Not quite purple, and not exactly pink. More of a mauve, maybe even a magenta, or perhaps closer to fuchsia? Scientifically, it’s called Chamaenerion Angustifolium, but in North America, it’s simply known as Fireweed.
Hence its name, this spectacular plant is the first new life to recolonize soil that’s been decimated by a forest fire. With its standout color radiating amongst the ashes, the resilient Fireweed grows fast, far, and bright, signaling to bees and other pollinators to come back because there’s much work to do.
Similar to how the caterpillar turns into soup before it reassembles into a butterfly, you may think everything’s dead and gone, but you’re just disassembling to rebuild anew. The scariest part is to trust the process and not be fooled by what you see; feel assured that fresh growth is on the way.
I’m not yet a butterfly, but I’m also no longer a caterpillar.
Full disclosure: I’m undergoing a monumental personal and professional shift behind-the-scenes — which I cannot wait to tell you about in early 2022. The past few months have been good but intense, as my team and I click the moving pieces together like a game of Tetris. What shape will we uncover?
This week, I’ll explain the two types of cocooning to help you identify the rejuvenation you need to reemerge intact for the year ahead. I’ll also reveal what I’m doing to ensure I rest well this upcoming holiday break and share an intimate story about messages sent to me from the universe.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- The shame response
- Misconstruing the rest you crave
- Chunk out your day for rewarding family time
- Grieving the loss of what you had planned
- 5 p.m. dance party in your kitchen
Listen to the Full Episode
Featured on the Show:
My heart is wide open and my face still hurts from smiling. We had a blast at the Wisdom Fusion Project Town Hall, where past participants gathered to share deep and soulful takeaways from their intergenerational experience. Couldn’t make it live? No problem. Check out the recording right here.
- Global Life in the Hard Resource Roundup
- Expats on Purpose
- Sundae’s Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC
- Dr. Joe Dispenza
- Trudi Lebron
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We’re delighted by our nomination to the global Top 25 Expat Podcasts!
Full Episode Transcript:
Hello. It is 6:00 am in New York, 1:00 pm in Johannesburg, and 6:00 pm in Bangkok. Welcome to the Expat Happy Hour. This is Sundae Schneider-Bean from www.sundaebean.com. I am a solution-orientated coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations. I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition.
The universe has an amazing sense of humor. I’m going to tell you this story and I don’t even know if you’ll believe it and I’ve actually got photographic evidence to prove it. So if I think of it, I’m going to put in the show notes to show you what I’m talking about. Here’s the situation. The last few weeks, I had been kind of struggling energetically. Not on sort of a performance at work sort of way but more of an internal way. Even when I was on vacation, we were able to travel and be in a beautiful location. I woke up one morning crying because I missed my parents. They are now over 70 and I think there’s just a knowledge sinking in of how limited our time is together and COVID hasn’t made that any easier.
Well, I had actual plans to see my family over Christmas. But when I woke up one morning, everything changed because they found the new variant, and that changed travel plans, as well as nerves around what this new variant might mean and whether it makes sense to be together in a family anymore with those risks, right? So it threw me off. And when I feel that way, I try to seek other ways to ground myself. So, one of the ways that I do that is meditation and I came across a meditation that I dearly love, Dr. Joe Dispenza is a researcher who combines scientific practices, brain research, and spiritual practices all in one. And I did one of his meditations on the weekend. And if you know his work, there’s something he says and this meditation and he says, “If you’ve made contact basically with something bigger. Let you get a sign from the universe that you have done so.”
So, it’s like basically, if you’re religious, it’s like asking for a sign, right? So if you were to pray and you’re like, “Please send me a sign,” that’s kind of the same thing in this meditation, but using a totally different language and framework. So I got up from my meditation, felt amazing because I had relaxed and it was like an hour and 20 minute meditation. I think I put myself to sleep at one point and I got up and I went about my day. And I left for two nights in the writing retreat.
I didn’t get the thing, whatever the making contact from the universe. I was kind of hoping that day something would surprise me and I went to bed that night going, “Well yeah, that didn’t happen.” So I went to my writing retreat, came back and I went to my office to unlock it because I had to grab something inside. And as I was approaching my office door, I looked down at the handle and there was something coming out from the keyhole. And you have to understand the way my door handle is, there’s two bolts that look like eyes and the door handle actually looks like a nose if you pulled it down. And so that meant the keyhole looked like a mouth and the thing coming out of it could have almost been a tongue.
So this doorknob was basically making a funny face at me and I saw it and it made me giggle. And I’m like, “What? What is happening here?” It was something organic, something where I didn’t know if it was mud or if it was something an insect had built was oozing out of my keyhole of my office door. And it was one of those things where I’m like, “Ew, this kind of feels like a sign. I have to pay attention to this.” And so I take a picture of it because it made me giggle, this silly office door face, right? And then I stood back and I looked at it. And I thought, “Is that soft or hard?” So I grab my key and I was going to touch it. Because it had been raining, I was really expecting it to be mud or something. I didn’t know what it was. And it was hard. And when I tapped it it broke off and inside, I saw something move.
And I realized this thing was a cocoon.
A cocoon, the key is cocooning.
Inside the keyhole was literally a cocoon. Now, listen to that for a second. The key is cocooning.
And then I had to laugh again. I’m like, “Ohhh! Right.” What I need right now is to cocoon. The key for me and my rejuvenation, healing my heart from the sadness of changed plans is to cocoon.
Right y’all, I can’t even!
That’s what I mean about the universe having a sense of humor. The key is literally like physically, cocooning. But in German, you say, “Botschaft ist angekommen.” Like okay, the message arrived.
So that’s exactly what I’m going to do. In 72 hours from the time this goes live, I will be taking two full weeks off over the Christmas break, the last two weeks of December getting warmed up for the beginning of the year. And my team is also reducing their work. Those of you who are in communities of mine, you know Natasha, my right-hand woman is also going to take some time off, so that we can all cocoon. And I just want to take this opportunity, actually to thank my entire team. Every single person who’s been helping with the podcast or with my website or copy or social media, or anything to say “Thank you” for all the work that you’ve done leading to this break, because I know that you’ve put an extra energy and effort to do so.
So let’s listen to this message that I’ve been given: the key is cocooning. I know I need to do that. I know that’s important for me to grieve that I won’t be physically seeing my family, and siblings. Grieve that I won’t be able to make memories in exactly that way that I had planned. And I also need to rejuvenate my energy so that I can re-emerge with my energy intact for the year ahead. Right?
So in this episode, I’m going to talk about two different types of cocooning and maybe both are going to resonate with you. So let’s dive into the first one. The first one when we think of cocooning, we think of rest. That’s the first version that I was referencing. So I hope that you too have some rest ahead. Just wanna remind you, there are seven types of rest we talked about in EP236: Rethink Rest. So if you two need to cocoon, honestly I don’t know anybody on this planet who doesn’t need the cocoon right now in terms of rest. What kinds of rest do you think you need? Do you think you need physical rest? Because you’ve been physically going to hard, maybe manual labor for your work? Maybe even running around a two-year-old. Maybe you’ve been working out too much to cope with stress. Do you need physical rest?
What about mental rest? Have you been sort of racking your brains over a problem or trying to finish up work? That thing that’s been draining your mental energy.
What about sensory, rest. Are you on your screen all the time? Do you need a break from noise? How about creative rest? Have you been under pressure to put out that next chapter? The next podcast? That next graphic design? And you need a break from that.
How about emotional rest? Have you been on an emotional roller coaster and are feeling exhausted and you need to just do something light for a moment and not deep and emotional that is draining you? Or social rest. Have you been isolated and you need to be with people or are you around people so much that it’s draining your energy? You need to get that other type of social rest. And what about spiritual? When we’re going through hard times it’s important to call on something higher, whatever that looks like for you, in your belief system or way of seeing the world. What kind of rest could you incorporate that would help you connect to something bigger than yourself?
So, is cocooning on your agenda for the next few weeks? Or are you going to be running around frantically? Playing into all of the musts and shoulds that are tied into whatever cultural practice that you might have around this season.
So for me, I know, for the two weeks that we will be at home and not as we had originally planned as a family, we need to make sure that we rest well. And this is something I think we’ve grown to do better in the last year. When we are home resting, it’s so easy for everybody to go their own way and retreat. But we actually don’t have very rewarding weekends when we do that. So, something we’ve been more mindful about doing as a family, when we’re resting together, is to have chunks, right? One chunk of our day, where we move our bodies, one chunk of our day, where we do something together, like play a game. One chunk of the day that we spend with really nourishing food. And another chunk of the day where we have just time on her own.
So if you have family time (and maybe it feels like it’s going to be too much family time) how are you going to organize it, without being overly scheduled? What kind of chunks are important for you to intentionally build in your time? Some of you are in lockdown and you are stuck. And I say that intentionally, stuck with your family for two weeks, and you’ve been with your family for two years non-stop, right? How can you re-look at your time together and add some fresh ways of engaging? So that you can rest and truly enjoy how you spend time together.
So those are important for me personally, I know based on where I’m at the kind of year I’ve had and what I have ahead, which I can’t wait to tell you about. I am so excited to tell you about, I can’t say more until after the New Year. But what I have been creating behind the scenes leads me to a space now where I need to have a different type of rest, a deeper type of rest. So I know in the next two weeks. I’ll be focusing more on creative rest and spiritual rest, emotional rest. So that will mean more meditations, more journaling, more walks on my own, more reading which will then free me up creatively. Help me restore my energy reserves and give me the energy that I want to bust out into 2022 with, for you.
So I’m really excited about that. So hopefully this will help you think about what kind of rest do you need? Maybe you need a totally different type of rest. Maybe you need to like, crank the music and have a dance party in your kitchen at 5:00, right? Because if you’re like me, I’ll party like a rock star till like 8:00 or 9:00 because we start early. But maybe you’ve had all of this time of reflection and a lot of alone time and you need to come out and do something completely different. There’s no right way to rest, or one way for each person. The invitation is, “What would feel good for you?” How can you intentionally rest?
I think sometimes, we think rest is sleeping or not working, but it’s more than that. And as we know we’ve never been in this kind of global pandemic before. So all of our regular strategies to rejuvenate are reaching their limit, so we have to get creative, right? So, what does that look like for you? And that’s my invitation again, check out EP236: Rethink Rest, if you think you can get more creative with how you’re going to spend your time, cocooning. If you need that. So that’s one type of cocooning that I mentioned, that is around rest, but I’m going to share with you a totally different type of cocooning that’s been happening within me. And also, within my business.
Over the last half-year maybe even here, it’s a very deep type of cocooning. And when I say that I’m talking about like the biological cocooning where the caterpillar goes into the chrysalis and literally dissolves into bug soup. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said in conversation with my husband, for example, that I feel like something is disassembling. I feel like something is literally breaking down and I’ll share more in the coming year, what I mean by that. But if you have gone through this, you know what I’m talking about, where something on a very cellular level is breaking down and rebuilding. And it’s kind of like a Tetris game where there’s these individual units and they’re moving and they continue to move and shift but it isn’t until they all click together till you know what that is. What is the shape.
Like the caterpillar that goes into bug soup, its cells know the program is deep inside. They talk about Imagining the imago cells, that when we are in a period of transformation there is a deep cellular knowing even though the caterpillar couldn’t articulate it. Just like, “Dude. Now I’m here in bug soup. I’m not a caterpillar anymore. What’s happening?” Right? It’s not yet a butterfly and it’s no longer a caterpillar that process of breaking down.
And that’s happening inside of myself and I know it’s been happening inside of so many of you. You might not yet have the words for it or you didn’t until I said this and now it’s like, “Yes! Yes, that’s me.” And when I say that, the breaking down inside isn’t negative. It’s like when you break something down into a new form and it becomes something different. It doesn’t always feel comfortable. So, for example, I noticed this process was happening when innocently, like, seriously, I’ll say more about this later, but I have a level of coaching that allows me to mentor others. Which allows me to – if you’re a coach and you want to get to the next level from ICF from the International Coach Federation, you need ten hours with a mentor coach. And then you seek out a coach to help you with that, not for your hours but also for the feedback and the growth, right? So because I have that PCC level for coaching, I was like I might as well get the certification so I feel really confident in how I support my people.
So naively, I thought I was signing up for a program where I would get really savvy on how to support people to demonstrate these competency levels for the ICF. What it actually was, was like a visit to the dark night of my soul. I was like, “What? How?” I go into this group and then the mentor coach says one thing, and it feels like it’s piercing into the core of who I am. This is what I mean by disassembling. It was simply a mentor coaching program. But because of the talent of the lead mentor coach and where I am in my disassembling process, it was like everything I was doing was making me look at the core of who I am and break down the things that need to be broken down.
I’ll share more specifics with that in future podcasts, but a very simple example is when we’re looking in coaching about who has responsibility for the outcomes, I realized in that coaching process where I was doing that in every other area of my life. That’s what I mean about disassembling. It was breaking down something I didn’t even know was there. Awakening me to it and then helping me see how it infiltrated every other area of my life. And as a recovering perfectionist, I think it leads the darkness of the soul because it’s like, “Crap! That’s the thing I have to work on.” There might be a shame response there, like, “Oh, that’s not fixed yet.” And then that leads into another layer of disassembling where I watch then that response come up and now I am on the track of disassembling that. That is this deep level of disassembly and talking about and if you are a client of mine you get it because you know this happens in coaching. If you have done deep transformative work with other professionals, you get this or maybe life has hit you with a cosmic slap and it has made this kind of disassembling happen. Sometimes it happens from the inside out. Sometimes, it happens from the outside in.
So that is another type of cocooning that disassemble internally what’s going on within you, but it could also be a breaking down of something external. I’ve been looking at the structures within my business. For those of you who have been following me you know that I’ve been working with Trudi Lebrón on helping restructure my business so it follows anti-racist practices and it’s equity centered. That is a breaking down of structures and relooking at structures over my business to make sure that follows through in my leadership, and my communities, in my practices, with my team leadership. Or maybe this is happening for you in your family. Are you engaging with your family or with your partner in ways that feel whole? Or is there something that needs to be broken down so that it can be reassembled in new ways.
And when you’re navigating that, that disassembling from the inside or disassembling the outside. If you’re like the caterpillar who is now sitting in bugs soup, you can imagine how that can feel like holding a lot of uncertainty.
No wonder, we’re tired!
So that kind of cocooning, from my perspective, is hard but good. Because when things get broken down, like with a caterpillar, you know something beautiful is on the other side. And those are the kind of breakdowns that I wish for myself, that I wish for others. And we talked about that a little bit in EP240: Learn or Grow.
We’re not just tweaking or making a quick change. This is transformation.
So if you’re like me, and you’ve had one of those years where cocooning meant that disassembly and rebuilding process. I really, really encourage you to be super diligent about the type one cocooning we talked about at the top of this episode and that’s rest. Diligently look at what kinds of rest you really need. And then make sure that you’re intentional in planning that into whatever break you have, whether it’s a weekend or whether you’re lucky to have two weeks like I do. How can you do that? Or maybe it’s only an hour after work, but be mindful of how you spend that time so that you can rejuvenate.
Listen, I hope I’ve shared enough for clarity today and to get you excited about learning more but not so much that your head is spinning. More is coming in season 6. I’m really, really looking forward to sort of relaxing into the rest of this year. And to do so, I’ve created some bridge podcasts for you to ease out of 2021 and to ease into 2022. I’ve done it in a way that is bite-sized for you so it won’t demand more of you than you have to give. And that will give you the bite-size support that you need as you transition what you’re thinking about, how to end the year well with your family, how to sort of put the pieces together if you feel like everything is falling apart, and how you can start fresh in the New Year.
So get ready for the next three episodes that are coming to end this season. I’m really looking forward to slowly going into my cocoon and re-emerging in the New Year, with something beautiful.
You’ve been listening to Expat Happy Hour with Sundae Schneider-Bean. Thank you for listening. I’ll leave you with the words of the Roman poet known as Ovid: “Take rest. A field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”
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