077 My Inner Wisdom, Interview with Natasha Koo
Natasha talks about her body work, and how she learned to read her body to understand what it was telling her. Making the shift from conflict avoidance, with time and patience, she began listing to her body and make informed choices. This transformed her approach to her life.
read full interview transcript
Gillian Rose: Okay, dreamers, it's time to get curious. Today, we are talking to an amazing woman, Natasha Koo. I'm excited to introduce her. Natasha is the Women's Tribe Leader of Feminine Space. As an ex-perfectionist, people-pleaser and conflict-avoider, lots of those going around. Natasha overcame low confidence, guilt and self-sabotage by trusting, loving and caring for herself. Natasha leads transformative experiences and holds the sacred, supportive and loving space for the women at her Feminine Space online community. Natasha, I'm excited to talk to you because I mean, you've overcome a lot of stuff that I'm working on, a lot of people are working on. That low confidence, that guilt, that self-sabotage, we all do it at some point so I'm excited to hear your story and your experiences so thank you so much for coming on to the show and talking with us today.
Natasha Koo: Thanks for having me, Gillian.
Gillian Rose: I want to ask you to just take one or two minutes and I guess it's like a little game. Two minutes. Tell us about yourself, go.
Natasha Koo: All right, I'm living in Switzerland although I was born in Hong Kong and raised in Canada, I guess I can say that I already have, I'm living my current second life because I studied and I worked in an industry that was environment and sustainability. It was really through my own journey and everything that happened in between that I've become a healer, become an advocate for self-love and for sisterhood. It's been a really windy journey to here, definitely not linear which is something my mind really used to struggle a lot with but here I am today.
Gillian Rose: Very cool. Thank you so much for giving us those details. That linear thinking, that is something that I have just gotten out of within the last six months and it is so freeing to think more cyclicly and I love it. Natasha, you're on the podcast today to tell us about your story. I want to say thank you in advance for being willing to open up about a dark time in your life, a low point and share with us that part of your journey. I'm going to go ahead and let you tell us about that, tell us your thoughts and your feelings and your experiences at this time in your life.
Natasha Koo: To be honest, I really want to share so many moments in my life where I felt like I was in a really dark place where I felt like I didn't quite know myself or just disconnected from others too. 03:38 There were so many of those but I guess the one I want to share is the one that's a bit more recent but just even in my childhood I remember a time when I was already an adult. I swear, I was probably 18, 19 but I was still letting my mom pick my clothes out for me especially if we're going out for dinner with family friends or something. She wants me to look extra proper. She would choose the clothes for me out of good intentions and I would put them on without thinking about it.
Then, I remember this very vividly that as we went to the restaurant, this family friend which is actually a male family friend who usually don't care so much about what people wear and all that. He literally asked me, "Did your mom picked this outfit for you?" I was totally shocked because I thought, "How does he know? This is so embarrassing. How do I even reply?" Right? That was a moment where I did not speak up for myself where I was not living for myself and this pattern just went on and on even with I guess my current husband back then when we were not yet married. I remember also stuffing my feelings down how I felt, what I really wanted, I was this conflict-avoider so when something was wrong in our relationship I wouldn't tell him. It was like pulling teeth for him, the poor guy.
Thanks to him for sticking around to the point I am now where we're able to have this open communication and vulnerability but back then it was the same. Now, that relationship I was unable to speak up for myself and stand up for what I wanted. 05:23 There were incidents where I just felt like I was really self-sabotaging and acting really irrationally. Parts of me would realize it's as if this little red siren would start ringing and come into life like all red and shining and glowing trying to tell me, "Hey, something is off. You're putting yourself down. No one else is really around you. You are doing it the most." More recently, it's as if all these patterns and events accumulate and they helped me to realize again and again that something has been wrong.
06:16 It was just a few years ago, actually last year where I was going to a body work practitioner and she works with the muscles to undo muscle memory so that tension you've been holding since childhood pretty much, she was asking me these questions and really opened up my mind. She was asking me, "Okay, you don't want to visit them, it seems," my parents in Asia. I was like, "No, I'm really tired of traveling so far." She's like, "What would you like to do?" My automatic answer was, "I'm sure they want me to visit them. She's like, "Wait, hold up. You're answering for them again. What do you want?" Then I was like, "Right, what do I want? What do I want?" I really had to feel and think about it and give myself so much time and that space because it didn't feel natural.
I had all these years of this pleasing others, answering for others, acting out of the best interest of others or taking on other people's opinion, it was on and on and on. At this point, I was like, "Okay, well then, what do I want?" It took time and it really took patience but I'm like, "You know what, I want them to visit me." She's like, "Okay, fine. Then who comes first? Who do you want to come and when?" I was like, "Heck, I can actually choose all these things?" I actually have choice to invite my parents to come at whatever time that I wish or I get to invite them separately or individually. I was like, "I can't believe this is open to me."
08:02 That was only because I allow myself to have these options and to actually choose and so at one point I'm like, "You know what? I want my dad to come first and then I would like my mom to visit afterwards in the summer." That's what I did. I called them up and I told them I said, "I want to invite you to come visit me in Switzerland and I would like dad to come first." There was just complete chaos on the other end of the line because the moment you shift, everything else around you shifts. They were almost in denial, they were like, "It can't be, she didn't say that. I don't know what she's talking about." They were afraid pretty much deciding for themselves that they want to come together. For some reason my mom said, "I'm tired of traveling too and I'm going to stay by myself."
It ends up that my dad visited me on his own last summer and I just want to tell this story because although at that time it did not seem like much, it just felt like one little step to honor my desires, honor what my heart wanted in that moment, it became something so significant because that's the last time I saw my dad because he suddenly passed away last December. It just made me realize that you just know. 09:20 All I needed in that moment was to listen to my body. It was so funny because this decision actually came from my tummy. She was like, "Who do you want to invite first?" I started listing things off my head like this mental way of, "If I get my dad and this and this and this," started listing the pros and cons. She's like, "No, no, no, no. Ask your body."
I did, I was like, "Okay, I'm going to just give it to my tummy, I'm going to say, "Hey, tummy. What do you think? Who should come first?"" it's as if this answer came from my body where it was from within and now I've realized, "Wow, that wisdom is really there." The whole time I knew what was right for me. It's as if there's this inner knowing and if only I trusted in which in this case I did, it led me to I guess to experience something which later on I would hold so closely to me. I just wanted to share that. It's as if sometimes like the dark times seemed really dark but sometimes when things just work, yes sometimes it's in a real epiphany but at other times it's in hindsight where in that moment all you know is, "I am following my heart and I hope that's enough." Some times later you'll look back and you say, "That was enough."
Gillian Rose: Yeah, a lot of times it does happen through that hindsight. I am curious, what made you decide to use your stomach as this particular center of decision making.
Natasha Koo: That's a really good question because right now that was actually suggestion of the body worker, that body work practitioner but now, now that I'm much more grounded in myself, my wisdom actually I connected much more to my root. More of my pelvic space and my womb so I call it my womb wisdom or the divine feminine or the womanhood within me. To me, that's the root of me. I much prefer to connect to that place versus my solar plexis or the center of me. That's actually at the moment my go to place where I think before even if that body worker was not there I think my go to place would have been like my heart. I will listen to my heart or what does my heart say so I think all these different places have their role and also it maybe depends on your season of life. Right now I'm more in tune with the feminine especially since I work with women. Now, this is my go to place, my root and my pelvic space.
Gillian Rose: Has your body ever given you an answer that you didn't want to hear or that brought up less than positive emotions with its answer?
Natasha Koo: 12:33 I wouldn't say the answers were uncomfortable but I feel like especially when it's quite a dangerous situation for example, with men who I should not be engaging with or if I'm in a situation where it's just not good for me, it might not be the answer but it's the message that the body is trying to communicate to me. The body will feel tense, I might feel nervous. The breath is shallow. All these types of things. It's not nice for a reason because the body is trying to let you know, "Get out of here." I guess also that's one, right? Whenever the body is holding this tension or it does a sense of holding or the sensation of, "Okay," like this sense of energy is blocked. That's not pleasant but it's very powerful if we listen to it.
I guess another way or experience I've had where I've listened to my body. It wasn't the nicest thing but also very necessary was when I start doing pelvic care and pelvic work. The moment and this was extremely uncomfortable when I did it the first time was to slowly allow myself to explore what are the trapped emotions in my hips, in my pelvic bowl, in my pelvic area because it was a place that I really avoided for the longest time possible. Once I went there, I realized, "Wow, it's sore, it's numb, it's neglected," really that's the best word that I can describe it with. It's like a stray cat or some animal that was not taken cared of.
There's going to be the first is not going to be nice. They might need vaccination like all these different steps that you will need to take now because you didn't give it that care at the very beginning. That's how I felt with my pelvic space, it felt very neglected and didn't feel nice and there was so much tension. Once I gave it enough love and I did that enough times and it became a regular practice then detention goes away and the numbness and all those so the soreness goes away. That was also super clear sign to me, not a pleasant one but a very, very clear sign to me. "Wow, you've been holding stuff down here and it's time that you take a look at it and release what you don't want to hold down there anymore."
Gillian Rose: What I'm curious to know is how did you go from conflict-avoiding to being able to sit with that discomfort because if you had still been in that conflict avoiding state as soon as you encounter that discomfort in your pelvis you probably would have just been like, "I don't need to do this." How did you make the shift from conflict-avoider to sitting with the discomfort?
Natasha Koo: 15:54 Right, I'm going to say that the biggest part of conflict-avoiding in my life definitely had to do with other people. I think that was the biggest thing ever especially since growing up I learned from my mom and just growing in the dynamics of my family, she has quite a temper. She's very outspoken and can be very allowed. I was a very, very sensitive child, if you can imagine. I just grew up feeling like that anger is something that hurts and that if someone is feeling not quite all right, I need to manage it and I need to do something in order for things to be okay. When I did that enough times, it really became this pattern as I grew up that when conflicts came up with other people, when there's some disagreement or we're at odds then my initial reaction is just to give in.
Give into what others thought or wanted. That led me to so many situations where I always said yes and wasn't able to say no. Despite telling you right now and describing what I went through, it really made me realize that I was very, very not there within myself. It feels like I was so absorbed by what people wanted and all that external input that I was actually not within my body and I was not returning to home. It's as if I have this house and it's empty and I wasn't there to be present and to feel and to inhabit it. When I wasn't in my own body and I didn't allow myself to feel not only my body but also my emotions and all those desires, I ended up just taking at that time the easiest route possible which is to give into whatever was happening.
I was really the symbol of life was happening to me because there was no me, right? I think that was really my approach to conflicts. It's as if this person who wasn't really are like, if you will ask the people around me who I grew up with, if you ask them what I'm like if I could be dumbed down to a little animal, they'll probably say I was kind of like a bunny, because I was jumping back and forth being funny, being pleasing, being nice and pleasant and I would hop back and forth and back and forth that people couldn’t really capture me like I was never really there. Once I developed slowly and I had to hit my wall like I hit against the wall enough times.
When I again and again and again relived that, “Okay, I’m putting myself into really harmful and dangerous situations because of what I’m doing,” then I realize actually coming home to my body, coming to myself, that’s actually the safe place. Where before it’s like this mindset of being in my body is not safe because of what I experience with parenting and just growing up and all that. Where that was not the place to be in order to feel safety, now I know that, okay, to actually be within my body, to feel what I want, to be grounded, that is safe and that gives me security because I am no longer avoiding or completely leaving my body trying to escape the present moment.
Gillian Rose: Now, that you have learned to live in your body and to overcome all of these things that were holding you back. What is one activity that you do differently?
Natasha Koo: 20:33 Activity, this is not going to be a popular answer but it doesn’t have much to do with the act itself. I honestly feel that is the intention, right? It’s as if where before my focus was always on the outside and coming from a place of, “How can I please you? How can I make you like me? How can I manage your emotion so that I feel okay about myself? Because you seem to feel better if I’m in any social situation.” I’m coming from a place of, “Okay, what do I want to express in this moment? What feels right? What innately? What is this energy that must flow from me and wants to be expressed?” To me it doesn’t quite matter what exactly I’m doing it's more my alignment to myself and that listening. I guess if I could dumb it down to one activity that would be the listening to myself and being grounded here so that whatever I live out and express and be, that is true to me and it’s not something that I have taken on from others and some idea or whatever it maybe which then I am imitating or using as a strategy. Does that make sense? I hope so.
Gillian Rose: No, I think that’s great listening to yourself. That’s awesome. That’s fantastic. 23:01 All right Natasha, it’s time for our daily insights, the Q&A part of the show. Sound good? Why is self-love important to you?
Natasha Koo: Because the moment I matter, everything I do, everything I create, everything that’s within my life starts to have significance, value and then everything else changes from there.
Gillian Rose: What was the one thing holding you back from accepting self love?
Natasha Koo: The belief that others give me happiness or that I need to be or act a certain way in order to be loved.
Gillian Rose: Who is one person who has changed your life for the better?
Natasha Koo: Everybody. I’m sorry. Everybody.
Gillian Rose: In what way?
Natasha Koo: Everyone plays their role, in some ways I got to say, “Okay.” Perhaps my mom and her temper had the biggest impact on me as a child to learn certain behaviors but now she is also my greatest teacher to pretty much heal our relationship and to really see her as a wonderful, loving human. It’s as if everyone in my life has played their role in shaping me and even if in hindsight it feels like they did something terrible to me. It really wasn’t because that was my experience of it and it’s what I make of it and how I grow from that.
Gillian Rose: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Natasha Koo: Cliche but really follow your heart, trust that intuition.
Gillian Rose: Can you share a self-care habit that you practice regularly?
Natasha Koo: I got to say one is to explore parts of yourself that you may be uncomfortable with and that discomfort really means that you don’t accept that part of yourself. For me, one of the biggest leaps in my self-development and self-acceptance and self-love is to do pelvic care. If for you it’s giving yourself pleasure by putting on that cream very gently like a lover, if that feels really scary then do take a step to do those crazy, a bit scary things until they integrate into your life.
Gillian Rose: What is your favorite quote?
Natasha Koo: There’s too many but one that comes into my mind right now. I was at a concert of Tina Malia and she just said that, it’s really simple, "The land or the earth is women and how we treat women and how we treat the land is vice versa," it’s the same thing so by healing womanhood we heal the land and by treating the earth while we are healing women and womanhood. I thought that was quite profound and it feels quite right with me.
Gillian Rose: Can you share an app or resource or a tool of some kind that we can use in our own self-care practice?
Natasha Koo: I’ll give an anti-app. How about we turn that those apps off and listen to yourself?
Gillian Rose: Sure but any type of tool that we can use?
Natasha Koo: I’m not good with tools. Let me see. Does it have to be with technology? Can it be like a vision board?
Gillian Rose: Sure.
Natasha Koo: Okay, then I suggest to create a vision board to do an exercise where you sit down and you draw out what it is that you really want without any judgement and just dream. Put it down onto paper and to make sure it’s somewhere that you can see it everyday.
Gillian Rose: Awesome. What book are you reading right now?
Natasha Koo: I recently just finished two, Wild Creative by Tami Lynn Kent and Birth Matters by Ina Gaskin.
Gillian Rose: My last question for you, what is the one thing you are most passionate about?
Natasha Koo: I really have to say this is the funniest answer, I didn’t really expect this from myself either but to be alive and to be human and having this human experience, that keeps me going.
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/natashakoo. Natasha, thank you for sharing your journey. I’ve enjoyed listening. Can you give us a last parting message, share the best way we can find you and then we’ll say goodbye.
Natasha Koo: All right, I would love to get in touch with you and if anything resonated with you then please reach out to me and I would love to support you on your journey. If you’re a Facebook type of girl then you can find me at my closed Facebook group and it’s at femininetribe.com or if you would like to kind of take it a step further then I invite you to jump on to a free 21 day journey with me. You can just find that at femininespace.com. I hope to get in touch with you either way.
Gillian Rose: Awesome, Natasha. Our listeners can find links to everything about you we mentioned in today’s episode by going to juststaycurious.com, clicking the podcast tab and finding you in the archives or just enter in Natasha Koo in the search bar and the show notes will pop right up. Natasha, thank you for being so generous with your time and your story. As always, just stay curious.
Why do you think self love is so important?
Because the moment I matter, everything I do, everything I create, everything that is within my life starts to have significance, value. And everything else changes from there.
What was the number one thing that was holding you back from accepting self love?
The belief that others give me happiness.
Who is one person who has changed your life for the better?
Everybody. Everyone plays their role.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
“Follow your heart. Trust your intuition.”
What is a self care habit that you practice regularly?
Explore parts of yourself that you may be uncomfortable with.
Do you have a favorite quote?
“It’s really simple. The land, the earth is woman. How we treat women and how we treat the land is the same. By healing women, we heal the earth. By healing the earth, we heal women.”
Can you share with us a resource or an app that we can use to help our own self care practice grow?
How about we turn those apps off and listen to ourselves? I suggest you create a vision board – draw out what it is that you really want without any judgement. Put it on paper and make sure you can see it every day.
What book are you reading right now?
What is the one thing that you are most passionate about?
I really have to say that to be alive and to be human and having the human experience keeps me going.
About This Guest:
Natasha Koo is the Women’s Tribe Leader of Feminine Space. As an ex-perfectionist, people-pleaser and conflict-avoider, Natasha overcame low-confidence, guilt and self-sabotage by trusting, loving and caring for herself. Natasha leads transformative experiences and holds the sacred, supportive and loving space for women at her Feminine Space online community.