Tovah Lalla 00:04
I truly believe that I have been guided by my ancestors by those who came before to heal the wounds that are being passed down generationally.
Kristin Taylor 00:27
Hello, and welcome to How I Made It Through. My name is Kristin Taylor, and I’m an executive coach. This podcast is based on the immortal words of Robert Frost who said, the best way out, is always through. Through this platform, I get the honor of sharing remarkable stories of courage in the face of challenge stories that encourage us to step into our lives, even and especially into the heart places, allowing whatever it is that we are facing to shape and transform us mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. My hope is that the people I introduce you to, will provide a much needed sense of inspiration, deepening your trust in yourself that whatever you’re facing, you two will find your way through. May you see yourself in their stories, and may their wisdom help to light your way. Today’s guest is Tovah Lalla. In Tovah’s own words, she describes herself simply as human. She says that she spent part of her life identifying as a white part of it identifying as a registered massage therapist. And part of that identifying as a mother. At one time, she says she identified as all three at the same time. Now, this simply identifies as human. With all of that comes with Tovah has spent the last two years going through an intense spiritual awakening and healing her core wounds. She says that it is her mission to share what she’s learned with others in hopes that she can help them let go of their baggage and be their most authentic selves. I met Tovah a few months back when she interviewed me as a guest on her podcast, Get in. We’re going healing. It is such a joy to have you,Tovah.
Tovah Lalla 02:20
I’m so grateful to be here. Kristin, thank you for having me.
Kristin Taylor 02:25
My pleasure. Absolutely. My pleasure. It’s nice to reverse roles. And I am excited for you to be able to share all that you’ve shared with me. And, you know, I know it’s going to make a difference. And that’s what this is all about. Now, you shared with me that the pandemic and quarantining the shutdown, had a very pivotal almost like a catalyst. It was a pivotal time in your life. But before we get there, it’s important for our listeners to understand why which starts with your upbringing. Can you get us go in with a little bit about your childhood?
Tovah Lalla 03:04
Well, I am what we classify as a geriatric millennial, I am at the beginning stages of millennial just when it crosses over from Generation X. So that means I was raised by baby boomers. And Baby Boomers have a very different approach to parenting, then, the approach we take now, and my parents took a very authoritarian approach, not really, I’m sorry, authoritative approach because you want to be a thorough No, I’ve totally got that wrong. Authoritarian is the aggressive and authoritative is where you monitor and you respond rather than react. My parents were definitely reactors, particularly my mother, she preferred aggressive forms of punishment. Rather than strictly grounding, there was a lot of spanking. There was a lot of like backhand things that are common people from ethnic families or from black families as my identity my family identifies as these are common parenting approaches still, even to this day, it’s still a relatively common approach that you don’t talk back to your parents or you get smacked. You If you misbehave, you get spanked those sorts of things, pretty standard stuff.
Kristin Taylor 04:29
Tovah Lalla 04:30
So okay, of course, the trouble with that is, now we know we don’t hit our children because it has really negative effects. Some of the negative effects that go with that are things like low self esteem, which I definitely dealt with low self worth, which I definitely dealt with. Feeling like your love needs to be earned or someone else’s love needs to be earned. You have to perform in order to earn love. And it also created codependent see patterns for me where I felt the need to please other people all the time, just to get my needs met just to feel loved feel to feel appreciated. I went out of my way to make other people happy. Because if they made me if I made them happy, then they would love me.
Kristin Taylor 05:18
Yes, yes. It’s so interesting, even as you’re talking, this is clearly someone who has done her work. Clearly someone who’s gone to therapy, clearly someone who has read and investigated, because these are important insights. And I’m sure very much a result of of your healing journey.
Tovah Lalla 05:35
Definitely, there was a lot of things that gets passed down. There’s a saying that says children learn what they live. And in my household, emotional regulation was not something that we lived. My mother did not have emotional regulation, which is typical. I mean, truly, it’s typical of baby boomers, that wasn’t something that they were taught. So they wouldn’t know how to perform that and then extend that down to their children as a teaching. So my mother did not have emotional regulation of any kind. Rage from a lot of people rage is the easiest and emotion to access, rage and anger. And for my mother, that was definitely true. rage and anger was easy for her to access and not easy for her to release. So she would then take that out on her children. I don’t think she intended to but it doesn’t change it. That’s what happened. She took out her anger on her kids, she spanked she yelled a lot, a lot of negative comments, a lot of put downs, a lot of a lot of yelling, a lot, a lot of yelling.
Kristin Taylor 06:49
And what that does to a child, and I’m hearing and I know as you tell your story, it’s going to reveal what that did to you and your sense of yourself and how you manage relationships. So can you share a little bit about as you started to grow older in that environment, how you adapted and coped?
Tovah Lalla 07:06
As I said, people pleasing was one of the ways that I dealt with feeling that I was not loved. So I went out of my way to earn people’s love, just so that I could have that love. And I wasn’t allowed to be myself. If I disagreed with my mother I was instantly met with this is how we do this is what we do. This is what we believe. So when I was in high school, I ended up taking a world religions class that my public school offered. And it started with Christianity, which is the faith that I was raised in a lot of Honor thy mother and father, you, your parents, oh, you owe everything to your parents, you never talk back, all that sort of stuff. When I started studying other religions, what I found was, there were things that called to me in a way that Christianity didn’t, I had a lot of issues with the way that Christianity was taught and the opinions and that women were lesser than men. So I ended up discovering in the class, we had to do projects and present religions. So I ended up covering wicker, and Buddhism as both of my assignments. And that opened up a whole new world to me, that you could connect with divinity without going to a building without saying these specific prayers without doing these specific things. You could just connect with divinity wherever you were. And then Buddhism says, You are divinity. Yeah, there is no divinity. Beyond that you are the oneness you are the energy that is in all things. And so that changed everything. But that was not well received within my home of parents who are very strictly Christian. So that was mostly put a kibosh. They wanted nothing to do with that. They told me I wasn’t allowed to do it. I was punished for practicing Buddhism and meditation specifically. So it took a very long time for me to find my way back around to my more spiritual side.
Kristin Taylor 09:20
Yeah, but it was here, what an incredibly defining moment that was for you that that was a real wake up.
Tovah Lalla 09:25
It was big. It was big. It was the moment I realized, I have some control over myself and that other people don’t have control over me. But of course, I was young, and I ended up looking for a way out and I met my first husband when I was 19. And we got engaged while we did a short while and my mother found out that I was no longer pure. Her words. I was no longer virgin and she threw me out At the age of 19, she gave me four hours to get my stuff and get out of her house.
Kristin Taylor 10:04
Oh my god, Tovah.
Tovah Lalla 10:06
It was a really, really hard day. I ended up moving in with who was my boyfriend at the time. And a few months later, he was enamored, and he proposed, and due to my people pleasing codependency tendencies, I thought, oh, my gosh, somebody loves me. Yes, I’ll marry you.
Kristin Taylor 10:27
What I hear in that is you loved him loving you. But I didn’t hear any inquiry into like, do I love him? Do I want to be married? Is he the person I want to spend the rest of my life but it was so focused on, oh, my god, someone wants to marry me.
Tovah Lalla 10:40
Exactly. I did love him. But it was first love. And it was immature, childish love, or I didn’t really know what I wanted in a partner, I just wanted to be chosen. I just wanted somebody to choose me,
Kristin Taylor 10:57
I love that line, I think that line will make it will just have such resonance for so many people, I just wanted to be chosen.
Tovah Lalla 11:05
And it was good enough, it was good enough. At the time, it was good enough for me to have to know that someone loved me enough to want to spend their life with me that someone wanted that we planned this big, elaborate wedding. But I knew inside he wasn’t the right person for me. I called my sister at one time after we got engaged and said, I think I’m making a mistake. And she heard me and she listened. But then in the waking hours during daylight, it was well, I was just overreacting, it was fine. We’ll just go ahead this this is this is the life that I want. So this is the life I’m going to live. Of course, it was not the life that I wanted. He had his own things that he was bringing into the relationship as is all cases, every partner in a relationship brings in their own issues. He brought in his issues I brought in mine, but I didn’t know how to do anything with my issues. So I continued to act out the patterns that I recognized in childhood that I was familiar with. I tried to be the wife, and I put air quotes with wife, I tried to be the wife that I thought that I should be based on what my parents had told me based on what society was telling me. But it didn’t fit. And I felt wrong. I felt it just did not feel right for me in that situation. But I thought I was in a happy spot. And I continued on for about another five years.
Kristin Taylor 12:36
Well, let’s slow this down. So you say you act it out. And I hear you saying that, you know, it’s doing what I thought was expected of me the roll that was laid out for me. So that’s the role I stepped into. When you say you acted out? What did that look like?
Tovah Lalla 12:50
Acting out looks like a lot like raging a lot like the way my mother raged. So when something happened where we had a disagreement, I would scream and yell and I I could hear myself doing it at times. I remember like, in my head I was like I was watching myself do it. But I could not stop it.
Kristin Taylor 13:13
Could not stop it. Yeah, I mean, really, how could you? It was never taught there was total dysregulation all around you. You were emotionally provoked, feeling whatever you were feeling. And that’s what you knew.
Tovah Lalla 13:25
Yeah, it was. It was just raging, I would scream, I would yell I would, you know, just full out, lose absolute control. And a lot of it was I wasn’t feeling heard. So I would just get louder, so that I could be hurt, because that’s pretty much what my mother did was just get louder.
Kristin Taylor 13:46
Yeah. And that not being heard, when you’ve been raised in a house where there was no room for you. When you start to have interest in other things, whether it’s with our Buddhism or anything, and it’s one way and that’s it. I can imagine not being heard is a very deep wound.
Tovah Lalla 14:03
Kristin Taylor 14:04
Yeah. So fast forward, I’m hearing that relationship is becoming problematic. Bring us a little bit further into the future.
Tovah Lalla 14:11
So we struggle for five years, and I tried to stick it out because I’m I want to be loyal. I don’t want to I don’t want to be seen as giving up. And I also carried a stigma about getting divorced. Because there’s so much connotation about getting divorced that I thought well you know what, I’ll just this is it. This is the light that I was given an order stick it out. Now we move forward to where the rest of my life no longer feels fulfilling. And I get this inspirational moment that I’m to go to school and become a massage therapist. And I mentioned it to my then husband who was not at all interested. He had a lot of misconceptions about what a massage therapist does, based on the more sexual kind On denotations that go along with some body workers. And so he had this impression that becoming a massage therapist, therapist meant that I was going to engage in more sexual activity, which makes no sense whatsoever. And, you know, but that was his own thing. And he did not want me to go to school, and I was determined that I was going to go, I knew that this was going to change my life, but he did not want me to. So fortunately, I was able to get student loans through the government, and I went to school. And he continued to push that I should not, he did not leave me room to go to school, he expected me to fulfill the role of the housewife, because that’s the role his mother engaged in and kept their house spotless. And he wanted me to do that. And I kept trying to explain I can’t, I’m this education is so intense, and so expensive to have to pay back, I need to know that I’m doing well. And on top of that, I also have some lovely issues with perfectionism. Of course, being raised in my childhood, the only time I was ever noticed was when I brought home ace. So I have a bit of a tendency to push for perfection to get that validation by saying, Oh, look, you got A’s good for you. So I strive to be the best whenever I can an absolute perfection, which is not maintainable. No, but I pushed for it anyway. And I was in school, I did that too. And he didn’t understand, we went to a couple of counseling sessions. And the first thing the counselor said to me was, your husband’s trying to explain to you that he needs you to do more. And now I can recognize that I could have been doing more, but at the time, I was so reactive, and so defensive. And I got so angry and said, but I am so overwhelmed with school, and he won’t, he can’t pick up something and do for himself. He can’t make his own meal, I have to do all of these things, as I’m sitting here studying. And it’s, it didn’t go past that session, we didn’t go back, I refuse to go back. And I knew that we were just not, we were not the right fit for each other.
Kristin Taylor 17:29
Yeah. Yeah. What I hear in that I don’t know if you see it this way, too. But I hear these moments in your life, like when you learned about, you know, Wicca, and Buddhism. And then you have this moment with, I know that massage therapy school is the direction for me, and you want to be seen, and you’re saying, This is what moves me and feels authentic. And when the people in your life are denying, and actually actively working against that to suppress it, that that’s where a lot of the anger came from, as you were starting to connect with yourself, like a really healthy sense of protest, it might not have been communicated from a conscious place. But the energy of it feels so important.
Tovah Lalla 18:14
As you say it like that. I don’t think I ever thought of it in exactly that way. But as you say, yes, that resonates entirely.
Kristin Taylor 18:20
Yeah, it seems so important for you really fighting the battle for you to be able to express because I, I know you a little bit. And expression is so important to you. Being connected terima yields is so important to you. And here you were finding expression to your ideals, to have other people say no, this is what I need you to be when that doesn’t fit. So move us forward, because I want to make sure that we’re getting a good amount of time for you to share what you’ve learned. And I know like I said before, that the pandemic was such a catalyst for this deep dive into your own healing.
Tovah Lalla 18:59
So as I’m in school, I knowing that my marriage is falling apart. I ended up meeting my current husband, who is a friend of a classmate, who invited me to a fundraiser and I met my current husband. And when I met him it was it was as if my soul knew his soul, even though we hadn’t met before. It was intense. And it was the push that I needed to end my first marriage. Because I, I would have stayed. Even though I was unhappy, I would have stayed. But when I met my second husband, my current forever husband, everything changed. And I knew that that was the decision that I needed to make for my life. I needed to leave my first marriage to find happiness with this person who just calls to my soul. So I ended my first marriage, and I ended up with my second husband, and we date for seven years. We have different difficulties, we move in together, and there’s a resurgence of my rage. And it all comes back in our disagreements and we have some epic rager fights, he does not back down, I don’t back down. We’re very stubborn. We have some epic razors, but we keep on going, we get married, I have a baby. Postpartum depression sets in, I have to work my way through that difficult progression. And I didn’t feel very supported. Again, not being seen, I wasn’t being seen, I wasn’t being heard. But I continue to accept being treated that way. So now we get to another. From that point, we get to pandemic in 2020. And now all of the things that we had argued about, they sit under the surface because we don’t have very good communication skills. So we don’t really work through anything, we just move past it. But the resentment and anger and hurt continues to build, right so now we hit 2020. In Ontario, everything goes into lockdown. Everything goes into lockdown, there is no my job goes down. I was not considered an essential worker. So my college shuts us down. We all go down. I’m the Schools are shut, my child is home, I’m home, you can’t go anywhere they’ve allowed you can go out for walks in your neighborhood. But even the parks are closed, they’ve put up caution tape. There are no kids playing at the park. Now there’s absolutely nowhere to go. And the coping skills I used to have things like going out dancing, moving my body spending time with friends, all those coping skills disappear.
Kristin Taylor 21:44
That’s intense. That’s intense. So what happened?
Tovah Lalla 21:49
So we fight a lot. Now you’re trapped in a house, there’s nowhere to go. There’s nowhere to get space when you’re upset. So we fight. And we fight and we fight. And because I know my soul recognizes his our fights are harder on me than they are with anyone else. And there’s, with my codependency patterns, my pattern is to try to come back and solve everything that I deny my own story and my own experience, so that I can smooth things over because I don’t want to fight. So I, I regularly do this. And now in this time, I can’t get away from this. So now I’m spiraling. And he’s still working. He’s considered an essential worker in his field, and he’s still working. His life has changed a little bit. My life has changed dramatically. I am now everything that I know is gone. And I am nothing but feelings. Every feeling is incredibly intense. The anger is incredibly intense despair is incredibly intense. And there’s not a lot of anything else because now we’ve got a lot of fear as well. We’ve got we don’t know how this is transpiring. We don’t know if people are going to die. I have a lot of vulnerable family members and a lot of fear of what if they catch COVID? What if they die? So now I’m constantly afraid, and we’ve got it running on the TV, hearing what’s going on. And it’s just the constant fear as you’re hearing what’s happening in Europe and people are dying in Italy shutting down and all the things that are happening. It’s just this fear of okay, it’s in Canada and people are getting sick and people are dying. It’s getting into the nursing homes. I have a parent in a nursing home. What if my dad catches it and dies and it’s just fear, fear, fear, anger, sadness, fear, anger, sadness, and that’s pretty much all I experienced. It was very, very intense.
Kristin Taylor 23:54
Oh, yeah. And you’re in idling note the size of your house, but I can just imagine you’re locked in you have nowhere to go. And you guys are fighting and then the codependency and then you’re dealing with so much emotional dysregulation. What did you do?
Tovah Lalla 24:10
Well, part of what I learned was in parenting for my son, I, I consider myself a generational curse breaker. I am parenting my child vastly differently than the way that my parents parented me. I’m parenting my child in a way that lets him be heard and lets him have autonomy as being his genuine self. Something I was not given. So now as I’m approaching these parenting techniques, I’m starting to integrate them into myself, because obviously, I can’t teach it to my child if I’m just saying the words but I’m not doing it. So in teaching him, I’m teaching him about zones of regulation. I’m teaching him about how to bring yourself back into a calm state. I’m teaching him about how to say Speak your feelings and say how you feel while trying to integrate this into myself, which is not an easy task.
Kristin Taylor 25:08
Well, I want to slow you down because that like, how did you did you find that online? Were you in therapy, because all of these things are pretty advanced techniques in terms of self regulation, and then really great parenting. And it required a love what you’re saying about the integrity, if I’m going to teach this to my kid, I better well start to synthesize and integrate it and practice it myself. How did you even find those things? What was the wake up call? Because I could easily see, you’re so dysregulated you’re so stressed out the anxiety, the depression, the claustrophobia, the being just locked in. You could have gotten worse, but you moved towards resources. Can you unpack that part?
Tovah Lalla 25:48
Well, I did get worse. before it got better. It got a lot worse. I did go through some lovely panic attacks, I had already been diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder. I’ve been given a medication to treat that. And my panic attacks started getting horrible. And like just it got a lot worse. Yeah, one of the things that I learned through parenting, like some of the things that I learned are through books, like how to talk so your little kids will listen. Sesame Street to honestly because there was a lot of at home time. So Sesame Street and the things that are taught in Sesame Street about taking breaths and whole body listening. There’s an entire skit by Cookie Monster. There’s one of my favorites.
Kristin Taylor 26:28
Good. Oh, God, that gives me hope.
Tovah Lalla 26:31
There’s some good stuff. Sesame Street has excellent stuff. So I start using this with my son. And I start seeing him when he spirals. So I think okay, well, if this works for him, how does it work for me? So a lot of the things I talk about with helping children work through their big feelings is to take breaths. There’s lots and lots of stuff about deep breathing, and taking breaths. And just being aware of how your body is feeling. When you are having these emotions. Yes. Now this is it was very weird when I first read this stuff, because I’m like, what is I don’t know anything about feeling your feelings. I don’t know anything about checking in with how your body feels? While I’m teaching this to my child. So I start doing it myself and checking in. Okay, how does my body feel? When I’m feeling these feelings? What does it feel like in my body. And it’s not easy. It’s it comes and goes. And I can remember to do it once in a while, but I’m not doing it consistently. I’m telling my son to do it. But I feel like I’m lecturing him because I am not doing it. I’m really worked up and I’m not doing it. So I start taking moments to say okay, before I deal with my kid, I’m going to stop outside his door, I’m going to take a deep breath. And then I’m going to go in and handle him and deal with him. And it’s something that I started applying through the rest of the thing. I also found the app headspace, which I started using, when my father got sick before I ended up in a nursing home. And I needed a way to cope with the fear that my father was going to die. So I started headspace and I started getting the subscription. And one of the things they do and headspace is always starts with taking a few deep breaths, he times it for a thing. I do five, because that’s what I recommend for my son is five deep breaths. So I takes five slow, deep breaths. And then he has you do a body scan and start from the top of your head and scan all the way down through your body. You’re not judging, you’re not checking, you’re not doing anything about it. You’re just noticing, checking to see what your body is giving you. You’re not adjusting your posture, you’re not changing your breathing, you’re just paying attention and noticing that it happens. So I started applying that outside of my meditations, applying How does my body feel? How does my breath feel? How it is? Am I does my chest feel tight when I’m breathing? Or does it feel open? And it kind of builds off of some of the stuff in massage therapy because we regularly did with our clients. Jacobson’s progressive relaxation, which works from tightening your muscle and then letting it go. So your muscle recognizes the difference between a contracted tight muscle and a relaxed released muscle. So we would how actively have our clients do progressive muscle relaxation, just as a way to relax before we begin touching the muscles so that they’re not in this frazzled, worked up anxious state before we start trying to work through the tissues. So I do that myself. I apply that to my child and tell him just we’re going to squeeze our toes. We’re going to squeeze our feet we’re going to squeeze our calves and we work our way up. I use this stuff in my own day to day stuff, not consistently right away but now that I’m in lockdown I’ve got all this time so I start regularly adding meditation to my morning ritual after coffee because I know I’m Gonna be stuck all day with my young child, and there is nowhere to go and there’s no escape. So I need to be in a state where I’m not going to scream at him all day long.
Kristin Taylor 30:13
Well, there’s generational curse breaking that you call yourself a generational curse breaker, I’m going to ask you something, you and I have never talked about this, but it’s just coming up to me. So I’m going to just go there, using your language, talking about this, like soul’s wisdom, even how you connected with your husband. And the fact that you were so lit up in high school around learning about different, you know, spiritual practices. And then knowing it was like a knowing about about Muscat massage school. And then this gift that your child provides that through him and being a parent, you are this generational? Or spryker? What does it have to do with your soul, your wisdom, your spiritual relationship? How is that if it is because I don’t want to make a line and a theme where there isn’t one? But is there a connection with your soul and how these things all intersected for you?
Tovah Lalla 31:12
Oh, definitely, definitely. I truly believe that I have been guided by my ancestors by those who came before to heal the wounds that are being passed down generationally, things that my grandmother did to my mother things my mother did to me on multiple lines, because I’m adopted. So I have my biological family, and the things that run down through the bloodline. But then I have my adoptive family who raised me with these big emotions. I know my grandfather was big into emotions, there’s a lot of shame, there’s a lot of anger, I remember him being incredibly strict. And I know he treated his children that way, which is why my mother does what she does. And I know that in my biological line, there is a lot of not being heard or seen. There’s a lot of invalidation. I see it with my half sister. And I see it in just the way that my biological mom shared stuff with me. There’s a lot of selfishness. And I can see it that she was very selfish with her daughter, and was unable to be the parent, the loving parent. And I also know that it’s consistent within my birth mother’s siblings, that they were treated that way as well, that they were not given autonomy. They were not given a voice. They were not given anything to deal with emotions, they basically were just there. The old adage of kids are seen and not heard.
Kristin Taylor 32:40
Right, right. That’s so powerful. And that’s so powerful to me that you’re drawn to this body work. And emotional regulation, what I’m hearing so much with the meditation and the body scan, and the massage is the relationship to the breath, the relationship to the muscles, the relationship to it’s not just what my emotions are telling me the story, I’m telling myself as a result of the emotions about where do I feel it in the body? Do you know much about epigenetics? Is that a part of what’s informing this?
Tovah Lalla 33:08
I don’t. But that’s really interesting. I’ve heard the term before but I don’t know much about it.
Kristin Taylor 33:13
Oh, my God told you so need to do research, or you and I need to talk offline. Or we can talk even here a little bit. Basically, it’s the idea. And you can even look it up with the World Health Organization. It’s not just a woowoo term. But as an example, you can think of it as just as a way of explaining it. Those who are descendants, for example, of the Holocaust, clearly did not directly experience the trauma of their ancestors of their grandparents and great grandparents. However, there is now like a genetic coding that was passed down genetically, because of the trauma like the trauma left an imprint. And to the listeners who know this. Well, I’m probably not explaining it well, but I hope everyone gets the picture, and looks it up. And so they’ve got this genetic imprinting now because of the trauma that is passed down through birth. And then should that descendant of the Holocaust or any number of traumas, ancestrally intergenerationally be triggered by an event, car accident, abusive relationship, whatever the trauma is, and trauma can be defined very liberally, that sort of genetic code gets triggered like a switch is flipped. And now they are holding the traumatic almost like, I don’t know how to say it sort of that traumatic residue of their ancestors, and they start to embark upon their own difficulty with trauma, anxiety, and now that that encompasses and that reminds me of what you’re saying.
Tovah Lalla 34:52
Fascinating. That’s amazing that science blends into the spiritual that way and the psychological is obviously that it’s that’s amazing.
Kristin Taylor 35:02
Yes. And that’s really the story you just explained was the story of epigenetics in many ways, not directly, but very related.
Tovah Lalla 35:09
That’s Yes, definitely.
Kristin Taylor 35:11
That may be your next podcast lady.
Tovah Lalla 35:13
I think that. Yeah. I think I have a new research topic.
Kristin Taylor 35:18
You do you do. I feel like it really does connect with so much of what you’re saying. So this is really lighting you up. This is what I’m hearing that you’re making all these connections, you’re not just reading about it, you’re practicing it as a mother, you’re practicing it primarily for you to say I need to have the integrity as a mother to learn to emotionally regulate. Tell me more about this. You call it awakening? What continues to happen and what starts to shift in your life?
Tovah Lalla 35:43
Well, when I found Wicca, I had discovered that I am what I believe they call Claire audience, I hear messages in songs, I hear a word whispered somewhere I hear it just use random audio things. And it’ll just be like a word or phrase, or I might hear someone call my name when no one’s around. I know that nobody’s around, but I’ll hear someone call my name. And there’s many, many instances throughout my life of this. But after 2020 happens, I was already sort of getting little messages I kept hearing. At one time, I kept hearing the word surrender, popping up randomly in like a commercial somewhere. But I would tune out the whole commercial except that one word would pop out to me surrender, it did lead me to reading a book called The surrendered wife, which was not the quite angle I needed. But it did teach me a couple ideas in there about duct taping your mouth shut when you have a snarky remark that you want to say, keep it to yourself, because you’re not actually going to improve your relationship by letting it fly. You might feel better in the moment, but you’re actually doing more damage to your relationship by letting those random snarky remarks fly. So duct tape, it wasn’t a useful book all in all, but that was an excellent tidbit to take away because at the time I was letting them fly. I was not keeping it to myself, I was letting the snarky sarcastic remarks just go and damaging my relationships with it. Particularly my relationship with my husband by just letting these negative remarks in my head come out. So I also during pandemic was getting the word therapy. It was popping up all over the place. I was a was showing up in commercials it was showing up in TV shows it was showing up. I’d watch a random sitcom, and that particular episode of the sitcom one of the characters would be going to therapy and I’m like fine universe. Okay, I hear you. You want me to go to therapy? Well, I can’t afford therapy therapy’s expensive. Yeah. So the universe says, Don’t worry, don’t worry. If we want you to do it, we’ll find a way for you. And I’m like, okay, whatever I saw, I throw it on your Facebook, does anyone know a good therapist, that’s reasonable, because my benefits are absolutely terrible. And I just can’t afford to go to therapy. And as the universe provides, I got a random friend that I haven’t talked to in here sent me a message and said, I have a therapist for you. And she’s covered under your Ontario health plan. So you won’t have to pay anything. So I set up with this therapist, and she’s able to set now as this is going on at home, I’m still raging, I’m still fighting with my husband, I’m crossing his boundaries. I’m not upholding my boundaries. I’m letting other people I’m letting him yell at me and treat me horribly and taking that guilt on to myself while I’m disrespecting his boundaries and like getting in his face and grabbing him and things like that. All in it for me, it was desperation to be heard. Yeah, but he was coming with his own stuff and seeing my actions vastly differently than how I meant them, of course. So now I talked to my therapist, I meet her it’s thankfully the one of the blessings about pandemic is that it changed things for virtual. It changed. A lot of doctors and therapists went on line and went into virtual sessions because you could not meet in person to do sessions. So they went to virtual, which allowed me to set up with my therapist who is not in my city. She is like a four hour drive away from my city. But because of virtual I was able to get in for virtual sessions with her. One of the first things she says to me is so what I hear is that you have abandonment issues your mother abandoned you your birth mother abandoned do, you’ve got all these your friends abandoned you at various points, you have these abandonment issues, and I was like, Oh, well, I didn’t even know that was there. But now that you say it, yes, actually I do. I have issues with people leaving me and wanting to keep them around and do whatever I can to keep them around. So she starts so Walk me through a little bit. But then she says in another session, she says, so I have this new therapy I want to try called ifs intra family systems. Would you be interested in working with me in this? And I was like, Yeah, okay. I’m willing to try stuff to work through this. Yeah. Okay. And she does what we call in the spiritual world as Shadow Work. She begins by having me ask if there’s a part of myself that wants to come forward. And the very first part that came forward that had the biggest issue was seven year old me. And seven year old me came in, and I at the time, before we started this, I was having flashbacks, I was considered, actually I was borderline personality disorder was how I was treating my husband. And I hadn’t worked through that. I had Complex PTSD, and was having vivid flashbacks, I was having memories from my childhood of various abuses times where my mother let her rage get too far. And I was having visceral flashbacks, bringing the fear and the terror that came along with it when I was seven. So she has me go in and talk to seven year old me and ask her, what is it that you’re worried about? And now in the first session, she said, Okay, so because of this fear, what we’re going to do is we’re going to look at that, that memory that’s coming up, and we’re going to change it. And we’re going to, I want you to play both the part of the part that was hurt, and the part of your mother, and I want you to parent you the way that you parent your child now, give her that voice give her that opportunity to speak. So I did. And by changing that it dissolved the fear and the terror that came with that memory, and it just became a memory. And it was no longer a terrifying moment. Just a memory.
Kristin Taylor 42:03
Yes. Yes. Tovah, you are giving such an incredible window into the power of therapeutic work. I love how open you are being and sharing your story. Because yeah, it’s like you’re turning down that dimmer switch, and the terror that was living within you. And you’re helping people to know, okay, that’s what happens. That’s what’s asked. That’s what it might be like, that’s why it matters. Thank you.
Tovah Lalla 42:31
Thank you that it just is what my life was, I don’t even see it as anything that other than sharing with people this is, this is why we change. Yeah, this is why we make better parenting choices. This is why it’s so important to learn, and understand the psychology of what a child needs. So that you can provide that because you weren’t given that more often than not, especially when we’re talking anyone who is essentially not a child right now, most of us were raised in these environments where we weren’t really validated. We weren’t heard, we were just kids who were there and the parent knows best and the kid, we want our kids to be obedient. But then we, when they get out into the world, we want them to think for themselves. But if we don’t give them the opportunity to think for themselves when they’re young, how are they going to become adults who think for themselves?
Kristin Taylor 43:21
Exactly. generational curse breaker. I mean, we use the word so casually, like, Oh, she’s got baggage. He’s got baggage. But when you say baggage, going back to epigenetics, it was you who stepped into that virtual office to do the work to heal the ancestral baggage, some of which was yours, but not all of it. It’s really, really profound.
Tovah Lalla 43:45
In that tone. It’s so funny, because from a spiritual thing with the epigenetics. When we get into the ancestors, I actually had an ancestor contact me and mirror work and tell me that I was doing what was right for the family line.
Kristin Taylor 44:00
Yes, yes. We’ve got about 10 minutes left in this amazing episode. Do you want to go there? Because I’d love to hear it. I’m sure other people you just pique their interest or with the 10 minutes we have, what do you really want the audience to walk away going, Okay. This is what I needed to hear or this is what she provided, it feels important for you to communicate and share.
Tovah Lalla 44:24
I think the thing that I want people most to know the spiritual stuff is is awesome. And there’s a whole nother realm to that. And it’s it’s amazingly spectacular when you get into it and you start delving into these things about your ancestors because you can talk to them. They are around and they do speak to you. But the thing I think I want most people to know is that the key to working through all of this stuff is truly finding love for yourself. Yes, honestly and truly, that has been the biggest thing that changed everything for me when I started learning to give myself love to give myself compassion to give myself forgiveness, when I’ve been able to forgive myself for the times that I did not act in a way that was kind to either myself or to others, when I messed up, when I didn’t do the things that I thought that I should do, and then got down on myself for it again, that perfectionism, when I got down on myself for it, it was saying, You know what, you are human, you’re just a person. People mess up, people make mistakes, you are not immune from that you also make mistakes, just like other people. And that’s part of how we learn, we mess up. We recognize where we messed up, we fix what we met, messed up. And then next time when we encounter that situation, again, we do our best to make a different choice.
Kristin Taylor 45:49
Yeah, yeah. Those are such beautiful words to say. And I think, you know, you know, and those who have listened to this, know that, so much of my work is around self compassion, and Melissa Chereau, she was on the show as a guest. And she said, you know, self compassion is a black belt of mindfulness. It’s so vital, and I agree with you. The most important first step is self compassion. loving oneself forgiving oneself, if there was one or two practices or ways that people could begin to, what would you suggest?
Tovah Lalla 46:24
Ah, the first way, my favorite way and has been very instrumental for me honestly, is mirror work, looking at yourself in the mirror, and not looking to notice the crow’s feet, not looking to notice a blemish not sitting there criticizing yourself, which we so often do. When we look in the mirror, we don’t look in the mirror and see ourselves, we look and see. Oh, I got this extra little roll here. Oh, look at that little blemish there all look, I’m getting so old, these wrinkles are showing up. We spend a lot of time looking at ourselves and criticizing what we see. But if we take a moment to look at ourselves in the mirror, and give ourselves that pep talk that love I have many times I have sat in front of the mirror and just cried my eyes out. And it started with saying to my reflection, I love you, Tovah. I love you, you are wonderful. You are amazing. You are smart. You are compassionate, you are giving, you are loving, you do these amazing things for people not because you want something from it, because you truly want to do something nice for somebody. You have many, many, many excellent qualities. And like just and not just like glossing over it like give the full whammo like looking at myself and giving the full detail of this is what I love about you. This is what makes you awesome. This is what makes you special. This is why people love you. And this is why you love other people. And just telling myself those things. Yeah. Or if you can’t do mirror work, write it down, write a letter to yourself, write that letter and say, I love you. Because yes, and it’s I will say it is easier said than done. I did try this, probably about six years ago, I tried to make a list of 50 qualities about myself that I liked, and I couldn’t get past five, I couldn’t think of five things about myself that I liked, I couldn’t think of more than five that I liked. Now I can rattle off tons of them, but I couldn’t at the time.
Kristin Taylor 48:18
But even five is a starting place. And it’s meeting, where they’re at. So I can hear this in your voice. It’s like it’s a quickening of the pace and the energy. And it’s like this is really where you’re connected to your message. And this is what was so miraculous in terms of your own healing and transformation. What about when we go we start to go into the spiral of you know, judging ourselves beating ourselves up, maybe we were rude or we lost our temper. How through the lens of self compassion, self love. How can we show up for ourselves in those moments? What does that sound like? Look like for you?
Tovah Lalla 48:54
Giving yourself grace? Giving yourself grace. Truly, if you think about, it’s being a friend to yourself. So think about if your friend made those same mistakes. How would you talk to that friend? Would you tell that friend? Oh my gosh, I can’t believe you messed up so bad. What’s the matter with you? You should totally have known better. I can’t believe that you did that. Or would you say to your friend, listen, that wasn’t ideal. Yeah, you made a bad choice. But you know what? It’s okay. It’s all right. Nobody hates you. You’re all right. Everybody will be okay. All you can do now is recognize that you messed up. Make a note of it, of the choice that you made. And that wasn’t the best choice. So maybe don’t make that choice next time. But it’s okay. You are a human being. And as my friend likes to say you are a soul having a human experience. You are here being a person on this planet. And we all do the same silly mistakes we all say dumb things. We all say hurtful things. We all do something Stupid from time to time, of course. And that’s okay.
Kristin Taylor 50:03
It is okay. It is okay. Yeah, yeah, I love I love this so much. And you know, I’m gonna keep saying it. generational curse breaker. Right? I’m hearing you be be someone who is sending a message but you are a friend in yourself and re parenting yourself and that it has beautiful spiritual underpinnings. Tovah thank you for all that you’ve shared, you’ve been amazing. Thank you.
Tovah Lalla 50:29
Thank you. I will say just to the listeners a very good resource, an excellent resource that I found very, very beneficial with lots of different things. There’s a site called dailyown.com. And they have wonderful courses, I took their how to deal with emotionally distant partners, which spoiler alert is always working through yourself, not worrying about other people. I took their healing the mother wound course I took the RE parenting yourself course I took there, whether you are self sabotage, or how to break your patterns of self sabotage, which is something I was doing a lot. I took that course there are incredible, amazing courses available through there for very low costs. It’s a low amount that you have to pay for them, but they’re really really worth it. Their 21 days of prayer to change your life truly changed my life.
Kristin Taylor 51:23
Thank you for sharing that. People. I think you’re gonna have people’s attention. They may want to learn more about you. How can they reach you? How can they get more access to what you’re putting out into the world?
Tovah Lalla 51:33
Well, my podcast channel is called Get In! We’re Going Healing! and it’s me in a VW Bus going “Get it and we’re going healing!” because I want everyone to get in and go healing. So you can find it on all major podcast platforms, as well as YouTube. And then I’m also on Instagram and Facebook as well at @gettinwe’regoinghealing.
Kristin Taylor 51:54
Fantastic. Perfect. Again. Thank you. You’re You’re awesome.
Tovah Lalla 51:58
Thank you so much. I’m so glad you had me be a guest on your show. I love it.
Kristin Taylor 52:01
I love it too, bye Tovah.
Tovah Lalla 52:03
Kristin Taylor 52:06
Breaking generational curses by healing generational wounds. We all carry generational wounds, patterns as Tovah says, and what we believe the attitudes we hold and the patterns of reactivity that further imprison us and cycles of trauma and abuse. What Tovah did and is actively doing, that so impresses me is that in the midst of things escalating, she reached out for help. And on top of that, She immersed herself in her own learning and healing as a wife, mother, and most importantly, and to again use her words, as a human being. I see and feel her passion and her mission to share what she has learned and how she is committed to deepening her learning. She demonstrates it in her openness, vulnerability, and courage to share the messy places, the shadow, the places we can all too easily relate to, but prefer not to share. The places like the anger, the vindictiveness, the places of marital strife that she takes ownership of participating in. We need more of this. Not just the story, but the way through and out. I encourage you to listen to her podcast, it is so good. Again, it’s called get in or going healing. Thank you, Tovah. Our theme song and sound engineering was provided by Shane Suffriti You can listen to more of Shane’s music at www.shanesuffriti..com If you have a story about making it through something that forever changed you or want to tell us what you think about our podcast, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you enjoyed today’s episode, we humbly ask that you share it with others. Thank you for listening. We’ll see you next time on How I Made It Through.
EIQ Media, LLC 54:07
How I Made It Through. is produced and distributed by EIQ media LLC. Elevate your emotional IQ with podcasts and content focused on overcoming adversity, leadership, mental health, entrepreneurship, spiritually transformative experiences and more.