Kristin Taylor 0:00
Before we jump in, I want to communicate a note on today’s episode, because how I made it through his premise is to talk about the real stuff. There are mentions of suicide, child abuse and pornography, rape, murder, and substance abuse. We do our best to hold these topics with intention and sensitivity. Today’s episode may not be suitable for younger viewers.
Amanda Amie Marshall 0:28
It’s that connection. It’s that these people know me. And they don’t know me as this superstar on the news with the Brooks Brothers suits standing next to Jim Comey. They know me as the girl in the closet, but they still love me.
Kristin Taylor 0:55
Hello, and welcome to how I Made It Through. My name is Kristen Taylor, and I am an executive coach. As a coach, I have the privilege of supporting my clients and navigating many aspects of life that make it challenging to focus on business. My life’s work requires holding sacred space for stories of struggle, and facilitating a loving process of finding one’s way back to wholeness, because, much like the immortal words of Robert Frost, the best way out is always through.
Today I am truly honored to interview Amanda, Amy Marshall, Amanda and I met in middle school. During those painfully awkward years that many of us wish we could forget. I was a shy seventh grader and she appeared to me as a cool whip smart and outspoken eighth grader. My perception was that she was a rebel, self possessed and full of enviable angst and competence. But my blind spot as a young adolescent was that I compared her outside appearance to my inward insecurity. That comparison created a lot of assumptions. I assumed she experienced a level of ease and self worth that surpassed mine. Like any teenage assessment, it said far more about me than it did about her. And as it turned out, it was of course woefully inaccurate.
I believe that I only held the market on suffering. But as the years have passed, and we have recently become reacquainted. What I’ve come to learn is that although we outwardly display different coping mechanisms, what we had in common were unique histories of trauma that found expression in a unique time and place. Mill Valley, California in the early 80s.
This time in this place afforded us an abundance of unsupervised, unstructured time, easy access to drugs and alcohol, and the freedom to either thrive or crash, depending on how or with whom those unsupervised hours are spent. And of course, depending on how trauma found expression in our young teenage lives, Amanda has quite a story to tell. As you listen, know that above all else, you’re listening to a story of recovery, healing and integration, integration of past wounds, rejected aspects of self. And like the premise of this podcast highlights a potential Survival Guide for whatever you find yourself navigating. Because although her story may be unique, she too does not hold the market on suffering. So great to have you, Amanda. Welcome.
Amanda Amie Marshall 3:50
Hi, Kristen. I’m thrilled to be here. Yes.
Kristin Taylor 3:54
So I want to just dive right into your story. And like I said, I want to start from the beginning. Can you share a little bit about your childhood and how that impacted the rest of the story that you’re going to share today?
Amanda Amie Marshall 4:06
Yeah, I mean, I guess it makes sense to start at the beginning and certainly learned in the last several years of work and therapy, how much our childhoods really do impact the people that we become. So I was born in 1969 in Washington, DC and the oldest of two children. We moved around quite a bit when I was growing up initially, just because my parents were starting their lives and going to college and you know, determining their career paths. By the time I was five, my mom separated from my father left him for a much younger man. In fact, her boyfriend was 12 years younger than her and 12 years older than me. He had just turned 18 When we left Puerto Rico where we had been living with My father, and my mother, my two year old sister and I left Puerto Rico with my mother and her boyfriend and moved into a commune in Washington DC. From that point on, life was pretty chaotic. Besides moving every two to three years, between the Washington DC area, New Hampshire, Tucson, Arizona, we eventually landed in Mill Valley, California, in the middle of seventh grade. The chaos of moving from place to place and kind of always being the new kid in school, I think had a big impact on me, I learned how to make friends quickly by sort of observing and absorbing people around me to try to figure out how to fit in how to get people to like me, that became very important. I think I spent a lot of time feeling pretty lonely as a kid. Additionally, my mom was not really very available for parenting. I grew up in a family on both sides that has a lot of substance use disorder, and other mental health problems. And my mom was just at a point in her life in the 1970s, of sort of, I think, discovering herself, and didn’t have a lot of focus left for my sister and I. So from about the age of seven or eight, I really became the primary caretaker for my younger sister. So there were a lot of drugs and alcohol in our lives, people in and out of our lives, that when I look back, I wouldn’t have necessarily considered safe to be around my kids. And I became what I now know, is, there’s a term for which is a parental fi child, I was hyper vigilant. I was overly concerned with caretaking my sister, but also my mother, and helping her with her emotional regulation, taking on a great deal of responsibility, I think, above and beyond what might have been considered normal, you know, at the time, right. So that’s kind of the background I found, I think I was, I learned to be pretty comfortable. In that place of being responsible. It became sort of a coping mechanism for me, I think, to take on responsibility and be an overachiever and find adults in my life, whether they were teachers, or, you know, my drama, teachers and other folks in my life, even neighbors and parents of friends, that would sort of fill in for that role of caretaker. And I, you know, I think I did my best to make a life that seemed safe and secure for my sister and I the best that I could being a kid that didn’t have a lot of control or internal circumstances that we lived.
Kristin Taylor 8:19
Right. So I relate in many ways, your story’s very different from mine, but I was the parental child as well. So this is very resonant for me. Thank you for sharing that as context. Can you share around I think, because we’ve already talked. So I know a bit of the timeline here. And I also know you a little bit. So 1985, and onward. Can you get us caught up in what was going on at that point?
Amanda Amie Marshall 8:43
Sure. So I had mentioned that in seventh grade, we moved to Mill Valley, California. And that’s Kristin, of course, where you and I met. And that was a I think a pretty disruptive time for me. I mean, for one thing you’re in middle school, which we all know is like the most difficult transitional time for most kids developmentally, emotionally and socially, but also in the middle of seventh grade changing to a new school, leaving Tucson which was the place I lived the longest up until that point, and then all that pressure to sort of fit in and find friends and the the cultural reality of Mill Valley, California in 1981 was just starkly different than any place I’ve ever lived. The access to drugs and alcohol, the permit permissive sort of environment that seemed to just be really normalized, in terms of being a young person and parents not paying a lot of attention to what was going on. People had a lot of money and a lot of privilege. But that didn’t translate into structure or, you know, real nurturing activities for the children in that community. At least that wasn’t my experience. So pretty quickly I was and I was angry at my mom for making this making this move. I kind of got burned out on being the overachiever because it didn’t seem to make a difference. You know, it didn’t ever seem to get me attention or get me whatever it was that I was feeling like I wasn’t having met. So I rebelled, I went to the exact opposite end of the spectrum, started using drugs, drinking alcohol started, you know, like everybody was cigarettes, and alcohol, and then marijuana. But by seventh grade, I’d say it was around the end of seventh grade, I started using cocaine. And that really escalated things for me very quickly, I was spending time with dangerous people, people that were older than me that were giving me drugs, I was selling drugs at my high school, committing other crimes related to the buying, selling and obtaining of drugs and living that lifestyle. And that went on until I was 16. And in 1985, you know, I hit bottom, as, as we say, in the recovery community, I had had enough I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. And, you know, the other, I guess, other side of the coin of living in Greene County, with all of this kind of access and lack of supervision was that there were young people in recovery. I mean, by the mid 80s, there was this real movement, you know, sort of the just saying, No, the dare culture, tough love all of that. And rehabs were sprouting out for adolescents, especially around the Bay Area. It’s one of the places that even to this day, has the most progressive and is sort of the pioneer in the leader in evidence base, drug and alcohol treatment services. So I was lucky that even though my I didn’t have the parents that that were going to put me in rehab, I had friends that did. And so suddenly, people that were in my community in my in my using and drinking circles, were coming out of rehab and going to 12 Step programs and staying clean and sober, looking healthy, you know, looking different. And so I had people to reach out to when I was ready. And those people, those friends brought me to my first 12 step meetings, which started me down that path. For the next six years, I was absent from drug enough drugs and alcohol, I was active in recovery. I was a part of a young people’s movement in recovery. And my trajectory for success, just kind of, you know, jumped right back on track, I had that muscle memory of being, you know, the good kid and the overachiever kid. And so, you know, I went from being a high school dropout and living on the streets, to a 4.0 student who started the very first peer support program in at Campbell pines High School where we graduated. That was in 19. Think we started that program in 1986, we started a peer support program for kids that were struggling with drug and alcohol in at tam high. So you know, I graduated with a $5,000 Outstanding Student Achievement Award from the marine education foundation.
Kristin Taylor 13:20
Holy cow, I had no idea.
Amanda Amie Marshall 13:22
Yeah, presented by Barbara Boxer. Oh, my gosh, I could send you the newspaper article. I love that. And, and then I went to, I went to started school at College of Marin in the community college that was there locally. After a year, I decided I didn’t like that. And I transferred to University of Oregon, as a sophomore. And that is really where things started to change for me.
Kristin Taylor 13:52
Yes, yeah. So from there, first of all, amazing, amazing that that community was there for you and that you had those resources, and you really started to run with it. But then here’s a real pivot point, as you explained to me previously, so you get to college. Tell us about that. And how that pivoted and change things.
Amanda Amie Marshall 14:09
Well, it was so interesting, you know, and as I thought about it, even just, you know, really reflecting and meditating this morning and getting ready for our conversation today, I was thinking about how really going to University of Oregon when I was 18. And moving or 19. Moving to Eugene was so similar to all those earlier moves in childhood. You know, it was just kind of this flashback to being in a huge new community, new school new people, and how am I going to navigate this and fit in and get people to like me? Yeah. And I moved in and went to college. And actually the reason I went to Eugene for school was because one of my best friends from childhood and marine was attending school there. So I moved right in with my girlfriend Katie, and another friend that I grown up with Sean So the three of us had a place and so so that seemed very comfortable. These are two people I had known since seventh grade, they basically knew everything about me and who I was. And so I guess I trusted their, you know, their friendship and their love for Me. That said, as I continued in college and continued to branch out, I found that when I met people that didn’t come from Mill Valley, California that I didn’t know from high school, and before, when I met people in college, if I share just a little bit about my background, they would be shocked and overwhelmed. I sort of was learning for the first time that the way that we grew up was not normal, you know, and it was, you know, us telling people things like I grew up falling asleep backstage, a Grateful Dead concerts. You know, I used to watch the grace Superbowl at Grace flicks house, every Super Bowl didn’t seem weird to me. But it was sort of overwhelming when you would say that to other people, or I did cocaine for the first time, at the age of 13. You know, people would just their draws, jaws would drop. And I didn’t like that, because I didn’t want to be the other kid. I wanted to be one of these kids, I wanted to be a part of not the other not a freak, you know. And so I learned not to reveal things about myself to people, I also was separated from the recovery community that had really kept me grounded, because I did have that sense of accountability. And that integration in MYRIN in my recovery community, because those were kids I partied with and now they were kids I was sober with. But here in Oregon, when I would go to meetings, it was again, just a roomful of strangers, and it didn’t have the same, I didn’t make me feel the same as when I went to meetings. And Moran, I didn’t have that connection. I didn’t have I didn’t feel seen, I didn’t I really, I guess connection is the word. So I stopped going to meetings, and I just poured all that energy into being the best that I can be thinking that if I were successful, if I were an A student, if I got it, if I was on the debate team, if I, you know, got a lot of external approval that I would be okay. And then I would never have to revisit that person I was before. So what I effectively did was I took that bad girl, and I put her in a closet, and I locked the door, and I never looked back, I decided that that girl was dead. And I never needed to think about talk about or revisit any of the pain or the trauma that I had experienced, you know, growing up in that kind of environments that I told you about as a, as a girl, you know, 13 to 16, basically, on the streets doing drugs, I just kind of put that away and became this other person that nobody would ever think that about. And that’s when my addiction really shifted from drugs and alcohol to looking good, and success and working.
Kristin Taylor 18:18
So I am very appreciative that you pointed that out that it was an addictive behavior. So there was a lack of connection and a feeling of being an outsider, one led to drugs, and then in a different setting, one led to this addiction of being a perfect, high achieving fitting in it was just as addictive behavior. But a different manifestation is what I hear you saying.
Amanda Amie Marshall 18:47
I think one of the things and you know, I’m certainly not a doctor, psychologist, but in my own work with my own mental health professionals, you know, they people throw around diagnoses, I I’m less attached to the diagnosis than I am sort of the symptoms and the severity and the treatment and recovery. But words like OCD are definitely thrown around by my mental health professionals. And I really think that anybody who suffers from any kind of an addiction, it is OCD. It’s an obsession of mind. And then a compulsion, a behavioral compulsion that goes that helps to relieve you of your obsession of the mind. And I really feel like that’s true. And I know we’re going to talk about it later. But I think that’s why mindfulness is such a great anecdote to any kind of obsession of the mind and compulsion of behavior.
Kristin Taylor 19:44
So true, so true. I think that’s really astute.
Amanda Amie Marshall 19:46
That was my experience. So at the same time, you know, after a few years of really leaning into academia, and you know, of course, I was still independent, you know, I didn’t have the patience. that paid for college or you know that that wasn’t my reality. So I was self supporting, I moved out of my mom’s house when I was 17. So I’ve been supporting myself since that point. Of course, when my sister graduated from high school, she just moved to Oregon and moved in with me because I was effectively her parent. And so, you know, I was working, and I was supporting myself and I was going to school and maintaining good grades and on the debate team with a lot of other really smart kids that became that’s kind of where I found my voice, found my strengths and oral advocacy, and which eventually led me to law school. But I also decided that I wasn’t an alcoholic or a drug decision, because clearly, I was so smart, yes, and so successful. And I had all these people around me that just couldn’t comprehend that I could possibly be an addict. Because look at me, you know, I’m the first of everybody else. I’m the most responsible person in our friend group. You know, I’m the one everyone goes to for advice. And so I couldn’t possibly be a person with this disease that we call addiction, especially because none of those friends had any clue what I was like when I was a kid, right? If I had not shared those stories with people, so they just had no comprehension of how bad it had been for me when I was young. So I decided that I wasn’t an addict or alcoholic. And so I didn’t consider it a relapse. I just wasn’t drunk all Yeah, I started drinking again, when I was, I think 20 to 21 or 22. I had been clean and sober for six years. And it was actually on my six year sobriety birthday that I decided to just, you know, become a social drinker. And on that occasion, when I decided to become an adult, responsible social drinker that night, I drank alcohol, did LSD, smoke marijuana, smoke cigarettes and made out with a guy that was not my boyfriend?
Kristin Taylor 22:13
My God, this is boom, right back there. Oh, my God. Okay, so that just gave me chills. Yeah, like, I kind of feel tears coming as I hear that.
Amanda Amie Marshall 22:22
Yeah, I mean, and I, in even then, it wasn’t like, the next day, I thought, Oh, my God, I really, you know, I really screwed up. And it was the opposite. It was like a doubling down. You know, at that point, my mind, my obsession, my compulsion, had so convinced me that I was not an addict or alcoholic. And of course, the people I was with, were partying just like me. And they’re all over achieving, you know, successful academic, on their way to greatness people. And frankly, Kristen, you know, the, the real lie of this whole thing. And I think the real kind of, you know, ripping off the mask is, that is true of the lawyers I know today, that is true of many of the judges I know today, that is true of many elected officials that I know today. They are people that struggle with addictions of one type or another, they’re very obsessive compulsive people, and you sort of have to be to be successful in these areas. But there’s not a lot, there’s just this really strong sense of denial on this ego that keeps people from accessing help, because in order to access how you’ve got to a tell the truth, and to experience some humility, you know, you’ve got to have this sense of surrender. Yes. And that is, I think, the hardest thing for people like us people like me to be able to access.
Kristin Taylor 23:53
Well, what’s so powerful about that is now that you’re on the other side, so to speak. And I and I say that understanding that’s kind of a glib way of saying that there’s so much more to it, but just for the sake of really underscoring from your position now, to be able to be that voice to say, Hey, I’ve been in it, I’ve been it, and I see it for what it is. It’s that advocacy and the pulling the veil, or, as you said, pulling the mask off, right. So tell us a little bit more. You’re in the college years, you decide I am not an alcoholic, you start drinking, you’re performing really well. You know, you’re keeping up. move us into the next chapter of your life.
Amanda Amie Marshall 24:32
So after So, as I mentioned, you know, debate led me to law school, which led me to becoming an attorney. I started practicing law in the mid 90s. And this was pretty interesting, too. I mean, when I went to law school, I had no inkling really, I don’t think of what it meant to be a lawyer. I didn’t have lawyers in my family. You know, my view of practicing law was You go to court, it’s like Perry Mason or something or, and of course, the reality is that 99% of attorneys never see the inside of a courtroom. It’s mainly transactional and advice, which is not consistent with my strengths or my personality. So I thought I was going to go to law school and do Indian law, federal Indian law and represent indigenous people in you know, federal tribunals trying to argue for their sovereign rights. And, you know, there just aren’t a lot of jobs in the newspaper for that particular position when you graduate from law school. I ended up at the District Attorney’s Office in Coos County, Oregon, which is on the Southern Oregon coast. And I spent five years there. And that was very significant because I really went from being this person that was kind of raised this this marine county hippie kid, you know, peace, love, and rock and roll. And, and in those five years, there was this huge transition that happened. And again, when I look back, I can see that it was part of that I want to fit in, I want people to like me, I want to feel safe, I want to feel loved. And so to be a prosecutor in a Oregon coastal rural county with very high crime and, you know, scant resources, I was able to pretty quickly become this kind of big fish in a small town, I started the first domestic violence prosecution unit in Oregon. And I wrote grants and got a dedicated investigator and a dedicated victim service person. And I got so much positive feedback from my peers, my boss, the community at large and really felt like I was creating a lot of distance between me and that bad girl in the closet. Nobody would have ever guessed, you know, that this girl and the you know, suit with the spectator pumps and the pearls going to court and fighting the good fight on behalf of domestic violence victims and children and other vulnerable people. Was this, you know, street kid slinging dope, you know, and breaking into stores and cars and stealing your car stereo like, nobody would have thought that and, and God forbid, I would never freakin tell anybody. It was during that time that I got married to my college boyfriend, who was also had gone to law school and become a prosecutor was working in the same office. And then short. Shortly thereafter, we move back to the Portland area. And I went to work for the State as an assistant attorney general, representing our state child welfare agency, quickly sort of rose the ranks in that office and became the attorney in charge of the child advocacy section at the Oregon Department of Justice, where I oversaw the largest litigation section at Oregon DOJ, we had about 50 lawyers, more than 100 staff representing child welfare and termination of parental rights litigation, and all other matters affecting kids in foster care in the state of Oregon. So, again, here I am this like white hat, saving the children, you know, in the interim between being a deputy DA and then being a child welfare lawyer, I’m also being exposed to a tremendous amount of secondary trauma. And as a kid that grew up with my own experiences of sexual abuse and domestic violence, which were completely ignored, stuffed and unresolved, either through my use of drugs and alcohol, or from just not being willing to go there because that girl was not locked in the closet. I was, I can now see how I was working out my own trauma in my work as a as a helping person that was going to now it was my responsibility to save all these kids like me and all these women like me, and it became sort of this hamster wheel. And in the meantime, I’m I’m going to the autopsies of children and women I’m reviewing, I’m going to crime scenes where where people have been violently murdered. I’m going to I’m handling these cases through court and dealing with people who have been extremely traumatized from the beginning to the end of these cases, including jury trials and murder cases. And then I’m, you know, dealing with child pornography cases of looking at images of children who are, you know, brutalized by adults. And the whole time I can remember my mom saying to me, I wish you were being exposed to all of this because I feel like it’s going to somehow deeply change you. And I just told her mom, I don’t even feel it. Well, that’s
Kristin Taylor 30:05
What I wanted to ask you. So even as you’re listening, or excuse me, as I’m listening, and you’re detailing what you saw, I’m noticing in me with my own history of trauma, I’m starting to get a little edgy. Right? What was that? I’m hearing you say you were kind of divorced from it.
Amanda Amie Marshall 30:20
You were just it was that was now I know, I didn’t have the word then. But now I now that I became an expert at dissociating. Right. And so I now can look back at so many times, even, you know, starting with when I was a kid, and I would be afraid when I was very young to like being an adolescent, and some of the experiences that I had, when I was drinking and using and see how I learned that coping mechanism of dissociating. And even today, one of the, you know, one of the superpowers I have as a trial lawyer that still serves me is that when things are really scary, I will calm you know, I will, it will calm me, I could I can lose myself over someone cut me off in traffic, I can lose my cool over the silly over my kid living skateboard on the floor. Oh my god, it’s a tragedy. Yeah, but you know, if somebody is killed right in front of me, I’ll be cool as a cucumber. You know, somebody if my client is in crisis, or somebody is recounting something that is very traumatic, I will take on the opposite, I will become calm. Even in trial, I feel like it’s the best time I sleep, my house is clean. My meals are planned for a week, because I learned as a kid, to be hyper vigilant and to control the things I could control while the rest of the world was in chaos. That’s
Kristin Taylor 31:52
Fascinating. That is fascinating. And I think of your nervous system. And how is a child the intelligence to do that? That’s called what I’ve learned. It’s called as an interject. And that’s really the brilliance. Have you heard that term before? Yeah, yeah, that’s the brilliance of children, when we look around in our environment, and we see where are we safe? Where are we not safe? There’s this innate intelligence of very resilient children to say, How can I survive? And it’s like it rewires your brain, rewires your nervous system to find a way to survive, and like you said, it served you.
Amanda Amie Marshall 32:27
Right. And that’s, that’s, I think, really important when when we’re trying to work through, you know, when we’re trying to figure out how we move through, is to be to try as best as we can to give ourselves some grace. And, you know, in in 12 Step programs, we talk about character defects. And when I work with women in recovery, I always say it’s not a defect, thank you, you know, it’s something that you develop to keep yourself going Amen, was the best you could do at that time. And if you knew a better way, you would have done exactly. And so it is really to sort of get some distance, you know, some emotional distance and be able to look back, like you would, you know, I try to look at myself, like, I would look at a friend or my, and with that kind of compassion, yes, understanding, and it’s not all bad, you know, like, I have ADHD, and I think it’s one of my superpowers for being a great trial lawyer is my hyper focus and my, you know, ability to do a million things at once. And so it is, you know, I think in for mental health, that’s one of the things that I don’t like labels, because I feel like we’re all on the spectrum. I mean, we all have different times in our lives where these different we’re, we’re narcissistic, where we’re, you know, we’re, we’re self centered, where we are, we’re compulsive, and obsessive and addictive. You know, we all have that on the spectrum. And it’s heightened at different times, and, and we can all utilize the same tools to try to do better. And I think anything that makes us feel connected, and that makes us have empathy and relationship with people, instead of othering people into a box that we can then put them on the shelf and say, That’s not me. Yes. is really what moves us forward. Yeah,
Kristin Taylor 34:27
Connection is so important. And I think the slippery slope, this othering, this pathologizing is so dangerous. And it keeps people from being vulnerable for acknowledging the parts of themselves that get really caught in keeps us from getting that level of integration to take that girl out of the closet.
Amanda Amie Marshall 34:44
So interestingly, and we talked about this before, my the pinnacle of my career, basically occurred at the same time as the lowest point that I have ever experienced spiritually, emotionally, mentally. So so I really it really was, in some ways, just a brilliant gift for me, because it, it just everything I’ve told you up until this point just played out to a crescendo that couldn’t have been scripted better by, you know Shakespeare. It was Shakespearean I think. So you know it had sex, drugs, rock and roll. All the good things. Not so much rock and roll, I guess I gave that up for the law. The so so at the end, you know, when I when I was falling apart, the most insight on the outside when it occurred is I had been appointed as the United States Attorney for the District of Oregon by President Obama. I was I did not apply for that job. I was asked to apply actually twice, was I was the first time I sort of laughed. And the second time, the person on the selection committee said, Look, you just have to send a letter of interest, can you just do that? And I said, Well, I guess I can do that. And, you know, I guess it was probably about six months, maybe a year later that President Obama nominated me. And then it was another more than a year while I awaited my confirmation from the Senate. So I was now the United States Attorney, which a lot of lawyers would tell you is kind of the ultimate, you know, the ultimate job. And in fact, when I was in that group of, you know, 160, US attorneys, something like that, in the world, and we would get together in small groups or larger groups for meetings and conferences, or even just socially, the refrain that you would hear over and over is, this is the best job you’re ever going to have. Don’t you think that this is the best, you know, we gotta savor this together, because it’s not going to get any better than this. And sometimes we’d be with other people who had served in the role of US attorney. And we’re now in other roles, like maybe they were the head of Homeland Security, or the head of the FBI, or the head of ATF, or the Deputy Attorney General, or the Associate Attorney General, or the head of the Civil Rights Division. So these were people that we would would be in our in our circles, and they would say to us, well, when I was US attorney, that was the best job I ever had. It’s nothing’s ever going to be as good as that. I’ve done all these other things now, but that’s the best thing. And I remember just sitting there quietly thinking to myself, this is the most miserable I’ve ever been in my life. I hate this job. I hate. I don’t really like I you know, I don’t feel Can I was the opposite of connection. I felt so disconnected. I felt like if any of the people who worked for me in my ivory tower of an office in the beautiful, beautiful federal courthouse, downtown Portland, my corner office on the on the fifth floor, sixth floor, if you know, and all of the lawyers that worked there, if any of those people, if any of my colleagues had known about that girl that was locked in the closet that the gig would be, you know, that and it just made me run harder on that hamster wheel. And I couldn’t have been more successful. I mean, I achieved everything I had set out to achieve as US attorney, I made my priorities, our priorities, I was loved by the media, I was loved by my office, I was being talked to by other people, both in the state of Oregon and outside the state of Oregon about my future career as a politician. Even though up until that point I’d had no interest your background and politics at all. And so I really was you know, extra and I was married to a guy that was running for judge in our county and was by all means going to win and did win by 70% in the primary. I had three beautiful sons that we’re all perfect in every way and you know Excel did everything that they did you know, I had the right car and I we owned our home and we had this we had on the outside what look like the Brady Bunch, you know, meats? I don’t know Cagney and Lacey. No, I’ve dated myself.
Kristin Taylor 39:34
I think we’ve already done that. Yeah.
Amanda Amie Marshall 39:37
Any idea but they you know, I was this. You know everything I thought I wanted when I was a little girl everything. I thought that I have these things, you know right down to the husband that I married. That is the most wonderful man in the world who grew up in this Lutheran Family third generation Oregonian Sundays. Every Sunday meat and potatoes for dinner every night, you know, biggest biggest scandal in the family was like an uncle got divorced and a cousin had a DUI once you know, that’s like, I thought if I had all of this, I would be okay. And that girl in the closet would just go away. And the more I got into this, and and the more stressed out I got because I was working 80 hours a week because I had to keep those hamster wheels going, I had to save the kids and I had to stop terrorism. And I had to stop the big banks from collapsing the economy. And I mean, all these things were now my responsibility. I have to make sure that tribes had their sovereignty, just just those things. Yeah. And the environment was okay. And the oceans were clean. And you know, the coral wasn’t being raped. And we weren’t selling pelts that an eagle feathers. I mean, I was all my job. Oh, my God, I was passionate about it all. And every time I was asked to take on something new, I said, Yes. I said yes. And I stopped sleeping. My motto became, I’ll sleep when I’m dead. And I used to do a lecture for new women being sworn into the bar. New lawyers, where I would tell I had this talk called balance is a lie. And it was hilarious. And people loved it. And it was basically, you know, I do I go to the gym. No, you know, my diet consists of dark chocolate, coffee, nicotine and red wine. And how does my marriage stay on track? We keep it shallow. And you know, my kids might eat fast food every night. And but you know, I I show up at every soccer game, and you know, we look good. And the can women have it all? Yes, you can. But you can’t have it all. If you want to sleep and eat healthy and take care of yourself. Self Care was I thought ridiculous. And it was for chumps. That didn’t have a good job like I had that weren’t as important as hard work. And at the same time, I felt super entitled to drink and abuse myself. Because if you had to deal with what I have to deal with, if you were responsible for what I’m responsible for, you would stop every night on the way home lie to your husband about where you are, and go to the bar and down some pints before you, you know, get home an hour and a half late. It was completely toxic. Yeah, and I didn’t have anybody in my life, really, that could see every part of it. I mean, I had become so compartmentalized with all these different identities. The US attorney, the mom, the wife, the the girl at the bar, you know, it just and when I would travel, it would be even worse. You know, I’d be at a hotel at a hotel bar. With a minibar in the room. Yeah. And I was obsessive about everything.
Kristin Taylor 43:02
Okay, so you’re on this collision course. And the House of Cards is going to come down soon. Take us there, so that we can get what’s to get to what is most important, which is the recovery, the healing and the recovery.
Amanda Amie Marshall 43:18
So several months before I left my job at as US Attorney, actually, I left in March, and it was around July, the previous July of 2014. I really, it was too much. And I had basically given I mean, within myself, I had resolved myself to basically death, you know, I just didn’t see any way out. And the only real relief I got was thinking about my own that I would die, because I just didn’t see any way to get out of this trap I was in. And part of that was that I had started having an affair with a lawyer in my office who was a member of my management team. And that was very destructive and painful for everybody that had any contact with that relationship. And eventually, I, I had my husband had found out about the affair, I’d complain we had started going to marriage counseling. The relationship with the co worker had ended, but it was still so toxic in the office between he and I. And while I was still going into the office and working with him every day, his wife was also a lawyer in my office. There were people in the office that knew about the relationship, including the person I was closest to on the management team. So he was sort of trying to, you know, read, you know, kind of oversee this toxic relationship between me and this man in the office. And it just wasn’t ever going to work and I could never calm down Enough I was I knew I was sick. I knew I was depressed. By that time I was seeing a psychologist, a psychiatrist, an acupuncturist. I was medicated, and I was abusing my medicine. So I was taking Klonopin and Ambien a lot, and, and often with alcohol. And even then I could only sleep for about three out of every 24 hours, I was throwing up every day, I couldn’t keep food down that was partially because of the alcohol. But it was also because of my anxiety. I just couldn’t keep food down. And that was an all I could think about about how I would this could ever end was, I would pray to get in a car accident, I would pray to just not wake up, have a heart attack, I would run five miles every day and then buy a pack of cigarettes, she’d smoke, it’s so self destructive. Yeah, I taking my blood pressure medicine, I just didn’t see another way out. I didn’t want to take my I didn’t want to commit suicide because I was so ashamed. And already, and I couldn’t bear the thought of the shame that that would bring in the pain to my family. But I just thought it only something would happen like a car accident, if only it was natural causes. And it was at that time that the person I had had an affair with decided to go public with the affair, which was really not so much about me as it was another situation in his life. So it was a good distraction for him to report it at that time. And it and I got a call from Maine Justice in Washington DC, saying, basically confronting me saying this has been this allegation has been made. And I immediately said, Yes, it’s true. And have I was having an affair. And by the way, I’m not going to find it, I can’t wait to leave this office like this is my hour. I’m leaving today, and I’ll never come back, I won’t, I won’t obstruct, like whatever it is that you want to do, I’m on board, I’m not going to stay right. I did. However, in that moment, that first phone call minimize the nature of the relationship with the man in the office. And because of my dishonesty in the characterization of the extent of the sexual relationship with the co worker that led to an investigation, first by the Department of Justice, then by the OIG, the Office of the Inspector General, then by the Oregon State Bar. So for the next several years, I was being investigated by one agency or another. And that kept the story alive. So I was, you know, started off with the front page of the newspaper above the fold reporters at my house nonstop on my phone harassing everybody that I knew. And as you can imagine, you know, at that point that, you know, the way that we found that it had gone public was my 12 year old son came upstairs in the middle of his dad and I fighting outside on the front porch and said, I just saw on the Oregonians website that mom was having an affair with and you know, said his name, and that you were fired from the office and they took your security clearance and that you’re like, you know, this bad guy.
Kristin Taylor 48:25
My God, Amanda.
Amanda Amie Marshall 48:26
You know, much of what was reported was not true. The sources initially were unnamed. And, and clearly, we’re aligned with the person who made the report, which was the man involved. So it and I never commented to the press because because I was a mess, because I at that point, all I could do was sit in my closet, drink and cry and wish for death. Eventually, I did. You know, I was at great risk for taking my own life and my family, my therapist, made a plan and figured out you know, the best course of action and, and again, I’m just so lucky and privileged because so many people don’t have, you know, one the family support to a great therapist that already kind of knows what’s going on. And then three great health insurance. So pretty quickly, I was on a plane to Minnesota where I attended treatment at Hazelden Betty Ford. I was there for six weeks. They have an attorney they have a program specifically for legal professionals, because we’re so screwed up. Yeah. We need our own special track. Well, thank
Amanda Amie Marshall 49:50
And yes, thank God it was a it was a fantastic experience. I mean, I won’t say I felt like that the first few weeks I was there, but looking back on it It was absolutely, you know, absolutely saved my life. I don’t think I could have access recovery, if I had stayed in that environment that was so toxic. You know, if I had, even if I’d stayed at home with my family, my marriage had been so badly impacted by my behavior and my addiction. My, you know, my children were impacted all of our family and extended family and the pressure of the media spotlight, which was just unending I mean, I don’t know that I would have been able to survive it. I don’t think I would have been strong enough.
Kristin Taylor 50:34
I can’t imagine anyone really anyone that I know, that amount of pressure and public scrutiny. I simply can’t wrap my head around.
Amanda Amie Marshall 50:44
Yeah, it was I was lucky to be in Minnesota where they literally took away my phone and locked it up. Yeah. And I didn’t have access to the internet. At some point, I did have some limited access, but not unsupervised. And, and I, you know, I had access to a phone, but it was in a common area. And I was speaking with my children every day. But that was about it. I and eventually, my sister Kathy, who you know, who has been in recovery herself for more than 20 years, and has worked in mental health and recovery for most of those 20 years. She helped put me in touch with some of my friends, and even my old sponsor, from back when I was clean and sober in Mill Valley in the 80s. Oh, my God, I just got chills. And so my friend China, and my sponsor Jun were like two of the very first people that I connected with when I was still in rehab. And I and then I learned that, you know, all I mean, not everybody that I knew at that time was still sober, but like a really significant portion of these kids from the 80s. We’re still working and living spiritual programs of recovery and being abstinent from drugs and alcohol. And that was the very beginning because like you said, Christian, it’s that connection. It’s that these people know me. And they don’t know me as this superstar on the news with the Brooks Brothers suits standing next to Jim Comey, yes, they owe me as the girl in the closet. Yeah, and they still love me,
Kristin Taylor 52:30
They still love you, they still love you. So I feel like that’s a beautiful segue into the how I made it through and how I’m making it through. So we could be talking for so long, because there’s so much to this. But given the time constraints that we have, can you start to identify what you began to learn what you began to know what you began to practice that totally transformed you and supports your recovery to this day.
Amanda Amie Marshall 52:59
So I really feel like you know, if there’s one thing that sort of, you know, if you think of a bicycle wheel and the spokes that are coming out of the hub, the hub for me, it has been breathing in, and when I breathe in, knowing that I’m breathing in, and breathing out, when I breathe out, knowing that I’m breathing out, I mean, that is like at its core, it has been learning to ground myself in the breath. And for many people, it’s different things. It’s not always the breath. And I hear people say, I can’t meditate, I can’t do I can’t contact well, they’re, you know, there’s no can’t meditate. Because meditation is not a thing that you learn. It’s a practice. And, and it is the strengthening of that muscle of bringing yourself back. So if we didn’t get pulled away, we wouldn’t be doing it. Right. Yeah, if we didn’t get distracted, so that we have to bring ourselves back because that is the practice.
Kristin Taylor 53:55
God that is so well said.
Amanda Amie Marshall 53:59
And so I’m in rehab, now I had been exposed to meditation. You know, I grew up in Mill Valley, California, I know, meditation and yoga, and you know, all the things and, and interestingly, like all kids, what do we do? We rebel against our parents. So instead of wearing Birkenstocks, and, you know, chanting to Kyrgyzstan, I am like a prosecutor that wears Brooks Brothers suits and has a personal shopper at Nordstrom. So that’s like my, you know, that’s my rebellion. And so I had to really shed that because whenever we’re reacting to something, whether it’s whether, you know, I’m still being controlled by something. And so I was really had this thing of reacting and rejecting anything that I thought was anything my mother would like. And there was so much great stuff that my mother had taught me that I had rejected just that face value and then available for which now ended up being literally what saved my life. Were the things that my mother was trying to tell me
Kristin Taylor 55:08
Amanda Amie Marshall 55:10
So that was I think, for me, that’s the foundation was it rehab, there was a beautiful meditation center, we had a spiritual advisor. And there were, you know, they kind of gave you this menu of options. And one of the books that my counselor gave me was called, like, the Buddha’s way on the 12 steps or something like that. Because I didn’t really resonate with the kind of traditional Judeo Christian, you know, framework that so really indoctrinated in 12 Step programs. And so it’s like, you don’t have to, you know, it’s it’s broad enough that you can find your own path. And so that was, I started to read that book, and I started to go sit every day, and just try to breathe in and breathe out. And today, that’s still what grounds me, if there, if the world is falling apart, you know, and everything’s on fire, the one thing I am going to do, no matter what is sit for 20 minutes at night, and do that practice of bringing myself back to my breath of bringing myself back to my consciousness. And and if I don’t do that, then I’ll tell you what, everything else will fall apart. And out of that, so much has grown, I’ve become, you know, I’ve become a yogi, I’ve become a vegan, I’ve stopped smoking cigarettes. And it’s not because of any, you know, political or philosophical or dogmatic or intellectual reason. It’s literally because when I’m in touch with myself, and I’m being honest, and I’m feeling my breath, there are things that resonate with me and things that do not. And, and I’m learning to trust myself, I’m learning to move back into my body, which is a place that had never been where I want to be, yes. But learning to find a refuge here in my own body, and be present with my feelings, because as you know, the Robert Frost quote says The way out is through. And that is actually the softer, gentler way.
Kristin Taylor 57:20
Yes. So Amanda, what I’m hearing again, is this word integration, it’s this mind, body, and spirit. And you mentioned throughout this, relegating that bad girl to the closet, how did all of this help you to find peace with her or help her heal?
Amanda Amie Marshall 57:38
So really, I think the biggest lesson for me is that when you know, and when we try to ignore something, what we resist persists. That’s, that’s one of my mom’s favorite sayings. What we resist persists. So we are really just giving it more power. You know, the while I’m, you know, out there ignoring, you know, that the shadow self, you know, the bad girl, whatever it is about myself that I don’t like that I don’t think I can tolerate that. I don’t want you to know about her, you’d see, yes, that shadow self is just pumping iron, you know, listening to Rage Against the Machine just getting more powerful, and just waiting, you know, to lash out at me, and just getting stronger. And so what really has worked for me is being able to let that girl out of the closet and give her the love that she didn’t get, you know, meet her needs that she didn’t get met, that nobody can. Nobody deserves our love more than we do. And I was so good at helping everybody else and taking care of everybody else. Except myself. I really believed that people that did that were just selfish. And I now see that the most, the most loving and generous act I can especially give to my children is taking care of myself. Right, you know, is being strong and whole and happy. I think. Carl Jung said that the worst tragedy to children is the unlived life of the parent.
Kristin Taylor 59:16
Oh, that’s so amazing. Yes.
Amanda Amie Marshall 59:19
So not true. Summer martyr or that person who’s always you know, totally overspent. But I now spend as much if not more time, on my self care practice, which is you know, which includes recovery support meetings. I’m on the board of recovery Dharma, which is a Buddhist recovery Sapir support program, peer led addiction support program. And i i So I’m very integrated in my recovery community. I work with other women. And I also got, I became a yoga teacher. I went to the yoga teacher training, which was really nice. about deepening my own understanding and my own practice. But I found it useful and also reaching out to others and helping other people as well. I, I participate in my meditation work on a daily basis and also try to go to retreats. And I have not stopped therapy, I have a wonderful psychiatrist that I see for both therapy and medication management. I do take psychotropic medication to treat my mental illnesses. And I see a therapist once a week, I also see an acupuncturist monthly that helps me with my stress and anxiety primarily. I sleep eight hours a night, I eat healthy food, I run in the woods, and I do beautiful dogs. And you know, my children continue to be my greatest gifts and my greatest inspirations when I look at them, I honestly feel like I can’t possibly deserve you know, these three boys that are just so amazing. And, and part of what I give to them now is his honesty. You know, I don’t they they know about that girl. They know about the good and the bad because they need to understand that they’re going to make mistakes. Yes. And they’re going to have dark moments, all of us Yeah. And they need to know, I want them to know that I am a safe place for them to crash. They need to that this is a place of without judgment. You know that this is a refuge that we’re that we are a family that that does not shoot are sick.
Kristin Taylor 1:01:37
And you can only do that. If you’ve done your own worse your own work, you can only be safe when you are integrated. Right? Right. So I’m curious, tell me how you incorporate mindfulness just into the daily grind, because life doesn’t get any easier may not be as hard as it was. But what does that look like for you?
Amanda Amie Marshall 1:01:55
So Right? Like, I want to really say this to people, I want to say that you don’t have you know, I’ve used words like retreat and sitting for 20 minutes. And it doesn’t have to be any of that it doesn’t have to be and when I do yoga, I’m not talking about going to a yoga class, my meditation work is part of my yoga. And so really what it is, is, here’s some examples of things that I do when it’s really the daily grind, and is I wash the dishes. You know, when things are crazy, and you feel like you don’t know what to do, go wash some dishes. If you’re like me, you’ve got a cup of coffee cups sitting in the sink, I’m not like the wash every dish person, maybe you are then this won’t work for you. But if you have dishes to wash, wash the dishes. A great meditation teacher I heard once taught say that when I wash my rice bowl, I pretended to baby Buddha. And I wash it with that level of care. Because that’s a meditation. Yes, change, put fresh sheets on your bed. And you know, make up your bed every morning. That’s a meditation, that’s self care. You know, brush your teeth, floss your teeth and be mindful when you’re doing it. Drink a glass of water, make yourself a cup of tea. And be mindful when you’re doing it. When you eat, don’t eat in front of the television, don’t eat in the car, right? Even if it’s only you only really need 10 minutes, it doesn’t need to be an hour. But with those 10 minutes, sit with your silverware and be mindful of each bite. And how you’re nourishing your body that also is going to help with your diet. Because when you really are paying attention to what you’re putting in your body, and how it’s making you feel you’re going to intuitively eat the way that you should eat, which you’re not going to learn from a blog or a Facebook group or the latest diet trend because your body isn’t everyone else’s body that’s reading different things at different times, especially women. I mean, as we transition through our hormonal changes our dietary needs and our how our food affects our hormone response is a you know, you could write a whole thesis on that, and but just being present in your own body when you eat will help. I think it’s really helped me to feel better.
Kristin Taylor 1:04:17
Yes. So what I love about what you’re saying is that you’re making it accessible, because I think when people hear about oh my gosh, I have to radically change my life. I don’t think things are working. They’re like, I’ll do it tomorrow or I don’t have money to go to her retreat. But I do the same when I for myself and others. When I talk with clients. I said, think about making your bed fully aware of being in the moment making your bed. What does the pillowcase feel like between your fingers? There are always moments if you put something in the microwave and it’s in there for a minute and a half. Be present for a minute and a half. Feel your feet on the ground. Right I love that so much. So I’m curious. You’re still practicing as an attorney. I imagine this is radically changed. How you practice? So can you share how your recovery has informed them?
Amanda Amie Marshall 1:05:05
It is really been hard. When I first came back from rehab, I took a year off of the practice of law of working, just to do self care just to try to be present and, you know, do the healing work that needed to be done in my family and in my, in my heart. And then I slowly started going back to dabbling in the practice of law. And the more I became grounded in my own recovery, the more I hated being a lawyer, the more it seemed like, you know, being a yogi, being a person in recovery, and being a great trial attorney, seemed like you had to go on completely divergent tracks, like what was good for one was bad for the other, and vice versa. And I can remember being in Indiana about two years ago, doing depositions in a civil litigation case, and, you know, going spending eight hours with these male lawyers, you know, representing the defendants and the insurance company, and just that game is all about ego. It’s all about zero sum game, it’s all about I win and you lose, it’s all about manipulation and gamesmanship. And it is so is just toxic masculinity times 1000. And I don’t mean to say that that’s because it’s men, I’m great at, like, I am the best, I mean, I can tear those guys apart in their own playground in their own game. Right. And, and I always happened at it. And that’s why I’ve always excelled, because I’ve been a person that’s been really centered in ego and been really competitive, and all of those things. But what started to happen is I could still go into that role and be effective for my clients in those ways. And then I go back to the hotel and just cry and feel like I was going to vomit and need to do two hours of yoga meditation just to feel normal. Yeah. And so I needed to figure out how do I integrate? How do I be I don’t want to be Amanda, the lawyer and Amanda, the yogi, I want to be Amanda, the yogi who practices law. And so I it’s been a process and a practice, but the first part about it is telling the truth. So I stopped hiding, I came out of the closet about my recovery, I have a pretty wide following on social media, and I started just really being honest and vulnerable and posting things. And it’s really funny how people that love you. You know, fear is a powerful thing. So people will say, please stop doing that. I think it’s going to destroy your practice. I’ve had lawyers use it against me. I mean, I had a lawyer on the other side, literally put into writing in a case that the client must be crazy, because she’s hired me and I and then went into you know, I don’t know if you Googled Amanda Marshall, but she is an alcoholic with her own mental health problems with you know, who’s this pariah? So, so the client must be crazy if he’s got Amanda as a lawyer, basically, like they’ve used my past as a weapon against my clients.
Kristin Taylor 1:08:26
Zero sum game, right? Yeah.
Amanda Amie Marshall 1:08:29
So it is you when you make yourself vulnerable, there is risk, there’s a cost. For me the risk of not being who I am not being my authentic self, the risk of forcing that girl back into the closet, outweighs whatever I just have to be. And I, I’ve had these conversations with people, it’s like, I’ve applied for a couple of jobs as a lawyer. I’m a great lawyer. Nobody’s ever challenged that. And then none of the things I’ve ever been that have ever been said about me have ever impugned on my ability and my skills as a lawyer, or my ability to serve and represent my clients. And that said, I will always have clients and I don’t do any advertising. And today I run a successful law firm of two people working for me turn away cases do you know and have no problem having work? But I can’t get hired as my as my experience is that other people don’t want to hire me because of the trope of you know, a woman who, you know, fill in the blank, right? And if I were Gavin Newsom, it’s a whole other ballgame. Right but as a woman, and without those connections, or that power and privilege, I’m kind of on my own here. And I’m too much of a liability. I’m too much of a risk to be hired by the government or, you know, another entity that’s worried about their reputation, and certainly to be hired in a supervisory role where I’m really out there rubber setting, you know, an agency or a company or a law firm. So I have my own practice, you know, because I’m not gonna, I’m not going to recreate myself again into something that I’m not. So I haven’t my office MAC Law. And I have two lawyers that are contractors who work for me as independent contractors, I, I primarily am the person that brings the work in, it’s criminal defense, it’s civil rights. It’s some civil, plaintiffs work. We’re currently representing exotic dancers and lawsuits against strip clubs, that because they’re violating the wage and hour laws by basically forcing these performers to pay to dance on the stage, kick out all the people at the club. And then the club controls what they can wear, what music they can use, that they’re not independent contractors, they have no say, at all, their work. And then they’re leaving at the end of the night making less than minimum wage. So that’s an example of the types of cases we do. But primarily, I do criminal defense, which is really cathartic for me, because one of the thing that happened when I ripped off the veil and started looking at what’s real, is that I don’t think the criminal justice system is a place that I could practice and be proud of. You know, I mean, we’ve all learned a lot in the last few years, about how terribly unjust and unfair our criminal justice system is. And I can see how my role, especially as a woman, as a feminist, as an intellectual, and as kind of the Sweetheart, you know, in that role in terms of, you know, my my press access, really helped to prop up a system that is hugely corrupt and broken. And not just criminal justice, but the child welfare system as well. And so today, the way that I integrate my practice into my work is that I’m no longer trying to save the world. But what I’m trying to do is be present with my clients, one at a time. And I just hope that through my presence and my authenticity, and my hard work, and our collaboration in their legal cases, to empower them to make the best choices they can make, and then advocate on their behalf and be both their sword and their shield spear that I can make a difference in my sphere of influence. I take care of my dogs, I take care of my garden, I take care of my house, and I take care of my clients. Yes. And that’s my world.
Kristin Taylor 1:12:46
Yes. So that is such a beautiful segue, because what stands out to me as we go into closing, is this integrity, this authenticity, this intentionality, this mindfulness and presence, so that your relationship to the challenges in your life is vastly different, because you’ve done your own work. I hope so on your work, right. I mean, that’s what when I was thinking about this podcast, I was like, how I made it through? No, it should be how I’m making it through, because it’s an everyday decision.
Amanda Amie Marshall 1:13:19
I want to say also, that it sucks a lot of the time. I mean, I think it’s really important. You know, you and I were talking about some of the physical manifestations of trauma. And, you know, I think it’s important, you know, because I look at you, Kristin. And I think I mean, everything you’ve said about me, I could say about you, I’m so you know, moved and inspired and proud of the work that you’ve done and so honored to be invited to be on your show. And for me, these things, these reconnections with these Mill Valley kids that I know are like the most healing, you know, liberating experiences that I’ve had, and I, and it’s uncanny how many of them I’ve had, and how miraculous it’s been. But I also see you and I think, before you told me about some of your own struggles, I think you’re just so happy and perfect. And it’s also, you know, effortless and and the truth is right, it sucks a lot of the time does never over, you know, it’s like the Buddha said, Mara is there to the last day. I mean, there’s all that shadow self as a part of being a human side. And there’s always darkness in the light. And there’s always light in the darkness. And that is, you know, the nature of life of being alive in this body on this planet.
Kristin Taylor 1:14:38
Yes, yes. I couldn’t say it any better than that. I want to thank you so much for the openness with which you shared your story. I really think and no, I mean, it’s made a difference to me. But there’s so many things that you said that will resonate with people as they get caught in their own struggle, because it is hard. And there’s no one right way But that compassion for ourselves that’s slowing down and recognizing in the small moments, we can show up differently, but it needs to start with ourselves. So, thank you so much, Amanda. Thank you. I loved it, too. I did do. A man Amanda has turned her wounds into wisdom. Having just heard some of it, I encourage you to ask yourself, Where do you need to practice greater mindfulness and self compassion? What parts of your own story have been relegated to a closet, steeped in shame, are shrouded in the illusion that your past your shadows, your vulnerability, or your truth must remain masked or hidden in order for you to experience belonging, or to be loved. Borrowing from Amanda’s own words, here are examples of healed wounds transformed into wisdom. Number one, we are perfect. Wherever we are right now is exactly where we need to be. We cannot change what is we can only accept the truth of it. Look for the lesson of it. And know that like all moments, this one will also pass. Number two, we are not our judgments. Our judgments may or may not be helpful. Notice the judgment invited in. Ask yourself, where it comes from, and whether it serves you. Number three, the past is over. You are safe in this moment. In times of fear. Remember that you are capable of taking care of yourself and your wounded inner critic. Nearly all suffering is related to regretting the past or fearing the future. Number four, peer support, recovery and healing does not happen in isolation, but in community and in relationship. And finally, number five, make self care your number one priority. Yes, you heard that right. Put yourself first. While she believes that service to others is the highest form of love and crucial to ending suffering. Amanda has learned the hard way that she has to put on her own oxygen mask before she can help anyone else find their breath. Thank you again, Amanda.