Jim: Ah. Abracadabra. What I speak, I create. And, as for consistent listeners of Fishing Without Bait and full-impact mindfulness, we often talk about connection. We often talk about connecting the dots. We often talk about finding your authentic self. And, at times we often need some help with that. Sometimes we need some guides. Sometimes we need to just pay attention on purpose to what’s right in front of us. And, today I made some magic happen and made a good friend, a close confidant and companion of mine – a like-minded individual who prefers bowling like I do, and doesn’t try to insinuate herself into a golf league. And, if you’re a little confused about that, you can refer back to some previous podcasts. And, today, I’m joined by my good friend and compatriot, Laura Pickens. Laura welcome.
Laura: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Jim: And, as like-minded individuals we both take a rather holistic view of a person’s health and wellness and view what we do as a vocation rather than a job.
Jim: And, could you share with us a little bit on – first of all, if you had a mission statement for Miss Laura Pickens, what would that be?
Laura: One of the things that I like to help people do is live authentically, which a lot of things can get in the way of that. So, that’s basically one of the main things that I do with people, is try to just help them declutter everything that is getting in the way of them being real and being natural and being in the flow of life instead of working against everything. And, I guess that would be my mission – is just to help people be themselves.
Jim: And, that sounds like a fine mission. So, before we get into the process of decluttering and how you assist people in helping them help themselves, could you share a little bit about your background?
Laura: Yes. I’m a massage therapist and an energy practitioner and a health coach. And, I help with transformations. So, anyone that feels stuck – when I first started massaging I realized that the stress that people were going through was being held in their muscles and in their bodies, and I started to connect the dots. And, I was able to tell how to release that in their body, and then develop practices with their minds and the power of intention and combining that. And, how you can release it in your body and in your mind and start a new belief system to help bring everything into balance.
Jim: So, what I’m hearing from you is that although schools – most massage schools have a boilerplate type of template-type of method of massage, you turned that certainty and began to see possibilities with what you did.
Laura: I guess that’s right. I did.
Jim: So, the idea was – I was always fascinated with your energy work. And, as a disclaimer here, I would never tell anybody to jump out of an airplane that it would be good for them if I hadn’t done it myself. Or if I wouldn’t tell someone to eat asparagus when I have never eaten it myself. And, I’ve availed myself many times of Laura’s services in perhaps helping my own self get unstuck. And, I think perhaps I may be glued a little bit tighter than I should be right now, and I should come and see you again. So, could you share with us a little bit how you began to notice the connection between mind, body, and spirit?
Laura: It’s just obvious to me when people are stuck, and I noticed. I thought everyone knew that when I would see people that were stuck, and I thought they were just doing it, like continuing the things that weren’t working out of just being familiar and comfortable with them. But, then I realized people didn’t even know what they were doing was unconscious. Because then I started to talk to people about it, and that’s like a gift of mine – is to be able to see like where your blind spots are.
Jim: So, when someone comes to see you, perhaps even for a massage, and they begin to perhaps open up to you and share some things about their life with you, what are some signs to you that you’re thinking to yourself these are stuck points?
Laura: Um, there’s lots of them. But, basically where people are draining themselves and losing their energy. And, that can be like giving too much to other people instead of giving to themselves first. They might think that it’s selfish or that they need to put everybody else first. But, really, you don’t have energy to take care of everyone else around you if you haven’t done the things that make you happy first. So, that’s a big one I see. People getting stressed out because maybe like when they wake up in the morning they might need to go for a run or drink some more water, or eat a healthy breakfast. And, instead they’re getting their husbands ready, or they’re getting their kids ready. And, then by the end of the day they’re completely depleted and resentful and angry, and all of that lives inside your body once you get to that point.
Jim: So that, and it also involves being self-aware and being aware of what’s going on inside yourselves. Quite often we use the analogy, Laura, that have you ever – you’ve traveled on a plane. Have you ever been on a jet airplane? So, when the flight attendant comes out and they give the oxygen mask instructions, who do they tell you to put it on first?
Laura: Yeah. You have to protect yourself first.
Jim: Put the oxygen mask on yourself first. And, particularly for – I find in my own practice, particularly dealing with mothers.
Jim: That’s a particularly difficult concept for them to grasp, as they personalize that and feel that if they’re taking care of themselves then they’re a bad mother.
Jim: How do you deal with that?
Laura: Change their beliefs. That they feel like they’re expected to do that. And, then you get the clients whose kids are eighteen and they move off to college or move out of the house, and they really are faced with like what am I going to do now because they’ve devoted all of their time and their energy into taking care of their kids, and they kind of get lost. So, you have to change your beliefs and know that it’s okay for them to go be adults now, and it’s okay for you to have permission to figure out what it’s like to have a happy day in your world and figure out what makes you happy.
Jim: So, it sounds like in order to do that yourself, at one point in your life you’ve had to have that moment of clarity about yourself.
Jim: Could you share with us a little bit about that?
Laura: It’s whenever you feel like things aren’t working anymore. You feel like you can’t keep going on the way that things have been going, so that’s your key to kind of tune in and figure out which direction you need to move so that you don’t stay going in that same stuck feeling. So, that requires you to have awareness and clarity to go inward and only you can decide what makes you happy. And, you have to tune out all of the noise around you. So, I teach people how to meditate, too. To be able to clear out all of the clutter so that they can hear their own voice and what makes them happy. So, it’s like a practice, but you have to figure out.
Jim: So, when you talk about uncluttering, and being stuck, there’s a quote by one of our most favorite philosophers, Thomas Merton, who said that most men’s minds are like crows picking up every shiny object and then sitting in their crowded nest wondering why they’re so uncomfortable.
Laura: Yeah. I’ve never heard that one.
Jim: So, the idea is is that – I’m going to let you go do your own special type of magic. But, quite often what we refer to sometimes we ask people how monkeys are caught. And, it’s a humane thing. There’s a cage that’s built. A clear cage. A wire cage with only a hole big enough for the monkey to stick their hand in.
Jim: And, inside the cage there’s some type of object – banana, whatever shiny thing that the monkey wants, and when they reach in and then they grasp it they won’t release it and they can’t pull their hand out and they’re stuck. They’re trapped.
Laura: Oh yeah.
Jim: So, what you’re telling me is that you help people be able to step back, identify and label the things that are holding them back.
Jim: Now, how do you do that? Tell me about that.
Laura: It’s a process. It’s accepting where you are emotionally, and not trying to get rid of all of the fears and the craziness, but how to work with it. And, usually we’ll identify the emotions that that person is having at the moment and use those emotions as kind of like compasses to direct you in a different direction. So, every emotion has meaning behind it. And, for example, like if you’re angry that usually means something needs to shift or change. You don’t want to stay in anger for years and years and years because that can have negative effects on your body and in your mind, and the people around you. But, if you’re just feeling angry and it’s going on for like a month, you know something’s not working and you need to change. It’s about identifying what emotions they’re having and what direction that emotion is trying to push them in so that they can change and move in a different direction.
Jim: And, you’re the guide. You assist them in helping themselves in this process?
Laura: Well, I develop programs where people come and work with me over a period of time. So, I meet with them once a week and then we go through exercises and talk about everything. And, then help clear that out. And, then once they’re able to connect back to themselves – their authentic selves like we were saying – they’re able to map out a plan of where they want to go moving forward to get them unstuck. And, so it’s kind of like a process. It’s not something that I do in one session. And, a lot of times, if people are working through trauma then I have to do some cellular expansion. Some energy work on them to release that trauma that’s being stored in the body as well.
Jim: And, that’s an area that I definitely want to explore further on in our conversation. However, when what you’re talking about is there’s different types of conditions such as anxiety, depression.
Jim: We see so many people with low self-esteem. We see so many people in today’s society – and it could be any society – that are bombarded with sights, sounds, and images on a 24-hour-a-day basis.
Jim: Telling them how they should be, or how they shouldn’t be. What they should wear. Who their friends should be. How do you deal with that? You run into so many people that, as you say so eloquently, so much clutter.
Laura: Mm-hmm. There are distractions. Because it’s so easy to be distracted by everything I feel like. So, you have to prioritize what makes you happy and tune all that other stuff out. Take a break. I have friends now that take Facebook off their cellphone so it’s not right in the palm of their hands. And, you know, there’s little things like that. I go through my e-mails and delete some of the accounts that I have that aren’t relevant to me anymore because you get a hundred e-mails a day. So, it’s about figuring out what you don’t need anymore and getting rid of it. And, the more that you get rid of, the more you clear, the more you can start to focus on yourself.
Jim: And, quite often what I do – and what we try to do is help people disconnect to connect.
Jim: And, sometimes Laura, what we do is we do what’s called magic math – addition by subtraction.
Jim: Additions to their life by subtracting things that perhaps they really don’t need. How do you help people determine what’s important in their life? What is important? How do you do that?
Mike: We had a nice long conversation with Laura that is going to continue next week where we get deeper into how she helps people determine what is important in their lives. You can follow Laura on Facebook or search Laura Pickens official on Instagram.