Discover the mysteries of the Universe with the Star Family Wisdom Podcast! Watch on Youtube, or Listen on your favorite podcast app!
Star Family Wisdom is a paradigm shifting podcast, community and online school for your Spiritual and Cosmic evolution! Hosted by Jenna Layden and Sinéad Whelehan, on the Star Family Wisdom podcast we share conversations, ideas and information that will inspire you, and support you on this wild journey of being human. Explore ancient clues about our untold human story, real life supernatural experiences, lost knowledge from the stars, and spiritual wisdom that empowers you to transform your life, for the better.
Jenna: Hello hello, everyone. Welcome to the Star Family Wisdom Podcast. We're so glad you're here. If you are new, welcome. If you are tuning in again, welcome back. We are so glad you're joining us in these conversations. I'm Jenna Layden, former Global Vice-President for Whole Foods Market and the founder of Star Family Wisdom.
Sinéad: And I'm Sinéad Whelehan, former special needs educator and co-host of the Star Family Wisdom Podcast. Star Family Wisdom is essentially a paradigm shifting podcast, and also a community and an online school for, for your spiritual and cosmic evolution.
Jenna: Sinead and I have been on our spiritual and healing journey for quite a few years now, but we met last year and realized that the journey and experiences that have led us here were really similar because five years ago, we each had experiences that changed our lives forever. So as we started to explore and process our journey and our experiences together about all things, spiritual, woo, consciousness, ETs, we realized we want to share these conversations with you.
Sinéad: Yeah, because we know that we're not alone on this planet, that ETs have always been here with us. They are still here now, and it's time for us to know that they are around and they want their presence to be known. So on this podcast, we intend to share, ah, conversations, ideas, and information, not only about ETs, on a variety of topics that are going to inspire you and support you on your journey of being human in this life. And at this particular time in our human history as well. And we're going to explore ancient clues about our untold human story, real life supernatural experiences, paranormal experiences, lost knowledge and spiritual wisdom that can help you transform your life for the better.
Jenna: And because we're experiencers, of a lot of supernatural phenomena and contact, we want to have these mature, open conversations about what's possible in our universe and how we're evolving as humans.
Sinéad: And so we want to include a variety of content for you. We love all things woo, as Jenna mentioned, and magic, mindset, science, spirituality, health, and wellness.
And of course, extraterrestrial, that goes without saying. And through these conversations, we want to explore how all of these topics connect to inform the evolution of our human experience.
Jenna: And ultimately we want everyone to embrace a multi-dimensional reality without fear. And we are going to get a little far out here on Star Family Wisdom from time to time, we're here to push the boundaries, but we will ground you in the science and research and information that we have used to evolve our mindset, our worldview, and to be able to open to this incredible nature of our reality.
Sinéad: So together, we're going to discover and remember our place among the stars. And in this episode today, we are reflecting on experiences and practices that we use on our own spiritual journey to guide ourselves and support ourselves through this experience of being human and evolving as human beings.
Jenna: Yeah. So it's going to be all about healing and our process that we've gone through to get to where we're at today and to have embraced everything we have embraced about this multidimensional experience that we can have, you know, when we're in this human body, about ET contact, about again, how we've opened ourselves to the world of spirit and, and found wholeness within ourselves. And, you know, that's what we're all here to do. We're all here to, to be on that journey together. So, so it's our intention to support you in your healing and spiritual journey, no matter where you're at on that journey, by sharing some of our, our practices and, and what has got us here.
And of course in our future episodes, we'll have lots more conversations with guests and, um, and conversations between the two of us that explore a lot of these topics further. So today we'll be, uh, kind of a high level overview of our journey and healing practices. And I, you know, want to reflect just for a moment on, again, what's, what's going on in the world. And, you know, we've got a lot of, a lot of people out there who are facing a really traumatic situation. As you know, Russia continues their invasion of Ukraine and our heart goes out to everyone who is impacted and, um, and to everyone who's stepping up to help and to serve their fellow humans. And, you know, it's how we step up during hard times and to support each other that contributes to that healing process. And so, so, so we just are with everyone in spirit.
Sinéad: We are indeed. Yeah. I mean, we really are a global community, right? We are an international community of the human race and the illusions that we have about why we're different from each other are just that, illusions. And so Jenna and I want to have this podcast partially to break down things like that, to break down these ideas about what keeps us separate from each other, and you know, what we think is different about each other and instead focus on the fact that we are all in a collective journey of being human together. And that, that journey takes many, many, many forms from many people. Not everyone's reality is the same.
Jenna: Yeah. Yeah. So with that, you know, with that being said, if, you know, you're, uh, a young human watching us and tuning in, you know, we're, we are in our thirties and forties, if you are, you know, at our age or younger, welcome to Earth, we are here to do this, this hard work of healing and evolving and, and, and, and moving beyond, you know, these struggles that the human race has faced, you know, over the last few thousand years. So, so yeah, it's a, it's a big, big journey and a big process to go through as, as you go down, you know, that process. And again, everyone's journey is different. And, you know, I, I want to just acknowledge that, that we're all experiencing different things in our human lives. We've all experienced different traumas or wounds and, and we all have a different journey that we're on. And it's really easy when you get, you know, on this path and on this journey of looking inward and outward, right. And, and starting to identify, how can I contribute right to my own healing and the healing of the world. It can be a bit overwhelming and, and it's easy to compare yourself to other people. That's been a big part of my healing journey has been stepping away from that, that sense of needing to compare myself and needing to be on a particular path, needing to be a particular type of person, or be doing specific things to be accepted, to be, to feel worthy. And, and so, you know, I think as we go down this path and have these conversations, just know that wherever you're at is where you're meant to be, and it's all sacred and it's all important. And, and there's no need to compare, even though that's a real human tendency, we have.
Sinéad: It really, really is. Yeah. I mean, normal it's - Jenna and I have mentioned on previous episodes - normal, it's a completely fabricated concept. There actually is no such thing. And proof of that, it's the fact that normal, what defines normal changes, you know, from decade to decade from, uh, era to era. And so, you know, it is a transient and flexible thing, which means that it's a concept that is being created and co-created over time. So, you know, we encourage you not to buy into that and to instead embrace your weirdness because we love our weirdness and it's something we appreciate about each other. It's something we appreciate about being part of this community. And of course, when I'm using that word a bit tongue in cheek, we don't really think that we're weird. We actually think we’re quite fine the way that we are, but we just really enjoy talking about things that are so-called outside the norm, you know, things that are, uh, boundary-pushing things that are, you know, inspiring in maybe a different kind of way. And so that's why Jenna and I wanted to have these conversations with you today. We're talking on a personal level about things that have worked for us on our journey. So, Jenna, I love the practices that you have. You have a morning practice that I really admire. I thought maybe we could start by talking about that, because that's a really nice way to start your day. So you have this beautiful practice in the morning to ground yourself to start every day. What'd you like to talk about that a little bit?
Jenna: Sure. So I, I started in this practice really just a few years ago. And so many of my years in my previous career were so hectic. I, you know, it was probably the stereotypical, you know, corporate person working way too much, not having the right boundaries in place, not focusing enough on, self-care, not allowing myself to truly be centered inside, because I was constantly going, going, going, responding, responding, reacting. And, and the nature of those sorts of jobs does require a little bit of that. There probably are people in retail listening or people who support others in their work. And sometimes that requires more of you. And there are ways we can put better boundaries in place. I have learned. So, excuse me. So my morning practice for years was pretty terrible. It was rolling out of bed just in time to make coffee, grab, you know, a fruit bar or a granola bar, jump in the car, get into the office, run in there just in time for my first meeting, no time to settle and connect with myself. And while you can power through a day like that, for sure, it may not be your best day when you try to power through it like that. So, so over time I started to shed some of that sense of needing to be going constantly at all costs because I was scared of not doing that. And so I started to, in my spiritual awakening, realize that a lot of that going, going, going and being on all of the time was actually stemming from this fear that I had of setting boundaries, this fear that I had of not operating that way, and then not being seen as worthy, not being seen as successful, not being seen as showing up the same way as others were speaking of competition and comparing ourselves. So we often find, oftentimes, find ourselves in these very competitive, you know, situations, these situations where we, you know, are wanting to, you know, show up well to our boss, right? So we're going to stay in the office an extra hour when really we shouldn't be. So I say all of that to ground, you know, the fact that I have not always had a healthy morning routine, and that has only started for me in the last few years. Once I realized I was operating in a really unhealthy way for many years. So now, you know, I'll first talk about my routine when I was working in a corporate setting, right, my day now looks a little different because of this type of work, but in a corporate setting, when I did need to be in the office at 8:00 AM, every single day, I started to just wake up five minutes, 10 minutes earlier each day.
And, you know, over time I would start to extend that a bit. And I would start to find ways where I could sit for just 10 minutes before starting the pot of coffee. Right? So just sit and stillness for 10 minutes and connect with myself, maybe say a few affirmations and then go on to the next thing. And then over time that extended to maybe 20 minutes and it turned into a little more reflection and breathing and allowing a little longer time to find that center and balance. And then over time, I got to the point where I was able to incorporate about 30 to 45 minutes of that morning routine before I started my workday.
Now, that required me waking up earlier. But as you start to just chip away at that, that schedule and start to just add on that extra five minutes, add on that extra 10 minutes, whatever, whatever you can just add on little by little starts to build into a much better way to start your day. And so, so mine has been a, you know, the slow build over time and, and the, the practice I also started at Whole Foods, when I was in that corporate setting, was also forcing myself to get to the office at least 30 minutes to an hour before I really needed to start work for the day so that I wasn't just rushing into it. Right. You end up in a really chaotic mindset when you're just rushing into something without having the time to, to settle and breathe and, and, and maybe get caught up on a couple of emails or reflect on how you want to show up in your first meeting of the day, right? Doing some of that reflection. How do I want this day to feel, how do I want to show up today? What am I bringing, you know, to, to these situations I will be a part of today. How am I feeling inside, right. When do we, when do we stop and ask ourselves that, right. We just wake up and go to work. So, so even just taking that 10, 15 minutes can be so powerful.
Sinéad: Yeah. Even to do something simple, just like a body scan, just to check in with your body, where are you at? And that I find that very grounding because we’re really not very connected to our bodies and this culture, this society, it's all about kind of decorating it, you know, but not actually living in it in a very present way. So I just want to touch on what you were saying about gradually adding five to 10 minutes. Um, a lot of people I think listening to this might think, well, five minutes is barely anything. That's a drop in the bucket. You know how it's not going to make a difference to me, but if you're a spiritual practitioner and you're somebody who's maybe reading about quantum physics, for example, um, then you know, that time is relative, right? Time is something that we've created. And we can also change our experience of time by being present. So just like when we were little kids, everybody remembers when we were little kids, you know, 15 minutes feels like it could be an entire day, or it could be two hours.
So we can, we can reclaim that feeling by being very present and practicing, being present in every moment, as much as we possibly can and that our sense of time expands and that really helps to take off some pressure. Right? So we feel like we have more time, even though we have exactly the same amount we're being present within that time differently, and that is making it expand differently, right. Kind of like breathing. If you don't breathe, you're not really fully expanding your lungs to their full capacity and getting all the oxygen that you can get. You still have lungs, you're still breathing. You're just not making full use of it. So -
Jenna: Yeah, for 15 years I had such terrible anxiety because I was going all of the time and never stopping to really tune in to like, what do I need? What, how am I feeling? And, and when you're in that place, it's very difficult to find the present, to find the now moment. And, and one of the ways I started to even be able to do this morning practice and just sit for five to 10 minutes was in all of those little moments throughout the day, those little five minute moments, those little three minute moments, mindfully stopping to breathe mindfully, stopping to check in mindfully, stopping to just stop my brain for a second. Maybe going back to a couple of affirmations. And, and that was actually a big part of my meditation practice that got me to the point where I could even do a morning meditation routine, because I couldn't turn my mind off for a year. You know, I, I, I didn't even realize I had anxiety and depression for so long. I think that that's true for a lot of people. You just - you're powering through life. Right. You're powering through life.
Sinéad: Yeah. And also that, you know, there's a bit of, I think in our culture and society, we have difficulty with vulnerability, right. And if you're feeling vulnerable in any particular way, such as what you just mentioned, we're not really supposed to talk about that. We're not really supposed to accept that. We're supposed to say, no, this is not okay. I need to be stronger. I need to do better. I need to do this. And a lot of that is because of the external pressures of the way that we are living, right. Our podcast is all about helping people live differently and being present in yourself in your own life, in your own reality, because everybody is on their own path. That's another reason that judgment is completely ridiculous, judgment makes no sense. Everybody is on their own path, the best that they can be. So we want it to help you with that. And Jenna, I was also thinking about, um, in terms of your morning practice, that you like to use different tools, right? There's a few different tools that you use when you're in that place of meditation and starting your day off being present and checking in with yourself, what do you find helpful to use?
Jenna: Yeah, yeah. Before we go there, I'd like to actually just back up and talk about meditation and, and even how, how do you get to that point where you can have this morning routine and have these tools and have these practices in place? Because it did take me years to get to that point. And, and it's not realistic to expect, depending on where you're at in your journey. It's not realistic to expect that you can just immediately jump into this beautiful 30 minute to an hour long morning routine and meditation session every single day. And it's going to be so cute, peaceful, and balanced and harmonious. That is not the reality when you are in your healing process. Right? So, so I think the, you know, the healing process itself leads to being able to establish really healthy new practices that are beautiful for ourselves, but it takes work to get there.
And so, so, you know, one thing that actually really struck me in my journey in my healing journey was noticing, once I did get to the point of being able to actually meditate and find some inner peace, I just stepped back and noticed how, like, no one talks about that part of it. Like, no one talks about that struggle part. When you are coming from a place of a chaotic mindset and inner world, that's in turmoil, you’re anxiety-ridden, you, you've just got a lot going on in your life. And all of a sudden you're finding some of these spiritual practices and tools that you want to engage in, but, but all the rest of that is still there. Right? And that's a, that's a hard moment, you know, to make that transition. And it literally took me a year to turn my mind off. It literally took me a year to be able to find stillness between thoughts because my mind was running constantly because of the anxiety and, you know, the way I was operating, and some of the, the wounds I had, you know, absorbed in my early life. And so, so that process of just noticing how my mind was operating, noticing how I was feeling in those little small moments, right? So I started to learn about meditation. I had started to learn about mindfulness and realized, okay, I think this is how you make those shifts, right? But it takes practice and it takes work. And so a lot of times our inner voice is very critical. Our inner voice, our thought process, the train of thought, that's going on in your head as you're going about your day. There's a lot happening in there. Sometimes it's critical, it’s negative, thinking of the worst case scenarios. And that was true for me for a long time, even though I was successful in my career and doing it and powering through my days, my inner world sometimes was not so pretty. And, and so it took a year of mindfulness, a year of pausing and noticing my thoughts and redirecting them every single time and using affirmations and starting to breathe, right. Focusing on the breath, because when you're focusing on the breath, you can't be focusing on the mind as much, right. It brings the awareness down. And so there's all these ways. We can start to insert little moments of stillness, little moments of mindfulness, and that all adds up over time, but it's work at first and it might feel like that. And that's normal and people don't talk about that.
Sinéad: They don’t, they really don't. I mean, meditation is damn hard. You know, you can't just sit on the ground and, you know, cross your legs and straighten your spine and put your finger like this, you know, in little loops and say that you're meditating.
Jenna: Like all of a sudden it's peaceful and beautiful.
Sinéad: Yeah, it just looks like that. It's just the performance of meditating, but actually having a meditative state of mind is really, really challenging. A lot of it is. I so agree with you. You know, our minds are very, very busy and often, you know, our subconscious mind is especially busy and we're not, not tuned into that. We're not able to hear the subconscious and what's going on back there. We're only hearing this stuff, that's at the forefront, that requires us to function in our daily life. That serves a purpose that way, right. But what, there really is so much more going on, and we talk to ourselves in certain ways we might not be aware of, we talk about other people in certain ways we might not be aware of, you know, it's really important to, um, to listen to that inner voice. It is very, very active and also dictates so much of how we behave, how we feel, how we think in our daily life. So I, I was thinking also about how, um, you and I were talking about what initially helped us to be present in the meditative moment. And for me, when I was living in a Buddhist temple, I was living in a Tibetan Buddhist temple for a couple of years. And I was, I thought at that time, going to become an ordained nun and devote my life to, um, to Tibetan Buddhism monastically. But, uh, and I didn't end up doing it that clearly, but you know, that time there helped me hugely. And one of the things that it helped me with was being present with myself and learning how to start to, uh, have less judgment and have less sort of, you know, not less expectations, but to, in the process of getting to know yourself better, and you learn to make your expectations for yourself more realistic and more, uh, truly in tandem with where you're actually at, and what you can actually achieve, rather than maybe saying, I need to be here, based on what the normal standard is, right. ‘Cause everybody else is doing this, so I should be able to do it too. So I really had, you know, all these things coming up the first and second and third and many times afterwards that I tried to sit still and meditate.
It was really difficult. I kept wanting to scratch my nose, or readjust my foot, or take my socks off or put my socks back on or whatever it was - you just start getting distracted by all these things and paying attention to your thoughts without getting wrapped up in them, I find is the hardest part. So my teacher at the time said to me, said to all of us that were sitting there at the time, practicing together, she said, try to imagine that your thoughts are clouds in the sky. So you're looking up and you're seeing them, but you're not attaching yourself to each individual cloud that goes by. You just look up and go, oh, a cloud, and then it passes. And then there's another one. And you notice that, and then it passes. So just letting thoughts, like recognizing that they're there, noticing that they, they exist, having awareness of them, being conscious of what that thought is saying or whatever feeling it's creating in you, but mostly not grabbing onto it and spinning around with that thought, but just letting it pass by, letting it pass by. And I found that that really, really helped me a lot. To this day, I still use that strategy.
Jenna: I love that. Yes. Yes. Like we are not our thoughts. Right. That's such a, an important teaching to recognize and acknowledge, you know, if you're, if you're new to this stuff or, or coming back to it, right. You know, I think that as we reach new stages in our journey to, we then have new opportunities to practice again, these things, and remember them again for a second time. I'm, I've been going through that over the last year. It's like a second kind of awakening that's been happening. Yeah, you too.
Sinéad: Oh, definitely. I mean, it's ongoing. This is why I think you, and I also wanted to do this podcast, right. We want to represent to people that this has been an ongoing learning process. You don't just arrive right, as if you suddenly become enlightened - that's a word that's overused or my personal opinion - um, it's an ongoing journey, you know, we are all perpetual students, so we're constantly learning and going, okay, yeah, I got this - but after a while, whatever you've learned, you need to evolve that and step it up a notch and, you know, expand it and get better at it or go deeper into it. So we're constantly reflecting and changing our practice and changing how we do things, to get better and better in that.
Jenna: Yes. It's just constant practice. Constant. Yeah. It's not work once you are in the practice, it becomes just part of your lifestyle. But that initial stage, right. That initial stage of, you know, changing those limiting beliefs, changing those negative thought patterns, becoming more mindfully aware of how we're operating and, and how we're feeling - that can feel like work for a little while as you're in that. And, and, and it can be this beautiful journey of getting to the other side of that. I remember the first day I was able to meditate and literally turned my mind off. It was incredible. Gosh, after having years, I mean, anyone listening to this who's had that who's had their mind run constantly for years, couldn't turn it off to sleep. Right. I had to smoke pot to sleep for years, which, you know, was a little bit of self-medicating, but necessary for me at the time I was not taking other medication. And it worked - um, always consult your physician before trying these new things and bringing new things into your routine - but it, it was one of those things that you have so many people are challenged with and deal with, right? So many people self-medicate because of that. And, and one of the, the healing processes we can go through is finding meditation and working on like even cognitive behavioral therapy, that is kind of what meditation and using affirmations and, and working to reprogram our mind is. It's cognitive, you know, therapy. And so often we do get programmed in a certain way. And one thing I've come to realize is that the brain is very much like a computer. And a lot of those thought pattern loops we get into that are negative, or that are negative self-talk that are destructive for us, usually stem from some wound, some childhood wound or past life wound that we're carrying into this life that has allowed that neural network to form in our brain. And it is possible to change that neural network. And, and, you know, one of the things that I've used is affirmations.
So I, I did quite a bit of cognitive behavioral therapy techniques in addition to using affirmations. And one of the things I use pretty consistently for a while was what I call the, “what if” exercise. And it's actually in the Masters of Manifestation course on Star Family Wisdom, because the manifestation course is a lot about changing your mind, because manifestation is all about mindset and how the mind is programmed. And so -
Sinéad: We also have tons of daily free affirmations available on Star Family, also. So, because you're talking about affirmation. So if anybody needs some affirmations to get started, there's tons of free ones available to you on Star Family Wisdom. So Jenna, sorry to interrupt, I wanted to mention that.
Jenna: Yes, yes, yes. Get daily, you can get daily emails with affirmations that help you on your journey. You can buy a list of affirmations that I've used that have helped me. And, and in the manifestation course, the “what if” exercise is really all about reframing our negative beliefs. And for a long time, I was in this place of what if the worst case scenario happens. Like I was in this just constant loop of fear about the negative, what ifs, and a lot of that stemmed from, um, lack! Wounds of lack and, um, lack of financial security, um, lack of physical security that, you know, was passed on to me from my family. And, and so that formed neural networks in my brain that resulted in me having those kind of destructive, negative, you know, thought pattern loops that I had to change. And, and so the, “what if” exercise was writing the list of all the negative what-ifs that were going through my head. So what if this goes wrong? So what if my boss doesn't like this, and then this happens, and then I get fired and then this happens, and then I don't have any money. And then you - right, you go down this negative spiral. And so, uh, so the point of this exercise was writing all that stuff down, but then reframing it. So, so, an example would have been, if I was interviewing for a new job, well, what if the interview doesn't go well? And then, and then all of a sudden they find out I'm a fraud and that I shouldn't have even had this job and, you know, right. So sometimes we go through those things. So it was reframing that to be, well, what if it goes really well? What if I get a raise? And then what if I'm noticed as being an expert in, in what I have taken on, and then what if I get another promotion? And then what if, you know, all of these people I'm helping are supported and then they get to evolve and grow in these beautiful ways. And look at that spiral, that's a positive spiral, right? So, so, we can start to reframe those thought patterns. And that was big work for me. And, you know, most of the time when we identify a limiting belief or one of those negative thought loops that's occurring, that stems from an old wound, that stems from a trauma we have experienced, that we can heal from, and that we can, um, you know, once we look at it from an objective point of view and understand, kind of find the meaning and the lessons and what we can take from that to inform our future and to do that, you know, cognitive and emotional healing work, we can start to experience some really profound changes.
Sinéad: Yeah. I actually really love, um, that what if exercise. I do, I've done that myself. And so, I love that you also kind of naturally arrived at that conclusion that you know, that option is possible for us because of course, what you and I have talked about previously, and we'll continue to talk about, we always, always have choice, always, right? We can control what is happening in our mind and in our emotions, and in our thoughts. We can influence ourselves. We, you know, we are the ones in control who are operating our entire system. So it's important to know that there's always choice.
And you're kind of reminding me of this. Um, I, I loved Winnie the Pooh when I was growing up, and Winnie the Pooh was actually deceptively simple wisdom. You know, there's a lot of depth in Winnie the Pooh, which is why there's a series, or maybe there's just one book called the Tao of Pooh. You know, it's very, very, uh, deep stuff. It's pretty deep stuff. And so there's - one of my favorite ones, which I actually have a little photograph of, and I keep it in my phone. It shows Piglet and Pooh walking along, you know, along a path together, hand in hand, and there’s a tree beside them. And the tree is kind of semi leaning over their path and Piglet, who's always the worrier, right, he looks up at Pooh and he says, what if that tree falls on us?
Jenna: Ohhh, Piglet.
Sinéad: And Pooh says, but what if it doesn't? And that's it. That's all it says - but what if it doesn't? And I just really love that because it's so simple. You would read that in two seconds and just pass by it just as easily. But there's so much depth in that context.
Because of course you can choose to worry, and you can choose to think, oh my God, what if I go around that corner and a car crashes into me, what if I do this and then get mugged? What if I get on a plane and the plane crashes? We can live like that all the time, if we want to, or we can live in the opposite way. I'm going to go out and I'm going to be safe. I'm going to turn that corner and nothing is going to be there that’s going to get in my way, I'm going to get on this plane and nothing's going to happen. And I'm going to be fine. You know, of course, bad things do happen and we cannot control that. But it's important to walk through life deliberately with a mindset that you choose and you don't want to be just reacting to things in life, which is often based on fear and stress and anxiety, right?
Jenna: And we miss so many opportunities when we are walking through life and fear and stress, and thinking of those worst case scenarios, we then miss the positive opportunities that show up, you know, for us. So that's been a big lesson for me as well, that when you're in that fear state and any time you're in a negative thought loop, you're activating your stress and fear response. So, you know, you're biologically, you've activated your sympathetic nervous system, which actually doesn't allow our brain to kind of see things in an expansive, holistic way. We're really shutting down parts of our ability to perceive our reality. And so then we don't perceive the positive opportunities as well when they show up. So, so it, it becomes the self-fulfilling prophecy before you know it, right.
Sinéad: Whatever we focus on, we make more of. It's just a fact, you know, I mean, it's, that's proven by science, and it's also proven by manifestation techniques. And so I actually want to go back to meditation for a minute because I want to kind of branch out on this idea. We're talking about, uh, within this topic, that everyone's path is individual. Everybody is on their own path. Judgment is ridiculous because everybody is on their path, the best way that they can be with the tools that they feel are available to them at that time. Right? And so there's no point in saying, oh, that person's, you know, they should be there. They shouldn't be this. Or they shouldn't be that. Really the only “should”, should be directed at ourselves. Right. And what we need to do to improve ourselves and to get, to become better human beings. So, because meditation helps us with that so successfully, I just want to point out that, um, a lot of people might think that meditation is that typical image of somebody sitting cross-legged on a really comfortable pillow with their eyes closed. And they're, complete, completely peaceful, blissful silence, and there's rainbows and unicorns everywhere. Right. But we know that meditation is tricky. It's difficult. It's something you have to practice just like anything else and make it a stronger muscle in your mind. Just like anything else. You know, if you're going to go to the gym and work out, you can't just get to your goal immediately after one workout. It takes a lot of exercise to get there. So you have to be committed, but you can try - within your commitment - you can try many different ways of doing whatever it is you want to do. So meditation can be done while you're walking. It can be done while you're washing dishes. It can be done while you're lying on the floor. You know, you can be driving and meditating. It's really just about being aware and being still and peaceful in that moment, as much as you can be. So you can practice it in many different ways and then whatever feels most comfortable for you. Then you can adapt that one method as your favorite one. You know, if it means that you're sitting cross legged on the floor, then so be it. If it means that you're outside walking with your phone and listening to Bach, then that is what works for you. You know, whatever it is, there is no one right way, you know, there's no one right way, as far as I'm concerned to do anything. I think that it's all about what works for you. You know, what helps you progress on your path.
Jenna: Yeah. Some people find staring at a flower, this beautiful meditative expansive experience. Some people stare at sacred geometry as a way to meditate. And we have sacred geometry courses coming soon to Star Family Wisdom. So you can do that with us. There's so many ways, right? It's just about mindfulness. And it's about finding that present moment. Like you were talking about coming back to the now, you know, one of my quote unquote issues from the past with meditation was always thinking about the past or always thinking about the future, right? So we, we often find ourselves replaying situations from the past because they didn't go the way we wanted them to, or they were painful. And we're, we're just constantly reliving that wound, or we're obsessed about what's going to happen in the future and trying to control that in our mind, before it even happens. And what's the point once you, once you've exhausted yourself to the point of, you know, having spent a lot of time focused on the future or replaying the past, eventually you do start to realize, well, that's really counterproductive and it's really not serving me cause I'm just stressed all the time, because that's all that's doing. It's just activating our stress response and activating that sympathetic nervous system, which is what we don't want to do constantly. That actually affects our biology in really terrible ways. So, so it is about the present moment. One of the books actually that was powerful for me early in my journey was the Power of Now, which is by Ekhart Tolle.
And you know, he's a very well-known spiritual teacher, but that book really helped that sink in, this power of the present moment, and, and starting to mindfully make those shifts. Right. Anytime my mind was going to the past, holding it back, anytime it was, you know, obsessing about the future, pulling it back right. And reminding myself, no, we don't have to focus on that. We just, we just don't, right. We will consciously, in the right moments, be planning for the future. Right? You want to have moments where you've scheduled that, where you were consciously planning and doing your work to plan your schedule and all that stuff. Right. But we should not be in a constant state of, you know, in a, in a loop on that. So, so, so that's been a big part of my meditation practice, are those mindful moments to come out of the past and not be obsessing about the future, but to just enjoy the now. And I will say that is difficult when you do have wounds and traumas that have affected your sense of security. And when we, you know, have these wounds and traumas that occur in our life, that, you know, not only affects us psychologically, but we store that in our energy field. And, and as we, you know, make the psychological shifts and find, you know, the, the meaning and situations and, and find, you know, how can we leave that, where it was, and forgive and accept and, and, and come back into a state of wholeness now, we can then start to, you know, experience more of that present moment, but that's some of the work that's involved and, you know, healing from some of those, those wounds. There's also another great book we should recommend to people. Um, it's called how to do the work by Nicole, Dr.
Nicole LePera. She is, um, a holistic psychologist and does a lot of work to kind of integrate spirituality and psychological work with people. And she, in that book is all about how to do the work on your own healing process to go on your own healing journey. So while, you know, there's tons of tools that we offer as well. It's important that you also, you know, learn from those sorts of professionals who have spent decades, uh, you know, engrossed in that sort of, that healing work. And, you know, a combination of all of these tools can be really powerful and supportive. And I did want to mention the, the fact that when we turn on our stress response and when we are in that state of sympathetic nervous system activation for humans, it can be hard to turn that off. Like animals actually have a mechanism in them that just turns that off. So if you see, like, a deer gets startled, they'll go into a state of startle, fear, right? Fight flight, what is it? Fight flight fear response. Um, you'll see an animal go into that response, but then be able to just immediately calm themselves and go back to a state of center, right? For humans, we don't have that just in a mechanism. We have to actually implement a practice to turn off that fight or flight response. And so one of the techniques and tools we have on starfamilywisdom.com are free meditations. And one of those - they're really centered around stress relief and body scanning and helping you come back to center - but one of those meditations is the four by four meditation, which is a breathing exercise that helps regulate the nervous system.
Sinéad: I really, really love that one. I really like that one a lot. And I think it's also, you know, we take breathing for granted. Breathing is something that's talked about, uh, as being incredibly important in spiritual circles all the time and has been for years, so
I'm sure everybody knows this already, but - it's one thing to know it on an intellectual level. It's another thing to really practice, breathing and feel how, how, what that experience does to your body, to your mind. I mean, it really is so significant. It's, it's so simple. It's something our body does automatically. We take it for granted, you know, we're breathing in and out all the time, and we're not really thinking about that, but the more we practice conscious breath and also how we breathe. You know, I became into, I came into awareness of the fact that when I was taking deep breaths, I thought, which I thought I was doing successfully, you know, meaning that I was helping all the oxygen transfer to every part of my body, I was really only breathing into my chest and shoulders. So my shoulders would go up and my chest would expand, but I wasn't breathing deep into my gut, into my belly, into the lower part of my body as well. So I was really kind of operating from the shoulders up or the chest up, you know, I was breathing here and I was thinking up here in my head all the time and I wasn't really connecting to my body. And so of course that starts to exemplify, you know, in different things that are happening with your body. That disconnection is going to start showing up and your body never, ever, ever lies to you. So your mind will lie to you. You know, your, your words can lie. Your body will not lie to you, whatever your body is telling you, it is genuinely the experience your body's having, because it's telling you through our sense, it tells us through our senses what's going on, right? So with breathing, I really feel like it's so important to know how to do it well. And part of that is also, of course, there was mentioning breathing into your stomach, breathing deep into your body, but also holding it. And I really love that. I love the feeling of taking a really satisfying, deep breath into my stomach and then taking, you know, a few seconds and that exercise, you were just mentioning, it's four seconds to hold it. And when, when I do that, I really do feel the oxygen moving further, my muscles, you know, not just touching them and then leaving again, but really going into the fiber of my muscles and going into the fibers of my body. And it does help me relax more. So it's also how we do it, right? It's not just (breathing), it's it's Yeah.
Jenna: Yes. Oh my gosh. For so many years, I would hold my breath and I didn't realize I was doing that for a long time. When I was stressed, I was just holding my breath, which is kind of terrible for you.
Sinéad: Me too. I didn't realize that at all. And I started raising my shoulders. So I still have this habit of raising my shoulders while I'm holding my breath. So I have to remind myself to do it right. So right now, Jenna and I are telling you that even though we're here, you know, running this podcast and, and, and giving helpful tips and stuff, we're still learning. We're still making mistakes. We're still practicing things ourselves. You know, this life is an eternal journey of learning and exploring, being curious, having a sense of wonder and being open to what's out there that we can use to help ourselves become the best versions of human beings that we can. So living in the human experience inside the body is very important because our senses are such a big part of why we are human, right? Our senses are an enormous part of how we experience every single thing around us and inside us. So also when we breathe and we take time to be in the present moment, use your senses, use your senses to feel what your hands are feeling, what your, you know, what your butt is sitting on, what your feet are resting on. Uh, how's the temperature in the room that you're in at that time? You know, what are you seeing around you? What are you smelling? And all of those things that are very, very simple. That again, we would take for granted that we don't really have a practice of using, to support ourselves. It means that we're not living inside that experience. We're not really using the fullness of our human experience to enjoy all the things that are possible about being human, but also to be able to better face challenges and struggles that are involved with being human.
Jenna: Yeah, Yeah, yeah. You know, I think so much of our collective healing process is about identifying those wounds and traumas that we're carrying. You know, when you think we talked a little bit about this on the previous episodes, when you think about the compounded generational trauma, that we're all carrying from what has happened on earth, right. We have arrived on a planet that is violent and has, you know, allowed a lot of negative extremes to occur, and that has left a lot of energetic and biological imprints on us. Right? So, you know, we hear about, um, you know, generational diseases. That's actually energetic imprints that are manifesting as disease that have been carried on, right from whatever the original was, whatever that original trauma was that someone took on. And so one of our, you know, one of our big pieces of spiritual curriculum in this life at this time on earth is to heal from that. And, and no matter what family you've been raised in, no matter how seemingly good, you know, or negative it was, we all have some aspect of that, you know, collective trauma that we're carrying in us. And, you know, whether that is from hundreds of years ago or whether that's more recently from, you know, racism and violence that, you know, has been perpetuated against, you know, our family members, we are all carrying something that has to be cleared, that that needs to be healed in this lifetime, for us to move forward in, you know, really positive ways. And, and that's, uh, it's a beautiful gift to arrive at a place where we can do that work and, and, and, and give the next generation a chance to experience a different world, you know, and to give these future generations a chance to live a healed existence.
Sinéad: Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, speaking on that, because you and I use energy so much as a healing methodology for ourselves, right. We’re people who are energy workers, we understand, or we are in the process of understanding, uh, how energy and vibration work. And a lot of people think that that kind of stuff is nonsense, right? So I just want to point out that, uh, again, how we frame things as normal and how we frame other things as not being normal. Psychology is something that is seen as being normal life. Psychology has been around in our culture, our society for a very, very long time.
Therapy takes many, many different forms. People are used to this, they know that therapy is a thing, nobody questions that anymore, right. But can we see the mind, like, can we actually look at the mind, can we hold it in our hand? Can we describe what the mind looks like? You know, no, it is ineffable really. And so is energy. And so is vibration.
So it doesn't really make sense to me that psychology is seen as a viable way of treating, you know, stresses and illnesses and emotional issues, when we can't see it, we can't see the mind. You can't see emotion. It's not something that's tangible, right. But neither is energy or vibration depending on the form we're looking at. And of course, and that also serves us, uh, you know, many, many, it gives us many benefits in terms of, uh, healing and knowing how to address our full experience of being human, which is not just our mind. It's not just about thinking and problem solving and using logic and using tools. Those all have a place, but so does the ineffability, which is more about, you know, receptivity and exploring and being curious and being true to our individual paths and to what works for each one of us in our own special way. So you have to be receptive to that, you know, to those possibilities of getting to know yourself and what you need for yourself, that could be completely different for somebody.
Jenna: Yeah. I love that you bring that up. You know, I was resistant to some of the talk therapy for a long time. And while I think the therapy can be extremely helpful and supportive for so many people, there is an aspect of some talk therapy that is just helping you replay old wounds. If you're only just talking about old wounds and we're not attempting to bridge that experience with the present and how we want to experience the future, if we're not doing that work to create those bridges and find the, the healing in that experience, it's just actually continuing to, um, enforce the neural networks in your brain, right, that are making you not feel good from that wound. So
Sinéad: Yeah, it keeps us in a victim mentality, right. It keeps us like, oh my God, I'm so hard done by, my life has been so hard and I'm just stuck in this loop and it's never going to go away and I'm going to be in this forever, right? Like that's what happens when we just replay the same records over and over and over and over.
Jenna: That's one thing I love about shamanism because when I started studying energy medicine, pretty intensively, it became very clear to me that yes, the mind, body and spirit are all connected - spirit being energy - and we do actually have an energetic blueprint for our human bodies, for our lives that we come into this life with. And, and, you know, we won't go into every little detail of how it all works in this episode, but, but suffice to say that that in that energy field is like an information field, right? So it is like the computer program that is running your hardware. And we can change that computer program. We can change the software to inform how the hardware is running and, and that, that's how I like to think of it now. So, so those, you know, old wounds and traumas get stored in our energy field and that's attached to our different chakras, our energy centers in our body, and those energy centers affect our physical body in different ways and affect our emotional and psychological processes in different ways, depending on what information is stored in that energy center. And so when we talk about, you know, these, these traumas and wounds, you know, one thing I help people with now is clearing that at an energetic level, right? So identifying, where is that wound stored in someone's energy field, and clearing that piece of data, right? Clearing that information from the computer system, from the software. So then the hardware, the body, the mind can upgrade, can return to its original divine blueprint, I like to call it now. I actually had an issue with the word divine for a long time. We can talk about that, but, but we have this blueprint that is, that is telling our system how to run and we can change the blueprint. And so, so it, it really does become this holistic way of tending to your being, to tending to your healing. And so, so I do think now knowing everything I know, and having done the research and the study, I do believe that our Western medical systems are missing a critical piece of the puzzle. And, and when we start to heal emotionally, energetically, psychologically, that starts to affect big changes in the body. I've even noticed that as I've healed, as I've done that work, to clear those, those pieces of data that are no longer necessary, right, for, for me, and, and I've noticed the changes, I've noticed the psychological shifts, I've noticed the physical shifts in my body, and it's, it's incredible that, you know, we have these tools now. And so I do encourage people to explore the world of energy and to explore energy medicine. And I think energy medicine is the future. Like, energy medicine is our future. Like, there will always be a place for Western medicine. There will always be a place for some, um, intervention in the most critical situations, right. Western medicine has, you know, brought us a lot of good in that way. We have the ability to do surgery and, you know, do, do some, you know, more intensive interventions when needed, but, but we want to get to the root of the problem. Right? A lot of our Western medicine solutions are the, are band-aids. And then, you know, part of our healing journey can be finding the root of the issue. And usually what we're getting, from some of these other systems are band-aids and we're not actually healing that root issue.
Sinéad: Yeah. I, I, you know, Western medicine, I agree it has many, many, many benefits. I mean, I can say for me, my life would not be the same without Western medicine, because I'm a deaf person and I have two cochlear implants, right. So I've had two major surgeries done. And if those surgeries were not available to me, and if this technology was not available to me, I would not be able to live a functional life.
I would not be able to communicate with anybody. I would not probably be able to have friends. I wouldn't be able to have a job. You know, I mean, our whole world is centered around communication. And if you're a deaf person, you can't communicate the way that the majority of people in the world do. So I just want to recognize, you know, that is my personal testimony, but at the same time, I do see the flaws in Western medicine.
You know, it's incredibly physical, incredibly based on the physical and it doesn't consider the holistic state of human beings. So, um, energy medicine, it is the future. And also our past, it has always been around and has been around for thousands of years, in many, many, many cultures and societies all over the world called by different names used in different ways, but it has always existed. It is ancient wisdom, ancient wisdom lasts this long and it's still around. It's coming back to the fore in a way right now. Um, to me, that that alone, you know, is, is, uh, proof of its legitimacy. The fact that it's been around all this time. So with regard to energy medicine and energy healing, I just want to say something, um, not everybody is in a place where that even might make sense to them, right? So if energy ,edicine is sounding too esoteric to you. I also encourage you to learn about how plastic our bodies really are. And when I say plastic, I mean, flexible, adaptable, changeable, right? So the brain is much more plastic than we ever thought that it was, it has greater plasticity is the more accurate way of phrasing it. And that means that, you know, we used to think that the brain developed and then it stopped at a certain time in our life. And, and that was basically it and whatever mindset or neural pathways, we ended up with, that those were the ones we would have for the rest of our lives, which would usually be the majority of our lives, right. Now we know that that information is absolutely dead wrong, and that we can change our cellular structure anytime we want. And that includes our brain and our brain’s neural pathways, which are of course, made up of cellular structure. So you can change how your brain operates. You can change how your body operates on a physical level. This is science, this is Western science, this is Eastern science. So if you want to know about that, there's a great author named Norman Doidge. He is a PhD, a medical doctor. He's written a whole bunch of books, one of which is called The Brain That Changes Itself. So if that kind of information lands a bit more securely for you, and it's a bit less esoteric and abstract, you know, go for that - again, whatever works, like we want to learn all the ways in which we can help ourselves become better human beings. And when I say better, I mean, healthier, happier, more fulfilled, more integrated with ourselves, living a good quality of life.
Jenna: And one of the ways we can affect that, uh, you know, neuroplasticity in our brain is through the supplements and nutrition we're putting in our body. So this would be a good time to take a quick break and bring you a discount from one of our favorite brands that can support you in that.
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Jenna: Welcome back everyone. So we've been talking a lot about our healing journey, meditation, the work that comes with that, that healing journey and some of the tools and practices we've used, and Sinead is a former Buddhist monk. What would you call yourself?
Sinéad: Nun in training. I was a nun in training.
Jenna: I guess the women are called nuns. Right. Okay. Thank you for that. So Sinéad was a former Buddhist nun for a while in her life, which was a really important part of her spiritual journey. And, and I would love for you to share about that because I think, you know, a lot of people find themselves on path and seeking a, a community seeking, you know, some, uh, tradition that they can attach themselves to, or they get invited in to communities by gurus or by teachers. And, and, you know, we've talked in a previous episode about discernment and how in everything we're intaking, whether that's a media, whether that's spiritual guidance, we all should be practicing discernment in that.
And that it's very easy sometimes when in that seeking place, to get caught up in something that's not as healthy as we hoped it would have been. And so, so I'd love for you to just share about your experience, because I think it probably resonates with more people than we realize it will.
Sinéad: Yeah, I think so too. I mean, I think, you know, we, we were talking about the concept of normal not being real. I think even the concept of normal, is a little bit culty, right? Like there's a lot of collective thinking that we all engage with, that is much more about following the norm. And it's about actually evaluating whether that norm, whatever it might be defined as, whether or not it actually serves us. Right. So, um, I think discernment is absolutely absolutely important in whatever area as you were pointing out. So what happened for me in was, uh, this is an incredibly long story, so I can't possibly go, go through all of it, but basically what happened was, again, I've always been a seeker. I've always been a quester. I've always been someone that felt that there was more, even though I didn't know what that more was. I just had this feeling there's more out there. There's something that is right in front of me that I can't see. And I have to try everything I can to find out what it is. And so, um, my parents actually went through a really terrible divorce when I was 17 years old. And my mother - my father is very anti-religion. Uh, you know, he's somebody who is quite a skeptic and quite, uh, cynical about things in some ways, you know, he just believes that religion is only for people who can't think for themselves. I don't feel that way. I think that religion does serve a beneficial purpose for many people, again, everyone, their own path.
So I grew up with a father who was very anti-religion and anti-spirituality as well. He thought it was all nonsense, right. So this is not a family where I was really able to be truly myself. My mother is a spiritual person, but she hadn't felt able to examine that while she was married to my dad. So they split up, it was a very traumatic divorce. Um, and then my mother realized that she wanted to try exploring parts of herself that she hadn't felt able to in the marriage. So one of those things was Buddhism. And it was through my mother that I found this temple. And so the temple is in Toronto and I moved into the temple, I left university. So I started going to the temple when I was 17, learning here and there, you know, gradually. I was very skeptical, but I was still looking, I needed something. And people there were very warmly welcomed. The woman who was running the temple, who was an ordained, Tibetan Buddhist nun, she was very charismatic, very charismatic, and very caring, intelligent, and very charming.
And I just want to say those three things with emphasis, because this temple turned out to be a cult. It really was very culty. It didn't turn, it didn't start off that way, but the bigger it became, the more people came, the more money was involved, the cultier it got. And so often people who are, uh, the leaders of situations like that will be highly intelligent, highly charming, and highly, you know, just engaging in a number of ways, right? So I felt compelled to explore at this place. I eventually dropped out of university. I was 19. Uh, I was very much pressured to do that. So even though at the time it was like, oh, this is my decision. Really, it wasn't. And I moved in and I started dedicating my life to the practice of Buddhism, you know, as my whole life. And I was going to become an ordained nun. I was going to dedicate myself to a vow of poverty and a vow of service. And so I already started that, so I gave away everything that I owned, and I shaved off all my hair, and I stopped wearing makeup and jewelry. And I started dressing androgynously, which was what we were all supposed to do to make ourselves a, it was much more of ah, expanding consciousness and developing your spiritual life than it was about sexuality or your body or whatever. Um, and then, uh, long story made short, I was there for a few years and it definitely served a great deal of benefit for me. You know, I, I, I learned a great deal about death and dying because after I dropped out of university, I started working in long-term care hospitals and in hospice situations, uh, because we were supposed to be of service. I was supposed to take a vow of poverty and a vow service. So I did take those vows, and I still keep them to this day. You know, you don't have to be an ordained person to keep vows like that. Vow of poverty, not so much, haha.
Jenna: I should ask you about that now. Right? There's a lot of people who think to be on a spiritual path, there's like this nec - or even, you know, in certain religions, there's this necessity to deprive yourself and to struggle and to be in a state of lack.
What do you think?
Sinéad: I don't agree with that. I think that the vow of poverty is very symbolic in a lot of ways. It doesn't have to be literal. It can be mostly about realizing that sustenance comes from many other things that are inside yourself and in the natural world rather than from money. Right? So it has symbolic meaning as well, but ultimately it's because nuns and monks are not supposed to live in a state of abundance or a state of great comfort. Suffering is supposed to help them become more, uh, wise. Right. So is there a place for that? Yes, because suffering can make us wiser if we choose to address it that way, but I don't think it's necessarily to live your entire life like that.
Jenna: And again, I agree. Yeah. I think ongoing suffering is not, is absolute - I will just state this. My understanding is it is absolutely not the intention of our life and experience. When we come into a physical body, we are not supposed to be suffering. Right.
Sinéad: And, and in Buddhism, I mean, there's another point that I should mention in Buddhism because it does have a specific belief system. That belief is that if you take on that vow, to live a life of poverty and to let's say suffer a bit because of that, that you are actually doing that as a way of deliberately cleansing yourself with previous karma as well, that your suffering is meant to sort of balance out your karma, right? So that you can burn off some of the things you may have done to other people in past lives or ways in which you cause suffering in this life, that you can burn some of it off by suffering yourself. That's the idea, right? So the idea is noble, but you know, doesn't always work like that. I wouldn't say so again, everybody in their own way, I mean, Siddhartha, who was a real person, prince Siddhartha, who became the Buddha. He did that very much on purpose. You know, he became a ascetic. And so for him, the result was enlightenment. So I really think that it, maybe it works for some people, I'm sure that it does. There are many, many wise people around the world and through history who have done things like that and who gained wisdom as a result. I just don’t think that anything can be said as a complete blanket statement that can be applied to all human beings.
Jenna: And his situation, the Buddha’s situation was also different. He came from being a prince and this, like lavish luxurious environment, had never been exposed to any of the real life things in the world. And then once exposed to those real life things and the suffering that was occurring, he felt this need to then experience that himself for the purpose of enlightenment. That is a very unique situation that not all people are in. And so, again, like you were saying earlier each to their own, everyone's on their own journey. We all have our own karma to heal. We all have our own pieces of enlightenment to gain in this life. And yeah, that one size fits all to me. Doesn't feel quite right.
Sinéad: Oh no. Yeah. A one size fits all definitely does not. It just is unrealistic. It just cannot be true. You know, it just cannot be applied realistically at all. But you did just touch on another aspect of why suffering is a part of the Buddhist monastic with the Buddhist sort of spiritual practice experience, because you're right, that Siddhartha actually deliberately sought out the experience of humans around his palace. He went out to find out what, how those people were living. And this was in India. And, you know, again, he was a real person just like Jesus was. And so he was clearly a bodhisattva initially, right? Someone who is, who was incarnated on this earth to try to help others. And then he succeeded because he, he spent his life, uh, deeply, deeply in this practice of trying to understand what is all of this for? You know, what are human beings here for? What is our life for? What does all of this, that, why am I getting a body? You know, how come I feel like my mind, my body are two separate things?
What is going on there? So he explored all these different things that he felt instinctively, and ended up becoming an enlightened person. And here we are, you know, uh, eons later, still talking about him. And this is still a practice that is used by people all over the world for spiritual fulfillment. So just like every spiritual practice, every religion, they can be twisted, human beings are flawed. And some people take advantage of these systems to try to manipulate other people. So it turned out that the woman who was running this temple was like that. So after a couple, after a while of being there learning a great deal, you know, learning how to meditate, um, learning that suffering can lead to a greater sense of compassion for others - that's what I meant to say that you touched on about Siddhartha - um, and that does have a purpose, right? If we look at our own suffering rather than, oh, poor me, but, you know, look at it like, well, this is an aspect of the human experience that is shared between everyone. Everyone suffers, everyone has, has challenges and difficulties. And so we recognize that we can have more compassion for other people, right? It's not just all about us and our problems. So in any case, jumping back to the temple, um, she, uh, this woman who was the ordained nun running this place, basically got crazier and crazier. That's the sort of simplest way I can put it. She became ah, more power hungry and she was getting abusive with people. Uh, there was some financial stuff going on, that I felt was kind of fishy. And I started to really feel like, hmm, you know, maybe I should get out of here. So then I had a major surgery for endometriosis. It was my first one at the time - I've had three surgeries for it. But, um, that was my first one. And I came back from the hospital and I proceeded to get a lecture that went on for six hours in front of everybody who was living there, because it was a communal living situation, saying to me that I should have had a full hysterectomy. I was 21 at the time and, you know, if I was really dedicated to becoming a nun, I would have done that. And the fact that I didn't meant that I wanted to manipulate the men in the temple. I mean -
Jenna: Oh my God, come on.
Sinéad: It was insane. Typical of a cult leader, right. It's typical of a cult leader, but that's how they start to control first. It's all love and come in and, you know, community and family, and then eventually it gets more and more abusive, right, and more and more off the rails. So anyway, so I sat there for those six hours, um, just nodding and being very good and cooperative. I didn't give a damn what she was saying. And in my mind I was planning how I was going to leave that night. So again, I had just had this major surgery, you know, I wasn't supposed to be lifting anything than heavy, heavier than 10 pounds, but somehow with a whole bunch of other people living in this temple, um, it was a very large house, I mean, I just sort of stored things all over the temple, called my mother at two o'clock in the morning and asked her to come and get me.
And I escaped at two o'clock in the morning and then went through basically 10 years of healing from this process.
Jenna: Is that you felt like you couldn't just leave in the daylight, like they wouldn't just let you leave?
Sinéad: Yes. They wouldn't have left me, let me leave. That's all that - they would have said, no, we can't let your ego get the better of you. You know, this is samsaric thought, this is sinful, so you know, we must help you by keeping you here. You know? So, um, I knew I had to get out and then I was absolutely shell shocked. I had lost the majority of my friendships, I had jumped out, I dropped out of university. I, you know, my family, my parents had gone through this terrible divorce. My family was fractured. So all these pillars that we sort of depend on for stability in our, in our lives, the rug had been pulled right out from under me. So at the time it was extremely stressful. I was in a state of shock. Absolutely. I couldn't even look at, I couldn't look at, or be around the Tibetan Buddhist colors for a very long time, because it was like a post-traumatic stress response. But I really, um, just have always felt that there's good in everything. You know, there's good in everyone and there's good in everything. And it's all about perspective. So my friends at that time, my mantra for myself was don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. That was my mantra. So I started looking for, how did I benefit from being in this situation? Like, what are the things I learned? What can I take with me and what do I want to leave behind? So that was the first step I would say, towards my healing process. So again, you know, mindset and choice and perspective and reframing our experience so that you can feel that you can make use of it. You know, that you can utilize it. You are not a victim. You are not someone who's just flattened on the ground while life stomps all over you, you know, you can stand up and say, I am choosing to not engage in this, or I'm choosing to engage in that. And then it was just a really, really, really long slow process of rebuilding myself. But the thing is, at the time I thought that I had to go back to being normal. I thought that this was sort of blip in time in my life because I had no idea at that point that I was connected to ETs, that I'd be doing this work. I mean, this was not a part of my life at all. And I didn't even consider myself a spiritual person at that point. I just thought I was a seeker, and I was a quester, right. So I didn't even have full vocabulary for what I was trying to do with myself. I just felt this drive to, to just keep going. You know, a lot of this was wordless for me and it was instinctive, but really it was a drive to keep healing myself, and to keep progressing on my path and to not let this experience, um, only be made up of trauma and not see it as, you know, 10 lost years of my life and everybody else my age has now gotten married and finished university and started careers. And I'm behind, you know, I could have felt that way if I wanted to. And I did feel horribly insecure for a very long time, but I just kept striving to feel differently, you know, and to have a different perspective and to really empower myself with the experience rather than seeing it as something that I had to hide and that I should be ashamed of. So, you know, a lot of it really, a lot of feeling really, really, really is about choice, you know, about choosing how we want to think, choosing how we want to feel choosing to be resilient, to not give up, to keep persevering, right. To, to keep exploring, to keep being curious. And really, I couldn't really help myself, you know, I really thought it was a one-off experience, but again, and again, and again, I'd come back to, there's more, there's more, and I have to find out what it is. And then, now I know what it is because the ETs, you know, arrived and bonged me over the head with the cosmic frying pan in 2019. So I don't really have a choice, but it's all been for a purpose. You know, it's all led me to where I am now.
And so I can't not feel grateful for that, even though it was incredibly traumatic. My father has never gotten over it because we lost touch with him for a while. I lost touch with him for a couple of years when I was in the temple. But, uh, I just really firmly believe in taking ownership of our experiences, you know, and using them for ourselves the best that we can.
Jenna: That's big. Wow. Wow. Wow. I, I'm just processing how monumental that experience, you know, was in your life and what just powerful learnings about, you know, who we attach ourselves to and who we learn from. And, and I think, you know, I think a lot about how, you know, so many, so many of us find ourselves in situations where we might have a leader, boss, nun, whatever it is that is a little abusive or is seeking to control you or us. And, and that's like one of those signals, right? Anytime a leader or someone, you know, seemingly in charge is seeking more control, more power and, and preventing you from being yourself fully and being free in yourself. That's, that's a red flag. That's a, that's a signal that something's wrong, right? Because we should be in, in our spiritual practices and whatever organizations, you know, we're a part of those should be uplifting us, helping us become more of who we truly are, helping us find our passions, helping us live more freely and more joyfully. And if that's not occurring and whatever the situation is, something's wrong.
Sinéad: Definitely. Yeah. And of course, you know, people who do that, meaning those leaders, those kinds of leaders that we're talking about, um, they don't make it easy to see that, right. I mean, they're very often very intelligent, very manipulative. They're charming people. And so they will, they will disguise, you know -
Jenna: I’ve had a couple of those in the past.
Sinéad: Everybody has, everybody has. And you know, honestly, cults again, there's this idea that cults are something, uh, that is separate from normal society, right? That it's outside of normal society. It's something like Waco in Texas or whatever, but cultiness is all around us. You know, media is culty, advertising is culty, and it's all about, look here! This is the thing that is going to make you feel amazing. Come here, right. We are going to like, all you need is this shampoo, and you're going to feel fantastic for the rest of your life, and you'll never not look like you're 25. It's very culty.
Jenna: You can get that shampoo on Star Family Wisdom.
Sinéad: Let's just make our own Star Family Wisdom, shampoo, I think that’s what we’re going to do.
Jenna: With cosmic conditioner.
Sinéad: It might be too much. That's too extravagant. You know, we're supposed to suffer if we want to get some wisdom, Jenna.
Jenna: Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. Wow.
Sinéad: It's a big topic. You know? So again, critical thinking discernment and also being in touch with yourself, you really have to sort of, you know, whatever, whatever's coming at, you, whatever someone else may be saying, or something you've read, or something you see that makes you go, hmm, I might want to try that out. Or I'm curious about that. You want to check in with your gut, right? Whatever your body is saying to you about that thing. It's not going to lie to you. Right. So I find that relying less on our thoughts, which can really deceive us and, and are often from our conditioning, right,
and our conditioning is not true to our essential human nature and our intergalactic nature. Um, I want to emphasize intergalactic because we are not only citizens of earth.
We are citizens of the universe. That's something that you and I are talking about on this podcast a lot, because ETs are real. So, um, you know, it's just really important to think about, as always a process that is expansive. If we choose it to be that way, right.
If we choose to take ownership of our lives and we choose to explore with groundedness and with intuitive wisdom and with thoughts and logic as well, like all of it, all of it has to come into play. It's a balance.
Jenna: Yeah. Yes. Thank you for sharing that story. I, I recognize that how big that is, you know, for you in your life and again, how affected you were by that. And I, I'm just so impressed by you and, um, and inspired by your ability to, to see the good and whatever situation has been presented, to seek that healing, to seek that next evolution of yourself. And I think that is just so, so wise of you and beautiful that you've been able to get there. You know, it took me, it took me longer to, to, to be able to even start that process of seeing, you know, the, the possibility, seeing the good, finding the lessons.
And, um, I just love, love that about you, that, that you carry that as like a part of yourself as a part of your core beliefs.
Sinéad: Thank you. I think, I think also, you know, that I kind of set myself up to have to live like that. So I think that's one of the reasons that I became a teacher. When you're a teacher, you are in front of young people all the time, you know, you cannot hide from them. You have to be, you have to be as authentic as you can be. And you're trying to help them feel empowered, but you're trying to help them find who they are in life. And, you know, their footing in life and what their skills and abilities are. So you have to be able to see kids who don't think much of themselves, you have to be able to see the inner positive skills and abilities and, you know, help them see that, see them too.
So I think that putting myself in a position where I had to support others and I had to help others see the best in themselves, which of course I also wanted to do. I mean, that's a big part of why I became a teacher, but it helped me continue to practice that, you know? And so I was kind of lucky that way. And you've had experiences in Whole Foods as well, where you felt like you were able to practice at the time a dormant, spiritual side of yourself that was manifesting in all these ways in your, in your job. You know, and I felt that too. I felt like in reflection, when I think about many experiences that I've had teaching, a lot of them were spiritual practice because it comes from the heart.
You know, it comes from caring, it comes from wanting to do well for yourself and for others. And so, you know, our spirituality, it can be applied in so many different ways in our life. It's not just about holing up in your perfect meditation cave and, you know, donging your crystal bowls, you know, monks chanting. And then, and then you're going to be fulfilled. So like it's integrated, it has to be integrated with the rest of your life.
Jenna: Yeah. Yes. It's about putting it into practice in real life. And that can be such a healing part of our journey to right, as we, again, identify those wounds and things we've been through that really affected us and hurt us or programmed us in ways that made it.
So we couldn't be our true selves when we find that when we recognize that and can start to heal from that, then it's our job to help others heal. And it's our job to help, help create, uh, an environment and a situation where we can all flourish and thrive. And, and like you said, yeah, those, those years at Whole Foods, before I knew I was spiritual, you know, part of my, my internal drive was just about how can I make this better? You know, how can I, how can I help this team function better? How can we, how can we be, you know, more successful in what we're doing and how can we make the customer experience even better? And how can we, you know, get rid of some of the dysfunction over here, whatever it was. It was just all about like, how can we just make this a better experience for everyone? And I think ultimately that's why we're here, right? We're just, you know, we're, we were born onto a planet that's sick, we're born onto a planet that has a lot of issues to fix and solve and heal from. And ultimately, you know, our, our, our goal in life in any incarnation is to find our true selves and live our true selves authentically, and have fun doing it and, and create beauty while we're doing it and create fun, fun experiences for all of us and to, to live in harmony and to, to have community and to, to live in a way that is allowing everyone to be their truest selves in a way that serves the whole. And that's possible. And so, so, you know, we're here to, to try to make that a reality on earth and, and, and it requires these healing journeys to get there.
Sinéad: And I want to speak to that right now because one of my favorite sayings is happiness is a journey, not a destination, right? So even though we may not see this wonderful way of living in our lifetime, that actually doesn't matter to me as much as the process of striving to get there, because in the process of striving to get there, we are constantly improving. And that's really, all we need to be doing, is constantly improving. I think, you know, going up the steps one step at a time, up and up and up as much as we can, of course like Sissyphus and the rock, we might be two steps forward, one step back. But you know, then again, it's all about perspective, mindset, being resilient and, um, reminding yourself that you're not - even when things feel totally hopeless, and I have been there more than once, in a place that felt totally hopeless - if you don't give up and you expand your perspective and you remind yourself that you are a grain of sand in the universe, there was so much around you that you can use to support yourself. And, you know, I really did not understand that. I felt that, I felt very kind of angry, negative, alone, all that stuff for a very long time. And it's practice, practice, practice, practice one foot in front of the other, not giving up, plodding along through the muck, right? That's what it felt like for a long time. Then you have little breaks into the light, and that's what, um, inspires you. And you have moments of wisdom. You have moments of realization, you have moments of joy and those become more and more frequent. The more you keep going.
Jenna: Yeah. The universe will start to support you on your healing journey, right? That is a, it's a truth. I know now that once we start to open ourselves, we start to seek, we start to ask for more, we start to set intentions for healing. Those opportunities and situations will start to pop up that allow you to start to move forward on that journey. And, and, but it does require that next conscious choice and continuing on the journey and putting one foot in front of the other, but the universe does swoop in to support that process. Once you know, that intention has been set, it's pretty incredible how, how it works. It takes some time, but it's pretty incredible.
Sinéad: It is incredible. It really is incredible. And I find that that is something that you can only say to people who have also experienced that, right? So we want to encourage everybody to go for that experience and to really just do whatever it is that feels right to you, to push yourself a little further into the experience of your wholeness of the human being and as a member of the intergalactic community, that we are all a part of. So, you know, don't forget listeners. We always, always, always are constantly creating our own reality. We are constantly creating our own reality and that, you know, own that own, that power that, that you have, because we all are far more powerful than we realize that we are.
Jenna: And ask, ask for that support. You know, as, as, as we start to acknowledge how the universe works and we'll get into more of that, you know, in future episodes.
But as we start to acknowledge that the universe is alive, it's intelligent, it's conscious. It is interacting with us. We can start to work with our reality differently and for the purpose of our healing and, and ask for that support, ask for the universe to deliver what will will help us and support us. And, and it's probably no coincidence that we're all here together having this conversation now. So, so head over to starfamilywisdom.com, we have tons of free resources for you. We talked a little bit about the daily affirmation emails that can support you. We have free meditations. Um, the Raise Your Vibe challenge is free, which gives you a lot of good tools and practices that you can use.
We get into the morning routine and that challenge. So setting yourself up for success and how you're going through your week. And follow us on YouTube, like, and subscribe, you can check us out on your favorite podcast app and we're with you every Tuesday and Thursday, we launched new episodes.
Sinéad: We do indeed. And also if you'd like to get some beautiful images, some expansive images, some beautiful quotations, you know, things to help you with your mindfulness and with being centered, and your healing, ah, go to starfamilywisdompodcast on Instagram and follow us on Instagram. And we will be, we'll be creating beautiful posts for you, to inspire you and encourage you on your journey.
Just like little pebbles that were dropping in the water for you to catch, you know, um, just little things to brighten up your day. So you can find us on the website, on the podcast, on Instagram, on Facebook as well. And, uh, we are just so happy to have you here with us to be sharing these conversations. And as always Jenna, I just adore you. And I'm so grateful to be doing this with you. It's a wonderful thing.
Jenna: Me too. And we'll be bringing y'all some fun, happy hour episodes in the future. So, you know, we drink wine a little bit here and there, but we don't drink as much as we used to. So we're going to have some non-boozy, fun, happy hour chats that we'll bring you into. And some fireside chats with friends in the community. So, so it'll be so much more than just this very soon. So keep tuning in. We're excited that you're here with us.
Sinéad: Thanks so much, everyone. Bye for now.
Jenna: We'll see ya next episode! Bye for now.