E04 - 'If Feelings Could Talk Part One'
You are listening to the Empathy Everywhere podcast. I'm your host, Victoria Ferguson, the founder of East 29th, where we're establishing a conscious dialogue that connects both the physical and mental health awareness behind the Clean Beauty movement while combining skincare with self-care to build a movement that embodies being softer in inside out.
This is episode four: ' If Feelings Could Talk Part One' And we are here with Nicole Matheson. She is a wellness coach and an Ayurvedic health counselor. After overworking for many years in the corporate world, she found herself burnt out in experiencing several physical ailments, including debilitating digestive issues. Unable to experience effective healing from western medicine approaches, Nicole was led to the sister sciences of yoga and Ayurveda. On this path, she was able to heal from the digestive troubles as well as things such as eczema, seasonal allergies, and the depression and hormonal imbalances she suffered since her teens. Deeply transformed by living the Ayurvedic lifestyle she could not continue to work in the corporate world and trained to become a wellness coach, Ayurvedic health counselor, and a yoga teacher. Now she spends her time sharing the wisdom of Ayur veda, yoga and behavior change science to support others in their own wellness journeys and self-realization. Through online courses, group coaching and one-on-one coaching / consultations, Nicole guides her clients into adopting the habits and diet that ignite the body's natural ability to heal and thrive.
Thank you so much for having me.
I'm glad that you're here. So we have a couple interesting topics today with intuition and trusting our guts and listening to our bodies, and I'm really excited to hear what you have to say about that.
Well, I'll just sort of start where you introduced me in the bio where I, I came from the corporate world, I was a litigation graphics consultant, so I was working pretty much trial 20 hours. They were pretty insane, but it was a really cool job, a really cool career in that I got to be creative, but also strategize a lot. But I was spending a lot of time in my head and when we spend all of our time in our head, all of our energy in our head, it creates this imbalance in the wholeness of who we are.
So in Ayurveda there is this concept called the koshas, and koshas is Sanskrit for the word sheath. And it's this idea that we have these five sheaths or five koshas surrounding consciousness, and these are our different bodies. So there's the Annamaya-kosha, and this is the physical body. There is the Pranamaya-kosha, which is the energy or breath body.
There's the Manomaya-kosha which is the mental and emotional body, the Vijnanamaya-kosha, which is the wisdom or intuitive body, and then the Anandamaya- Kosha, which is the bliss body. And so the idea is if we're spending too much time in our heads in this Manomaya-kosha, the mental and emotional body, we forget about the other parts of us.
We forget that there is more to us. And so what I experienced is I was working so hard that I forgot I had a body that I needed to take care of and I wasn't sleeping much because I was working such long hours. I was eating whatever was convenient. I certainly wasn't exercising cause I was spending most of my time in front of my computer.
If you do that long enough, it's going to create an imbalance. And it did, and I got very sick and that's how I got all of those things that we talked about. And so really what was happening is as I was working in this, in this career, I disconnected from many parts of myself. So not only did I disconnect from my body, but I was disconnected from my own breath and energy body and disconnected from my own intuition.
And so it wreaked havoc on my entire life in many ways. So all of these bodies are interconnected and interdependent, and so if there is disturbance in one, there's gonna be disturbance in all of them. So for example, if we're experiencing indigestion, it's not just the disturbance in the body. Sometimes it makes us not think as well, because we're feeling off or maybe we're not listening to our intuition or maybe our energy is disturbed because there's this disturbance in the Annamaya-kosha in the food body.
It's very interesting because I feel like we just kind of are, we're so used to just like dealing with it or sucking it up, quote unquote, and just moving on. And that's very simple when it comes to even like a period or your, your cramps, you just kind of have to just keep going and you know that you're not going to put your best foot forward at all the times because your mind is so busy thinking about your pain body at all times.
Yeah, so when we're doing that, when we're just pushing through pain and not really listening to those symptoms, I. That's creating an imbalance in those five layers because we're putting all of our energy into our mind so that we can just get through the day and not realizing that we need to take care of ourselves,
Or we just use Western medicine to try and mask it, which I think then you create a larger problem at the end of that, right?
I've done my best to not need any meds at any time because then I'm not feeling my true self and I can't heal, but I can't feel so I feel like it goes in alignment with that.
Yeah, that's absolutely right. And that's one of the things I love about Ayurveda is that it's not about masking symptoms.
The Ayurvedic approach is really about addressing the root cause of the imbalance. So whether it's something that's going on in the Koshas or something that's going on in the doshas, which are another concept in Ayurveda, it's really about learning how to listen to all of the parts of you, all of the bodies, connecting with your intuition, and also learning the language of your body.
Right, and it's interesting that we don't learn this in school or in something that is mandatory while we're younger. You can choose to while you're older, but sometimes some people wait or spend a long time before they actually get to that point, and you're kind of at a breaking point when you do find it.
And it would be really awesome if we could implement it somehow in our mandatory, you know, school curriculum where maybe not all of it because it is a lot, but at least something to get our minds wandering so that we want to look for it when we leave school. And we're not just learning it when we're at rock bottom, when we've probably gone a bit too far.
Yeah, I totally agree. I mean, I wouldn't have learned any of this if I hadn't gotten really sick. You know, part of my job, I feel, is to share with people this information and help them realize like, Don't wait till you get sick. You can start taking care of yourself now.
And actually what's amazing is when we start taking care of ourselves, we have so much more access to all of those five bodies, all of that intuition and all of our mental clarity and emotional agility and, and our own bliss really.
Well, you, you probably have the, the signals for it, but you don't know what you're reading, so you just move on and you don't know but when you start picking up on little tiny traits, you're like, oh, this actually goes over here, or this can make me feel this way. And I feel like we just miss a lot of the signals that our body gives us until it's like the body just crashes. Which I think is a very modern, sadly, approach to life.
You go until you can't go, and then you go, Hmm, what's wrong?
Yeah. Burnout is the norm, really.
I mean, we have gardens and if something isn't growing properly, you know, we tend to it. Or we fix the soil, we water our plants. If a car is making a weird sound, we check into it. But with our bodies, we're like, oops. I'm just gonna keep going.
Yeah, it's so true. So true.
So how do we get to a point where we can try and even implement one tiny step to get towards to where you are? Like if we have seasonal allergies or eczema, what is the first step that we can do to kind of get into this world?
Gosh, that's a good question. I think there are really two approaches. There is, the big thing in Ayurveda is your digestion. So we, we spend a lot of time focusing on digestion, making sure that it's really strong because our health really begins and ends with our digestion. Because when we eat, that's how we get the nutrients to sustain our bodies.
And so if we're not properly digesting or if we're not properly eating, it can really wreak havoc on the body and can create what we call Amma in the body, which is kind of an umbrella term for toxins because it can mean undigested food, but it can also mean undigested experiences or emotions.
I find that very interesting because a lot of the time, I know I come from a family where we don't really talk about how you feel and it's like there's so many signs and symptoms that I feel like came out where it was like it was just some kind of experience or story that was just trying to get out of you. And then if you talk about it, sometimes those pains actually go away and you're like, were they connected? But you don't have any proof that they were, so you just kind of wonder, right? I'm really interested how you would change something like seasonal allergies, because that is in Vancouver, I'm allergic to pollen. So for me it's a time like when I go back home to Winnipeg, I don't feel this way, but it's the dead of winter, so it's a different thing that I'm struggling with. But here I would love to know what I could do with my body to just like listen to what is something I could change for something as simple that I think a lot of people have seasonal allergies.
So a big part of allergies is. Having a lot of amma in the body, so that is that undigested food. And so it is about strengthening your akni. So some of the things you can do, in fact, one of the most important things you can do to bring balance to your entire life is to create routine and structure. So in Ayurveda, there is a a clock that it's called the dosha clock, and it tells us the best times to eat, the best times to go to bed, when to wake up, when to do creative work, when to communicate. So the idea is that we wanna align our activities with this clock, because if we do, the doshas will support us in every way. So our bodies are really meant to thrive and heal, but it's because we live out of alignment with this clock that it's always compromised, right? And it's always just trying to compensate for not being in alignment.
And so from an Ayurvedic perspective, we wanna have our main meal of the day at midday. So we typically eat our big meal at dinner, and the reason we don't want to eat it later in the day is because around six o'clock our body is starting to wind down already. Everything is naturally starting to slow down as the sun is setting.
And so if we are eating a big meal at this time when our body is slowing down, It's unlikely that it's gonna be able to properly process the food that you're eating.
What if you have a job where you work, maybe overnight shifts? Like how can, if your schedule actually can't work perfectly with this clock, what is something that you can do to try and be as in tune with this clock or timing with your body as possible if you structurally, Work-wise or whatever it is, you can't?
Yeah. That's tough. That's definitely tough. And you know, it's unfortunate because they have found that people who work these shifts do have higher rates of disease because they're not in alignment with that clock. Because this is actually, what's interesting is about three years ago, I think it was in 2017, the Nobel Prize in medicine went to these three doctors who were doing all this research on what they were calling circadian medicine, which is basically the same idea from Ayurveda that's 5,000 plus years old. But it's the same idea that there are better times of day to eat. So for someone who's working that kind of a shift, it's really just important to create routine as much as possible. So even if you can't eat at those times, trying to eat at those times as close as you can, or finding a way that works for you that, that you can do consistently because it's that consistency that is really important for akni or the digestive fire.
Right, that makes sense. Now, if you had something like a hormonal imbalance, because you just said that clock that, that's another one.
The Dosha a clock.
For me, something that I never talked about with anyone and I want to be more open with is hormonal imbalances or hormonal depression. What is something that we can do as women because we can't change that we have this, it's happening every single month. Usually it's like clockwork, sometimes it's not. But what can we do to kind of help our bodies get in a rhythm where, say you struggle with hormonal depression, how can we, you know, ease that or hormonal imbalances? What is something that we can do?
Again, one of the biggest things is aligning with that dosha clock.
So what typically is happening is we're going to bed late, right? And so when we go to bed past 10:00 PM this is when Pitta Dosha starts to take over on the clock. And what happens if we were actually asleep by 10:00 PM Pitta Dosha does all of these incredible healing activities in the body while we're sleeping.
So from 10:00 PM to 2:00 AM Pitta is at work like regulating our hormones, regulating the stress hormones in particular. It's also, it's detoxing the liver and the gallbladder. These are all things that are really important to hormonal balance. But if we're staying up past 10:00 PM we're diverting energy away from Pitta dosha, preventing it from doing all of that work.
And so a big part of hormonal imbalance is having the hormones regulated. And so if we're up past that time, that regulation isn't happening when we actually have our period, our liver is cleansing out some of the hormones. But if our liver is overtaxed, Because it's not getting that detox time from 10:00 PM to 2:00 AM it's gonna be harder for it to process those hormones out.
That's in part, is what causing the imbalance.
That will build up like the whole month and then that's where that big struggle comes from. Well, I'm gonna admit I don't go to bed by 10:00 PM so that is something I will do my best to work on. I mean, I worked in film, so my schedule was never, it was never my schedule. I was just on a schedule. But now that I've taken myself out of film and I've launched my business, I'm able to actually structure my life in a more efficient way for myself and also for my son as well. Which is very nice.
Yeah, I was the same way in litigation. I had no control over my schedule.
It must have been one of like the most freeing moments is when you could finally decide that and you figured all that out and just to see the change.
Yeah. And the change was incredible. And you know, it's funny, I work with clients, so that's one of the first habits we work on is earlier lighter dinner.
So having an earlier dinner, like before 6:00 PM and making it a lighter dinner, so it's like one of the lighter meals of the day. And within 24 to 48 hours, people notice a difference. Especially when they wake up in the morning. So they wake up in the morning, they, they're energized and they're like ready to go as opposed to feeling heavy and groggy.
What is a timeline that you can really start noticing a change? Because some people get so they don't want to wait around, but at the same time, like all good things take time.
Yeah, and that's the thing is new habits do take a lot of time, but basically you want to have your main meal of the day at midday, you wanna have a lighter dinner by about 6:00 PM be in bed by 10:00 PM. Wake up about 6:00 AM and have breakfast somewhere around seven or 8:00 AM
Now when you say a bigger meal in the middle of the day, like what time is usually that at?
So between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM So Pitta does its work from 10:00 PM to 2:00 AM and then it takes over again from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM And so we want to eat during that time because Pitta is really all about transformation and processes.
And Western medicine has actually found that bile is, um, that's when it's at its highest production, which basically has the same function as akni the digestive fire. So it's breaking down the food. So we want ti make sure that we're eating when we have the highest fire or the highest bile.
This is all so fascinating, I honestly wish this was taught when I was younger because if you could start your life with this going through your teens to your early adulthood, into your adulthood.
I feel like we might all have a little bit more mental clarity and body clarity.
You know, there's people who obviously work the jobs that don't allow schedule change and all that, and you obviously just try and get as much of a schedule. Is there anything else that you would say, like what was another piece of advice that you would give that could really kind of guide someone who is trying to have a schedule, they do the best they can I know working in film one week we're overnights, one week we're not, half the week we are, half the week we're not. It's hard to get a full schedule, but what are the things that we can do that will feel like a schedule that can sometimes be a little bit shifted for us?
Yeah, so two big things.
Hydration, really just making sure you are drinking a lot of water. And in Ayurveda we recommend drinking warm or hot water, or at least room temperature water. Ice cold water has a a tendency to put our digestive fire out, which is what we don't want to do. In fact, any cold foods are really not recommended in Ayurveda.
Very interesting. I wouldn't have known that. It's so funny that there's things that are centuries old, but it's again, not common knowledge. It's not common sense. So it's about getting the word out, and I think that's really great. So when you are leaning into your intuition and you want to listen to your body, what did you do when you were first starting to shift into it and compared to where you're at now? What change did you notice?
I understood the language of my intuition better. I think I was very confused when I was in this much more imbalanced state as to, was it my imbalance speaking to me, or was it really my intuition? And so just starting to understand what that feels like and what it sounds like when I'm listening to it.
So, for instance, if you have a craving for something, it's often an imbalance as opposed to your body just wanting something that's going to nourish it. So for instance, if I'm suddenly craving potato chips, one, I know it's not good for me, so it's probably coming from the imbalance. But when there's more of an emotional charge to it, that's an imbalance.
As opposed to if it's my intuition, it's just much quieter. Right?
So when we have our hormones and we're going through our periods as women and we're craving something, that's just us having an imbalance.
Yeah, if there's an emotional charge to it. I just wanna be careful about the word craving, because sometimes we can use craving and it's not necessarily coming from an imbalance, but when you've got that like urge, like, oh my God, I've gotta have these potato chips, and just you're feeling it emotionally. That's coming from the imbalance.
I have very emotional cravings. Which is, it's funny because I didn't used to and I found as I was getting a bit older and there's more on my plate, I actually found that I was having these craving things and I wanted to figure out like what is going on in my body that is making me as an adult versus a teen, because I don't remember any cravings in particular. I thought it was a weird thing before when people talked about it. But I also noticed they went hand in hand with me personally having issues like I have endometriosis and my lining is a little bit thick, and I ended up having cysts on my uterine wall. And it was as I noticed all of these things popping up in my life, I had more cravings every time of the month, as well as hormonal depression. It used to be like maybe once a year, and it started to happen every single time for a period of time. But when I left my job, that was really stressful. It's kind of subsided, but now that I'm launching a business and a podcast, I noticed it kind of picked up again when I launched the month of July was not my favorite month for that, but it made me check in with myself. Right? So moving forward for August, September, I was able to figure out what I was doing differently or what was maybe kind of heightening it, which is kind of interesting.
Again, we hit rock bottom and then we want to learn, but what can we do now to help people who, we don't want them to hit rock bottom and we want them to be, inquiring beforehand. That to me, hormonal imbalance or hormonal depression, I never talked to anyone about, no one had talked to me about it, but I called five girlfriends and all five of them were like, we feel the same.
And I was like, how are we feeling these things? But we're not taught about it. We're not talking about it. My mom definitely never brought the subject up. It was just kind of a quiet, silent, killer.
Yeah, it's really unfortunate and I know, when I was experiencing a lot of hormonal imbalance, it got to the point where there were only about 10 days out of the month that I felt like a normal person, and the rest of the time I was just kind of a wreck.
Well, because it's also in your ovulating as well, right? It can be at both times.
Yeah, I think it would start shortly after I ovulated. And would go through for about five days after I finished my period too. So there's just not much time left in between there.
I was talking to my mom and she was telling me that she felt more of a depression when she would be ovulating and then it would be her period she wouldn't, and I thought that was so interesting because obviously there's something in our bodies that is creating this or not creating it at a specific time, but of it wasn't talked about and I would love, love, love to have grown up knowing that I wasn't alone. I thought I was alone for so long.
These experiences in my mind were just me, everyone else shows up to work, everyone else does their thing, and no one is saying anything, so everyone must be fine. But it got to the point where I had needle sharp pains in my abdomen and I couldn't figure out what it was. And I remember I went to this medium with my mom and it was like a, group reading and I didn't really think much of it, but then I had actually won an opportunity to chat with her by myself and I walked in the room and I was with my mom, and she looks at me and she goes, have you told your mom about your uterus problem? And I was like, I'm sorry, what? And my mom looks at me and I was like, I have not, but uh, thank you very much. I will be after this conversation. But it took someone just kind of point blankly asking me like, have you talked about this? And I was like, No. And then that got my discovery of actually going to see someone and talking about it. And here I am at 28, I'm not ovulating at all. My body has had a child 13 years ago, so my body's kind of like, I don't know what it feels like or how, what the age internally I am, but exterior, I'm only 28.
So for me to go through not having a regular period, that was kind of like the biggest red flag. And I was like, okay, I need to figure out what I can do to move forward. I'm definitely going to take some of the things that you've said and I'm going to look up that because I need that structure for a lot of parts of my body.
I have structure in other senses, but when it comes to my body and hormonal balance, I do not have any structure.
It's really important.
But again, it took rock bottom for me to be here today going, hello, I would really like to learn about my body.
Well, and I'm glad, better late than never. I'm glad that you're starting these conversations. I think it's so important.
Well, that's why for me, the podcast was important because, I know I was curious and I didn't do anything about it. So it's like if someone can just even Google these keywords and then this podcast comes up, that's what I want.
I want people to feel like they're not alone in the things that they're struggling with because they're so common. They're much more common than we actually think. And then even when you look at school, well, I mean personally, sex ed was in grade nine and I had my son in grade nine. Never made it to sex ed. Never been to sex ed to this day. There's so much that I feel like even when I try looking at my son's, They brought it into grade four. There was a lot of parents who thought it was inappropriate and they really fought to get it removed from the school system, and then it became, it wasn't mandatory, so you could either put your kid in, or not. I put my son in it. He said it was the worst day of his life. Looking back now, he thinks at the moment, right in grade four right now, he's like, I'm really glad I went, because he's learning things about his body as he's now almost 13, and with having an open dialogue about my experience as a woman and obviously not being a guy, but for me, talking to him, he comes to me and he talks to me about his body and all the changes he's noticing. So we're actually tracking it and we're enjoying it. I still haven't talked about that with my mother, just about the issues that I had, you know, with the medium. But other than that, it just wasn't a topic and it makes people uncomfortable. And then you feel bad that you're making your parent feel uncomfortable trying to talk about something. So you just give up and don't.
And that's I'm sure what they learned from their parents too, right.
And then we look on the internet and we find our ailments mean that we're dying. Like something's so extreme, they're not real. It's just when we use only Google for our help, it's not actually gonna help us.
Right, yeah. And what's wonderful about Ayurveda is we start to realize, How much ability we have to heal ourselves and to bring more balance into our lives. So it's really empowering and it's also a lot of responsibility because the more we start to learn about Ayurveda, we realize that every choice we make, every food we eat, you know, what time we decide to go to bed, how we're feeding our bodies in every way is really a choice towards balance or away from balance.
Which is amazing to learn about. If we can heal it ourselves, why wouldn't we? Right? Something we would probably like to do. And with Covid happening and with everyone kind of staying at home, I'm hoping this is a vehicle for as much as it's not really a great thing. I think it's great that we kind of are spending more time at home. We're not able to block out where we're at or what we're thinking or feeling because here we are at home. Right?
Yeah, absolutely. We're sitting still, right? I mean, that's something we rarely do and when we're moving all the time, there's no time to integrate or reflect, and now I think there's a lot of people who are getting that opportunity to do that.
I think that people think relationships mean that has to be with someone else. But I think a really important aspect in life is to be able to have a relationship that is always evolving and you're always checking in with yourself. I remember telling people, I am dating myself and I'm married to myself.
I obviously had a big shift in my life when I was a teenager, but I had to check in. I had to have that relationship with myself, or I wasn't going to ever make it as a mom because my brain was still growing, I was still growing and my son was still growing at the same time. So for me, I was pushed into a position where I wanted to learn and grow.
But there are people who live their lives really comfortable, and I don't know if they're asking the right questions, but the relationship with ourselves and if we can heal ourselves is probably one of the most important relationships we can have.
Absolutely. Because once we learn how to take care of ourselves, we can be so much more to the whole world, right? To our families, to our communities, and we can just serve the purpose that we were meant to serve. We can realize our dharma.
I think when we are so worried about like how do we fix the world and we want ti do it on such a larger scale, I think if we really take a step back and look at just working on ourselves, with ourselves, and then once we've got that we can work with the people around us. If everyone around the world is doing that, the whole world can eventually find some level of healing, but we can't heal from me being here in Vancouver, BC to try and heal the world. I need to start small with myself.
I 100% agree with that.
So for our next episode, with 'If Feelings Could Talk Part Two' we are going to talk more about the doshas. Is this correct?
Yeah. So we talked about the koshas. These are the the five layers, but the doshas are something different and they are really the language of our body. So once we learn about the doshas, that's really where we can empower ourselves to bring more balance into our lives.
I'm really excited we're going to wrap this one up and then hopefully, everyone tunes in next week for part two where we talk about the doshas. Thank you so much for having me.
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