we all, at a fundamental level, want or what many of the spiritual teachers are saying that we want, and if we ask ourselves what we want: connection, love, safety, comfort. Some of these baseline things, that, yes, happen with ourselves, but also happen with another person. It's fascinating how there's such a propensity and like, an inclination to draw out of the very thing that we want. And how almost uncomfortable it is to start to sit in the opportunity to have what we want.

I have the opportunity to be 100% present and connected on this phone call with someone, but so much of me wants to escape that. And I think that that's sort of a human nature thing. Like, where am I going? And where am I escaping to? Probably into a worry or into idealizations, or, you know, the future or the past. And so much of what we want is to get present, so much of what we want is peace, and yet notice all the parts of us that attempt to take us the other direction.

That's not to judge it. It's actually just to like really humanize this experience and to, bring light to this ironic thing that's happening inside of all of us. And to just embrace it, to notice that happening.

Caitie: Yeah. Yeah. To bring light to the irony that like we're often blocking ourselves from the very thing that we say we want. Yeah, yeah. The irony that all we really want is connection, love, presence, fulfillment, inspiration. And by multitasking, by pulling ourselves out of the thing that we're doing by not spending our time the way we choose to spend our time is like–yeah.

I can't finish that sentence because I'm kind of– I'm going a million miles a minute right now, I'm noticing. I'm, alright, so we got to summarize what we just talked about. Let's bookmark and check it in. So that's just ironic that I'm like pulling that up right now, too.

Maria: I guess I'm having a thought around how it does bookmark to all this. You know, it's like, I think that if we're going too fast, we don't notice ourselves. I think that any level– why do we want to slow down? To experience life more, to be more present? But why do we want to be more present?

It's something that we all say that we want, but for what purpose, right? It's like, on some level, there's a part of us that knows that this is the only moment that's happening, and this is all we have. Just by noticing the irony of like, there's all these parts that try to take me out and go fast. While there's a part of me that really does want these deeper things. if I'm going a million miles an hour, I don't see the other part of me that has desire from a very embodied place.

Even when I can slow down enough, this is an act of slowing down to see like, “wow, there's a part of me that's going a million miles an hour right now,” and wants to, and then there's a part of me that really wants to be present with that. I've just expanded time-space inside of this moment. And what that opens up the portals, who is like, eventually, we can start to tune into “what does my body feel? What do I want? What feels true for me? What's my truth? What's my vision? What's hard for me? What am I scared of?”

Those are not easy places to get into. And a lot of us have been taught to override them by being busy and achieving things. Going for the thing that's like, you hear all these stories about when people rush and go work or create the outcome that they thought they wanted all their lives. They feel emptier than ever because they thought they were going to get some golden carrot that was going to make them feel fulfilled when they got it. And then yet, it feels almost worse.

What is it that we really want? And I'm working with this too, right? Okay, is it really the simplicity of living here now and being available to everything that's happening for me? Okay, because then that opens up the door for me to start to create a life that's really much more in alignment with what I want and need versus what I thought I should be doing, or what someone gave me the model of.

Caitie: I think a lot of people are starting to get on board with that. Like, a lot of people who I've been talking to on this podcast end up bringing up this concept of living a life that's not driven by money, not driven by financial outcomes. Not driven by wanting to get the certain job, the certain partner, the certain thing, the certain validation.

It's like, okay, well, what do you want? And all we really want along the way is to be present in each moment. To let yourself live a little bit more moment to moment, versus living towards that future thing when you're living towards, or when you're living from a place of looking towards the future. It doesn't allow you to have that embodied awareness. What am I actually doing right now? What's actually going on here right now?

Maria: Yeah. Yeah. And I think it's important to, just allow all the human parts of us to be present. And for it to be okay that there's a part of us that's chasing, because there's a part of me that's chasing achievement and outcome. And I'd be lying if I sat here and was like, “oh, yeah, I'm super cool in this moment. Like, I'm just present, like, it's so easy for me to slow down.” It's not it's a choice.

Because there is parts of me that totally take me out. And, I think that we just all get to get clear on what's important to us. And so, if achievement or the money or something that's important to someone, great. Go for it. And can you go for it with presence of yourself? So that when you get there, the thing that we all want deep down inside is still there with you on top of the thing that you've just created and manifested in your reality. And you can hold both, and really enjoy and celebrate. Because when we are in the moment, we're much more present to joy. Like the essence of our soul, of our heart.

Caitie: Yeah, the awareness that you have a part of you that's reaching towards the future in every moment and isn't present, it's kind of like the unsung hero of all of this. Like, just having that awareness, in and of itself. It's not that that part of you ever goes away. It's not that you reach to the part where you don't have to like, like work a little bit to be present or choose to be present a little bit, maybe it’s what it is. And kind of like drawing that back to social media and other things that kind of pull us out of embodied presence, it's like, there will always be that part of you that does just want to scroll.

There will always be that part of you that does just kind of want to chase the dopamine hit of like DMs and likes. And there will always be that part of you there that's desiring to do something different with your time, and you do always kind of have to choose to stay present and anchored. It doesn't just flow, maybe.

Maria: Yeah, and I think that it's almost like, which one am I feeding? It's okay, that that one's there. It's going to show up, you know? So that it's like, there's that human, it's a human part of us, the personality, let's say, and that's not a negative thing. So, okay, am I only feeding the human part and the personality? What about my heart? What about this energy that's coursing through me?

Maybe we don't relate to it as like a soul or a spirit, maybe we don't have a lot of belief around that. But I think that we all can connect to the fact that there's something else inside of us that when we feel restless, or I would even go as far as to say deeply anxious, or depressed, or any of those things, lonely. There's a part of us that we're not feeding. And it's usually, I love how you're saying embodied awareness. by bringing our awareness into the moment and into ourselves.

If I can sit here, like, can I sit here right now, and can we listen to this together, and share together while being aware of the way that our shoulders are held? And where our hands are on our toes and still be open? I just saw you take a deeper breath, even as I said that, right? And that's it. So like, “can I feed the other part of me, this more invisible, less achieving part of me that wants to be here as much as I feed the other part?” And in order to do that, I do need to slow down.

Caitie: Yeah. What would you say to someone who has this genuine desire to have more energy, right? Most people really do want more energy, and most people really do want more focus, and most people want more self-confidence, a sense of embodiment, a sense of just like feeling good in themselves. I think those are three things that are kind of a treeline through every single client that I work with.

The individuals who are feeling like, “well, this doesn't apply to me, because I am just so busy at work right now, and I need to kind of wait until this like busy period of work is over.” Or, “that doesn't apply to me because I'm not yet making the amount of money that I know I need to be making in order to like pay off my student debt or like put money in my savings,” or, “this doesn't apply to me because-” You know what I'm saying? I think there are a lot of individuals who feel sort of this. I think the best maybe way to say it is like, people who are triggered by this concept of slowing down because they're just like, “well, that's just fluffy and inaccessible.”

Maria: I was that person. Yeah, oh, my God, I was that person. Like, specifically towards my mom, even I was like, “you don't get it, you just don't get it. I can't slow down, I- blah, blah.” Like, this was probably when I was around 19 or so, and I just wasn't ready to hear it. And that's fair.

And here's why it's fair: because we live in a society that constantly presses upon us scarcity mentality. And all that means is “if you don't match up to this person, you will not have, if you do not work as hard, you will go without.” There's this whole thing. It's like, “if I don't do this, then I will be less than.” There's something in that conversation that is, throughout marketing, as far as like, you know, if we look at the industry of advertising, it's all about accessing the lack in you.

“So here's what to do and buy so you don't feel alone,” “here's what to do now, so that you aren't poor and so that you achieve success,” and it's very tantalizing. And I want to honor the fact that like when we are in a season, where, you know, it just doesn't seem feasible, like there's no way I could frickin slow down. I won’t be able to pay my rent. That was me in New York.

I was teaching fitness classes, probably around 25 of them a week, and working a restaurant job, and those are opposite schedules. And I was moving really fast and I had like almost no time for me. But even then, we can take out five minutes. And it's a choice. If someone is up against the conversation of like, “I'm a victim to this, like I can't do it differently,” well, then that's your reality. And it's kind of like, harsh to say, but it's true.

Because what you believe to be true, and what you're open to is what you will create. So meaning, when I was rushing, like, I would take five minutes, sometimes 11 was the max to do a drop-in with my breath and meditation, and that was all I had. But that was what it needed to be, then that was my slowdown. And then on the train, it was, instead of being on social media, can I just be with my breath?

We all commute at some point, whether we're walking, biking, training, driving, those are moments that you can take. It's like, we forget the moments in between are an opportunity to check back in with ourselves. And that might be the most feasible thing for someone who has a lot on their plate. Now, what I will say, from my experience, is I was wrong about a lot of like, the more full my schedule is, the more productive I am, the more that will yield.

And I've just come up with like a year of the least amount of work I've ever done in my life. And I made the same in my business as I did the year before, where I was like, I'm freaking going for it, like I'm going for it Monday through Friday, sometimes even on Saturday, late at night. So, it's like lived experience. It's sort of like starting to open up to realizing like how much of my going energy is productive. Because I'm actually blowing my steam when I'm just being busy for no real outcome, versus intentionally being present with my life and then being really energized to come into my work or to be with my partner.

What that essentially yields is the experience of the nervous system that feels safe. And when we feel more safe to be, we start to enhance our sense of wellness, our energy, we sleep better, we digest better, so we feel better. Then with all of that going on, we connect more intimately, we probably become more creative. When we're more creative, we generate more creative possibilities as to how to like, live a life that matches up with our vision, whether that's monetarily or as far as like, what we're creating foundationally or in community.

I think that I just got to the point of answering like, we sort of have to just meet ourselves where we're at, start to notice the lies that we've tell ourselves or the lie that we've taken on from our parents and society. And it's not because they were trying to be mean to us. It's just like, their inaccuracies that worked for the industrial age and revolution. But we're just in a different season now. And to try things on for yourself and to be reflective. “Is this working for me? Do I feel good?” “No, what would feel better 10 minutes in the morning, a walk at lunch, a meditation before bed.” Cool. That might be the golden ticket.

Caitie: And that's been a huge shift for me, especially the creativity piece that you're speaking of. When I open up more space in my schedule, I open up my mind for more creative ideas. And then I open up myself to more abundance, more opportunities, more clients, more people coming in from unique places. M ore ideas for me to be a better clinician and counselor.

I'm just curious if you can share tangibly, you know, I guess in addition to social media, what shifted for you from 2021 to 2022? What did your life and your business life and working life look like in 2021? And then what did it look like in 2022, that kind of spoke to the slowing down piece?

Maria: Yeah. So one thing was later starts in 2021. I was like, “yeah, I'll do a client call at 7am.” Now I'm like, “No, I'm not starting before, nine at least.” But usually with clients, like, later on. And so that's one, just later starts because that gave me more room to like land and myself and to set intentions and to connect with myself and then to actually be more present.

Really, prioritizing movement every day, like a full workout or practice, and breaking up my day with blocks going down to the beach. Like, getting out of this mentality. Because I don't need to be right, in my own business getting out of this mentality that it needs to be nine to five or nine to six. And okay, I've got a huge block of four hours open. Is there anything I actually need to work on right now? No, the sun's out. I'd love to go to the beach. That would be energizing, right?

Taking the opportunity to follow what feels good. And also being willing to, like, buckle down and work really intensely when something is asking for that. You know, and doing that with like, “Okay, this is a week or two weeks, it's going to be like this, and I'm still going to make time to eat my meals presently.” My partner and I will eat breakfast together, lunch and dinner, and sitting down, and having that full meal together, and having time together at the end of the day.

It’s something that I just didn't do in the past. Like, I would like work often right before bed, as well. And now it's just like the office shuts down between like, kind of depends on when clients end, but like six or seven, usually latest. So time, expanding time, taking time to nourish, to move, to be in nature, not just once a week, but like throughout the day. And yeah, to be in connection with people. So it's obviously, it's easy when I'm living with my partner, but to check in with, you know, friends and family and things like that as well.

Caitie: Something really helpful that you told me when I was struggling to slow down in my business late last year was like, when you feel like you have to do something, do nothing. And obviously, that sounds outlandish to anyone who's triggered by this concept of slowing down, like I was saying earlier, or to anyone who's never really explored it before.

It's been so helpful for me when I feel like I have to like post on Instagram, or I have to finish this client chart right now, or like just some task that's not like meeting with a client face to face. When I feel like I have to do something like that, I go on a walk around the block instead. I swear I do this. And it's been life-changing, really, to make it that simple.

When I feel like I have to do something, when it feels like this full body tension of like, “if I don't do this thing right now, I'm not going to find a sense of relief ever.” To just drop and do nothing, even if it's for 15 seconds, even if I do gotta like do the thing 15 seconds later, can I do nothing for 15 seconds? Take a deep breath for 15 seconds. I'm doing the action from a place that feels aligned.

What you're speaking of with, like, yeah, you just got to buckle down and do things sometimes. That buckling down needs to come with a sense of authentic presence and alignment. And there is a difference between white-knuckling your way through doing a task because you feel like you got to do it for some intangible reason and then actually being present and doing something and working hard at it, even if it's a little bit tiring but knowing it's aligned. It's like, this is the thing I'm choosing to do right now versus the thing I feel like I have to do to erase this sense of anxiety right now.

Maria: Yeah. Well, and I think what you're saying there is so powerful too, to bring it back to that. Because, like, think about the energy of “I have to.” For what purpose? And a lot of us have learned to operate from like, “well, I just have to.” Like, I have to get good grades, I have to go to school, and I'm not discounting that. But what I'm getting at is it's taken out our personal authentic agency and desire. Meaning like, what do you want to do?

I remember I had this astrology reading years ago. And he said to me, I haven't heard you say the word want once. And it's something that I now like, I'm aware of in clients, it's like, there's just a lot of like, should and have to because that was given to us through a lot of our family structures and our schooling systems, right? Which is like, you don't ask questions. You just do.

But at a certain point, if we continue that way, this is where we see, I think discomfort, pain, disease in the body, disruption in relationships, mental challenges. It's like, there's all of this inside of us that starts to explode with like, “but I want this or I don't want that,” but we just don't have a language for it. And we're not questioning it. So even just like for what reason do you have to? Who said? That's a great question. “Who says?”

I might still need to complete the thing to create the result that I want. However, until it comes around to like, “well, I don't I guess I don't have to, but I want to and it's important that I do it for the sake of this.” It changes the way that we show up and often we won't blow our nervous systems in the same way because we're not pushing from that kidney like have to push-push. And we can actually access like more of an embodied state of like, well, “this is actually going to take me towards my dream or this is actually like something I genuinely do want to connect with clients and actually do want to bring in more business.”

Okay, now my heart's starting to be in it, my vision’s starting to be in it. So the language, I think language is really fascinating and is important because it tells us where we're coming from and how we're thinking about life and ourselves. What actually is in alignment or not, when we start to listen to the way we speak.

Caitie: Yeah, and this idea of doing what do I want to do doesn't mean they're always going to do the thing that feels good and the thing that feels the easiest. I think that's the biggest misconception when it comes to intuitive eating people are like, “Oh, intuitive eating, eat whatever you want.” Like, that's not what intuitive eating is. Intuitive eating is like integrating your emotions, your instincts, and your rational thoughts in a way that feels peaceful, in a way that feels like, this is what's going to fuel me. This is what's going to be life-giving right now.

I think I'm kind of, like, hearing that in what you're saying, too. It's not just doing the thing that you just like willy nilly want to do. Like, oh, binge Netflix, because that's what you have a desire to do. Or just drop everything and go like, blow all your money traveling around Europe, because that's what you want to do. It's like, there's this integration between desire and intentionality that comes out and makes things feel easeful. It never becomes a have-to, nothing becomes a have-to when you're living from that place.

Maria: Yeah, totally. It's perfect that you brought up Netflix cos it's like, if you've ever had the experience, right? Where you sit down, you're like watching something and then there's something pinging you have. It's almost like this anxious, not have that thing that you know, you need to get done or like give your attention to. And it's like that is a sign, right?

It's not like the actual intuitive eating would be like, “Okay, I'm noticing that I'm having anxiety about not doing this thing right now, so this tells me that there must be some sort of like, importance around it.” Yeah, that's true. Like I do have a deadline for this. And it would feel like I could relax more into the moment to what's happening with Netflix if I just took 30 minutes to do that, or decided that my boundary tonight is one show, and then an hour of that.

Now, all of a sudden, the anxiety will usually go down I had a teacher say, in an NLP training, “anxiety is something hanging at us, telling us that we know there's something to do that we're ignoring.” All right. So it's like this thing of like, there's this thing that you know that you need to do, you just give your attention to it and then decide when to place it. That doesn't mean that you run to it in that moment, necessarily. It just means like, “okay, I acknowledge that this is something that's pinging me.”

I gotta go get the car service, like, if it keeps coming up in your mind, that's mental energy it's occupying. So okay, just write it down on a note, say that you're going to call tomorrow to schedule it, and then come back to what you're doing. And now, again, more of your energy is here in this moment, right? So to that point, then it's- we're actually becoming more efficient, because when we're not in like a “have to” energy, we just start to do. It's kind of what you're saying, right?

You just start to become more in flow with a thing. It's less mental conversation around it. And more like now, I'm inhabiting it, I'm moving from this thing to the next thing. Okay, now I can be present with Netflix. Now I go back and I like, I'm over here, and I finished that out. So it feels more like water flowing versus being pulled by tight ropes by all your limbs.

Caitie: Yeah. Yeah, I like that. It's like there's that ping from anxiety. What's the thing I'm not addressing? I'm having financial anxiety? Is there a little ping that I should actually like, open up my checking account and look at it and see what the transactions in there have been lately. or move some money into savings like doing that? Okay. Like that's like a very tangible one step at a time kind of way to handle what might feel like a much grander anxiety.

A ping that I should like, maybe I'll get the car service, maybe I'm just gonna drop that on my Google Calendar. This is when it's happening. We're done. We're good. It doesn't have to be like this big story about what you're doing wrong and what you should be doing. Like, can you just take that one aligned action, and take that edge off, and then move forward?

That's kind of how I'm seeing it. And it is like a very present way of living. So yeah, oh my gosh, we could talk forever. So as we're wrapping up here, I just want to know, if you had to make a survival bag with some books, maybe podcasts, maybe some songs, like resources, what else would you put in that survival bag to give to people and that can be in relation to slowing down and also just living a life that feels aligned in general?

Maria: I would definitely put in like embodied meditation is much more what I'm calling it now, and I think that someone who is really accessible and does it beautifully is Tara Brach. Really creates a lot of beautiful awareness and acceptance of what is and expanding our capacity for the moment. So I would throw that in the bag.

Movement, I would definitely throw that in the bag. If someone here listening is quite– how should say has a lot of mental activity. Which a lot of us have now, getting into really embodied movement, like using weights, this external factor that anchors the body, and connecting to breath, which can be through yoga, and, or dance, which is connected to music and really stimulates a part of the brain too, that drops us into our emotional awareness and presence and moving freely.

Those three things, but those and a bucket. And I mean, music, like, I think that's so individual, right? Like we all have different tastes, something that can elevate your energy. And also knowing when sometimes we want to slow it down so that we can actually feel a little bit more. When we go too fast, often we can't sense what's happening. So going for something that feels good and feels inspired and will allow us to open up to the moment.

Gosh, what else? Huh? You know, I don't know if just because we're talking on here. And I know that you work a lot with clients on food and eating. I think about what my teachers do, he wrote a book called The Slow Down Diet. And it just came to my mind, like that might be one that's great for this community. The Slow Down Diet, I think even if we're not having concerns around, just like what we're eating or body, it is a huge lens into like, how to live differently and how to nourish.

I think that that's important, the way that we nourish and commune around food has been around since forever, and is actually really integral to the digestion and health process, how we consume. So that one came up.

The Surrender Experiment is a really fun one to bring to the table now that we're talking about slowing down, which I think inherently has to do with trust. And let's see if there's another one that wants to come through. Mike Dooley. I read this book when I was like, 14 for the first time.

Well, if you look up Mike Dooley, there's a book around just like the workings of reality and the universe, that's really beautiful and very plain text. And also, I think very inspiring. So I can't recall the title of it now. But Mike Dooley, and that spelt Mike Dooley. I know, that's what comes up there.

Caitie: I mean, so many amazing tools in there. I want to share one last thing just inspired by what you said about how you eat because that's something I've talked about a lot. It’ss like why don't focus on what you eat, focus on how you're eating for a second. Like, everyone thinks the first line of defense to address bloating is like cutting out gluten and dairy. And it's like, well, what about slowing down when you eat and like making sure you're not eating in the super activated state all the time, that's like blocking your digestion?

You really inspired me around that too. Because on your retreat, we took time to hold hands in a circle and like say like a little like a blessing before we ate the food and like actually took time to like really think about where the food came from, who made the food, who sourced the food, how long it took to prepare it. The fact that it was like a beautiful miracle that our body was going to know exactly what to do with the food and that we have this abundance of food available, and this abundance of people to share it with.

That was a big game changer for me because I noticed how it changed the way I ate when we took that time to pause before and to like actually, like be together before and just like look at the food that was in front of us, the abundance of it and like take it in. That was a part of your retreat that I really liked around nutrition.

Maria: Hmm. I love that reaction back again. Like I actually was just like remembering us all standing there, and I felt it felt the energy of it. You know, when people say, “I just don't know how to control myself around food,” my thing is like you're just not present with your food. And presencing what we were doing there is the act of presencing and dropping in and, you know, this idea that like we have to like, portion control is actually complete BS because the body will tell you when it's done.

If we're not tuned in to the experience, we can't hear it, and that's all it is. So you know, it's beautiful. You don't have to worry about learning how to control yourself. You just learn to listen. And it's a thing that a lot of us don't want to do. I do have compassion for why we don't want to do that.

I will say, though, that this is where that opportunity of like “how am I eating?” It's really it's really beneficial because it opens the gateway to “how am I living?” So maybe to tie everything in and to close it for even the topics that you've so often addressed. It’s like, the way that we eat is a mirror to the way that we live. And if you're wanting to even just change the way that you live, start by changing the way you eat, meaning presence, slowing down, tasting your experience, being here now, not multitasking, and yeah, something to unlock. They're not different from each other.

Caitie: And that's also just like it's a total focus on the how rather than the what. The way you're doing it versus what you're eating and what you're restricting and what you're eliminating. And I think that that's also a good way to look at the art of slowing down too, like how you're living your life. Do you have to erase social media from your life? Do you have to erase Netflix from your life?

Or do you have to just do these things more consciously and differently? So, thank you so much for your time.

Maria: My pleasure.

Caitie: I can't wait to have you back on Sunday. I know it's gonna happen.

Maria: I’m ready. We can just keep going like, part two. Ready? Call me. I really enjoyed this. Thank you, Caitie.

Caitie: Thank you


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