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EP45- Post-Pandemic Shadow Work and Grief Catharsis with Kwonyin on the Free Your Soma Podcast

Updated: Jan 19

During 2020 and the following years, we went through a collective trauma. And in many ways, we are still processing the darkness and turmoil of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sadness, Anger, Grief, and Fear may still be swirling in our unconscious minds, our bodies reeking subtle or not-so-subtle havoc on our lives and relationships.

Kwonyin has been making space for this important purging and conversing to take place. And in this delicate and insightful interview, we discuss:

-Her own personal journey with becoming intimate with her emotional energy and her own deep need for self-expression and catharsis.

-The collective pain we are carrying from the pandemic

-How emotions and shadows carry great truth and wisdom if we stay present with them.

-What gets in the way of being with our feelings

-What pearl consciousness is and the gift of being with the uncomfortable

and so much more!

KWONYIN is an emotional alchemy guide, teacher of yin, vocal alchemist, and channel of Pearl Consciousness, the iridescent wisdom of the emotional irritant. She offers her transmissions through the written word, performance art, and music. She is the creatrix of CATHARSIS, a guided deep dive to heal internalized oppression and self-repression through shadow integration, inner childcare, ancestral pattern interrupts, parts work, and deep yin embodiment practices.

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check out her upcoming Grief School, starts on January 8, 2024:


A: 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.

A: 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. I'm so excited for this talk. Her name is Kuan Yin. She is an emotional alchemy guide, a channel of plural consciousness, a vocal alchemist, and a teacher of Yin. She helps those going through a deep, soulful transition who may be in an unknown, uncertain, dark space. She offers gentle guidance in the realms of catharsis and the transmutation of our shadow energies. Welcome, Kuan Yin.

K: Thank you, Amy. So, honored to be here. Thanks for having me.

A: Yeah, absolutely. We're going to talk today about some of all what I just mentioned about transmuting our shadow, about working with our shadow, about coming out of dark spaces, right? Or how to work with them instead of fight against it and withdraw from those dark spaces as many of us do. And we're going to also talk about the collective trauma that we all went through about three, four years ago during the pandemic and how you're doing some very powerful work to help people process all the grief and the anger and all the emotions that were really heavy in humanity during that time. So this is a really great conversation. I'm so excited to have you here. Could you introduce yourself a little bit to our audience?

K: Yeah, so, well, first off, I just want to present this free year soma, the things that are happening in my somatic body at the moment. This always tends to happen when I'm kind of the spotlight is on me to share of myself where there is this kind of like constriction that happens. Yeah, so I'm just present seeing what's happening in my body right now with this, this like place of fright and excitement and like, oh, which I think is a good segue to how I got into this work with shadow and emotional alchemy, which is so much about, yeah, the repression of what is really truly felt from the inner realms.

Yeah. And, so, yeah, I got into this work through actually like really hitting a wall really hard again and again and again in a certain period of my life where I was just it was dawning on me like, oh, wow, I have, I don't I have no idea how to deal with my emotions. There there's I have no language to even describe what's happening to me because it's so it was just like realizing that there's a whole realm of my existence that was just like felt non-existent because there was no way to translate my inner realm to the outer. And so, at that time in my life, I was living in Berlin, going through my dark night of the soul. I was living there for a number of years in my mid twenties to through my Saturn return.

And just really, really confronted with a lot of my shadows and going through really, yeah, a lot of things related to me repressing myself, not knowing how to assert self. And so you were living in Berlin. I was living in Berlin.

I was, I had just moved there as a way to kind of explore myself as an artist. And and just it came to be that I was so I didn't know how to do that, even though I went there to do that, I went there to have space to explore like, who am I? Like, what is it that I really want to do? And I knew that it was something in the creative realm. Um, but just feeling so stifled, like I would just, I was in such a place of creative block, like I have all this space and freedom to do what I want.

And yet that freedom was so terrifying that I just like, yeah. So that started me on an inquiry of what's going on with me that I like literally feel like I can't do the thing that I really want to do. And what is it that I want to express? And, and so that was my kind of entry into, okay, there's like this curiosity with the creative process. And, and realizing, oh, like from where I'm coming from, like, my whole upbringing was always someone telling me what to do.

You know, if you think about it, like school, college, even like getting a job, I was working in architecture, that's what I studied, my undergraduate design. And I realized after I kind of left that realm to realizing it's not really resonant with my path anymore. It was like, oh, what is it that I want to do? And that was my kind of quarter-life crisis, arriving into Berlin, like I have all this space to figure out what's me.

And that was just the most terrifying space to live in. And, but it was such a blessed time because we need that time to unravel all the things that you're told you should do. So I was in this big, like, deep self-inquiry process of unraveling the should from like, what is truly innately from me?

A: Yeah, and so much of that is tied up with our emotional states because if you can, I mean, I have a five-year-old. And when we're children, like, unless, you know, very early on, you get, you know, a certain level of suppression, like children kind of like are expressive naturally, they express their feelings, they let you know when they're sad, or they're upset, or they're, you know, but over time, we get conditioned out of expressing how we feel.

And we actually get disconnected from how we feel because of what you just said, because of all of the the shoulds and the kind of authoritarian control of the systems, whether it's the system of our family and our family culture, or whether it's school or whether it's, you know, the culture at large saying this is how you should, you know, look to be successful, or this is how you should behave in order to be loved, right?

Like we have all these kinds of conditions around us that create a little prison that we don't even realize we're living in. And it sounds like you became very confronted with that when you had all this space, like you said, to do whatever it was you wanted. And you felt that the thing that was in the way was yourself. Yeah. Yeah.

K: Which is the most. Well, in a way, you're, I'm getting to the essence, right? Like, okay, so I really need to look at myself. And for me, I felt like that conditioning maybe started really, really started early on to stifle what I'm really feeling.

Yeah. So that was, I didn't, it kind of started very early on where, I mean, also being a natural introvert child.

And yeah, so that inner emotions place, that was really also in my culture growing up Korean, Korean American, maybe there's like an extra layer of, no, that is not okay for you to express that. And especially, especially as empathic or like, you know, sensitive child. Very early on, you know, you're tuning into what's not okay, what's okay.

And let's just shut and silence the things that are unacceptable to all my dad. Yeah. So, so then here, here I am in my adulthood, having no idea, like my emotional compass is so off, like not knowing how to read my emotions, you know, and not knowing.

A: The else is right, but you're not reading your own.

K: Yeah. Knowing everyone else's, but right, not knowing my own and having no idea, like why I was even having a panic attack. Because I'm so off of like, off of being attuned to myself, that I'm having panic attacks and all this anxiety and not having a clue, like what's going on with myself. And then again, and then the really difficult thing is judging yourself. So hardcore about it. Yeah.

A: But you should once again, that you should know how you feel and you should know how to, you know, stop this from happening or you should be able to control how you feel all that.

K: You should be able to control better how you feel. I think that was, yeah, that was the gist of, yeah, that prison mentality. So that took me, but if, you know, that took me on a whole journey, deep dive into trying to understand myself.

Yeah. And, and through that, yeah, I just, I just became kind of obsessed with self help and shadow work and inner child healing. And once I started getting it, oh, and also around that time was when I was having insane body dysmorphia stuff with my skin. And of course, when, you know, I started to make the connection between repressed emotions and my physical health and, and, and all the stuff that was, yeah, happening with my skin.

That was a big trigger for me with acne and that's a whole nother shadow realm of, you know, our ideas of beauty and loveability with physical appearance and, yeah, my tower, all the tower of that feeling like, oh, I like my attachment to the things that I had to the conditionality, right? Like growing up in this culture and being female and you're supposed to present yourself a certain way and all about the surface. Again, it's like the dismantling of every attachment to the surface thing that prioritizes surface over what's happening inside of you. So, yeah.

A: Yeah. I mean, they use, we use this kind of word like objectification. And I think that it gets overused. You don't really know what it means, but it means to see yourself or see others as an object rather than a living feeling entity that is like having an embodied experience that is ever changing and evolving. You know, what you said a moment ago about seeing that connection between the things that were happening in your body, like literally on your skin or in your stomach, right? Or really feeling these physical expressions of the repressed.

Emotions that were not getting processed and moved out. I think that that's becoming something people are understanding more than they were. Like maybe when this was happening with you, like, you know, eight to 10 years ago, I feel like people weren't as aware of that. Some people have been always, but I feel like that's coming more into our public consciousness of like, oh, you know, it's our nervous system. Of course, what's happening emotionally is going to affect the rest of our body. Absolutely.

K: Yeah. And that I started realizing that's the root. That's the root place we need to look at with the emotions. And this, do we have safety to feel this? Do we have safety to let these emotions be honored and help space for? And, you know, my upbringing was no. And so into my life, into my adulthood, because I was ignorant of this, I was also creating an unsafe environment for myself by pushing my own self away with these judgments about, oh, I need to get better about controlling myself with this, which created literal hell in my body.

A: Right. Well, and what I want to ask here, which is kind of, I think, a little spicy of a question, because I'm sure it's what some people are thinking when they hear you speak like this one. Well, what happens when you let go? Because that is a scary for a lot of people in the beginning. If they think that they have to control their feelings, what happens when you just let go and felt your feelings? Like, what was that like?

K: Oh, and so, you know, that's the whole journey in itself, right? Because it's not just about, OK, I will decide to let go now, as if it's a button you can press and like, OK, all of it, let go.

No. But I do believe that, I mean, you have to work in layers and what the amount of safety are. Consciousness, psyche, body can feel to let go and increments, you know, like, OK, this feels. So with me, it started with really owning my anger was like the first point of owning myself.

It's like, oh, this thing, this interaction that's happening with me and this relationship, like acknowledging this does not feel good. I, and just getting to the place of I am disturbed by this. I this is, I give myself permission to be not OK with this.

It's OK to not be OK about this. And that was a huge first initial milestone. Like, oh, yeah. And that kind of owning of that first layer of anger of rage was kind of like the beginning that just kind of catalyzed the rest. OK, so now if I can, now my anger feels a bit more safe with me.

OK, now. And then the next is like, OK, so what's what's underneath this anger more? And and the more I started giving myself permission to like own these feeling states. And and explore like, OK, what is it that I'm making it mean about what happened about me that's making me angry and just more like self-inquiry and more learning about, oh, OK, like there are these patterns that I hold about myself. And and with this exploration, I just. Each time I it's like I found like diving into fine, the pearl underneath.

Of like. Like the irritant that's causing this like pain, this agony inside of me. Like with my presence and with my allowingness to really see what it is and feel what it is that this is creating the pearl and it's creating this iridescent. Like wisdom for myself to know like this is my truth.

A: Right, something very valuable. Yeah. Like without this. Your.

K: Yeah, like it just can't be, you know. I mean, the alternative is again that realm of terror and hell of like not having a self. And so this was all like this process of OK, coming to know who I am through these moments of or like encounters of distress. Trigger something, angering and to really. Like own that as like this is part of. This is all like sacred information about myself.

A: Yes, you know what it's not. I've worked with this, you know, shadow work stuff a little bit, not as I mean, you're very knowledgeable about this on an experiential level. Like I felt that when we met each other and when you started talking about it and just in your presence, you carry. So much grace about the intensity that this can that this can be in a person's experience, like the level of intensity that one can feel in these moments of darkness, right?

In these moments that we usually want to turn away from or try to negotiate with or control. And, you know, it's fascinating because even, you know, there's there's a benefit to like naming the feeling to being like I am angry. This is anger, right? At the same time, like it's never just anger. Like anger is a catalyzing energy. Anger is very similar to passion.

You know, it's like it's right there. Like, you know, just step over the line from anger and we're passionate. We want to make something different than it is.

We want to change something. You know, just like I've been exploring that sadness in its own way. Sadness is comforting in its own like veered twisted little way. It's like kind of. Yeah.

K: Yeah. Uh huh. Yeah. Because also when you name it, like, oh, I'm sad as opposed to not acknowledging it. And you just kind of left me and go to an acknowledged, you know, something. But when you're naming it, oh, I'm sad. Then you're like, OK, well, what can I do to help myself here? What can I do to comfort myself? And then it can be this. Yes, we cozy thing. Right.

A: Well, we take care of ourselves rather than just the feeling is too much. And I don't want to be with that feeling because it's going to be too much. And I think that, you know, it becomes too much when we pull away from it. But when we actually step into it, it's very different. Can you talk a little bit about that process of stepping into the feeling rather than avoiding it?

K: Wow. Yeah. This is resistance, right? Because we think in the moment. Okay. This feels too much. So I'm going to avoid it. And in the moment, it feels like relief because it feels too scary or too intense to address it directly. But that's the thing in the moment. It's like the short-term relief for an accumulation in the long term, which is going to actually give you, again, like the opposite. Of relief. It's just, yeah, like that. Like it's basically resistance that's creating so much inner turmoil.

A: Yeah. Accumulation is a perfect word for it because that's what does happen literally in our bodies when we hold on to the things that have happened and we don't process them. We don't step into them and own them and let them move through us. You know, as you're describing, they get stuck in our bodies and they end up, you know, causing tension, stress and pain. They, you know, on a physical level, but also they cause like this feeling of being trapped, this feeling of being in your own way in life. You know, I think that we really are meant to move through and with these different parts of our human experience.

And so, you know, for me in the last couple of years, just, you know, being able to accept that I'm human and that it's kind of messy and disturbing. And there's going to be messy and disturbing times if I can just like accept that premise, you know, rather than be really uncomfortable and afraid of it. It's like those, those dark experiences don't have to last as long.

It's only when I'm fighting it and resisting it and not wanting to go there that it's just be drawn out forever and ever. And as you said, like allow for an accumulation that's going to cause some kind of issue down the line. Yeah.

K: And I think that's that moment or that realm of, oh, I'm scared. I, you know, this is too much. That's the space I feel that we need to put in so much compassion there and gentleness, like in that very. It's that liminal, like indecision place where we're scared, like at the precipice.

And I mean, this is where. We tend to withdraw and get really isolated there because there's so much also internalized shame about not knowing or not being like you're capable of confronting it. And those are things that are also coming from really earlier parts of ourselves. The inner child that didn't have or is needing that supportive presence to help through that challenging moment.

A lot of us are carrying memories of that support not being there. It's it's that void place where, no, there was no one ever there for me. I was always alone there. And so that's that deep loneliness trigger that comes up with, no, I can't do this alone.

And it's true. We, you know, like we're not meant to actually. Like know how to regulate ourselves alone.

We need the presence of other people with regulated nervous systems to help us hold that space as we go through it. Yes, absolutely. Yeah. And we've never had that modeled for us. Of course, you don't know how to do it for yourself. And then we self-blame and it's so sad. And we need to know how to see like, oh, this is just me about needing support here.

A: For sure. And I feel like, as you mentioned before, like some some cultures in the world are going to be more adapted to that than others based on like their cultural history. Like there was, I don't know if you've heard of this research, but there was all this research in like the 80s and 90s done on those these Romanian orphans who were not touched.

They were physically not touched as babies. And so many of them grew up with developmental and sensory challenges and like a sociopathy and things like this, because they didn't have that regulation of their nervous system. They didn't have that physical touch and physical love that lets them know like who they are and where they are and how to be, like how to actually be a person and process life. So much of that is learned through our early experiences, you know, and then, you know, if they were raised in an orphanage, they weren't getting that attention.

But, you know, and also you could probably look at like the history of Romania and like talk about like culturally why they had an orphanage that, you know, was like that. And I know that at different times that happened in parts of Korea, where there was a culture that didn't acknowledge the necessity of that co-regulation. You know what I mean? Yeah, we could look at different parts of the world or different cultures. You know, and I think that there's an ebb and flow to this.

I mean, for example, in Western culture, it's incredibly common for parents to have their baby sleeping in another room with like a wall, or maybe multiple walls between them, you know, versus places in like other parts of the world, like that would never happen.

The baby sleeps like right next to the mama, like touching her the whole eight hours or whatever that the baby and the mama are sleeping. You know, so I think like there's a lot of different ways that humanity has done this over time. And right now, like at this stage with the, you know, Internet and the way that like, you know, who knows, she's going to listen to this interview. It could be someone in a completely different country listening to you talk about this stuff and, you know, having their mind like open to these realities that like that wasn't part of their culture, you know, but they didn't get that co-regulation.

K: Oh, it's so, that just like sends me, gives me so much, me shivers just like thinking about all the babies who are not being held.

A: Yeah. What if they were born during a wartime or they were an infant during a wartime? There were things that were of higher necessity just that they stay alive. Then they get, you know, and then they're getting the co-regulation of their parent in a state of fight or flight, you know, not in the state of home.

K: And that's the thing on the subject of like survival and what we kind of, I know the mentality my parents are coming from with in terms of like hierarchy of needs was definitely their priority was like very much in the physical like, oh, you know, having like a house, you know, a home and making sure we always had food, of course, and those kinds of things.

So that was what they thought is, OK, this is we're providing for you. But it was not in their radar at all about emotional connection. But emotional connection, emotional closeness. And that's something I think that is a big blind spot for Korean culture in general. And actually many other, most other cultures too, we're just kind of all in the dark ages about that and is changing more now.

But yeah, in our generation. But yeah, in terms of like emotional closeness and connection being this is the foundation for all the other needs, actually, you know, if we don't have that being seen, being held, closeness and being acknowledged in what we're feeling. Like we're so like, I feel like this is why we're in this like war ravaged war or a world that we're in because of these like lack of emotional needs. Right. Important of that to like know how to repair

A: things and holding and holding on to generational anger and holding on to generational emotions that are remaining below the surface that are not being owned and acknowledged. They're just being perpetuated as these realities when, in fact, they're felt living experiences in a person's body that can be changed, should that be altered?

K: Mm hmm. Yeah. Because at the core, I believe we're all with every emotion at the core of it, we're all it's all love. Like there's anger, there's despair, like all all the range of emotions that exist that we we all have access to feeling.

But if any of those, if we don't go through the full cycle of feeling them, like the full completion cycle is always to return back to a sense of love and connection of knowing like, OK, I can feel this and I can be received in this and I understand that I am connected and a part of everything and everyone else. And so but but if we don't actually have the support and space and safety to like really go through to feel all of it down to its root core, back to love, then yeah, we're just staying stuck in.

A: Right, we're staying stuck in anger and resentment and hatred and rage because we're not following the emotion all the way, like you said, to its to its essence. Yeah, for essence. Yeah, I mean, I'm almost thinking of it as like, you know, it's a cycle, it's a natural cycle of existence because everything in nature is cyclical and we're supposed to kind of come back around to the completion of love, but we're not doing that. We're staying over here and then other people are staying like on the opposite side of that space and we're both not returned to that state of love.

But we think that we're against each other and really we're just on this cycle together, but neither of us have completed the cycle to what really, you know, what's the real reason why we want to fight over land or why we want to fight over the death of our loved ones is because we want to be alive because the human body wants to continue to breathe and exist. And that's because of love.

So I'm totally with you on this. This is amazing. And I'm thinking about, you know, right now we're in a really challenging cycle as humanity. And in some ways, I feel like we just came out of like a cycle that, you know, with the pandemic that was also really heavy. And then there was this little space and now we're headed into like another cycle.

And I feel like, you know, some of what you've been talking about on your content is that people haven't really processed the last thing. And I mean, you can think about that in your life, like how quickly we like move on to the next relationship, move on to the next, you know, situation in life without actually processing like what happened before and how it's impacting us. Can you say a little bit about that? Right.

K: So I just literally, yes, two days ago, we just completed our my co-facilitator friend and I, Ari Simon. And I just completed our pandemic grief school processing group and it was really beautiful six weeks we spent together with the group, you know, all of us coming from different angles of the pandemic. But I think a unifying theme was that like the grief of the pandemic was about relationship disruption. You know, the ways that it disrupted our connections with our friends, our family, our differing beliefs, values and how, yeah, like those ruptures that went on unhealed and just kind of sitting with, oh, my God, it's still, I'm not over it.

And, you know, it's kind of a huge initiation for me for actually I need to just put that on the table with like, we're not done. The pandemic is not done. Psychologically, I mean, on many levels, it's not done. But psychologically, we have not dealt with the ways that it's so deeply, psychologically impacted us.

And kind of going on like a, wait a minute, no, life can't just go on as if we need to address what's what's been happening to all of us, because certainly so many of our lives have completely changed. You know, people made really big, drastic lifeshifts during that time. And there's been a lot of, yeah, relationships that were kind of permanently altered from that. Absolutely.

A: Yeah. I mean, I'm thinking back on that time and just how many people I knew who, you know, were like really either anti-mask or pro-mask. And they could be like in the same family group and it would be causing these literal like risks in relationship.

Someone would decide that they were just, you know, going to go ahead and have their birthday party or go ahead and have Christmas and some other member of their family or culture would be totally livid. Yeah, I'm like, I can't believe you said that. Yeah. And not to say that their feelings weren't valid either.

They were living under a fear of like, you know, maybe their mother or their brother or their disabled child or whatever it was, like being impacted permanently by what they considered to be others frivolous choices. You know what I mean? Like it was really charged up and now we're just like going back to like, oh, it's all good now. Yeah. We're not talking. Yeah, there's a lot to talk about there.

K: Right. And I was giving a analogy of a analogy of what it feels like in the current world. I mean, when we were first starting to put this grief school out there was it still kind of feels like you're meeting all of your family for Thanksgiving dinner and And everyone has a secret grudge against each other still, maybe a little bit, but no one's talking about it.

It's just awkward dinner, just quiet. Because no one's talking about, really talking about the pink elephant in the room. And like, that's what it feels like with the pandemic. It just kind of, you know, everyone's tired of it and everyone, you know, we're just all fatigued from all of the drama.

Yeah. So that was a really big opening statement with all of us getting together was that, you know, why does it feel like it's hard to even bring up grief at all? And it's just like the fear of being a Debbie Downer, like, oh, I don't want to be that person, you know, bringing down the vibe, talking about this heavy thing again, like, aren't we, don't we just want to be over it? No, we just want to be done.

A: And I think you're bringing up something really important too, is that, you know, if we as a culture are not comfortable with moving through our emotions to their completion, it's going to be uncomfortable for some people when you actually feel your feelings and you do that, like, in their presence, you know, when you actually express your anger or express your sadness.

A lot of, there are a lot of people out there that are just going to be like, oh, you shouldn't be doing that. Like, that makes me uncomfortable. I don't want to experience, you know, your anger, like, because I'm not comfortable experiencing mine, you know, and that was honestly, I'm speaking for myself, like, that was me for a long time. I was very uncomfortable with like, other people's intense expression of feeling, because I wasn't really allowing myself to go there.

You know what I mean? So I think like, in regards to the pandemic, like, there's a lot of, what did we call it at this time? There was this word for it, like, virtue signaling of like, this is how you should be behaving right now, given these conditions. This is what you're, you know, what you should be showing to the world of like, how it's okay to behave based on these, like, circumstances, right? Yeah.

K: And no, like, we just need to throw all the shuds out the window. Because... Yeah. Like, we're all, I would say we've all been collectively pretty fucked up, you know, from everything. And things are continuously going on with shadow, shadows of the human psyche, you know, exploding out. Yeah. Geez. So, yeah. Another big theme of the grief school was about how just the demonization of the other, like, that was, I think, a big theme of the pandemic, you know, like, oh, what? You're doing something that I, you know, that makes me unsafe.

So you are canceled. Or like, I don't know, just like this big thing of, yeah, like, if there's anyone who I see as a threat, like, yeah, kind of dehumanization, dehumanization. And I think this is a, that's a big shadow, just in general, to be aware of within the self and like, how do we work with the opposites, you know, happening like opposite beliefs? You know, opposite. Um, yeah, someone who's just holding a different opinion, like, how do we deal with that? And I think the pandemic was a good example of like, oh, how we don't know how to handle that.

A: Yeah. I think that there's a lot going on during the pandemic with like, experiencing or relearning about boundaries, you know, because we had all that, like, you know, social distancing, like physical boundaries, you weren't supposed to be like hugging people or like touching people.

And, you know, then on top of that, there was this boundary of like, I mean, I remember at different times, like, you know, wanting to see someone that I would normally see on a regular basis and just literally being even afraid to ask them if they wanted to eat up because I was afraid I was going to offend them, you know, or upset them by merely suggesting that we meet in like a public place, like outside wearing masks, you know, like I didn't know, like if they were how they felt about all that. And so there was like a boundary that I like created on my end of like, oh, you know, I just won't, I won't bother anybody. I don't want to upset anybody.

K: Yeah. Uh-huh. Yeah. And then, you know, so I feel like that's also all this watchfulness and not knowing and being super careful and really mindful. But like, where did all of that energy go? And that's all we were talking about accumulation, right? This accumulation of what is okay to do with like, what is the okay way to connect? Which is, yeah, and I think we're just still dealing with that with like, what's the appropriate thing now? And when the pandemic created so much of this, yeah, separation, distancing and like isolation and loneliness. Yeah.

And not just physical loneliness, but it's like also deep kind of psychological social loneliness with, yeah, all the different ways that people were afraid of offending someone if you shared a different belief and like this internal fragmentation, it just accentuated the fragmentation of like, I don't want to do anything to offend and like become possibly a social outcast now. Yeah. Like a deep primal fear. Absolutely. No matter which side you were on, everyone was afraid of like, you know, becoming an outcast like, oh, right.

A: And I mean, I have, I guess you could say like, people that are close to me on both sides of the fence, you know, where like, there would be certain circles where I actually might be a little bit afraid of walking and wearing a mask because they'd be like, why are you wearing a mask? Da, da, da, da, da. Are you, you know, like, are you believing this pandemic and then I might be in a different social circle where if I came in not wearing a mask, that was the totally wrong thing to do.

Yeah. You know, so, and I think a lot of people had that experience and this experience of just trying to figure out like how to behave. And I think it goes back to that childhood experience that you were talking about early on of being kind of disoriented and not knowing like, how should I be behaving right now?

Like, what's the right way to do this? That like kind of fear and disorientation. I'm sure that it's left over in a lot of us. I'm sure that it's like down there, like not really worked out because it wasn't like it started during the pandemic.

It was just reinforced during that time. You know, but the disorientation goes way back to like all the shoulds and the rules that we experienced as children, you know, like, I mean, it's hard because like, I even do it with my son without realizing it. Like, I don't know if you've heard a small child shriek recently, but it is a very ear splitting nervous system, tightening experience.

Oh my God. And when he's when your small child is doing that, like right in your face because they want a cookie or something, you know, there is a part of your human body that's just like, no, like make it stop, like stop making noise. You know what I mean?

At the same time, like, how can I do that in a way that's not going to suppress him from actually expressing himself? You know what I mean? Yeah.

But I think that there's such a deep conditioning as we talked about before of like, how do we how do we express ourselves and also get our needs met in other ways from our culture, from the people in our lives, right?

K: Totally. Yeah. Because also in the moment that your son is shrieking, it's also like you're having a reaction, you know, oh my goodness. Yeah. Yeah. There's so much, I feel like of like space we need to be able to have spaciousness for ourselves to have like our own shrieks and be able to hold space for someone else's shrieks and you know, like, yeah. Yeah.

A: No. And it's a lot too. Just like the way that it can shift even within a few moments. And I'm sure you've seen this, you know, or experienced this where it goes from a shriek to like crying or nothing for a moment. Like everything just vanishes for a moment and then a new emotion arises. Like if we actually are present to these things, they're not still like we experienced them when we're stuck. They're actually like moving and changing and shifting a little bit, right? Yeah.

K: Absolutely. And that it keeps changing and shifting when we are in that present allowingness of it. Yeah. Like, okay, this is what it is now. Yeah. I always go back to like in my second Iowasa experience where I feel like I really learned a lot about emotions and resistance in that journey. And yeah, just the number one download from that is do not resist. Like whatever is coming through whatever is arising, the lesson was like receive it, honor it, even if it's the most terrifying horrific thing. Yeah. And I always try to keep that in mind when, yeah, there's a big wave coming. I can feel it within myself. It's like, okay.

A: Like I'm imagining like kind of this, oh, I'm not imagining it. I'm sort of experiencing it in this moment a little bit, but like these feelings that can come over us. Like, what is it about feeling that is so scary for some people?

Like what would you think it is about an emotional experience that we find so daunting? Not something that's going to last. Like we don't stay in a whole state of anger for like even hours usually, you know what I mean? It's something that's short lived, but we're so afraid to like feel it fully. What is that fear about? What is that resistance about?

K: Well, I think there's like shame and guilt associated with it. That's what's making it hard. That's the resistance, right? That's the little blocker inside that says, no, I can't go there. Because, and then there, and then that's where the exploration of like, what am I making it this mean when I, when this is present in my body, this is present in my mind.

And what you'd usually find is, oh, there's a correlation that was made in yourself about when I feel this, mom will disapprove of me or this will get me into trouble somehow. This is something really like something really unattractive, really something ugly and unwanted. It's like a undesirable thing. And this, and when this undesirable thing, when you show that, then you will be, and then it usually comes down to at the core, it's like, I will be rejected.

A: And that's a huge deal when you're a child, because you need people to take care of you. I mean, we need that anyway. We need community. We need that attendance, but especially as a child, that's like life or death, you know?

K: It's life or death. That's why it feels like a life or death situation internally, even though on the surface it may seem like, oh, this is not a life or death thing, like that you get angry with someone about this. But on a deep emotional level, it could feel like, oh my God, no, I will, if I show this, I will die. I will be excommunicated, rejected and die. Right.

A: My life as I know it will end. And I think that, you know, kind of speaking this out and like spelling it out a little bit here, if you combine that with the literal like life and death stress of a pandemic, of this sudden illness that's killing people off. And there's this mystery about like how horrific it really is. Like some people are experiencing it very directly.

Other people are like, I don't even know anybody who has it yet. You know, there was just this whole charge around this of it literally feeling like a life or death scenario for many people. On top of that, they had all this social stuff that was going on that forced that like fear, fear pattern even more deeply. In this process, you know, I'm sure there was a lot of fear and anger that came up. What were some of the things that people felt like once they had kind of let released or integrated the upsets that they had gone through? What were some of the results for people?

K: I would say. Like grieving together about the things that had happened. Like everyone acknowledging, oh, it's so important to grieve as a community. And just to come together to no matter what. You know, painful thing happened that somehow it became bearable and when it was shared with each other.

A: Yeah, so that people could be witnessed in their.

K: And that, you know, like that the most kind of painful thing about all of it, all it all came down to. Yeah, relationship with rupture and the isolation and loneliness that that created. And so I think just coming together as a community and sharing your experience and just having like, you know, a space where it was really OK to still be upset about it. Yeah, it was like a huge like kind of weight lifted off of like, OK, I can.

Kind of move, move on. I mean, of course, we're still like always processing something, but at least like there was something here where OK. We can keep going on and the experiences that happen just now we like can find a place for it. Yeah, because it was tended to. Yeah.

A: Wow, that's amazing. And yeah, I think that more people need this. You're doing it again. If you're going to do it,

K: we're like, I think preschool is needs. OK, next semester. Yeah, starting January 8th next semester. That's yeah.

A: And it's a six week program program. How many people were in it? How many?

K: I think there were 15 of us. Yeah, that's a good size.

A: The size. Yeah. Were you able to split people into like little groups or were you always all together?

K: We were together, but we also had brief buddy pairing systems. So in between classes, you could connect with your brief buddy to check in with each other. And also like during our sessions, we would also have like pair and share time. So it wasn't always a group-sharing thing. Could have like more individual one on one. No, the same with each other. Yeah. Yeah.

A: Interesting, because I mean, I just think how all these griefs are connected, you know, like that when the pandemic happened, like, you know. Yes, like babies and small children were absolutely affected. But like, you know, people who have been around, you know, for a while and seen other kinds of catastrophes were also impacted because it triggered them.

It triggered them from like the war that they have survived in like, you know, the 70s or whatever it was, you know, like got triggered, like really intensely in people.

K: Oh, and there was, we had a guest speaker come in on one of our sessions. She, she's someone who works for the school district of Hemet in the, I think, junior high high school. And she was sharing with us just what she's been seeing with all the kids in school where there's just this huge spike in like drug use and drug selling. And there's all this, like, I mean, coming back after the pandemic to schools was just a very, it wasn't well done to like integrate back. And I think it was just really good for her to share because it was an example of like a microcosm of everything everyone was feeling to where, like, we didn't have space to process the grief of everything that happened.

And we can't just expect to just go back to business as normal, as usual. And all these kids were just completely like, like so, so many of them feeling anxious, depressed, their main coping mechanism that's available to them is drugs for more, you know, just to more like repress what's going on. And, and suddenly they're faced with, you know, coming back to school and like not feeling ready, all this pressure now with like exams and social anxiety.

A: I think it highlights the challenge with both of these systems in a way, like the system that we created during the pandemic that had this, you know, intense kind of like fear-mongering lots of isolation. And then juxtaposition to like the pressure of a, you know, educational institution. Like, I can see how, in some ways there would be some kids who, you know, while they may be like starved for their social interaction, like actually appreciated the space that was outside of those rigorous like deadlines and things like this that children face.

Like there was this simultaneous like, you know, bit of freedom at the same time with isolation during the pandemic and then stepping back into the structure with all this pressure, you know, and the saving grace being that you got to see your friends. You know what I mean? Is a really strange dynamic that kind of highlights like the things that maybe aren't as, I don't know, functional about our, our like institutions of learning. You know, when it's like what children actually need.

K: Yeah. I mean, it was just a microcosm kind of of like the way that our culture and society in general deals with trauma or like crisis, which is, okay, this happened. Okay, let's just brush it under the rug and keep, you know, like not having any, again, like no space for safety to process what happened.

A: I think it's amazing that she do a correlation between that experience and the increase in drug use because I think some people wouldn't have necessarily noticed that there was a relationship between that. And that's so important because we get to see that there was a, there was an actual event that occurred and it's not just these bad kids or something like that.

K: The thing is that now with the rise of drug use, she's saying that now the teachers and the principals and now there's this again, this like war happening between the faculty and the students. So now like the demonization of drug use and saying, oh, look at all these problem kids. Now we have even more problem kids and just kind of lumping them into, oh, look at these kids who just won't behave. And it's this issue of you were not looking at the root cause of why are these kids so out of it. Right.

A: Why are they trying to escape? Why are they trying to get away from their experience?

K: Yeah. And it's, it's again, like making the connection with its unprocessed grief. And I think that goes for so many people right now who are experiencing, you know, burnout, just like so exhausted.

Like, yeah, in this place. And, and then we're like, oh my God, I'm not doing well in this world. What's wrong with me? And it's like, no, it's because you're behaving exactly the way that you should be after having gone through this like whole deep traumatic experience. And we need to give ourselves that space and grace to acknowledge that. Oh, yeah.

A: I mean, just the words that you just said just now are so incredibly comforting when someone is facing like a part of themselves that they don't understand. To just be able to go, oh, in the context of what happened to me, this makes perfect sense. I'm exactly in the state that I'm meant to be in because of what came before this, you know, and we don't often like see that thread, you know, while we're in it.

You know, sometimes I mean, that's the blessing is when we have facilitator, someone like you who can be with us in our process and allow us to really see into how your reacting makes perfect sense. Like, in a way, like your anger, your grief, your frustration, your, you know, you're totally justified given the experience that you've gone through. Because I think that we try to make ourselves wrong a lot.

Yeah. Try to deny our experience by making ourselves like this doesn't make sense. I shouldn't be feeling this way. Right. How do I change this? How do I, how do I shift how I feel to be more pleasant or more palatable to either myself or to others?

K: We're productive, you know, yeah.

A: We're productive. Yeah. There's that too. Yeah.

K: And I think that's the thing with, again, like when you're in your own bubble isolated and disconnected, it's even easier to just keep self-lagilating about. That, but then when you connect with others and see, oh, no, it's not just me. This is a collective issue.

I'm part of this greater grief uprising right now of like all the unprocessed grief of all the ages. That's just, you know, coming up and, and how, yeah. So like with that, there's more empathy and compassion. Like, oh, it's not just, I'm not just the only one. Feeling what this, having this problem.

A: Yes. That can be so, so comforting to see that other people, you know, I think about that with, you know, with my work, a lot of it's about muscular pain and stress that people hold in their muscles. Right. And it's surprising to me, you know, before I started this work, I would look around and see, you know, he's like beautiful, fit people.

We just seem to have everything. And I would just imagine that, you know, while I was living in chronic pain that their bodies were perfect and they had no issues, you know, and now that I'm actually a facilitator of this work, the number of beautiful, perfect looking people that I interact with who are living with physical pain in their bodies or emotional agony. Like it is not something we can see from the outside, you know, and you may see someone who looks like, you know, I don't know, maybe you consider them to have bad posture or something like that. And they could actually not be experiencing any pain in their body.

But somebody else who's sitting perfectly upright would be like, my back is killing me. Like we don't know how to see that from the outside and we can't compare our experience to others because we're all suffering differently. You know, and we're all like, we're all suffering just differently. You know, and we can't imagine that someone else like isn't, you know, hasn't experienced some kind of suffering and has it together or has it perfect. It's just not true.

K: And that's just the next thing about self-flagellation is you're comparing yourself with someone just looking at the surface. Yeah. Yeah.

A: Yeah. Well, this brief school sounds like a really, a really powerful thing that the world needs. I'm, I'm very excited about it. January 8th, you said?

K: Let me, yeah, I believe that's the, if that's a Monday. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. So it's coming up. Coming up again in about a couple of months. And yeah, we just thought, okay, I think grief isn't going away. We're, there's so much more to explore and offer spaces for this.

A: And during the grief school, is your emphasis on the pandemic or is can someone come in with their own particular grief?

K: Yeah, this will be, we're just going to open it up to it's not just pandemic and even throughout our course, it turned out like, yes, there were pandemic initially flavors of it, but it just, it just became like, no, like grief is grief with the things that's happening today, the thing that happened 20 years ago, you know, like, all grief is welcome.

A: I love it. Oh, that's so beautiful. Well, someone wants to learn more about this or reach out to you or, you know, maybe they're listening to this and January 8th has already passed, but they want to find out when the next one is, like, where would they find you?

K: So you can find me on, well, my website is Quan Yen dot global. K-W-O-N-Y-I-N dot global. And you can follow me on Instagram at Quan Yen. You can subscribe to my newsletter. That's a good way to get introduced to some of the channelings. I'm actually starting a membership program starting this next month called Pearl, which stands for powerful emotional alchemy receiving love.

You know, I'm just obsessed with pearls because of its symbolism with the irritant creating, yeah, the emotional irritant creating this beautiful iridescent pearl. And in that membership, I will be offering emotional alchemy, shadow, guidance, meditations, journeys each month live. So that's a good way to get introduced and dive deeper into the work. Yeah. Oh, yes.

A: And tell us a little bit. I mean, we're kind of closing in on our time here, but tell us a little bit about your vocal work.

K: Yes. Um, so the vocal alchemy is, let's see it as, um, like I'm tuning in. To. I mean, in each moment, it's just kind of tuning into what is the energy of what I'm sensing in the group field, including myself. And I am kind of allowing the sounds of whatever the emotions I'm tuning into to be translated into.

Yeah. The emotions translate into sound that I am kind of performing this cathartic activation. And so I just actually on 1111 in Joshua tree, I just had a vocal activation alchemy performance there where.

Yeah, I was really, I never know what's going to come up. It's just kind of tuning into what the energy is. But that was felt a lot of kind of grief sounds wailing. Coming through and yeah, it's a healing experience where it's like making kind of audible invisible, the unseen. The frequencies and kind of offering my body as a channel as a vessel to. Kind of transmute them through through the expression. And so it's like a collective healing experience.

A: That's incredible. I mean, I feel like that touches on like the essence of what's possible in art, which is to express the ineffable to to move that collective. You know, experience into something to channel it into something that can be like heard or felt or seen.

Right. And that's yeah, that's such a gift to like everyone to be able, you know, I'm thinking about like different kind of shamanic experiences that I've had where, you know, there's these sounds, you know, maybe in a shamanic sound bath or things like this, where you hear this sound. It sounds maybe for a moment like laughter. And then it sounds like crying. And then there's a part of you that cries with that crying, you know, just like for a split second. There was a part of you that laughed with that laughter and it helps just like move out the things that are getting caught in honor, you know, in our emotional and subtle body. Yes.

K: And I feel that through sound and music, there's something there that I think can bypass our kind of mental thinking space, where it just entered. It's a more like immediate kind of primal experience of that emotion. So I feel like it's a really powerful way to transform these energies and stuck energies, stuck emotions that are within us. Yeah. Yeah, through the vocalization of it. Excellent.

A: Oh, that's so exciting. I look forward to attending one of your future performances. Thank you. Thank you. Well, it's been such an amazing conversation. I'm so glad that you came on today and shared this. I think it's really needed, much, much needed in the world right now, especially around grief. It will continue to be needed with the things that people are facing right now. And yeah, do you have any last words for our audience about this process, about this experience?

K: Well, I would say maybe something on compassion about, like, wherever you are in your relationship with your shadow emotions, like, to, yeah. We give yourself, I invite you to give yourself the space to, to not avoid and to, like, create a gentle space for you to allow.

Allow and I know that. Yeah. In the receiving of yourself, you are, you literally are transforming that hell place of, like, I can't do, I can. Like, and we need to be able to create that first, that paradise first in our bodies in the allowingness of the darkness.

A: Yeah, acceptance and taking it in and letting it be inside of us. And that's, that's a wonderful thing to end with here, the compassion of, like, letting that process to take, take place. Because I think it is a natural process, just like up to processes in our bodies that want to follow through to some kind of completion. And when we get in the way, that doesn't happen.

That's that stuckness that we've been talking about. And so the compassion that allows for that process to be led by our physical body, by our Soma, by our consciousness and intelligence. Like, thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you.

K: Such an honor to be here and share my story and be in this conversation with you. Such medicine for me to connect with you. Excellent.

A: Well, we'll look forward to chatting with you again soon. And if anyone's curious about your offerings, check the show notes all over on Instagram and just learn more about this incredible process of transmutation of shadow. And the really unique way that you're bringing this into the world, Kvanya, and your specific frequency around this, I think is really, is really beautiful and nourishing on such a different level. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

A: You've been listening to the Free Your Soma podcast. To find out more information about today's guest, check the show notes. And to find out more information about me, Amy Takaya, and the Radiance program, visit www.freeyoursoma .com.

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