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Sarah Small - The Empowered Empath

088: Turning Life’s Breakdowns into Breakthroughs – Sarah Small

Sarah Small is a Holistic Business Coach and Medical Intuitive. Between her 15 year journey with multiple autoimmune diseases and the trauma of losing two brothers, Sarah has learned how to turn emotional breakdowns into her deepest breakthroughs. Through her brand, The Empowered Empath, she shows highly sensitive individuals how their pathway to healing inevitably leads them to their soul’s purpose. Sarah works as a certified bioenergetic practitioner, yoga teacher, meditation teacher, mindset coach for women with autoimmune disease, certified vibrational crystal healer, reiki healer, ho’oponopono practitioner, law of attraction practitioner, certified oracle card reader, certified NLP coach, Time Line Therapy practitioner, and expert in healing the emotional roots behind illness, and she is the author of “21 Days of Healing: A Self-Guided Workbook to Help You Navigate Chronic Illness, Release Emotional Inflammation, and Find the Medicine Woman Within.”

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • How Sarah has navigated 15 years of autoimmune diseases.
  • How “empaths” experience the world around them.
  • The importance of energy and ways in which you can protect yourself from the negative energy of others.
  • How Sarah is healing from the loss of her two brothers.

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    Interview Transcript

Sarah, thanks so much for taking some time to hang with me today. I really do appreciate it.

I’m super excited to be on the show today. Thank you.

Yeah. Well, I know you specifically specialize in helping lots of different women, but particularly women who are empaths as well as wresting with some autoimmune conditions. Take me back on your journey a bit when you began to have some health challenges. What was that journey like for you?

Absolutely. I always take it back to seventh grade, but I also abide by the belief that maybe we were born with some energies to work through in each lifetime. I started seeing physical symptoms more literally in my body in seventh grade, and at the time I did not connect any of this, but I was experiencing what are called stomach migraines. It’s just where in younger kids, migraines manifest in the stomach instead of the head.

I’ve never heard of that before. When I was reading that on your website, I’m like, “What the -? What?” I never even heard of that. I had migraines growing up myself.

They can be very debilitating.

What is that like? It just hurts?

It makes you want to curl over. The interesting thing was, it was like an attack on my body. It wasn’t like a slow, “Oh, I ate something and my stomach sort of hurts.” It was like punch, “Here we go.” I remember it happening the middle of soccer practice, in the middle of the night, in the middle of school, just all over, and I would get punched with these stomach migraines. Of course it was very frustrating at the time and doctors didn’t really know what to do. They really didn’t end up giving me any sort of solution per se, but I look back now and I realize that they’re stressed induced and it was the same year my parents were going through a divorce. I’m the oldest of four kids and just all of a sudden consciously, I think this is a choice I made at that time, to put the responsibility of my siblings, my family, being the messenger between parent, all on my own shoulders.

Okay.

I didn’t necessarily realize what I was doing at that time, but looking back it’s like, “Oh, I was just a stressed-out kid.” I was a stressed-out kid who didn’t know what to do with stress. Didn’t have any stress coping mechanisms, and before then, didn’t really have much stress in my life. I liked to play outside and never come in, and just be in nature, and started to change. I saw that as the starting point of what turned into a much longer journey. In high school, I again, was kind of this medical anomaly, where they would just pass me around. I felt very passed around with all these different specialists. I saw seventeen different doctors by the time I was seventeen, within just a few years of trying to figure out why I had this debilitating back pain.

I ended up having to quit soccer, which was a huge passion of mine. My team actually even went on to win the state championship the year that I had to leave the team, so that was this heartbreaking thing, but I was in so much pain. I was in pain all the time and I was only given the solution of narcotics. “Here’s narcotics,” or “Do you want a pain pump, where we continuously throughout the day pump drugs into your body?” I refused the pain pump, I took the narcotics, I didn’t have a better solution at the time. I ended up overdosing at the homecoming parade my junior year of high school on accident.

No way.

I was just in pain. A seventeen-year-old girl that basically has access to endless narcotics to help her pain, but they weren’t actually helping. That was the only thing I had, so I would just pop them, and pop them, and “Okay, the pain’s not gone, I should probably take more.” Until eventually I fell over and started vomiting. That was a wakeup call. My mom happened to be a mile away in the parade which was fortunate, and she took me right home. I was okay, but wakeup call, “All right Sarah, this is not working. This is not the way you want live your life.”

Eventually I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which is kind of a mysterious diagnosis of chronic pain that they typically give you antidepressants for. So I tried that out too and that didn’t work well for me either. Finally in college you have more independence and you’re making your own choices, I started thinking for myself more, and asking questions, and getting curious. I found yoga and I found more holistic medicine. I stopped my medication and started looking at the root cause of what was happening in my body.

I made all the nutritional changes, had several more diagnoses during that time of Celiac disease, parasite infections, bacterial infections, vitiligo, which is a skin pigmentation autoimmune disease. Or I guess, loss of pigmentation actually. I changed my entire diet, and then there was another point where I was opening the fridge every day and crying. Because I would open it and I go, “I can’t eat anything. Nothing makes me feel good. What gives? I’m meditating. I’m the yogi. I’m eating organic gluten-free food.” This deep frustration, in my type-A personality of, “Why isn’t this working? What gives?”

All these other college students are pounding pizza and beer.

Yeah. Right. I was very angry, and you would never known it about me and I would never have admitted to you. It’s only in retrospect that I even realize how angry I was, but I was very angry. I also didn’t know how to express that emotion, and really didn’t allow myself to express that because of what that would have meant about me, “No, I’m not an angry person. I don’t express negative emotions. I just can’t do that.” Come to around grad school a few years later, living in Chicago, and I was basically in the same place. Frustrated, eating super healthy, but still having major issues, debilitating anxiety, cystic acne, the list goes on, and I got the phone call that my brother Jordan had committed suicide.

I had just seen him five days prior and given him a big old hug and said — he was going to a concert, “Have fun tonight. Go dance your ass off. I’ll talk to you soon.” We didn’t ever talk again. In that moment of loss, I completely crumbled. He’s my younger brother of almost two years and it just came as a giant shock to my entire system, to my entire family’s makeup. In that cracking down and crumbling, it felt impossible to be quote “fine”. Which was my operating level most of my life, “I need to be fine. I need to maintain the status quo. I need to fit in. I need to be perfect.” I let all of that go and I just said, “I’m going to crumble and I’m going to let all my emotions come to the surface. I’m just going to release everything and not try to put myself into any boxes anymore. Which is also, if you knew my brother, he was very much that way, of unique and not afraid to be different, and be weird, and dance funny, and just have fun with life.

What did that look like for you as you released that?

First it was a lot of crying, and a lot of journaling, and just writing out my feelings. I think with anyone listening who’s experienced loss of somebody they know to suicide, you can relate, there’s a lot of questions. He didn’t leave a note and it was completely unexpected, so it was just so many questions. Now the questions then filtered over from, “Why did he do this?” “What was going through his mind?” “What was the last thing he did?” “Who was the last person he talked to?” To, “What do I believe about the world?” “What is beyond our human existence?” Big, big, ethereal questions. “Who am I?” Big questions I started asking about the world.

But in those big questions that followed the deepest loss that I have ever experienced, came a curiosity of looking at some of the rules that I had created for myself in life and going, “Hmm, does this really serve me? Is this really fricking true?” Some of the things I was abiding by were not even true. I had so many limiting beliefs, so it looked like a lot of questioning. First was a lot of tears, but then it followed, “Well, I’m going to start asking more questions. I’m going to start to become more curious about the purpose of my life.”

I was also at the time in a non-profit job as the chief of staff for an international non-profit organization, getting paid — my starting salary was a 20K a year as a contractor. I realized now that that said a lot about how worthy and how valuable I thought I was. I have completely transformed my earning ability by looking at my beliefs and my value to now I make that in a month. But it really made me look at a lot of things that I was, again I’m air quoting, “rules”. Because they’re not real rules, they’re rules that I had created around my life.

What are some of those rules that come to mind?

Yeah, absolutely. It was the rule that the harder you worked, the more money you made. The rule was, I had to work hard. The rule was that I had to make my parents proud by doing a very specific thing like having a more traditional career. I had rules around the way that I could receive love and what it meant to be loved. Rules around the way that I was allowed or not allowed to express my emotions, like never cry in front of people. Now I’ve cried in front of a hundred people. That wasn’t actually a rule. Questioning that and asking — I love The Work of Byron Katie, and she has her four main questions, but the first two are, “Is it true?” The way you’re living and these rules you created, is it actually true? And the next one is, “Is it absolutely true?” Well, no, sometimes it’s not even frigging true. It’s just a construct or a subconscious belief that we’ve created in our mind in order to feel safe or to protect ourselves when it wasn’t always true.

I started questioning so many things in my life, and through that questioning came a lot of inspiration. Inspiration to start my business. Inspiration to start living differently. Then to circle back to the chronic illness journey and the physical symptoms I was having at the time, all of a sudden I started doing emotional healing and energetic healing of my body. Re-looking at my surroundings, my environment, the way I was living, and all of a sudden my physical symptoms started improving. At first I was like, “What is happening?” And I realized that that was a completely missing link to my  healing process that I had not looked at all. I was so focused on food and exercise. I had meditation, I guess, there, but I really hadn’t gone to a deeper subconscious level to look at what other things would be having an effect on my physical body. That’s where my mid was blown and I had huge healing breakthroughs.

Wow. So then you started a business in order to help other people.

Yeah.

That was how many years ago?

That was three years ago, which gosh, I feel like I’ve been doing this a really long time but it was just a short three years ago. A lot has shifted and evolved in that time, including who specifically I work with and how I conduct my business.

Did you start out working with individuals who were having autoimmune condition diagnoses?

Yeah.

And then you expanded it?

Exactly. You’re right. I started working with women with chronic illness as a whole, which was mostly autoimmune disease, but some chronic migraine patients. That was who I was and who I used to identify as, so it felt like the easiest community and market to tap into, and to help, and to support because I could relate. I had been in their shoes and I had opened the fridge and cried a million times. I realized that I could bring to them a different perspective on the emotional, energetic, and spiritual side of healing a chronic illness that you’re not going to hear about in your doctor’s office.

What I realized through that work was that, like my own personal journey, was as these women that I was working with one-on-one and in group settings, started to experience their healing, experience their transformation, wake up parts of themselves they hadn’t communicated with or been in contact with since they were maybe a little kid. They were inspired to share their journey too. And so I very much run my business by this belief that, I believe that your pathway to healing inevitably leads you to your soul’s purpose. In that breaking down, and the challenge, and the stumbling blocks, the traumas that we’ve experienced in our life, oftentimes those are our greatest teachers and lead us to the thing that lights our soul on fire, that we want to be talking about every day, that feels in alignment with our soul’s purpose.

That was when I started to evolve my mission and my message a bit, to help those women get their message out into the world. Then simultaneously there was this interesting thing that started to happen, which was the women I was working with, they didn’t all necessarily identify as a person with autoimmune disease anymore. There was this overlap between autoimmune and empath. Empath is the highly sensitive who picks up on energy, can absorb energy of people’s physical pain, people’s emotions, energy of environments and surroundings.

I started to connect how the highly sensitive person was way more susceptible to autoimmune and chronic illness because of their high sensitivity. Now they didn’t have to be a victim of that, but there was just some parallels that were happening. And so that’s where I started to talk more about empaths and intuitives, and help these people start to share what they may have once considered as weakness, or illness, or something that they shouldn’t share with the world, to bring that to the surface and start to own it and see it as their superpower. And then start to make a living sharing that message as well.

You would consider yourself an empath?

Yes, absolutely.

When did you have that sense or realization?

I think I forgot that I felt that way, but as a little girl I absolutely had the realization. Then it was like society came in, teachers came in, adults in my life came in and kind of told me that that was a weakness. If anyone knows the enneagram, I’m enneagram type three, which is the achiever. I have always been a very driven, hardworking, wanting to achieve. So I thought, “I can’t be highly sensitive. That’s going to mean I can’t achieve and I can’t succeed in my life.”

“It’s a weakness.”

Yes, total false belief but I definitely saw people saying that, or at least leading me to believe that, and then I took on that belief. But as a little girl, I was so connected to nature and to animals. I would talk to animals, and I would make fairy houses, and let fairies come into my space, and talk to the fairies. The mystical world, I was just fascinated by. I always felt like I had an internal lie detector of when someone was being authentic and truthful, versus when someone was trying to hide an emotion or just flat out lying. I thought that was also the way that everyone felt, and this carried with me through middle school and high school too.

I felt super uncomfortable when someone was trying to hide something, because I could feel how they were truly feeling. I didn’t want to call them out on it, but I didn’t know what to do with it. There was just this deep compassion for people and for wanting people to feel loved and to help people. Eventually I fell into the pleasing pleaser role too, which didn’t necessarily serve me. I think I always realized I was an empath. I shut it out for many years, and then I allowed it to come back in around the same time that my brother Jordan passed, because I let my walls down and I started asking all those questions of the world again. And going, “Hmm, does sensitivity and intuitive abilities have to make you weak?” I changed my mind. I said, “No. I can actually use this as a strength.”

It’s amazing. I intersect with a number of different women who are not aware of that term empath, but they feel like, “What is wrong with me? Why do I feel like I’m different than other people?” Then when they have that breakthrough of getting the chance to hear more about it or read about it, “Oh, that’s me, that’s me, that’s me.”

Yeah.

It does seem to be more so women than men, but I do know that there are some men that are empaths as well of course.

Totally. Yeah, my husband is definitely one.

Is he really?

He just doesn’t practice it as much. He’s not necessarily interested in strengthening that ability, but he definitely has the ability. I also think we’re all empaths. I think we all have that ability somewhere within us. Now we’ve maybe shut it out or off in order to protect ourselves, or because in my case, we felt that that would make us weak so we don’t want to identify as that. But I truly believe that we all have the ability to feel into energy, feel into emotions, feel into physical environments and our surroundings. But for any reason, we may have turned it off.

Yeah. You know what’s interesting? My background, I come from more of a conservative Christian background, and in that world there, I would say two tribes for lack of a better word, that would I guess process that information that you just shared; the ability to feel. One tribe would be more of a conservative evangelical group that would almost say that that is — and this is an over speaking of the term…

Yeah.

But that that is almost satanic. That is not just new age…

I’ve heard that before, yeah.

You are Satan. I’m over speaking of course, but for those who are listening to my podcast that grew up in a similar background, they’ll get what I’m saying.

Yeah.

The other group would be somewhat of a charismatic or Pentecostal Christian, which I’m not sure you’re familiar with. But those are individuals who are more open to the supernatural, and they would say that that is a tool or a skill that could be utilized for both good or evil. If it involves Jesus, then it’s good. If it doesn’t involve Jesus, it’s bad. So I think it’s interesting as I’ve become more and more aware of different ways of people sensing things and expressing things, I love that I don’t have those two categories anymore, I’ve got a huge big category, and one of my best friends is an empath. She tells me things all the time, Sarah. Weird stuff. She keeps a journal where we feels things and she’s goes back, “Oh, sixty days ago I had a dream and I sensed this and then bam, there it is.” I just always tell her, I go, “You are so weird. You are so freaky. You are freaky. You’re so weird.” Of course she laughs. But it so powerful, so real. She does exercise it. Meaning she — I don’t know what to say…

She’s opening herself up to it.

Oh, she’s very open. Yeah, and cultivates it.

Yeah.

Yeah, and it’s powerful.

Yeah. I’ve come across the belief that this is against God or against people’s belief before, and I just think it’s an interesting conversation to have. I’m not going to tell anyone what to believe or not to believe, but what has helped me understand vibrational medicine and aspects of energy medicine, is science. And so looking at Kirlian photography for example, there’s imagery technology that can take images of, just use fruits and vegetables as an example.

You can take a picture of a banana, a conventionally grown banana that doesn’t probably look any different than an organically grown banana. You can take a picture of it and what you’re going to find is the energy around it through the imagery. It’s in colors and the colors around the conventional banana are going to be totally different than the colors around the organic banana. It’s just like with us humans. We are each going to have a different energy that we give off as well, and so we can see it. If someone needs to see it visually, they can see it visually through technology like that.

Yeah.

I always go back to what we learned in middle school or high school too, which is the law of physics and energy can be created but not destroyed. So our emotions have energy and that’s also shown in Dr. Masaru Emoto’s water experiments, and there’s research on this where you can project an emotion like love or anger on just a bowl of water. It’s very simple. They can actually look at then the little micro crystallization within the water, and they can see that the shape, the geometric shape of the water changes depending on whether you’re projecting love or anger towards that water.

It’s like, “Okay, so if we can literally see with our eyes that there’s different energy to different emotions, then how can we deny that then we as humans do not have these different energies and might not be able to feel different energies from different people, or from different things, or animals in our life?” I always direct people, especially if they’re more analytical or critical thinkers, to some of the research that does exist around energy and vibrational medicine. Then they can make their own choice still. We can always make our own choice, but I think that that helps some of the visual people to start to see what the heck we’re talking about.

Right. Right, right, right. So powerful. I think the part for me is when I encounter people, such as yourself, and especially if I have a relationship with someone where I trust them and I’ve been friends with them for a long time, they say something or sense something and then I see it come to pass. Where there’s absolutely no way she could have known that, or no way she could have sensed that, or something changes, or whatever. I’m like, “How do I deny this? I’m seeing this with my own two eyes. Why is she trying to trick me? There’s no reason.” You know what I mean? I think in the same way that some people have different skills in maybe physical skills, people have different skills in terms of emotion or spiritual skills.

Yeah.

Yeah.

We always have freewill. That’s what I remind people when I teach on energy as well. It’s like, you have freewill in that you can allow what comes into your space and you can allow what you keep out of your space. You can also allow your conscious choice, freewill to open your intuition or to close your intuition. That’s each of our individual choice. No one’s going to force you to believe this or force you to open up your energy, but what I find is a lot of the women in my community feel, again, victim to energy. Because they don’t realize they’ve opened their selves up to being a sponge to their surroundings, and now all of a sudden they’re soaking up and absorbing the energy of everyone else’s to-do list and all the stress at work, and the angry people in traffic this morning.

They come home and they realize or they wonder, “Why do I feel so anxious and so overwhelmed?” They just don’t realize that they’ve been a sponge to everyone else. It’s not their stuff. Well, it’s probably some of their stuff, but it’s also everyone else’s stuff they’ve been absorbing all day long. That if we didn’t believe in energy, then we wouldn’t necessarily adhere or abide by that. But if we could realize that everything has an energy to it and that we can absorb those energies, we come home and we’re like, “Oh, that’s why I’m so overwhelmed. Because my boss was super mad today, and that guy was honking in traffic earlier and I allowed myself to sponge that up.” Versus protecting your energy and not carrying all that with you.

If somebody’s listening today and they maybe think they’re an empath, maybe they’re not quite sure, but they have that feeling. You know what I mean? They’re, “Oh, my gosh. I end up going home and I’m carrying all this weight. I didn’t even realize that other people don’t do that. I feel overwhelmed or bad in some way.” How do we protect our energy, as you say?

Well, first if anyone’s wondering if they’re an empath or to what degree they’re experiencing the empath energy in their life, I also have a free quiz in my Instagram bio; it’s Are You an Empath? And they can go take that quiz for free. But to protect ourselves, there’s many, many different methods. Some people like more visual things, where they just visualizing zipping up their energy, kind of a shield that they’re creating to the world. I like to think of more or visualize more of a semi-permeable shell around us, where you are allowing in the good, so we’re not closing ourselves off to everything. We’re letting good things come into our life, but we kind of have a gatekeeper that says, “Okay, that stuffs not mine. Bye-bye, see you later. That’s not allowed into my space or into my life.”

The visual stuff can work. Not everyone loves visualizations to protect energy, so I also love to use essential oils. They have a specific frequency to them, just like everything else in life. We can measure the frequency of most of these things in our life, just like essential oils. I like to talk about them too for the science minded more critical thinkers, because plants have natural defense mechanisms. Like a plant might produce an oil or an aroma that will deter certain animals from it to protect itself out in nature. We when applying those oils, are now using the same chemical constituents that are in the plant on our body, or just smelling if we’re just smelling it. I like to mostly apply them to my chest for protection methods, but we’re using those chemical constituents that are naturally occurring in the plant. Sometimes people hear chemical and they’re like, “Chemical, what?” It’s just naturally occurring.

Right. Natural oils.

Yeah, and we can use that to protect our energy as well, just the same way a plant would be protecting itself in nature.

That is whack-a-doodle. Come on now. You’re telling me if I put an oil on my chest that somehow I’m going to prevent your anger from going into my -? Come on now. Are you serious?

Let me also ask you, or let’s bring to table consideration that we all have conscious choice. So regardless of whether you have that oil on you, regardless of whether you put your…

Don’t sidestep. Hold on, don’t sidestep the oil conversation.

Oh, I’m going there.

Okay, good. Take me there, come on. I want to hear this oil force field on my chest.

Yeah, so you said anger, I think, was your example. So if you have somebody’s really projecting anger towards you today and you’re like, “Oh, my God. I’m feeling that in my body. I’m feeling that in my body.” We can choose to take that on or we can choose to push that out.

Right.

What I’m suggesting is that the oils help us push to out. Again, if you don’t believe in energy then it’s going to make no sense to you, but if you understand that we have energy and we’re constantly giving off an energy like our own frequency of love, or of anger, or of acceptance, or so on and so forth like the water experiments I explained to you. Then we can realize that what we put on our body and what we put in our body affect that energy as well.

So what I’m putting into my body and what I’m putting onto my body, like an essential oil, are helping me change my frequency that again can be measured through things like Kirlian photography, through heartrate variability and the HeartMath Institute’s research, we can measure that within us. We can also see that when we apply essential oil, if you get a photo taken of you maybe twenty minutes before you apply the oil and twenty minutes after you apply the oil, you will see a shift and a change because again, what we put on our bodies and in our bodies changes that frequency.

Interesting, okay. And I’m just messing with you, don’t feel like I’m…

I like to be challenged. I love to maybe convert some people over to considering emotional and energetic healing in their healing journey, especially if they have chronic illness like I struggle with.

Okay, so now I’m putting an oil on my body. Now I’m thinking, “Well, a lot of oil is a better than a little oil.” I’m thinking I’ve got to cover my whole body in this oil in order to prevent your crazy anger from coming at me. You’re not angry by the way.

No.

But something about the oil, so this is not just psychological. The energy makeup is somehow protecting me from your energy coming into my energy?

Yeah.

The oil is. Is it going to be a particular oil? Anti-anger oil?

Well, we can make a blend for that. But what I look at is if you look up the research on those chemical constituents I was mentioning before, there’s things called terpenes and sesquiterpenes, and these different components of an essential oil. So I would pick one that has whatever you’re looking for; the research behind those chemical constituents that are for that thing. Let’s say you’re picking up on somebody’s stress and feeling super stressed yourself, that maybe was not coming from source within you. You don’t have a big to-do list that day, but you’re feeling it in the office.

Right, but the person that’s sitting next to me in the next cubicle over there, they’re stressed.

Yeah.

I hate that.

Yeah, they’re super stressed out.

I hate that. Yes, you definitely feel that. I just think it’s psychological though. You’re saying it’s not psychological.

Yeah, I would pick the oil that has the chemical components that are then anti-stress just like the plant in order for it to survive. Like you see a tree that’s stressed or a plant that hasn’t been watered and has its own physiological stress in its plant make-up, we can use those different chemical constituents like the terpenes or the sesquiterpenes that in the oils, and pick an oil according to that.

Like lavender.

Lavender is a great one.

My wife, she’s spraying lavender all over her kindergarten classroom all the time.

Yeah. Lavender is highly studied as one of the studies that has the most scientific peer reviewed articles that are published on it. Peppermint, lavender, and lemon I would say are the most highly studied oils, but there’s definitely others that are really great or grounding.

I don’t have a cubicle, like with someone working next to me. But if I did, if I’m in a corporate environment, would you suggest that I have a spray bottle and maybe just spritz my stressed-out neighbor?

I would not spritz anyone who has not consented to being spritzed because I do now know how that’s person’s going to respond. But I would spritz myself and maybe my own cubicle space.

Very fascinating, yeah. I had a gal named Lindsey Elmore on the podcast not too long ago, and she introduced me to all things essential oils. I got some. I tried it. I don’t necessarily feel like I have many physical challenges. I’m like, “This just feels like something extra to do.” I’m kind of a minimalist, but now you’re making me think, “Hmm, maybe it’s not -,” because I don’t feel like I have a physical issue.

For energic purposes.

Yeah, I’m all about the energetic.

And just emotional purposes too. I mean, we all have negative emotions and we all have challenging emotions in our life, and so it’s not a matter of avoiding them or saying, “I never want to feel this again,” but moving through them and then maybe bringing in a supportive tool that could help us move through it more easily. We can use the oils for our brains, and for our emotions as well, and our neurotransmitters. Some of the oils affect our neurotransmitters in our body, and so that would be a whole other purpose beyond the physical to be using oils.

I don’t remember if I text somebody or what I did. I was telling them I was using the peppermint as eyedrops and it was helping me out a lot.

No. Disclaimer, no one ever do that.

“What!? What!? Are you kidding me?”

Inhale.

I love the peppermint though.

Inhale. You can put a drop under your tongue. Do not put in any eyes or ears

Of course not. Well, thanks for educating me on that, that’s very good. A lot of these things that you’re talking about are challenges that we’re facing and then the things that you have learned from those challenges. You talked about the health challenges and the diagnoses, my goodness, you’ve created a whole business and your passion is flowing out of those challenges that you’ve had.

Yeah.

And then the passions of the women that you’re helping, now their lives are being transformed and they’re seeking to help other people.

Yeah.

I know you’ve talked about the publicly, but just even recently you’ve had another challenge in our life. When I read this I thought, “My goodness, I just can’t imagine.” And yet, I know that you’re posture that you’re taking is one of learning, of transformation. Not that it’s something that you’re cognitively learning, but something deep within. Do you mind sharing that a little bit?

Yeah, absolutely. If changing my diet like I tried six, seven years ago would have given me everything that I was looking for and desiring, maybe I would have stopped there, but I didn’t. I was at a plateau. I was what I call emotionally inflamed and not happy. So I looked at some of these things that I had perceived as so negative in my life, and I chose to use them as opportunities for growth. And the recent challenge or loss that you are referencing, is the loss of another one of my brothers, also a younger brother, Joe. It’s been almost two months to the day.

In two days it’ll be two months since we lost him. It was about a month after I put my dog down and a week after I got married, so it cracked me open once again. It’s left me with many questions just like four years ago. I’m grateful for those questions that I’ve been asking. I’m grateful for it reconnecting me to that big question of, “What legacy do I want to leave, and share, and have on this world and this planet, and this lifetime?” And to not waste my time and to get up and start talking about my message.

A lot of women I work with are afraid to get started, and when grief hits you this hard in the chest, it definitely gets you standing back. It got me standing up quickly to say, “Whoa, time is short.” Joe’s death was, we believe to be accidental, and so life can be taken away from you very, very quickly at any moment. We get a choice. We get a choice to use that thing that can feel so freaking unfair in our life. We can be the victim. That’s an archetype. One of the main archetypes we can play in our life is victim. We can live our entire lives in that victim state. “I’m a victim of disease.” “I’m a victim of losing two brothers.” But that is just simply not the choice that felt best, and it is not the choice that I wanted to make in my life.

I’ve chosen to use all of these challenges to really be stepping stones, instead of stumbling blocks. Stepping stones to move me forward in my life and to really reconnect to who I am in my truth and what do I believe in, and how will I live, and how will I show up in this life? I teach a lot of this now, is those shadowy parts, that darkness, those negative emotions, the deepest traumas, challenges, losses we’ve had in our life, if you choose and if you desire, we can use them to really propel us forward and learn so much about ourselves and about the world.

You’ve had so much loss, Sarah. I mean, my goodness. Grief, there’s no timeline. We all know that. It continues on even years later. How do you process something like that with that type of loss? Some of us, we just check out. You know what I mean? We just compensate in some other way. Some of us chalk it up to coincidence. We all try to make sense of these things, I think, in our own way.

Yeah.

Because making sense or making meaning of something is a way to not just cope but just survive. To go, “How do I make sense of all of this?” Do you try to make sense of it? Or how do you process it?

I do. I think that that’s a pretty common coping mechanism. To get the details so that we can have the clearest understanding possible, so that then our subconscious mind can actually have that conscious material, the information, and process it. If people have experienced, like myself, any forms of PTSD, then there’s what are called fragmented complexes, where the body rejects the full information and details, and just remembers possibly a clip of information. This is research from Carl Yung. Then the subconscious mind doesn’t have enough information to process it, and so we experience these triggers that then that flash comes back up over and over again. Again, it’s called a complex, and there’s different types of them and different degrees and severity of it.

So my mind wants to gather as much information as possible to make sense of it and to be able to then move forward with grief, move through grief, versus feeling like I’m stuck back in that moment and I’m replaying some of the challenges, or trauma, or grief over and over again. So absolutely, I seek to find answers. I seek to be curious and to find my truth, my reality, so that I can process. The grief process doesn’t end like you mentioned, it’s an ongoing healing. I’m never going to have my brothers back in the physical form in this lifetime, so there’s always going to be a hurt and a pain there, but I choose to not focus on and sit in the pain of them not being here, and make that a permanent place where I sit. Instead, I choose to honor their memory and their lives by using each of them in different ways as inspiration to help curate my content and my message, and just who I want to be in this lifetime.

Jordan loved to dance and he was silly, and goofy, and weird in his own way. And so you mentioned in the beginning, all my different hair colors, right? So I  just want to express myself and I want to be weird, I want to be who I am. It’s partly honoring my brother and the life that he didn’t get to live out. It’s what could have been longer. And Joe, one of his greatest desires on this planet was for people to listen to each other better. To have deeper communication and to really hear each other and give each other the time of day to try and understand each other.

It’s interesting how this conversation, this interview today came up. That not everyone may agree with me, and so I challenge everyone in inspiration from my brother Joe, to even if you don’t agree on a surface level with anything I’ve said, to try and understand each other. Understand where we’re coming from. So I use that part of his personality as inspiration to also be on the other side of that and try to understand other people’s point of view that I don’t necessarily agree with on the surface level. And just have more real communication and get off our phones that we’re on so much.

I sense that within you. Because even as I’m being a bit playful with you, I sense your graciousness. I don’t know if you are a gracious person because I’m just getting to know you, but I sense that within you. I sense that there’s a desire.

Yeah. I desire for there to be more understanding in this world. Even again, if we come from differing viewpoints, that doesn’t mean that there has to be any hatred, or any meanness, or any anger, or even frustration with each other. Instead really trying to understand where that person came from. You don’t know the random person you met on the street, or the person you’ve had on your podcast that you haven’t talked to before. What they’ve been through, what they’ve experienced in their life.

I try to take that approach myself of, this person could be saying this thing that I think is absurd or mean, or hateful, or whatever, but they might be coming from a place of deep pain within them and just projecting out something that they believe about themselves or they haven’t been able to feel within themselves, so they project it out onto other people. I think when we can look at people with a deeper understanding and awareness like that, it’s easier to accept people, because we realize it’s not all about us. It’s about their own stuff they’re often projecting outward onto us.

Right. That is so powerful. So good. You have a brand-new book called 21 Days of Healing: A Self-Guided Workbook to Help You Navigate Chronic Illness, Release Emotional Inflammation, and Find the Medicine Woman Within. Tell me about this book. Who is it for?

Yeah. It’s definitely the person that I think we’ve been talking about in this conversation, the empath, the really man or woman with chronic illness. It just happens to be I work with women, but I think that either gender could definitely benefit from the work inside here. It’s for the person who does have emotional inflammation, meaning there’s a lot of emotions they haven’t been able to process or digest that have been potentially created actually physical inflammation inside their body, or a lot of stress or anxiety in their life.

The book was inspired by a live course that I’ve hosted numerous times, over a hundred women have been through the live course, and each day is a different lesson. I teach you a different technique, modality, something to do, something to write about, something to experience, and you just go through it at your own 21-day pace. It’s workbook style, so there’s space to write. It’s got a very beautiful interior that I can’t take credit for, my graphic designer did a really good job making it pretty inside. But it’s based off that program and some of the most loved exercises that the people who have been through the program give me feedback on. I just put it into a written copy you can do on your own, so that not everyone has to invest in the full course.

Awesome. That we will definitely link to of course in the show notes, and you can swipe up now on your phone if you’re listening and you can find the link. We’ll link them to your website and they can either purchase it on Instagram or get a signed copy from you.

Yeah.

I love that. They can check that out. And also, you have a podcast called Healing Uncensored.

Yes.

Tell me a little bit about that.

Well, you might hear some cuss words in it. It’s uncensored, not just in language but also in conversation. Meaning we talk about some of the things that you won’t hear at your doctor’s office. We talk about more alternative things that again, with a deep curiosity, looking at what might actually really help you in your healing that you haven’t considered yet? We talk a lot about the subconscious mind. We talk a lot about emotional and energetic healing. And just interesting and different conversations that maybe people haven’t considered before in a very uncensored, unfiltered, unapologetic way.

That’s great. And of course your website is www.autoimmunetribe.com and people can link to all your social media accounts. I know you hang out a lot Instagram @the_empowered_empath.

Yes.

All those links will be in the show notes. Sarah, first of all, my heart goes out to you and your family with all the challenges that you’ve experienced. I love your heart. I love your desire to help people and how you’re doing that in all sorts of modalities. I just appreciate what you’re doing and appreciate you being able to share part of your story with us today.

Yeah. I appreciate the platform and opportunity to be able to speak about the things that I love most. Thank you for challenging me and having me on.

thank you!