Be the Director of Your Life with Emotional Agility – Ep #017 Interview with Elisa Haggarty
This conversation is all about stepping into our human potential. How true health and well being always begins with us making a conscious choice to act differently, move past our old stories, emotional tendencies and work with them as a source of energy to create something different and positive for ourselves. More and more we are all coming to see that the key to thriving in this increasingly uncertain world no matter who you are or what you desire is the ability to navigate our difficult thoughts and emotions.
We speak today with Elisa Haggarty a gifted Functional Nutrition and Lifestyle Expert, trained natural foods chef who has helped thousands of people transform their health in sustainable ways. Her core focus and expertise goes way beyond the food on our plates, for last few years has been helping people develop emotional agility the skill to be able to understand and manage emotions as they arise.
She is a gifted teacher, inspirational speaker and courageous coach. Listen in on this powerful conversation where you’ll learn the power that comes from befriending our emotions.
You can find Elisa on Instagram @elisamaryhaggarty and email: email@example.com
“The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership” By Diana Chapman et al.
“90 Seconds to a Life You Love: How to Master Your Difficult Feelings to Cultivate Lasting Confidence, Resilience, and Authenticity” By Joan I. Rosenberg, PhD
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Welcome to the Soul Science Nutrition Podcast, where you’ll discover that when it comes to your health, you’re so much more powerful than you’ve been led to believe. And now your host, she’s a holistic nutrition and lifestyle coach, chef author, and Yogi, Christine Okezie.
Christine Okezie (23s):
Hello, and welcome to the soul science nutrition podcast. I’m Christine Okezie.. Thanks so much for tuning in today. Today’s special conversation is all about stepping into our human potential, how true health and wellbeing always begins with us, making a conscious choice to act differently, to move past our old stories and emotional tendencies and work with them as a source of energy, to create something different and positive for ourselves more and more.
Christine Okezie (55s):
We are all coming to see that the key to thriving in this increasingly uncertain world, no matter who you are or what you desire is going to be the ability to navigate our difficult thoughts and emotions. Because as I like to say, if we don’t manage our emotional energy, it will certainly manage us. So today’s conversation with our special guest is going to explore this ability to identify and accept the feelings that are stressing us out.
Christine Okezie (1m 27s):
And instead of having them do rail, our health learn how to put strategies in place that use them to our advantage because after all the only certainty is uncertainty and the challenges in life are unavoidable. So the key is how can we use them to learn, grow, and evolve into our true selves? So today’s special guest is Elisa Haggerty, a gifted, functional nutrition and lifestyle expert trained natural food chef, who I’ve known for quite some time.
Christine Okezie (1m 59s):
She’s truly helped thousands of people transform their health in sustainable ways. Her core focus and expertise these days goes way beyond the food on our plates. For the last few years, Elisa has been helping people develop a emotional agility, the skill to be able to understand and manage emotions as they arise. Elisa is a gifted teacher, inspirational speaker and courageous coach. I can’t wait for you to listen in on this insightful conversation. Will you learn the power that comes from befriending your emotions?
Christine Okezie (2m 33s):
Hey, Elisa, welcome to the podcast. So great to have you here today.
Elisa Haggerty (2m 37s):
Thank you so much for having me. It’s so great to be with you again.
Christine Okezie (2m 40s):
Yeah. We go way back back to our cheffing days. Good memories. Good memories. Yeah. So I’m just so excited to have you on the show because I just love the journey you’ve been on guiding and supporting people with what’s so needed for true health and healing to occur because right now we’re living in unprecedented times, right?
Elisa Haggarty (3m 0s):
Yeah. For sure.
Christine Okezie (3m 2s):
Our inner world is really kind of where the action’s at. So yeah, I’d love if you could just start out by telling us a little bit about yourself and your journey and kind of how you came to do the work that you do now, when it comes to really helping people, you know, create their, their best health.
Elisa Haggarty (3m 19s):
Of course. Yes, we are in unprecedented times for sure. Never have we been through this before and I don’t think we’ll ever be through something just like this again. And so to that end. Yeah. I mean, I have kind of a really broad range of background in education. I majored in education and undergrad. So I knew I wanted to be a teacher from a very young age. I knew I wanted to teach English literature because stories and people made sense to me, everything else and academia didn’t really make my sense to me. I was an athlete and then I understood people in the story.
Elisa Haggarty (3m 49s):
So I went on to be a high school English teacher for four years, which was really great for me to begin my life in that, that realm. And then, you know, I kind of went through my own health struggles in my early twenties, I’m in a car accident and had a really bad concussion, basically a TBI. And I sort of entered a pretty dark phase and it’s anxiety and depression, my early twenties. And I realized that I didn’t want to live a life highly medicated and unsupported. So I went on to understand and understand the gut brain connection and understand like how I was eating and how I was sleeping, how that affected my mental health.
Elisa Haggarty (4m 25s):
And sadly at the time, you know, when I was 22, 23, no one was talking to me about these things. No one mentioned no one mentioned anything about how I was eating like 10 cookies a day and still eating, you know, kid’s cereal as a grownup and how that was not good for my thyroid or my brain. No one really mentioned that they just kept giving me medication, you know, so I felt really disempowered by the clinical world. And I felt like there was a lack of trust. And so I, I stayed on medications for about a year and I just kind of started to phase out the candy. And I added in blueberries and black beans and vegetables.
Elisa Haggarty (4m 58s):
And I got to know what that kale was. And I, I really did it at it from a place of just survival and total curiosity. Like I, you know, there wasn’t much out there at the time that I was privy to in terms of knowledge, but I just had a hunch that I should change the way I eat and I started to feel better. And then I went to the Institute for integrative nutrition and I studied there online for a year while I was living and working in Hong Kong. And that kind of began the journey. Honestly, I, I, one thing led to another, I just followed the breadcrumbs and I just started teaching classes at the high school.
Elisa Haggarty (5m 28s):
I was at how to make kale, how to make smoothies. And I would carry my 30 pound blender on the train from Hong Kong to my high school. And I would set up shop in my classroom after school and teach all my staff and all my students, how to eat that stubbles and how to eat food. And it was just from a place of like, I feel good. I know that you can feel better too. And so that began my journey for nine years. I, you know, I ended up leaving teaching and I was a holistic chef and a functional. And so I went on to keep studying with people like Andrea Nakayama and went to the natural domain Institute.
Elisa Haggarty (6m 2s):
I met you. I met a bunch of amazing humans and for about nine or 10 years, I was in that world of food is the main mechanism for healing. And it changed my life. It opened up doors. I never would have thought before, and I’m really happy. I went through that journey. I would say, you know, obviously I’m in a different place now. I don’t focus so much on food. I focus a lot more on consciousness and energy management and emotional agility, which is something I know we’ll talk about today. So, Oh, yes. Yeah.
Christine Okezie (6m 30s):
That’s awesome. I love it. Yeah, no, it’s, it’s a, it’s a very similar path when you start to realize, you know, you’re always in service to helping people come become better versions of themselves essentially. And giving them tools Along the way to really kind of step into their own agency and, and thrive. And then we start to realize, you know, when we get into the nitty gritty that, that tool bag or that skillset, It needs to be much deeper. It needs to be much broader, right? Yeah. Kind of, You know, where we need to be in terms of our optimal health.
Christine Okezie (6m 59s):
So what have you learned from your work beyond food and both my beyond nutrition when it comes to helping people.
Elisa Haggarty (7m 7s):
Oh, wow. What have I learned? Well, I learned, I learned that food is still important, but it’s not about what you eat. It’s about how you eat. It’s also about who you eat with. I’ve learned that sleep is my still my number one driver of health, of mental health and physical health. When I get good sleep, I feel exceptional the next day when I don’t, I can feel it. I’ve learned that community is like the, you know, it’s the, it’s the pulse of what keeps us going. And I think there’s lots of studies like in the blue zones and others that show us the community is like the foundation for us wanting to get up and to move every day.
Elisa Haggarty (7m 44s):
I’ve learned that, you know, if we don’t address the underlying emotional sort of dysfunction, we will continue to repeat the same harmful habits, whether it be binge-eating self harm, self denigration, toxic relationships, we’re just going to continue that pattern. Unless we really understand how to work, how to work with emotions from an emotional literacy, literacy perspective, which means what are they? And then from an emotional intelligence perspective is how do we play with them? So those are, that’s sort of the space that I’m in right now.
Elisa Haggarty (8m 15s):
And the last thing I’ve learned more recently in the last like year or two, is that when I’m really serious, I’m suffering. And when I learn how to play, when I learned how to be lighthearted, you know, it’s a, it’s a joyful experience. And I think that’s kinda where I’m at is if I’m serious, I’m suffering. If I’m playful, I’m, I’m one with life I’m, I’m enjoying life. I’m making sense of life in a more kind way. I D I do certain techniques for like, all I’ll do silly things, like allow me to get outside of my own ego.
Elisa Haggarty (8m 48s):
Right. So I’ll like, hold my tongue for 30 seconds and I’ll complain about my issue. And I’ll be like, this person didn’t call me back. And, you know, and I’ll start to say, it’s a really weird way.
Christine Okezie (8m 58s):
Yeah. I love that. That’s a really key for us to be able to have these skills, to get out of our own way to get out of our head. Right. So, but let’s dive into what you mentioned as emotional literacy, and then talk some about emotional intelligence. So I know that when it comes to what you do, you spend a lot of time talking to people about being emotionally agile. What do you mean by this?
Elisa Haggarty (9m 24s):
Well, I think it’s the first step of emotional literacy, right? Which is what do emotions mean? And I think a lot of people walk around the world thinking, you know, I think, especially in this space of healing and health, like we all have empathy. We all have emotional intelligence and we kind of parade ourselves around the world, like feeling really solid in that department. And I think it took me about 10 plus years to realize that I really didn’t have any idea what emotions really meant. I sat with them. I kind of played with them a little bit, but basically I was avoiding them by, you know, running really fast drinking, matcha, throwing myself in ice buckets to avoid, avoid, avoid.
Elisa Haggarty (9m 55s):
And so those are all my biohacking approaches to like escaping the human condition. And I will say that they were helpful and they helped me surf the waves. And they were very instrumental and I still do them. But where I’m at now is I do them from a place of like self-love and curiosity and connection. I connect with people and I do these things. I’m not doing them to like, become a better version of myself. I’m doing them so that I can love myself exactly as I am now. And so getting to emotional agility, emotional agility to me is a concept. I know that is floating around there in the world, but the way I view it is it’s the ability to be aware and agile of our relationship to emotions so that we can face whatever arises in life with confidence.
Elisa Haggarty (10m 35s):
So emotional agility to me, leads to emotional confidence. And that’s important because I think we’ve learned our whole lives. That life is transient. Things will change. You’re going to lose the job. The partner will leave. You’ll get a lot of money. You lose a lot of money and that’s just the nature of life and how are we going to surf those waves? And I think that’s really the place where I’ve been the last three years is helping people surf the waves and be agile with their emotions. So
Christine Okezie (11m 1s):
Thank you. Yeah. And, and being an athlete, I guess that’s a really powerful metaphor, right? Being agile is being able to kind of pivot, see what you’re see, receive things for where they are, you know, kind of develop a strategy as a result of really kind of understanding, you know, what’s going on and making it work for you. Right. As opposed to kind of being in reactive mode, which is really what you’re talking about when, So those habits and behaviors, you know, we get very reactive.
Christine Okezie (11m 32s):
So now this requires a different understanding of what emotions really are. So help us understand what are emotions and how can we work with them in a more constructive way.
Elisa Haggarty (11m 45s):
Yeah, no, they’re basically a, one of the forms of our highest intelligence. I think Diana Chapman who wrote the book, The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership about Gay and Katherine Hendricks and their leadership books. And they all kind of agree that emotions are emotion or energy emotion. So they’re just energy and that’s all they are. They come and they go and neuroscience tells us, you know, that ultimately emotions lasts up to 90 seconds and the human brain and the physiology. And once they go past 90 seconds of them consuming you, it means that you’re carrying on a narrative and a mental story that is perpetuating the story.
Elisa Haggarty (12m 19s):
So physiologically anger, sadness, anxiety can arise. And they’re only going to live in your neural pathways for the maximum amount of 90 seconds. By and large, this is barring like serious trauma and tragedy, like a car accident or like something really, really eminent. But our day to day life is, is something that we can surf on and on again for 90 seconds. And so I like, I like kind of approaching it that way. Cause I feel like it’s digestible. It makes people feel like they can, they can cope and become friends with their emotions and not have not have to have a PhD.
Elisa Haggarty (12m 50s):
You know, you don’t have to have a PhD in neuroscience or psychology to become friends with who you are when you’re filled with anger and who you are when you feel the sadness. It just takes a lot of curiosity and compassion. So that’s how I think about emotions as, as really gifts, as long as we learn how to understand what the heck they mean. So,
Christine Okezie (13m 8s):
Okay. So understanding what they mean requires us to be curious and have compassion. And I love the science of course, understanding that we do have this inherent ability within ourselves. We don’t need a neuroscience degree or a ton of psychology to understand how we can shift some of these things within us. So when you work with your clients, let’s pick an emotion, let’s pick anger. And someone says, you know, I’m just noticing I’m experiencing a lot of anger these days, and it’s really taking its toll on my health and my ability to care for myself.
Christine Okezie (13m 41s):
What are some practices or some insights that you share with your clients to help them through that in order to be more emotionally agile?
Elisa Haggarty (13m 50s):
Sure. Let’s just also say right now that anger is the most ugly emotion to my experience. I think also in a Western culture, it’s ugly. People don’t want to embrace it. People don’t want to become it. And you know, we all have this like posturing world that we are this person and we’re spiritual. We’re nice. And we’re kind, but look, I’ll just say the last like five months, I’ve experienced a lot of anger and it’s because my boundaries have been broken down. Their safety has been broken down. And when we have that happen, we become anger and we become angry.
Elisa Haggarty (14m 20s):
So to me, anger is a, is a beautiful form of intelligence. It’s a really, really rough one though, because we have been conditioned our entire lives to not feel it, to not show it to calm down, to be nice or come on, be kind. And so we never get to express like, God, this person hurt me and that I need to talk about that. Right. And so I spent my whole life being good. Like I, youngest is seven kids. There was a lot of, a lot of things going on at my house growing up as a kid. And I couldn’t contribute to that chaos of like teenage angst. I had to be a young kid growing up and I had to be good kind and had to be sweet.
Elisa Haggarty (14m 53s):
Cause that’s, that was my way of fitting in staying with the tribe. And that was my way of coping. So I never got to express a lot of anger. And so long story short, I think that the way that a lot of people in clinical psychology defined anger is that something is not aligned with you anymore. Boundaries have been broken and it’s no longer of service. And so ultimately anger, anger is that your boundaries have been broken and you know, something needs to be boundaries have to be set again. So that’s the way I think of anger and the way that I would tell people to process it is to establish boundaries.
Elisa Haggarty (15m 25s):
And also the most important thing is to recognize that underlying anger is grief and that anger is nothing more than grief. It’s the loss of a friendship. It’s a loss of our social conditions right now with COVID, it’s the loss of maybe physical safety, someone abuse you like, then you have anger while you’re grieving. It’s like you had this body and this mind, and maybe you, you had a bad experience right. With abuse. And so grief is really at the foundation of most emotions, but most definitely anger.
Christine Okezie (15m 57s):
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, and the other thing about anger that I can relate to is it’s, it’s kind of, it’s a shameful emotions. Like you’re not supposed to feel angry, you know, it’s like, Oh, I know I shouldn’t be angry, but right. Yeah. And that’s just another way that it kind of gets stuck in there and, and, you know, takes over right. And fester.
Elisa Haggarty (16m 20s):
It does. And I also think that, you know, a lot of people talk about this. There is a, a bunch of authors out there who I love, but Dr. Joanne Rosen, Rosen, Rosenberg, Rosenberg, she wrote 90 Seconds To a Life You Love. And a bunch of other clinical psychologists have said that ultimately, if we don’t allow ourselves a space where we can express anger, express, sadness, express fear, they become not momentary experiences, but they become States and then they become identities. And that’s when you have people say, I’m an angry person. Look, I’m just a depressed person.
Elisa Haggarty (16m 50s):
Look, she’s a sad person. And we start, we start describing people with adjectives before we even recognize their humanity. We start just categorizing them as that. And that happens from a very young age to your point of angry, shameful, stay the heck away from it. You know, be nice, be kind. And so we never get a safe day safe space to express. So a lot of the work I do with people is understanding their emotional landscape, giving them a safe space to express, to shift their emotions and their energy so that they ultimately, they don’t feel so captivated by these emotions.
Elisa Haggarty (17m 21s):
They can, they can surf the waves, they can be agile. And it takes a lot of work. It takes people being very proactive and, you know, asking for help. But the people who do it, they feel the benefits. So it’s really cool
Christine Okezie (17m 34s):
When it comes to behavior change, right. Which is a space that you and I work in, you know, in terms of habits and behaviors and trying to get underneath, you know, what’s causing those habits and behaviors. You, you have to work with the emotions and the emotional triggers and emotional drivers there. Right? So can you share an example that being an emotionally agile person can actually shift an unwanted behavior or a habit? Like what would be the process for a person to kind of investigate what’s really going on?
Christine Okezie (18m 5s):
Well, it has to become, you have to have awareness. You know, if you’re, if you’re a physiologically consumed by, let’s say anger or sadness, let’s say anger, cause we’re on a topic going to, it’s going to consume your actions. So you won’t even be able to feel the anger. You’re just going to unconsciously react and hit someone or send the angry text message. You don’t even have an awareness of your body. You don’t even know where the emotion lives. So really the first thing is check in with your body. So a lot of the somatic experiences, right? Like gong and Tai Chi and even meditation and yoga, like they’re asking us to get out of here our heads and they’re asking us to come into our body.
Elisa Haggerty (18m 40s):
And when we do that, it’s like our whole world’s open up, you know, skeletons come out of the closet too. But at least we, at least we begin to see like, this is what it is. So I think that the first thing is literally just awareness of what’s going on in the body. So when I work with people, I’m like, what are the core emotions you feel? And then we identify them and we spend about a few weeks, literally on a chart. I tracking them almost like a food diary. Like, look, I got angry when this email came in and I knew I was angry because I could feel my hands gripping and I could feel my jaw clenching and I could feel my mind racing and I could feel aggressive comments coming up in my head.
Christine Okezie (19m 15s):
And we have to do that work too, to see our physiological and psychological reactions before we can even ask them to shift behavior. So that’s really, the first part is just awareness. The awareness of the physiological and the psychological, the experience, the actual experience of it is such a oftentimes lost path to getting underneath what’s driving unwanted behaviors while we’re working with emotions. A lot of people think, well, it’s all up here, right?
Christine Okezie (19m 46s):
I gotta figure stuff out and I got to sort of analyze it. But the truth of the matter is, as you said, emotions are really, you know, energetic, everything is energy and they live and they show themselves, you know, through this beautiful design that we have, right. They, they impact, like you said, we get you, we clench our jaw, clench. Our fists, we get really hot. You know, part of working with the emotions is kind of teasing all the different components that are going on, right? So the semantic is a huge part, which I think is why working with a more holistic approach to emotions naturally lends itself to, you know, working with the body.
Christine Okezie (20m 23s):
I, I, I do as, you know, Kundalini yoga. And one of the benefits of that is in some ways, in many ways, it’s a lot easier to change our mind by working with the body. It’s very hard to change your mind with your mind, right? It really doesn’t work very well.
Elisa Haggerty (20m 38s):
Not going to happen. It’s not going to happen very well. I think there’s a lot of quotes out there saying, you know, you can’t solve a problem with the same thing that created it. So I think that some
Elisa Haggarty (20m 48s):
Of the things after I help people understand a, to identify their emotions, how they show up in their body, and then there’s a safe space to express them, whether it be with me or by themselves or in the shower or the pet, they can actually like actually express and talk about what they’re feeling. That’s the second big thing. And then the third thing around like actually changing behavior is understanding how to process them in such a way that is, that is purposeful. So you can express an event for 20 minutes or you can express and actually like therapeutically put on a clock for two minutes.
Elisa Haggarty (21m 21s):
And like I said, do a lot of things that are more playful. So you can, like, one thing I do is I told you to hold my tongue and like complain about the issue for 30 seconds. And the thing I’ll do is like flat my arms, like a bird around the apartment and like sing a song about the issue that I believe I have a lot of the, a lot of these things are, again, there are definite traumas where an emotion happens. Someone hit you and you have an emotion, someone curse at you and you have an emotion. Those things are valid. However, after 90 seconds, we get to decide how we process and how we express them. So one of the things I have found most helpful is, is being, learning how to be playful with our expression is, is to be, to honor it, like I’m feeling this anger, I feel hurt and to express it, but then to say like, how can I play with this?
Elisa Haggarty (22m 5s):
Because like I said, when things are serious, we’re suffering and there’s just no way around that. And we can ask ourselves, do I want to continue to suffer? Or do I want to like live with a little bit more joy and lightheartedness in this life? And if we want to live with joy and lightheartedness, I think we have the option to play. And so, you know, all of the spiritual texts kind of go back to, and a lot of the work and clinical studies is not only honoring the emotion, expressing it, but learning how to play with it, learning how to transform that energy. So there’s just a bunch of techniques I do beyond breath work and beyond exercise that I’ve learned, helped me get out of this serious construct in my, my mind so that I can actually be in a space to choose a different behavior.
Elisa Haggarty (22m 44s):
So let’s talk about like life and relationships. So let’s say you go through a breakup, your initial reaction is like anger. It is sadness. It is it’s devastation. It’s can feel like it alienation, to be honest, it’s really hard. And your initial reactions, aren’t like, this is so cool. Let’s play with this. Let’s just talk about it. Let’s just start a movie about this. Like that’s not gonna happen. Right? Like even for me, like I go through them and it’s just hard. There’s no way around it. It feels jarring. But days after I’m able to kind of get a space from this and I’m able to like, I’m able to actually play with my emotions and I maybe not say it to the person, but I’ll say it to myself or my cats or the people who I feel safe with dissolve.
Elisa Haggarty (23m 21s):
I’ll go through cycles of like, let’s, let’s roleplay this. And let’s, let’s bring as much joy and lightheartedness and play to this as I can. And the other thing I do, that’s fun with transforming emotions transforming this energy is, and this is a technique I got from the 15 commitments of conscious leadership is all right, a script on how to teach you to have my problem. So if I have a problem, let’s say a breakup and I feel used, I feel discarded, or I feel whatever the narrative is in my head, if that ended. And let’s say, that’s a serious problem to me and I’m pissed off about it, right?
Elisa Haggarty (23m 52s):
And it’s like consuming my time and energy. Then I’m going to write a script and I’m going to tell you Christine, how to get my problem. I’m going to get this. You’re going to have the same problem I have because you’re going to keep attracting people who are emotionally unavailable, who are, you know, not curious, who don’t see your value, who whatever, or I’m going to, I’m going to keep doing this by perpetuating the same things. And I’m going to keep, I’m going to keep this problem by complained to every single person in my friend circle about the problem. And I’m going to show you how to get my problem, because my problem is serious. And my problem is a big deal. And once I write a screenplay around my problem, I start to see that like I am the central figure in this freaking movie and I can either remove myself or I can shift how I show up in the world.
Elisa Haggarty (24m 29s):
It just allows me to get space and to see that I’m, I’m not a victim. These things are happening. And I get a chance to say like, how can I play with this? Right. It’s huge. It’s huge. And, and that’s why I love that the pathway through ultimately is this, you know, you reclaim your, your sovereignty is you re recognize you’re not powerless. You step out of being a victim when it comes to your circumstances or the, at least the story about your circumstances. And that’s very empowering. So I love the fact that we need to talk about awareness and awareness means kind of becoming that observer, stepping back, kind of looking at what’s really going on and seeing ourselves as kind of the center of figure in the story is a huge one, because usually it’s everybody else is taking center stage, right?
Elisa Haggarty (25m 15s):
Blaming everybody. Yup. Yup. I’m blaming everybody. And I think when I’m in that space, it’s like, you know, we are the directors of our own movies of directors or directors of our lives. And, but when I say that, I want everyone listening to understand that this is a practice. Like I had to do this every single day in small ways, in big ways, this isn’t something you can know intellectually, you gotta do the work. You know, it could be as light as you get a parking ticket. And then, well, like how do I play with that? What’s the movie I’m creating in my head around this. What’s the narrative that I’m creating.
Elisa Haggarty (25m 46s):
So you do have to work with them very proactively. And trust me, there’s days where I still get consumed by emotions. And there’s still times in my life where it’s really hard to work through things. But I think that’s where I stopped with understanding that avocados are the pathway to like better mental health and understanding that there are avocados are a really good place to start. Cause you definitely don’t want to solve any problems with like low blood sugar. Right. But right. Then, then what, like how do you do this? And so that’s, that’s a space that I in it, I think it’s a fun space. I think it’s really relevant for any situation in life. And most people, if they’re willing to do some curious digging, they find that they they’re no longer the victim, you know, they’re in charge of their life, which is a good thing.
Christine Okezie (26m 24s):
It’s all about choice. It’s all about choice. And to your point is, you know, that’s why it’s still a useful place to start is around, you know, food and our habits and how we’re, how foods are making us feel or how we’re not taking care of ourselves or, or whatever it is because it’s the first level of weight, you know, what can I do to change? I don’t like what’s going on. I want to be experiencing something different and it’s that trigger or that turning point where you’re saying, well, wait, what can I do about this?
Christine Okezie (26m 54s):
So it’s always about choice. It’s all about kind of maturing in some respects,
Elisa Haggarty (26m 59s):
Right? Yeah. Yeah. It is about choice. I think, you know, I think also too that a lot of people like you and I are in this field, right. It’s our life. It will probably always be our life in some shape or another. And there’s a lot of people who, who don’t have the education and resources that we, you know, we’ve committed to, to getting for ourselves. And so I think that for anyone listening, who doesn’t feel like they actually feel like captivated by their emotions and they feel captivated by their situations. Like that’s okay, that’s, that’s how we all begin in this. This is exactly what happened to me when I was 22 and a car hit me and I was unconscious for three hours.
Elisa Haggarty (27m 34s):
And then my life fell apart, you know, but I decided one day to, I made a conscious choice that I don’t believe life was supposed to be like this for me, I believe it was supposed to be better and sweeter and more adventurous. And that was a, it was a belief system that led me into health care. It wasn’t that I had the answer and still, I don’t it’s every day I’m learning new things. But I think that if people feel overwhelmed by the concept of it being a choice, I think that what we probably are encouraging you to do is think about the belief system behind your actions and that that will allow you to have different choices and different pathways.
Christine Okezie (28m 7s):
Yeah. Yeah. You know, one of the things with emotions that’s interesting is they, when we have strong emotions, I’m looking at them as messengers or looking at them as telltales, they’re telling you some, they reflect back something that you feel strongly about. They reflect a belief, a core value, which may or may not be serving you or not. Right. But they do. They give you that, that window into, well, why am I feeling so angry about that? Or why am I feeling so stressed out about this?
Christine Okezie (28m 40s):
Because at some point there’s going back to, something’s been violated. Something has been triggered, you know, your belief in the way things should be about X, Y, Z has been confronted and it doesn’t feel good. Right? So there are many things about it. I think that shift our belief systems, emotions actually are a pathway into looking at what is it that I believe? What is it that I think about or have an attitude about, and do I want to continue to have that attitude or perspective, right.
Christine Okezie (29m 11s):
So it’s, it’s it it’s, it’s, that’s the thing, what you’re talking about is we’re not making emotions go away. We’re not trying to say that they’re bad. There are no good bad emotions, which is a whole other conversation, right. Because there’s usually, Oh, these are good emotions. These are bad emotions. They’re just neutral. And at the end of the day, they’re just, again, information, you know, for us to learn more about ourselves and decide, like you said, to your point that maybe we want to be experienced something else, something different.
Elisa Haggarty (29m 40s):
Yeah. I think it’s really important. Yeah. To stress that as like emotions are your compass ultimately, or they’re their one compass, right? Cause they’re also a space in yoga and meditation where you can get beyond emotions and you can just have an inner knowing, right. Which is sort of its own conversation. But I think that for most of us, they are guiding us every couple of hours to check in and ask ourselves a critical question is, do I want to have this experience? Yes or no. And am I willing to play into shift with my emotions? And most people are not willing to shift.
Elisa Haggarty (30m 10s):
Most people are not willing to play with their emotions because maybe they don’t have the resources or knowledge. And also because they love their story. They love the story of being a victim. They love their story of who would they be without it? My God, you know, some people literally won’t achieve goals cause their whole life is their brain is, you know, sort of an associate of Oregon. It’s a story making Oregon and it’s designed to have you fixate on a problem. And so if you solve that problem, if you solve that emotional distress, then who the hell are you? Right. So I think that’s also something to become aware of. It’s like our emotions are addictive. They actually produce a neurochemical response in our body and our brain.
Elisa Haggarty (30m 43s):
And we become addicted to that. So, you know, like the work of Joe Dispenza and other people out there are about like, what are the emotions you want to experience and how can you actually actually daydream and fantasize about having that emotion, having that life. And then your body becomes that emotion. And you actually begin to shift your physiology in the moment by just daydreaming about something beautiful. And I think we’ve all done that we fantasize when you get excited about a really big success story in our life or vacation, we can feel our body getting lighter. And, and that’s actually, you’re, you’re doing the work of like programming your brain for a better emotional state.
Elisa Haggarty (31m 16s):
And that’s, it’s really cool that it’s an option for us to do every day. And sometimes it’s exhausting, but sometimes it’s mostly really cool.
Christine Okezie (31m 23s):
Yeah. No, I love that. That’s, that’s pretty powerful stuff when you, when you talk about it, because that’s the whole thing, right. Is there, it really is an opportunity for us to evolve and to kind of come into a deeper awareness of, you know, what’s possible, you know, for creating our reality for creating the quality of our life. I think it’s fair to say that we have emotional tendencies. We all have emotional tendencies. And I, and I, and I think it’s that space, you know, that we want to have some shifts in, as you know, if we, if we are operating from our emotional tendencies, our emotional habits, I guess, rather than from something else.
Christine Okezie (32m 2s):
And I guess that’s something else I’ve come to know is it could be intuition, but not intuition in a psychic sixth sense thing, but intuition, meaning the wiser part of ourselves, you know, the, the part of ourselves to your point, that inner knowing that’s something that is not a story, but something that really is kind of within us, you know, our, our body wisdom, our just our, our higher self, you know, I think that’s kind of, for me, when it comes to finding a place to work with our emotions, ultimately that’s what we want to be in charge of is, you know, there’s another capacity think within us
Elisa Haggarty (32m 40s):
That can have a little bit more influence and create just a lot more, as you said, sweetness, joy and pleasure in life, right? Yeah. Well, I think that the body doesn’t lie. I mean, I think that’s the answer doesn’t lie. So I think that when, when we’re really courageous and willing to tap into what is my body saying about this decision? I mean, it will literally tell you, and that’s why, again, the somatic experiences we’ve mentioned like breath work and yoga and movement, and these are like the core foundational elements of beginning to craft the emotional agility, frankly, because they’re asking you to come into your body.
Elisa Haggarty (33m 12s):
But you know, if you have a big decision, you know, your brain can come up with a thousand reasons why you should do it and why you shouldn’t do it always for now and forever. It’s the brain’s job is to give you the full three 60 and the body’s job is there to report on it and it’s to tell you. Absolutely no. Or absolutely. Yes. And so I think that’s really important for people to realize is that that wisdom could be sort of like a cognitive communication and some level it could come up, come across in a dream. It could come across in many different ways. But I often find that if I just listened to my body or reflect on that, my body was telling me when I said yes to things I didn’t want to be a part of.
Elisa Haggarty (33m 48s):
Or when I said no to things I actually cared about, my body was like, Ooh, like I wasn’t there. You know, I wasn’t a full body. Yes. Like a jump up and down. Yes. And I think we all know that feeling. I think anyone listening can think about the one time in their life where they’re like, absolutely, I need to be a part of this project. And, you know, however, it turned out, their initial reaction was spot on. And I think that’s a good thing for everyone to pay attention to is what their body’s telling them. So, so Alyssa, if you could have a billboard with anything on it, what would it be and why?
Elisa Haggarty (34m 19s):
That’s a fun question. Yeah. I would say, well, life happens for you.
Christine Okezie (34m 24s):
Elisa Haggarty (34m 27s):
Yeah. So as much as we can kick and scream about it, you know, and we can do that. Life will just be a lot easier if we believe that. So, you know, when I got hit by the car, when I was 22, probably to me was like, I’m a victim, I’m going to Sue this guy. I’m going to blah, blah, blah. And you know, and then part of me was like, there’s no way that in this moment on the earth that I was hit by a car in such a way that I was that like this was random or unintentional. And so that I made meaning from that event, by believing that life happens for me in life, this is for my benefit.
Elisa Haggarty (35m 0s):
And so no matter what happens, how heartbreaking it is, and trust me, there’s quite a lot of heartbreak these days, absolute heartbreak. I have to believe that life is happening for me and for my growth and for my development. And that’s, that’s what gets me through a lot of tough times, you know, like there’s, I have a dad who’s slowly losing his battle to neurological decline and it’s not fair. It doesn’t feel great. It feels awful physically. There’s a lot of suffering, but I have to believe that the meeting I will make from that is that this is here for me and for other people to develop and grow in a way we couldn’t have done before.
Elisa Haggarty (35m 33s):
And that’s kind of how I choose to view it.
Christine Okezie (35m 35s):
So, yeah. And to your point that that kind of blows The lid off, you know, kind of this goal to be happy or, you know, good vibes only, or, you know, positivity. These are all kind of words that I think are hopefully falling more and more by the wayside, as we understand and explore, you know, the importance of working through all emotions and avoiding emotional suppression of any kind. Yeah,
Elisa Haggarty (36m 1s):
For sure. I mean, I think I used to be a positive Pam, you know, I mean, I’m in positive Pam recovery is what I feel like I’m in. And I think that’s what happens with age and changing careers and losing family members and life and divorce and all those things. So yeah, I think emotions have beauty and they have intelligence. And as long as we have the right support and safe space to express them, we can make it really make a beautiful life for ourselves, which I think at the end of the day, you know, happiness to me is a very low vibrational concept. I don’t really know what it means. I don’t really know how juicy it is.
Elisa Haggarty (36m 31s):
I think joy could be very interesting. Joy seems a lot more complex and there’s, it’s not dependent upon external things. It’s this sense of like vibrancy and a liveliness and connectedness, but I don’t know that happiness really carries a lot of weight in my world anymore. So when people ask me if I’m happier, they don’t probably like my response. Cause I’m like, I’m sorry, what? Like, I, I’m curious, like I’m kinda devastated, but I’m curious and I’m hopeful. Like, is that a good answer? And they’re kind of like, what, but, you know, it’s the truth. I don’t know.
Christine Okezie (36m 58s):
Yeah. Yeah. Because there’s the other side, right? The other, the other extreme is, you know, especially in, in the personal growth space is this bypassing that can happen. Right? Yeah. And that I think is equally as damaging as ignoring and, and making ourselves wrong for negative so-called negative emotions, but you know, all things are okay, I’m just fine. I’ll just, you know, literally I’ll meditate my way through it, you know, and there’s a limit to, to working with them. But again, that’s just another form of us, of not really meeting ourselves where we need to, where we need to meet ourselves.
Elisa Haggarty (37m 33s):
And I think there’s one thing that’s important to discuss is in Tony Robbins. So Tony Robbins, there’s a lot of like life hack and bio hacking and stuff. And I’m not necessarily his biggest fan. Although when he does that, I like is he does a lot of crazy stuff like ice baths in the morning, he does all this stuff to, to prime his body so that he can blank blank, blank. And so someone might consider that like a formal biohacking and bypass because he’s just building himself up to be super human. And he’s like, you know, but I think what he’s doing is he’s resourcing, he’s priming his body to be capable, to choose the best option for him and what Tara Brock who’s on the other end of the spectrum.
Elisa Haggarty (38m 8s):
She’s a spiritual teacher and meditation. She calls these things resourcing. So everyday when I wake up, I still do things that I advocate for. I still eat protein, fat fiber. I still stay as far away from sugar as I can. And because I know what happens when I have it, I still try to move my body every day. I still try to like get out in nature every day. And I still, you know, sometimes I’ll do things like sit in an ice bath for five minutes. Right. And I, I it’s, how do them is what matters? It’s not that I do them.
Elisa Haggarty (38m 39s):
So the context of my consciousness matters. So I’m coming into an ice bath now because I’m again curious, I have friends that I’m doing it with, I have a community, but when I first got into ice baths, I will be super transparent and tell you I got into them cause I was depressed. And I was scared as hell. Cause I was like, I’m not going on medication. And I don’t know what to do with this anymore. So I’m going to send some ice and see if I can endure that. And so, you know, it was curious for sure, but ultimately it was, it was my way of like how can I build myself up to be as strong as possible and escape this hard feeling.
Elisa Haggarty (39m 11s):
And I just think it’s important that people listening understand is you can have all the self help tips. You can do all the things. And that is what we both support, but it’s how you do them. Are you escaping or are you curious, are you trying to like learn and grow? Are you connecting with people you’re helping someone else who doesn’t know how to eat yet? Like what, how are you doing it? I think that’s the most important thing is our context always reign Supreme, not the content of our lives.
Christine Okezie (39m 34s):
Absolutely, absolutely. Amen to that for sure. You know why we’re doing it. Right. I agree. So there’s a couple of points there that I think is important to recognize is I call it getting your biology on your side, right? So when you first step in with someone and they just they’re really struggling, you know, in their daily routine, in their daily self care, emotionally, physically their bodies, not, you know, not doing well. It is the most sort of tangible and useful, I think, place to start, like you said, well, you know what sleep like, are you drinking enough water? You know, Oh, you’re not eating all day until, you know, five o’clock in the afternoon, you know?
Christine Okezie (40m 8s):
And so getting our biology on our side, working with things again from the inside out, still blood sugar balance, you know, all of that hydration looking at ways that we can start to feel more empowered in our, in our lives. It gives us a softer or more stable landing to do this work because to your point, this is work, right. This is work to kind of say, all right, now I’m going to like, you know, take a moment and go inside and figure out, you know, what’s underneath all these patterns what’s underneath.
Christine Okezie (40m 41s):
What’s causing me to be so reactive in my life or what’s causing me to, you know, say I want one thing and then keep doing something else. Right. So it is work. But to your point, and I think it is, it is important is it’s all connected, right? So the food that we eat, the way we move our bodies, the self care tips and everything are in fact, you know, integrated with our physical and emotional and mental health. It’s why it’s white. It’s the why we have an integrated perspective.
Christine Okezie (41m 10s):
Everything feeds on itself.
Elisa Haggarty (41m 13s):
Right? Yeah. I agree for sure. I think that the, the way this sort of like approach this in a way that is sustainable is, is to ask him, I just ask yourself, you know, do I want to have this living experience? Would I want to have a different one? And, and why is that? And am I willing to shift? Am I willing to play? Am I willing to be goofy and silly? Or am I willing to be serious and committed to being right. You know, if I’m committed to being right, then I’m in for the long haul of suffering, you know, and we’re just never going to win that battle. But yeah,
Christine Okezie (41m 39s):
That’s awesome. So these days, you know, again, kind of crazy days, what makes you feel inspired? What keeps you kind of living your best self?
Elisa Haggarty (41m 49s):
I’m not sure I’m always living my best self, but I am living as best I can in the, in the days given the conditions. But I would say that I, I think what keeps me most inspired as people I’m very much driven by people and the human connection I’m driven by being able to show up well for people that allows me, like part of the reason I get up and I lift weights and I do the things I do is so that I can go up a flight of stairs and help someone when they’re sick, you know? And, and so I can be there for other people. So I think that that’s still my source of inspiration.
Elisa Haggarty (42m 19s):
My other source of inspiration is that, you know, we are all, we are all in this together right now. There’s no one in the world that the pandemic has, you know, scooted around and avoided everyone’s affected in some way it could be health wise or financially where like socially in very, very big ways. So I think I’m inspired by the fact that I know if I’m having hard moments and hard days, I know that other people are too. And you know, my life has been dedicated to trying to make sense of hard stuff. And this is sort of like another really big, big chapter in that world.
Elisa Haggarty (42m 52s):
And I’m curious to see how I, how I work with this time and how I, how I play with it so that I can continue to help others ultimately.
Christine Okezie (43m 0s):
Oh, thank you. Thank you so much, Elisa. And you know, where can people find you online? Learn more about you?
Elisa Haggarty (43m 9s):
Well, I don’t have a website anymore. I kind of got away from that world, but people can find me via email. It’s my firstname.lastname@example.org and also on Instagram and Facebook. So on Instagram, it’s just at Elisa, Mary Haggerty. It’s my full name is who I am. Yeah. And I do work with people privately and I do quite a bit of speaking and education for women’s groups and for, you know, health summits and everything. So wonderful. Excited to keep doing this work. And thank you again for having me. It’s been so fun,
Christine Okezie (43m 35s):
Such a gift to have you on. Thank you so much, Elisa. Take care. Thank you. Okay. And for those listening, please make sure to check out the show notes for today’s episodes on my email@example.com. I’ll be sharing the resources that Elissa mentioned on her show today. Thanks again for listening. Take care.