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EP 25 - Spiritual Independence and Self-Loyalty with April Ruffner

10 years ago April Ruffner had to make a difficult and life-changing decision. It was ultimately the best choice she has ever made and has set her on the path to healing, inside and out.

She left her marriage and with it, the church she grew up in. However, she felt deep within, that this was the only way to be true to herself.

Since that time she has been become versed in energetics and built a new spiritual identity: one that feels authentic and individual.

In the last year, April has had a further awakening with the help of Hanna Somatic Education, which has enabled her to release patterns of avoidance, fear and pain from her body.

In the podcast today we explore:

-How growing up in Mormonism built a strong spiritual structure within her

-The difference between felt, experienced spiritually VS the institutional experience of religion

-What shifted in her when she learned about stored emotions, thoughts and feeling in the body

-How Somatics helped her balance her Yin and Yang, Masculine and Feminine energies.

-The importance of safety and shadow-work

And more!

April is the owner of Bourne Pilates and Fitness in Upland, California. She teaches Pilates, Yoga and practices Reiki.

She invites her students, friends and those around to experience higher planes of consciousness through their perception, energy and their bodies.

Connect with April on Instagram @aprilruffner


Every day there is a forgetting and every moment there is the possibility of remembering. Remembering who you truly are, awakening to your body, to the inner world and experience of being alive. Here is where you find the beauty, the joy. Here is where you free your Soma. Hello and welcome to Free Your Soma, Stories of Sematic Awakening and How to Live from the Inside Out. Today, I have April Ruffner here with me. She is a yoga and Pilates instructor. She's also the owner of Born Pilates in Upland, California. She's a Reiki master, a flower essence practitioner, and she helps people transition to their higher consciousness. She said it beautifully, my mission is to take people from low plane to high plane. She's here today to tell her story of how she came to be, this person doing this incredible thing and some of the really magnificent tools and lessons she's utilized along the way, along this path. So, welcome, April. Hello.

Thank you for having me. Yeah. Yeah, we got to work together last year and some collaborations this year with Sematic. So, that's definitely something we're going to be talking about today is your journey to the point that Sematic came into your world and you were so ready for it. You were just so ready for it.

It was really exciting to work with you. Yes. Yes, yes. But first, let's go back into kind of the past, a little bit into your timeline. You grew up in a very different environment than kind of the fields of interest that you're playing with now. Would you tell us a bit about how you grew up?

Well, I grew up in a Mormon household and my parents were extremely active in the Mormon church. My dad was Bishop. My mom was like the women's leader. So it was expected for us to go to church like three hours on Sunday, a couple times during the week and even in high school before school, right? Seminary. So it was like a major part of my identity and a major part of my life. And at the time, that was my spirituality as a child because I didn't know any better. Right.

You didn't have anything else except what you had been taught and what you were being exposed to by your family. Yes. Yes. And so, you know, this, you kind of followed this path for a long time. Like what amount of your life did you spend active in the Mormon church?

I was active until I was married and probably about five years into my marriage. So I would say until around 30. So I followed this path my entire life. I even got baptized in the Mormon church. I went on a Mormon mission and got married in the Mormon temple. And those were all expectations. So now I realize that. But again, that was my path.

Right. And this idea of expectations, that's an interesting word that you said this was all kind of expected that you would do these things. And you were doing them because you were dutiful because you were like.

Yes. And it gives pride. It's pride to the family unit and loyalty. So I'm showing my loyalty to my family unit. And in a way, I'm people pleasing too because I want them to be happy. And I am getting kudos for following that life and those expectations.

Yeah. That's a really strong energy to step away from. I know I have some friends, people that I've known who have decided for, you know, all kinds of different reasons to step away from things like the Mormon church or being a Jehovah's Witness and there's a lot of social pressure. It can be a very challenging thing to do. Yeah. Was it for you to make that decision? To leave the church? Yeah, to change your life.

Well, it was an eventual process. It did not happen overnight. And I think that years into my marriage, when I started having kids, I was introduced to the women's group. And this women, they were mostly Mormon women and they were in a book club. But the book club was a little bit different because it was energy based. So this book that we read was a lady who was a Reiki master. And she talked all about energy and how disease can be held in the body and it correlates to your thoughts and your emotions. And for me, that was such a new way of thinking like, what? It was so fascinating to be open to this spiritual life. So for me, that was the first time that I started looking differently into quote my path, right? Because all I was taught was quote the path of God through Mormonism. So now my eyes are starting to expand and I'm seeing the world in a different way with this original book. So this is kind of what started the spiritual journey for me.

Right. And some questioning of like what, whether you had been taught was all there was or whether there was more, right? That was starting to reveal itself to you with this. Exactly. Yeah.

The expansion, the expansion started happening.

Yeah. And so that was the first, the first kind of inkling. And then what else did you get at the, before you left the Mormon church, had you already started practicing yoga or did that come later?

Yes. So yoga and just started Pilates, just kind of put my foot in. Then I got introduced to flower essences and all these new ways of seeing consciousness. And so just these little paths were kind of like light along the way to kind of give me the way out. It's like they're stones of light. So I'm crossing the river, right? I'm going on these little stones to get across to the other side. And so when I made that decision, I thought, well, I knew my marriage was not in my highest good. And I knew that Mormonism was not working for me. So I decided to leave them both behind and I made a very conscious decision. And it was one of the hardest things because I was completely ostracized from my roots. And so I lost, you know, my family and my marriage. And so now I'm trying to re-identify with who April is. And that was a very hard period of time.

Yeah, that would be extremely hard. All that, like I mentioned before, the social pressure and that you were no longer meeting anybody. You had to step away from being a people pleaser. Here you were probably a lot of frustration. I'm sure that they didn't let you go easily, right? Exactly.

And it was a painful process also because my ex stayed in the Mormon church and my parents revolve around, quote, the church and Mormonism. So even though I was in a marriage that did not serve my highest good and they chose his side because he was Mormon and taking the kids to church. And it was very hard for me because he was the abuser. Yet I was being looked at as the perpetrator, like at what I did. So it was an interesting process to see my family choose those roots over their own child.

Right. Because you said before, you're highest good. And we would think that a parent would want for their child what was of their child's highest good, but they probably had a different notion of what that was.

Exactly. Yes. And I don't blame them now. At this point, I understand the story because I have enough light or understanding to see that they were just trying to do what was right for them because the church is there. So they think, well, they're higher self or God. So they are trying to follow the right path. It just wasn't in harmony with me.

Right. Yes. And that's a really huge deal for you to prioritize your own health and your own spiritual well-being. And your life and make a different choice. It's incredible that you did so many people probably think about doing that, but they don't do it because it's a big deal. It's a lot of pain at the same time.

And I do feel grateful that there was courage to do that because for me, the courage was stronger than the fear. I was so afraid, so afraid, like, oh my gosh, like, you know, thinking about what I was going to do. But at the end of the day, the courage was stronger than the fear. So I had the journey to follow my heart and it was the most rewarding thing I've ever done. Best decision of my life. Excellent.

Well, and, you know, going back to kind of your spiritual identity and the connection that you have with your higher consciousness and with source of light and all this stuff, I have to think that even within the framework of Mormonism, this was this was like kind of like a foundation of having a very active spiritual life, even though in some ways it was it was not an alignment with your your spirit. There was 100 percent.

Yes, the foundation. So on that side, you know, there's shadow and light to every aspect of, you know, a dynamic or relationship. That was the light side because they did really condition me to be very in tune to the spiritual world. And they talked about universal concepts of compassion and forgiveness and joy. So on that level, I'm really grateful that I had that strong foundation. And then once I had the foundation, now I can go explore for myself. Like what is spirituality and truth to me? Right.

Yes. And it sounds like a lot of your practices as all have also revolved around your body and connecting with your body in a whole new way. I know that. Yes.

Well, that's a really good point because I think that I was very disassociated from my body growing up. It was all about following the rules and following obedience. So even though I was always athletic growing up, that was the only way I connected to my body was, you know, doing sports. But I think that there was a disassociation. And so the older I got, the more I was starting to connect to my body and what was going on internally compared to the external world. Right. So you get more and more aware.

Which was mainly based on kind of expectations of what your body could do, whether that was in sports, or whether you were going to be carrying babies, or whether you were going to be serving church in some way with your body versus a felt inner experience of your body. What does your body, what does April's body really need and want? Right. Versus the expectations.

Exactly. 100%. So choosing myself over choosing my family unit. And that was very hard because my mom told me over and over that I was quote selfish. And you know, that sticks with you because you hear it from a mother's source. And so you think, well, they must be right. They must be telling the truth. And so that's what I had to learn is what is my truth. Compared to what someone else is telling me about my identity and who I am with judgment. So I'm just, and it again showed me who I am though, because I was shown who I was not by a difficult mother dynamic and a difficult husband when I was married. That I found out who I was. So I actually do think them now because it had me explore deeper consciousness. Otherwise I would never awaken to the degree that I have today. Right.

Yes. They become our greatest teachers. Some of the most difficult relationships that we have. I agree with you 100%. That's Yes. A powerful place to be now because I'm sure that there were plenty of times where it just felt really hard. Oh, it's horrible at the time.

And also trusting my level of higher consciousness versus victim consciousness. Because you know, I had victim energy a lot. You know, my ex-husband was a perpetrator. My mom was a perpetrator, you know, and all these things. But now I'm just looking back from observation. You know, and I feel like that is the mind of God for me is observing my life. And also wanting to change patterns. I want to change these patterns deep inside of me. So I have to go into observation. So I feel that the wisdom is so much better at this phase of my life. And it just gets better and better the more I let go and release what is not serving my highest.

Yes. You know, we hear that phrase a lot, you know, let go of what's not serving you, you know, with the waning moon or with, you know, But like, what does that really mean? Like it can mean something in like an internal experience. But like last year you got to experience it physically with somatics. Yes. Yes. Yes. At a physical a That was really exciting.

That is exciting. And I think it's just letting go of these emotions and thoughts and beliefs. Things that are held in the body and held in the tissue that I don't need to hold on to anymore. And it's almost like a house, you know, when you're hoarding things in the house and you're just taking things out to the trash, you're doing a little bit of spring cleaning and you're able to be more light. So my body has more light also because of the somatic therapy that I experienced. And I would recommend it to anyone I know because it's amazing. Yeah.

Yeah. You've been one of my biggest supporters since I met you last year. And I really appreciate that because you're such an incredible person. I love the way that you approach people with this openness and this lack of judgment. Right. I feel like you're an observer. You observe and you allow people to be as they are. And that's so therapeutic. And I think that that's something that you have cultivated that you have learned to do over the course of your life. Like obviously, you know, and you're also 100 percent. Yes. Yes. You're so curious too. And you're curious about how things work and what's inspiring somebody or what's motivating somebody. And I can feel that kind of curiosity from you. And it's like that perfect combination of like curiosity and observation that sort of creates a ground for someone to have a unique experience, I think, in your presence.

And it's amazing to be honest. It's still a work in progress. OK. Because obviously it's endless. You know, I believe it's endless the work we do. It's like so deep. Right. So the curiosity is how deep I want to go into my shadow or my dark side to bring out the light. And I remember Joseph Campbell had a quote that said, the cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek. So for me, that has brought me so much light and treasure to go into those dark caves that I'm not afraid to go into anymore. It's very uncomfortable. But the jewels that I have at the end is so worth it. And the inner piece is beyond what I could ever describe. It's like going to the top of the mountain and you look at the view and you are just in complete awe at the beauty and the joy that you are taking. So that is what the somatic journey has done for me. It has allowed me to see the view and just to experience the view and the embodiment of that joy inside of me. And to see with the curiosity of what I could really explore and see is beyond what I can even verbalize. Because it's an inner experience.

Yes. And it's precious because it's so individual and it's inside of you and it's accessible inside of you. This is something that's so magnificent when anyone kind of takes this work on. Like you have done for me in the last year. I love to see the unique way that this experience that you're attempting to describe this felt sense of joy and of beingness. Each person has their own way of kind of attempting to put words to it or describing it. Exactly. Exactly.

So the somatic for sure. And I somehow in my brain I know when it's the right timing to do something. Because when I was started to do flower essences in my brain I knew that it was the right thing to do. And I found the right teacher and I've had like a 20 year relationship with her. So the odd thing is somatics kept coming into my mind. And I knew that that was my next step in my healing journey. And I found you. It was very odd. I kept asking around. What are my instructors knew you from a previous studio? And it just kind of correlated. I remember talking to you and the flow was just excellent. Like my only free day is Sunday. I'm like me too. And just kind of how everything worked out. And it was just so effortless and easy. And that's how I know when I'm on the right path. When it becomes effortless.

Yes. And that's a big theme in somatics as well. You know when we were talking before we started recording you said you wanted to talk a bit about how your energies your masculine and your feminine energies. Not only did you discovered how they were being expressed in your body. But you also are rebalancing them and have been feeling more balanced in your masculine and feminine energies through the somatic work. Would you like to talk about that a little bit? Tell us what you you discovered. Absolutely.

So I discovered that I was naturally protracted in my shoulder blades, which was meaning that I was rounding forward and I was in that red light pattern. And I was also in the avoidant pattern, which you would call in somatics. And I was putting more weight on my right side of my body. So I was using the masculine side more. And through the somatic journey, I learned to add more weight onto the left side of my body to balance it. And interestingly enough, I just got off the, you know, wagon. I don't know what it's called, of a difficult relationship that was again not working for my highest good. So I had some trauma from the past that I was trying to explore. And once we started shifting it through those private sessions and somatic, after I think about session five is when I really started feeling the results. And I do remember calling in divine love, higher love. And I kept calling that in and I was willing to be alone and not to be with anyone just to keep on my healing journey. And someone that was in alignment with me, with my feminine and the honored my feminine came into my life. And I find it very coincidental within the month of finishing somatics with you those private sessions. This is when this man arrived. And I held the space for him. Because I did the inner work, I had the open space to receive this man into my life. And I find it way too coincidental. I'm going to use the word synchronicity. When my will matches, going to use the word God's will, right? So it's like this synchronized event in the universe that appears to be a meaningful coincidence, but it was not at all. So that was the power of somatics. I was like, wow, this is mind blowing how simple it is. But how intense and how profound to do these micro little movements that affects the whole part of your being.

Right. And releases these patterns that have been held from the previous life experiences that you've had. Amazing. I mean, I can imagine just that rounding forward shoulders, the protracted shoulders, right? This is the red light pattern is also what we call it also. It's a fear pattern. It's making our so that we don't so that we're safe from an outside attack of some kind.

100%. And that is what I've been working on. Literally this past week is finally letting go of self protection and feeling that I have to be vulnerable all the time against those attacks. But now I can see my vulnerability is just accepting my light and just being open. No matter what comes into me, it can't penetrate inside of me. So it's like that calm that I inside of the storm, it can't come that deep. It just doesn't affect my internal being because that is endless. And that is the part of me that is connected to the divine. So I'm connecting to my true self, like who is April, right? Because I really don't have identity, right? We want to always grasp to identity. I'm this, I'm that. But it just really I'm just a higher light, a higher being. And I just am, right? I just am.

And you know, that thing that ineffable thing you were trying to describe earlier about being at the top of the mountain and that sensation within your body, when I'm there, when I experienced that when I finished my movements and I'm peaceful and I'm quiet and I can feel this balance and this flow throughout my entire body, there's this deep sense of like knowing that I am this, that that is me. And it doesn't have a face or a pants size or, you know, a hair color. It just, it's a, it's a feeling inside, right?

That is so beautiful because I feel that the ego wants to grasp who we are constantly and have identity or we want to state the low point of the cycle and hold that low feeling and never come out of it. I'm never going to feel different, you know, when we're grieving or angry. And if we just let go, we know that life comes in cycles. I'm going to be on the high point. And it's okay. This is what life is. It's a spiral. I'm going to keep processing in the cyclical pattern. And so that's it is just knowing that, look, I'm going to go to a high point at some phase and have deeper understanding.

Right. And we learn so much through those low points too, as you mentioned before, those low points, they're like, it's like going back down into the ground to receive fertilization for the next, like, yes, absolutely going to bloom, right, in our lives.

100%. And there's just so much wisdom there. That's the thing is taking the time to go in there and learning the lessons. Because once the lessons are learned, then the weight is so much lighter to carry on the earthly journey. And it just feels so much better to continue on the path without as much weight.

Yeah. I remember when you called me and told me about that relationship that had come during the last few weeks, and you were saying that you felt that your feminine energy was actually able to show up because your masculine energy had like calmed down. That like it. It is so amazing.

Yeah. Sorry, you keep going. Yes. Oh yeah. Just that I was recalling the statement you said was something about like the masculine energy that you had that had been overactive was calmed down now. And so your feminine energy was actually able to like be with this person. And that that felt like a beautiful. Yes. Mirror.

You nailed it. Yes. You just said it in the best way, like absolutely. It calmed down and the feminine was able to explore and sensuality. I remember you talking to me about sensuality and saying that I would feel that more. And to be honest, it's amazing how I am exploring the body just in a different way than I've ever experienced before. And I really feel grateful for that because that is a somatic practice to just be and take time and to explore myself. Absolutely. And like for my partner.

Yes. Yeah. I mean, and the beauty of the beauty of union and the beauty of being touched and feeling safe with touch and all of that. Yes. 100% that that is definitely changed.

Yes. And it's funny because I, you know, I talk with people when they're kind of beginning their somatic, you know, experience with me, whether it's one on one sessions or in the program, and they will ask me these questions. They'll ask me like, will I know what my body needs? I've never known what my body needs. Will I, will I feel comfortable like in my feel safe in my body? They'll ask me these things. And I very confidently say, yes, I believe you will if you continue doing this work. It's one of these kind of inevitability. You don't have to try to do it. It just starts happening. It's natural all of a sudden you return to this naturalness instead of trying to be comfortable or trying to feel safe. You can just be.

It's so beautiful. Yes. And it's learning to be more at home within yourself too. It's like, you think of going into someone's home. You love that feeling, right? Where someone greets you and it's warm and it's loving and they're making food in the kitchen and they have fire and it's like they greet you with a hug. And it's almost like when you come home to yourself, you feel that internally and you just feel like you're just so complete and whole within. And to me, that is like exploring my wholeness and who I am. And you know, I also think self abandonment is a huge theme for people. Maybe self betrayal is also another theme and just kind of like forgetting about ourselves and bailing out. It's almost like bailing out of the parachute and just like leaving yourself behind. Like it's a horrible thing because I have done that many times to please other people in their life. And now it's like when you come from self loyalty, everything starts to change. And this is such a cheesy quote, but I remember Oprah saying that in order to live a brave life, you have to be prepared to disappoint some people. And you know what? People have been disappointed by me and that is so hard for a recovering people blazer.

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It is so difficult to let people down because you start to go into guilt, which is that shadow aspect of the religious way that you grow up. So you just have to let go and honor yourself at the end of the day.

Yes, and that guilt, I mean, I've been exploring this a lot on my own in my personal, my personal practice is that these feelings like shame and guilt, they feel like really negative experiences and it's like, what is the purpose of this? Why am I feeling this? Why am I having this experience? And each time that I dig down into shame or into guilt, even if it feels kind of imposed, if it feels like it's been imposed on me and conditioned, right? What it leads me back to is that I care about myself or I care about someone else. It's leading me back to love. You know, why do I care that I do that? I disappoint my family or that I let this person down, even if I'm doing it to be true to myself, right? Even if it's my truth, I can still feel guilt about it. And that guilt is simply pointing to the fact that even though I had to make this decision, I still love you, right? Even though I have to say no, even though I have to walk away from this, there's part of me that still loves you and cares about your reaction and cares about your feelings.

So much. And I also think that I've been exploring boundaries so much that word has come up like a million times in the past month. And I have been learning boundaries because there's a confusing kind of paradox about love, right? Because you're like, love has no boundaries, right? But at the same time, when you love yourself enough, you're able to walk away from people that do not have your highest good. People either help you expand or they're going to be part of your contraction. And I think that's a good gauge and seeing people that want to keep you open and expand here, jump on me and like, you know, catapult forward. Those are your type of people that you want to keep in your life. And if someone is holding you down and squeezing you with judgment that is so contracting and it is not who you are. And so that's how I've been able to differentiate the boundary of who I want to keep in my life and who I do not want to keep in my life.

Yeah, I think that's a really wonderful thing for me to hear at this moment. Thank you, April, because I feel like that's another place that I've been exploring because in my younger years, and you can probably relate to this, I had, I don't know if it was like, it was almost like a lack of judgment or a naivety. I just wanted to be a Pollyanna and see the good in everybody and just be accepting. Oh, right. And I think that's true of a lot of women go through that phase when they're younger, where they just they want to, you know, it's part of people pleasing. I think there's an aspect of wanting to be liked. But there's also this aspect of like wanting to help other people wanting to like, you know, just see, see the beauty in everything, right? Not want to like look at the fact that really isn't in alignment with me and really isn't in alignment with my life and have a certain sentimentality that keeps you going back to the same situations or the same types of people that, you know, and it's not to say that there's anything wrong with them. I don't really like to label people toxic, even if sometimes they're.

Yes, yes, yes. Haviors are toxic. You can have a toxic behavior, but it doesn't mean you're a toxic person, right? 100 percent. And that's what I feel because I feel like even the word Narcissist or their narcissist gets so overplayed. I get sick of that because, yes, they have narcissistic traits, but it doesn't mean somebody is this or that because I'm really not into giving identity to anyone anymore. It's just that, OK, for you to understand, I'm going to say they have narcissistic traits, but it really isn't even who they are, right? And going back to what you're saying about that whole thing with just being nice all the time and the Pollyanna. I also think there's a part of me that thinks this is an interesting word using apathy, because apathy is kind of like here or there with emotion, and it's kind of like the void. When you're playing a certain role, you're not going into your authentic self. So there's a part of the human psyche that is being apathetic. Does it make sense? And not going into the full spectrum of who you are, because that's a false facade. If you take out that mask, well, who is any really like, yeah, there is it. And it came from good intention. That's the interesting thing is how you were the Pollyanna. It was good intention. It shows that you're a very loving and caring person, but it didn't really show the full spectrum of who you are. So yeah, and more self development. Now that you know yourself more deeply, that can be incorporated in your personality, but it's not the bulk of who you are. Right. Right. That's why it was out of balance, because that was more of what you were showing. But it's just a small aspect of like how you want to be. But on the positive level, right? Very caring person.

Right. And also what you said, it was out of balance, because it wasn't showing the full spectrum of myself, because, you know, as my boyfriend or any boyfriend I've ever had, like I can be very intense and like very like, you know, clear about what's not okay with me when something's not okay with me. But but I kind of like neutered that part of myself in my more public relationships. Then, you know, someone would get close to me and I'd kind of put my foot down about something and they'd be a little bit shocked because I really hadn't been letting them know like, oh no, like I am a nice person. But I also know when something's not working for me and I and I express myself and I let you know, you know, and I'm not. That yes. Being comfortable. But we often associate the Pollyanna or the good girl. She's not going to confront you. She's not going to be comfortable. You know, let it go. Right. And that's not really true about me. I kind of am someone who you know when it's not all right. You know, I like that.

Yes, absolutely. Um, yes, I like what you're saying. I had a thought and I just lost it.

Yeah, it'll come back around.

But I think also another interesting characteristic that I don't know if this is in psyches or whatever, but I've been seeing a lot of passive aggressive things coming out. Like, you know, even in myself and in other people, in other words, we go through extremes where they're so sweet and nice. Or like if somebody gets agitated or irritated, they bark down your throat like a like a dog attacking something like it. I've kind of been seeing extremes and I feel that like communication is OK. And I think learning to communicate can be such a skill. Right. If you're having a problem with your partner, rather than attacking and making them feel unsafe, because the goal is safety, right? And love and honor. And so I've been realizing that I've been trying to explore the way I say things. Now, help me understand I'm feeling this way. Help me understand. So then they're helping me clarify the dark parts of me because I'm obviously not seeing things clear when I'm triggered, right? So these parts, they're helping me bring light. So I'm really grateful for partners or for friends that are helping me see things clearly when I hit a trigger or I hit a wound that I'm not seeing like a distorted image or I am seeing a distorted image of the truth. So on that part, I'm really grateful for light coming to me. And it's all about the correct form of communication.

I got you. Yeah. That's really really a powerful idea of asking them to help you understand help me, yes, more clarity, because that's definitely. Yes. That's that automatically creates a sense of connection with the other person that you're in the other that you're asking. Yes. Instead of, you know, why are you doing this to me?

Would be like, you do this, you do that. It's like, oh, that was so in my 20s. It was all about the attack and you do that. And, you know, I mean, it is that doesn't work. All it does is pushes them away. It literally pushes them out of your space. And so I feel like to ask for help in a clear communication. It's just really changing things for me. And it's such a softer way of communicating personal needs.

Yes. You know, you do this thing, you know, occasionally there will be someone in my life, I won't name names, but like someone in my life. With like, you're doing that. And I am trying to practice instead of throwing it back at them and just like jumping into that frequency. It like, yeah, I actually just like receive that and like ask myself the questions. Like, am I doing that? You know, and like ask me and be like, oh, you know, maybe there is like a tone to my voice or there's a way that I'm expressing myself or there's yes, some piece of truth in what they're saying. I don't have to immediately decide they're wrong and tell them why. Yes. You go like, OK, you know, let me hear you and think about that. Maybe. Yes, exactly.

And that is good sometimes to take this face. Well, let me think about that and just to think rather than a knee jerk reaction of an instant attack or an instant kind of splatter back to the person. Right. So it's like taking time to integrate. And also even with people and schedules, like if somebody asked me to do something, I used to immediately be like, oh, yeah, sure, sure. And now it's like someone will ask me something. Let me think about that. I'll look at my schedule. I have to take time to integrate and experience if it works for me or not. And I think that's the thing is to learn to take more time and space and space in between events. And that's what somatics has helped. It's like that kind of meditative state to where you're not doing the knee jerk reaction. So when comes at you and does something and you're not reacting so quickly, you can take time and space to come with a response that feels so much more loving. And again, I'm getting always use the word your highest self because that is ultimately the goal to come from that space of who I am. So the authentic self in the real, in the real. Right.

In this three in this 3D reality as well. Yes. Yes. In this body, you know. Yes. Yes. That's April Ruffner, right? As this identity that you get to be during this time. Yeah. You know, another thing that I thought is interesting, and this is just a small little event that I think is so helpful to. So I was triggered highly the other day with my partner and, you know, you're having this knee jerk reaction, blah, blah, blah, and you're just mad. OK, bottom line. He came and we were on listening in the car. He was calling me and then he came over to the studio. He was just a few minutes away. He comes in without attacking me or without because I'm already feeling very volatile. He just comes and holds the space and hold, hold, hold me. And for me, I really appreciated it because it calms my nervous center down. I was feeling in that fight or flight response. So crazy. I want to attack. The attack dog. And it just calmed me down and made me feel that I had value and that somebody cared about me. And so he was showing me empathy and meeting me in the space that I was at. And without like a separation of like, oh, this is your experience. OK, right. And I don't I don't feel separate. I feel like within minutes, I wasn't even upset anymore. I was like back to almost a normal state, like just by being held and comforted. And that really helped my nervous system.

That's so beautiful and that you were able to receive his comfort, too. You know, because I can think there have been a time of times where I've been so upset. And I haven't, you know, these are, you know, thinking back on myself, like in my 20s, when I didn't have a regular somatic practice. Yes, yes. I can comfort me when I was upset and I would just be like, don't touch me.

Get away from me. Exactly. Because you can't be open to receive. Yes. Yes. Yes. And that's a big theme. That I've been trying to keep this beam that is saying to me open. OK, so I've been trying to remain in an open state. So if you go throughout the day, you know, all these things that can potentially shut you down, even somebody at the grocery store, they're going to make you mad or whatever it is, right? All these small things where I feel like, oh, crap, I'm getting like attacked or whatever. But I'm trying to remain in this open state without allowing the external world to come into my internal world. And that's my goal is to just be in this receptive state of receiving. Right.

And it's not when stuff comes in, it doesn't have to stick around. It can just kind of. It doesn't have to.

That's it. And how how easy it can just leave like that being held. If I was in a different partnership, that could have been a full fledged flight or a fight. I could have been upset for days, not talk to my partner. I mean, it could have escalated, you know, fire with fire. It just gets huge and crazy. But it was calm down. It relaxed me. It was almost like him bringing in the water element to my fire. It just brought it down, totally put the fire out. And I was able to receive. So I was in feminine and he was in feminine by just getting me to calm that nervous system down. Right.

Yeah, that's so beautiful. That's such a great story. I love that. I hope more of that for myself with, you know, because it's it's similar to like how I hear with like gentle parenting, you know, you your child, when your child's upset and they're having all this big emotion and stuff, instead of, you know, stop yelling, be quiet. It's like, instead of contact with them, will they let you hold them? If they won't let you hold them yet, can you just be near them and allow them to calm down? Right. And I think that in so many ways, I'm discovering that, like, even though we grow up and we, you know, our brains develop and our bodies develop, there's still so many, like, ways that we are when we're adults that are just exactly the same as how we were when we were kids. Like, I guess they were so true. Super grumpy when I'm tired. Like, I get like way more difficult when I'm tired. Yes.

You know, I love that. And I also think to identify the emotion and to feel empathy. So like, let's say my kid is angry, rather than, stop, no, no, no. You know, I'm feeling angry back. I'm so sorry you're feeling that way. And, and just acknowledging, you know, it sounds like you're angry. I'm so sorry you're feeling that way. And just like hold the space for them, you know, and in the ideal world. Okay. Obviously, we're not having these perfect experiences as humans, you know, we're here to learn and we're here to grow. So there are times when I've lost my crap with my kids. Like, I've totally f-bombed them and I've gotten so mad. And, you know, so like, I am not the perfect parent, but my goal is to remain in that state where I can heal them more than I hurt them, you know, with like not meaning to, you know, with my like non-perfection part of parenting. But just to acknowledge where they're at. And, you know, even with kids, like, you know, kids, touch is so important to kids. And, you know, even like my kids, like they'll be super stressed. I'll give them like a massage, you know, at the end of the day, and they know that they're feel they're loved by their parent. And I think that's important too, to show connection.

Right. And it's the quality that you bring to the words or to the touch that you offer, right? Because that's really what someone feels at the end of the day is your energy, the energy you're bringing to it. The statement that you just said, I'm sorry that you feel that way, the way that you said it. I like felt it. I was like, oh, she really, she's really upset. I feel I've heard that sentence from like people and they say the exact sentence with the saying it is like, this is your fault. You know what I mean? Well, I'm sorry, you feel exactly.

No, exactly. It's sad with judgment. And it's also like identifying the motion. It sounds like you're angry right now. It sounds like you're really sad or it sounds like you're grieving. I and then, you know, and honestly, like it's important, I think identifying and just acknowledging that, yes, this is their experience. And to meet them where they are. And at the end of the day, I think more than feeling loved, people just want to feel understood. It changes who they are. I think it changes their literally like I'm saying DNA on a cellular level, they're changed because they feel understood. And every person, I think, wants that. And it's just that as humans, we don't always know how to go about that. When we have our needs, we don't always know how to go about and asking for what we need also.

I think that so much of it is also our nervous systems capacity to actually take another person's experience in. If we're already, if we're already to like, you know, we're we're operating at a capacity that's like already too much. We don't have available space to allow another experience to actually enter so we can create that compassion and empathy. Right. Yes, yes. Start to down regulate on a regular basis and we start to create more space in our bodies through somatic. Then there's more, there's more space for another person's experience to actually 100%.

Yes. And to take on more of that. And I really see that. That is definitely true. Definitely true.

Yeah, and it's cool because what I ended up realizing after, you know, so many years of, you know, being a yoga teacher and doing different kinds of like healing work with people. I think that I had to like, you know, oh no, I'm going to take on all this energy and then like, you know, I'll have to expel it later. I'll have to, you know, I'll have to, you know, I'll, you know, I'll. Oh, yes, yes, yes. I'm going to fortify my own energy more and more. Yeah. Not even that I really have anymore. Like sure I can get tired and I can get hungry and I can have certain needs that get to get met. But if I compare myself in terms of keeping my nervous system calm and regulated, I'm not going to reach this like state of, you know, oh, this person's too much for me. This emotion is too much for me. That doesn't really happen when I have enough space in my body. Does that make sense?

100%. Yes, I love it because when I'm grounded, I'm centered. You know, because today I taught many group classes in a row and clients and if I was not grounded in my own energy, I would not be able to give that to people. And it was, you know, it's a very nurturing thing and to be very aware of other people's body and how they're moving. So I have to stay in a higher, a higher plane or consciousness for myself to be able to give that consciousness and for them to feel that, that they also felt that. Oh, that was a wonderful workout or whatever. It makes me feel happy because it makes me feel like I'm doing my job because it's just as rewarding for me and them. So it's an even energy exchange and that's the thing is like when energy, you know, you're coming from the heart, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger like the snowball effect. And you know, I've been negatively courted to people before where it's a drain, you're an opponent with them and it's just not in your highest. So I think when energy is coming from the heart, you can play with it and it can get bigger and bigger and that's when it becomes expansive. So it's just as rewarding for both people to be in that space.

Yes, and you know, I want to reflect to you the, the values that you were raised with that even though the structure of it did not serve you. What I really got from you a lot in this conversation is your sense of loyalty that you have now not only to yourself and your spirit, but to the other people in your life who are in alignment with your highest good and vice versa. You know, and that's a thing that I can really see in you and feel in you is this sense of loyalty and it's actually, you know, it's one of these things that even though it was created maybe in a less, you know, constructive way through the religious structure, right, it's something that you carry very deeply and really this incredible gift of what you carry of your energy.

Interesting. I like that. Yes, exactly. And at the end of the day, loyalty is really love. Because even though like, you know, again, I don't have the greatest relationship or so to speak with my mom, I'm always loyal to her I love her at the end of the day. You know, it's okay, she doesn't understand consciously how she's hurt me. So I am choosing to forgive her and have compassion because she doesn't understand what she has done. And that's okay. Does it make sense? So like, I have understanding that like, she's not meaning to hurt me. And a lot of people we don't mean to hurt each other. It just kind of these experiences where people have given us pain, right? So all I can do is rise above that pain and not be in the victim mindset or consciousness because then I stay stuck and I don't want to be stuck. I want to keep moving and moving forward. So that is the most important to me is this internal work that incorporates the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Literally, nothing could be more important than just clearing out this and clearing out the energetic bodies.

Well, and that's what Soma means. Soma is your body, but your it's your energetic body. It's your energy field as well as your blood and guts as well as your mind as well as your Soma. And it's your living experience of being in a body. It's all of it. And so you got it that you got a Soma. You're connecting to your Soma. You're discovering your Soma. Exactly. Yes. I think that all living beings have somas. I think the trees have somas. I think that mushrooms. Yes. And insects. They all have somas. They have a totally different experience than we do, but they're having a living experience of being in a body. Yes.

And it's that life force energy that they all have. They're connected to something, whether you call that a soul or like life force. It's in all of these that anime, right? That keeps life going. So it is a beautiful thing. And we're all sentiment beings. You know, even animals, the sentiment of animals, it's amazing to see, right? We are feeling. And that's how I think that we can shift patterns through our own feelings and intuition, because that's how things, I think, get changed and shifted.

Yeah, I think that the biggest changes that, well, the only changes that occur in current occur internally, even if someone is doing something to you, your body has to be like processing it and receiving it and doing something with it in order for it to make any change in you. Right. So at the end of the day, it's less than if we don't think it is. It's like my dad used to say about this dog that he wasn't training the dog. The dog was training himself. And it was kind of this funny riddle, because it might appear from the outside like he is training the dog, but really the dog is the one who's choosing to continue to sit to get the treat. The dog is the one that's choosing to, you know, or controlling his movement or deciding to roll over in order to get the treat. So at the end of the day, the dog is training himself. Yes. Idea. Hmm. Oh, and you know, something you said earlier, I reminded me of this thing. It's a, you know, this is a quote from Jesus Christ and maybe I will say it wrong, but forgive them for they know not what they do. Yes. I was going to say that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That's it. I had I huge epiphany with this one time when I was hiking. And I was walking along and there was this really cool beetle that was like walking, you know, through my path as I'm running on this trail. And I purposefully like stepped over to his not so as not to squish the beetle. Right. And then I continuing to run and then I ran and I looked down and I saw that there was a squished beetle. Someone had squished. And I thought, well, maybe they didn't see it. And like, I could have not seen it. It could have been me. I could have. Yes. And then I said, and then I thought, well, even if they did mean to squish it because they don't like. I was like, because they know not what they do, whether they meant to know they didn't know what they were doing in this bigger picture. I love that.

I've always said that with my mom, literally that quote, but I didn't want to appear to religion as I said that, but like, forgive her. She doesn't know what she's doing. So it's like, she doesn't understand the full grasp of what happened. And again, that it just, I'm so over it now. Like I feel beyond the mind, which I think is metanoia, which means forgiveness. So like the Greek word is metanoia, which quote, it literally means beyond the mind. So like I feel beyond the mind with my mom. Like I'm not trying to go into my mind to create it anymore. It just is. And I just let it go. It's hard to even describe that it is all okay with me the way that this dynamic has been. And because maybe I was not given the reflection of this loving mama, me, I in the kitchen, you know, that I love, then I can be that person so I can heal that part of me that wasn't given that as a child, and I can be that person and give that to others. I think it's the greatest gift I can do is be like that and give from my heart, because that's healing for my hurt child.

Yes, what we didn't get can become what we give. And in that way, getting that was like some kind of weird twisted gift to not get that because now we know now we know what we need and what the world needs more of that comfort. Yes, that support that unconditional that unconditional love.

Yes, 100%.

Well, it's been absolutely amazing to talk with you and just kind of go on about all these beautiful ideas and also share some really, I think it's just some really powerful ways in which we can start relating to ourselves and our bodies and like it just a little different way I can definitely see how you're able to help people transition to these higher levels of consciousness because that's just where you seem to take a lot of these ideas with them into those. And you're obviously very comfortable with looking at energy as, I guess, like, you know, because we think about high vibe or low vibe but I feel like you're really comfortable with all the vibes.

And alchemy. Basically, it's alchemy so it's changing that low vibe and let's let what can I create with that like let's let's create alchemy to where it can come to a heart centered practice and a form of spiritual nature, rather than staying in that, you know, the victim consciousness right so I can alchemy that and change it. So to me that's my greatest power is to be able to create alchemy from the victim. Yes, yes, and it's a continuous journey. It's, yeah, goes on all the time and I'm so glad you're on this journey with me this somatic path. I'm really excited to see how you continue to explore the somatic work in the next year I'm sure we're going to do another collaboration soon.

Yes, yeah, would be really fun and just, yeah, the different ways that you start to share this work and share what you've learned through it.

Absolutely. Thank you so much. It's always enlightening right to talk about this so I really appreciate the space for that.

Thank you for sharing your story I'm sure there's people who listen who can relate to growing up in that kind of environment and, and going rogue and doing something totally different with their lives and what was planned out for them. So thank you for sharing about that and thank you for doing that thank you for making your spiritual awakening and your development a priority, and even though thank you. Yeah, thank you. Awesome. Well April if anybody wants to get in touch with you if they feel inspired by your story they want to connect with you what's a good way for them to connect with you.

They can just go to born pilates calm, and it'll have a phone number their email and they can just connect with me through my Pilates website.

Wonderful. Yes. Okay, thank you so much maybe we'll have you back on the show sometime sooner in the future to share about what things continue to evolve with your somatic practice and thank you. Yeah, it's been well it's been absolutely lovely.

Sounds good enjoy your day. Bye. Bye.

Thank you.

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