“So if I am at middle age, and have not yet learned the dialect of my native land, being this body, then it’s a good time to start – better late than never!”
This episode is all about how to reclaim your journey as a woman.
My guest, Kelly Brogan, M.D., is a holistic psychiatrist, author of the NY Times Bestselling book, A Mind of Your Own, Own Your Self, the children’s book, A Time For Rain, and co-editor of the landmark textbook, Integrative Therapies for Depression. She is the founder of the online healing program Vital Mind Reset, and the membership community, Vital Life Project. She completed her psychiatric training and fellowship at NYU Medical Center after graduating from Cornell University Medical College, and has a B.S. from M.I.T. in Systems Neuroscience. She is specialized in a root-cause resolution approach to psychiatric syndromes and symptoms.
In this podcast, Reclaim Your Journey as a Woman, we cover:
Embracing the In-Between: Navigating Midlife
Tapping Into Your Inner Masculine
Reclaiming Your Power: Using Adversity to Embrace your Authentic Self
Menopause and Empowerment: Why We Need to Change the Conversation
Embracing the In-Between: Navigating Midlife
Kelly shared her own experience of reclaiming her power of choice through lifestyle changes that helped her resolve her chronic autoimmune illness. Emphasizing the importance of self-care, routine, and relationships, can provide a strong foundation for exploring the bigger questions. Embracing the confusion and uncertainty of change can lead to expansion and a new story, this means taking more time for ourselves and exploring the unknown. Midlife can be a time of immense growth and transformation, but it can also be a time of fear and uncertainty. It’s essential to embrace the in-between and be open to exploring new possibilities. It’s never too late to embark on a new journey and there is always room for growth and transformation.
Tapping Into Your Inner Masculine
Kelly mentioned she believes the key to health reclamation and becoming the best version of ourselves is maturing our inner masculine. While this may seem counterintuitive for women, Kelly suggests that strengthening our masculine container within ourselves can help us feel safer and more secure. The process of tapping into your inner masculine is like an initiation, where you exercise choice, commitment, follow-through, and discipline, all of which are inspired by self-love. As you continue to mature your inner masculine, you deepen your sense of security and well-being. This is a spiral path, meaning the more you invest in this process, the more benefits you reap. This also means you learn to balance the feminine and masculine energies within you. While feminine energy is associated with intuition and creativity, masculine energy provides the structure and discipline needed to manifest those intuitive ideas. By finding the right balance between these energies, you can access your full potential and become the best version of yourself.
Reclaiming Your Power: Using Adversity to Embrace your Authentic Self
In this episode, Kelly and I discuss how to use adversity as a tool to embrace one’s authentic self and reclaim your personal power. Oftentimes, it can be challenging to deal with criticism, and oftentimes hinders personal growth. Kelly suggests that when receiving criticism, it can be helpful to acknowledge the parts of oneself that agree with it and try to understand the story of that part. By doing so, one can develop intimacy and self-reclamation. Focusing on a strong foundation of self-love and self-acceptance can help us navigate these difficult situations. Embracing adversity can provide an opportunity to learn more about oneself, reclaim power, and become one’s authentic self. By focusing on personal growth and self-awareness, one can turn challenges into opportunities for growth and transformation.
Menopause and Empowerment: Why We Need to Change the Conversation
Menopause is a natural and inevitable phase that every woman will go through, but it’s often stigmatized and seen as a negative experience. Kelly suggests that women should view this period as a liminal space, a time of metamorphosis where we can embrace new possibilities. One of the things we can do during this time is listen to our inner desires and impulses and honor them, even if they seem strange or embarrassing. It’s time to crack open the conversation and create a new culture where menopause is seen as a powerful and transformative period of our lives. We should feel empowered to make our own choices, whether that involves hormone therapy, lifestyle changes, or other interventions. Instead of menopause being something to fear, we need to embrace it – with the right mindset, support, and guidance, we can come out of this experience in our lives feeling empowered and excited about the new possibilities that await us.
It’s awesome. It’s nice to officially meet you. By the way, I’m, I definitely love your work, I love just how you’re showing up in the world. And this is just a joy to have this conversation with you. So thank you for being here.
Kelly Brogan 0:11
Thank you for your support and interest. It’s not a universal phenomenon. So I’ll get it.
Dr. Mindy Pelz 0:17
It’s all good. What I’d love to tackle today with your expertise, is really what happens to us after 40 as as females and it’s not, as you know, not just from a hormonal level, but big life changes, big self discovery. And in that transition is a lot a lot of depression, a lot of anxiety, a lot of leaving marriages, a lot of, you know, suicide, the most common time that I’ve read recently for women to commit suicide is between 45 and 55. Like it is a big, energetic transition time for us. So I’d love to dive into that if you want.
Kelly Brogan 0:58
Yeah, I mean, that is exactly the demographic that I have worked with in private practice. And as I am myself entering into this, and just said demographic, I understand you know, I also wonder if there is something that is shifting, I have, you know, teenage daughter and a tween age daughter, and I wonder if this individuation journey that I’ll reference in a moment is likely to be sort of temporarily mapped out in the same way that it has been for so many of us, but around 39 to 40 is what I have seen. And I know many have seen archetypal Lee, right? Like this is when we begin to gain access to the areas of our relational life where we are still operating from childlike consciousness, right. So it’s for many of us when the process of figuring out how it is that we are not our parents, and how it is that we are begins. And so 40 is really when it all started to go down for me. And I witnessed that in so many of my patients. And this is really one of the great challenges of engaging a paradigm that says your symptoms of anxiety are symptoms of depression, your hot flashes, your insomnia, whatever it is, is a problem to be solved. Yes, rather than an invitation to you know, be accepted or denied, right, like you have full free rein around how to interact with your own body and your own symptoms in your own experience. But the dominant narrative would suggest that this is a time of pathology. And if we are to reclaim our journey as women and to understand the rich nuances that cannot be collapsed into life is great, or life sucks sort of binary, then one of the essential frameworks to shift into is that these symptoms are, you know, I always say are, you know, if I have symptoms, it’s me telling me about me. So if I am at middle age, and have not yet learned the dialect of my native land, you know, being this body, then it’s a good time to start better, better late than never. So let’s get to it. Yeah.
Dr. Mindy Pelz 3:24
Okay, so we’re just gonna go with that thread, because what you said is absolutely brilliant. And I want to I remind me how old you are.
Kelly Brogan 3:36
Well, I learned recently that I’m not supposed to tell you that.
Dr. Mindy Pelz 3:39
Oh, really? Okay. Well, I’m because
Kelly Brogan 3:42
and you know, my friend Christianne Northrop, I’m sure you know, she always has talked about as long as I’ve known her, she’s always, you know, her own her own, like, daughter doesn’t know how old she is. And so there’s this concept of participating in the, like morphic field, if you will, of, sort of linear time and age, right. So so if you if I tell you how old I am, which, by the way, I’ve disclosed, like, disclosed readily elsewhere, so I’ll just tell you, Mom was 45. I, I now you’re looking at me, right? And you’re like, Oh, well, how does she look for a 45 year old? Or maybe she looks a little younger than 45 but instead of this just being this is Kelly 45. Like, this is what happens in Kelly at 45. And what if I am not interested in participating in the I look older, we’re your and you know, and I’m sort of signing on to whatever the collective has attributed to the aging process. I mean, I actually feel more vital and I actually feel more beautiful than I ever have in my life. And I look at pictures of myself even five years ago, and I feel like wow, I was like less attractive then you know, like I was less woman then there’s something in me then that is not I don’t long for that. So does that mean I’m ageing and reverse. What does it mean? Right? There’s not a framework for that. And so So anyway, so that’s a tangent, but I do think there’s some wisdom in reserving that and sort of like playing with the mystery of what does it mean, you know, what does it mean, actually to be a certain number? And what am I signing on to when I disclosed that? I mean, I’ve not, obviously, I failed just now, but I’ve not successfully, you know, held it back. Somebody just asked me last night, and it is something I’m playing with, because I think I think first of all, might be on to something.
Dr. Mindy Pelz 5:32
Well, the couple of things I have to say on that is actually, I can tell you, I’m proudly 53. And I feel like I’m 25. And yet emotionally, what hit me in my 40s just shocked me. And it had to do with my hormonal change, which, you know, we all have it at different times. But it also had to do with the my life change my kids, I have a 23 year old and a 20 year old. And you know, you know, hats off to you with the teenage girls like that’s a whole process. But the reason I bring this up is that I feel like the cultural Hush, like the conversation we’re not having. And it’s multipronged is that when we go into our 40s, there is this energetic shift that is happening to women, and we can look at it from a hormonal aspect, we can look at it from a career aspect, we can look at it from a parenting aspect. But I want to tell you as a 53 year old woman, that my 40s was an extreme sport, and it was hard, hard, hard. It’s so
Kelly Brogan 6:46
true. It’s such a good characterization and extreme sport. Yeah. And
Dr. Mindy Pelz 6:50
that’s what I want to turn around now from my 53 year old perspective and say, How can we help women do this time differently? And that’s where I really look at your expertise and, and what you’re doing because your talk and love how you’re talking from both a physiological and energetic? Let’s go into our shadow like, and what’s beautiful, I can tell you at 53? Is you got the time to do that. But wow, do you is that not fun having the time to go into your shadow? And like dealing with it and time to go into all the things you pushed aside? Because parenting and work came ahead of that. That’s what I want to bring to light regardless of you know, age, there’s a deeper conversation to be had here.
Kelly Brogan 7:38
Yeah. So I am a big believer in sort of the spiral path of this process, right? So we talked about how it can be deceptive to align ourselves with a linear path, right? Like as if we necessarily get more and more wise, or we necessarily get more and more wrinkly, or we necessarily get whatever. So if it’s a spiral path, and we’re revisiting, and we’re being afforded the opportunity to revisit over and over again, similar themes, similar conflicts, similar, you know, challenges, and we have the opportunity to respond differently this time. And so the the sort of, I don’t know, the breakdown of that spiral path, for me at least involves like an order of operations. So you know, I resolved a chronic, potentially chronic autoimmune illness almost 14 years ago now. And I really engage lifestyle, right, like that was my reclamation of choice. I understood, okay, what I eat for breakfast, what time I go to bed, you know, what I do first thing in the morning, these things all matter. I didn’t think they mattered. I was told in medical school, they don’t matter. And in fact, they do. So I reclaim my power of choice through these, you know, I call it chop wood carry water through these basics. And in my process, over these years, I still come back to the basics. Like right now I’m actually exploring, like some dietary change and adjustment, right, so many years later, and I want to come into ever amplified communication with my own body, I want to make sure that is cool that I am caring for this body with intentionality and consciousness. And that affords me this space, this space comes from that foundation, to work on relationships to work on bigger questions. I mean, last night, I was sitting down and saying, like, what do I actually want out of my crisis? Like what am I doing? Actually, you know, like, why am I doing this? How willing know when I’m happy? I mean, I’ve been you know, I’ve had the same essentially business model for the past decade and I’ve asked that question probably hundreds of times and every single time I revisit it, you know, I’m I have the luxury to explore these meta questions when my relationship to my body, my routine, my self care, and my lifestyle is back, you know, back online or no sort of I love that stronger. Right? So then I come around and around and around and around. And the one thing I mean, as you were speaking, I was thinking, wow, if there is one thing I could communicate to women in this moment, because, you know, I share my journey pretty publicly. And I do so because I delight in how almost generic it is, right? Like, how almost universal it is, and how many women can relate to so much of what I have experienced in my 40s Let alone you know, in the past decade of my life, and, you know, if there’s one thing that I could relate, it is that we have this, this opportunity to grow our capacity for the liminal spaces for the in between the confusion and uncertainty that attends growth. And if you don’t hear my voice, you know, telling you that like five years from now, or whatever, and you’re listening, and you’re 38, then you might actually bulldoze over and through one of the greatest opportunities for expansion into a new story for yourself in your lifetime. Right. Like, in this moment, in my life, as we are talking, I am in one of those spaces, where I could narrate what’s going on in my life. And I could be like, wow, you know, where I was, I didn’t know when I, you know, seven years ago, you know, I got a seven figure book deal New York Times bestseller, I was madly in love, I had a huge community around me, it was ecstatic dancing, like, blah, blah, blah. And now my life feels really small, you know, like, I don’t know was was that the peak, and now I’m just like a winding down, you know, like, a net, because I have this framework, I can remind myself with frequency. I’m in the in between. And I, I couldn’t possibly imagine what is coming, because it’s not going to be an extension of what has been. And that’s the nature of it, right? Like, as you are changing your story, you are necessarily moving through this birth canal, right, this metaphor is never not gonna fit. And in that tight darks days, you’re not you can’t crawl back up in the womb, and you’re not yet out in the world. So if you don’t recognize that terrain, and sometimes it can be, you know, I’ve witnessed patients where this this can be, like, so disorienting that it can induce a sense of suicidality, right? Like, I can’t handle that, who am I right? Like, when we don’t have those structures to cling on to, that we have attached our sense of security to any longer and we don’t yet have new ones, then it can be very, it’s a nihilistic space, right? So in this in between, if you can remind yourself like, I’m, I can’t put on the old clothes anymore, they don’t fit and I haven’t gotten shopping yet. And that’s okay. Right? Like I’m, I’m in this in between, and just that that is where the faith comes in, right, that we live in a benevolent universe, that there is an experience that is more authentically expressive of your soul that is coming online. And it takes time to configure that and to for the material manifest world to reflect that back to you. Because otherwise we get into this like really funky space of of pretending that we haven’t changed. Right, that is a self gaslight, right?
Dr. Mindy Pelz 13:51
That’s the conversation that’s the conversation I want women to have as they move into their 40s Because what I wish I had heard those words 10 years ago for myself, and there was some nuggets in there that I don’t want people to lose and one of them is you were more connect you are and correct me if I’m wrong, you are more connected to the energetic the spiritual, the mental needs of your own life, because of a strong healthy foundation of diet. You know, whatever you’re doing diet, exercise, biohacking of all kinds when we go into that as our foundational work. Now we’re primed for the emotional work. So that that’s one thing I want to highlight that you just said so brilliantly. The second thing and I actually feel like I could cry at this because it was what I think happens to us in our 20s and our 30s is that we are all we’re either thinking about ourselves in our 20s and in our 30s we’re thinking about Got our children, and then you hit your mid 40s, or you hit your late 40s. And your kids don’t need you. You haven’t thought about your own self, you’ve been, you know, maybe like soaked in a career that has taken over your life. And then you’re left what felt like to me spiritually naked, energetically naked. And I spent last year in that space that you just talked about without words for it, I would call it grief. And it was deep crying every single day. I’m a very optimistic person. But the loss of my identity that I had created in my 30s and 40s was so profound that I it took a full year to grieve it. And now I’m starting to do exactly what you said, what brings me happiness, what am I doing? Who am I, and in that, that emergence for me has come this like wicked, badass woman, who is like saying things that she wouldn’t have said in her 30s standing up to situations she wouldn’t have stood up to and the deep intuitive, I’m now seven months without a cycle, my intuitive intuition and intuitive capabilities are through the flippin roof. So that is what I want women to see is that there’s an opportunity. So talk a little bit about how we take what you just said. And we start to emerge into the best version of ourselves. That is what we’re really as women capable of doing as we move into our 50s and our 60s.
Kelly Brogan 16:42
Yeah. So I like to think of things these days a lot in terms of polarity and specifically like inner polarities, it just helps me to hang you know, a lot of potentially otherwise difficult to pin down concepts on to a pretty simple framework. And, you know, I have, I have a lifestyle protocol called body mind vital mind reset that’s like, based on how I healed my Hashimotos right. And so I’ve watched like, you know, 1000s of women do this thing. And I’ve been in then, like, literally, medical history has come out of this protocol. Like I’ve literally published, you know, case reports and case series and a randomized trial and all this stuff, right. And I even published like the first case apparently in the medical literature of the resolution of Graves disease, like without surgical or pharmaceutical intervention, I know it’s not the first face ever but in his you know, in the medical literature is so became almost a sport for me and, and what I really came away most interested in was like, what is the anatomy of this right like this, this health reclamation, if you will, like what’s actually going on here. And now that I think more in the terms of like, you sort of inner masculine inner feminine and her father and her mother or however you want to look at it, I can see that there is that there are phases of our life, where we are integrating these, these gendered archetypes. Right. And I don’t know that we need a lot of help as women or actually as people, period, right. I don’t think men need a lot of help with this either. To open our hearts and feel our feelings. I actually think what most of us need help with is feeling safe, right? And growing what you know, I refer to and others do as the masculine container. So there is this process of maturing the inner masculine from the like, toxic, shitty, abusive, bossy, you know, sort of what’s wrong with flagellating? What’s wrong with you get it done, I can’t believe your to do list it looks like this or, you know, oh my God, you’re like still stuck at this job. You know, this is how our inner masculine interacts with you know, the parts within us. And the maturation of that masculine brings us to a point where we have this self allegiance like I you can even see my body it’s like my spine is straightening Right? Like we have this sort of like inner you know, solid core that holds us through whatever it is that wants to come through. And when you don’t have that then it’s like this mishmash of energies, defenses and fundamentally your nervous system is not in a place where you can even access that intuition new reference because you’re still fundamentally in fight flight and freeze and you couldn’t you wouldn’t recognize your intuition if it bit you on the ass like so you can get to this place where with your system, stable and solid, you can start to feel the energies that move inside and those energies guide you. There are yes there are no they are Look over here there. Oh, wow, this is fun, right? And so the ritual of this program, I realized is like the initiation of the masculine, right? It’s like this experience of I am here. This is how it’s going to go. I’m going to exercise choice and commitment and follow through. And discipline that’s inspired by self love. Right? Because discipline that’s outer, you know, sort of induced is, is tyrannical, right? It doesn’t it doesn’t stick. Right. So this is a different kind of devotional, ritualized self care practice. And then, you know, the rest of what can come online does so in this stronger container, right? Because I was like, Oh, it’s just like a nervous system thing. But I also feel like, no, it’s also energetic. Like, when I show up with competence, and security, and a sense of, I’ve got myself in my life, then the play, the fun, the pleasure, and the movement is welcome. It’s almost like irrepressible, just, it just follows suit. So, you know, they’re and this is a spiral path again, you know, because I, even in this past year and a half or so, since my last divorce, I have engaged a lot of, you know, masculine maturation, where I have shown myself that I can handle aspects of life that I imagined I needed, you know, a partner, you know, specifically to handle for me, I mean, things like I’m talking about, like leasing a car, right, like these things. And, as I have shown myself, that I can handle these things, there is this deepening sense of, oh, not only am I going to then relate to a man, not from a place of like, princessy, come save me, you know, because I can’t, but I also have this this core foundational like, okayness, you know, like, I took my first jujitsu class, the other week, and there were a lot of women in the class. And I was speaking to one of the, the, you know, sort of senior women who was helping to train and she was talking about how she feels so safe in her body doing this practice. She’s been doing it for many years. And she’s like, really into it, right. And I like to dance. I mean, that’s my thing. So I’m, like, curious about this whole martial arts thing, like, how does this work? And it made so much sense to me, that women are attracted to these kinds of practices, not to become manly, right, or like not to be masculine, but in fact, to confer confer that sense of inner safety to their system, so that they can walk in the world as a woman? Mm hmm. Yeah. And, you know, ideally, we have a society where the men in our society offer this, not only to the women and children, but actually also to the other men. And right now, that is not occurring, in my opinion, is actually strategic and is actually socially engineered. And we are in a bit of a mess, right? Where we have actually colluded as women with the confusing version of polarity where we feel entitled to adopt this masculine energy, and we want to disempower thinking that it is empowering us, you know, the men of the world. So this is a lot of what I’ve been sort of exploring in my own process of ending the war with with men so that I stop projecting right and getting into those mini battles or macro battles on the outside, but I do think that you know, this, this process of, of swinging back and forth between, you know, sort of like this, the structuring energy in your life, like the power of your word, the integrity of your commitments, the the way you relate to, you know, sort of clear decision making, right, like what are what is what is in front of you to address and you don’t cower in sort of like, helplessness, you know, and how you also prioritize movement and singing and dancing and playing and beauty and you know, exploring and creativity. This is a dance and we’re doing it not only, you know, with the world and potentially with a partner, but with ourselves and then you know, with our kids and these energies are always existent. And that’s actually why I’ve become probably why Why have become actually very interested in conscious kink and BDSM. And the culture you know, preexisting culture that has acknowledged these polarities are already at play there is already you know, a dominant and a submissive in every single dynamic right in the in right now, right here. You know, we’re in In that play, and so either you get good at recognizing those polarized energies inside of you, or you just don’t have as many choices as you might otherwise have. And so you could end up feeling, you know, slipping into Victim Consciousness more readily if you don’t have contact with those, those choices that are existing.
Dr. Mindy Pelz 25:20
So juicy, there’s so much to comment on that. Okay, the first thing I want to say on what you just said, and this is something that I spent a lot of last year really like diving into, is if you look at history, you know, in the BC years, we had a matriarchal society. And in that society, intuition and ceremony, and, and community was really highlighted. And then somewhere along the line, we moved into this patriarchal society that condemned a lot of that and made it made our lives very black and white, our healthcare system is a great example of this, you have this problem, I’m going to give you this diagnosis, here’s the solution. And in that patriarchal Oh, the other example of a patriarchal change that is really, I think, hurt women has been we don’t talk about the menstrual cycle. We don’t talk about the fact that our hormones make us all spectrums of the emotional range. That’s how we’re meant to be. And so what I see now and what I spent some time really studying what happened after the 1918 pandemic flu. Out of that came a new one of the major themes was a new woman. And that new woman was the flapper. And she cut her her skirt short and her hair short, she drank, she smoke, and she was she was the rebel. So I kept asking myself last year, like what, what is the what’s going to happen to women that emerge out of this pandemic. And what I’m now seeing is exactly what you just said, that I think the place we want to go to is the blending of the patriarch and the matriarch. It’s not, it’s not an opposition. It’s an it’s an, it’s bringing all parts of ourselves together. And then beyond that, what I just heard you say, regardless of whether we talk about your age or not, is the wisdom of a woman, that as we get older, we become more powerful. And that not just for ourselves, but for everybody around us. And that is this part of the menopausal journey that is not being expressed. And I will tell you that I sit in my power now at my age, and I love it. But it took me understanding that I am going to be blending the feminine with the masculine. And that as I move through this hormonal change for myself, I am I’m more powerful than ever, based off of the changes that are happening to me within my feminine body. So I’m curious your thoughts on that. And I’m really looking to rebrand this process for women. Because it’s it’s not we’re looking, we’re looking at the wrong thing. We’re looking at the wrinkles on our face, we’re looking at still looking at for a lot of women in their 50s and 60s, they’re still looking at the number on the scale. And I feel like there’s an opportunity for us to step into the greatest moment of our life, if we start to dive into conversations like this.
Kelly Brogan 28:34
Yeah, I mean, again, it’s the relationship that we have to adversity that is at the core of the, you know, sort of, I guess, misunderstanding around what it is that that happens for us over the life cycle, because it’s not just for women, right, like we don’t initiate our at our adolescence. So you basically coast from your childlike, dependent, helpless, powerless position into your adult clothes. And there’s no actual transition where you meet with strategically imposed adversity, with the support of the elders and a community who are gazing upon you connecting to your higher capacity. So you can step into it beyond this too small frame of your child’s consciousness, that doesn’t occur, right? So all of the ensuing experiences that we might have are going to be based on maintaining this illusion of control, because we don’t have that sense of, oh, I’m an adult now, right? Like I am not that kid who is helpless. And so when we encounter these, right, so whether it’s monarchy or childbirth, or menopause, when we encounter these transitions or even the the luteal phase phase right like even the phase be right? Or premenstrual phase, you know where the veil is thin, and something other than I’m okay shows up. We don’t know how to interact with that we have not been trained around how to emotionally explore within how to develop intimacy with ourselves, how to dialogue with what it is that is showing up, and how to embrace, literally, whatever comes through us. I mean, the other option is that you fight with it, and you have an entire system set up to help you do that, right. If you enjoy the victim triangle, and you think that there is any way out, you know, of that triangle of suffering through you’re adopting the victim posture, then so be it, I certainly was there for many years of my life, you know, I was such a match to that system that I became, you know, one of the practitioners leading the charge, right, so, so I get it, and it meets needs, right. So that’s important to remember, it’s not like, Oh, you’re stupid, then. And then you get smart, and you wake up right now, like, that’s just one way of meeting needs. And until you recognize that there’s a more direct way of meeting your needs. Like, for example, when you’re sick, and you run to the doctor, and then you get a diagnosis. And then you have to go see the doctor over it have to even that language over and over and over again, to manage your illness, right, you’re getting many needs, met through that system, you’re getting care and attention, you’re getting a sense of safety, because somebody is in control of the situation, you’re getting help with your boundaries. Because if you’re sick chronically, and you have this diagnosis, you don’t really have to learn to say no in your life, you can shrink away from all sorts of social experiences or life expectations by just saying I’m sick, right? So there’s so many ways that it meets needs emotionally. And we get to this point of rupture, often in our lives, this opportunity, where we are presented this fork in the road, right? And we can either pretend that it’s working, when sometimes we do that I’ve done that many times. Pretend that it’s working, keep pretending like keep the mask strapped on, right, and hope it doesn’t slip. Like, all right, or you can say, you know, forget this, you know, I’m going in another direction. And I don’t know where what’s there, and I’m going to just want to see what happens and down that path, you develop the reflex of curiosity. And instead of the reflex of fear based control, right, and the reflex of curiosity allows you a pause, where something emerges in your life, you start to develop a symptom, right, you start to your relationship starts to, you know, feel like it’s on the rocks, you have this like sneaking, you know, sensation around what you’re doing for a living that it’s like maybe not quite right for you anymore, that comes up and instead of tensing and clenching and locking down into like, I hope nobody notices is I’m gonna pretend I didn’t notice that. You, you open with curiosity, and it’s not threatening, and you just recognize, like, Oh, I’m in another one of these spaces. But until we learn to relate to what it is that we, we don’t like about our life experience. Period. Yeah, in a different way. We there’s no hope for us to relate to experiences and transitions, like, you know, menopause through anything other than the lens of, you know, this is this is a problem, we’re just gonna manage the best we can, right it’s like this drained of all of its meaning its richness, its cultural context. And of course, the potential that that transition has to represent the initiation from, you know, the mother to the crone stage of a woman’s life. And when you talk about that kind of power, it is, as you as you know, a power that was always there. It’s just that there’s less, you know, occlusion, there’s less obfuscation, there’s less like cobwebs and fewer cobwebs in the way and all of those I think stem from these, you know, childhood wounds and associated projections that make it impossible for us to perceive not only reality on the outside accurately, but also you know, what, in psychobiology is called interoception, right like also our inner landscape we don’t know how to interact with that or perceive that accurately. So when you when you graduate into these later phases of life, the clarity, the open channel that can be established allows you to become this conduit for power and wisdom. And all that’s really happening is that you are Bringing awareness. So that masculine presence and attention within you to the energy that’s here. Yes. Like, that’s literally all that’s like what we could call, you know, enlightenment, you know, like, that’s all that’s actually occurring. And it may happen in in brief moments, and still an extraordinarily. I want to say disruptive force. Oh, yeah, it’s
Dr. Mindy Pelz 35:27
really disruptive. Yeah, let me tell you, what I heard. And what you just said is that we the structure that that this world has given us to live within that we aren’t questioning that we’ve maybe bought into is actually safety. And when we get into these menopausal years, what I’ve noticed is that there’s a moment where you can finally see that and you go, Oh, shit, I’ve been playing by the wrong rules. I want to play by different rules now. But the minute I said that to myself, all of a sudden, the universe came in and was like, Okay, well, then you’re, let’s, let’s, you’re gonna look at this side of yourself. And you’re gonna look at this side, and you’re gonna look at your attachment here. And, and yet, if we’re willing to do the work, to embrace this new version of us that’s going to emerge as we move into our met postmenopausal years, there is incredible wisdom that we cannot only find for ourselves, but we can turn around and share with the world. And then maybe this is my thought that maybe we can start to break apart part of this structure that the younger women are living in and suffering and then not seen it. When I look at Chrome, the word chrome comes from the word crown. And when I look at how other cultures do menopause, like, for example, Indonesia, they bring all the menopausal women together as the guides for the community, because their intuition is so great, but I think it’s well beyond hormones. I think it’s because you hit a certain point where you’re not going to play the game that society set up for you anymore. Yeah, so that’s the transition that needs to be highlighted, not like, Oh, my God, you’re not sleeping, oh, you have hot flashes, oh, you have more wrinkles. Like, let’s put that bullshit away. And the message I want to say to women is, wow, the opportunity is huge, to have this massive, energetic shift for yourself. But then the opportunity culturally is huge if you’re willing to step into it and talk about it.
Kelly Brogan 37:50
Totally. Totally. And I think that, you know, there’s there’s sort of a corollary to offer, which is that, you know, you kind of describe getting to this this phase of, hopefully, it’s okay if I like use profanity and Koblenz you never know, these days. I still have I like Dr. professionalism. Oh, no, but you get to this, this phase where you give zero fucks anymore, right? And that everyone can feel what that freedom is, right? Like when you are the kind of person who literally is just you. And you’ve and you’ve we feel that you know, and people who who have that degree of freedom. And the thing is that you can’t get to that place of giving zero fucks until your system is healed, integrated and solid enough to hold you through the experience of being perceived. From the outside and perhaps on the inside as bad and wrong. Yeah. Right. So like that practice of taking opportunities to honor your inner impulses, honor, your inner sense. Honor your truth, whatever we want to describe that as no matter what anyone else thinks about it. I mean, that sounds great. Like who the hell wouldn’t want to do that? Right? But I have lived experience you know, that has demonstrated that it actually takes literal bodily healing, like unless you actually don’t have the nervous system capacity to hold yourself through the shame wall that will like erect itself the moment that you do something that someone you care about perceives as outrageous, audacious and appropriate reckless, you know, or maybe it’s just activating your too much wound right like, oh, wow, that was too much whatever I just did there. Right. So like you can you can learn through practice, to be with whatever arises when you see Step out of your own
Dr. Mindy Pelz 40:01
box. Yeah. Right.
Kelly Brogan 40:03
However, you know, it’s not, it’s not just something you, you choose on a Wednesday to do. Like, it’s literally a practice. And the the first couple of experiences that we have as women, breaking, you know, rank and being someone other than we thought we had to sort of signed on to being for life. It gets easier, right? And you get you get, like, you get it in your tissues, like, it’s okay, if they don’t like it, you know, it’s okay, if my brother doesn’t like it, it’s okay. If my dad doesn’t like it, it’s okay, if my partner doesn’t like it. Like, it’s okay. If the public doesn’t like it, you know, it’s okay, you know, I’m still okay. And the consequences and punishment that I thought would come with the disapproval aren’t actually here, because I’m an adult now. And I have choices. And I can choose to stay, go talk, not talk, you know, be here or not. And, you know, one of the practices related to that, that I’ve really gotten a lot a lot out of, is to understand that anyone else’s judgment of me. And of course, you know, I’ve put myself in a position to be, you know, publicly scrutinized, which is my choice. It, it only matters if I agree with it, huh.
Dr. Mindy Pelz 41:31
Well said, well said no. So yeah,
Kelly Brogan 41:34
so I’ve been, you know, on social media, for example, like, I’ve heard all the things like as I have become, and grown into somebody different than people might like me to remain as the feedback and constructive criticism, if you will, that I have gotten, you know, has been an incredible spiritual crucible for me to work in. And that’s actually how I have used social media over the past, I would say, two years of my life is, you know, I’ll dip in, and I will, you know, read some of the comments. And if I have a feeling in my body, you know, that feels intense, meaning like, I feel triggered, right? I will recognize that as an opportunity to meet and discuss this with the part of me that agrees with them. Right? That I’m embarrassing myself that I’m harming people, you know that I am a fraud, you know, that I’m like shilling for the patriarchy, I get that one all the time. You know, whatever it is, like, it’s gonna slide off my back, as some comments do, unless there’s a part of me that agrees. And that part that agrees, wants to be included in the conversation, too. Right. So how can I actually interact with the part that agrees that I, I’m not to be trusted? And I’m embarrassing myself? Yeah. And not need that part to change its mind? Yep. Right. So we’re not going to spiritually bypass and say, Oh, no, you’re not embarrassing. Everything is you’re just doing you and it’s all good. No, that part actually believes that, and I have an opportunity to develop intimacy, listen to the story of that part, and really understand, like, why it is that there is a dimension of me that is rooted in the belief that I am embarrassing, let’s say whatever it might be. That’s actually self reclamation, right? Like, that’s how we use our adversity and our experiences of challenge and our interpersonal dynamics, that might appear as conflict to reclaim parts of ourselves. And that is perhaps at you know, later life stages, you know, 5060s what that feeling of I’ve arrived, I’m here I am more whole more powerful, it may simply be, you know, because we have, we have collected the parts into more of a coherent whole, that we’re, you know, sort of tossed by the wayside over the course of our early you know, childhood traumas.
Dr. Mindy Pelz 44:08
That was just perfect. I hope that everybody caught that, because that you described again, what I have been feeling as I’ve gone through this journey, and, and still going through the journey of, you know, emerging as an as a new version of myself. And what I have recently grabbed a hold of, is that I really truly have gotten to a place that I don’t really give a fuck what anybody thinks of me, that I’m more interested in what I think of me. So when these situations arise, like what you’re talking about reading your social media, the the analogy that I use for myself and what I would encourage women as they go through this process to do and correct me if there’s an another way to do this, but for me, my personal way, is when something triggers me I’ll give you an example. Well, you know, last couple of days, there’s been some people in my life that have behaved in ways that I wasn’t really excited about and made me very angry and brought up some emotions that I haven’t felt in a while. And I wanted to outwardly blame those people. And what I discovered in that moment, what hit me at in my meditation one morning was, those are just opportunities to see what you need to work on. And I am reacting in the older way, a way that I used to react, but the newer version of me doesn’t want to go there anymore. So what do these people represent for me? And one of the insights that I got to is actually a quote that Rahm Das, I heard, say, years ago, I heard him live when I was in my 20s, in West Hollywood at a church. And he said, resist nothing, just resist nothing. And so in these moments, I thought to myself, Why am I resisting what these people are doing? Why do I want to turn hatred on them? Why do I want to turn anger on them? I just want to be love. That’s what I want to show up as I moved through. So if I’m going to be loved, and I gotta let go of needing the people around me to behave a certain way, because in that I am suffering.
Kelly Brogan 46:30
Yeah, I mean, that’s one of the foundational aspects of the victim triangle, right? And associated consciousness is that you actually are dependent on the enemy, you know, to change. And I sometimes call it the erotic caress of the enemy, because as an activist, and many years as in activism, I started to notice this over the course of my career, where I would see these, myself included, but I would see us let’s say, like literally obsessed with these key figures in government, or whatever it is, and what they were doing and what was happening. Now we’re in this like, reactive defensive posture, and our entire lifeforce energy was devoted to the enemy. Right? And this is what happens even on intrapersonal, on the interpersonal level, is that when you imagine that you actually need someone else’s behavior to change in order for you to feel okay, you are blind to your choices, you actually can’t perceive your choices. And then you say what the victim says, which is I don’t have a choice I have to, and you’re in that powerless place, and it actually feels like degrees of hell. And it should, because it’s an illusion, right? So that pain is part of how I think we are called back home, right? Like, we’re called back to the truth, which is that we can exercise our power of choice without needing anyone to be bad and wrong, right? Like, if I don’t like what antics the government is up to, for example, I can rest into this place where I consider my choices, what are actually my choices, what is actually in my control in this moment, it may simply be how to narrate the situation. Or it may also be, you know, that I can pick up and move to a commune or I can, you know, stop participating in a given system. And I can set up a new one or whatever it is, I can exercise my power of choice. And then it’s like non referential, it’s not oppositional, it doesn’t even matter what they’re doing. It becomes like a moot point. And that is sovereignty, right? Because otherwise we are in these dynamics. And like I said, we’re in them for a reason we’re getting our needs met. And that’s also what I like to remind myself in those moments is like, you know, there is a part of us that is in victim. Right. So the part of you that wants to blame and shame, listen to that part. You know, that part is guarding and holding, like, probably some very tender, you know, emotions that also want your care and attention, right. So it’s not to bulldoze over and toughen up and be a sovereign, right? It’s to acknowledge that the part of you that wants to blame and finger point and punish honestly, as often the same part, you know, it’s just a part. It’s just a part of you, right? And if you let that part take the wheel, as we do often, then yourself with a capital S is not actually driving the car. It’s just this sort of like, rotating roster of these these. What imparts work is called protector parts that you’re giving the wheel to unconsciously, you know, it’s like almost like no one’s home. So you know, when you show up and you say, I’m home, part of your responsibility as the adult witness consciousness is to listen to and organize all of the parts, but the action is coming from that place of sovereignty that, you know is is taking it all in and examining the right action, examining what the choices actually consist of.
Dr. Mindy Pelz 50:14
I love that. So this may be the wrong question to map to this conversation. But I want to finish up with this thought. What can we do if we what the gift I want to give, especially women as they move into their menopausal and postmenopausal years is the opportunity that we’re talking about. But I also want to make women very aware of the fact that this transition is coming. And I want to give them like, how do we help them? How do we give them structure? Is it is that the wrong question like how do we guide women as they go through this so that we create a new culture that looks as women as they go through menopause as Oh, my God, what is this woman going to turn into because she’s going to become something spectacular. As opposed to I’m aging, I’m not use useful anymore. My skin doesn’t look the way I want it to my body doesn’t look the way like I want to flip that into this conversation that we’re talking about and say no, get ready, because it’s incredible what you’re about to step into. But that transition is could be painful. It could be messy. How do we help that transition for women as they shift through?
Kelly Brogan 51:39
Well, I mean, I think two ways come to me one is I’ve already discussed which is just sort of this framework of understanding, which is to recognize that when you find yourself in like a barren wasteland of your life, right, where the things that were juicy, you know, whether it’s like your career or your vulva, like literally aren’t anymore, and you’re, you’re tempted to narrate it in such a way as to describe it as like a denouement, or like some sort of like falling off. What if you just develop that awareness based on conversations like this, that it could be the transition space, it could be that liminal space, it could be that charnel ground that you are passing through and open up to the spectacular possibility that what is on the other side of it is something you literally can’t even design you couldn’t imagine. Right? So so that framework, this is archetypal, this is how all growth works. Just think of the butterfly, right? Like, this is the metamorphosis process, it always is like this, the the the gooey, Caterpillar is like dead and disoriented. And the imaginal cells are collecting to grow the butterfly, and she still has to pass through that teeny, teeny little hole, right to strengthen her wings, so she can fly. And, you know, I think the other thing that I would say is find an inspiration. Right? Like find a mentor of mine find a like a womaning mentor, who is ahead of you in her herd, you know, developmental maturational actualization becoming process. You know, I think of somebody that I interviewed for a collection, I call it faces of fierce femininity, named Gurmukh, who is one of my Kundalini yoga teachers, and is really like a legend in that space. And, you know, she’s in her 80s Or she’s 80. And we, you know, in the interview, literally talk about her sex life and how extraordinary it is, and, and she and her energy is so embodied that her radiance speaks for itself, right. So she doesn’t need, you know, she didn’t have to take a class on how to like, you know, become an, you know, an actualized. menopausal woman, you just just be is it? Yeah, just is it? And there’s no question that this woman is in her power, right. And that she is like, holding massive, you know, she takes up space. Yeah. And so you know, that I know someone like her, helps me, right, because we I believe in this like, chain of custody. You know, for women. I’m a big believer in women teaching women. I mean, I have I have women teaching me sewing, you know, pole dancing, you know, Jujitsu, I have women teaching me all sorts of things. I have a erotic coach. I have all sorts of female support and mentors. And the moment I have singing, I mean, I decided I was interested in learning how to sing, like, I don’t know, four or five months ago, and literally the moment I opened up to it, there were like, 20 Incredible goddess level instructors who just like appeared out of the they’re already so far down the path that they’re here to, like, hold a hand out to me. And that’s what I find we can do for each other as women, like, follow your desires, follow your impulses, follow your it’s not follow, it’s like honor, honor it like as soon as you get this little whisper, you know, like, I think of myself as a dancer, right? I’m not a singer. But I got this little whisper on Christmas Eve, and I woke up and I was like, You know what? I want to learn how to sing to write like other people do I want you to? And I honor that now. I mean, I could get the craziest ideas, and I will honor all of them. Yes. And sometimes it’s embarrassing. And sometimes it’s weird. And sometimes like people like Oh, my God, Kelly, she’s up to something new. Now again, like when will she just like chill out, but whatever it is, like, I am with me, right? So as you follow your desires and interests, you will always find other women on the path who are there to extend the hand. And it’s such a beautiful, like fabric that we can weave together. So I would I would say like, call in an example of the kind of woman that you want to be, you know, in that? I don’t know what you want to term it, you know, like, let’s say that that last era of your life, and and that will imprint what is possible in your system. And I’m a big believer that when we know what is possible, we can orient ourselves, and it almost happens naturally. Right? But if you don’t know what’s possible, then you’re sort of living in this like, you know, it’s like blinders over your eyes, and you don’t even know what you don’t know.
Dr. Mindy Pelz 56:42
Right? You know, I in my, in my reset Academy, which is my membership group, there’s a lot of postmenopausal women in their 50s and 60s. And I the I tell them what you just said all the time, I’m like you have wisdom to share with the younger generation. Don’t think of yourself as useless, which is what a lot of them think of themselves as so again, so beautifully well said, what you just what you just stated. And I have this vision of like all decades of life of women supporting each other. I saw an incredible conversation between Alex Cooper and Jane Fonda. On color daddy, podcast might actually my 23 year old daughter turned me on to it. But this, this conversation was so beautiful to see a 28 year old activist, and an 85 year old activists share their knowledge as women and their passion for life. It was unreal. So what you just said was incredible. And I want to respect your time. But I literally this is I feel like I just got so much insight into something that I’ve been living for the last couple of years. So thank you so much for going there with me.
Kelly Brogan 57:59
My pleasure. And you know, because again, we think our story is so terminally unique, but these patterns are shared. And when we begin to explore them together, we find that that empathic bridge is very easy to build, because we’re all in this sort of, like, recurring loop of waking up to what we have, I believe, chosen to fall asleep to and it’s like, that’s the delight. It’s the in that sort of remembrance moment of like, Oh, yes, this makes so much more sense. You almost feel compassion for the former version of you. That was like trying to hack it, you know?
Dr. Mindy Pelz 58:37
Yeah, totally. If I could go back to her, I’d have a lot of things I’d want to say to her. Right, exactly. Let me let me end on this. I always end on two questions. And one of them is, what is your daily self love routine look like? And what do you feel like your superpower is that you really I say bring to the world. But I’m going to say today bring to yourself.
Kelly Brogan 59:02
So my, my self care routine is extremely elaborate and time consuming. But it’s an ever growing, it seems like somehow I’m expanding the hours in the day to like accommodate the new things I have to do for myself. So I yeah, I mean, I wake up, I meditate, I dance, I often will do coffee enema. I have different things that I’m like learning and working on. So sometimes I’ll do like practices related to that like journaling or whatever. So my like morning is like a good two hours that I just started really writing here that I will reserve and I’ll wake up early enough before I have like a scheduled obligation to honor that. And when I don’t trust me, especially with movement, I feel it in my whole system throughout the entire day. And I also, you know, on the other end of the day, I’m a big, big believer in early bedtime, like, I go to bed at 9pm and have been for many, many years. And it’s a game changer for me my productivity, you know, my, my sort of literal sense of well being when I wake up in the morning is really hinges on that, you know, so it’s like this paradox, right? Like, the more you learn about what your body needs, like, the less flexible you get in a way, but then you have this opportunity to sort of like, dance with it until it’s a choice. Right? So now it’s like saying, you know, if I go to bed at 11, okay, but I’m choosing to go to bed at 11, rather than nine, and I know what the consequences are gonna be right. And then I would say, the second question was about what I offer myself the superpower
Dr. Mindy Pelz 1:00:50
power, what’s your superpower?
Kelly Brogan 1:00:53
I would say that I’m increasingly good at owning my shit. Awesome. Yeah, and really giving myself permission to, I call it where my villain crown, you know, as we were talking about, and really understand that that actually can can be empowering in the most unexpected ways. You know, like, if I have a friend who doesn’t like how I said something, or calls me out on something, you know, rather than trying to get her to see my side and my perspective, like, I own it, you know, I now it’s just sort of how I how I do and every single time it pays dividends. I mean, this is how I mother. And I think it’s one of the it’s one of the hidden paths, that we are not encouraged to walk that actually holds so much of our potential strength and, and really like navigational skills, right? Because I can see so much more clearly. When I’m not busy. Making sure somebody doesn’t think I’m bad and wrong. Yeah.
Dr. Mindy Pelz 1:01:58
Oh my God. Amen. That was amazing. Thank you so much. I really appreciate this conversation. How do people find you just because I know a lot of my listeners will be like, I want more of that. So where do they find you? Yeah,
Kelly Brogan 1:02:10
so I have I’m over at Kelly Brogan md.com And I actually just started a podcast myself, called reclamation radio. And that’s all the places you know, Spotify, Apple, whatever.
Dr. Mindy Pelz 1:02:25
Beautiful. Well, thank you and appreciate you and thank you for just shining the light. So grateful for you.