You’ve heard the phrase, “you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Relationships are significant because they influence and shape our experiences, success, and repetitive cycles that hinder our performance in other areas of life. However, when we learn to navigate relationships with mindfulness and compassion, they can also be rewarding and bring us closer to who we want to be.
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Sheleana Aiyana is driven by her immense desire to help people create more conscious relationships and come home to themselves. So many of us live under persistent low-grade anxiety that stems from unhealthy or dysfunctional relationships. On a recent episode of Chase Jarvis Live, Sheleana shared insights on how to begin your own journey.
Healing from Childhood Trauma
When you suffer from childhood trauma, your life and spirit are eternally changed. Those who experience trauma, abuse, or neglect early in childhood are more likely to develop major psychological and emotional abnormalities later in life, altering who they are and damaging their capacity to form loving and nurturing connections.
Childhood trauma limits and stifles our potential in unforeseen ways. It’s easy to build barricades when our hearts are harmed at vital growth periods, and finding the healing we need is more complicated.
Healing childhood scars is one of the most challenging tasks we can do, yet it is essential to a happy life. If you want to embark on a healing journey and move on from your past, you must first confront it – boldly and one step at a time.
Coming to an understanding
You must first acknowledge your childhood trauma in order to resolve it. Trauma may bring up a lot of strong emotions, and unless we learn to manage them, we’ll simply repeat the same destructive cycles that keep us trapped and unhappy.
Refusing to confront our past traumas allows them to fester like a sore, remaining in our bodies as a subconscious force that wreaks havoc on everything from our job prospects to our personal relationships.
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Everyone’s experience of childhood trauma is different. Still, a few key events tend to have the most significant enduring impact on those of us who are unlucky enough to be exposed to them.
Trauma knows no bounds; it may attack anybody at any moment, but it is more destructive when it strikes during our adolescence period.
Celebrating your true desires
In a world of social media, a culture that often places a premium on looking your best, adopting and maintaining an actual positive image is often a difficult task.
On a previous episode of the show, Lisa Bilyeu spoke about the importance of celebrating your desires and tuning into yourself. She went on to share some tips to help you do just that. By taking the time to celebrate your desires, you can better understand what it is that you truly want in life.
It is not uncommon for us to spend a great deal of our lives striving for perfection in various areas such as academics, business, and personal relationships. Unfortunately, it is also commonplace for us to fall short of our goals and feel inadequate as a result of this.There's no denying that, deep down, we're all looking for some self-love Click To Tweet
There’s no denying that, deep down, we’re all looking for some self-love. We go through most of our lives thinking that we need someone or something else to provide us with what we can only give ourselves. If we want to be truly fulfilled, we need to realize that only we can provide that love.
Assessing unconscious contracts from family dynamics
The way we relate to ourselves is the basis for all our other relationships. But we don’t get much instruction on how to do this. We learn from our early family experiences or from what our culture tells us about love that it’s not safe to open up our hearts and be vulnerable. So we build up walls to protect ourselves.
Sheleana’s book, ‘Becoming the One’, takes us on a journey through the world of belief systems and unconscious contracts that we make in our family systems. In a family system, everyone plays a role and has made agreements (both spoken and unspoken) about what is acceptable and what is not. What we are allowed to have, what we are not allowed to have, and what do we believe.
What do we think about people who speak up and are bold and courageous? We might have internalized judgments or fears about them, but depending on our culture, there might be some strict rules around speaking up or being different.
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So the first step is always looking at where these beliefs came from and changing them if they don’t match our current realities.
Every day, we make choices that shape who we are. Some choices are big, like what we do for a living, and some choices are small, like what we have for lunch.
But each choice we make contributes to our overall identity. Aligning your daily actions with your values will bring you closer to yourself.
How to get out of unsafe relationships
In the same way that honesty, open communication, and trust are apparent hallmarks of a good relationship, there are also evident indicators of an unhappy relationship.
While unhealthy relationships might be different, they generally leave at least one partner feeling apprehensive, unhappy, agitated, frustrated, and/or stand-offish. In situations when there has been mental or physical abuse, dishonesty, a lack of balance between words and action, or even emotional manipulation, the feelings are most frequent.
First, determine whether you want to leave the relationship or if there is still something worth fighting for. Even if you know the relationship is unhealthy, you may be hesitant to admit it because you don’t want to lose the person you care about. You may have spent so much time with them that you don’t want to leave your comfort zone. Admitting that a relationship is unhealthy is a big first step.
Second, cut off communications. Some may find this challenging, but there should be no communication for some time following the separation. Do not answer texts or phone calls. Do not meet with your ex to discuss the reasons for the split, “simply say goodbye,” or to provide “closure.”
Finally, and maybe most critically, seek some professional support. This isn’t an indication that you’re insane or mentally ill. You may feel that the experience you’ve had is due to anything you’ve experienced in the past or something mentioned during the relationship or break-up.
This is something that has to be discussed. It’s also typical to second-guess your choice to terminate a relationship, and an objective expert may assist you in working through these emotions.
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Chase Jarvis: Hey, everybody. What's up? It's Chase. Welcome to another episode of The Chase Jarvis LIVE Show here on CreativeLive. This is the show where I sit down with amazing humans. I unpack their brain, with the goal of helping you live your dreams in career and hobby and in life. I'm wondering, what would you think if I told you that it was well within your grasp, with just a little bit of effort, that you could start cultivating the healthiest, most vibrant relationships in your life, in work, in day-to-day life, and even in love? That's right, even in your love life.
Chase Jarvis:Today's guest, Sheleana Aiyana, is the answer and she's got an incredible new book called Becoming the One: Heal Your Past, Transform Your Relationship Patterns, and Come Home to Yourself. Now, whether you like it or not, we all have both small T trauma and capital T trauma experiences in our life, and our ability to look at our family history, look at who we have become through a series of experiences in our life, and what we might do about it, is an incredibly valuable experience that can bring this vibrancy, this richness to your life. That is what we learn. I'm going to get out of the way. Yours truly, with Sheleana Aiyana. Let's go.
Chase Jarvis: Sheleana, thank you so much for being on the show. Welcome.
Sheleana Aiyana: Thanks for having me. It's really great to be here.
Chase Jarvis: I know you're on the screen here, but where are you physically in the world? And you've got a big book launch coming up, does that mean you're on the streets of New York, pounding the pavement? Where are you right now?
Sheleana Aiyana: Yeah. No, I'm actually on my 10 acres in Salt Spring Island, and I am in a little barn studio that my husband and I have created for our podcasting and just enjoying the beautiful weather, and the sounds of the birds and the forest.
Chase Jarvis: That's so much nicer than so many other authors that I think we could probably call mutual friends, that are out there doing something different. And the reason, I guess I wanted to have you on the show, selfishly, I mean, I look at it as my role to facilitate connecting you with our wonderful community of listeners and watchers. But selfishly, I have been fascinated with the very important words that we say to ourselves, and I often describe those as the most important words in the world. And a lot of those words, that language, relates to the experiences that we've had and past traumas, and how we see ourselves fitting into the world, into our own skin. And you have written, you've built a multimillion person community around these very ideas.
Chase Jarvis: So, that's selfishly, I'm grateful to be able to spend time and learn and to set the table for those listeners and watchers. I'm wondering if you can begin by sharing a little bit ... I kind of let the cat out of the bag a little bit there, but if you can just orient us around you, your work, obviously work with a capital W, but you also have a small W, kind of a big W, small W, you got a new book called Becoming the One. But just orient us around your mission and vision for this one precious life that you've got.
Sheleana Aiyana: Yeah. I like how you framed that. Thanks. Yeah, my mission really is to work primarily with women, but with all human beings, to come home to themselves and create a reeducation of what it means to be in relationship. So, my work in conscious relationship really isn't just centered around being in a romantic partnership, but it's also, how are we in relationship with ourselves? How are we in relationship with nature? How are we in relationship with community, with spirit? And so, it's this circular connection that we have.
Sheleana Aiyana: And so, the foundation of my work is that our relationship to self is the foundation for every other relationship we have in our lives. And we go through life without much guidance, and we learn from our first families or from our societal conditioning, that love really isn't that safe, and that we have to hold back our hearts and that we have to defend and guard.
Sheleana Aiyana: And so, given that my own history is of childhood trauma and abandonment, and really roughing it, you could say, to put it lightly, I know what it's like to have to spend years in painful, unhealthy, unsafe, violent relationships, and what it means to de-armor, and to really look beneath the surface and find that sensitivity again, find that vulnerability, and learn how to be in safe, harmonious, peaceful relationships. And that's what gives us the freedom to give and be of service in our communities, which is ultimately why we're here.
Sheleana Aiyana: So, I work with women on the anxious-avoidant dance. We talk a lot about our family conditioning, our childhood conditioning. I do a lot of mother/father wounding work. And ultimately, it really does all come back to, who are you and what do you stand for, and what is it that you want to create in your life? And how can you do that by knowing yourself? And not just the parts that are easy to look at, but also the parts that maybe aren't so easy to look at, right? Because we all play a role in how our patterns look. And so, when we have the courage to traverse those depths, really, we can unfold into a lot of magic. Yeah.
Chase Jarvis: So well put. And I shared with you before we began recording that I have been on a multi-year personal journey, and I wish I could say lifelong, but there's an awakening for many of us. Right? But also the fact that we all have history and past, and whether that has capital T trauma, you talked about violence and personal safety, or there's a small T trauma, just the experience of either not fitting in where you are in your family relationships, or whatnot. And that, that plays such a role in who we are, how we show up in the world.
Chase Jarvis: And what I've found through my own personal work and through having a lot of conversations like this, with you and with other experts, is to understand that without looking at that, it probably ... And I'd just say probably because I don't want to speak in certainty, because I don't know, but certainly, probably, gots to affect what we can be or become in this world, unless we manage that and look at it, and you lift the veil or look under the covers. You had a better metaphor for it. Can you talk about how or why you got started in this work? Was it part of a personal journey or did you see this holding yourself and/or others back? Or, is there some other way that you got into it? How'd you get into it?
Sheleana Aiyana: Yeah. It was so multifaceted. I think I was initiated into this work just through the very act of being born, truly. I always had this sense that I was here to be a writer. I remember when I was seven and I used to sit in my room alone and practice my interviews with Oprah, and I would be talking about my book. I started writing as soon as I could pick up a pen. I was always writing and I was always living in this world of exploration and spirituality.
Sheleana Aiyana: But then, as my life took me down this very windy road, I experienced a lot of trauma, a lot of childhood abandonment, sexual abuse, that led to in and out of foster homes. Eventually, living on my own at 16, working two jobs. Addiction, homelessness, violent relationships, you name it, I endured that. And every time I had those experiences, there was something telling me that I was learning and that I was gathering wisdom, not just for myself, but for others. And there came a point after I had been in a very violent relationship, that was very unsafe, and I had left that.
Sheleana Aiyana: And then I just dove right into the next safe person I found and married the person when I was in my early 20s. Which of course, blew up in my face. It ended in deep betrayal. I lost everything. Anything that I tried to hold onto, just fell away. And many people that are listening and maybe even you, yourself, can relate. It's sort of this cleansing that happens, this burning away of anything that isn't true. And it hurts like hell, but it's also this initiation process for those of us who've come here for a spiritual journey.
Sheleana Aiyana: And so, I was having that. So, everything fell away. And then, I really realized that I had never let myself feel my pain in my life. I had never felt the heartache and the pain and the sadness and the loss of never having met my father, never really having a nurturing mother, having been abandoned, just been this kid that belongs to no one, floating out in the world and being seen as a bad apple because nobody claimed me.
Sheleana Aiyana: And so, when I had been forced into feeling that, the pain was so great that I actually would go to bed at some nights and think, "I might die in my sleep tonight because this is so painful." That's literally what I thought. My heart was just aching. But at the same time I was writing all the time and I was just telling myself, "This is for a purpose." And I began Rising Woman, probably a couple of years before that, but it was very much just a creative outlet. I was writing on Facebook. I wasn't even on Instagram yet. Didn't even have a website.
Sheleana Aiyana: And then as I went through that initiation of that breakdown of, you could hardly call it a marriage, but it was, legally, that really pushed me into my purpose. And so, I began training with a transpersonal therapist and I apprenticed for four years in shadow work. I've done extensive trainings in somatic work since then, inherited family trauma. Pretty much everything you can imagine, including also doing really deep ancestral work with my own spirit workers and lots of plant medicine journeys. I've worked with ayahuasca extensively. And through that, I just began writing more and more and more.
Sheleana Aiyana: And then, I got an Instagram in 2018 and started putting my writing out there, and all of a sudden, it just exploded and it grew organically. We're now over 2.5 million people reading my work. And people always ask me, "Well, how did you do that?" And I just say, "I didn't really do that. I just shared what was coming through and it took a life of its own." And so, it is a personal journey for me. I feel that I can relate to the people that I work with. Nobody can bring me anything that's going to scare me away, because I've been there and I don't judge it. And I just know what's possible for each of us, to have authentic love, and I deeply want that for everyone.
Chase Jarvis: Phenomenal telling of your story. You said a handful of things I want to put pins in and come back to. I'll do it in reverse order. Rising Woman, community of millions that you've been writing around for years. And building a community around this work, I think is so helpful, because not only is it one to many, you to your community, but the community has all kinds of opportunities to speak and help heal one another.
Chase Jarvis: And I want to put myself in a position, I'm going to be very generic just for a second. There are people who in your opening salvo there, shared the work that you've done. And there are people right now that are listening, going like, "Okay, I'm all in. She just described me." Or several of the attributes that you've shared or your experiences. And then there are people that are scratching their head and saying, "Oh, that's hard work that she's talking about there."
Chase Jarvis: And I mean, first of all, no one who's listening or watching can say, "None of that speaks to me." So, I would like to address for the people who right now are like, "I wonder if I should go on with this, because I think Sheleana is about to challenge some of this little comfort that I'm in right now." And I'm wondering if you have anything to say to those folks?
Sheleana Aiyana: I would ask, how comfortable are you really? And is the other shoe going to drop if you keep ignoring what's beyond the curtain? Right? And only we each know the answer to that. And I do believe there are some of us who come in, we just have an easy relationship karma and we're secure and everything's working fine. And yeah, we have conflict, but it doesn't really get in the way. There's a small percentage of people like that. So, acknowledging that they exist, they're unicorns, but they exist. But for the rest of us, relationship is hard work and it does require deep honesty.
Sheleana Aiyana: But my work is designed to help you not have to do it in the hard way. I did it the hard way. And many of us who do this work, our intention is to create an easier path, a gentler path, right? And so, a lot of the work that I do is creating a safe container, so that you don't get lost in your pain while you're navigating. And the beauty is, is it's really difficult at first, when we start to look at our own role in our patterns and when we start to feel responsible for our lives, or why things aren't working out, and we no longer blame all of our ex-partners or even our current partner for all of the problems. And we start to say, "Okay, I'm playing a role in this." But the gift is, is that we are also taking our power back.
Sheleana Aiyana: So, instead of being in this seat of this helpless person who can't change anything themselves, because it's everyone else's fault. All of a sudden we realize, "Oh wow, I can actually create a different experience for myself, if I'm willing to feel whatever I need to feel here, if I'm willing to own my part, and if I'm willing to show up." And to me, that's such a gift, right? Because many of us have experienced loss, or abandonment, or betrayal. And when we make it all about that person, it's a very powerless feeling.
Sheleana Aiyana: And so, what happens when we put ourselves in the seat of power again, and we realize, "Okay, I have a role here, maybe there's something that I can do." And I love that shift. And we usually come to that point through deep heartache, through crisis, through this dark night of the soul. And so, most of us won't be as willing until it hurts so bad that we need to change the feeling. That's just unfortunately how most of us come to meet change. Right?
Chase Jarvis: The truth just sounds different.
Sheleana Aiyana: Yeah.
Chase Jarvis: Doesn't it?
Sheleana Aiyana: Yeah.
Chase Jarvis: It's got a power. Speaking of power, you said something in there, and I promised to put a pin in a few things and yet, you said something right in that last 60 seconds that I want to address immediately, which is, I think it makes it expressly relevant to our community of listeners and watchers. And it's one of the reasons, frankly, that I was very passionate about getting you on the show before your book comes out. And you said, "Create a different experience for ourself." And that is very active, right?
Chase Jarvis: In our community, we talk about the creating with small C in light, daily ways, as a photographer, designer, just seeing yourself, choosing to create your path home or choosing to co-create a conversation with somebody you love. Those are all active activities. And if we think of ourselves as caught in the tide versus having a role to play in the beautiful creative aspects of our life, and sometimes the mundane but useful aspects of creating. You, very intentionally, I'm guessing, used the word, "Create a different experience." Because it implies some sort of ownership. I'm wondering if you can speak to that for a moment?
Sheleana Aiyana: Yeah. You said it exactly right. Ownership is a great word to use, because in our culture we're conditioned to blame. You see it in everything that we've created in our systems even, right? We're conditioned for blame and we are not conditioned for ownership. And so, personal responsibility when it comes to our lives and our relationships and our emotions, it's a maturation process that most of us have to initiate ourselves, unfortunately, because many of us, we didn't have those elders. We didn't have that community. We didn't have those rights of passages that our ancestors may have had, that force us to take responsibility. Right?
Sheleana Aiyana: And so, it is a choice. And ultimately, we are creating our relationship patterns as we move through life. And we're making a conscious choice whether or not we want to simply carry on what we learned from our families and what we've inherited from our ancestors, if we just want to keep breathing the pain down the line. Or, if we want to take a step back and take a conscious look and assess, "What feels true to me? What do I actually value? What do I feel that I'm here to do? What's my mission in this life, in relationship?"
Sheleana Aiyana: For me, it was definitely to break patterns, to heal deep ancestral trauma, to end the violence that was moving through my maternal line. And I think many of us do come here with some similar mission and what a great time to do it, because we have so much information, we have amazing podcasts like yours. We have so many books and opportunities to heal. There's never been more resources for us to learn. And ultimately, the creative side of it is getting to see our world as a potential paradise. That's how I like to see it. What do I want to bring to my potential paradise? How do I want to feel. How do I want my community to feel around me? What do I want to give? What do I want to receive? It's not just about calling in this relationship that you want. It's, how are you going to show up every single day when you find it?
Chase Jarvis: Yeah. This creating in small, daily ways. This is like you're building the muscle, to actually craft, literally the life that you see, the paradise. I'm definitely borrowing that. In your book, which I want to pull a couple of excerpts momentarily here, but you talk about discovering and celebrating your true desires.
Sheleana Aiyana: Yeah.
Chase Jarvis: And I'm wondering if you can talk around the spectrum of those desires, because right now there is someone saying, "Well, I haven't earned that or I don't get that, I don't deserve that." And frankly, I feel like so many people that I speak to and at different times in my life, whether worthiness is the right word, or is that available to me? Or through socioeconomic, or societal, or cultural, that I'm not allowed to do those things. And I'm wondering if you can talk a little bit about, for someone who uses that language with themselves, what's something that you would share with them?
Sheleana Aiyana: One of the things that I take people through in my book and in my work a lot, is exploring the belief systems and the unconscious contracts that we made in our family systems. And so, when we're in a family system, everybody plays a role and everybody's made these unspoken agreements about what's okay, what's not okay, what we're allowed to have, what we're not allowed to have, what do we believe about people who have money? What do we believe about people who speak up, who are bold, who are courageous? And we have all of these internalized judgements or fears. And depending on the culture that we come from, there can be some pretty strict rules around speaking up, or stepping into your power, or being different.
Sheleana Aiyana: And so, the first step always is just looking at, where did this belief even come from? And then, we get to choose whether or not we're going to carry that on. Is that actually my belief or did I just inherit that belief? Right? What is it that I actually feel is true? What do I want to believe in my body? And then we get to reclaim, we get to reclaim what it is that we really believe, what it is that we truly desire. And then begin to cultivate them in small ways.
Sheleana Aiyana: And so, unconscious contracts can be really sneaky, because we might not realize that we have colluded with our mother and father to remain in a state of low income for the rest of our lives, because we all have made an agreement that wealth is bad or that rich people are, whatever the jargon is, because we hear that from families. I heard it a lot when I was young, right? There's all sorts of unconscious contracts that we make. And so really, I think assessing those is step one, and then deciding, who do we want to be?
Chase Jarvis: That is the perfect segue into my next question. It's almost like you read my mind, or I guess, I'm following the work, which is, in my writing, I talk about a creative framework, which is, it's a four-step process. Imagine what you want. Design, essentially, a plan or a program or self-journey to get there. Execute that plan. And then, share, build community around you and your ideas. And the important part in that system I've created is the imagination. And then doing the work that I've done in the creative space and with this community for 20 years, a decade or more, I find that the imagination of what's possible has been so constrained.
Chase Jarvis: And I know that has a role in your work as well. And I'm wondering if you can talk about just imagining, how do we go about ... Literally, what are some of the steps? Because right now, I think so many people who are listening are saying, "Oh my gosh, I've actually never done..." If you had a magic wand and you could tap me on the forehead and create the life that I want, I'm not actually sure what I want. Which is, it's the saying, "It's hard to get where you want to go, if you don't know where you're going." Or, something like that. How does that manifest in your work?
Sheleana Aiyana: One of the things that I've seen the most is that we have set these idealized fantasies around what is acceptable to want. I'm sure you see this all the time, because we work with creative people, right? But there's these ideas of what success means in our society. And so, I get a lot of people who come to me and they have this cookie cutter template of what they want, but when we dive in, it's not actually true.
Sheleana Aiyana: Like you asked me, "Are you on the streets of New York?" And I said, "No, I'm on 10 acres of land, listening to the birds sing." And it's not that I didn't have an opportunity to go to New York. I want to be on the land, in nature, because that's where my heart is. And it's the simple life that I love. And I think so many of us want something that maybe doesn't seem grand enough. And so, we tell ourselves that, "We need to want to build an empire." Or, "I need to make a million dollars." Or, "I need to achieve X, Y, Z to be successful." But at the heart of it, I think what most of us really want is just to feel connected to other people, to feel seen, to feel loved, to feel valuable just for who we are, and to contribute. When we contribute, we feel worthy. Right?
Sheleana Aiyana: And so, I really suggest taking an honest inquiry of where you have set goals that just reflect what you think you should achieve versus what your heart is actually asking you for. And then even, this applies a lot to creatives. Are you doing things in the way that you're told you should do them, so that you're successful, or are you doing them in the way that you are feeling so pulled to do them? Because it doesn't matter if everyone else is doing it this way, if you are feeling so pulled to doing it a different way, chances are you are going to be more successful by staying true to your essence. And this is that coming home to ourselves piece again, right? It translates to every area of our lives. If we're not being authentic with ourselves, we can't be authentic in our relationships, we can't be authentic in our work, in our art. And so, it's all linked.
Chase Jarvis:And to reference the coming home part. The title of your new book, I have to say it, Becoming the One: Heal Your Past, Transform Your Relationship Patterns, and Come Home to Yourself. This idea of the vision that we have for this one precious life being so impacted and shaped by other people. I became aware through my own journey, that what was difficult ... And I think you shared the way that your journey was shaped through a lot of the trauma that you shared earlier. I had a very strange experience of, I feel like the people around me loved me, but the vision that I was getting, and this is cultural, this is parents, grandparents, career counselor, friends, socioeconomic status, place, and culture, all of the things, it was confusing to me, because my own personal experience was not aligned with that. And yet, I see these people, in my case, I feel reasonably connected and loved, but I don't want any of this stuff.
Chase Jarvis: Oh, this is a personal question. I should have started with that. This is personal counseling request here. I was reading a bunch of different chapters of your book with this in mind. And the capital T trauma, these horrible events that so many of us have experienced, small T trauma, just being a human in this time and space, can be difficult for all kinds of different reasons. And it was a weird aspect of having not labeled myself in a particular way, that gave me access to that, because I felt like I was surrounded by people who cared about me, but I still felt totally fucked up.
Chase Jarvis: And I'm wondering if you can speak to that. And I'm asking about this in part for myself, the selfish reason, but also I feel like there's a cross section of the universe that for anyone else who might feel like that, that doesn't feel like these other things may have served them, and it's extra confusing. I'm wondering if you can talk to me about that for a second?
Sheleana Aiyana: Yeah. I'm really curious to dive into that with you because I always wonder, what did you feel was missing or what were you yearning for? When you felt that absence, was there something that you were longing for, that just wasn't there?
Chase Jarvis: The parts of the book that I related to were talking about with connecting with inner child, playful, and coming home to the body's wisdom. Just, it was very strong gut, like, I'm doing all this shit because other people want me to do it, and this is how I fit in and find acceptance, and fit in with the tribe, and we're social creatures. And yet, there's just something in here that doesn't work for me. And I had difficulty labeling it.
Chase Jarvis: And then, there was also a bunch of self-talk around, "You've had it easy. You were born white and male and in America, and maybe lower social economic status." But I was not food insecure, for example. So, there was a weird dialogue, "Why do I feel this way, and just disconnected?" And I think some of it was, where's that childlike play? Another bit was like, my body, there's some sort of rejection happening that I cannot explain.
Sheleana Aiyana: Yeah. And so I wonder, if you can resonate with the idea that maybe you were surrounded by people who, they appreciated you for your mind, or maybe the things that you had done and your accolades, but perhaps you wanted to feel seen just on that deep heart level, maybe there wasn't that intimacy that you felt was possible?
Chase Jarvis: For sure. That's part of where I got to with the work that I've done. And what was so telling to me about the work, is this idea of the patterns in our relationships. I'm looking at the book, for those of you who don't have the benefit of having the book open here. Chapter three is basically exploring your relationship patterns, understanding projections, transforming your relationship patterns, compassionate self-awareness, red flags, and green flags.
Chase Jarvis: Independent of my story, you've landed at the place where I landed, which was that intimacy and connection and deep ... Love for the sake of love rather than, "Good job." Pat on the head type. So, how do we understand our projections? How do we become more aware of our relationship patterns?
Sheleana Aiyana: It's a deep process. A lot of times we will continue to hit the same wall over and over again. I call it like a hamster wheel, or a merry-go-round. We're on a hamster wheel or a merry-go-round in our relationships. So, the relationship could look different, the person could be different, but the pattern will stay the same. And sometimes, the patterns are so sneaky and covert that we can't see the similarities and we think, "There's no way there's a pattern here. This is totally different."
Sheleana Aiyana: But what I touch on in the book, it's called emotional themes. And so, let's not worry too much about all of the details being exact. What is the consistent emotional theme that you're carrying through? So, for some of us, it's not feeling seen for who we are, it's not having our inner child recognized, or only feeling like we're good enough if we succeed a certain way. Or, consistently feeling betrayed or abandoned, or fearing loss, or having all of our relationships end in some way that seems consistent.
Sheleana Aiyana: And we think, "Well, this just must be the way things are. I just can't trust people. Love isn't safe." Or maybe even, "Love hurts." Or, "This is as good as it's going to get." And those are all our conditioned beliefs based on our past relationships, that often stem from first, family conditioning, right? What we experienced when we were in our home as a child. What we learned by watching other authority figures in our lives, interact with other adults and with us, right? All of those experiences shape us.
Sheleana Aiyana: And so, we might be moving through life, making everybody who shows up, one of those people from the past, right? We do that a lot in romantic relationship. We make our partner responsible for all of the ways that we've been hurt and all of the ways that we've been betrayed, or unloved, or disrespected. And so, the littlest thing can set us off with them, or we'll punish them unconsciously for things that they haven't even done, or we'll assume the worst of their intentions, even though that might not be true at all. And that's because, that's what we've come to know, because that's what happened in the past.
Sheleana Aiyana: And so, working through those things requires us to take an inventory, which I have again, in the book, there's a process for taking inventory of, who are you incomplete with? What relationships are you still holding onto? Who are you still angry at? Who do you still hate? Who do you still feel hurt by? And we do some work around those relationships. And then we uncover, what are those emotional themes and where am I holding on, and where might this be showing up now in my present day? And is it possible that there's more available to me beyond this story that I have built for myself? Could I experience something different? Right?
Sheleana Aiyana: And what you were speaking to earlier is that inkling, it's that yearning, because you knew deep down in your soul and in your gut, that you could have that deeper intimacy, that you could have that more playful, connected experience. And I think most of us want it, even if we don't know it. But you're right, lots of us don't believe that we can have it. And so, it's a process of peeling back the layers until we get to the core. And when we get to that core, it's really tender and it can be really scary, because we've spent our whole lives armoring up and protecting ourselves, because the world is not always the safest place. And so, to de-armor is the most courageous thing, but we also have to make sure that we are doing so with the right people, cultivating those deep, authentic relationships.
Chase Jarvis: Let's talk about people for a second. And there's all kinds of cliche sayings that I have been guilty of repeating. I have experience with some of them being part true, of just, "You're the average of five people you spend the most time with." Or, "Show me your friends and I'll show you your..." Or, whatever. What role does that play in your work and how would you address that? I feel like there are hints of this throughout the work and I'm wondering if you can just hit it straight on?
Sheleana Aiyana: I do think it's important that we be selective of who we have in our lives. And I think we grossly underestimate the power that our relationship has to shape us. And we put far too little emphasis on calling in a partner that's actually a qualified partner for us. And I talk about this a lot with women who experience a lot of anxiety. My husband runs men's groups, right? So, I'm surrounded by men in the work, all day long. So, I know that we all deal with this stuff.
Chase Jarvis: Yeah. Evolved Man, is that right?
Sheleana Aiyana: Evolving Man, is his stuff.
Chase Jarvis: Evolving Man.
Sheleana Aiyana: But he also runs a brotherhood organization called Arka Brotherhood. And so, I'm lucky because I get to have 10, 15 men around for a weekend, quite often. And they come and sit at the table and they share their hearts with me. And I get to see that we're all struggling with the same stuff. We might not think so, but it is pretty much just a human thing. But we go out on dates or we meet new people and we're often really fixed on whether or not that person approves of us or likes us, or thinks that we're attractive, or wants to be with us. Meanwhile, we are not even tuned into how we feel in our own bodies when we're with this person. We're not tuned into whether or not our values align. Maybe we haven't even taken account of what our values are.
Sheleana Aiyana: And so, it's about returning to ourselves, once again, being in our bodies and focusing on whether or not people are aligned for us. And it's coming from an integrated place. It's not just this graspy, emotional, "I want to be loved. I want to be liked. And I'm just going to take whoever will enter my field." It's more of a discernment that we curate, when we have healthy boundaries, where we can discern whether or not we actually feel like a safe, expressed person when we're with them, or if we feel that we have to hold back parts of ourselves, or that we have to contort ourselves in order to be with them. Right?
Sheleana Aiyana: And when we're with people who are a match for us, it's not always going to be easy, but it's not going to feel forced. And that's the ticket. Right? And we all know what it's like to just feel at home with people. And we know what it's like when there's this tension or this forced energy, where it just doesn't seem to be right, but maybe we feel a lot of turn on and attraction, so we're pursuing it anyways. And so, I do my best to help people create more of a clear picture for themselves of what it would look like when someone is aligned. And this is friendships and romantic partnerships. It's every aspect, right?
Chase Jarvis: Let's keep pulling on this thread of intuition, gut feeling, listening to the body, because that is a big part of your work. You've talked about it a lot here and it's in the book throughout. There's science that says, obviously your intuition is there for a reason. Then there's a lot of our Western world that tries to dismiss that. And I'm wondering if you can talk to the role that intuition plays and how you actually start, for someone who may be a doubter or for whom this may feel unfamiliar, can you coach us into the value of intuition and how to listen to it, how to find the signal through the noise?
Sheleana Aiyana: Yeah. We can call it many things. Sometimes I call it our inner compass. Right? It's our inner compass. And so, what is that? It's not just this magical thing. I think we think of intuition as this magical, intangible thing, that it's like a psychic hit. And for sure, I get those, and lots of us do. However, we all have access to our inner compass, which is our body wisdom. Most of us have either had that trained out of us through the school system, through societal conditioning, through growing up in families that were not the safest environment for emotional expression.
Sheleana Aiyana: So, many of us retreat into our heads, in order to stay safe in our lives. So, coming back to our body, it will take practice and we might not trust it, but it's really the process of tuning into the sensations that we feel. How are we breathing? Where is there tightness? Where is there warmth? Where is there openness? Where is there constriction? Paying attention to how our body sensations are alerting us throughout our interactions.
Chase Jarvis: So, you talk about these feelings in our body and you talked about the training out of us. In the book, you talk about how to train it in. How to listen, how to trace body sensations and do body scans. What's an introductory for people who right now, for whom this feels like a foreign thing. How many people, when I start talking about intuition, they talk about, "Yeah, well, my intuition was wrong. I thought this person was going to be an awesome person. And then, it bit me in the ass and they were a mean person." And it's not necessarily what we mean by intuition. And I'm wondering if we can pick up on some of those cues you talked about, with what does it actually feel like? Can you give us more there?
Sheleana Aiyana: Yeah. Well, I want to bounce off of that, what you just said too, because that's the perfect example of ways that we invalidate ourselves by looking at our histories and things didn't work out, and so therefore, we can't trust ourselves. That's why I wrote an entire chapter called Red Flags, Green Flags. Because often if we really take a look, it's not that you're going to know, none of us really know what the relationship karma or path is going to be with each person that we meet. There's no way to predict that. It's not your fault if you meet somebody and you have positive hope and intention for that relationship going well, and then it doesn't go well. That's how life works, right? That doesn't mean you have to blame yourself and you can't trust yourself anymore.
Sheleana Aiyana: However, if we take an honest look backward, there are often many moments where our bodies did tell us something didn't feel right. Maybe we dismissed something in the moment, where it felt like we were being disrespected or we weren't being treated right, or that maybe we felt like we were being lied to, or that something wasn't right. I know I had that a lot and I continued to dismiss it and dismiss it and dismiss it. I wasn't checked out. I just ignored the red flags. I also didn't know what to look for. I didn't know what green flags looked like, because I had never felt the sensation of safe, healing relationship. So, how could I?
Sheleana Aiyana: And so, it's really, we have to let ourselves off the hook as well. Instead of staying in this cycle of self blame and lack of trust, we got to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt a little bit. And so, there's a difference between fear and intuition, right? When we're going towards something, because we are afraid to be alone, then we're not coming from a place of soul truth, we're coming from a place of scarcity and lack.
Sheleana Aiyana: And so, that's why it all just comes back to slowly rebuilding that relationship to ourselves and knowing that we are safe and secure and that we are whole. And really focusing too, on cultivating healthy friendships as a base. Filling up our love tank so that we're not constantly chasing this godlike figure that we've crafted in our minds, who's going to finally complete us and make us worthy in the world, because we can't do that for other people. We can co-create that feeling in a relationship, but we are part of that equation. So, we have to practice that self-talk, that we are whole, and also just do little body scans throughout the day for getting started.
Chase Jarvis: Yeah. You referenced Red Flags, Green Flags as chapter 11 on page 199 here, very useful. And also, I want to be complimentary because there are literal scripts in your latest book here, that help you understand that and help you ask your questions, the questions you have of yourself and guidance for body scans, for example.
Chase Jarvis: The intro line for Red Flags, Green Flags chapter is, "If only life were as easy as breaking down behaviors into simple and concise little lists." Which is absurd, but the reality, as you said, the word in your last little moment there, practice, this is a practice, right? Like anything, like building a muscle, or getting good at a skill or a creative craft, this takes work. Does it not?
Sheleana Aiyana: It totally does. And there's no perfect. That's why I use the word transform your relationship patterns, instead of break them, smash them, end them, complete them. We're transforming them. And what is transformation? It's taking something and transforming it. It's still there, it's just expressing in a new way. It's been transformed. And that's what we do with our patterns. I still have the same patterns that I was born with, and I've transformed them. So, how they show up in my life can now be completely different. And what we find is, as we shift and transform, it becomes more possible to do the work in relationship with people, because we have cultivated that inner awareness, we've cultivated that clarity, and we know what it is that we want to create with other people. We have healthy discernment and boundaries.
Sheleana Aiyana: And so, the people that are in our lives, we'll still have things come up with, we'll still have conflict in our relationships or in our marriages, but we will have the tools and we'll have the confidence, and we'll have the mutual respect and willingness to tackle it together. So that, slowly, over time, we become more and more secure in who we are. And that's really just the name of the game. There's no end point. There's no time in history where you're going to be perfect or where you're always going to get it right, or where your partner's always going to get it right. And that's a gift.
Sheleana Aiyana: Life is a gift. We're so lucky to be here. And I see so many of us spending our lives chasing unavailable love, or pursuing relationships that really hurt. And that hurts me to see, because relationship is essentially all there is. At the end of the day, when we're on our deathbeds, we don't wish that we made more money or that we were better with our business. We might regret not spending time with our families or not saying the things we wanted to say, or not loving the way we wanted to love. So, every breath we take is a new opportunity to be that.
Chase Jarvis: That's hard to find a better spot to put a pause in our conversation than that. I mean, not even a pause, an exclamation point is maybe a better ... Thank you so much for all of the work you do. RisingWoman is an amazing Instagram handle, if you're interested. Your new book obviously is a profound work of genius. And for those folks, again, the title, Becoming the One: Heal Your Past, Transform Your Relationship Patterns, and Come Home to Yourself.
Chase Jarvis: I'm so grateful for you, for the work that you do in this world, have done and continue to do for the communities. Is there anywhere else that you'd want to steer us? Aside from the book, the book is obviously, A, it's very timely and we're good at supporting authors when they launch new things. And this is a very profound work that will help anyone, and I literally mean every single person, if your ears or eyes are seeing or hearing this, you will benefit from this work. Is there anywhere else you would steer people for the time being, or other places on the internet you want us to go?
Sheleana Aiyana: Sure. Yeah. Thanks, Chase. My website is sheleanaaiyana.com, and I also have risingwoman.com. And I have some free meditations that I have created. They're in my voice. They're written by me. And I have a wonderful friend who sound engineers them. They're these beautiful little odysseys and they're free. So, you can go and download those on my website, if you are looking for extra tools. And I just really appreciate this conversation, it was great to share this time with you, to meet your audience. And thank you so much for highlighting this book. It was such a gift to write this book and to share it with the world.
Chase Jarvis: Thank you. This is going to have a profound impact on millions. I'm grateful for your time. We're in your corner here. We'll do everything we can to support you and the work. I'm grateful for our time. And you heard it out there, folks, you know where to go now, and the book is absolutely extraordinary. Thank you so much again, for spending time with us. And from myself and Sheleana, we bid you all out there in the world, a good day. And this work is worth it. I highly, highly recommend paying attention.
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