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You’re listening to Insights at the Edge. Today my guest is Lauren Geertsen. Lauren is a body connection coach and intuitive mentor, and a nutritional therapy practitioner. At the young age of 27, Lauren is also publishing with Sounds True the new book called The Invisible Corset: Break Free from Beauty Culture and Embrace Your Radiant Self. I’m so pleased to be able to air this conversation with Lauren right as we begin 2021, a conversation that helps us commit to a year of partnering with our bodies– where instead of trying to dominate and rule our bodies and live according to a constructed sense of beauty norms, we actually celebrate the experience of living in our bodies from the inside out. Here’s my conversation with the very visionary and brilliant Lauren Geertsen.
By way of introduction, Lauren, I would love our listeners to know a little bit more about you. You have a pretty remarkable story. From my reading, what I discovered was that at age 14, you were diagnosed with a severe form of ulcerative colitis, which is an auto-immune disease. And then, at 18, after years of disastrous medications, doctors told you that your only option was the surgical removal of your colon, but at that young age, you decided to take a different route. So maybe we can pick up with your story there and help our listeners understand what you did at that point.
Lauren Geertsen: Absolutely. It’s interesting looking back, I’ve now heard of ulcerative colitis being coined as “the disease of perfectionists” and I definitely fit that archetype. And shortly before I was diagnosed, I also suffered with an eating disorder and a lot of stress and anxiety as a young teen. So I think that led to this cascade. And as that perfectionist, I certainly did everything that my doctors told me. I took all the medications, and when those didn’t work, I took different medications, and I took medications for the side effects and was basically on a pharmacy of pills every day. And by the time I was 18, like you mentioned, I had to drop out of college because I was so ill. I was basically bedridden. And my doctors told me that I would have to have this surgery to remove a portion of my colon.
They also said that this wasn’t really a surefire long-term fix, because what happens is the disease continues to progress to unaffected tissues. So I would have to potentially have an additional surgery or more in my lifetime. And that just sounded like a death sentence. I mean, I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel there. And I was also a dancer at the time and dance was the one way I knew how to express myself and be in contact with my soul because I was living according to all of these external rules.
And so dance felt like my one avenue–I didn’t have words for it at the time–but it was my one avenue to be in touch with my soul. And I knew this surgery would impede that. So at that point it was like a book jumped off the bookshelf at me, and I’ve heard other people having similar experiences. It was a book that outlined a dietary protocol for this specific disease. The book was called Breaking the Vicious Cycle. And as I held that book, it was the first time, at least in my adult life, that I heard the voice of my intuition and it was so clear.
It was like these inaudible words that felt like they were coming up from the center of my body. And it said, “I have to try this.” And I felt conflicted because my doctors had told me nutrition wouldn’t help. That the best I could do was just gain a lot of weight in between my flare ups, because then my flare ups would make me emaciated. But I just had this knowing of, “I have to try this,” and sure enough, within three days of doing this dietary protocol, my acute symptoms were gone, within three months I was off all of my medications, and this felt like such a miracle to me.
But the most important thing was it ushered in this paradigm shift of how I related to my body. Because before that I had this mentality, thanks to Western medicine and what my doctors told me, that my body was trying to kill me. That’s how they described auto-immune disease to me. And that I needed pharmaceutical interventions to save me from my own body. And what I realized through that experience was that no, my body knew all along what it needed to do to heal me. It told me what I needed to do in terms of this dietary protocol. And then when given the correct ingredients, it could perform this miraculous healing that Western medicine had described as impossible. You know, Western medicine told me, “Well, it’s impossible to heal an autoimmune disease.” So it really allowed me to see for the first time, my body as my soulmate and a trustworthy partner who has my back.
TS: I want to talk more about this paradigm shift and how you see it in your own life and with the people you work with as a body connection coach. “Body as soulmate,” which is the paradigm you’re describing versus, and in the book, The Invisible Corset, that you describe it as “body as machine.” So if you can show us what these two different worlds are like, when we think of our body as a machine or when we think of our body as our soulmate.
LG: So what I talk to my clients about is the difference between a body ownership and a body partnership. And that ownership is when we see our bodies as a machine that we need to control and dominate and coerce. And it feels like we’re living on a battlefield because our body is the enemy. And it feels like a perpetually losing game, whether we are struggling with health issues or whether we are terrified of our bodies aging, and we’re afraid of wrinkles, and we’re afraid of the changes that come with age.
And so, based in this body ownership perspective, we feel justified in using and abusing our bodies, right? Because in an ownership you don’t have to consider the voice, the values, the perceptions of another person. What lands with my clients is when I ask them to consider relationships where they have been in an ownership with somebody else, where somebody else was not listening to them, was not considering them as a full human being and was not including them in long-term life plans or manipulating them.
So we know how that feels. It feels terrible. And unfortunately, our bodies have been on the receiving end of that for so long. And a body partnership is where we listen to our bodies. We make our long-term life decisions with their inputs and their guidance. And yes, this is inconvenient to some degree, because living that way is going to be kind of countercurrent to our world. Our world is designed to treat our bodies as machines, and it functions on people having ownerships with our body. So it’s going to feel a little uncomfortable to have that body partnership, just in terms of, well, you have to go a different route, but it is the most fulfilling thing to have that clarity and get in touch with that compass within yourself.
TS: This conversation is broadcasting right at the beginning of the new year. And people are thinking about their New Year’s resolutions, or even if they’re not calling them that, they’re still thinking, “You know, in this new year, this is going to be the year that I… XYZ.” And a lot of that XYZ for a lot of people is to lose some number of pounds. “This is the year that I’m going to hit my weight and through exercise,” whatever. You don’t seem to put that approach in the body partnership category. So can you talk to me more about how that’s not a body partnership approach and someone who’s thinking right now, “It’s the beginning of the new year, and yes, I’d like to be 20 pounds thinner.” What’s the problem with that, Lauren?
LG: Well, the problem with that is if you’re a science-minded person, literally all of the scientific literature shows that dieting to lose weight, doesn’t work, it backfires. And if you are a person who is more intuitive, then the answer there is while you are literally trying to work against your body’s intuition in terms of hunger and fullness signals, and living your life by these external rules, and turning your body into a math equation.
So I work in the paradigm of intuitive eating, and this is a radical concept for a lot of people. Although it’s how humanity thrived for thousands of years. I like to tell my clients the story of Weston Price. And I talk about this in the book and he was a dentist actually in the 1930s, he traveled the world. He wanted to know the secrets of the world’s healthiest people. And he found that in all indigenous cultures, whether it’s the Inuits in Alaska or the Maori in New Zealand, they followed these dietary laws where they were eating a certain amount of nutrients. They were eating foods that were prepared in specific ways like fermentation.
So they were getting a lot of fat-soluble vitamins and minerals, but they had no way of measuring the nutrients. All ancient cultures had landed on the optimal diet for the human body that helped them avoid, you know, facial deformities and infertility issues and chronic health diseases, because they were so in touch with the wisdom of the human body that they could properly nourish themselves. So intuitive eating is a very ancient practice and it is the way that we get out of this dieting mentality, where we’re stuck in the idea of, “I need to control my weight and obey certain food rules.”
That mentality leads to yo-yo dieting, which the scientific literature shows really backfires for our health, but also scientific literature shows that it completely slows down our metabolism over time. So we do gain more weight. 90% of diets fail. And two-thirds of people are going to gain back more weight than what they lost on the diet. And intuitive eating is a way to actually get back in touch with the hunger signals in your body. It stops binging, even if you’ve struggled with binging your whole entire life.
So it’s a really profound and regulatory practice for a lot of people. It does take some discipline to try it because it’s about changing our mindset rather than changing our body. But it’s a very healing powerful modality. And for people who are in that mindset of, “Oh, I need to lose weight this year.” I would just encourage you to ask yourself, how many diets have you tried? I mean, I could probably list six right now: keto, intermittent fasting, Whole30, Weight Watchers, new low-carb, South Beach Diet. Like you’ve tried all these different diets. It hasn’t gotten you to a new place. So why don’t you try changing your mindset instead this time?
TS: Can you give me the pith of the intuitive eating approach, so maybe that becomes part of my New Year’s body partnership plan?
LG: Yes. It’s very simple. It is, don’t restrict any foods. Eat what you want when you want, and trust that your body is going to balance out and lead you to the optimal diet for you. Because that’s unique for every person. Where this gets scary and uncomfortable for a lot of people, is when they start this process, they are going to gravitate towards the foods that they’ve been taught to fear, and they’ve been trying to restrict their whole life–whether that’s the carbohydrates, the chips, the sweet things–and it can feel like a very scary place where we don’t have control.
But I guarantee you, there’s so much literature on this. There’s so many people who’ve been through this process that if you reassure your body that way, physically, that you are no longer in a state of famine, and that you have access to all these foods all the time, your body is going to realize that and start craving a beautiful variety of fresh and healthy foods, but you can also enjoy this, the sweet and the fun and the play foods, without any kind of moralizing about it.
TS: OK. So someone’s listening and they’re like, “Lauren, you’re right. I’ve tried all these diets. They haven’t worked. You’re right. OK. That’s the truth. This intuitive eating thing sounds a little terrifying. I think I’m going to start on one side, but I’m willing to give it a try, but what do I do right here, from a body partnership perspective, with the fact that I, well, you used the word, it’s a strong word in the book, ‘body hatred.’ I actually hate the way my body looks and/or feels right now, certain aspects of my body. What do I do with that? At least if I go on a diet, I feel like I’m taking some strong action here.”
LG: So one thing there to understand is just, like, love is a verb. Hate is also a verb. So if we are acting from a place of body control and ownership, that is the action of hating our body and loving our body. This is kind of where the body positive movement, I think, has led some people astray or created mixed messages. It tells us that loving our body is approving of what we look like in the mirror. But if you think about that, like loving your partner or your spouse, isn’t about approving of what they look like. It’s about treating them in a loving way and interacting with them in a loving way. And that’s really what it means to love our bodies. So that’s the first thing I would say.
The second thing I would say is that your mind has been stolen from you. And so you’re having these dark and painful thoughts about your body. But that’s because your mind has been stolen and warped by very, very powerful advertising propaganda through the beauty and the diet industry, and also through deeply embedded cultural messages. And that’s where in order to start your healing journey, you have to look at how you’re wearing an invisible corset, and how those beliefs are binding your mind.
TS: Right? So let’s go there. That’s the title of your new book, The Invisible Corset: Break Free from Beauty Culture and Embrace Your Radiant Self. Tell us about this metaphor of the invisible corset, and take your time here, Lauren, tell me what the strings are that are keeping this corset around us.
LG: Yes. So the invisible corset is a set of culturally inherited beliefs that make women as uncomfortable and restricted in our bodies as traditional whalebone corsets once did. Now we can look back at the history of women’s liberation, and we’ve made so much progress. Like we’ve gotten the vote, we’ve gotten equal education opportunities. We’ve gotten the ability to have a career or have a family and have equal marriage and all these amazing freedoms.
And there’s still a big piece that we need to do, which is freeing ourselves to be comfortable in our natural bodies, and to live without shame of our bodies, and without fear of aging, and to live without passing down this body hatred to the next generation and to our daughters. That’s what the invisible corset is, these beliefs that keep us invisibly bound in insecurity and body anxiety.
So there are five strings to this corset. And the first one is fear. This has a lot to do with the propaganda and the marketing messages from the beauty industry, cosmetic surgery industry, diet industry, that teach us to fear the natural state of our body, and to fear our emotions as well. Certainly the pharmaceutical industry comes into play by creating a fear of the natural spectrum of human emotion to turn us more into profitable bodies, and fear of our intuition, fear of our sexuality, because then we compare ourselves to a very commercialized commodified sexuality that’s being propagated in our media. So that’s the first thing we have to look at, is how is the body hatred actually body fear, fear that we’re not in that form, we’re not measuring up to our full standard.
The second string is domination, and we really have to do a bigger history lesson in this. This was very interesting when I was writing the book, to learn this lineage of how in pre-agricultural times, all of humanity had much more of a body partnership experience with ourselves, but also a partnership with nature, with other people. We lived in a very non-violent environment compared to our present day. And it was largely due to the goddess-worshiping societies that were around the world. And then we had this big paradigm shift as that shifted into more of a domination, hierarchy-based existence in the world. So that’s a big piece there as well.
So the third string is disconnection, and this means not only disconnection from the wisdom of our bodies, right? That healing wisdom that I touched on, but it’s also disconnection from the subtle energetic communication that happens between the human body and all of nature and all of other human bodies.
So in the chapter on disconnection in the book, I talk about how all ancient cultures had ways of communicating with nature that are now so foreign to us, that it seems weird to our Western mentality, yet they were so commonplace in indigenous cultures across the globe. And one of these pieces is communication with plants. And this was an interesting thing for me, because I started to realize that I am also a plant intuitive. This was a quality that a lot of shamans had in indigenous cultures, where they could hear the energetic healing properties that certain plants had to offer. And this was why early plant medicines, that were developed way before we had microscopes and laboratory equipment, why these medicines are still effective today. The healers back then said, ‘Well, I know how this plant works to heal the human body because the plant is telling me that.”
So I just think, how beautiful would the world be today? If humans could get back in touch with those gifts, and some of us are plant intuitive, some of us are animal intuitives and we can intuit that communication from animals. Some of us are water intuitives, and there used to be dowsing in these early cultures. We would live in profoundly much more harmony with nature and I think experience this next level of abundance that really is promised in the new Earth.
The next string is mechanization. And again, for this one, we have to do kind of a history lesson and a deep dive into how our perceptions and languaging around the human body has been shaped all the way back to the Scientific Revolution in the 1500s, where there was this profound shift where suddenly we started seeing the Earth more as a machine and as divine clockwork. And then that became seeing that human body as a machine, especially with Decartes and Cartesian dualism coming into place. And then that morphed into the reductionism and the materialism of modern science.
And now those are dogmas. They are actually outdated by our current science, but just like there’s dogma in religion that takes a little while to outgrow, there’s also that dogma in science that takes a little while to outgrow.So we really have to understand that those lenses that we look through in the scientific paradigm, they can be useful, but they’re not the whole picture. And if we want to have more of a body partnership, we need to have that balanced perspective.
And the last string is coercion. This is one of the biggest pieces, because so often I hear clients tell me, or I see comments on social media from women who are saying, Lauren, “I am choosing this beauty practice for me. I’m doing this because I want to.” and that can be as extreme as, “I am getting lip injections or breast implants or cosmetic surgery for me, because I want to,” or “I’m wearing makeup every day because I want to.”
Now I used to say that. I was the woman who woke up 30 minutes before my college roommate, because I was so ashamed of being seen in the natural state of my body. And my excuse was, “I’m doing it for me. I’m not doing it for somebody’s attention.” But the reality was I had actually been brainwashed by beauty culture and by this advertising and propaganda to not know my opinion from the opinion of the beauty industry. And that really is the outcome of any cult-like belief system, or any kind of brainwashing or psychological manipulation, whether it is by an individual or whether an industry is doing that.
In the case of the beauty industry, we actually don’t know our true opinions. So this is where the deep self-work comes in, where we have to deprogram those beliefs and rewire our brain, so we can become more in touch with our true self. Because for some women, their true self is going to be wearing makeup and really having fun with that feminine energy that likes to play that up. I think of people like Dita Von Teese and Dolly Parton. When I read their energy, when I see them, I know they are living from their true self. But for me, returning to my true self meant liberating myself from that time and the money I was spending, it meant cutting my hair and not wearing makeup. So that’s a really important piece to clarify there.
TS: I want to talk a little bit more about this invisible corset and beauty culture. One of the points you make is that it’s not just that businesses are taking economic advantage of women, but that the entire creation of beauty culture that we’re living in now is actually a way that women are dominated and pushed down. And I wanted to understand that more. How is this a form of domination and control?
LG: Yes. Well, it’s a relic of patriarchal belief systems that say that the female body needs to be controlled. If we look at old belief systems where a menstruating woman is dirty, or a woman’s body as a diversion from the perfect male body, somehow broken in these ways. But what we have now is not a system of really external oppression, at least in the West, right? We don’t have laws that are forcing women into subjugation. What we have now is internalized oppression, where women are inflicting this on ourselves.
We are the ones who are spending more money on beauty than our education. We are the ones who are missing out on work events or family events, or not truly enjoying our life and jumping in the water because we’re afraid to put on a bathing suit. You know, we’re the ones who have this body anxiety that leads us to eating disorders that hurt our health. So yes, there are a lot of really powerful cultural influences that are mentally coercing us into those behaviors. But at the end of the day, we are the ones who are inflicting that domination and control on ourselves.
And that’s when you know when a toxic system is really working the way it’s designed, is the individuals no longer have guns to their heads. They no longer have laws holding their oppression in place. They have so internalized that oppression, that they are holding themselves back and they are keeping themselves in prison. And so that’s where I think we’ve gotten to, and it’s hard news, but the beautiful news is we don’t need anybody else to save us from this. Like, we don’t need to wait around for anything because we can free ourselves in this moment. And I truly believe we can end this cycle of female body hate in this one generation.
TS: OK. Let’s cut the strings of the invisible corset. How are we going to do that, Lauren?
LG: Well, the first step is… What I recommend in the book, and I’m going to talk about this now, is thinking about what it felt like when your body was your partner–usually that’s before age nine for most women. Before we see our body as a diversion from the beauty standard, not enough, before we start thinking about weight– and consider what that felt like, the ease. The ease, maybe how you approached food, you just enjoyed being in your body and moving with your body. And write a letter, “Dear body, this is what I remember from that time. And I miss that.” What I recommend is a process called speed writing, where you set a timer and typically for six or seven minutes, and you keep your pen moving for that whole time. The point is to write faster than your conscious mind can edit.So you can kind of tap into your unconscious and you’ll really uncover some nuggets there.
So after you do that, what I recommend is writing a letter back to yourself from your body and saying, “Dear, your name, this is your body. And this is what I want to tell you.” And again, do the speed writing and see what your body has to tell you and what she’s longing for. And that is one of the practices of body listening that I talk about in the book, because that listening is the first step in a partnership, acknowledging your body’s voice. And there are some more physical practices that I give in the book as well about, what does it feel like to feel your intuition or to feel your body’s yes or no, to envision some future plans with your body. So some very tactile experiences there, but that’s the biggest piece is having these tangible steps, start listening to your body again.
TS: OK. This may be a slightly odd question, but as you’re talking about having this relationship with the body, my soulmate is the body, obviously there’s two of us here, if we’re going to be having a relationship, it makes sense to me experientially. But then when I think about it, I think, “Well, there’s not really two of me. There’s one of me here.” So I’m curious what your comment would be about that.
LG: I think it’s a good point. I think if I try to logically answer that one, I can’t, I don’t have a lot. And this is a beautiful thing about when you get in touch with your body’s wisdom, you no longer feel the need to logically explain things. I’m like, “I can’t make it a math equation. I can’t make it make sense with science,” but I can tell you from my own experience and from the experience of my clients, that thinking about it that way and letting their body have a voice, that tangible voice that they experience–whether it’s through meditation or visualization or the speed writing process– it’s a really beautiful and empowering thing.
TS: My experience comes with you, but then the question emerged. You write in The Invisible Corset, “For years, I was afraid to listen to my body’s voice, because I was afraid I couldn’t handle what she would tell me. I knew she would ask me to change my life, to leave certain relationships, to start hard conversations and to set boundaries,” and then you continue, “So I smothered her voice and clung to control,” and I think a lot of people might find themselves right now at this point in the conversation thinking, “I want to listen to the voice of my body, but I do think I’m going to be asked to make some pretty big changes.” Can you speak to somebody who’s right at that point, following our conversation. “I don’t know if I want to make those changes. They sound hard.”
LG: Yes. It’s interesting. As you were reading that, I had tears come to my eyes because I was just thinking back to that point. And I mean, the fear was so palpable in me that part of me knew, “Oh my gosh, if I listen to my intuition, I’m not going to be able to maintain the same religious beliefs that give my life such a structure and clarity, like in a sense of superiority. I’m not going to be able to measure up in some people’s eyes because I’m going to have to opt out of this perfectionism. I can’t be the perfect valedictorian overachiever. And I can’t assert my superiority, or get approval in that way.” And I think that for people who have similar fears, or maybe it’s different fears, it’s valid and it does feel immense.
And the more resistance we have, the more inkling that we have, “Oh my gosh, there’s big changes in store for me.” And the encouragement I would give there is, well, the greater your fear and the greater your hesitation, that means the more freedom you have to access, like, the more power that you have to access. I would never be able to do the healing work that I’m doing in the world now, if I had stayed within that fear, stayed within my old belief system.
In this case, I would encourage people to sit with that desire for freedom and true change comes about when our desire for freedom is bigger than our desire for convenience and comfort. And that is something, that is like a palpable internal shift that we have to get to on our own. And when clients come to me, that’s basically what I tell them. I’m like, “I can help you if you are at the point where your longing is louder than your fear, where your longing, it’s so uncomfortable that you can’t sit with it. You have to make changes. But if you’re not at that point yet, that’s fine. But I can’t be of service to you.” So does that answer the question?
TS: It does answer the question and now somebody says, “OK, the truth is my longing for freedom is huge. I’m going to listen to my body. And even if it tells me to do some really daring things, I’m going to do it. What are the best questions that I can bring to my body to get the deepest and most important answers?”
LG: That is such a great question. I would start with… I mean, the biggest deepest spiritual question is, “Who am I really? Who am I?” And meditating on that question and at such a depth where you can get below the kind of cultural illusions of roles and labels and jobs. Again, speed writing is a really beautiful tool for this that I recommend. And then, on that note as well, something I talk about in the book is your body is going to ask nothing of you that you can’t handle. And I like using afformation questions instead of affirmation questions, affirmations would be like, “I am confident. I am beautiful.”
Problem there, is usually our subconscious has been so conditioned the opposite that it tends to kick those out sometimes. So it can be helpful to phrase it as a question. So again, one of these great questions to ask is, “Why is it that I can handle this? Why is it that I can handle this?” And going into a really difficult conversation or a difficult life transition with that as your foundation. Why is it that I can handle this? Why is it that my body is asking me to do the right thing in my life? So that can be a really important kind of guiding light.
TS: Here’s another quote from the book that I really liked. You write, “The more I began to enjoy the experience of my body, the less I cared about her appearance.” And I really liked that because I started feeling that, in a way, part of liberating ourselves from the invisible corset is, just focus more on our inner experience than what things look like from the outside. What does it feel like inside my experience? And when we start really relishing that, it’s awesome just to be alive!
And we can feel that regardless of what is said from the outside, and then a light really went on for me, because I didn’t really get it as clearly. But understanding that the entire beauty culture is constructed. It’s a construction, it’s a construction of time and place and where we are right now. And in the book, you talk about how, you write, “Beauty norms are fads, they go in and out like pantsuits.”
And I thought that’s just so great. Like here I am with the size of, kind of slightly large thighs that I have with my gray hair. And at a certain time, the way I look right now was probably freaking fabulous, regardless of what the current cultural norms might say about the way I look right now. And I was like, “It goes in and out like pantsuits.” So I wonder if you can talk more about that and how we can get to this place where we’re really tuning into our inner experience.
LG: Yes. Well, I mean, I would say that in the 1700s, Marie Antoinette’s time, they powdered their hair gray, right? They liked a more curvy body. So there you go. You’re right. Well, I think the key here is understanding that, like you said, beauty culture and the beauty standard is an illusion. It is a fabricated lie but we think it’s reality, because it is that much of an internalized belief. So when we have an internalized belief, we can intellectually know that it is false, but we’ve been so indoctrinated into it that we emotionally react as if it’s true.
And so this is why somebody might go on their scale in the morning and see that their weight is higher than what they want it to be. Intellectually, they can be thinking all the things that they’ve read on somebody’s body positive Instagram feed. “I am beautiful.” The diet industry makes $70 billion a year convincing me I’m wrong. And they can have all these intellectual beliefs, but emotionally they are feeling a state of darkness and frustration and helplessness that can feel really, really heavy.
So that’s really the first step, is just noticing when you’re emotionally reacting automatically, basically your feelings are just having an allergic reaction to these false programs beliefs, like a sneeze, and if you can start getting a little distance and looking at it that way of like, “Oh, I’m not this feeling, this feeling is just a reaction to a lie that’s been programmed into my head.” That’s going to give you a little more space. And then the next step there would be, healing the feelings, and that is more of the embodiment place. How can you go make yourself feel good in your body right now?
So, what I recommend doing is making more rituals around mealtime. So that can be a really enjoyable experience, actually setting the table nicely, sitting down, arranging your food on a plate, making sure you have a full spectrum of flavors and textures and colors, and you have dessert and you make it a really beautiful experience, even if it’s just you. Or looking at your morning routine, not from the point of what’s the outcome that I want to look like, but what feels best about this?
Often it is fragrances, you know, applying a nice perfume or oil, applying clothes that have a really good texture to you, focusing on the comfort of your clothes. So you’re not wearing clothes that you want to rip off at the end of the day. And just bringing that heightened awareness to, how can I make today feel more delicious to me?
TS: I love that. Now, Lauren, I’m going to just say something personal for a moment, which is I learned that you’re just 27 years old and I have to say, I find that pretty remarkable. You’re so articulate. You’re so knowledgeable. And you know, you shared a little bit about your early life story and the decision you made at 18, not to have surgery, but to take your health in your own hands. But I have the sense that you’ve been through some deep– I don’t know what else to call it–I’m going to call them initiations, as a person to be the person you are today. And I wonder if there are any other huge life transformations you’d be willing to share with us, because I can kind of feel it in you.
LG: Yes, that’s… you’re on it. The big piece was an awakening to what true evil is and what true light is. And I, as an empath and a soul who loves the light and a gentle person,I had a naivete about me until I was about 21, and I got into a relationship with a psychopath. And this was a really big eye-opening experience for me. He was connected to the darkest spiritual forces. And I wasn’t aware of that. And I wasn’t aware that it’s not these fairy tale myths, storybook stories. That actually those dark spiritual forces are at play on the earth today in systems that we’re facing, and and within people. And the only way to address that is by connecting to the spiritual forces of love, and the powers that are are stronger than us, but we can call on.
And it was interesting in this relationship, there was one– I would say about two thirds of the way through the relationship that lasted for a few years before I realized everything that was happening through one swift dark night of the soul–where I was in a meditation. And I was suddenly cast out of my body and I felt like I was this disembodied soul in the ethers. And I realized that his soul was there with me as well.
And I felt this question rising up in me with such intensity. And it was like, “Why are you making this so hard? I know we’re so connected. I love you so deeply. You know, this doesn’t feel right because I’m starting to have this inkling something’s really off.” And his soul replied, “Lauren, this is for your books.” And at that point I had this inkling of, “Oh, it’d be nice to write a book to help women trust their bodies.”
I did not know how this experience would tie in in any way. I did not know how this experience would shape the future work that I have to do. But it really was this relationship and the awakening that I had afterwards. You know, I’m able now to understand how the psychopathic mind functions, how psychopathic systems are at play in our world. And how these you know, when I talk about this in terms of beauty culture in the book, how it uses the same manipulative techniques that an individual abuser would use, or a cult-like system would use, and now is really the time where humanity has to see these patterns.
TS: This is powerful stuff here, what you’re talking about. Tell me how you further rooted yourself in forces of light.
LG: I started channeling during this experience and which to me meant I would hear an angel’s voice, and this was far out from me. But I just, I remember suddenly having this memory of, “Oh my gosh, whatever this energy is, however it’s speaking to me, however it feels like, it is so familiar and it is so right. And I want to-” I just had this longing in my body of, “I want to invite this presence into my life, this help.” And it really was that turning point where I made that conscious decision of, “I don’t understand it, and I’m a little leery of this, but I feel helpless. And there is some kind of very powerful energy that is not of this world, but that is in this world. And I need help. So I’m going to ask it for help.”
And from there, there were a lot of palpable and profound changes in my life. So I would say that was the big piece. I really did come into my kind of psychic and intuitive abilities. Now I’m open in terms of the work that I do with clients, I say, “I’m an intuitive, and that’s one of the reasons how I can help you.” But having somebody who was psychically manipulating me, I had to become psychic to free myself from that. That’s the only way you get out of a relationship like that.
TS: You mentioned, Lauren, earlier, that you’re a plant intuitive. And you mentioned it kind of just in the course of part of what this corset is, is it disconnects us from our natural connection with all of life and the natural world. How did you discover you were a plant intuitive?
LG: Well, it was on a trip to Hawaii and I was actually visiting a woman who made flower essences. These are these energy-based elixirs and you can also make them into sprays. So I had used her products and just energetically felt such a profound shift. And so I reached out to her. I was like, “Whatever you’re doing, it’s amazing. Like, it’s just an honor to use her stuff.” And she was like, “Hey, come visit me. I’ll show you how I make these.” So I did. And she took me on a jungle walk at the beautiful lush jungle of Kauai. She lived way out in the boonies, there, and I mean the pristine newness of the nature and like the fertility of the nature there is so profound.
So she told me, “Lauren, just walk through with me. I know you’re sensitive enough to do this. Just take a walk with me and listen for a flower that calls to you. And you’ll know that this is a flower that wants to offer some of its energetic medicine to you.” And I thought, “Well, this is good for you. I know that you have something here.” She dreamed her formulations, basically, she was very gifted, but I was like, “I don’t know if this is me. I’m not sure,” but sure enough, I was walking and it was like this little purple flower on the side of the path. It was like, it raised its hand and said, “Pick me.” And just like, I heard my intuition that first time with the book, like these inaudible words that are so clearly formed– they’re not coming in through my ears, but they’re like speaking inside my body.
It felt like that kind of communication. And so as I continued to practice this and just basically trust myself enough and be open to it, I would start to experience like going up to certain flowers and seeing almost like caricatures or images of how the flowers could heal or soothe people, or feeling sensations in my body of how that energy would interact with the energy of the human body, and kind of blending that. I started blending flower essences for my clients to help with their own body reconnection, because they are a powerful tool for getting back in touch with your intuition, because they are made from communication with nature. And so now those are available at Floralsong.com. But they’re beautiful tools, and I’m just grateful for that experience to be able to make and share them.
TS: It sounds like part of your thesis around cutting the strings of the invisible corset is when we do, we will find our natural intuitive capacities, that it’s built into us as bodily awake, intelligent beings. Is that part of what you’re pointing to?
LG: Absolutely. It is our sixth sense that we’ve been cut off from due to the evolution of Western science and the English language, not having words for these, the subtle energy that all our ancestors had words for and was so commonplace. So we really have to rebuild that connection and awareness, but when we do it is, I’ve had a buzzing in my heart all day, like, “Oh my goodness, we are coming into a new time of healing.” And when humans get back in touch with their intuition and cast off their corset, we unleash that intuitive healing on the world in remarkable ways. And I’m just so excited to see that.
TS: OK, Lauren, just two more questions for you. Here’s the first one. And this is by way of summary of our conversation in a certain sense, somebody wants to make 2021 a year of body partnership, and you’re able to give them three pieces, three big pieces of advice to do it. What would you say?
LG: The first one is gratitude. I do think a gratitude journal is a really powerful thing. So at the end of your evening, write three things that you’re grateful for to your body. Like, “Dear body, you gave me these experiences today. I’m super grateful. You gave me these insights today. I’m super grateful.” Three things every night.
The next piece would be the listening aspect that we talked about. We talked about some of those exercises, more in the book, those palpable experiences and you know, based on your learning style, the writing might be best or the visualization or meditation, but doing those.
And the third piece would be a commitment to living your body’s truth. And that goes back to this point of it’s, it’s scary to listen to our body. You know, listening is the first step, but then acting from that wisdom is a whole ‘nother thing. And it can be beautiful to formalize that commitment with a ritual assemble. I sometimes encourage my clients to go get a ring or a piece of jewelry to symbolize, “I am committing to my body,” maybe write some body vows, like you would write wedding vows and say, “Look, I’m in this with you for the long-term, I’m going to trust you. And I commit to listening to your insight.” And that’s where courage comes in. But that courage is truly what liberates us.
TS: And then a final question. You mentioned that you think it’s within reach, that we could heal the damage that’s done by our current beauty culture in one generation, we could do it. So what would it be like for children to be raised in a family where the parents are not wearing an invisible corset, that’s not what’s happening? What would it be like? What would that family feel like? What would children feel like? What would be the different kinds of messaging they would be getting? And not just their parents, but it would be a different cultural milieu. What would that be like?
LG: Yes. Well, what I would focus on and I talked about in the book is how we pass on the invisible corset from mother to daughter. Not because mothers are criticizing their daughter’s bodies. Most mothers are quite aware and they don’t want to do that. But because young daughters are watching how their moms are talking about their bodies, they’re internalizing how their moms are talking about food. Children are very psychic and they’re up on the energy when their mother steps on the scale in the morning and feels that kind of fight or flight system kick in, “Oh my goodness, the numbers’ not adding up.”
So really the change that we have to do is not directly changing how we’re interacting with our children, but just changing directly how we’re interacting with our own bodies. And based on that, I mean, I just get chills thinking about it, like, wow! Imagine a world where our little girls are growing up and they are not spending over $200,000 in their lifetime on beauty, like holy cow, can you imagine what empowered women would do with that money in their lifetime, that extra money? It would be incredible. And I can’t remember who said that, but basically when a woman gets educated, she goes out and educates everybody in her village.
It’s like, we’d have that kind of chain reaction. And I think that we would also get to a place where relationships would be functioning at a level of purity and respect because when a woman has a respectful loving relationship with herself and her body, she calls other people into that level of relationship with her. I think we would see a profound decline in sexual abuse and harassment. And of course another big piece is our relationship with our weight and diet culture. I think that would just absolutely fall by the wayside. And we would free up so much more of our mental energy. So many clients come to me and say, “Lauren, I think about food 24/7. As soon as I finish eating a meal, I’m planning my next meal.” Again, imagine what women could do with that mental real estate and energy freed up. They would be incredible.
TS: I’ve been speaking with the very remarkable 27-year-old Lauren Geertsen, she’s the author of the book The Invisible Corset: Break Free from Beauty Culture and Embrace Your Radiant Self. Lauren, thank you so much for your honesty, your forthrightness, all the good work you’ve done on yourself and all the tremendous intelligence and good medicine you’ve put into the The Invisible Corset. It’s a beautiful and inspiring book to read. Thank you.
LG: Thank you so much, Tami.
TS: Thank you for listening to Insights at the Edge. You can read a full transcript of today’s interview at SoundsTrue.com/podcast. And if you’re interested, hit the subscribe button in your podcast app, and also, if you feel inspired, head to iTunes and leave Insights at the Edge a review. I love getting your feedback, being in connection with you, and learning how we can continue to evolve and improve our program. Working together, I believe we can create a kinder and wiser world. SoundsTrue.com, waking up the world.