069 Finally Seeing Clearly, Interview with Stacey Herrera
Stacey describes a gradual shift in perspective as she spent five years at a job she hated. While many people express concern or sadness when she relates her experience, she identifies those years as critical to finding her purpose and her joy.
Whatever your story is, whenever you are stressed out, or in discomfort, that is when you need self-love most of all. Read more about how to practice self-love... when you're stressed out.
read the full interview transcrip
My name is Stacy Herrera. I'm a Body Love and Pleasure strategist and you're listening to just stay curious.
Gillian Rose: OK dreamers it's time to get curious. Today we are talking to Stacy Herrera a Body Love and Pleasure strategist ooolala. She's going to share her story with us today. I'm really excited to talk with her. She is from Southern California. Her sensuality focused work helps women to enjoy their bodies, cultivate conscious relationships and live delicious whole-hearted lives. And, I don't know about everyone listening but that sounds fantastic to me. So, Stacy thank you so much for talking with us. We know now a little bit about what you do professionally, which is very intriguing. But if you don't mind taking one or two minutes and filling us in on some of the details, and how exactly did you get to this point.
Stacey Herrera: You know it really was just life happened. And so many things like there were a lot. There was a stint in my life where I was kind of not sure what I wanted to do. I had been in the health insurance industry for a long time and I was really great at my job, but I never loved it. And during that period where I was really like I was seeking and I was following breadcrumbs and thinking they were going to lead someplace entirely different from where I landed. And but all during that period I also didn't recognize that I was completely disconnected from my body. And I was letting the stress take up space inside of my dwelling and I created illness and this discomfort and so many things. And in having that experience it really changed my relationship with the way that I related to my own body. How I lived in it, how not just in what I was in terms of where I was eating and not in terms of movement, but like the actual relationship, how I perceived it. My awareness and recognizing how everything that was happening in my outer world was actually being reflected in my body. And that's kind of, you know. So, I'm an expert in my own experience. And consequently my clients often are where I've been or where I am. So you know I can speak to exactly where they are because I've been there already.
Gillian Rose: Yes I think that experience is one of the best teachers out there and you know sometimes what is that saying like we teach what we need to learn, type of thing.
Stacey Herrera: Absolutely. That is absolutely the truth.
Gillian Rose: So now I do want to get delve in even deeper in to your story and I like to say that we're all the heroines of our stories. But for everyone there is a low point an obstacle, perhaps a time when we weren't really practicing self-love. Can you tell us about a time like that in your journey and tell us what was happening? How were you feeling and just what was going on?
Stacey Herrera: Well probably the most pivotal, I have a few, a few of those stories. But I think the most pivotal for me was, I guess it's been about seven years ago, I took a pay cut to work closer to home. My daughter was getting ready to go to high school. So I had always been a commuter and was always like gone before sun up and back but after sundown. So I wanted to be closer to home because my daughter was going to school and also feeling again like I didn't really, wasn't really sure that I wanted to continue with health insurance or not. And so I took this job that was closer to home cut my salary by over 50 percent. As it turned out it would be the job that I would loath the most like I had never had a job. You know I had some jobs that I didn't love but it was not like this like this was. I was the only employee and it was a very toxic environment. My employer was extremely narcissistic. Later I discovered that she actually presented me with both the worst parts of my parents in one person, that was her. And so during that time, and this will like right before health care reform was starting to get become a thing in America. So it was like a really stressful time in the industry. Which that part would have been tolerable but that coupled with this toxic environment in this ridiculous co-dependent situation I was in, it just I really start to get angsty and start feeling almost like there was no way out of it. And at the same time my money was short now too. So like all that I don't like where I'm at and right now I'm making 50 percent less than what I was making before. So. What ended up happening was I started, I created this illness in my body. It started out as high blood pressure and because I was already on the path but I didn't you know so I thought like "oh no I don't need high blood pressure medicine because I can just meditate it away". And, I did. I used meditation as self-medication which is easy to do. We can swap it out. So my blood pressure got out of control but then I started having problems with my tailbone. And I knew instinctively I was like OK this is not a physical problem. So I told my doctor "You're not going to find anything on an x-ray because this is energetic", and of course I was right. And I meditated, and did acupuncture, and the pain didn't really go away but that wasn't enough. So I still you know, I'm still feeling like I'm you know a champion because I got the blood pressure situation done with no medication. But what ended up happening was I made a commitment to myself on December 31st of 2013 and that and I made a certificate that said I'm going to quit my job by June 1st of 2014. And I made copies of it so that I posted it all over my house so that I wouldn't forget this agreement that I made with myself. And as the date got near I started getting cold feet because my business was making money yet and I ended up getting sick. On April 26th of 2014, and at this point in the story, I'm telling myself is "maybe I'll wait till July because I don't have the money, and what's going to happen and how am I going to survive". So not trusting and I started to feel this sensation in my eye which I felt before. So I thought with one thing and it turned out it wasn't. I actually created shingles and it had, it was in on the left side of my face and it, even once I got on anti-viral medications that outside symptoms were clearing up. But the optic nerve was resistant to the anti-viral medication. So the you know the virus kept eating at my optic nerve ultimately caused me to go blind in my left eye. And I remember the day that they were like you know there was no sight in it. And I was like oh my god this is the worst thing I've ever done to myself. That was what I said to the doctor, and they were like "what!" This is the worst thing I've ever done to myself. So ultimately I ended up in the hospital. It was like a whole thing. I ended up stopping the medication because the medication caused problems in other parts of my body and I had to sit in the discomfort of recognizing the areas that I had mistrusted myself, that areas that I didn't have faith in my own abilities or what was possible. And I also had to really forgive myself for allowing and tolerating certain experiences and behavior at work. And I also ended up forgiving the parts of the experiences with my parents that I didn't know I was still holding on to. So I literally had to lose my sight to regain my vision and that was like the beginning of. I had already started my business but my business changed dramatically after that experience because I had a different perspective and also cultivated a different relationship with my body. So I literally had to experience sickness and then but then I came to know that pain is not a symptom it's a signal and it's just requesting you to look, you know, we we don't look unless we unless we are nudged and usually even a poke isn't enough. My blood pressure wasn't enough. You know the tailbone wasn't enough. I have literally had to have like I had to be darkened literally and it shifted everything about my life. I did regain some of my sight but I also know that while people were praying like please I'm praying that your sight comes back. I kept saying don't pray that prayer because that's not the only miracle is possible. But even though my eye sight is different than it was, but the shift in perception was the miracle that I needed. It wasn't that I needed to go back to the life that I had before with clear vision in both eyes. Well that was the victory right. And so I didn't, I wasn't attached to that being the outcome. And so I, like I said I do have some sight but it is different, and I am still fascinated about it. Like two and a half years later I still have completely in in awe of my body and what is capable of it. It's just amazing.
Gillian Rose: So I do want to ask you because you got past a point where a lot of us get stuck up, of like realizing the power of the mind and then realizing that, you know, you knew from the very first with the blood pressure that that was an energetic issue. But I feel like at least I have done this before where I notice and I'm like "OK! It's an energetic issue". And then I'm like, but then you know like negative self-talk comes. And it's like well, what am I doing wrong. I must be like such a bad person because I'm making my blood pressure go up or whatever the case may be. And then to get stuck into this like blaming instead of healing. So you took that further step to healing. So, what was the biggest tool that helped you take that next step?
Stacey Herrera: I'm the biggest tool was not trying to not. Not trying to avoid feeling it. Because I think the reason that we go into this negative self-talk spiral so often is because what we want to do is be out of the discomfort as quickly as possible. The problem with that is, the more you resist the discomfort, the longer you stay in. It's like you borrow a hole in it rather than stepping out of it. So I think the biggest thing for me was actually being able to sit in it. Because initially with the blood pressure thing even though I have the awareness of this is energetic and I can change this, like I have that much awareness. But I will still avoiding it. So I use meditation rather than using it as a tool to be introspective. I used that as a tool to get out of that discomfort. And so it worked. But then it just moved me to a different kind of discomfort because then it came to tailbone. And again rather than sitting-in and being right, "OK! what do I need to shift in order for this pain to be dissolved". That wasn't what I was doing. I was saying I can change anything. I can. My mind is very powerful. Like I am in. I'm a master of this domain like that's kind of like, you know. Let me, I'm going to meditate, I'm going to do acupuncture or whatever. So I was really just again treating symptoms. But I wasn't really, I wasn't really unearthing and digging underneath the cause because I still wasn't saying to myself like you are not removing yourself from the environment that is helping to create this problem. Because I was scared of the money piece. So rather than removing myself from the situation after the first two physical things, I still stayed in it thinking like, "I have to eat". As if there's ever been a time when I was not able to eat. That's never happened. Or I never had the lights off or I never looked in the refrigerator and saw cobwebs. Like that never happened. But that was the story I was making up. And so rather than doing something about it, I sat in it. So but the vision thing, I didn't have a choice because I ended up in the hospital. And, and it was like, and then physically like the medications, they broke down my muscle mass. So I went in for one thing and I came out having a hard time going up and down the stairs. So it became like I had to literally be in my body and I was sitting in it. Part of the reason I was able to was because moving was hard. Like you know, I couldn't get away from it. I had no choice. And I literally would be on the closet floor. My closet is big and half of it is my office. But I have these skylights in my bedroom so sometimes it gets too much light and with the problem with my eye I would have trouble with the light. So I would be literally on the floor of my closet, some days crying. Just not like, not even understanding like "How do I forgive? Like how to let go of it?" It wasn't like, Oh yeah, I am over that. Like No. Days and weeks of me like sitting in it and crying and journaling and like looking at it, like "oh my god". And seeing text message from my employer and feeling this charge of anger and resentment rise up in my body and I said oh my god. I was doing this to myself every day for about five years, like you know like. Because even after I wasn't in it my body was still reacting to it. And the feel being able to feel it from a space of not being in it, like being removed from it. I didn't I read I was able to feel like "oh my god! I can't believe that I put my body through that for five years". It was so intense. But I've been I had to say like why did I say what and where it was you know so then it was like OK well you didn't have faith that you were going to be all right. But if you look back at history often in a really great indicator of what is possible. OK. You never started that. Never lived on the street. Your family wouldn't let that happen to you. You know like there was always I there was always a choice that I had. But when I was in it I didn't believe I had a choice. I told myself that that was the only thing available which again I had so many jobs for that job. And I had never worked any place longer than three years and that job I was there for five because that was the job that I needed to be in order to have transformation. You know but as humans we want just the good parts. We don't want life. We want the highlight reel. We just want you know just shiny bits but that's not how it is like that is. There's no learning in in comfort there's no growth if you don't experience some level of discomfort. And so I had to literally be uncomfortable for five years and have this ridiculous thing happen to me in order for me really to sit in it and look at what and see what I needed to see. Like I couldn't have seen it otherwise so it it sounds like the worst thing right. People are always like oh my god that's terrible. I'm a little like that was one of the best things that happened to me.
Gillian Rose: Do you remember like a moment of clarity or moment when you had this shift in perspective.
Stacey Herrera: I think it was kind of gradual. I think that there was like a little bit every day and then I do remember like this all happened in like May early May and I remember in September actually in September and my former employer and I had the same birthday and I had very little contact right. I did have to draw a line with her and set a boundary. After I left because of course she still wanted me to come back and sometimes she would call me and ask questions and I had to like draw a line and be like I don't work for you anymore. I'm not doing that. But I remember very clearly in September she sent. She sent me a text message saying she had something for my birthday she wanted to give me and she asked me if she could drop it off and I said no like you can put it in the mail because honestly I just didn't want her energy in my house. And after she sent me a card and a gift card and I sent her a thank you card. And after that she sent me this extra long e-mail. Like telling me everything that was going on in her life and what was going on with her friends. And I got halfway through the e-mail and said I am not mad at you. But I do not want you in my life and I hit delete. I hit delete And then I shut the email down and I never talked to her since. And but like I remember that being a really pivotal moment because again that was a moment when I was consciously knowing that I was in choice always and that I could act or that it was possible for me to end a relationship without being mad. You know, sometimes we think in order for a relationship to end It has to be chaotic. It has to be dramatic. We have to be really mad. And I wasn't mad at her. I'm not mad but I don't want you in my world. Delete. So that was a really pivotal thing. And it felt like I think that act of doing that felt really empowering. And I think that it really shifted. And I was never, I was never like someone that could be walked on or anything. So that wasn't the issue. But I tolerated. So even with her like I remember seeing her once you know what I'm not interested in working this hard, I would say stuff, so it's not like I just put up. But I still tolerate it because I was always I became I started develop this idea. Because of the way she behaves I thought that she needed me and I would be saying like. She gets on my nerves. What would she do without me which was very arrogant actually was very arrogant of me to think that like her business or her life would be disrupted. She had a whole before I came, but that was the story. And so you know I was captain you know save the day. And I was used to function like that in my life. And so that situation was like a perfect you know fertilizer for me to continue doing what was familiar to me which was trading duty for love and acknowledgement. Which I didn't discover was a thing until later. But but that relationship was a reflection of that too. So yeah. So but I remember that being a pivotal day. But I think the other shifts were like really gradual like you know just one day you recognize that there's not a charge for that anymore. I wouldn't say but some people do have you know moments where they were like it was gone, for me it felt like it was. It was gradual and just you know I was some days like I would think about certain things and not feel that physical sensation anymore. It was like oh but there was a lot of journaling there's a lot of crying right. Don't sleep on crying it's really important. Crying is important because it's really an active release. And that's one of the things that we often we shame ourselves about crying and we try to hold it back like we feel tender and rather and letting it out we try to suck it in and press on but you know crying is really cathartic and sometimes like we just need to get the energy out of our bodies because you know that stuck energy especially if it's negative or toxic. That's what creates you know dis ease and illness and stuff. And then that was one of the things that I didn't do during those five years. I was just like a soldier just you know even though she did get on my nerves and I would be stressed out I just powered on because I was a strong woman but that was baloney. That was complete baloney and I needed to like literally be brought to my knees to really recognize you know what true strength means and what it looks like and to be able to really give myself permission to let go without feeling like you know I think that I was really I definitely had the need to please disease but I also was used to being the one that people looked at as strong. And that was a problem because that was you know people that said that to me it wasn't something that I made up by myself. But that was something I kind of heard my whole life. You know like oh Stacey's so strong and she can blah blah blah blah blah. And so then I was really living up to that. I was living up to it in my job because that became the way that my employer perceived me as well. She trusted me more than herself because she had also you know developed this idea. But I present it that way because that was where I was you know that was the big image someone gave to me when I was really young and then I just I had just been living up to that. Until I couldn't you can't live up to it when your body is like uh, sit down. You can't you can't keep going. So I'm grateful that it was something. Well first of all I'm grateful that eyes come in pairs, I'm really grateful for that. I'm also really grateful that you know the thing that got my attention. It could have been so much worse than that. You know it could have been so I mean there are a zillion other conditions that could have you know brought me to my come to Jesus moment. But I'm grateful that it was one that that is livable. Some days it's uncomfortable but you know it reminds me to be present. Right now I'm much more present in my body because you know sometimes the discomfort comes, and I'm like, Oh, I'm needing to rest now and not feeling right. You know knowing the difference between resting and being lazy you know like you're not supposed to sit down because that's lazy, you have to be constantly doing. But no, being still is important. Exactly so it was just really great. And it sucked at the same time too though like that also important like we do have with knowledge the suckage. Sometimes we think that we're not supposed to you know say when things don't feel good because that means we're complaining. No. It sucks, it's sucks, it's sucks. It did. It sucked really bad and it still sucks sometimes. But you know it's still a gift. It's still a gift.
Gillian Rose: All right Stacey it's time for our daily insights. The Q&A part of the show, sound good. Why do you think self-love is important.
Stacey Herrera: I think that self-love is important because it really is pretty close to impossible to really be fully to be fully present or to receive love or give love to someone else if you don't love yourself because even if someone loves you with their whole heart if you don't love yourself you'll never believe them. You'll always question, Well why you love me. or. Why what. Why would you do that. Or like it will always be unbelievable to you. If you don't love yourself and I think people don't really recognize that.
Gillian Rose: What was the one thing holding you back from accepting self-love.
Stacey Herrera: I think that living up to the expectations of other people and maybe not even that it probably isn't even accurate. Living up to what I thought people expected me.
Gillian Rose: What is the best advice you ever received.
Stacey Herrera: The best advice I ever received. Don't stop don't stop. My family is really a great support system and even when it's gotten really hard even when I, because I often question why. Should I be giving up? because I don't have... Confidence has never been an issue for me but sometimes I have to wonder am I making up stuff? So sometimes I'll check in and be like Is this you know am I really not crazy? And my family will say don't like don't quit don't give up like you do... what you're doing is necessary. So I think that that's probably the best advice is don't stop.
Gillian Rose: What is a self-care habit that you practice regularly.
Stacey Herrera: Where I massage my breasts and my feet every single day.
Gillian Rose: Do you do it a certain way or is it like...
Stacey Herrera: I massage my breasts in the shower and then I massage them. Once I get out I moisturize them with coconut oil and I do that for a couple of reasons. I do it because of course I want to be familiar with the natural lumps and bumps for cancer purposes but also because the more attention I pay to my breast the more sensitive they are and so they are so much more sensitive to stimulation and they actually are a lot more... the the way they sit has changed significantly since I massage them all the time because I'm 43 so gravity is real. So they sit differently because they're really very it's very responsive tissue. we disconnect from it because for one we're constantly choking the circulation out them with bras and then you know we don't pay attention to them and then we wonder like how come when we get a certain age it looks like you're ready to hit the ground. But part of that is because the muscle doesn't ever have to work underneath. It's always being supported by a bra. And the other piece is that we don't touch them so they actually sit up very nicely. You know much better than they did before. And I massage my feet because my feet are so great about supporting me. They do such a really hard job of supporting every single part of my body every single day. And so I like shows them some love and also because of reflexology points on the feet. It's just really great for Your lymphatic system to massage them. Same thing for your breasts because they are strongly linked to lymph nodes. And so it's really great to keep your body nice and juicy on the inside.
Gillian Rose: Do you have a favorite quote?
Stacey Herrera: I would say don't take it personal which is one of the Four Agreements in Don Miguel Luis's book. Don't take it personal and I love that because what I found is it's never ever ever ever ever about me no matter what someone's saying even if they're looking me straight in the eye. It never is about me. So I don't take it personally.
Gillian Rose: Can you share a resource or an app that we can use for our own care practice.
Stacey Herrera: I would say one of my favorite app is my days which is a menstrual tracking app. The reason that I think that it's really important to track your menstrual cycle is not just about knowing when you're on you're ovulating and when your period is going to come which is exactly what most of us think when we think of tracking our periods. We just want to make sure that we know when the egg is coming to likely avoid pregnancy and we want to know when the period is coming to avoid embarrassment. But the truth is is that in tracking your period when you know the space, like the week that you're going to be pre-menstrual For example you know that that is the time of the month when you are likely to make up the most stories about things. That's a month when you're in want to be super critical of yourself and other people. That's the time when you are going to think the world is falling apart and that the universe has a vendetta against you. But if you know if you track your cycle you know like OK my period is due in three days. And so this funky mood that I'm in is not real it's hormonal. And then you can take extra care and if that means that you go to a movie or if you have a pamper day if that means that you take you know an extra long bubble bath or journal out whatever feelings you are you have in. And then countering those thoughts with stuff that's really true. So it's like the world hates me. And then you can go like oh but you know I just got this great e-mail from someone who said that I am such a great help to them so that's not true. But knowing where you are on your cycle really does make life so much more livable. And it's really about more of an ovulation in the beginning of the cycle knowing where you are in the cycle really does help your sanity tremendously.
Gillian Rose: All right all you dreamers out there you can find links to these resources and everything else we've been chatting about in today's episode by going to JustStayCurious.com/StaceyHerrera. Stacey thank you for sharing your journey. Your lessons and your insights with us. Can you give us a last parting message. Share the best way we can find you and then I'll say goodbye.
Stacey Herrera: Absolutely. I will say my parting message it is in terms of self-love that we have to make sure that we make that self love that we know that self love is not just about eliminating negative self-talk but it's more than just like cultivating simple habits to mask You know the loathing that we perpetuated for so long. it's really about recognizing the things that you accept and tolerate. It's about the relationships that you put up with and the B.S. that you take from other people it's about how you spend your time how you invest your money and it's about allowing yourself to be seen in a ways that you shrink and hide. It's really about cultivating a relationship with yourself and giving yourself the same kind of respect. Respect is so much more important than love but respecting yourself in terms of your emotions in terms of your autonomy and your time. And I think that that's like your most important piece of self-love and that's what I want to people to know. And you can find me just about anywhere on the internet. My web site is StaceyHerrera.com and my all of my accounts are like StaceyNHerrera on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook.
Gillian Rose: So yeah awesome Stacey. Our listeners can find links to everything of value mentioned in today's episode by going to just stay curious dot com clicking the podcast tab and finding you in the archives or just enter in Stacey Herrera in the search bar and the show notes will pop right up. Stacey thank you for being so generous with your time and your story. As always you just stay curious
Why do you think self love is important?
Because it’s really close to impossible . . . to receive love or give love to someone else. Because even if someone loves you with your whole heart, if you don’t really love yourself, you’ll never believe them.
What was holding you back from accepting self-love?
I think that living up to the expectations of other people and maybe not even that it probably isn't even accurate. Living up to what I thought people expected me.
The best advice I ever received. Don't stop, don't stop. My family is really a great support system even when it's gotten really hard. I often question why. Should I be giving up? Confidence has never been an issue for me but sometimes I have to wonder am I making up stuff? So sometimes I'll check in and be like Is this you know am I really not crazy? And my family will say don't like don't quit don't give up like you do... what you're doing is necessary. So I think that that's probably the best advice is don't stop.
Regular self-care habit?
I massage my breasts and feet every day. I massage my feet because my feet are so great about supporting me. They do such a really hard job of supporting every single part of my body every single day.
And so I like to show them some love and also because of reflexology points on the feet. It's just really great for your lymphatic system to massage them. Same thing for your breasts because they are strongly linked to lymph nodes. And so it's really great to keep your body nice and juicy on the inside.
Can you share with us a resource or an app that we can use to help our own self care practice grow?
“My days” which is a menstrual tracking app. I think that it's really important to track your menstrual cycle. It's not just about knowing when you're ovulating and when your period is going to come which is exactly what most of us think when we think of tracking our periods. We just want to make sure that we know when the egg is coming to likely avoid pregnancy and we want to know when the period is coming to avoid embarrassment. But the truth is is that in tracking your period when you know the space, like the week that you're going to be pre-menstrual
About This Guest:
Stacey Herrera is a Body, Love, and Pleasure Strategist, from southern California. Her sensuality focused work helps women to enjoy their bodies, cultivate conscious relationships, and live delicious whole-hearted lives.
Connect with this guest:
Check out The Daily Pleasure Project