Episode 41: Charlotte Kasl, Ph.D, author of If The Buddha Got Stuck shares how to get Unstuck right now!
Another great interview, the third in this series with Charlotte Kasl, Ph.D, as she imparts to us her unique blend of clinical and spiritual philosophies delivered with practical applications for empowerment in everyday living.
In this episode we cover:
- What keeps people stuck – traits of stuck people
- How to get Unstuck – traits of Unstuck People
- An exercise for moving through fear
Charlotte is such a wealth of knowledge, compassion, and inspiration I could talk to her all day long! Don’t miss the special gems in this interview, especially where we address questions from the Just for Women audience! If you are struggling with any major issue in life – tune into this interview to get some relief and movement! And while you are listening – you can get your own copy of Charlotte’s “must have” book If The Buddha Dated.
This program is brought to you by personallifemedia.com
Alissa Kriteman: Welcome to just for women: Dating, Relationships and Sex. I am your host Alissa Kriteman. This show is dedicated to bringing you kick ass information to help you live a kick ass life. Today on the show I am happy to welcome back Charlotte Kasl, PHD. author of the highly acclaimed series of books: If the Buddha Dated, If the Buddha Married and today we are going to talk about If the Buddha Got Stuck. So listeners please tune into the other interviews I did with Charlotte cause they are chalked full of great ideas, practical, useful content and really awesome exercises you can apply it for anywhere you are in your love life.
Charlotte Kasl: The more we start developing this sense of I’m not good enough, I don’t deserve it, I don’t matter…This really starts very young in infancy with attachment actually, and as this develops and the child’s help to handle their emotion and name their emotions and they are not afraid of different parts of themselves. They develop an inner stability that helps them through.
Charlotte Kasl: Now I know some people that things are kind of sloppy and yet they are absolutely able to shut it out and totally focus on what they are doing. So I think there is a deeper driving force which is, you feel passion about what you want to say, you’re willing to charge in and try to do it, whether you think it will succeed or not and you focus on that.
Charlotte Kasl: If everyone around me is getting on the ball and doing new things it’s like we all spark each other and that is what some support groups are for is that we borrow on the ego strength of each other, we spark each other, we inspire each other, and you know I love being around movers and shakers because they are all just doing incredible stuff and it makes you happy to hear what they are doing and it makes you want to go do your own thing.
Alissa Kriteman: Today on the show I am happy to welcome back Charlotte Kasl, PHD. Author of the highly acclaimed series of books: If the Buddha Dated, If the Buddha Married and today we are going to talk about If the Buddha Got Stuck. So Charlotte thank you so much for coming back and being on just for women again.
Charlotte Kasl: I am just delighted to be here.
Alissa Kriteman: Laughs Thank you. Ok so I I Most people who have probably listening to the show for a while know that you are just steeped in um all kinds of specialties. You’re a clinical counselor, addiction specialist, healer, consultant, um and so I really love your depths, depth, decks that you bring and such a diverse background to so um which is Buddhism and Quakerism and um so I am really excited to talk to you today about what keeps people stuck, how do we get unstuck, how do we move out of these um stuck places that pervade our lives. So let’s start with that. What in your point of view, what keeps people stuck?
Charlotte Kasl: Well I think it starts deep down in the core with those false core beliefs: I don’t deserve it, I’m not good enough, I’m worthless, I don’t get to have it, I’m damaged, I’m not loveable. And those are like this root unconscious thing that’s like the roots of a tree and they’re feeding into everything we think and do. And then how it looks more on the surface as this sense of helplessness, which is a learned thing. Um it actually comes out of over and over again not taking action when you’re bothered by something. It’s literally in the immickule of the brain so people um just feel helpless and hopeless which is kind of depressed. And I think there is really and epidemic of depression which is, keeps people terribly stuck because helpless and hopeless is so much part of that.
Alissa Kriteman: Where do these false core beliefs come from?
Charlotte Kasl: Well they start very early in our lives. Um the leas, the less our needs are really taken care of the more we start developing this sense of I’m not good enough, I don’t deserve it, I don’t matter. This really starts very young in infancy with attachment actually because we see over and over again that a child who is born into a family that welcomes them and a mother who is, falls in love with her baby, and smiles and coos and is very responsive to the child, very attuned to the child. This child gets a, in the brain in the neurons, into the musculature, everything, a sense of being ok, being valued, being um, mattering, existing and as this develops and the child’s help to handle their emotions and name their emotions and they’re not afraid of different parts of themselves. They, they develop an inner stability that helps them through. Now everybody gets stuck to some degree ok. It’s like part of life. Its part of like harmony and disharmony. You know things go along for a while and then they wear out. You know you might have a job. I’ve gone through several phases of career in my life and you find you’re getting done with it and you don’t know where in the heck to go next. But you know this isn’t it. So that’s a little different than stuck, that just means you need to notice and then start letting go of what doesn’t work. Where people get stuck is they get hooked on security or they’re afraid and they just stay with something that doesn’t work and they keep trying to make it work and its like that literally trying to put a square peg in a round hole. And then they stay stuck there out of fear. So it
Alissa Kriteman: Well it sounds like
Charlotte Kasl: Yeah go ahead
Alissa Kriteman: Well it sounds like so we’re growing up these false core beliefs get created as a baby if we haven’t received the love, the attention, the safety that we needed as a very young person and so unbeknownst to us we’re growing up and we think ok I’m just being human doing my thing but really we keep and this is the part of the stuckness, going into um repeating cycles and repeating bad relationships and repeating self destructive behaviors. How do we get out of it?
Charlotte Kasl: Well, first of all we recognize our beliefs. What are we saying to ourselves, ya know, its like am I saying I will always be a loser in relationships. And there’s a kind of a lot of folk lore in the new age and the self help field like well if you had a bad childhood you will always have a bad relationship. Now that’s not always true. Some people in the kind of like switching something on make a huge change inside of them to I deserve it, I get to have it and here is what I’m gonna do and I’m gonna set limits and um in my book I have a list in the dating book of red flags on me and on the partner in a relationship and I’m going to give a list of those to my friends and to me and I’m going to pay attention cause I do not want to have another awful relationship ya know with someone who is addicted, or isn’t available or isn’t reliable. So you have to work at it and people do change it. I interviewed one couple they had both had twenty five years of not good relationships. He said there was nothing I could do that was right. And then when I had married Helen there was nothing I could do that was wrong. So a lot of it is really paying attention, but the other part is listening. What are we telling ourselves?
Alissa Kriteman: Right
Charlotte Kasl: You know and for some people they have a litany of excuses for why they don’t apply for the new job or anything its like I’m too old, it’s a bad job market, I’m too fat, too thin, too tall, too stupid, too bright, too overqualified, under qualified. There is always a reason, but the reason is just a symptom, a feeling they don’t deserve it.
Alissa Kriteman: Ummm. Ok so getting out of this spin of these false core beliefs um which is one of the ways people get stuck is to recognize the beliefs when they’re running us and it sounds like you are alluding to a sort-of maybe re-pattering thoughts. So how do we, what are, what’s an exercise or something that we can do when we realize wow, I’m coming from , I don’t think I can have the relationship of my dreams, or I don’t think I’m loveable. Like how do we start to take new actions or do new things?
Charlotte Kasl: Ok. So first of all we recognize it’s just a concept, it’s just a thought. It’s not an artifact, it’s not a chair, it’s not a thing, it’s a thought that got put into us through all of the conditioning we’ve had in our lives. So we start questioning it as a thought. Ya know, who put this thought there, is this thought really true, is this thought helping me move ahead in my life. And the work of Byron Cade is very helpful for that. People can go on to work that time and get her uh judge thy neighbor worksheet, has a very good list of questions. Just question that thought is this thought bringing peace or stress is it helping me move ahead in life. And so you start questioning that thought and you get an image, you try to get to, ok how would I be without that thought? What would I do to really make this work? You know who would I have to be like? Who has the qualities? What qualities do I need to make this change in my life? And it’s interesting, I’ll give you an example from a group, there was a woman who could not let go of the husband, it was a bad long term relationship and she was feeling so guilty, and the bible says you know you shouldn’t leave etcetera and I just said to her ok, suddenly presto, you’re a strong, empowered, clear woman with enough money what would you do? She said “Oh I would divorce the jerk.” Laughs. You know it’s kind of like if we can trigger into, what would a person do that had the qualities to handle this? Who is self respecting, strong, believes in themselves, what would they do? And you know what? We know what that is inside ourselves. It’s just, its all clouded over by all these negative beliefs that we grow hold of.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah. I love it we know it and we have it already. It’s just sort of wiping away those clouds that get into our mind. So, what are some of the traits of stuck people so we can identify them?
Charlotte Kasl: Well, ok again the negative thinking and another symptom kind of it is people keep life very chaotic. You know, they can never sit still, they can never be in quiet, there’s always some catastrophe. They don’t get their bills paid, they don’t get the tires fixed on the car, then there is an accident etcetera. That’s one of the things. Another one is people who don’t have a tolerance for frustration. And again that does relate back off into childhood. But what we need to all develop is an ability to tolerate kind of uneasiness, anxiety, not knowing, because all learning curves require that. If we’re gonna go out and apply for a job we have to look at, ok, how do we get, how do I make a resume that’s good, ya know. Ok we’re going to have to get some help, we’re going to have to go online, we’re going to have to ask somebody. How do I manage when I get three turn downs of no’s. What can I say to myself that says well oh well that’s the way life is, or am I going to say see that proves I am a worthless bad rotten person. I’ll never get a job.
Alissa Kriteman: Um-hum
Charlotte Kasl: You know, I know people who, one woman sent in a book for five years to get a publisher. And it finally got accepted and was a best seller.
Alissa Kriteman: Um-hum
Charlotte Kasl: She was turned down so many times, but she believed in her book and she kept sending it in.
Alissa Kriteman: Right. Yeah and many times I can see where the steps are there but there’s something in the way of us actually doing the steps.
Charlotte Kasl: That’s right.
Alissa Kriteman: You know negative thinking. Well stop the negative thinking. Focus on the good stuff. Focus on the parts of yourself that actually are lovely and beautiful and empowering. Keeping life chaotic, let’s talk about that a little bit because I know you mention in your book about clutter and how it’s so easy to collect things and keep things and not get rid of things. How does clutter have an effect on us staying stuck?
Charlotte Kasl: Well it takes a lot of psychic energy. Now it doesn’t mean people don’t do well in other parts of their lives, just as someone who has a totally tidy house that looks like a furniture store isn’t necessarily unstuck. You know it can go both ways. The compulsiveness gets us stuck and sloppy, total sloppiness and disorganization. Because our mind can’t focus, we need to be able to focus and go into quiet. And if everything around us is totally cluttered that can be very hard to do. And I would put a cabby out with this so that, I know some incredibly creative people who do wonderful stuff and I wouldn’t say that their house is exactly tidy, (laughs) you know, or their office space or they have so many books that are all stacked up. So it’s not, (pause) it’s not always true, but generally, it’s more if, ok if I feel uncomfortable with this messy closet and I have to shovel through it every time I want to find something or the floor is a mess, then I need to get something done to get that cleared out. Because it’s bothering me and if something’s bothering me everyday it’s sucking my energy. It’s keeping me kind of feeling at a lower consciousness level if you will or just kind of cluttered up inside myself.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah I can get that especially if women where I think we feel like we have to fix and tidy things a lot. (laughs)
Charlotte Kasl: Um-hum
Alissa Kriteman: Allison Armstrong talks about how things in a room called to us
Charlotte Kasl: Um-hum
Alissa Kriteman: And it’s true, it’s true. So you’re saying that it’s important whether or not our house is completely spotless or totally in disarray but that we actually are able to take some time and go into a quiet place, but how can you do that if you’re not having you’re attention on you’re space. It’s interesting to because the last interview I just did was on feng-shui and how energy really plays a role in our lives and paying attention to that. And, so, is there a way that we can um, do something in our environment that would help us stay in the flow and not stuck?
Charlotte Kasl: Well I think for sure for most people staying less cluttered, but that doesn’t necessarily mean their going to come up all of a sudden with creative ideas. Now I know some people that things are kind of sloppy, and yet they’re able to absently shut it out and totally focus on what they are doing. So I think there is a deeper driving force which is, you feel passion about what you want to say. You’re willing to charge in and try to do it whether you think it’ll succeed or not and you focus on that. So I would say for example getting exercise which gets those endorphins going and clears the mind and body is probably just as important. So it’s a lot of things that feed into it. And sometimes I’ve said that if I hadn’t had the perfect house I never would have gotten a book written. You know. (laughs)
Alissa Kriteman: Right.
Charlotte Kasl: And I keep some areas really tidy. But you know my office gets really sloppy. I’ve got ten articles lying out and books, all these things I’m referring to and it’s a lot of stuff around. Now sometimes I’ll wake up and I just rip through and just get things all straightened up because it really helps me. I think it’s for the individual who really knows what helps or not helps. But again I think its going to come back to saying I deserve it, I get to have it, I can take steps to make it happen. A lot of people are thinking these things happen kind of out of the blue. People will say to me you are really lucky that you can write well. I worked at it, ya know. And yes I’m lucky too, so it’s a combination of both things, but most people who do well and you know, work hard, they, uh they go after it but it usually comes out of passion. Most of the successful people I know kind of tripped into what they’re doing. It’s not where they started out.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah
Charlotte Kasl: You know they took, they seized the moment. For instance one woman she was working in a child care center and um this little boy was very gifted for science so she just went to town concocting experiments for him and then she put them into a book and you know what twenty years later it’s in its I don’t know seventh or eighth edition and its sold around the world. You know those things just mean look right in front of you at what’s going on and respond to that. That this doesn’t happen to everybody, but you know she didn’t know what she was doing. You know there is some allusion that the people who are successful really know what they are doing I think most people are just willing to take a gamble and step out and try.
Alissa Kriteman: Exactly and not being afraid of falling down and failing. You know there is such a harshness about what it is to fail that you know.
Charlotte Kasl: Well and I think that even using that word, you know. I didn’t fail I just know a thousand ways not to make a light bulb.
Alissa Kriteman: Shifting, shifting the um prospective.
Charlotte Kasl: Well, yeah I mean how many pages do I write that never make it into a book, how many, you know paper, how much paper do I go through cause this stuck book, because I got the most stuck on of course. And I mean the box of recycled paper I had was huge, because I wrote and rewrote and changed things and it all comes out looking very simple as if I just sat down and zipped through it. That is not how it went.
Alissa Kriteman: It sounds like the traits of people who stay unstuck over time they’re passionate, they’re courageous, they persevere and I mean we’ve heard a lot of this before in any kind of leadership book, but what would you day specifically beyond that to people who want to stay unstuck?
Charlotte Kasl: Well, it’s one of the huge things from a brain standpoint. Is if something’s troubling you then take action. There’s an interesting thing in the brain, at the immenthala, when you get down or you’re having had a hard time or something’s not going well, if you drop into despondency and helplessness the body literally goes into a depression. Now if you take action, even if it might be the wrong action, it’s like that immicula is like a switch that trips and it’s like lighting up the circuits. Ok? Let’s say you know your office assistant leaves you and you’re left high and dry and you can get really oh my god this is terrible and you go into the big long story and oh uh da duh ta duh, but, if you say ok there it is that’s what is, you get the ad in the paper, get on it, it’s like that switch trips and you’re moving forward and that’s already history in a few days.
Alissa Kriteman: Is that like adrenaline? Does that get the adrenaline going when we take that action?
Charlotte Kasl: It’s not just adrenaline; it’s kind of like the electrical circuits. It’s kind of like everything lights up. You know it’s like the plug gets plugged back in. Everything converges to help you move forward. So it’s not just a shot of adrenaline, it’s kind of like the whole system is on forward motion as opposed to dropping into the pit. If you listen to people who are miserable they are in the story all the time. Oh my children don’t love me, and life is tough, and my foot hurts, and they’re just going around in circles and that just depresses their energy something fierce. It keeps them so stuck. So uh, taking action, no matter what, little things, big things, is really a big piece of staying unstuck. Another thing is being willing to make mistakes. We’ve kind of alluded to that. But one thing that keeps people stuck is they have shame about, um, having things not work out, or they call it failure. As opposed to, you’re probably going to try a whole bunch of different things before maybe you figure out a new career. I’ve had clients try all kinds of things and all of a sudden something happened and they thought oh, that’s what I want to do you know. I had a woman she quit being a librarian one time and she oh she went out in an orchard and picked apples, she delivered the wall street journal, she did all kinds of various things and she dropped in the humane society one day to volunteer to take puppies for a walk or whatever and she fell in love with a little dog and took it home. And she just was so happy after that, she’d been a very lonely person and she became a vet’s assistant. You know she would not have thought.
Alissa Kriteman: Wow
Charlotte Kasl: So here’s a big piece of being unstuck. Get out and do things. You know if I’m stuck writing or whatever, I just call people, I interview, I might go to a book store and just go through books and sit down and read them, go to talk, workshops, just get input coming in because people tend to isolate when things aren’t going well and they should just do the opposite because again if we’re energy systems we need some new sparks of energy coming our way. And though I’ve gotten fabulous ideas for writing just going out to a talk or hearing about a book and uh, if people recommend a book I usually go buy it ya know?
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah absolutely. I love it, I love you keep referring to us as these kind of like electrical circuits because we don’t normally think of ourselves as that. And it is so much more fun to think that we are this huge ball of energy and that it’s not such a big deal if we fail or make a mistake. It’s like ahh, let’s just infuse something new.
Charlotte Kasl: That’s right.
Alissa Kriteman: We’re going to have to take a break. Um but when we come back I want to have you address an email that I got from one of the just for women listeners so.
Charlotte Kasl: Sure
Alissa Kriteman: This is Alissa Kriteman your host of just for women: dating, relationships and sex. We’re speaking with Charlotte Kasl, PHD acclaimed author of the amazing book series if the Buddha and today we are talking about if the Buddha got stuck and we’ll be right back.
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Alissa Kriteman: We’re back. I’m Alissa Kriteman you’re host of just for women: dating, relationships and sex. We’re speaking with Charlotte Kasl about how to avoid staying stuck in life. How to know the traits of being stuck and what are the really powerful things to do to get yourself out of being stuck. Now I want to talk to Charlotte about, um, a really great email I got from one of our listeners. And I’m just going to read it Charlotte and then you tell me what you think about this ok?
Charlotter Kasl: Ok.
Alissa Kriteman: Sounds like she’s a little stuck with the friends of hers. This is from Isabelle and she says: A very good friend of mine recently felt hurt by something I did and proceeded to ignore me for nearly two months. Despite many of my attempts to discuss the issue and make amends. In fact it seemed that wanting to discuss this with her rendered her even more annoyed. She simply wanted to move on and without ever resolving the conflict, which I agreed to reluctantly. I feel pretty clueless about people who avoid conflict like the plague and was hoping you might do a show on this and the context of female friendship.
Charlotte Kasl: Ohh. Well that’s a wonderful question that comes up in life a lot. Ok so lets review this for a second. She did something and her friend took offense at it.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah
Charlotte Kasl: Um, and it’s important to put those words on it because somebody else might not have taken offense at it at all. SO based on her conditioning the friend took offense and then the women who writes in, who is Isabelle right?
Alissa Kriteman: Yep
Charlotte Kasl: She tried to talk to her about it and the woman said I don’t want to talk about it I just want to move on. Well I would say try once, twice max and let it go. Because if you keep pushing on someone when they don’t want to they are going to feel invaded and obviously at that point they really can’t do it. You know they’re not in a place, they don’t know how, it’s triggered them some place that they just can’t seem to get there and it’s, they have mercy on them for being in that place, because I can relate to that in myself. Something that happened and I just was not open to talking about it. It was just either I couldn’t get there or I didn’t see that there was any point in it.
Alissa Kriteman: Um
Charlotte Kasl: So she doesn’t have to cease the friendship but, it’s what we call of a kind of attachment injury and that there is this obstacle sitting there that hasn’t been cleared and it may make some sort of stress in the relationship. So, um, if Isabelle can see her at all and is comfortable, fine, if not you know, there’s a rhythm and pulse to life that we’re
not in control of and sometimes we just let things float loose a little bit
Alissa Kriteman: Umm
Charlotte Kasl: and see where they go. And sometimes then we get an opportunity to clear it up, something comes along and the person can talk then. And there’s a wonderful book by Laura Davis on reconciliation and she talks about um, a friend she had and they just got, locked horns for a long, long time, years and didn’t see each other. And both of them did a lot of work on themselves and they came back, and she very interestingly reflects on the fact it really couldn’t have done it until they have done this work on themselves and they were able to talk.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah
Charlotte Kasl: Sometimes we just agree to disagree that kind of thing or we decide ok, they’re never going to see it our way or we are never going to clear this but I can have some kind of relationship with that person and you tune in and see well how does it feel, you know because not all things will ever get solved.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah
Charlotte Kasl: But if we can just say ok, I hear you don’t want to talk about it I won’t press it anymore; if you ever want to you know I’d be interested in hearing. And um what can we do to move on. There are lots of ways to come at it. It doesn’t have to mean cut and run. But sometimes if it’s so agreegias and the person um, doesn’t acknowledge it, sometimes then we just flow on.
Alissa Kriteman: Umm
Charlotte Kasl: Do you want a little story?
Alissa Kriteman: Sure
Charlotte Kriteman: I had a yoga teacher and I just felt like she didn’t like me. You know, partly I asked her to turn the music down because I did twenty years of yoga with no music and all of a sudden there’s this loud music and I’m very sensitive to sound, light and all these things and I think she just didn’t like me and I stopped going to her class. Well I bumped into her at an art show here and um she was very friendly and then we got to talking and I thought well I’m just gonna tell her you know that I felt like she didn’t like me, and she, and she just laughed and smiled she says I know why you could really feel that way and people change. She says, oh yeah the yoga’s all different now, I don’t play music and so forth it was like an invitation to come back and I did.
Alissa Kriteman: Oh wow, isn’t that cool.
Charlotte Kasl: Yeah, so you know people are where they’re at and they’re changing. And sometimes it fits and sometimes it doesn’t, but you know don’t beat on yourself if it doesn’t work. It’s just the way it is. When I got my first book out, Women, Sex and Addiction, I got so many weird remarks and responses from people and it was very disturbing and a friend stopped kind of being my friend and I finally got her to tell me why, and she said well I just don’t feel like I’m in your league anymore, and I was so disturbed by this, I thought I’m in no different league. I’m you’re friend. So I wrote to Ron Dodd. I thought ok I can write to somebody here, he wrote back the loveliest letter. He just said you know many of his relationships from twenty years earlier, most of them had moved on, or shifted or changed and they give them this Buddhist concept of impermanence things just shift. And he said um that I think that you will become part of a larger community of people doing this work and that was exactly right. It didn’t mean it didn’t hurt that it did feel like that my friendships shifted somewhat. Not all of them by any means, but people made little snide remarks to me. One woman at an association of women in psychology conference said well any book with that title would sell. I thought well ok thanks for sharing you know it’s like ooh. Um you know we have um strong
reactions to women who get successful
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah
Charlotte Kasl: and women who do things and a lot of women I’ve talked to who have gotten in their power and gotten strong have felt these little barbs coming at them. Because they’re
Alissa Kriteman: One thing, yeah. One of these things that Isabelle didn’t, that sort of a piece of the email I didn’t is that she’s in getting her master’s in psychology because she’s growing at a very rapid pace and it sounds like one of those things that you were saying that friendships will shift as we grow we have to know that it is ok that not everybody is going to grow with us. Not everyone’s going to be committed to exploring the depth of our souls like we might want to.
Charlotte Kasl: Exactly. And people are really different. And this handwriting expert friend of mine she looked at a couple and said well for the woman talking about emotion and things was just like having breakfast, and for him it was like doing push ups. You know? (They both laugh) And we need to understand that about each other, it’s just some things are more comfortable for some people than others and it doesn’t mean that we don’t need to do them a bit, but not to assume just because it’s that way for me, it should be that way for you. It’s like getting out of our basic narcissism about only seeing through our own eyes.
Alissa Kriteman: Exactly and why I wanted to bring that up is because you know when I work with some of my clients women on their empowerment it starts to stir things up with the people in their lives.
Charlotte Kasl: Absolutely
Alissa Kriteman: It’s threatening to people who just want to sort of stay asleep and stay with the status quo and not ever get edgy or really look at things or be open to hearing each other and so what’s something you can say in support of women who are like Isabelle who are growing and and, starting to bump up again. You know clearly her friend is not there. Sounds like patience, acceptance, we cannot push the process, we have to allow other people to be where they’re at and
Charlotte Kasl; And again Oh sorry
Alissa Kriteman: No go ahead
Charlotte Kasl: The other thing is we have to look at our reaction.
Alissa Kriteman: Um-hum
Charlotte Kasl: Why am I so hurt that she won’t talk to me, why am I so upset about this, why do I keep pressing on it. So um there’s a book Undefended Love which I really recommend and they always say take it back on yourself and so in this case you would go ok why do I keep needing to call her? What’s that in me that’s so hurt by this or so stressed? And then you drop down in layers drop down what is that I’m feeling? Where is that in my body, ok it’s in my stomach? Ok let me go back in time where does that come from, boy that’s an old pattern of mine that if someone shuts off to me I just panic inside. I feel like I gotta fix it. And then we usually track back and track back and think oh god, that feels like an empty hole, if I can’t fix it I feel so alone, so terrible then all of a sudden it’s about us not them.
Alissa Kriteman: Ummm
Charlotte Kasl: So we look to ourselves and then you now it doesn’t mean we go back to that person or not but we don’t blame. For instance I can say ok, someone I know is really negative a lot and comes in and kind of snaps and I do something nice and I don’t get a nice response sometimes and um and that I can justify that totally and I want to get away but then I have to think well why do I just have this strong impulse to get away. What is this triggering in me that is so strong it’s not just well it’s unpleasant like standing in the rain with no coat on, it’s stronger than that.
Alissa Kriteman: Right
Charlotte Kasl: So I can learn more from um focusing on that. Now sometimes we just don’t want to bother you know? And you don’t have to.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah
Charlotte Kasl: And know that we have a piece in all of this. And
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah
Charlotte Kasl: it’s the way we move on in the very deep part of the world that we live in compassion for everybody is to always realize we’re part of the dance with everyone we know.
Alissa Kriteman: Yes it’s true and it also takes commitment as well you know and it takes someone to really throw down the commitment I think. I had a girlfriend just the other day, um, we had had a conversation and it ended kind of weird, she said, she called me back and she said you know that was really weird and before in the past I would have talked to my boyfriend and said, you know that conversation felt really weird or she said she would have enrolled somebody else in the conversation, almost on the way to gossip. But instead she said I just decided that I was going to call you back and talk about it with you. And it was like this whole transformation happened and so it’s really knowing, um, ok I’m committed to having things being honest and real and of course I was open to it, but I could see if not then she would have just had to honor that that was the way it was and just have to move on. So it’s like you said before finding the people around you that are going to support your growth, your development, um will have patience and acceptance for you and really starting to build a community around you as you grow because you cannot stay stuck if you’re around people who are not stuck. Yeah?
Charlotte Kasl: Well I don’t know if you cannot because there are some people could probably.
Charlotte Kasl: But you’re absolutely right if we think energy. If everyone around me is getting on the ball and doing new things it’s like we all spark each other. And that is what some support groups are for is that we borrow on the ego strength of each other, we spark each other, we inspire each other, and you know I love being around movers and shakers because they are all just doing incredible stuff you now and it makes you happy to hear what they are doing and it makes you want to go do your own thing. So it’s, yeah it’s very exciting.
Alissa Kriteman: We have got to wrap up soon but I just want to ask you one more thing before we go.
Charlotte Kasl: Sure
Alissa Kriteman: You can tell I really love talking to you. (laughs)
Charlotte Kasl: This is fun
Alissa Kriteman: Ok, the other day I was driving down the street and I saw a bumper sticker on a car it said if you had enough and then the next line sex drugs object status and the next line said how would you know. And in your book If the Buddha Got Stuck you talk about living in excess, how much is enough and how would we know?
Charlotte Kasl: Great question. I think that we know deep down inside, um if we’re striving for more things and our egos caught up and we’re getting caught up in stuff, and um, we’re not peaceful inside. Now the people I know, Quakers and Buddhist particularly, but lots of people they just keep getting rid of stuff and there’s a calmness to them and there’s a relaxation and there’s a joy that comes out of that. So we have to keep saying, am I, am I enjoying these things do they bring meaning to my life. Do they help my life move ahead? And if they don’t they’re junk. You know.
Alissa Kriteman: Yeah
Charlotte Kasl: Um, there’s a great book called Clutters Last Stand which I’ve used a lot. And he said you know if it’s getting in the way of your life, if its slowing you down, if its making you tired its junk, no matter how expensive it is, but if it means something to you and its special then its not junk. You know.
Alissa Kriteman: Um-Hum
Charlotte Kasl: So when you’re sorting out the stuff you well it’s not you should get rid of all this, like I have this little music box that sings this song love is a sad song, well I got that when my daughter was little and she eventually died and I would never get rid of that in a million years you know. It’s just I love that little thing, it’s not junk, it might look like junk to a hundred other people but to me it’s not. So we keep those things that touch our hearts that make us happy, that, that are fun, that are good and then clear out and you know, this buying less, focusing less on things, um, stuff, you know. Be comfortable, have enough and then beyond that, um, think about the foot print you are leaving in the world because you are really to the core of this. We’re the most unstuck when we see ourselves interrelated to all life, people, the earth, so if I’m taking way more from the earth and from the uh, world around me then I need, then I’m stuck, because I’m not in tune with the real spirit of living in this world which is to not take more than my share.
Alissa Kriteman: Exactly and that’s one of the things I wanted to point to as well because you know, we, we sort of compare ourselves to other women or our friends and it’s like she has this and she has that and it sort of comes up for me sometimes same thing it’s like what is that competition, why do I need that, I don’t need that you know, how, and I question myself especially when I saw that bumper sticker, how much is enough? How much love is enough? How much attention is enough? And like you said be in balance, I think that’s a huge thing that’s going on in our society, in our culture right now is being in balance with nature because it is so out of balance.
Charlotte Kasl: It’s so out of balance and no, contentment happens when we’re living a life that means something to us. I had a friend that moved to town recently and I went shopping with her for furniture and oh I saw this beautiful couch, and mines like twenty five years old and the other one came from the Goodwill, one a friend covered that came out of an old house I bought in my living room here and um and I said wouldn’t that look beautiful and da da da da and then when I got home I thought this is just fine, it’s paid for, I own it, I don’t worry about the dog getting on it or people, or it getting torn. And it’s enough. I don’t need that out of things. You know my friend bought it, I’ll go sit on it at her house.
Charlotte Kasl: But I don’t need it you know. I have a twenty five year old tv set and it still runs fine. I don’t need a new tv set. Why would I do that?
Alissa Kriteman: I love it, I used to suffer a lot, you know they call that the jealous god round in Buddhism..yeah where you’re constantly like trying to keep up with the Joneses and where am I in relation to everybody else and when I heard that teaching it really, I mean I cried for days because I was like my god my whole life has been organized around competing with everyone around me. Now who am I now that I don’t have to compete and what I have is enough, it was really like um, discombobulating there for a minute.
Charlotte Kasl: Well it is saying we’re suffering. We are attached to all this stuff. Now it doesn’t mean you can’t have a nice set of dishes or something and enjoy it, but that’s not attached to the ego, it’s sort of like not to prove anything, it’s pleasurable, you use it, you share it, if something breaks that’s ok that happens. Impermanence you know.
Alissa Kriteman: Right
Charlotte Kasl: And its kind of, it blends in to life. You know indigenous people are so amazing if you really study. They didn’t leave any foot print on the land. They lived off the land, they moved from the land, they didn’t have fences, they didn’t own things, I mean there certainly was violence and wars and stuff too, but it was incredible the gentle way they lived at one with the land and nature. And there’s a lot to say again getting out in nature is another way to be really unstuck. Go walk on the earth in your bare feet. You know feel this earth go walk in a beautiful place; soak that into your heart, and no cell phone. You know so many people are just plugged into electronics.
Alissa Kriteman: Um-hum
Charlotte Kasl: They’re very distant from people and I would say that the last piece of being in unstuck is our connection to people. That true I thou connection where everything gets stopped and we listen and we experience what they are saying and we try to put ourselves in their shoes. We’re not giving advice and we really feel that deep connection with other people. Nothing feeds us like that.
Alissa Kriteman: Ummm
Charlotte Kasl: That plus this sense of purpose and being connected to nature and living in our own purpose. And our own purpose can be very simple, it, you know some people are very happy out volunteering in some hospital, um, there was a woman in the paper the other day for eighteen years she has gone to the hospital and washed peoples hair and they had a picture and she was standing so tenderly by this other woman and she’s as happy probably more so than many people bringing in a billion dollars running a corporation. The kind
Alissa Kriteman: Exactly because it’s that human connection that feed us even though we may not be aware of it.
Charlotte Kasl: Yeah the kindness, the simpleness of her generosity was just beautiful and you know that’s all around us. There are lots of people doing wonderful things like that, but we look to the people who have the big jobs and heads of corporations and the fancy stuff and they are not necessarily the happy people. As a counselor for many, many years, it’s really wonderful because you see that a million dollars really doesn’t make you happy. Too much poverty is stressful but, other than having enough, just enough, just be warm, sleep, food, shelter is the quotient of happiness doesn’t go up after that.
(they both laugh)
Alissa Kriteman: Oh, I love it, Charlotte thank you so much for being here and talking with us today about what is stuck, what is unstuck, and really getting, getting more tapped into us as human beings, the energy beings that we are and reconnecting with ourselves, our purpose, our earth. It’s really simple you know, it doesn’t have to be, it’s like getting unstuck go outside be with nature, go sit with the tree for five minutes. You know.
Charlotte Kasl: Well yeah, we have to dismantle the parts of us that are restless, you know it’s a slowing down process, because we will have to sit by that tree maybe with our mind running a million miles, oh maybe I should do this, maybe I should do that. Breathe deep, sit a little longer, be quiet, let it go, see if you can detach from the mind. Go into the breathing and go into just the sensation of the tree, or taking that walk. And slowing it down, really, really helps.
Alissa Kriteman: You know that’s nice but a good point that you raised, maybe ending here we can actually end on what would be a really simple meditation that we can do as we’re going to sleep or at lunch break when there’s so much going on but we take that five minutes, so you’re saying get in nature, take a deep breath, and is there anything more, what else?
Charlotte Kasl: Yes, gratitude and awe and wonder, just the amazing thing that as you take that deep breath, a trillion cells inside of your billions or however many are saying thank you, you know, drop your shoulder, breathe into your belly. Just look at your hands sometime, it is the most amazing creation, all those joints all those fingers, notice how when you pick something up how it all comes together, how you can pick up three glasses in your fingers. Just be in awe and wonder at the tiniest little thing. Look at that desk if it is wood and think wow that grew from the tiniest sprout, a little tree, became a tree; it took years, all of its life to end up here this piece of wood that I’m writing on. And think of just awe and wonder of life itself, you know how your eye can see, it’s an amazing thing for those little follicles in your ear that helps your hear. And be thankful and all that you have to be grateful for.
Alissa Kriteman: Ummm I love it. What an awesome note to end on.
Charlotte Kasl: Yes
Alissa Kriteman: Ahhh Charlotte tells us again your website so that all of the women who are listening can get in touch with you, your book, your empowerment program.
Charlotte Kasl: Right, its charlottekasl.com and we’re about to do a major overhaul, but it’s there and sort of bare bones ordinariness right now.
Alissa Kriteman: All of the pertinent information is there.
Charlotte Kasl: Right
Alissa Kriteman: And you speak to people privately yeah? You do private?
Charlotte Kasl: Yes I do, I do private phone counsels, I do see people privately, not a ton but I certainly do some.
Alissa Kriteman: Ummmm well thank you so much again for being here. It’s always such a pleasure and joy to talk with you and reconnect. I mean I feel like I can handle anything, um, when we talk and you just really remind us all of the love and compassion that already exists inside of us and thank you for helping us sort of move away the gray clouds that might sometimes that get in the way of that.
Charlotte Kasl: Well it’s been a pleasure.
Alissa Kriteman: Hmmm and listeners I want to remind you that you can email me like Isabelle did with any questions that you have. I am more than happy, I love actually answering your questions with the amazing experts that we have on just for women. So how you can do that is just send me an email at [email protected] and if you want to read text and the transcripts of this show just go to personallifemedia.com and this is just for women. I am your host Alissa Kriteman always expanding your awareness and choices here on just for women: dating relationships and sex. Tune in next time for more juicy new you can use.