Lean Into Your Shadow With Catherine Plano

There are moments in life where it is easier to blame others for the situation and feeling we are in. However, this limiting practice can only keep our true selves and potentials contained. It does not make us accountable and thus, empowered to take charge of what we are doing. In this episode. Jennifer Whitacre interviews transformational mindset coach, Catherine Plano, to talk about shadow work—of learning how to bring out and own the dark aspects of ourselves that are too often hidden in the shadows of fear and self-doubt. Catherine takes us deep into connecting with our higher selves, doing the inner work across our hero’s journey, breaking patterns, and drawing boundaries. Get into the heart of the matter in this conversation as Catherine shares more of her wisdom and knowledge about the importance of leaning into your shadow.

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Lean Into Your Shadow With Catherine Plano

Our guest is Catherine Plano. She is a transformational mindset coach. She is joining us all the way from Australia and her mission is to help individuals like us to transform and create vibrant, fulfilling lives by tapping into their superpowers, finding the leader within, and drawing on their greatest assets to bring out their fullest possible potential. That’s a high calling in life. Welcome to the show. I can’t wait to have this conversation with you.

Thank you for inviting me. I’m excited.

Tell us a little bit about yourself in your own words.

I’ve always had a curious mind and always known that there is more to what is always in front of me. It started in my teens, then into my twenties. I went on this hero’s journey, through massive self-discovery through my spiritual path. I worked for a few healing centers and had my own. I realized that people are coming to me to help them. I didn’t feel I was empowering people. I felt like, “If anything, they were depended on me,” and I didn’t feel right about that. I went on this quest and studied the brain. I got into neurolinguistics, neuroscience, and brain science. Fast forward, I’m doing as a transformational mindset coach, where I help people transform their lives or career or themselves.

I could feel your words because I had similar experiences in my practice. My clients were starting to use me as human allopathic medicine. They could come and see me because I used to be a bodyworker. In an hour, they would walk away with no pain as if I were their Tylenol and that’s not how it works. I started on my journey in a similar fashion like, “These people are dependent on me and this isn’t helping. I was enabling.” We’re going to talk a little bit about shadow work. I know that we both do that. Do you mind sharing a little bit about how you got into shadow work and what shadow work is for you?

I was curious about it. I’d heard about it. I did the deep work because what I’ve found was I keep having the same patterns that presented in my life. Whether it’s relationship or work, it didn’t matter what it was. The common denominator with all of these events that took place was me. There was no blaming with externals, my partners or my work, but it had to be me. This is when I went and did the deep work wondering why I was creating these events over again, different people, different years, different environment. It was the same shit all the time. I was thinking, “There’s got to be something to this.”

That’s when I did the deep work where I went within to find out what was going on. It took me to have a bit of a meltdown. It was about in 2011 or 2012, I had a panic attack, which I didn’t know. It took me to something to bring me down to my knees. This was in New York. When I came back to Melbourne, I was bounded in our home for almost twelve months because I was scared to leave the house. That’s when I did all this deep work. I did a lot of journaling that helped me bring out those dark aspects of me that I didn’t want to own. This is how I became curious about the shadow. It took me three years to write a book but still learning about it because there’s so much to learn about that deeper part of our mind.

What you’re saying is an important aspect that many of us missed, because when we see those patterns, it’s easy to point the finger and say, “That’s your problem that I’m experiencing this.” It was an act of courage and an act of rebellion to own it because it’s acceptable. As you went in and started doing your deep work and looking at yourself, what happened in your life? Did the people that you hang out with and had around you start to change and shift? Did you maintain the same relationships?

The deep work is hard work. CLICK TO TWEET

I became an introvert and disconnected myself from the external world so that I could do that deep work and go within. It does take a lot of courage to own up to it because it’s easier to blame the world, other people, and everything external of you. Once you say, “No, this is me projecting into my environment. This is me creating this,” it is more empowering, but it does take the deep work. Have my relationships changed 100%? If I look at my relationship with my husband, it completely transformed because when we get into a bit of a tiff, I go, “Oh.” We can have these conversations. I gave him permission many years ago to say, “I want to keep doing this deep work. I want to keep bringing light to those dark aspects of myself that I don’t want to own. I need somebody that is external to shine the light on those dark spots. Only then will I bring them to light.” It has improved my relationships, work environment, and everything around me. Those patterns are no longer following me because I have taken ownership, deep work and shadow work.

That’s important to talk about. It’s often as we do this work and we start to step into our own empowerment, then we start to lose friendships that were not healthy for us or that reiterated those old patterns. When you have that moment, when you realize, “This is my circus and these are my monkeys. I can’t blame this on anybody else,” then you start to let those people drop away and that can be uncomfortable. I see that as a barrier sometimes to people even stepping into this work and even attempting to change or transform. It’s almost a conscious choice to continue suffering rather than to heal the self. Do you see that, and how do you address that?

As you were talking, I had this quote coming to my head and it was from Jim Rohn and said, “We are the average of the five people we hang around with.” That was interesting because from a projection point of view, how is it when I had to look at my group of friends, I thought to myself, “These are all aspects of me.” Some of these friendships dropped off because I thought, “I no longer need to do this to myself anymore. These relationships no longer serve me.” It was about integrating it as well.

What I see with people sometimes is they’ll start to experiment a little bit with shadow work and go through the questions. As soon as they start into it and it starts to bring up conflict in their relationships, then they stop because of the conflict and the relationship is uncomfortable. It’s a conscious choice to stay in their suffering rather than continue with their own healing, their own personal healing and own personal growth. I was wondering, how you address that with the clients that you work with?

The deep work is hard work. Once you keep at it, you’re chipping away at it. It becomes the easy work. It’s almost a bit of a devil. People are more comfortable staying with a bad relationship or a bad job or a bad career because once you get there, it’s annoying for them, but they’re comfortable. For them to step outside of that, it can be quite confronting and quite scary. To own your shadow, the other thing it’s you can’t blame anybody else. You’re completely accountable and responsible. Some people don’t want that. That’s too much for the legal show to carry. They always deny, “No. That is not me.” Sometimes, they’ll hold a mirror up and I go, “If everything around you are mirrors and a reflection of you, what is this relationship?”

They’ll sit on one side of the chair or sit on the other side of the chair and I’ll grab the mirror. I’m like, “If this is you, what aspects of that individual can you connect with? What aspects of that individual can you say that, ‘Yes, I created that?’” It takes a lot of courage to say no, “I have created this because I don’t like that aspect of myself.” The shadow work in two ways. People think it’s always negative. It’s not. It can be as simple as I look at you and go, “You’re amazing. Look at your business. You’re thriving.” You’re putting yourself out there. That is the shadow, because that is an aspect of myself that I am not owning because I am saying that, “This is my shadow saying, ‘This is what you need to do. This is what you need to own to be successful.’”

I apologize for when I was on your show a few years ago. My perception of that and your perception of that are two totally different things. That was the first show I was ever on and there’s part of me that wants to bury my head in the sand and say, “Don’t go look Catherine.”

If you were to look at that once again, it’s the lens that we have. We were having that conversation, then we are our own worst critic. I did the same thing with that. Long ago, there was a video and I looked at the video and I was like, “Oh,” because in this talk, in my mind, I was trying to get it perfect that I ended up sounding like a bit of a robot. I know that when I looked at it again, I was being hard and I could hear this critic. With the brain, they say that with every negative, you almost have to have seven positives to outweigh.

This is the same as the shadow work. If you think about the shadow, when you put a torch up, the lighter we lean into, the more we go towards the light, the bigger the shadow comes. That’s why sometimes people walk back off. They don’t want to do that work. For me, it’s about going in there and I had to keep watching this video within a loving kindness, compassion. Completely the opposite. When I look at it, I say it with different eyes. This would be for you. If you were to go back to that podcast and to listen with your heart, with the understanding that, “This was your first one. Do you know how much courage this took?”

Lean Into Your Shadow: Own your shadow. You can’t blame anybody else. You’re completely accountable and responsible.

I was nervous as all get out that day.

That’s important for all of us and to stand in our truth and in our light that we’re not perfect. We are going to get it wrong and we also get nervous. People seem to think that, “Catherine, you’ve been doing this work for many years. You should have it all together.” I said, “I don’t have my shit together. I’m still getting in my way.” Many years ago, I had this conversation with my husband and I realized that I was getting in my way. My saboteur was popping up. I realized I had this fear of success. It doesn’t matter, in this work you’re never done. This work is ongoing.

When you talk about the closer you get to the light, is it Carl Jung who said, “The brighter the light, the darker the shadow?” That is true. You have this bright light and we’re going to have this long dark shadow behind us, the brighter the light. By not embracing our shadow, we’re doing our self a disservice because that’s part of us. The saboteur is one of the archetypes that is part of the survival family. The survival family is the saboteur, the victim, the prostitute, and the child. Everybody on the planet has those four archetypes.

Those are the archetypes that we have to contend with within our lifetime. We have to butt up against our inner child, our inner saboteur, our inner victim and our inner prostitute. These are not meant to be taken literally. You have to speak the language of symbology to truly understand this. If we don’t face these aspects of ourselves, every one of us, then we will never develop healthy self-worth and self-esteem because they’re here to help us develop our self-esteem. It’s important to go in and face them.

I remember looking into it and I was thinking at that time, I was like, “I’m not a prostitute. I’m not a victim.” Saboteur I could relate to, but it is about, “In what part of our life are we that these archetypes playing out?” When you start unpacking it, you can see these archetypes play out. It’s only when we own them and they all have a purpose. Everything, our saboteur, our shadow, it all has a purpose.

I believe it’s how our higher self communicates with us. A lot of times I use the term higher self. Some people say soul, spirits, the universe, God, greater mind, or higher intelligence. It’s that voice of wisdom. It’s quiet. It’s not loud. It’s not the ego, because the ego tends to get loud. The ego drowns out that little voice. That’s the one that comes through and it speaks in the language of symbology.

That’s why it’s important to meditate. Every morning I get up at 4:00 AM and I meditate. For us to be able to connect with the higher self, the greater mind, and understand to be able to unify all aspects of ourselves, we must be in a state of stillness for us to be able to merge and integrate all aspects. This whole thing that’s taking shape all over the world is a calling for us to go within, do the deep work and shadow work, sit with self and do that in a dialogue where they’re in an inquiry, set an intention or go into a meditation with a question, whatever that might be.

In my whole life, if I’ve ever seen the hand of the divine in anything, I swear it’s this virus. I can’t get my head around how humans could come together in a conspiracy to stop the entire world because countries that don’t communicate have come to a complete halt. There’s something divine. I see the same thing that you’re talking about where it’s almost like that higher aspect is asking us to go within and to be quiet. I can’t say that it’s across the board because I don’t follow the news and every little tiny part in the United States, but as the reopening rolls out, the weather starts coming in. On the first day of phase two reopening where I live, we had massive thunderstorms, rapid rainfalls, tornadoes on the commute home on day one. It was our busiest day in two months on the road. I’m like, “Somebody is saying, ‘Go back to your room. You came out too soon.’” It’s happening in other places too. Is it a stretch? Am I putting meaning where there’s not meaning? I don’t know. It seems almost too coincidental.

All of us need to stand in our truth and our light that we’re not perfect. CLICK TO TWEET

We’ve had some crazy winds and rains too. I call it divine intervention because if I look at it, we have been asking to slow down because everything was going fast. I also run a podcast and every person I’ve been speaking to over the years, it’s like, “We’re going too fast. It’s been burned out. I would slow down. I wish I could spend more time with my family.” It’s happening. We’ve been fighting for the improvement of our environment and the earth. The planet is healing.

As are we, if we let ourselves. We have to allow that healing.

Everyone will react and respond differently to this whole situation. We can’t control externally. When we’re talking about doing the deep work, you can’t control other people. The only thing we can control is ourselves. I remember, there’s this one individual that I did some work with and it was about their partner. All they did was complain about their partner and blame their partner. It’s the same story that maybe some of us have experienced. I know that I’ve experienced it myself. I said, “For the next 21 days, think of one good thing that you could focus on this person.” This about when I first met my husband, I thought the sun was shining out of his crown chakra and he couldn’t do anything wrong at all and it wasn’t until over a period of time, that little things started annoying me.

I started focusing on those little things and it became bigger things. I was blinded by this shadow of what I projected onto my partner. It wasn’t until I started going, “This is me projecting. Let’s turn this around in what aspects of my life and I’m not owning these.” We chunk up because it might not be that specific. By doing that work and shifting the lens a little bit, you can start seeing that person in the light. I’m a bit lucky. I don’t watch the news, nor read the paper, nor want to be influenced because I’m in a bubble of joy. I’m enjoying being a big introvert. For all of us, if we asked this question, “How did I create this? What did I ask for to receive this?” It’s more empowering than blaming.

People have been complaining about society, their lives, and the world. What a perfect opportunity to change it and do something about it.

It is, “What can we do about it?” Rather than saying, “We can’t do anything about it.”

On the larger macro scale, we need our government’s on board with that attitude. I don’t think that’s the case around the world. It certainly is not in my country where the government is not on board with, “How can we improve this? How can we make sure that some of our essential workers have some more solid protections in place in case this ever happens again? What can we do to help them before the second wave and the third wave hit?” That’s not happening. Without the government’s involvement, it’s even more important for us to do our individual work. That’s how we change the world. If we all change ourselves, the whole world’s going to change.

If we’re talking about essential and if we want other people to rise and ascend, we need to be leading by example. That’s the internal work. I remembered that there were thousands of people that aggregated and did this meditation to improve the environment because there was lots of crime in the 1980s. From doing that inner work and lifting their vibration, projecting this love, kindness, and compassion externally, the crime dropped by a big percentage. If we look at that, this is what we must do. It’s calling for us to go within and do that deep work for us to project that love, predict that light, instead of pointing the fingers at the government. Different countries are responding, reacting differently. There are some countries that don’t practice social distancing. People get too caught up whether it’s a conspiracy, what other countries are doing, what we should be doing going within and doing that deep work to bring that light, to rise the vibration or raise the vibration. Once we project that love into our government, it will help evoke exactly what we want out of our environment, but it starts with us.

Those experiments with meditation and crime have happened in multiple cities. As this pandemic started, there was a mass global meditation at 10:45 that night. Whenever that mass global meditation happened, it showed up on the Schumann Resonance, which is the vibration of the earth.

Lean Into Your Shadow: For us to be able to connect with the higher self and the greater mind, and to be able to unify all aspects of ourselves, we must be in a state of stillness.

I remember that was when the portals opened because there was the alignment of Saturn and Pluto. It was awakened for us. It was around the 4th and 5th of April.

It records on the Schumann resonance, which I thought was quite remarkable because they’re constantly monitoring this resonance of the earth and that’s powerful.

How do we make that mainstream?

It’s becoming more mainstream. A lot of people are maintaining their sanity while we’re staying at home or in quarantines through meditation and practices of mindfulness. It’s becoming more popular. I want to circle back, because whenever you introduced yourself, you said that you embarked on a hero’s journey. Can you talk a little bit about what the hero’s journey is to you? How did you go through the hero’s journey? What is it and what did it look like for you?

If you have a look at the tarot cards, the hero’s journey, the fool that jumps out into the void, not knowing where they’re going to lead. If you have a look at the card itself, the background shows that there are high mountains or low mountains, and sometimes we have to climb up high. We get to the top and then we fell down. That’s the hero’s journey. We are constantly going through those ups and downs in life. Sometimes we will cross paths with whether it’s a dragon or another individual. As I was sharing with you, for me it’s like, “This is a new beginning. I’m jumping out into the void and starting my life all over again.” Which I’ve done many times. I will go on my journey, having fun and loving life. All of a sudden, I trip over, and once again, if we go back to the shadow, we’re projecting this individual who I thought might’ve been my mentor or whatever that may be, ended up having a relationship with that person, and ended up hurting.

The hero’s journey is going in deep into that unconscious. It’s doing that deep work, hiding and if we’re looking at the archetypes as well, being the victim, feeling sorry for myself and whatever that may be. Once you’ve done all that deep work, then this essence of, “I can get through this,” and, “I can start rising again,” you’re coming through and then you start all over again. This is like, “Everything works in circles,” and it’s the circle of life. We’re going through our adventures. We were going to come across our foes, pain, disasters, chaos, and then we go and play this whole victim mentality and feeling sorry for ourselves and blaming the world until we come back out again. I noticed these patterns that were repeating over again. I’m sure this is for everyone. When we struggle, when we find those dark moments, they don’t last for long.

I always used to say to myself, “This too shall pass,” every time because I had them over again. When I had these struggle moments, I looked at these moments as I’ve matured in life. They’re not a struggle, they’re a blissful experience. If I can find the light within that struggle, I can move across much quicker. Sometimes in the hero’s journey, when we look at people, they get stuck. I know some people that get stuck in the struggle. I talk about this in one of my TEDx Talks that I had a client for eight years who hung on to her divorce. Sometimes we keep ourselves stuck because we do. You’re not stuck. You decide to stay there. When it happens, the quicker I can get through this and the quicker when these struggles or these obstacles, I’ll look at these as a way forward. They’re not there to stop me directly. The hero’s journey goes quickly. It’s not, “I get stuck in any areas of my life.”

You’ve talked a lot about patterns. It’s important to go a little bit deeper into some of the patterns because many of us are blind to our own patterns. I can imagine that maybe some of the readers are going, “How do you figure out what your patterns are?” How do you start becoming aware? I have a hard time explaining this to people because my whole life, I’ve always had some level of awareness. If somebody lacks awareness, I have a hard time explaining that.

If we want other people to rise and ascend, we need to be leading by example. CLICK TO TWEET

Some patterns for me would be that I ended up in relationships with a broken heart. This was a repeating pattern. “Why were my partners being unfaithful all the time?” That was one pattern. Why is this constantly repeating? “Why are people taking advantage of me?” This was happening all the time. “Why is it that people are constantly taking me for granted?” There was another pattern. For example, I’m a workaholic and because I get things done, they’re giving me more. Every role that I played over again, they constantly gave me lots of work.

This was an ongoing pattern to the point where I was overwhelmed all the time. The patterns are, “What are you experiencing over and over again?” Broken heart, being a victim, people taking advantage of me or whether it was work, I’m feeling overwhelmed all the time. These are patterns. Once we can identify these patterns, what helps me is writing them down. Journaling for me is the biggest part because then you get them out of your head. Once you get it out of your head, it’s easier to make sense of it.

If we keep it in our head and it goes from side to side and we’re constantly playing like, “Is it my imagination?” We can’t make sense of it. Writing it down for me helped me bring to light these patterns. I could be as simple as, “What are my patterns in my life?” I do it every seven years, “What was the pattern from the time I was born up to the age of seven?” Probably, I can’t remember that pattern from 7 to 14. When you start doing this, you can start seeing, “What was the headline every seven years? What was that story for you every seven years?” You’ll start seeing a pattern.

In order to do this work, it requires us to turn off the TV and to stop constantly entertaining that narrative, that ego, that mind that thinks it’s in control. We’re constantly entertaining that, we constantly have earbuds and listening to music, audiobooks, and podcasts. At some point, I hope you turn off the darn podcast and go within and start to explore. You’ve said a few times that you’ve had to disconnect from the world. That’s been my experience, where I had to separate myself and not go out into the world as often so I can go within. These are huge missing links that aren’t emphasized enough.

We should take this opportunity to do that. Go with it and do some journaling. Sometimes listening to podcasts, what I find in some of the feedback that you’ll get and everybody gets is they hear a conversation like this and they’ll go, “I am normal. There are other people that go through this. There are other people that think this way about themselves.” It does give you inspiration or motivation.

My deepest hope for people is that whenever they get those, “I’m not alone,” felt sense in their body. That’s a little a-ha moment. It’s not just a thought, a realization has a felt sense to it or an a-ha moment has that feeling. When you get that feeling, that’s your cue. When that podcast is over, take some alone time and go further into whatever that topic was that you felt in your body, like it landed.

Also, this whole calling is to go within the heart. When we come from a place of love, we can be so much more compassionate. If we go back to the podcast when we first met or even the video that I was talking about, when we go in the place from the heart or love, it’s different. For example, when we talk about our inner critic, I have a photo of me when I was eighteen months old. I’ve got this curly hair and I’m sitting on my bike. When I hear the inner critic, I will look at this photo because it’s a visual thing. When we’re thinking about that deeper part of our unconscious mind, it does speak the language of pictures. The symbols, it’s the pictures. As soon as you look at this photo and a quick question, “Catherine, would you speak to that little girl like that?” The answer is always no. The whole experience, crisis or pandemic, I call it an opportunity for us to do that work and sit in silence. I don’t watch TV or news. I’ll watch Gaia. I love educating my mind and keeping myself as positive as possible.

It is important to pay attention to what we consume. That’s not just eat what we consume with all of our senses, not just the gustatory ones. What we consume, smell, hear, see, feel, that’s super important. That segues into a conversation about boundaries because I believe boundaries are for us. You don’t know my boundaries. If you cross a boundary, how unfair is it for me to say, “You offended me.” You’re like, “How the hell did I know? You don’t know what my boundaries are.” My boundaries are for me. If you cross one of my boundaries, I would hope that I would be compassionate and kind enough to respond to that in a way to reestablish the boundary in a healthy way, without getting snappish or being a jerk. Putting it on you and making it your fault that you crossed a boundary you didn’t even know existed. That’s a huge part of the shadow work too is learning to establish boundaries and maintain those healthy boundaries.

I am into astrology and I study it, but being triple water, I have no boundaries. For me, it’s like I need a container. For me, it’s like, “I want to help the world. I want to change the world.” I don’t feel comfortable saying no. It takes a lot of work to say to myself that, “Every time you say yes to somebody else, you’re saying no to you.” I’ve had to become creative in creating these boundaries because I feel uncomfortable saying no, I will say, “Can I get back to you? At right at this moment, I have these projects I’m working on. Can we talk about in months’ time or six weeks’ time? Is there somebody else that you could consider?” I’ve learned to create boundaries without saying no. I had a coach who coached me on that saying, “Say no.” I’m like, “I can’t.” I felt like I was pushing out my boundaries, making me say or do something that is not natural to me. When I was able to say it in a different way and understand that I’m including myself in the decision making.

Lean Into Your Shadow: It’s time to bring light to our shadow, love our shadow, and integrate our shadow.

My husband will call it, “I have the squirrel moment.” For example, they’ll come in as, “Catherine, do you want to do this project with me?” I’m like, “That sounds exciting.” “You’re going to help change the world and it’s going to help promote you.” If I look at it, it plays two ways. The ego is getting all lit up like Christmas tree. The shadow is also saying, “These are aspects that maybe you need to own or look into, not necessarily somebody else.” For me to keep me on track with my boundaries is I have a vision board that sits in front of me. When I have these squirrel moments, I look at my vision board and say, “Catherine, is it aligned with what you want to create for yourself issue?” If the answer is no, then I’ll have to decline, but they’re my squirrel moments. We all have them. When there is something bright and shiny somewhere else, we’ve got, “Let’s do that.”

I hope the audience is reading what Catherine’s saying because you’ve talked about things that you have in your room that you have placed there purposely as reminders to keep your mind on the track where you want it to be. Instead of letting that ego narrator mind take you where it thinks you should go. Whenever that narrative in our mind that narrates life for us, that inner judge, that inner critic, which is more attached to the ego and the personality not the subconscious or unconscious, that will take us off the rails and it’s the dictator within.

We have to use our tools because we are living in this physical reality and sometimes, we need physical things to keep us anchored to what we want to create.

It was Einstein who said something to be the effect that the mind is a better servant than master. It is possible to take that ego and have it work for us and work with us more like the servant of that higher mind rather than the dictator over it. It’s like the, “Ruling in hell versus serving in heaven,” concept.

For me, we need ego. Not that long ago, I wrote an article about the ego or, “Your ego is not your amigo,” because the ego is the mediator between the conscious and unconscious. Once upon a time, I remember, because I was a people pleaser and I still am, someone was saying for me, “I need to invest time with my ego,” which before I was like, “I don’t want to invest in ego.” That’s not spiritual. I could not relate to it, but that was my whole shadow playing out. I used to. This is another pattern. Every time I would go and speak or why I would be in corporate environments and I would say the words, “Egotistic.” I would never do that. That was me projecting. I’ve had to own my ego, integrate and dance with my ego.

That’s another thing I feel. Been there, done that too. When it comes to setting boundaries with ourselves and having this relationship with the ego, it’s important to go a little bit further into why this is important. Something I’d like to add here is, I believe that this soul aspect to ourselves, this higher self is where we gain our energy or our empowerment. It’s where our power comes from within. Whenever I say empowerment or that power within, I’m not meeting power over anything in the world around us. I’m talking about power as in charging our batteries. Every time we get an intuitive hit and we let the ego override that intuitive hit, also known as, “You can’t say no to people,” because you’re overriding that, or you’re not focused on what you truly want and you get attracted by the squirrel moment.

That eats away at our energy. It depletes our batteries and it drains our batteries. We even have this language about us. We need to pay attention more to our language. Sometimes we’re around people and like, “I love her, but she drains me. Every time I’m around her, I feel drained.” Right there you know that somebody is draining your energy. When we don’t form a healthy relationship with our shadow, listen to that symbolic language that comes from it and tries to navigate, then we don’t have any currency in our energetic system. It is the immune system for our psyche because we do have an energetic immune system.

If that is depleted chronically, it’s going to start drawing energy from our cellular tissue. Eventually, the body is going to break down and we’re going to develop a chronic issue, chronic illness and chronic disease. I am not a big fan of diagnosing mental illness with different labels. At the same time, that’s the model we have in America. The more depleted you are, the more likely you are to be labeled with an autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, PTSD, bipolar or anything that you can find in the DSM. This is my take on it. Can you add to it or give me your take on it?

Sometimes, we keep ourselves stuck because we decide to stay there. CLICK TO TWEET

What you were saying is, to words, carry vibration and energy. When we start being more mindful, present and listening to the words, that gives us a hint as to what is going on at the unconscious level. Quite often, I know that I used to catch myself out, “This meeting is driving me crazy. This lady is a pain in the butt,” all of these sayings that I used to say, and then I’d wonder that it’s simple as like, “I’ve got a sore back on the bottom of my spine.” I know I was getting it quite often like a pain in my tail. If you will listen to the words and I carry a vibration, you create it. We manifest it in our physical body. When we listen to the words that we’re using, we can change them quickly.

I started changing my language because when there’s emotion involved in the words that we use, we attract it towards us like a magnet. There are some certain words I won’t even use. I know it carries a vibration and I don’t want that vibration anywhere near me. What I am saying with labels. People have labels. “You’ve got Asperger’s,” and that person’s going to go home and Google everything about Asperger’s. If they can connect to any aspect of that, they’ve got Asperger’s and the more they talk about it, and the more they believe it, the emotions they invest in it, the more they are going to create exactly that manifest, exactly whatever you want to call it.

I also feel like this is incredibly important and because I feel like it’s a double-edged sword sometimes. It can be super important whenever we’re holding something in, that’s creating shame or guilt or humiliation that we don’t want the rest of the world to see. It can be important to name some of those things. Sometimes labels can be important. Can you talk about how do you know the difference? How do you know when to say no and when to name it? Both are important and it’s situational.

We label it because it’s either something that we were told, whether it’s shame or not. For example, when I work with my inner critic, the only way that I was able to work with inner critic was to give it a name and it’s Roger. As a way to separate myself from my inner critic to do the deep work, labeling works. When it comes to emotion, and this is for me only, from my own experience, doing my own deep work, when I label it as shame or anger or whatever that may be, it becomes that. When I do the work where it’s an emotion and I go, “It’s a feeling and not labeling it.” I find from my experience, it’s easier to work with.

What is that? In that feeling, is there’s always a story behind that? Whatever that emotion you’re feeling, what’s the story behind that? When I can connect with a story, I can work with it. If I start labeling it as shame or anger, I find that it’s almost like manifests sometimes in my physical body because I’ve carried it for a long time. If we have a look at the bodies that we have. We have a spiritual body, mental body and emotional body and our physical body. What we think dribbles, it comes into the other aspects of our body. With enough emotion, it goes into our physical body.

Our emotion fuels our thoughts. When people say, “Catherine, I can’t believe I’ve been doing all this work with you. I thought I was done with it and my shit comes up.” I’m like, “No. When it’s in your body, it’s on its way out because you are working through it and you’re releasing it.” Labeling does work, but sometimes with my experience, working with emotions or labeling those can sometimes, even with clients, keeps them stuck in that emotion. Sometimes I use the analogy of, “Let’s not label it. What is the story behind this feeling?” Listen to that story.

You could start to question it and look for holes in the story because we get attached to the story we tell ourselves. The story we tell ourselves is the worst possible scenario for us. It’s what holds us personally in the worst light and we latch onto that. It’s a form of catastrophizing. Our brains are hardwired to do that. It’s part of our survival mechanism. The problem is we’re not being chased by saber tooth tigers anymore. We are at the top of the food chain and the danger in the world, a lot of it is imagined.

We create these imaginary stories and we have to challenge ourselves to look beyond it. I wanted to add what you were saying about naming, especially with emotions. I encourage my clients to do exactly what you were saying to put distance between themselves in the emotion. Instead of saying, “I’m angry,” say, “I’m feeling anger. I’m experiencing anger.” Keep that at arms’ length. It’s okay to name it and acknowledge that you’re experiencing anger, but you don’t have to be the anger and saying, “I am angry.” Am is a form of the word be.

Sometimes, whatever that emotion, give it a name. It’s interesting how sometimes it might be a mother or the father or grandpa. You can call it whatever emotion you’re going through. It’s, “I’m feeling angry. I’m feeling sad. I’m feeling pissed off. I’m feeling hurt.” Put it on the other side of the chair. I always use this analogy, there were you and this other person, put them on the other chair and give it a name. When you give it a name, that’s where the stories come out.

Getting to the Heart of the Matter: The No-Nonsense Guide to Personal & Professional Transformation

I would like to hear a little bit about your book called Getting to The Heart of The Matter. You said it took you three years to write it. That’s quite a journey.

You’ve got to do what’s right for you and how it works for you. The more research we do or, “This is how you should write a book,” it’s going to be different for everybody. From my experience, Getting to The Heart of The Matter is when I did all that deep work. I was doing all of that research because I had a meltdown. I call it the best thing that I’ve experienced because I was able to do it. It’s a beautiful book, it’s colorful, but it’s a workbook. It’s not a book that you read. It’s a book that you would pick up and do a bit at a time.

I would always say, “Do one chapter or activity once a week,” because it takes time to integrate. For myself, when I’ve sat through some courses, if there’s too much content, you can’t integrate it. When it is drip-fed a little bit at a time, it’s easy, but it’s got heaps of tools in there that helped me pull out of my man cave because I need to go in there. For those that are interested in doing the deep work, the book is beautiful. It’s not all content. Every page has pictures, which we know is what stimulates the unconscious mind and it’s what speaks to us. It’s not just the words, it’s the pictures in the book that will speak to you.

What do you have to say to people who are afraid of shadow work? They fear it because they hear shadow work, they think it’s all dark, horror movie type of stuff, evil, bad and the dark forces. That’s a common misconception about shadow work. At least in America, that’s what I run into a lot. What would you say to people who are afraid of shadow work because they’re afraid it’s like that dark wolf that lives within?

It’s time to bring light to our shadow, love our shadow and integrate our shadow. This is one thing I used to say to my son all the time when he was little, “We have a dark wolf and we have a white wolf. It depends on which one we feed, to which one becomes more evident, more powerful and more present.” You can’t ignore the shadow because we are part of a dichotomy whether it’s male, female, positive, negative, that exists. We need to integrate those, be right in the center, and be okay with both. If we can’t do that, this shadow will constantly have these patterns, problems, and struggles. The quicker we integrate our shadow and do the work, the better our lives will be. The quicker that the things that we want in our life will present.

Those parts of us that we ignore act out the same way that a child who is neglected will act out after chronic neglect. If you continue to ignore these aspects of yourselves, the longer time goes, you get to middle age and you get that midlife crisis. These things are acting out because you’ve ignored them for so long. Maybe it’s time to pay attention because they’re screaming at you. That’s what creates the suffering. Those parts that we ignore, create suffering inside of us.

It will constantly be nagging like a child at your nightgown or dress if we don’t pay it attention.

Tell us a little bit about your  Rise & Thrive Coaching Academy.

Your ego is not your amigo. CLICK TO TWEET

The Rise & Thrive Coaching Academy is a coaching Academy that is based on research, psychotherapy, psychology, brain science, neuroscience, neurolinguistics because everything that I do is about transformation. The difference for us is that this Coaching Academy also provides a business in a box. When I started my journey, I didn’t have contracts, proposals or anything like that. This coaching program provides the whole business in a box. Plus, the two best ways to promote yourself is through writing and speaking.

They are also a part of our advanced modules. I know for myself, even though I used to write in a journal for many years, to put it out there is a big difference from writing it into. I always talk about how hard it was. I was afraid. What will people think? All of these things, I was getting in my own way. Speaking and writing are two main ways to expose, standing your truth, and shine. If you’ve got a message and you do want to make a difference in the world or raise the vibration of the planet or whatever that may be for you, whatever your why is, this is all a part of the Rise & Thrive Academy.

Do you work with people only locally in Melbourne?

It’s a global organization. Everything has been moved online. It’s a blessing because when this all took place, I had to cancel events and some of my speaking gigs. We’ve had to move everything online. It was blended learning, but it is all online. It is a global program and it’s open to everybody.

Catherine, it has been an honor to have you here, so much rich, juicy information that we talked about. Thank you.

It’s been such an honor to be on your show and it was nice to have a soulful conversation with likeminded individuals. Thank you for everything. Your ton of energy has been awesome.

Do you have any final tips or bits of wisdom to leave with our readers?

The best thing that you can do is spend time with self. We are all in this together and it’s about what do we do with it? It’s a calling to go with him. For those that don’t journal, don’t meditate or practice, mindfulness, stop resisting. Let’s go within and take control of what you can control.

Thank you to our readers. I hope you’ll subscribe and share this. There are lots of valuable information that can help people. If anybody is curious or wants to know more, you can reach out to me or you can reach out to Catherine. Have a fantastic day.

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About Catherine Plano

Catherine Plano is a Queen of Transformation, a Creative Soul Adventurer, & a Modern Day Alchemist. In this day and age, Catherine believes the world is crying out for leaders–more authentic leaders to truly make a difference. In essence, to stand in your truth is to be a leader, and leadership is defined by the way you think and the way you behave. To Catherine, this is a game-changer!

Catherine knows exactly what is getting in your way and holding you back from becoming an incredible leader. It all starts with you.

Catherine’s mission is to help as many individuals like you to transform and create a vibrant, fulfilling life by tapping into their superpowers, finding the leader within and drawing on their greatest assets to bring out their fullest possible potential.

Catherine helps her clients make a life and thrive, not just make a living and survive!

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