Today I'm chatting with my friend and body worker, Melodye Curtain. Join as we explore the correlation between integrating physical and emotional scars as well as expanding beyond the sad, mad, glad experience into something richer through incorporating AND experiences.
Well, hello and welcome back. So I am here today with my friend melody curtain, and I absolutely love her. She has been my curly haired, optimist friends. And we'd entertain the idea at some point of doing a podcast together, which I'm still 100% open to because she's just so much fun to visit with. So I kind of wanted to share her with the rest of you. She's a massage therapist and does a lot of bodywork and she has also been my aunt friend. She's the one that kind of reinforced to me that two things can exist at the same time, even when they seem like they're in conflict with each other. And that has been a total game changer for me and really helped them supported me in my coaching practice. So thank you for being here, melody. You're welcome. Thank you for inviting me. I gave me a nice introduction. Everyone's going to think I'm just getting, I don't know what they're going to expect. But I want anybody dab. Well, she's awesome. So get excited. Yeah, and this is also super fun because this is my first time interviewing anybody on the podcast and being in the same room as them. Oh really? Yeah. Yeah. So with me moving, I thought, oh, I've always wanted that for my podcast. I thought I might as well do it when we can actually be in the same room as each other. So I thought first we could kind of talk a little bit about being and France. And so tell me more about, and, and how that has impacted you. Yes. And I'm, we were just talking. I'm very happy to see this concept is really taking off. Some of us have been. Talking about it. I'm going to tell you how it came into my life. And, uh, and it's a big group of people. We were all talking about it in a group that I'm in. And so people have been posting about it and I noticed it's taking off. And I think it's a very important concept. Especially to teach our children. They're very young so that they can learn that. To identify emotion. And understand they can have more than one emotion at a time. A lot of adults don't even understand this. I think. I think people typically identify with happy, sad, or mad. Those are the three. And within those three. There are all these sub text, right? So I think what happens when we don't understand what we're feeling or we can't name our emotions, we don't understand that maybe we're having more than one emotion. It's a feeling of dysregulation. Right? We see this in children with tantrum throwing. Even adults with tantrum throwing. Or perhaps an overreaction to something right. That the rest of us are kind of looking at each other, thinking, why are they so upset about that? So I had an instructor. I'm involved in a group called white people, doing something. And this group started after george Floyd died. I was murdered. And this couple. That lives in New York, Asia, and Mali. They are interracial. A couple and they decided to start a group because a lot of people are feeling really frustrated. Right. What do we do? How do we help? How do we address anti-racism? In this class, a Molly. Has this way she talks, where she always emphasizes the word and. Right. And she'd be coaching along and she would say, Such and such. You know, and. In the group we were talking about, oh, do you ever notice how Molly does that? And. How that actually leaves space for two things to happen. Instead of saying, but she never says, but Shelly says and and we started talking about how, just that simple change, you know, if we say, oh, I'd really like to travel, but I have no money. But my finances or my resources are limited. Right. We say, but we stop ourselves. Right there. It's like a stop sign. And so we were kind of joking about that. Oh, we need to get off our butts. No. If you say I would love to travel and my finances are a little limited right now. And I don't have the resources for that. And it's something I really want to do. The, and is a continuation and you're going to figure out. A way to do that. I love that about getting off your buts. And opening yourself up to possibility. Correct. I love that. So we started applying it to emotions too, or at least I did. Am I, my life, I started thinking about how. G I'm very, very sad and. Frustrated and angry. All of these things. I'm not just one. A lot of people will be angry about what's going on in the world. Some people are only sad about what's going on in the world. I believe we're probably all feeling a lot of different things. And so I just started applying that to everything in my life and making space for everything. Right. I'm feeling very tired today. And. You know, I have a lot to do. Right. Both things. That that gives me space to take a rest. Actually and permission to do that. And I think that deepens your level of emotional intelligence when you can acknowledge that. These two things can be existing at the same time. because so often, like you said, the sad, mad, glad, like we kind of stuck there. Yeah. And it's like, no, there's so much more happening here. And so sometimes it can be fun to just be like, okay, what three emotions am I experiencing right now? We can't get to three to get to maybe two. Like, I think it was Bernay brown that said in order to consider emotionally intelligent, you have to be aware of, I think you said like 32 emotions or something. And so there's so many options in the in-between. But you have to allow space for it. And I remember one day, like I was, you know, in some kind of a fight with my husband or something, we're not perfect. Sorry guys. But. I can't remember what the issue was, but something silly. And so I was upset about that, but then I was also watching a TV show that was funny. And I laughed, even though I was mad. I thought, well, that was interesting. And it was kind of cool for me to witness for myself that, oh my gosh. Like even positive and negatives can be experienced at the same time. Right. It's not like I have to only be happier. Only be upset when doesn't shut down the other. Yeah. I can allow space for all of it. And. That helps me be more present that I could be present for this dumb TV show and also be present for this conversation with my husband and, and all of these things can happen at the same time. I was really an interesting thing to discover. And I think it's really important when we, because hard things happen in life. But to realize that at the same time, There can be joined or lives. Happiness in our lives. So I think it's especially applicable degrees. When people are grieving. I think it's important to understand that they're going to be feeling that. They're also going to experience moments of joy. And to give them permission to do that. That doesn't mean that they're finished grieving. That takes as long as it takes. Right. I just hate this idea of people getting on with it or getting over grief or. You move forward with your grief. It takes as long as it takes. And at that time, A lot of beautiful things are also happening. Because life continues. Well in that kind of reminds me earlier. And then we were talking about Michael singer's book, the untethered soul. And part of what he talks about is kind of like the idea of suppressing the emotions, right? Where like, it's kind of like a beach ball. You can hold it under the water, but eventually it's going to pop up. And you can either do it mindfully and bring it to the surface or it can explode and it might hit you in the face. Yes. He talks about how we feel that we're protecting ourselves. Not bringing those up right. We pushed that down so we don't deal with it because it hurts. It makes you mad or whatever it is. So we're pushing that down and we're thinking that we're protecting ourselves but we're actually hurting ourselves. And it can actually even make us physically sick. Because it can manifest in physical. Harm. As well. And so I like the idea in that book also, I think he talks about letting those things surface because they're not going to hurt you. It's energy, that we acknowledge. And then we let it pass on. That helped me a lot. You know, I have a lot of anxiety. And so now I examine my anxiety. I just say, hello, anxiety. What are you trying to teach me today? Right. What is it? Oh, oh. Right. You don't want me to be late. Thank you, anxiety for reminding me that I'm on a schedule today and I'm going to do time checks. Yeah, I'm going to stay ahead of that. It serves a purpose. It does. And once you greet it, And acknowledge what it is, and it's not entirely a bad thing. We think of anxiety is something like we have to control and get over. It's a reminder. Really all of our emotions are messages, so if we just tap into that a little bit. Okay. And why am I feeling this? What is this? What is this trying to tell me? So I need to not procrastinate to get. Oh, such and such done. I've got a big move coming up and there's a lot to pack. Something like that. And in your awake at night, thinking about it. It's just thank your anxiety for that. And let your anxiety know, like, okay, I'm going to make a list now. And that's what you do. Make a little list, a little timeline for yourself. It helps me anyway. Then I can. Just move forward. So recently with one of my coaching clients, then it was really interesting because, I was asking her like, what are the emotions that you want to be feeling. And so she was listing off all these positive emotions, you know? I want to feel confident and successful at and all of these things and competent I'm like, okay. And what emotions do you have to experience in order to get there? Like you kind of have to experience the failure. You have to experience the insecurity. Like there are so many emotions and then you have to go through that before you can get to the other side. And so often we think, no, but I want the positive emotions without experiencing anything negative, but that's not part of the human experience. And it was interesting because one of the comments she made towards the end of the session, she said, thank you for that because I've been battling in my mind thinking, no, I should only be feeling these positive emotions and thinking these happy thoughts. And, and so just to have that realization and that recognition that, Nope, this is part of it. And, and the more I'm able to allow space for these. Quote unquote negative experiences, the more increases my capacity to experience those positive ones. That makes me think of. Toxic positivity. which I think, especially as women, we're very socialized. But you need to be positive all the time. And sometimes the most positive thing you can do is address your negative emotions. Yeah. Because not only do we, as women are, we taught that we're supposed to be happy all the time, but we're supposed to make everyone else hat on all the time, too. And so we don't want anyone to experience any negative emotion. That's the worst thing in the world that could happen. If somebody in our presence is having a negative emotion, but then we're not actually able to sit with them and be with them. No, because it makes us uncomfortable. Right. When really all they need is just that presence and that acknowledgement. And then the emotion will process on its own because you have, like you said, like an emotion, it's just a vibration or a body. That's it? That's it. It's a little message. And that has helped me so much. Here's a bit of a mind blowing thought. I had recently to myself. What if emotions are neither positive or negative? They're just emotions. So what if we didn't label emotions as good or bad? We just labeled them as emotions. thank you so much easier. It would be to accept. All of them. And deal with them each. So certainly there are emotions that make us feel better than other emotions. I'm not saying that. But just by accepting them as emotions. I just think we're able to examine them instead of trying to get rid of some of them or have some more than the other. Right. Just saying that this is a part of my experience and I can accept all of it. And yeah, I hope so. Let go of the judgment that things should be any different, right? It helps with that radical acceptance piece of this just is, and this emotion is just a vibration in my body. Right. And it's the message and we're learning from it. And all of those things. And I think it also. Allows us to be more understanding of other people's emotions as well, instead of thinking, oh, I don't want to be around her. She's always really negative. You know? Or they're always really angry. We just accept their emotions. And just having some emotions today. Oh, you're feeling some really big things right now. Which is so interesting because then we don't want to hang out with somebody because of their emotions. What we're actually saying is I don't like the emotions that I feel when I'm in their presence. Like we haven't learned how to navigate our own negative emotions. Right. Of course, they're going to have a hard time being in efficient. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. It's interesting to think about. I wish I had. Had this realization. Before I had our foster son. Is that I could have really helped him. I think. More than I did, or differently than I did. But again, it's so important to just. Just let those feelings common realize that they can all exist. You know? Emotions are complex. Human beings are complex. Life is complicated. Never black and white, you know? There's a lot of layers there. Yeah. And I think that that's a really good segue into the other thing I really want to talk with you about is so, as I told you, before, melody does bodywork and she recently took a course on scars and how to release them. And I loved the way she described it and how it can apply to mental health as well. But first we tell us a little bit about what you learned about scars. Sure. So scar therapy is about integrating the scar into the body, not, trying to break it down or get rid of it because our scars are there. Right. They're going to be there unless they have some kind of plastic surgery or something to cover them up. They're part of our history and who we are. And so what happens is that a lot of times scars what we see on the surface. And it may heal very nicely. It doesn't we think, oh, that doesn't bother us at all. It's barely noticeable, but a lot of times what's happening is underneath the surface. Kind of like when you see a picture of an iceberg and you might just see the tip of it at the top and underneath it's, it's really big. And so what happens is that the scar actually, can affect our fascia. And so I'll just explain what fascia is for listeners who may not know, but it's a connected tissue in our body that surrounds all of our muscles. And it connects everything as well. It wraps our bones. It wraps organs and, um, it's from head to toe. So people kind of imagine a wedding in there or like a. A big piece of pantyhose. Uh, two with pantyhose. So it's all connected. So scarring can affect the fascia and how the fascia heals. And so a lot of times people will have maybe nerve pain. Or a tension. In that area around the scar. Um, They may not notice it actually, any pulling or pain or anything associated with the scar directly, but maybe the muscles in the surrounding area always hurt or tents or maybe even on the opposite side of the body., so for instance, Working on my Syrian scar. I was actually having a lot of. Kind of mysterious hip pain. I couldn't figure out what it was. And it started to affect my lower back too. So I thought maybe it was my psoas muscles or my hip flexors or something like that. But once I started working on. My Syrian scar. Then it started allowing all that fascia to unwind. And to move more freely. And when that happened, all the other pain went away so we've seen some miraculous things with this work and it's so gentle is the thing it's like gentle stroking and for anybody who. Is familiar with. When phatic work, if anybody's listening. Does body work? You'll you'll know exactly what it is cause it's just the scary, gentle movement. Like lymphatic work. Same pressure. Um, it's interesting because. in massage school, they teach you to break down scar tissue. And you want to get rid of the scar. Right. And so you're working deep and you're trying to lessen it in that. Can work at first. But what happens is that the body then just comes back and they, it just builds that colleges back up. Thicker. So with. With this gentle work. We're integrating it. We're not trying to get rid of the scar. We're just trying to give it movement. And what's interesting is that, you know, there's always an emotional side to things too, right? And so a lot of times working on scars actually releases a lot of memory around it. If people have been suppressing or. Holding onto. And so it just goes so much deeper than what we're doing physically. A lot of times people have even blocked their scars because they won't look at them or touch them themselves. And maybe they think they're hideous to look at. Or they're just trying to, you know, they're in denial about what happened or There's just a lot that, that goes on there. And so when you start. Working on the score and you're gently touching it. I think it gives people permission almost to acknowledge the scar and what happened because I'm willing to touch the scar. I'm not repulsed by the scar. So some scars, you know, are very minimal. Maybe some of them are very raised, maybe really ropey. Sometimes they limit people's range of motion. I think burn scars. Our especially, emotional. mastectomy scars. Things like that. Where there's been a great loss. And then they're reminded of that. So we talk a lot about, you know, how do you feel about your scar? Do you ever touch your scar? And then I asked them to touch their scar and to notice what they feel about it physically. And then I work on the scar and then we look at it again and it's always amazing. Like, it'll be flattered. Might change color, like lighter. When we worked on your foot scar, the rest of your scar kind of surfaced and appeared part of the scar. Or you'd forgotten about, right? And then we were able to work on that. Yeah, it was almost like my body was saying, Hey, me too. Like finally somebody is here to help, like. Let me show you what else needs to be done? It was it. It was pretty neat. And I've had that experience too, working on a client. He came in and, you know, we're working on three of his scars and then. I got around to the back side, just doing regular massage work. And I said, oh, You have another scar over here. And he said, oh, I forgot all about that scar. And he told me he was a firefighter. So he told me what that came from. And I started working on it and it was like, wow, there's just a lot of tension around it. It was like that scar was just begging to be touched because it popped up to the surface. Fully. And I'm like, oh, this is an extensive scar. Actually went pretty deep. You know, and so I think sometimes, you know, our bodies, they want to be healed. And we have to be in a place where we allow that to happen. And so I think that that can apply to a lot of things that happen emotionally for us that happen with our, with our mental health. Because if you think about, you know, there's so many different kinds of scars, there's scars of the body, but they're also emotional scars that you. And then they see those connections between the physical scars and the emotional scars. Uh, like I know when I started doing fascia blasting, then I recognized like, oh my gosh, like I am so much more emotional. And I didn't know at the time that oh, it's because the emotions are bound in that fascia. Yes. And I had to take some time to do some healing work around it. So I was like, wow. Like, I, I. I wasn't mentally prepared for that. And so it's really interesting to notice, like we have these physical scars that maybe we've by the night, but also these there's these things, these emotions that come up around either the scars or something else entirely. Where, you know, when we're doing the thought work, then it's like, wow. Like I didn't even know. I was still holding on to that thought. Like that was from years ago. That was from when I was a child or that's from that relationship. And it's interesting to see how, when we can create that safe space, which I think is really what you do really well. Is create that safe space. Were those scars can relax and be integrated. Something. I started to notice that I thought was very interesting too. Was that I started using. The work on physical scars in relation to emotional scars, you know, in my mind, I was thinking about my own scars and sort of using it as a metaphor to work on emotional scars. Because we all have things that have scarred us emotionally. In our lives. Some are big things. They're all big to us, but maybe some are big childhood traumas or some are smaller. Scars that happened with maybe friends. Or family members. So in working on the physical scar and thinking about the gentle approach that we take to the physical scars. And how responsive the body is to that. I started thinking about. Gentle approaches. Taking gentle potions with emotional scars are healing from trauma. And how. Being more nurturing with ourselves and gentle with ourselves with our emotional scars. Might have. A bigger impact. On the scar. And that process. So a lot of times. We think about. Healing. Or getting rid of that. And I started thinking about what if we. What if we consider emotional scars the same way we do physical scars. And we think about integrating instead of just trying to heal them or. Get rid of them. I love that because it kind of shifts it from essentially that shame-based place of this. Shouldn't be here to that loving compassion of this is a part of my experience. Yes. And I'm going to love that part of me and be gentle and yes, and caring and nurturing towards it, rather than thinking, I need to erase all signs of it ever being there. Right. Because we don't want to feel the associated. Feelings that come with that sometimes, right? But if we allow it to show up. Like these other scars were showing up physically for people. When I started working that area and the body said, hello here. Here. I am work over here too. If we did that also emotionally. I just think it would bites more balance. Into our lives. Absolutely. And that actually like reminds me of a recent coaching session that I had where somebody is working on a current issue. And then discovered that, oh my gosh, like this actually goes back to 12 years old. Like I didn't realize I was still carrying that right from when I was 12 years old. And how that's impacting. The present reality. But when you're able to just be curious about it and, Like you said with that integration. It's a part of our lives anyway. But recognizing like, okay, I do see the impact, whether it be how this thing happened to at 12 years old impacted you or how that's a Syrian scar is now pulling and tugging at different parts of your body. And we have a hard time thinking through how they're actually associated and how they actually correlate. But we know that they're correlated. And just as physical scars, are there always right? Scars or permanent? Accepting that some emotional scars may always be there too. It doesn't mean that it has to, get in the way of our life. Or our relationships. no, but just accepting that that's there. Instead of maybe thinking, oh, once this heals or heal from this, it won't be there anymore. And then when it does show back up, like you say, we're so hard on ourselves about that. Right? We think, oh, I went to therapy for this, or I need to think about this anymore. I feel this anymore. I should be over this instead of realizing this is a part of who I am. This is going to show up for me today. What triggered that thought for me today or that feeling? This memory. What else am I dealing with? And I'm as subconsciously associating with. That event, right. Well, I'm not to minimize the scarring and the trauma, but as you were talking, it also kind of had me thinking about like, you know, if somebody is left-handed. We don't force them to be. Right-handed like, we know that, okay. Things are going to be a little bit different. Like it's going to be okay. You know, whatever it is, we just accept that. Okay. Well, that's just their experience. Or if they need glasses, we let them have glasses. but when it comes to those emotional things, sometimes we think that it shouldn't be that way, but if we could just neutralize it enough where it's like, oh, This is your experience. And allow that integration where, okay. Yep. And I can learn how to adapt and function in life. And this is still part of me. So I. I found that very beautiful. Parallel between the two things when I'm working. for myself anyway, I find it useful. Well, and when you were working on me and telling me about your experiences, with scar work, that was the correlation that honestly, that's what made me want to have you on the podcast to talk about it? Because there are so many parallels there where we do have a lot of judgment around. Our scars. And we also have a lot of judgment around our past traumas and events and how they're impacting us. And. That gentleness. Really spoke to me when it comes to healing. Yes. And with ourselves. Because we tend to be so hard on ourselves that we would never be with someone we care about. So true. My mom used to tell me. If you don't truly love yourself first, this is something she tried to teach me. I need to love yourself, love of self first, or you won't be able to truly love and accept other people. And I did not understand that. For most of my life. But I find it so true once I can have compassion with myself and I'm not judging myself. So harshly. I don't judge other people. I'm not looking at other people with that lens. Of comparison, which is so interesting. Right? Like even thinking of love your neighbor as yourself. Sometimes we let our neighbors more than ourselves. We're a lot harder on ourselves. We can understand why our neighbor might be. Uh, showing up in a way that. It's less than ideal due to their circumstances, but it's harder for us to cut ourselves that slack. Right. But Hey, I can understand why showing up this way. I can understand why I'm having this emotion, this experience, why I maybe struggle in this aspect of relationship. Like it kind of makes sense. I'm going to cut myself some slack and no one trust that I'm gonna learn how to integrate this. As you said, and learn how to navigate it better. Yes. Be gentle with yourself. Give yourself the same kindness. The same Kind words that you would give a close friend or your child. Talk to yourself in that same way. I love that. And I love how you referred to it as integration. Yes. It's like a radical acceptance that this is something that happened and that's okay. It's the resistance that keeps it bound. Yes. And then. We can make such an improvement. Right. In so many ways. And so just letting people know. If somebody says to me, I don't know why I'm crying. You're not hurting me. And I see that's okay. Just let the tears come. It's part of healing. And maybe the memories around better. And so I try to prepare people a little bit. That might happen because I want them to know that that's normal. And in a safe space to, to do that. and I'm not a therapist, so I never offer them any kind of therapy. I just let them know they're okay. And they're safe. I also always ask, you know, do you need to stop? Because we can always stop the session. And then if someone's really, Needs therapy. You know, we have referrals for that. So I wouldn't want any listeners to think that. That's out of my scope of practice for sure. But sometimes it is, that acknowledgement. Gets things started. And that they can see that, oh, feeling these things are safe. Well, I love that you have your clients actually feel it and describe it to you and, and, you know, Yeah. Like I feel a little, a little divot here in this smells like a little hill. and to just kind of make it something outside of them, rather than identifying as the scar. It's like, oh, look, this is something that's happened to me. And, and kind of helped to create that. curious observation rather than over identification. Right. Or instead of thinking of something repulsive. It doesn't deserve attention. You know, how many times do we think a part of ourselves? We might have a personality trait we think is just so ugly. And we try to hide that away. Sort of like dealing with that. Right. Just accepting, like, yeah. That's not a very pretty part of myself. What can I do about that? Right. Yeah. And recognizing like so much of that too is just perception. You know what I mean? Think about Barbara Streisand and how she's famous for her nose. You know, and other people might say, well, I don't want that notice, but she's like, no, like this is my notes. This is me. And how amazing is that? That she's just confident in that. And it's, so it's really interesting how much of it just perception our perception that we're flawed or that we're broken, right. But her nose gives her the gift. And she has because had she had that changed surgically? To look better. Pleasing to people. She wouldn't have an amazing voice. She didn't want to do that. That was the trade off you. This is her instrument, basically. Yeah. Yep. And to see it as the gift that it is. And I think that there's also gifts, even though sometimes it's hard to see it there's sometimes those gifts and those scars where there's something there for us to learn, even if all that we're learning as a deeper awareness and compassion for others. I think that there's some gifts there that help us to see our humanity and to see other people's humanity. But mostly the gift is having the opportunity to learn, to deepen our own love of self and accept all those parts of self. Yeah. That's a good point. I think, especially. You know, as I'm aging. There's things that happen to my body. You're showing up a new wrinkle or, you know, like I have that sincerity and scar there. And it used to bother me when I was younger. But then one day I thought someday my kids are going to all move out. And they're going to be busy with their own lives. I'm not going to see them every day or talk to them every day. Not just kind of horrified me. But, you know, this scar that I have here. That will never let me forget. I'm a mom. You know, that's just part of who I am and how they came into this world, you know? And. That was such a gift to be able to have the, to grow inside me. And so maybe, maybe their birth wasn't as I planned. Exactly. And so It's just a reminder to me. Like it's a badge. Really proudly. I wear all my other badges too. I started finally getting like little laugh lines around my eyes. Oh, this is so cute. My niece was visiting me recently and I think she must've noticed like, you know, getting those little wrinkles around my eyes and she said, She was studying me instead of pointing it out like kids do. She said. You know, you can always tell people I've had a happy life. because they'll have. Smile wrinkles. Um, their mouth around their eyes. And you can tell they've laughed a lot and that they were happy kids. I just thought what a great thing for a nine-year-old to. Think about someone else's wrinkles, right. I think when, you know, when we were growing up. It was all about trying to look like in the magazine. Right, There was this unobtainable. model of beauty. And it, and you just felt so diminished if you couldn't, if you weren't a certain weight or you didn't, you know, your skin didn't look. Perfect. Or you, you know, whatever it is. And I feel like now young women are. Trying more and more to be accepting of their bodies and of each other's bodies. So critical. Of themselves or others. and I just thought that was so great. That that's, taking hold like it is that, that's a nice trend to continue. Let's do it. Thank you. So much for coming on and I, oh, I should say. And I love all of those thoughts and ideas, but the idea of radical acceptance and loving yourself and. And integrating the scars rather than judging them and shaming them and creating more resistance for self. So, thank you so much for coming on. Thank you for having me and I'm so. Grateful for our friendship. Very excited for your big move and all that you have coming up and I'm sad. I'm sad. You're moving so far away, but that's okay. I know. Right. So I keep telling melody, I'm like one of these days we'll meet in the middle and have some kind of a retreat. Yeah. Going to have big adventures for sure. And there'll be great. So you haven't heard the last of us. Well, thank you so much for coming on. All right. Hope you guys have a great week. Bye now.