Interview with Louise Androlia
Artist | Tarot Therapist | Life Coach
Photo Credit: Jessica Maccormick http://www.jessicamaccormick.
Louise, thank you for joining us for this special interview! I’m so excited to share your spirit with the women joining us here at The Common Woman. I would love to offer our readers both insights into your current lifestyle/trade as well as the backstory as to how you developed into the sparkling sister you are today. So, let’s get started!
Louise: Hello. Thanks for having me! You guys are awesome.
Louise: I never set out to be a coach but my life experiences lead me this way. I always had a consistently art and creativity based intention for life and although that hasn’t changed, I was dropped into the path as a therapist after spending the first half of my 20’s overcoming chronic pain and PTSD. After working through these challenges I knew that they were in place to help me be of service, but I had to do my own healing first. This was a period of recovery, physical and mental as well as diving fully back into my life again! And eventually I woke up about five years ago and heard ‘it’s time’ and then I set to work discovering the best way I could be of service.
My baseline passion is to help as many people as possible feel less alone and I try to achieve that through all of my endeavors. I kind of stumbled into coaching upon realizing that my voice is my best tool, it wasn’t enough for me to be just doing hands on healing. I know what it’s like to feel lost in your own shadows, afraid and in pain and now that I have the tools to live a happy and balanced life, it would seem strange to not share them. It’s my responsibility as someone with a story. It is so healing and heart opening for me to be able to see people become less afraid and more empowered right in front of my eyes.
Louise: Yes, empowerment to me is a reflection of being ultimately connected to oneself and yes it IS a struggle because all of our negative experiences disconnect us from that self. Since my main experience has been with PTSD and trauma recovery I’ve learned that we naturally step out of ourselves when we experience challenges, because our fears lead us to believe that our mind, body or spirit isn’t a safe place to be in. With anxiety, when we feel scared of our own mind, we check out. When we are in physical pain or upset with our physical appearance we check out of our body, because suddenly the mind and body don’t feel like places we want to be. However to move through our pain, we have to feel it. You’ve got to feel it to heal it as they say.
The best way to start realigning with the self is by feeling feelings. It may sound simple but a huge percentage of us are walking around trying to avoid every negative feeling, because of course to feel things means FEELING them, and it’s not easy. However the only way our mind and body can connect and process fears and traumas are through feeling. You may notice that you often label yourself using the term ‘I AM’ with negative feelings, e.g. I am angry, I am anxious, and I am scared. A quick tool is to start using ‘I FEEL’ as a statement and put it into a morning practice or a meditation if you have one. Locate the feeling you are experiencing, perhaps it’s anxiety, anger, jealousy, even disconnected and sit and say ‘I FEEL ***’ and then notice where you can feel it in your body, because all feelings are also physical. As you note it, keep breathing deeply and note how the feeling moves around the body. This can feel so scary but I promise it is safe. In this moment of feeling you are connecting mind to body and enabling you to be slap bang in the present moment. You can even just as you are walking around practice this by just saying in your mind ‘I feel **’ with everything that comes up, good feelings too. As you enable yourself to become present with all of your feelings you are then in a position to work with them. Empowerment starts coming in when you manage to locate your feelings, feel them and then honor them and work with them. I believe that we can feel empowered even in crisis as long as we value our experience. This is the hard part as humans seem to naturally devalue our challenges, so along with that I FEEL exercise, try adding on ‘AND IT’S OK’ to the end to remind yourself that it’s ok to feel negative things. Just because they are uncomfortable doesn’t mean they are not normal. All your feelings are of value.
Louise: When I see our spirit, I think of it like a sideways matchbox at the center of our chest, it’s the place where we strike the light. To be ‘spiritual’ we have to explore what makes us feel alight. Our spirit is also our energy space. Spirituality is only outside of ourselves if we allow the restrictions of the fear-based ego to step in. It is this part of ourselves that convinces us that we are separate and we must search for things. This is why people struggle so much with searching for their purpose, searching for enlightenment, searching for success. These things are not outside of us, they are already part of us and our spiritual journey is realizing that we had access to them all along. I believe that our journey as humans and this material experience is to kind of dust away this fog that is covering us up from our sense of empowerment, which is our natural state. We are all worthy and strong and vulnerable and brilliant, but we have to get beneath our fears to see that space.
In order to honor our spirit we have to firstly allow ourselves to explore what makes us feel alive and alight, because it’s those things about us that connect us to joy and also our ability to make a difference in the world. Then we have to commit to our own unique healing journey. That sense of a catalyst sometimes IS an external experience, but the experience will always be in place to guide you back to yourself you see. So for me, experiencing chronic pain and psychological trauma made me believe nothing about my ‘self’ was safe. However my intuition was so strong (and has been since I was a child) telling me that I had to listen to my body, that feeling my pain and trauma were the biggest spiritual experience I’ve ever had, because they connected me to myself. And I say that as someone who has been able to communicate with the dead since I was young. I believe very much in the human awakening. Your catalyst may just be reading an article, or it may just be your own feelings of pain or disconnection, it’s essentially something that resonates with that natural empowered self enough that it causes you to want to stand up for your self and explore further.
Then finally, we commit to doing our work to be of service, and that doesn’t have to be becoming a healer or an activist (although those are my chosen paths), it means actually LIVING in this empowered self that you’ve discovered, because when you are lit up then others have an opportunity to reflect that.
Ummm I hope that made sense! So in short, spirit is a form of internal empowerment that we can always access, where we connect to our inner pilot light and learn how to keep it burning. Our spirit IS our intuition and it IS our connection to god or an external energy, but it’s also recognizing that those things are also part of us. As above, so below, as within, so without.
Louise: Yes definitely. I feel it everywhere and see it. On a small scale, because of the rise in individuals seeking connection and empowerment we have more and more meditation groups, women’s circles and general sharing and collaboration. I can’t tell you the amount of times that I have sat in groups, whether it’s been a meditation thing or an art share, with women who confess that they have never felt comfortable amongst other women. I’ve seen them admit experiences of being bullied in school or having had experiences where they have felt they lost their voice. Then suddenly one person and another and another say ME TOO. Suddenly no one is alone. It’s happening in every city, places are stepping into a new place of amazing collaboration and empowerment and it only gets stronger. I am lucky as I have worked in two fields; one in independent fashion (I had my own lingerie brand) where I fought to promote collaboration OVER competition and then as a therapist, where I get to be surrounded by so many inspirational women doing similar work. I feel at home when I’m sharing with others and reminding myself that I am not alone or separate.
And now we have stepped into a place where on a global level people are rising up and speaking out about women’s challenges around the world. It’s time for change. I can see that shame and feelings of weakness are being kicked to the ground as more and more people and more and more voices are saying this isn’t OK. There are woman all over the world who are still being persecuted just for their sex, in the most horrific ways. There is still a wage gap. Women’s health services are still at risk. We must educate ourselves. This has to be now a political and global priority, because at the base of it all, it IS about healing, it IS about oneness and it IS a massive opportunity for any of us in a privileged position (which I certainly am) to do everything we can to make a difference. This can be as simple as being that person that says ME TOO or being the person that shares your personal story. Massive shifts start with tiny shifts, right now.
So, um yeah I’m feeling it! And I’m thrilled to have moved to a new city where I can join together with other woman to gain more momentum. And men, that’s something I’m loving seeing is the rise of male feminists who truly understand that feminism has nothing to do with man hating and all about global empowerment, empathy and education. I’m currently hugely inspired by Matt Mcgorry, an actor who is using his privilege and voice to speak up about important feminist and race issues. This is what change is about, realizing that we must all stand for something, that it is our responsibility to discover how to use our voices in the most compassionate and collaborative ways that we can. It’s a time for rising up.
So, hell yeah to the sisterhood! ANYTHING that can help others feel less alone and of value is essential. I’m excited about what can happen the more everyone keeps getting involved, sharing, speaking up and learning, on rotation, on repeat. Hence why it’s SO important that we share our stories, particularly our painful ones because we not only empower ourselves but we empower other people too.
Louise: I would love to pull a card for your community. I use Tarot as a powerful self-help tool, again as something that should not pull us away from ourselves but instead invite us to go inside and look at what we can find. I have been using the Tarot for about 17 years now and it’s a never-ending deep dive into the human experience and all we may encounter, mind, body and spirit. I invite anyone who feels called to the subject to get in touch and learn with me.
I love tuning into a collective as it always reminds me time and time again that we are not alone. I’ve learned through my work that we all have the same fears just packaged up in our unique experiences yet we all feel alone.
I have picked out for us The Seven of Cups and this is a deep one, all about our own illusions and really ties into what I’ve been talking about.
Think about all your deepest fears as illusions, old tired stories that you’ve been reading and re reading on repeat for way too long. What negative beliefs have you tricked yourself, or been tricked into thinking are true. Those negative self-deprecating thoughts, are they really real or at some point did you just take them on as a reality? You’ll probably find the latter to be true.
Shattering illusions is breaking down these fear stories and rewriting them in a way that works FOR you. Perhaps start with a writing exercise and write down those powerful statements, those ‘I cant’s’ and ‘I’m not good enough’s’. Notice what feelings come up and what memories from the past emerge as you address them. Perhaps you can locate the exact moment that the story was written?
Now it’s time to change them, start by going over them and replacing them with ‘I feel like this, but it’s not a truth’. ‘I let this old story go and am willing to see something else’. As you start to acknowledge and forgive, become aware that your own empowerment can be gained by taking possession of these old stories and realizing that they don’t work for you anymore. You can choose again. It’s an incredibly powerful moment when you realize that just because a fear thought is so familiar in your mind, it doesn’t mean that it’s true. The unknown is unfamiliar but it doesn’t have to be bad. Step into the unknown by rewriting your stories into ones that work for you.