I am super excited to share Michaela Boehm’s wisdom with you. Some of you who have been a member of our attraction control monthly platinum program may remember Michaela.
I rarely interview people, yet this is the second time that I’ve interviewed Michaela, and that’s for good reason.
It is because her work gets results for women (and men) all over the world. She is a well full of wisdom in the realm of relationships, authenticity, and feminine and masculine energy.
Michaela is the author of the book “The Wild Woman’s Way: Unlock Your Full Potential for Pleasure, Power, and Fulfillment (2018)”, and she has helped countless celebrities deepen their relational, spiritual and sexual intimacy. Her celebrity client list includes the likes of Will Smith and Gwyneth Paltrow.
She is a trusted teacher in the realm of feminine energy and sexual polarity. Her work is unique in that she draws from her personal engagement with a female Tantric tradition.
Miachela travels and teaches internationally as an expert in intimacy, relationship and sexuality. A gifted speaker and counselor, her unique body of work centers around the intersection of intimacy and embodiment.
With an extensive (30,000 plus hours) in-person counseling background, clinical experience in trauma and addiction and innovative somatic approach, her work with celebrity couples has been featured in international print publications, TV programs and online talk shows. Most recently her approach has been featured on the Netflix Series [UN] WELL.
Michaela is the creator of The Non-Linear Movement Method®, a somatic release modality which utilizes principles of trauma therapy, polyvagal theory and movement for nervous system regulation.
I hope you enjoy this interview that David and I did recently with Michaela.
Here is the transcript:
Renee Wade: Hey, guys. It’s Renee here from thefemininewoman.com, and I am super excited because today I have a very special guest with us.
Her name is Michaela Boehm. And she’s going to share with all of us what it really means to be a fully embodied feminine woman.
Michaela is an international relationship and intimacy expert who has taught alongside the legendary author and speaker David Deida.
She runs workshops all over the world for men and women, and a couple of years ago she published her very first book titled The Wild Woman’s Way: Unlock Your Full Potential for Pleasure, Power, and Fulfilment, which is an incredible book, by the way.
Today, we are super lucky because we have Michaela all to ourselves and we are going to sit down and have a chat to her about all things relationships, feminine energy and men.
I hope you enjoy this interview. I can promise you there will be many profound insights you wouldn’t want to miss, so let’s get started now.
Okay, so Michaela, thank you very much for being with us today.
Michaela Boehm: Well, it’s a pleasure and I’m so glad we got to connect.
Renee: Finally, yes. I was going to say actually, I’m not sure if you remember, but the last time I interviewed you was in 2011.
Michaela: Wow, yeah. I didn’t know it was quite that long but it was a long time.
David Shen: We did schedule it for—I think it was last year but we couldn’t get it to work.
And then we were going to schedule it whilst you were in Melbourne but something fell through.
I had on my camera gear. I was going to travel out. I don’t remember exactly what happened but it didn’t end up happening. I’m glad we’re doing it now.
Michaela: Yeah. I think what happened was I think it was that time when I got these really, really bad allergies where I could no longer see or properly talk or anything.
It might have been that. But something happened, I remember. That one time when I went to Melbourne I had such bad allergies I was essentially incapacitated.
David: So it was a Melbourne thing.
Renee: Yes, it’s a Melbourne thing. He got it too. I get it.
David: It’s really bad down here.
Renee: It’s not just you.
Michaela: Okay. Well, it was hideous. I could barely function. I think that’s what happened.
Renee: Yes, you did say you were ill.
David: It’s another good reason to move out of Melbourne.
Renee: So Michaela, I actually have your book up here. I just wanted to say thank you so much for writing this book, The Wild Woman’s Way.
I read it I think two years ago now and I absolutely loved it. So thank you so much for—I know it’s a lot of energy and effort and time and patience writing a book.
I actually wanted to start with reading out a couple, just small paragraphs from the introduction of your book.
It says, “This book is first and foremost my passionate love letter to the body. An invitation for each of us to remember the innate wisdom of our bodies, not our looks or our various shapes and sizes but the living, feeling body as a portal to unlocking who we truly are.
Our bodily genius is a premier decision-making tool, a navigation device extraordinaire, an agent of release and healing, a wisdom carrier of deep insight and a holder of secrets and mysteries.”
So, I know that all that is to say that your book is about re-wilding and a lot of us kind of don’t understand and aren’t connected to the depth of wisdom in our bodies, women or men.
So I would just like to start with asking you how can women actually re-wild themselves? I remember I think there are four aspects to it or four main steps to re-wilding.
David: What is it?
Renee: Yeah, what is it?
Michaela: I think it’s good to start with what is it because one of the things that I run into over and over, is people read The Wild Woman’s Way and you see it also then used on Facebook and Instagram or whatever.
And it’s used as like pretty much wild, deranged women screaming and shouting. There’s always talk about, “Oh, I was so crazy and I was so wild.” That is actually not what re-wilding means.
The wild woman is an archetype and it’s an archetype of part of us. And by the way, the wild woman, you can be a man and have that archetype load up.
It’s essentially an archetype as archetypes function. They bring the subconscious and areas of the subconscious into awareness.
And as such, it’s kind of a collective of unconscious archetypes. It brings ancient information that sits within all of us to the surface so it can be lived through a body.
So the wild woman and re-wilding is essentially the coming back to nature. To nature as in our nature, the way we are connected to nature.
That could be the rhythms of nature, the moon cycles, our own cycles. Like I said, this is true for men as well women who also are deeply connected to nature as hunters, as trackers, as navigators.
So it’s the connecting back to the natural world within and without.
And re-wilding as a term is essentially a bringing back to its original state. That’s really what it is about.
And there is sensitizing. So you were asking me what are the steps.
There is sensitizing, which is very, very important. Actually being able to hear and feel and sense what the body says.
There is relaxation. That’s very, very important.
There is release where you let go of kind of old patterns and old contractions both physically, emotionally, also mentally.
And then there’s kind of the reclaiming of who we truly are aside from our cultural imprint or our familial demands or things of that nature.
So those are some of the things that I talk about in the book and, in general, talk about in my work when it comes to bringing the body back into the fold of our experience, because we’ve gotten so used to just this up here (pointing to head).
Renee: The ‘go-mode’, yeah. The go-mode that so many of us are bathed in every day because of our work and habits and having to be right.
Even just going to school growing up you’re taught you have to be right, get everything right and kind of…
David: You have to live on someone else’s schedule, I guess.
Renee: Yeah. So it’s so relevant. With regards to sensitizing, how can women sensitize?
I know you talk a lot about getting back into feeling the pleasure of your body and things like that.
Michaela: Yes, but sensitizing goes a lot deeper. Let’s see how I can describe this easiest for the sake of brevity.
Essentially, our body continuously sends messages and so embodiment—this is another one of those terms that’s been thrown around a lot, embodiment starts with actually feeling what there is to be felt in the body.
And the body always feels things because the body is what kept us alive way longer than our mind has kept us alive.
Human evolution happened through the body and you would only survive if your body was highly tuned to the environment, both for hunting and also for survival and mating, living in the wild, all of those kind of things.
So to not avail ourselves of the messages our body sends is essentially shutting out a large database from our life.
So in re-sensitizing, we are becoming re-acquainted with the messages the body always sends.
The more external noise, the more internal swirling thought. The more irritants and stimulus there is, the less we can hear the more subtle messages of the body.
And sensitizing gives us access to a database that’s much, much bigger than what we can conceive in our minds.
Renee: That’s right. In your book you also talk about intuition and the gut feeling.
That’s all very fascinating to me because I know there’s so many women I’ve worked with before who either can’t get in touch with their gut feeling, or they can’t see the difference between hearing their fears and their anxiety versus a real gut feeling.
Renee: So what was your journey in discovering—I’m trying to think of a better word, in differentiating between a fear response or an anxiety versus the spontaneous knowingness of a gut feeling?
Michaela: Yes. That kind of intuition, the kind of gut intuition, that’s also kind of what sometimes people call the third eye intuition.
Which is kind of a bit being out in the finer realms and somewhat disconnected from the body because it’s out there.
That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking in the body gut feeling, strong bodily intelligence.
Because intuition is nothing else but the intelligence to understand the messages the body sends. We all are deeply intuitive otherwise we would have never survived.
So essentially, what we’re looking at is training ourselves to understand the difference.
So how you do that, and that’s certainly how I learned it, is you learn how tense or relaxed your body is when you feel these things.
First, you sensitize where you come back to listening to the messages of the body.
And then you can differentiate between a fear and let’s say a strong knowing by how tense your body is.
Your body is not going to be tense in the strong knowing.
There’s no reason to be tense. It just arises through the body. While in the fear there is a clench, there’s a contraction and a bracing against, a pushing away. There’s all kinds of stuff that happens in the body.
So how you train for intuition is you have a feeling. And then ideally, as you have the feeling, you feel your body.
So you’re feeling – is your body tense or relaxed? Is your body open or closed? Is your body reactive or can it actually receive? So that’s what you work with.
Then you see if you can triangulate that which you felt with what is actually happening out there. So you have to do kind of a debrief and go,
“Well, I had this feeling. It felt like it wasn’t connected to a clench. I just had a really strong feeling.”
“Oh, now I’m finding out this happened. Oh, when this happened, my body here,” let’s say, “or here in the gut,” or somewhere, “had a strong sensation, a strong knowing.”
Then what you learn over time is you go, “I have this sensation.” I’m pointing towards my solar plexus. “That means somebody’s lying to me.”
Michaela: Or, “Oh, I felt this kind of clench over my heart. That was actually somebody disconnecting from me,” and so on.
So you learn signs and signals in the body that point towards certain things happening and then we call that intuition. But, really, it’s data points.
Renee: Right. Okay.
David: It’s very interesting. It’s a great distinction by the way about the tenseness.
I think intuition, information doesn’t just make us tense but sometimes our fears would go there.
Michaela: Yes. Our fears and also our projections because sometimes we want things.
And that wantingness is also a certain kind of attention or a reduction or a push in the body.
Exactly, that thing [gestures]. So, anytime you feel these bodily tension patterns, you know it’s probably not your intuition. Or at least your intuition is tinged by a fear or by a desire.
When you just have information arise, it’s fairly neutral in the body.
David: That reminds me actually of this experience that I think most of us can relate to. Which is at some point in our lives where, whether you’re going on a trip or something, you set an alarm for let’s say 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning and you wake up right before the alarm goes off.
Renee: Yeah. That’s what happens to me all the time.
David: There’s no fear.
You literally wake up a minute before the alarm goes off and I mean how does that happen?
Your body’s not trained to wake up at that time. It just knows somehow the time.
David: To me that feels more like an intuitive receptivity of the body knowing that you need to wake up.
Renee: Yeah, exactly.
David: Rather than waking up out of fear.
Michaela: Exactly. And often we don’t wake up out of fear.
As anybody who’s ever set an alarm for a flight has probably experienced, you can’t oversleep when you’re really, really, really freaked out about it and you’ve woken up six times during the night.
And then when it’s time for the alarm, you actually don’t wake up. So that can happen.
While your body knows time, of course. Your body is suspended in a time grid, so to speak. A time direction grid.
But there’s biorhythms, there’s all kinds of things. The body knows what time it is, so if you just relax enough and you trust that that’s happening and you just sleep, you’ll wake up, like you said, just before the alarm.
It’s not to say you shouldn’t set an alarm!
David: Of course. And we’ve had our share of almost missing flights, so I can definitely see the value of alarms.
But it just reminds me of how there’s so many things that I guess we can’t explain, but your body sort of feels or knows it already. Maybe we’re not able to articulate it but all the evidence is out there.
Renee: Yeah. I don’t know what your stance is on premonitions, Michaela, but how does this all tie into premonitions?
David: Is that something that you’ve looked into or studied?
Michaela: Well, it’s not something I teach per se because my work is very much in present time of and being with the body as the body is.
But certainly, I would say that premonitions are not as woo-woo as you think they are, simply because we are hooked into a much larger grid in which things are already happening that we are aware of.
But what I think is very, very important to know is that in a premonition, it can always go the other way because it isn’t present moment yet.
Meaning if you feel, let’s say—well, this morning I had a session with somebody who was supposed to go on a flight that crashed. A very specific flight, very famous flights that crashed.
It was a new client and he was telling me about the waking up with the alarm for the getting to the airport and knowing without a doubt in every part of his body that he shouldn’t go to the airport.
Renee: Oh, wow.
Michaela: But a super, super rational, super heavy, very high-powered businessman so there was no reason to believe that other than he said it was so compelling and it was so strong.
Then he overrode that. And he went, “Well, I gotta go.” Like really, really, “Okay, I’m not feeling it, but whatever.”
And he got up and three times in a row things happened within his body that made him go, “That’s odd.”
And in his body, like where he was just like, “Oh, God.”
So then the fourth time, on the way out to the airport, he’s like, “You know what? I’ll just take a different flight.” And that’s what saved his life.
So the premonition—and so the question is what did he feel?
Well, he felt a possible outcome. But clearly, that possible outcome hasn’t happened yet so it can be affected.
Michaela: Because some people of course say, “Whatever happens, happens and you can’t get out.” You could say that too.
You could say he wasn’t meant to die so he didn’t go.
You could also say, well, how did he know he was going to die if he wasn’t meant to die, right?
So it’s a total mind-fuck if you go there because every which way you turn it, it doesn’t make sense other than to say we do know of potential danger in our field because that is how human beings have made it into the 21st century.
If you’re not in tune with potential dangers, however that plays out, because you have to kind of if you really want to feel that and suspend yourself in that big of a consideration, which is a bit freaky to do, you have to feel that it’s not as metaphysical as you think.
Because the thing that made the plane crash in that particular case had already been set in place by the time he woke up.
Renee: Right. Yeah.
So when he woke up, that thing that made the plane go had already happened.
So it’s not that unusual that you could feel something that’s already happened.
But of course it hadn’t come to fruition yet so then it feels like this big woo-woo kind of a thing. That’s not to say that it isn’t a big woo-woo kind of thing. There’s a lot of things that you wouldn’t understand.
But when we look at – is it a trainable skill, which is what we’re talking about, because we can philosophize about it endlessly and I love doing that, but we’re talking about can intuition and premonition be trained, and can you actually sensitize to the messages of your body in a way that is useful.
And the answer is absolutely, because if you just listen closely, the body constantly picks up all these different strains and pieces of information and data.
And mostly, that data flows through us and we adjust to our entire circumstance by taking that data in, processing it and just moving on. We’re not aware of it.
I can reach this computer and touch it without having to in my mind measure the distance.
My body knows the distance and it’s super easy for me to do that. But of course if you have a stroke or something happens to your brain, you’ll have to relearn that.
The same way we can learn to become super sensitive to the data and make that data a part of the way we relate with the world.
And then you intuitively, we call that intuition, but it’s just you have higher data processing. You have more data about data, so to speak.
So when data comes in, you actually have processing power for that data.
And if you’re sensitized to the messages of your body, you get all that information versus being numb to it and it’s just flowing through without you noticing.
David: Yeah. I guess a good example there will be, something that most people can relate to will be your diet.
If you eat junk food all your life you wouldn’t be sensitized to how that is affecting your health.
Whereas if you detoxed and start to feel what individual foods do to your body, you have that information then you can utilize that information to…
Renee: Make better decisions.
David: Yeah, make better decisions.
Michaela: That’s a perfect example because when you’re eating junk food, you don’t feel that anything is wrong.
David: No. And you get used to it. That’s the worst part, you get used to it.
So that sensitization I guess is very important, especially for a lot of people, a lot of women, or men as well, who’ve gone through abuse or dysfunctional relationships, terrible upbringing.
They don’t have that sense of reference and that sensitivity to process the information.
Michaela: Yes. And furthermore, if you have trauma in your body, your body has a very specific wisdom which is in fight, flight or freeze. Your rational thought will be overwritten for the sake of survival.
So the moment you’re in a triggered state, you’re either fight, flight or freeze either from an actual in-the-moment happening, or from something that triggered a previous memory, you are essentially no longer rational in the classic sense.
You can’t go, “Wait a second. Hmm.”
So that makes it even worse because all the people who are very traumatized, they are by nature numb because it’s too painful to feel.
Then if something gets triggered, that kicks you out of actually processing any data because you’re now just in survival mode.
David: Absolutely. Have you dealt with many of these in your clients in terms of overcoming abuse or overcoming toxic patterns? And what would your process be to help them with that?
Renee: Yeah. To make them just I guess more responsive in the moment and more aware of what’s really happening rather than just always reacting.
Michaela: Well, there are many questions in there.
Michaela: So, yes, I have dealt very, very extensively with people in various states of abuse and trauma.
I actually for a while was responsible for a large part of treatment in a drug rehab that also had what they called dual diagnosis.
So they had personality disorders and things of that nature where there’s a lot of trauma. I mean sometimes very, very horrible sexual or physical abuse. So I’ve done very extensive work there on that.
And of course also when you work as closely with people in relationship as I have, you know I’ve done over 30,000 – it’s a lot more than that now but we stopped counting at some point. One‑on‑one client hours you do get to see every kind of trauma pattern and abuse pattern there is.
So some of that is—let’s see how I can say that. Some of that requires long-term, very careful taking apart of these triggers and patterns and help people heal on a very, very deep, substantial level.
That is actual therapeutic work and that’s very individualized and that requires like a very, very kind of razor sharp slicing of people’s stuff.
Aside from that, in the more general working with people in relationship work, the way it’s best dealt with is a combination of learning how to feel what the trigger feels like in the body, learning how to release that triggered body from its contraction, and then learning a different way of behaving around that particular trigger.
So, very specifically speaking, let’s say I’m working with a couple and she’s had let’s say abuse, previous abuse in a previous relationship.
Now, they’re in a wonderful relationship. They’re actually really liking each other and loving each other and he’s not abusive.
But every time he reaches out to her she flinches. And then he feels rejected, which I can tell you without a doubt plays into his childhood wounding, because that’s how people find each other. We always find the reciprocal injury so to speak.
So now, whenever she flinches, he takes it personal. He feels a personal rejection instead of feeling that she’s just having a trauma response that actually has nothing to do with him.
So now he pulls back then she feels like she did wrong or bad. So she’s overriding her need for space, and she kind of gives up her own need for the safety in the relationship, and forces herself to reach out to him when she’s not quite ready.
And then ten years later they hate each other’s guts because nobody’s gotten the thing that they wanted and they have injured themselves and each other.
So that’s a classic and that plays out in most relationships.
So how you work with that is that you find the physical signs of the trigger, and you train yourself and each other to feel the physical signs before it translates into mind or even full emotion.
Just when you feel that thing, you know you’re triggered. And then you move your body in ways that counteracts that particular contraction.
You can also work with code words and things like that. And then you have a set behaviour that counteracts the behaviour that usually occurs.
So it’s very specific and I can usually see what it needs and assign that and then have people practice it.
Then that way you still might have to do therapy and you still might have to get deep under it but that way you have a tool, because of course the problem is you can’t wait the 10 years it takes for a pattern to unwind. It will kill your relationship.
David: Yeah. You need to practice, and get those repetitions in order to rewire completely rather than pay for it.
David: Gosh. It just reminds me of all the times that we’ve talked about abuse with a lot of our clients and whatnot, and it is something they have to address straightaway.
You don’t have as you said 10 years or the next 20 years to untangle all the trauma that’s been inflicted. That will cause way too much damage in the process.
Michaela: Well, at some point you’re just pushing each other’s buttons and you trigger each other and there’s just nowhere out of that.
That’s then what in a divorce is called irreconcilable differences.
And that’s a very sad thing because it’s not because anybody wants anything bad for the other person.
It’s just because in that triggered state, you don’t make clear decisions. You’re kind of on autopilot.
And that autopilot plays itself out over and over and over, and when you come out of it you’re going, “Why did I do that again?”
Well, because it’s on autopilot. And once that button is pushed, the entire pattern unfolds like it always unfolds.
David: I feel like the whole world is very much triggered these days. People are so easily triggered by a lot of things. It’s a very inflammatory world that we live in.
Renee: Yeah, in the current state of the world, yeah, I know. We’re in our second nine‑week lockdown so we have a lot of information coming in about what people are triggered by and this and that, so it’s not very stable right now.
Michaela: But I can tell you from where I’m sitting in California, I wish we had a lockdown because it’s not getting any better.
At least when you have a lockdown, you have an end in sight, right?
This is the end-less five months in. Nothing’s changed and there’s no end in sight and nobody’s saying, “Okay, here’s what needs to happen.”
It’s just this random some people take care of themselves. Some people don’t. Some people think it’s all BS. Some people are convinced we’re all going to die in the next 24 hours. It’s hugely polarizing.
And you’re absolutely right. That is hugely triggering because it doesn’t matter how stable you are and it doesn’t matter how stable your upbringing is within the context of what we’re talking about, which is the body suspended in a construct that we can orient within, and that giving us a sense of safety and giving our nervous system an ability to navigate optimally and all of that.
When too many of the variables that are the grid in which we live are gone, we are in a permanent state of suspended in fight-or-flight essentially.
As everyone knows, as we are also experiencing, that leads to fight-or-flight or freeze behaviours.
So then when you look at people from that lens, it makes perfect sense. You have people who are extremely aggressive. That’s the fight state. You have people who have essentially checked out. Your flight state, right?
And then there’s the people who pretend like everything is perfectly fine but they’re a little bit off their centre.
They barely blink anymore and they’re just going through the ocean and they’re no longer capable of really feeling anything. And that’s a large portion of us, including myself at times.
I had a whole period a few weeks ago where, I mean, you can’t see it, but I’m like totally cut up on my fingers because I constantly cut myself.
And I’m really good at chopping vegetables and things like that. I’m really fast and good and I have sharp knives.
I don’t think I’ve ever cut myself in 10 years or so. I cut myself I think five times in three days. My entire left hand was bandaged at some point.
And that tells you something about my state of disconnect, disembodiment, disassociation or whatever you want to call it.
I knew it. I could go, “I am clearly disembodied. I’m clearly disassociated. I’m cutting myself. I feel it. I know I shouldn’t. How did this happen?”
Well, it didn’t matter. There was just so much stress in the external world that my being couldn’t cope while I thought I was coping fine, which is freeze.
In freeze you think you’re okay. Now, it doesn’t matter that I’m a trauma specialist and a trauma therapist and incredibly astute.
And I knew I was in freeze, but you’re still in freeze. And then you have to really, really, really work on getting out of freeze.
And now, mind you, I have really good tools, non-linear movement, one of them, and all other kinds of tools, but it still took two or three days to fall, so to speak, out of freeze.
And that was all the tools I have.
So now imagine somebody who doesn’t have those tools and who doesn’t even know they are in freeze and that’s what we see all the time.
Renee: Yeah. I’ve personally experienced your non-linear movement and it is very powerful.
Can you share with us a bit about what non-linear movement is and how it helps your female clients?
Also, I’m curious to know, do you ever use that with men or is your—I know you work with Steve. I’m not sure if you—I assume you both work with men but is the approach to embodiment different?
Michaela: The approach to embodiment is not different and non-linear movement is not gender specific at all. It’s nervous system specific.
As far as sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system and polyvagal application in the body, there is some differences in the vagus nerve particularly.
There is a bit of a difference. But in the way we work with non-linear movement, I should say to be very precise it’s called the non-linear movement method.
There’s other ways that you can move non-linearly, but I’ve created something called the Non‑Linear Movement Method and it’s specifically designed to unfreeze the body and to bring body, heart and mind in union again and line it up and align things.
It also allows old trauma and tension and contraction to release. It’s completely non-force which is super important.
Lots of people try pushing their way through trauma or through contraction, and that’s very, very detrimental. It’s very non-force. It can also be used for things like creativity, vitality, pleasure.
So in the pleasure practice, it’s a bit different for men than for women, but that’s an individual difference not a taught difference, meaning I facilitated the same.
And we work with both men and women in non-linear particularly. Anybody can do it. As long as you have a body you can do that.
When we do men’s groups or women’s groups, in the women’s groups I lead the charge and Steve facilitates certain pieces that allow me to actually step in and practice certain things.
And in the men’s groups he will take the lead but I will also add things like non-linear movement, and certain things that have to do with how women see men and also my expertise on energy systems in the body.
So we do everything and we work with couples and individuals and groups and the whole thing.
So there’s not really a difference except that—let’s see how I can say this.
That when you work with a woman and a woman’s body, the certain ways that you can make or create safety are a bit different than when you work with just men’s bodies and what creates safety.
But those are very, very, very fine differences that really have to do with containment and they have to do with how you set up a room, how you speak, because processing is a bit different in a male brain versus a female brain because of biochemistry and hormones and stuff like that.
So those are super, super subtle differences.
But that’s very, very specialized in a group setting. We’ll just teach it to whoever wants to work with their body.
Renee: So how can a woman work with non-linear movement by herself in her own home?
I know you recommend practices with music and like beginning with – was it one song you recommend? Just one to begin with?
Michaela: One song a day, yes. It’s always important to do less than one wants to do.
Renee: All right. Yeah.
Michaela: That’s very, very important because that ensures that you can actually do it.
My teacher used to say the best practice is the practice you do. And that’s always true.
So you might have great ambitious plans for an hour a day of practice, you’re probably not going to do.
And you’ll fall off and then you have negative associations with practice which makes it harder the next time around, and so on and so on.
So one song a day. Pick a song, any song. Ideally one without lyrics so that you’re not getting in your head about the lyrics or singing along.
So tribal drumming or stuff like that. World music, like something that has rhythm but that doesn’t have lyrics. Ideally no pop songs because that gets very old very quickly.
So you pick a song a day and then you start with what I call moving-what-you’re-feeling practice.
And so moving-what-you’re-feeling practice is essentially you stand, you close your eyes, you feel what’s happening.
That could be something like, for instance if I do that right now, moving what I’m feeling, my right hip feels a bit off so I’d be just moving my right hip.
But I’m not moving to release necessarily. I’m just moving that sensation in the hip.
And as I do that then I can feel it radiates up here into my right shoulder and then I can start moving my right shoulder.
And when I do that, there’s actually an emotional component to it. When I move my right shoulder, something in my solar plexus feels unsettled so that I can just move as that unsettledness.
So I track sensation. I track emotion. I track thoughts. You can move as a thought.
If you feel numb, you move as numbness. You feel tired. You move as fatigued.
So you don’t do anything other than tracking what’s actually happening and that’s hugely sensitizing. It’s hugely embodying.
It also relaxes your body. It washes out old things so there’s incredible benefits to it. And it’s really, really quick.
And it’s a little bit like flossing. Just do it every day.
It flosses your system of any remnants and stuff that doesn’t need to be there. And then when you have time and inclination, you can just do a longer set of that.
And non-linear is mostly done on hands and knees because it gives you access to all the areas of the body, but moving what you’re feeling you can start standing because that’s also really useful when you’re out and about.
When something starts feeling a bit locked up you can just move your body subtly while standing. I do it a lot in airplanes and in airports because then you train yourself to just move stuff through your body.
And one of the real joys of the pandemic, if there is such a thing. Is out of pure necessity, I started teaching non-linear online and I’ve actually realized that it works really, really great. Because I get to instruct people in their own homes and it makes for an easier home practice, which has been really, really, really lovely.
So I do two every two weeks, one for Australia and one for Europe, and both of them work for the U.S.. So I do one in the morning, one in the evening.
So I’ve gotten an enormous amount of men and women, it’s mostly women coming to classes as usual, but also some men.
But a lot of people turned on to non-linear movement method because I can teach people at home and that’s been really, really good and rewarding.
Renee: Yeah, I can imagine. That’s great to hear.
David: And they could continue that practice because they’ve practiced in that setting.
Renee: Yeah. They don’t have to…
Michaela: They now have a positive association with their practice space in their own home, which makes it of course much easier to practice by yourself.
So with all the horrors of no longer being able to travel, which is rough for me personally, and missing the in-person contact, this has been one of the real blessings that I got, and will continue to actually teach people in their own home. That’s been quite rewarding.
Renee: Nice. It’s good to hear, Michaela. There’s actually one thing I’ve been wanting to ask you.
It was about the archetypes. You mentioned it in your book that there was one particular archetype, a Hindu goddess. I think her name was Kali.
You said you first embodied that archetype because her power came from destruction?
I can’t remember what else it was, but she had an instantaneous response to circumstances instead of being angry or having a crazed frenzy.
And the reason I want to ask about this is because I know that a lot of women would love to have that authentic responsiveness and love to get to that place.
However I think it’s not so easy when so many of us have so much pent-up hurt and anger, resentment that hasn’t been processed. No one’s helped us process it. Or even if we try, we wouldn’t know how.
So two questions. How does one get to that instantaneous responsiveness? One.
And two, can you not have an instantaneous response of anger? Like for me, when I think about primary emotion, for example, there is such a thing as a primary emotional response of anger in the moment.
So what are your thoughts on that?
Michaela: Oh, there’s so much in there. I think the first thing to be said is that Kali has become kind of a difficult archetype. Women say ‘oh I showed him my Kali.”
And it’s like well, you probably just spewed all your old anger and unresolved resentment over your partner, right?
That’s not the same. As I’m saying in the book, Kali is the archetype of both destruction and rebirth and it comes through love.
It’s not tolerating anything less than what has to happen.
And so spontaneous anger doesn’t have residue. It comes, it goes, it’s done.
David: Yeah, too quick.
Michaela: This is, by the way, also true with spontaneous anything. Spontaneous sadness doesn’t have residue. It comes, it goes, it’s done.
But for that to happen, for any spontaneous emotion this is also true, for true pleasure and all kind of joy, you have to be able to be fluid in the experience of your emotions.
And so strong emotions and strong sensations in the body that come with it are usually clenched down upon.
So we feel something and then we go, “Oh, no. Can’t feel that.”
David: Not today.
Michaela: It’s too painful, not appropriate, whatever. So we clench down.
Every time we clench down it’s like a sediment. It just layers and layers and layers and layers.
Then you decide to let it out and what comes out is not a reaction to the actual thing that’s happening but 10 years of just pent up stuff in there.
Then of course what happens next is the person on whom you unleashed this swamp sort of goes, “Whoa, you are way out of line.”
So then you have to suppress again and then that sets you up for the next set of pent up emotions and so on.
So the important piece, and this once again brings us to sensitizing into non-linear movement and things like that, so non-linear movement there’s a whole segment that’s released where you release things.
You don’t even need to know what they are, you just let the tensions and the contractions and all of that loosen.
Then the body gets this intelligence of actually washing things out. You might even have visuals or flashbacks or whatever, but you just go with it and you go with it and you go with it.
Eventually, your well runs clear. At that moment, when something angers you, the anger arises not attached to the sediment.
It comes up, it does its thing, it leaves. And you’re not going to be pissed for three days after because it just came and went, the same way that joy comes and goes, the same way that sadness comes and goes.
And then at that point, you are authentically, in the true sense of the word authentically, expressing what happens in the present moment which is of course with the caveat that you are able, because you’re not so gripped by old shit, to modulate your expression to what’s needed.
Renee: That’s right.
Michaela: Like for instance if you get angry at your child, you’re not going to unleash at full force but you might feel the thing and go, “No!” let’s say because of something, they’re about to hurt themselves. And then it leaves.
Then the next emotion, which is probably relief that nothing happens or love because you care for them so much or whatever happens, and then you bring that up.
And you don’t let anything get clenched. Then you can really, really artfully fine tune how you will express.
But you know what you’re expressing and you know the difference between old crap and present moment expression.
This is also very good when it comes to pleasure, of course. So you can work with it by releasing old stuff in the body.
If you need to go see a therapist because there’s still some unresolved stuff or you don’t understand things, that’s very good to do.
Somatic experiencing is a great modality as well for trauma-related releasing that has to still happen cognitively.
But usually the moment you understand it, you have to work with the body because you can understand it all you want in the mind.
The body needs to be released of that contraction or it will re-manifest and re-instate itself over and over and over.
So when we come to Kali, it’s a very misunderstood archetype because in that is total love.
It’s not destruction for the sake of destruction because you’re hurting. It’s the natural reaction to something horrible happen in the moment.
And it’s kind of an interesting thing when anger arises without the old stuff. It’s almost all bodily.It has very little emotional content.
It’s just this pressure that rises and comes up and then you usually—you know, this is why people punch and stuff like that. You don’t want to do that ever.
Michaela: But it’s the feeling, because there’s no reason ever to physically abuse somebody. No reason whatsoever.
I want to say that very clearly because that unfortunately comes with that particular trope as well where women are allowed beat on their man and men are supposed to take it. That is abuse, people.
Michaela: And you’re training your man’s nervous system to become numb to you.
Whoever started this shit knew nothing about trauma because when you force a man to breathe in the storm of a woman, what you’re saying is numb yourself, buddy.
Just suck it up. Breathe it down.
Renee: I guess they (the men) have no choice. That’s the natural response.
Michaela: Well, of course. And also why would anybody be as idiotic as to stand in the face of abuse?
You’ve got to step away and people have to deal with their shit. Deal with their shit appropriately. So that all said, there’s no reason ever to lash out.
But the feeling is one of wanting to bring it out. And when that rises and you feel that then it’s a good thing to keep the body moving so it can move through and bring the appropriate response, which is probably something like not this [gesture] but this [gesture]. “No”. (raises palm up gently to signal “no”).
Because usually, anger comes from having to set a boundary.
Michaela: That’s the next thing. You’re angry and your anger results in you having to protect.
And what does that usually mean? Boundary setting. “You know, I don’t like this. I don’t want this. This isn’t good for me.”
Renee: That’s right. I mean, we have two sons and I can remember a couple of recent situations in which for example our oldest son was cutting a mushroom right on his finger.
And David’s not an angry person whatsoever. I mean it was both of us. One minute I was like, “Tyson, no.”
He’s like, “No!”
We both said it but once it was done, it was done. And looking back, the anger serves the purpose of him getting the seriousness of not chopping a mushroom like that.
Michaela: Right, and that’s born out of love.
Michaela: It’s not born out of malice, it’s born out of love.
And that’s the thing. If you express anger born out of love, it comes, it goes and the next thing that happens is the love that’s in the anger gets freed.
Then you hug your child or you say, “Don’t do that. You’re going to hurt yourself.”
And then everybody moves on, and it’s not abusive.
David: And they feel the intent as well.
Renee: They do. They do. You can see it in their eyes.
Renee: Yeah, they know.
David: And they still get the message of, “Oh, I shouldn’t do that again ever because it is so serious.”
Renee: And this is the key too. I think it’s important for women to know that anger is important. But we’re talking about authentic spontaneous anger, not the vile anger that a lot of women sometimes associate with being a strong woman.
Michaela: Yeah. A strong woman, you know what a really strong woman is? You can set a boundary. That’s a strong woman.
Michaela: It’s as simple as that. You are angry about something. It’s probably because you’re being transgressed upon. Set a boundary.
Once you set a boundary, you don’t need to be angry anymore because you’re not being transgressed upon. Nobody is messing with you.
So what is the sign of a strong woman is the ability to set proper appropriate boundaries.
And this brings us back to the very beginning, how do you know that you need to set a boundary?
You can feel it in your body. There’s nothing worse when somebody smiles nicely in a meeting and then 30 minutes later they suddenly realize that that thing that happened in the meeting wasn’t okay.
And they had missed the opportunity to express the boundary because they’re so not in touch with the messages of the body, that they couldn’t feel that ouch or no until 30 minutes later.
And now they’re out of the meeting and now they’re really, really angry and they can’t fix it anymore.
And then resentment builds and they have to go back and say, “Well, this didn’t work for me,” or whatever.
So when you’re really sensitized to the messages of your body, the no is immediate and you can set the boundary appropriately.
And the quicker, the more immediate the boundary setting, the quicker the whole thing can pass.
Then there is no real reason to hold on to any anger because you don’t have to feel that resentment and the seething, you know, just like madness, when you’ve set a boundary.
Michaela: Because that’s all, “Who does he think he is?” And, “How could he do that?” And all of that. Well, not if you go, “I don’t like that.”
That’s the end of that.
Renee: Yeah. And you don’t have to think about it then.
Michaela: Right. So are you on a time restraint, Michaela? I just have a few questions…
Michaela: I am. I actually have a client session that was supposed to start seven minutes ago.
Renee: Oh, okay.
Michaela: Also, as you can hear, my dogs have gone completely apeshit.
Michaela: Hold on. Let me just text him.
Renee: All right.
Michaela: Okay. Yes, so that brings us to an end.
David: Thank you so much for your time. We can continue in a part 2 interview.
Michaela: Yes that’s possible, but I got to go and deal with this.
Renee: Sure. Okay, no problem.
David: Thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate it. Obviously, we can chat all day. There’s so much to talk about as well.
Renee: Of course.
David: An hour is just so short.
Michaela: I know.
Renee: Yeah. But thank you so much for sharing. If people want to find out more about your workshops, where do they go? Michaelaboehm.com?
Michaela: That’s correct. And I’m assuming you’ll post that in the show notes and that’s where you can find absolutely everything.
Lots of free content because we did a whole bunch of support for people during the pandemic so there’s like free meditations, there’s some free movement stuff, there’s lectures that are on the podcast that are free.
And then there’s non-linear movement sessions, there’s non-linear teacher training online. And we’re going to start doing a couple stuff online as well while we’re still all somewhat locked down.
Michaela: Yeah, lots happening. Wild Woman’s Way online course for people who—this is specifically for women who want to really get into their body with all the things that come with the female energy system. Then we have awakening the pleasure body, which is for men and women alike. So there’s lots happening.
Renee: Awesome. Good to know.
David: Fantastic. Anyhow, thanks so much for your time. Really appreciate it.
Renee: Thank you so much.
Michaela: Thank you very much. It was a pleasure.
David: We’ll talk to you soon.
Renee: Okay, bye.
Thanks for taking the time to read this incredible interview with Michaela Boehm!
If you are interested in learning more about Michaela’s work, you can visit her website, Michaelaboehm.com, and you can learn more about her book The Wild Woman’s Way: Unlock Your Full Potential for Pleasure, Power, and Fulfillment right here.
What was your biggest revelation from this interview? What key takeaways did you have from this interview? Share with us and discuss in the comments below!