Pleasure, Fear, Pain, Grief, Joy and Bliss. All these experiences are part of our somatic, living experience. To be able to feel, explore, own and move with these intense and beautiful moments is what Anastasia Barrata's work is all about. She is a 8th House Witch and a former dominatrix who brings surrender, strength and compassion into her work as a Pilates Instructor and as a Death Midwife.
In this episode we discuss:
-her highly sexual nature that found a calling in sacred sex work
-learning to listen to her body after experiencing injury, pain and struggle
-the work she does as a death midwife and the death education she provides her community
-somatics as a common thread between sexuality, death, movement and rebirth
and SO MUCH MORE
Anastasia Baratta has dedicated their life's work to empowering others through dynamic wellness approaches. As posture and mobility coach, they/she specialize in alignment, core development, and promoting efficient, pain-free movement through the use of holistic and somatic modalities and techniques.
With over 25 years of practice within the areas of the occult, sexuality and kink, Anastasia explores and guides individuals on transformative journeys facilitating personal growth and liberation for those seeking a deeper understanding of themselves and their desires. In 2020, Anastasia expanded their work by completing training as a Death Midwife. In this capacity, they/she empowers individuals to reimagine the possibilities surrounding death, helping them navigate and plan their end-of-life experiences.
Currently residing in Joshua Tree, CA, Anastasia also facilitates a monthly Death Cafe, providing a safe space for open and compassionate conversations about mortality and its profound impact on life. Anastasia Baratta's multifaceted expertise and compassionate approach make them/her a valuable guide for those seeking transformation, wellness, and a profound connection with their own bodies, desires, and mortality.
Connect with her/them anastasiabaratta.com Or on instagram @Anastasia Baratta @sacred_undertaking
LISTEN WHILE READING
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. Today here is where you free your Soma. Hello everyone and welcome to Free Your Soma, Stories of Somatic Awakening and How to Live from the Inside Out. I have a wonderful guest with me here today, Anastasia Bharata. She lives in Joshua Tree. She's an 8th house witch, a death midwife, movement coach and sexuality educator. She facilitates the death cafe helping to normalize and process death. She practices witch and spirit work and today she's going to share a bit about her own journey, the ways in which she guides others in understanding themselves and their consciousness. Thank you so much for being here with me today Anastasia. Thank you Amy, I'm happy to be here. Yeah, so tell us a little bit about your work and what, you know, there's a lot there. You do a lot with helping people to not only process their, you know, death and the eventuality of death and, you know, the fact that many of us are touched by death in our lives, but you're also talking about sexuality, which I think many, for many people is, you know, besides birth, that's one of the pinnacles of being alive is that creative energy life force that's inside of us. So maybe you can can us a little bit about how you meld these things in your practice.
Well I mean that's for like the 8th house witch stuff. So if you're into astrology, you know that the 8th house is Scorpio's house of sex, death and rebirth. So always been drawn to the sort of taboos and sex and death and the rebirth is probably my movement practice because that really was a rebirth thing for me in terms of an awakening of my own body and my understanding of my body. So that's how those things blend together. I know it seems kind of, you you they do seem somewhat disparate, but they are similar in that it's all about, I don't know, like an authentic acceptance of our, you know, who we are and why we're here or something like that. It feels like so much of our experiences around denial around these things. So, you know, denying our sexuality, denying death, denying ourselves our movement and freedom of expression. And I feel like a lot of those things kind of go hand in hand, you know, if somebody, you know, if I'm in a movement class and somebody isn't breathing very well, I doubt that they're probably having very good sex at home, you know. And also like, you know, I feel like the more shut down people are, the more afraid of living, then they're also probably afraid of dying. You know, it's like, if you're not living fully, it's usually, I think there's some fear of around, yeah, living fully is kind of, not living fully is a little bit of a fear of death in a sense.
Wow. Yes, that's beautifully said. And I think that, you know, death is very literal in the sense that like, even though, you know, we kind of think of it as this thing that's going to happen in the future, our cells are dying off all the time. And we go through ego death. We go through death of a personality or a person that we used to be, right? And so these shifts and changes and deaths that go on throughout our lives that, you know, are not just that one moment where we stop breathing, right?
It's true. And I think, yeah, that shutting down is a fear of all those little deaths as well, right? Or maybe it's those little deaths that bring us into that place of protection. And, but yeah, you're right. I mean, death is all around us. Death Death life are intertwined.
Oh, yes, absolutely. And, you know, it's funny because I think I remember, I'm not sure if this is Shakespeare or somebody called an orgasm, a little death.
Well, the French do. The French. Okay, that's what it is. And in Taoism, also, they think of ejaculation as, you know, letting your life force go. So, you know, like in Taoism, they do a lot of retention of ejaculation and learn, men learn more of an inner orgasm. So it's actually not orgasm. That's a little death. It's the ejaculation. Oh, interesting.
Okay. Yeah, that's a that's a that's a refinement I wasn't aware of. Thank you. Yeah.
And I guess in a way it is a little death for millions of sperm.
So I was thinking, especially if it's not going into an egg, right? If it's not going into an egg. And even if it is, it's usually only one sperm that's going into the egg and the rest of them are dying. Totally. Yeah. Yeah. Fascinating. So tell us a little bit about, you know, you know, given that you're pointing to your astrology and you're saying an eight house which like this is a lifelong journey for you of these specific themes. Absolutely. And it's part of your path. It's part of like what you're here to do. Like you're very clear on that. I can feel that in your energy. That's one of the reasons I wanted to talk to you once I started talking to was like, oh, she's really been doing this. Like she's doing this for real for a long time. Right. So so tell us a little bit about maybe about your upbringing or about where you started from and how maybe these things started emerging in your, you know, in your consciousness, in your energy field when you were a child. That's I'm sure that's something going on there. Yeah.
You know, I grew up with kind of hippie parents. So I have kind of and kind of checked not checked out. I I they weren't like, but they were busy, busy hippie parents. So I was alone a lot as a child. I'm an only child and I had a lot of energy. I'm a very like wiggly active person. And as a child, I was really, you know, I was always getting in trouble for being too active. And, you know, and as I look back, I think how are they putting children in desks for eight hours a day is just that is what's unnatural. My needing to move around all the time was the natural bit. But yeah, so I just, you know, my parents saw that I was just an active. So they got me involved in a lot and I got involved in a lot of activities. So I ran trash in a basketball and in the high school, I was a cheerleader. And I so I was always really active, but I got hurt a lot because I didn't really understand my body. Even like as a, you know, as a young adult, I was a snowboarder, a a biker, rock climber. And I would injure myself or I just wasn't as strong in these activities because I wasn't being really coached in my body in a way. You know, and even things like I started yoga in 1987. But, you know, again, it was this thing where it was always, you know, it's very our Western mindset around like this, we do these exercises, but we don't think about what we're engaging, why we're doing these exercises, connecting with these exercises. So then, you know, as I went on in my life, I continued my yoga practice and it got more. And And I was injuring myself in yoga. And that's when I found Pilates. So this is sort of my movement journey. And then Pilates really helped me to understand like my alignment and why I was getting hurt and how to engage and, you know, how to think about my body in a different way. And that was a real awakening. And that is when I decided that I wanted to teach it because I wanted to help other people understand their bodies. And that was at the, I started teaching Pilates at the end of a 20, almost 20 year span of being a professional dominatrix. So that's, you know, so right around my solar return is, and because my son is in the eighth house. So my son and Mercury are in the eighth house. So it kind of means I shine in the areas of taboo, the sex, death, rebirth themes. And because Mercury is there, I I to communicate about them. So So right around my solar return, I was living in the Bay Area and I was working for a pansexual newspaper because I was always also a very sexualized person. I didn't grow up really oppressed, but nor did my parents teach me about sex. You You Judy Bloom and porn novels taught me about sex. Thankfully, Judy Bloom came in because it probably would have just been porn novels because it was like, you know, the late 70s, early 80s. There was no internet. There There I lived in a small town in Minnesota, so you just didn't find information very easily there. And yeah, I was just pretty sexualized. You You I didn't, I've never been, no, no one has ever been inappropriate, you know, as a child anyway. I've had, you know, experiences as an adult, but not as a child. But I just had, I was a Randy kid, you know, I just had a lot of sexual energy. I started having sex right around the 14, 15 year old. And, you you I just went for it. And then I was super slutty and, you know, slept with a lot of people. And I feel like becoming a dominatrix actually kind of saved me in a way because it gave me a place to channel my sexual energy into a place that wasn't quite as, I won't call it destructive, but not constructive. Because even though I had many, many different sexual experiences with people, they all taught me something about myself and gave me more confidence around, you know, an area that, again, pre-internet, you're just, you know, finding out about sex and, you know, what's going on in positions and whatever, you know, whatever people were doing, it was really a lot harder to find. You know, you had to go get books or talk to people. And so, so yeah, so I started working for this pansexual newspaper in the Bay Area. And that's when I started meeting dominatrices and recognizing my own kinks. Because again, this was right when the internet was starting to come. And I didn't realize I was a kinky person. I didn't even understand clearly really what BDSM was or kink was at that point. And then I just really dove in and then I moved to New York City and I was a pro down there for 10 years.
So interesting. I just want to say something, you know, this is an amazing story and I can almost feel how these two things, this movement, that this activity, and like the sexual energy that you had, it's kind of like a same thing. Like it's kind of like the same energy, which is what you alluded to earlier. But the other thing that I want to say is that what you said earlier about, it calmed you down a little bit to have a modality because I think being a dominatrix, we don't see that as a modality, but, you know, the right person doing it in a skillful way and developing this as a skill, this is a, in many ways, can be a healing modality.
Oh, 100%. And that's how I shot from the beginning, actually, because thankfully I was, I got my training in the Bay Area and the Bay Area is a lot deeper around sacred sexuality, sacred kink, and it has a healing modality. Then I moved to New York and that wasn't as prevalent, but it was my, my, the way that I promoted myself. So it was in my advertising and all that that I would, you know, I use terms like shamanatrix and, you know, sexual healer and things like that. Because I really did see the value of the human of it. And I always came from a place of love, even if it looked like violence, you know, or things that people would not consider love, but it was always from a very loving place that I would do this and really cared deeply about all of myself and bottoms. And so yeah, and it healed me too, right, because I had this kind of, you know, I'm a tiny woman, but I'm super dominant and, you know, it was not faring well in my other work situations. And so I had, again, a forum that I could be this big presence and be exalted for it rather than always somebody trying to diminish that aspect of myself, or to label it with, you know, terms like bitch or, you know, difficult or whatever those nasty women or whatever it is that people want to label us when we're asserting ourselves. And so that, you know, that experience, it just, it was healing in many, many ways. It was also healing in this way of just being able to see myself as sovereign and powerful and in control of my own life. And you know, it had its downsides as well, its shadow aspects, but, you know, for the most part, I'm very grateful for that journey.
Right, right. And so now, you know, you kind of mentioned like when you're teaching Pilates, when you're doing kind of these more straight jobs, so to speak, those elements are still there. Like you can probably see patterns in people's bodies and in people's behavior, right? And there's probably a way that you're still being in some way like this shaman matrix, is that what you called it? Like there's probably an edge you bring in to those things that might otherwise be considered kind of normie or something, right? And I mean, you mentioned it a little bit before. In In for example. What's that? How does that come in like the setting of a Pilates studio or in Pilates, for example?
Well, I mean, first of all Pilates instructors are the dominatrix of the fitness world. Let's be real. They are the most controlling of all fitness instructors in all of the equipment looks like bondage and BDSM stuff. And my, I remember my ex said, which thing, my ex was like, this is the same job. This is the same job only now you work with women. But it is really a most, you know, both as a dom and as a Pilates teacher, I feel like I have a gift for a body referring. So I can touch people and I kind of know what they need. And that's not, you know, if it's Pilates or if it's, you know, BDSM. Like I just, like I channel what they need and I know the journey that they need to go on. Even if I can't always verbalize it. So it's a real channeling for me there. And, and it's a lot about getting people into their body. So that's again, like something that a lot of doms don't do, but I did. I did. I did a lot of breathing. I I a lot of movement. I used Reiki. I used a lot of other healing modalities. And a lot of it again, was just getting people deeper into their body and healing and being present. And I certainly do that also with Pilates because I'm not interested in just a bunch of random exercises. I don't care what the shape is in a way. I care what's being felt and sensed, aged and connected and integrated. So yeah, in that sense, they have a similar energetic in that way. Yeah.
Yeah. And what you just said is really important, I think, because we get so externally focused in those fields of yoga and even Pilates on what it should look like. But what you said is far more important in my opinion. What are they feeling? What What they experiencing when they're doing it? They could look good. They could look like they're doing it. And they could be hurting themselves. They They be in pain. And And that was true for me. When you were speaking earlier about not having a certain level of body awareness that protected you from injury, that is totally my journey too with yoga. I threw myself into it compulsively at 19 after I had a healing crisis, a pretty severe one. And And was my anti-drug. Yoga was my anti-alcohol. Yoga was my savior that was coming in and protecting me from myself. And I got compulsive with it and I ended up hurting myself a lot because I didn't yet have a development and a refinement of my own internal awareness. A lot of people are missing that. I recognize now that I have some of it now that I'm in this long process now of developing that. So I totally hear you on that.
Yeah. It's interesting as you were saying that too, I was thinking a little bit about how much we like to punish ourselves in in our fitness and our, you know, movement practices and also, you know, in BDSM. It can look like punishing or it can look like pleasure. It's all about how we perceive it and how we move into it and how we shift and, you know, like, frame it. And that's really where I'm at with my, you know, my movement practice is, you know, I mean, sure, it's okay to push yourself a little bit, but this punishing, no pain, no gain, it's just, it's really so counterproductive to help you functional, happy bodies.
Yes. What a great word for it. Counterproductive because that takes the judging us out of it, which is an easy place that we can go to in our body practices where we are judging ourselves for, you know, not being strong enough or good enough or judging ourselves for injuring ourselves, especially as instructors or teachers, you know, we can feel shame about having hurt ourselves doing something. You know, I experience that a lot. And it's totally true. I mean, I look back on some of the stuff that I was doing and not just like the stuff I was doing, but who I was being while I was doing it, who I was being to myself. And it was totally sadomasochistic. It was totally like, you know, I was mad at myself for something I did or something that happened in a relationship and I would go to yoga to work it out. And I would just be like torturing myself, you know, physically torturing myself. I mean, I did hot yoga. So of course it was, that was the whole model anyway, was torture chamber.
That Nostonga, those are the two. Oh, those are all the masochists over there.
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Total masochism, for sure. I can relate to that. Absolutely. Well, I think it's beautiful that you're taking this role as a Pilates teacher and you're doing something really unique with it, within that framework in terms of inviting people to actually be present with their bodies. And it does. I mean, it's, it's edgy because, you know, we don't expect that to be coming from someone who is quote unquote a dominatrix. We don't, we don't think about a way of, you know, dominating energy or masculine energy actually being kind and loving and therapeutic. We have this model, right, that's existed for a long time that's, that's, that's conquering, you know, that's abuse, that's torture, right? But you're representing something totally different here. And it really speaks to the internal work that you've done to, to work with your dominating energy, right?
I mean, I guess it's the difference between, you know, a cruel sovereign and a benevolent sovereign, you know, it's sort of like, you know, what kind of queen do you want to be, you know? And, and because that is, you know, again, that's that kind of top energy and you can either be talking with love or you can be talking with pain and power. You know, and, and I've dabbled in both for sure. But I am, you know, the, the, the times where the pain and power would start to take over, so did my life diminish and the darkness come in and the anger and frustration. And so, gratefully, I've had a very strong spiritual practice throughout my life. I've been kind of, you you somebody who's always been a spiritual seeker and, and so through that, you know, I was able to sort through and really see the way the true path of love, you know, and, and compassion.
Awesome. And And probably comes through very succinctly in the death work that you do because to be with someone who is in some state of processing death, whether it's the death of their own body, if they're having a disease or they're experiencing a disease process, right? Or if it's someone who has just recently lost someone, that is a very delicate, very intimate place to be with someone. And there is a way of channeling that compassion that can really, really, really help that person. And then there's a way that we can be fearful and dismissive accidentally, right? Just because we're human and it's uncomfortable, right? Like I kind of remember how it felt when I was a kid and I would go to like an old folks home and they would be like that kind of like that smell and you would see these people and they looked so sad and they were wheelchairs, you know, and I would recoil. I would just be like, I don't want to be here. It's so uncomfortable, you know? And that would still like, you know, persist in me a little bit, you know, as an adult until I actually, in my experience, I actually got to be with my grandmother the last year and a half of her life, live with her and I was with her the five days before she passed. And that was an awakening for me in my heart to feel more of that compassion that you're speaking of of how to, you know, because I was, I was handling her. I was moving her. I was changing her. I was parenting her in so many ways, like in this really intense way. And, you know, there were times that I was triggered and I was frustrated and I wasn't like being as nice as I could be and I would catch myself and it would be hard to look at that way that I wasn't being as nice as I could be. I was like, I really would rather be doing something else right now. You know what I mean? And then I would go, oh, this is what I'm doing and this is really important, you know, and by the end of a whole experience, the year and a half that I spent doing that, like I really felt like my heart broke open in a new way. So I would love to hear you say a bit about how this death midwife journey has developed for you alongside all these other things that I feel are quite related.
Yeah, I think it's a story that's really powerful and it is really moving right how humbling it is. And it's interesting for me, I feel like as a death worker, I feel more significant in a way. I I like I am, I death is my fault and that I'm here to serve. And the more that I get into that softer and humbler and just really being there to witness and to do what is necessary, really it shifts me a lot. It's probably the most important thing I could do to my soul. You know, in many ways people are like, oh, it's so selfless. I'm like, like, get controlling and thoughtless and whatever. But But I'm in the presence of death, like it's a different story. And it's just, it brings out the deepest part of the soft compassionate, you know, just that openness to it. Yeah, like eight years ago, my beloved cousin, he was like a brother to me. He was dying of things. And I was, my father and I were his primary caregivers. And And was, you know, as you know, an incredibly challenging year, physically challenging emotionally, psychologically challenging. And, you know, my cousin was 37 and didn't want to die. So he went into every medical treatment possible, which for me was hard because I wanted to support him and have the hope. But I knew he was going to die and it all felt really useless and a terrible waste of time and energy. But I just did not let him in that because it wasn't his place and what I wanted. But I did in my own way, take notes of what I don't want from myself. And what I think was really not is unhealthy and wanted to be a part of a team. And then after he died, I started reading a lot on some different deaf philosophers like Peter Jenkins and Frank Osbiaski and some of these, you know, some of the children stuff around deaf. And, and then I did really start to formulate some different viewpoints on deaf and really seeing how, as with so many things in our culture, we're just so shut out and shut off. And much of it is due to capitalism, right? Because an industry has come in and told us, you'll do all of these things for you. You don't want to do this stuff, blah, blah, blah. Here, just, you know, drop off your grandma at this place and you never have to think about her again until she dies. And And a funeral home will come take her away and you'll see her for two hours and then you never have to think about it. You know? And, you know, and that's really fine for some people. But I know for me, I, like they took my cousin's body away, like an hour and a half after he died, and it just felt wrong. Like I was just like, I didn't, I just, I was like, why are they taking at least the warm? You know, I still want to be with him, but I didn't understand that he had rights at that time. I kind of thought when somebody died, their bodies just sort of became like property of the streets or something, and that you were required by law to do these things, and that is true. Now I know that, you know, legally that body belongs to us, and that's really, that's the work that I want to do as a Deaf midwife is post-Deaf here. So, which was after death, helping people come home, funerals, staying with the body for three days, that's the same, because I have a deep understanding and belief that it is part of the feeling that we need in our culture is to protect our own dead, and it will help us hear death less, and also work through grief and emotions and whatnot. And then he's got, you know, again, our culture just is like, oh, sorry, you don't have time to grieve, you don't have time to do this. You just go ahead, give it to somebody else, get over it, get back to work, you know? And I think it's really part of, again, why would they take that down, and why were we still consulted too? Like we consume so much in this culture because it was so empty and in pain, and we're not, we don't even know why, you know? And it's our sexuality, you know? And our connection to death, life and death. And to some degree, like, you know, as a somatic worker and as body workers, we know that, again, the body's still shut down because the body is problematic for the systems of industrialization, the legislation, like, because it's unreliable, and it takes care and time and whatever. So, you know, people just learn to shut down all the little pains and feelings and emotions and all that stuff, and so it becomes cancer or something else in their body, and then they have to deal with it in a crisis, rather than, you know, if we were, again, in a healthier culture around our bodies, and we'd be in a bad situation, and we'd be in be in be in be in be signs and symptoms earlier and work through them with practitioners and, you know, dealers and whatever. Yeah. And actually mitigate crisis, you know?
Absolutely. It's hard because when you start working with someone and you could probably relate to this and they have been disconnected from their body, and I am totally talking about myself here. I was very resistant in the beginning to somatic work. My dad was actually the one who was introducing me to it. He had already become a somatic educator. So that's a whole thing. Like, it was really beneficial for me to get that healing from my own father, which I was, like I said, resistant to in the beginning, like super resistant. But when you have been disconnected from your body and somebody actually gets you to connect in, you might realize how bad you've been feeling, right? And that is confronting, because you're just like, oh my goodness, there is so much like stuff. There's so many skeletons in the closet. There's so much that I've been holding onto and it can feel kind of overwhelming, right? Because like, and you know, this is kind of, I feel like this is similar to what you just said about when someone dies and they just take the body away and like tuck it away and like don't look at that. When we have a trauma or we have an experience, we just tuck it away. Like, okay, don't look at that. Get on with things, get on with life, get over it, move on. But that's not how our bodies work. Our bodies need time to process what happened fully. And that's what you're giving people when you're giving them those three days to actually look at and be with the body of their beloved is actually give their nervous system and their physical body time to process the event and go, oh, this is a change. This is different. My life is not gonna be the same as it was before. And that's the same with any kind of trauma. And death is a trauma for many people, right? But any kind of trauma that we go through, we're not the same after that experience for better or worse, right? But if we don't take the time to really process that, it's just going to haunt us.
Yeah, absolutely. Not gonna just go away. People think things are just, they hope that it's just gonna go away, but nothing really as such, right? It's just get layered under other things. And yeah. And I have to say, I am so grateful to you. I love my body. And actually every day is a journey into more and more connection with it, which is even more beautiful, you know, more integration, more ability to see it. And one of my great mentors, Mary Bond, taught me that we have more interoceptors than we do afteroceptors, right? We have more ability to see it in. That we do the external world. And I'm sure as a somenot yourself, right? You know that. Like it's crazy. Like it, you know, just going into that somatic space in your body is like traveling the void. It's like a psychedelic experience. And it is what I imagine on a conscious level, like how I'm relating it to death, you know? Like to get that youth into that space is perhaps like how to travel through death or maybe a death-like experience, you know, de-medication, somatic work. It's like so alive that it's also like, I don't know. I'm getting a little confused there, but there's something there. And I also do somatic death medications with myself and sometimes with my students and stuff, you know? Where I feel helpful.
And they can sense to me, because if you get really into sensing and feeling into your body, your body is not fixed. And there's these constant little fluctuations based on all kinds of, you know, stimuli and information that's coming in, right? And being processed. So like I've definitely, since I become more somatically aware, if I have like, you know, I get a little dehydrated, didn't eat too well today, I can feel that my body is like towards death. I can feel that. And it's not like a dramatic thing. It's just like a little shift, you know, where I'm just a little bit less alive right now and I'm a little bit more towards susceptibility to disease. And there's this little shift, right? That's going on that I was totally unaware of before. In the past, I might've just been like, oh, you didn't drink enough water. Oh, well, man up and keep going, you know? But now I'm like, ooh, I can feel that. I can feel that little ache. I can feel that little dryness, that soreness in me. And I'm gonna go seek out that water or that thing, you know? Or if I don't have the ability to do that, I think I'm probably doing a somatic death meditation because I'm just feeling into that. I mean, like, oh, I can feel, I can feel this ache. I can feel this pain and there's nothing to do about it right now yet because I don't have any water or whatever it is, right? But I totally get what you're saying. There's, you know, and the other thing I was gonna say about what you just said was that the psychedelic death journey that were the psychedelic quality of our bodies, people have been talking about and writing about time machines. But you know what? We're living in a time machine. That's my experience at least. Like we can time travel in our bodies. We can go, you know, some people go into past lives or we can go into, you know, our childhood again. I feel like I've gone into the future and see like a future version of myself and met my crown, you know, like this is the time travel device.
It's true. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, and I do this really interesting therapy called Igetics, which is a kind of somatic and journey, kind of psychedelic therapy that's also, you know, yeah, it's, you know, going into like, as I'm sure you work with your, you know, like going into stuff that's happened through the Igetics framework, which I won't go into, but then feeling where it is in your body. And then, you know, in that feeling, the images come about, you know, the perhaps the trauma is there, or at least the sensation of sadness, anger, pain, you know, whatever it is, and being able to go in and kind of go into that space, wherever that is living in your body, or at least perceiving it's living in your body, you can have that conversation with it is incredible. I mean, the way that it even just the acknowledgement you can feel your body being like, oh, you know, like you feel that, you know, oh, you're here, oh, wow, you know, I feel my body gets excited when it is like, oh, you're finally, you finally saw it, you know, that's been causing you this discomfort, you didn't realize or blocking you from this thing. So yeah, I just, I don't know, I just love meditation and somatic base and getting into that. It's fun to make for sure.
Beautiful, do you just work privately with people, or do you have events, do you ever have retreats or workshops, things like that?
Well, I work, you know, I work at the Pilates Studio in Dushbetree, and then I have students that I see at the Zoom, for the movement work. And then in terms of, I've done some workshops on sexuality and working on a series right now, it's a little more designed to ball with it, but it's fine. And then as you know, I need the local Deaf Cafe and that is, you know, the only real Deaf offering that I have at this point, but I have some other things in the works here. I'm really trying to build community, like a Deaf network here in the high desert, so that we can once again get back to a more community-centered Deaf and Dying experience. And like right now I'm working with a couple. And, you know, as you know, out in this area, people can look pretty far away from other people and can be kind of isolated. So, you know, I go and I sit with them for like, you know, I sit with him and she can go to her errands once a week, but, and I do that through hospice, but what I want to do is create it more through community, so that it's also more fluid and flexible and it's more friendly. And again, we just know who's in our community and who's dying and who needs help and how we can support each other. And that's what I want to build.
Awesome, yes. And how long has this been, his project been going on?
Yeah, I mean, with my grandmother, it was so challenging because she was not really there, you know, towards the end, she had some dementia. She had reverted back to her little girl. And so she was very childlike, which was not, you know, yeah, she was cute and she's a little tiny Japanese lady, you know, so there was like definitely like that kind of kawaii, like cute thing that she always had, but this was like extra. This was like, she was a little girl, you know, and she was confused and she was, you know, baffled. And then there were these times where she would kind of come back into herself and realize that she was immobile and that, you know, she couldn't really do anything anymore in her life that she had ever done before. And I could just feel like the grief and the sorrow, you know, and the kind of sadness that would overtake her. And it was really hard to bear witness to that, you know? And I, of course, you know, I didn't have someone magical like you in my life at that time that could have provided some assistance. And so I kind of just had to figure it out on my own in a lot of ways, which was hard. And there was a lot of surrendering that I had to do, but I remember this particular moment that I was, you know, cause she couldn't even feed herself. So I was feeding her and she was starting to kind of turn the food away, you know, and not want any more to eat. And she really hadn't eaten much, you know, for a couple of days. And I knew that that was kind of like that's a sign that they're going in that direction, right? And so I just put down the food and I just said, you know, Obacchan, you know, you, if you don't eat, then your body will move more towards death. I didn't say it like that. I can't remember how I said it, but I was just basically like frank with her. I was like, you know, eating is part of being alive. And if you're not going to eat, then you're moving in that direction, you know? And this was in my own way, like trying to figure it out, trying to negotiate it. Is this what she wants? Is she's telling me she wants to start that process, you know, or is she conscious of it at all, you know? And she got kind of like alert and a little bit shocked. And she said, no, I want to be alive. And then she wanted to eat the food, you know? And so then I was helping her to eat the food. And she, I mean, I think she was alive for another like three months or something. After that, you know? So I think that within the framework of like an individual who's going through the dying process themselves, there's probably a lot of like swimming in and out of their experience, right? Where they don't realize that they're dying. They're kind of unconscious to it. And then they might awaken to it and it's really scary, right?
Yeah. You know, again, I think that's part of it. Why I'm doing the work of death too, is like my hope is that I'm not going to be afraid to die. And that I will have lived the life that I wanted. That's the other beautiful thing about working with death, is you are very conscious of like looking at your life in the death and saying, okay, well, what is my legacy? What am I leaving behind? What have I done? What do I want to do? You know, what is meaningful? What is not meaningful? From the perspective of my last days, you know? And, you know, so my hope is through the work of that, that when it comes, I will hopefully not be afraid, that I will be like excited to go back to source and, you know, you know, see what, you know, go for the next adventure.
So here's a question. If you could choose, would you choose to die naturally and gradually or would you choose sudden death?
Hmm, I, that is a, that's a challenging question because I think what's, you know, great about a sudden, sudden death is that you don't suffer and you, you know, don't quote unquote, burn your family, right? The hard thing is that also the people that love you have a shorter adjustment period and it's harder on them usually in terms of grief because I think during, you know, some sort of a dying process, people can like say they're sorry or thank you or spend time together that's meaningful and have those meaningful last memories. And also from the perspective of the person that's dying, I beat me, that I also will have that opportunity to stay on sorry and thank you and yeah. And also be present with that mysterious process of dying. Like I'm curious about it, you know, like a lot of people see spirits and energies and get very, you know, it's the last day that they can get very in between in that liminal space. And, you know, again, I'm kind of a liminal seeker and I, you know, I'm somebody who likes psychedelics. I've done a lot of different kinds of journeys of sorts and I'm curious about that journey. I'm curious about who or what will come in grief at the end. So yeah, I don't know. That's a challenging one. Yeah,
Yeah, yeah, I feel like you're leaning towards the slow gradual death because there's more to savor there. The sudden death is kind of like game over versus the gradual process, there's more to gather and I can tell that you are a gatherer of, you know, life experiences, you're a gatherer of somatic experiences. So that makes sense that that would be a little more appealing...
Yeah, although I have, you know, with near death experiences, which are really interesting to read about, you know, they also like they'll be, you know, I've heard people say I was falling off a cliff and I was able to escape my body and watch my body fall. And I felt, you know, like those sorts of things. So I don't know that
Have you ever seen this movie called brainstorm? It's from the 80s. OK, it's a it's a really interesting movie that you might enjoy. It scared the crap out of me when I saw it when I was a kid. It's like PG, but I think it's like the content nowadays. It would be like PG 13, at least. Scott Christopher Walken in it. He's the main character and he's this scientist who creates this machine that you put on your head and it records your like experience, like your somatic experience, like what you're seeing, what you're tasting, what you're feeling, what you're thinking. Like, and so you can put it on like a tape recorder and record your experience. And then somebody else can put it on and experience your experience.
I think I have seen that years ago, like in the movie.
So then his partner is wearing it and she dies. And then death is recorded. Her experience of death is recorded on the device. And the movie is about his obsession with wanting to wear it and put it on. And but there's this wonder. He doesn't know if he can do that and not also die. So I'll leave it at that for anybody who's curious, but it's it's worth a rewatch. I'm just thinking about it as we were having this conversation because it was it's a wild movie. What's also wild about it is that Natalie Wood died. It was her last movie. She's his wife and that movie. And she died in that weird like boat accident, like right after the movie was made. So I've got all this strong energy around it.
So it's yeah, there's those hollywood gear coincidences where you're like, yeah, was this like a premonition or did this manifest this thing?
Right, right. Those kind of wanderings for sure. Yeah. Wow. Well, this has been such an absolutely amazing conversation. And it's gone all these really interesting directions. I've loved speaking with you. I'm sure that our listeners have gained a lot through this. Do you have anything else that you'd like to share about kind of, you know, we've talked about your movement experience and then the sex sexuality journey and then now coming to kind of the death experience. And is there anything that you feel like is a thread that kind of ties all of this together, you know, in this human journey for you?
Yeah, I mean, you know, it does, I think I think that the the somatic element, you know, is is the thread, you know, is the thread. It's the it's our connection to our body, our spirits, connection to our body. And that, you know, moving and breathing and fucking and, you know, like dancing and all of these things and just just being able to, yeah, fully experience this body because we're going to leave it, you know, it's going to leave us. I think our spirit lives on, but we only have this body one time around. And I think to fully just, you know, feel all of the feelings, all the sensations, all the pleasures, all the challenges is really. Yeah, is what has driven me in all these directions.
That's true. Yeah. Yeah, it's it is. It's just being with all of it. It's being with all of it.
Yeah. Getting it slow and not get stuck. Yes, not get stuck.
Yes, because we're good at that. We're good at getting stuck.
I practice this stuff all the time and I still get stuck.
Yes, I know what you mean. You know, sometimes we think we're not grab hold or healing or whatever. Yeah. Yes, because we think, you know, sometimes in this is a trap like other healers talked about getting caught in where we think like, oh, I'm healed. It's finished. This is over. Right. And it's like, no, it's never over. It's always continuing and we're always human and we're going to have our triggers and we're going to have our upsets and we're going to have things that happen that throw us off, you know, and it's about that returning to, you know, this the breath coming in and out. It's returning to what's in front of me and not grasping and holding on to what was before all of that process. So thank you for the work that you're doing out there. Thank you for this. It's incredible. I'm so excited that you were able to come on the podcast and share about this so people can hear about it, you know, because it's not something that everybody's talking about.
Definitely not. They're hanging out with me. They are.
So much. This is great talking to you and I think it's worth it. You do. I know how important this mattock work is. And so thanks for the work. Thank you. If people want to get in touch with you, can they find you somewhere? You have a website or Instagram or something?
I do have a website. It's mostly my movement work. That's AnastasiaBurrata.com. And then on Instagram, I have three Instagrams. If you want to find me for my movement work, that's at AnastasiaBurrata. If you want to find me for my desk work, it's at sacred underscore undertaking. And if you're curious about my dumb work, I'm not very active on this one, but that's at Rich Wilde. Nice.
Nice. Well, everybody can look for that in the show notes. And I just, I'm really so pleased to thank you for coming on and maybe we'll talk to you again. Maybe we'll check in as you have these projects that are developing and shifting and changing. I'd love to speak with you again. Thank you. Hello, everyone. I'm Amy Tecaja and I have an exciting announcement. At the end of September, I will be hosting my first full length retreat. Somatic Awakening will take place in the San Gabriel Mountains. This three day transformational experience will include Hanosomatic Movement, Hands-On Somatic Bodywork by my father, William Davis, my cousins, Seiji Oshenza and myself. We will also explore somatic yoga and mudra practice, as well as an end of the day sound healing to deepen your calm and release. Only nine spaces are available for full-time participants. Day passes will be available for the Saturday activities. Right now, you can get $200 off the full price of the retreat. So if you're feeling called into freedom and ease of movement, a peaceful, relaxed nervous system, delicious plant-based meals and a fresh and enlivened way of being, go to freeyoursoma.com and hold your space. Payment plans are available by request and feel free to reach out to me with questions or comments at freeyoursoma.com. Thanks again for listening and supporting this self-healing revolution. You've been listening to the Free Your Soma podcast. Subscribe now to hear more stories of somatic awakening and gain knowledge and tools for somatic living. If you'd like to learn more about me, Amy Takaya, Hanosomatic Education or the Radiance Program, please visit www.freeyoursoma .com.