What if you could enjoy deep intimacy…simply by setting boundaries? Join Lee Noto and I as we explore setting boundaries for deep intimacy, as well as learning how to speak up for your needs and desires. Lee shares about her own journey and gives specifics about what you can do today to set boundaries to create the life you love.
Lee guides women on a journey to embodying their Inner High Priestess, so that they can create deep, intimate partnership. Her mission is to help women feel empowered and free in their expression.
In her “past life,” she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business & Entrepreneurship and her Master’s Degree in Education. From teaching in the classrooms of Hawaii to running multiple businesses in New York City, she has a reverence for nature, learning, and quick wit.
In “this life,” Lee is a master coach with certifications in holistic coaching and transformational coaching, and has deep study in personal development, sacred sexuality, and spirituality.
She shares powerful communication tools and somatic practices that allow clients to connect deeply to their emotions and bodies.
By guiding clients into deeper self-love, self-acceptance, curiosity, and play, Lee helps them boldly open their hearts in order to give and receive the epic love they desire.
She is most loved for her ability to hold a safe space for clients to step into their power and create a bliss-filled life.
- Podcast: The Way of The High Priestess (on Spotify & on Apple Podcasts)
- The High Priestess Collective (membership collective)
- Become The High Priestess (8-week program)
Heather Clark 00:01
Welcome to Unshakable Being, the podcast with inspiration and practical tools for purpose led leaders like you to relieve stress, build resilience, and unlock vitality in your life, body and business. I am Dr. Heather Clark, and I’ll be your host.
Heather Clark 00:19
Hello, and thank you so much for coming back to the podcast. Today, we have Lee Noto. I am so excited to dive into this, what Lee has been discovering in her work is that people are having a hard time speaking up for their needs, for their boundaries and for their desires. And anybody that knows me knows I am all about boundaries. So I’m so looking forward to diving into this. Lee, welcome to the show.
Lee Noto 00:48
Thank you so much for having me here. I’m really excited to be talking more about this with you today.
Heather Clark 00:53
Oh, me too. Me too. So, share with us what you’re finding in your work with what are the issues with the needs, boundaries and desires? What are you discovering? Just take it and run Lee?
Lee Noto 01:06
Absolutely. So the first issue here is that most of us don’t know what boundaries are. We’ve not been taught about boundaries, or the fact that boundaries can actually help us create intimacy in relationships, when the impression that most of us under is that they create separation and disconnect.
Lee Noto 01:25
So a lot of us are walking around with desire to create meaningful, deep connected relationships both with ourselves and others, yet, we have no concept of boundaries, and truly what personal and energetic space means. And thus, we often have our boundaries crossed, sometimes knowingly or unknowingly. And this creates a real experience in our bodies, it leads to what can be intense physical sensations, which then lead to emotional states that are in flux and feel often like they’re out of our control. And when we’re not addressing this head on with the tools and ability to have a deep and meaningful conversation about it, there’s more separation that happens in our relationships.
Lee Noto 02:14
you know, learning about boundaries is one of the most important things that I’ve learned on my journey as a human in the world as a woman, as a partner, a friend, a family member, and as well, learning how to communicate my needs, and understand that it’s okay for me to have needs. In fact, it’s normal for me to have needs, and then also being able to share what I desire. What is it that I want to create, and that’s both in an everyday context and in a sexual context. So needs boundaries and desires are three things that are necessary in relationships and in deepening intimacy and relationships.
Heather Clark 02:58
So we talked a little bit, before we hit record about some of the fear that people experience around boundaries. Could you please share with me what some of the fears you’re finding that are coming up either in your own life or for your clients, and how they can overcome it?
Lee Noto 03:16
Absolutely. So a lot of times when people have fear around creating boundaries, it’s typically a fear of loss of love, fear of rejection, fear of discomfort, fear of creating anger for someone, fear of, you know, any number of things that feel uncomfortable for us. And so a lot of these fears come from, you know, not understanding that it’s okay to have boundaries, and that it can create intimacy. And oftentimes, we’re not modeled healthy boundaries, in our childhood or in relationships. So we will often take these fears with us.
Lee Noto 04:00
Now, when we’re talking about how to work with the fear, the first thing that I tell anyone is to slow things down. Often when we feel uncomfortable, or when we feel afraid of something we want to speed up, we want to just rush right through it and back to our place of stasis and comfort. Fear inherently feels uncomfortable for us. So as and typical as it seems slowing down can actually really help. And when I say that, I mean taking a deep breath in and starting to track the sensations that are happening in the body.
Lee Noto 04:40
So when a fear response comes up, see where you feel it. Do you feel a tightness in your chest or do you feel a turning of your stomach and just bring presence and awareness to those physical sensations because when we separate fear, just the body response that we’re having around our perception of something being fearful or scary, from the stories that we have about what that means, then we get to the root and the truth of what’s happening.
Lee Noto 05:13
So I’ll give an example of that. I might be afraid to give a speech, I might feel fear, or a tightness in my chest and a turning in my stomach around a public speaking engagement. And if I can just be with those sensations, those sensations and that physical experience doesn’t have to mean that I’m going to vomit, or that I’m not going to do a great job. And it doesn’t all it also doesn’t mean that I’m not prepared. It just means that I’m having a physical experience. And that’s what we do as humans. So when we slow things way down, and we just become present with what’s there, it starts to build trust with ourselves, it starts to create a deep sense of emotional safety. And as we fortify emotional safety within ourselves, it allows us to build up the courage to speak our boundaries, and to speak our needs, and ultimately, to create deeper intimacy in our relationships.
Heather Clark 06:11
How do you address for people that have been punished in the past for boundaries, perhaps, creating a boundary in their family was not safe, it created a stress or a trauma, and they’ve taken that with them. I mean, that’s it’s pretty deep for a lot of people than they may not even know what’s happening. How do you help people address that?
Lee Noto 06:32
Lee Noto 06:33
I mean, it’s deep, it is deep for almost everyone. So often, we are operating from the early childhood place in which our ego was formed that that squishy absorbable time in our lives from zero to seven, maybe a little bit older, where we started to form our identity and our personality. And a lot of us got the impression that it’s not okay to speak up, it’s not okay to be anything other than agreeable and well behaved. And we carry that impression with us. And so what I share with clients, and what I have had shared with me, when that has come up for me in my personal life, is acknowledging what’s they’re really seeing. Okay, so there was a time when your mother yelled at you and punished you for creating a boundary or for speaking up for your need. Can we just be with that for a moment? Can we acknowledge that that happened for you? And that was a very real experience? How did it feel for you, and I would allow, the client is space to say, well, it felt really scary, or I felt angry, or I don’t know, I feel numb right now. And to have that space to explore, and emote and express. Because typically what happens is, we have this amalgamation of experiences in our lives. And for the experiences that we’ve not processed, which is probably a fair amount of them. They’re still with us, just because the we’ve gone on and thought and we’re on to the next thing doesn’t mean that we’re not still holding on to that emotion or that traumatic event in our body. And so when we arrive again, at a situation that elicits a similar experience, it’s as if we’re reliving the original experience. And so creating an open, safe space for that original experience to be explored. And to be expressed, is really important in being able to hold space for ourselves being able to do this sort of transformative work. And then, you know, if there’s a space for the client to say, Okay, this is what happened, this is how I felt, you know, I will say, Do you recognize that that’s not what is currently happening now. So yes, you told me about a story about when you were five and your mother punished you? Is that happening in real time right now? And can we, as both adults here in the present moment, and as the inner child that’s reliving that experience, create some separation between what happened then, and where we are now? Not for the sake of minimizing What happened then, only for the purpose of being here in the present moment, and recognizing that when we create the sense of empowerment for ourselves, we can choose differently going forward. We do not have to be tied up in the past traumatic event, once we feel we’ve properly processed it.
Heather Clark 09:46
Yeah, because a lot of this is fraught with trauma. Because it’s usually not at least with boundaries. Typically, it’s typically not one event. Maybe one event rises to the forefront, but it is If not an entire lifetime, at least a formative years lifetime of Wow, when I created a boundary, I was told that I was wrong for that. And that’s not, you know, I’m not living into the correct archetype. That’s not what a good person does. That’s not what a good kid does, and therefore, I am wrong. So how do you help people with the trauma around this?
Lee Noto 10:26
Absolutely, because, like you said, most of this is fraught with traumatic events. And again, it’s it’s typically not a one and done sort of thing. It is an ongoing series of events that continues to impact us. And that continues to perpetuate the beliefs that we formed in early childhood. So when we’re looking at those kinds of events, I’ll typically approach this from a number of different angles, the first being the somatic angle, or getting into the body. Because there is, you know, we do have memories of traumatic events in our minds, we can intellectually recall them, we also have memories of these events in our bodies stored in our cells and tissues. And when those events are unprocessed, that is typically what manifests as dis ease or health challenge in the body.
Lee Noto 11:18
So we’ll firstly go into the body. And we will do some somatic exercises where we track what’s happening. So when we recall a specific traumatic event, again, doing some of that body tracking, which is where do you feel sensation right now? And can you describe that for me? So we’re bringing our awareness to the present moment experience by being with the body, which can only be here now. And so asking the client or, you know, exploring what is happening for you right now? And can you think of other times when you’ve experienced this kind of boundary violation where this sensation came up for you? And is there? Is there anything that you Intuit that this is trying to tell you.
Lee Noto 12:07
And so, you know, I will say very transparently that I don’t have the answers for my clients, or for anyone that I guide through this work, I believe very deeply that everyone holds their own answers, and that our bodies and our hearts and our intuition holds the key to what is true for us. So my job in this perspective is to really ask questions and be present with them and what’s happening in their bodies, in order for them to share, here’s what’s happening for me, right now, this feels intense, or I need some water, or Wow, it really feels like this energy is moving. It’s it’s resolving itself within me. And so that’s the somatic perspective.
Lee Noto 12:50
And we’ll work through that through verbal communication. I’ll also ask them to put their hands on their own body. So is there a position that you wish to, to lay your hands on your body right now that would feel safe for you? That would feel comforting? What is it that you need right now? And the need question, either, you know, elicits an immediate response. And sometimes people say, I don’t know what I need. And they say, That’s okay. It’s okay, that you don’t know, you were taught that it wasn’t okay to have needs. Can we just be with that for a moment.
Lee Noto 13:26
And so you can probably see the pattern that this is a lot of slowing things down, a lot of getting into the body. And a lot of trust in the fact that this person in front of me has a divine guidance system that is leading us exactly to where we need to go in order to see what needs to be seen to create transformation, and resolution in whatever way is meant to happen. And then the last bit of that is having a conversation about it. So really recapping what you know, what is happening for you right now, what’s coming up for you what feels challenging, or what feels like a breakthrough, and starting to slow things way down. So that there’s a space of acceptance and love and nurture, for the fact this person experienced one or a series of traumatic events that have greatly impacted their lives.
Heather Clark 14:24
Beautiful. One of the things I love is that you had shared about what about having boundaries brings for you because I’m of the opinion, one of the things that boundaries spring is boundaries bring joy, they bring joy for yourself, they bring joy for other people. And really when people have a problem with you setting a boundary that’s really often they’re probably going to take a lot of internal work and a lot of personal work to get to the point where you’re okay with Alright, well we have the boundaries of problem for you what ABS like okay, Cool, but I’m more committed to joy. One of the things I like is you were sharing how boundaries create intimacy, I’d really like to dive into that a lot more.
Lee Noto 15:13
Yeah. And I just have a huge smile on my face. Because this was such a profound learning for me as an adult,
Lee Noto 15:22
as someone who identifies as a woman, as someone who is in a relationship and has relationships with friends and family members. And like perhaps many people listening, I for most of my life, thought, boundaries create separation, I’m going to piss somebody off if I create boundaries, and my role in a relationship and or as someone who identifies as a woman is to be of service. So I need to show up and make sure people are happy and taken care of, because that is, in some ways, what I saw growing up. And as I observed, you know, the relationship dynamics and my parents and the just utter lack of boundaries in any form. I saw how it eroded their intimacy, because there was a lot of obligatory behavior. And so when one or the other of them wouldn’t have a boundary and say, Hey, you know what, hon, I’m tired right? Now, let me take care of this task for you.
Lee Noto 16:21
When I wake up from my nap, there was a sense of obligation and duty that came along with that, which is very deeply tied into some gender norms and cultural norms that my parents carry. And what that breeded was resentment, because there wasn’t honest communication. And when there is a lack of honesty and transparency and authenticity, then there is a sense within oneself of self betrayal. And then there creates in the relational space, a sense of resentment and separation. However, when we become skilled at creating boundaries, we also learn ways to communicate them, so that the other person can understand what’s happening for us. And that’s something that I’m, I’m happy to share with your listeners. But you know, a lot of people have the impression that if I create a boundary, it means I’ve got to put a wall up. And I’ve got to be Stark and cold and mean about it. And that’s a very grave misconception about boundaries. Boundaries can be communicated with love and compassion, and with mutual understanding and respect for all people involved.
Heather Clark 17:33
Yeah, a lot of people somehow get the idea that if you create a boundary, it’s not just the separation, it’s a boundary means never again, or now I can’t be with this person. Or, you know, which I always found very interesting. Like, no, you can have the boundary, and that actually enhances the relationship. And it’s not, doesn’t have to be Stark and cold. And setting a boundary actually doesn’t have to be warm and loving, either. Taking responsibility for setting your own boundaries, does not necessarily mean that you’re taking on additional emotional labor to ensure that it lands softly for the other person.
Lee Noto 18:15
Mm hmm. Yes.
Lee Noto 18:20
Yes. And sometimes that’s the case. Absolutely.
Heather Clark 18:23
Yeah. Because like, it’s not my job to jump into their world, to make sure that they can hear it, and it doesn’t offend them and all of that, but it is my job. At least, it’s a responsibility I’ve taken on for myself to operate from a place of love. But love is not, you know, mushy, gushy. Oh, I’m so sweet. Love is more like, No, I’m not having that. We’re doing this other thing. Yeah. And on, what ways have you found that helps for both you and your clients, for people to communicate those boundaries? Because my way of doing things isn’t a fit for everybody. I’d love to hear your way of doing things.
Lee Noto 19:03
Absolutely. So, as humans navigating the world today, most of us if not all of us have had an experience where a boundary was crossed. And often, we don’t know when a boundaries where a boundary lies until it is crossed. And that is a part of the nature of boundaries. Now, of course, as we look back on past experiences, we have a fair amount of data for when a boundary was crossed.
Lee Noto 19:33
And, you know, the first thing I’ll share is, if something felt, angering or uncomfortable, it might be a place to examine if there are boundaries there that aren’t being communicated, or if there are boundaries there that we’re unaware of. So the first thing in understanding where boundaries are before I share how we can communicate them, because I hear a lot of clients say, I don’t know what my boundaries are. Don’t know what, you know, I’ve never learned about boundaries.
Lee Noto 20:05
So the one activity that I share with with clients is to take a piece of paper and divide it into three columns. And at the top of the first column, you write I value. At the top of the middle column you write. So I need, and at the top of the rightmost column, I will honor this by. So in the leftmost column, you’re writing your values. So perhaps a value is open communication, or quality time. And we’ll just use an example of a romantic partnership, or physical touch.
Lee Noto 20:40
So if you have those values listed in that leftmost column, then what do you need in order to honor those values. So if my value with my partner is quality time, then one of my needs is focused one on one connection, that is a need that I have based on a deep core value of mine. Now, if my need is focused one on one connection, I might say that I will honor that by a weekly date night without technology. And that is my boundary. So my boundary when my partner and I have our weekly date night is that there will be no tech, no cell phones, no emails, computers, TV, etc. It is he and I, and that’s our date night, whatever we choose to do.
Lee Noto 21:28
And so that gives us a clearer understanding of how to formulate a boundary boundaries aren’t arbitrary. They’re based on our values, whether we’re aware of our values or not. And if we’re not aware, it could be a useful exploration in saying, what is it that I value? And based on my values, what are my needs? And based on my needs? How do I create boundaries so that I can get my needs met? Because I’m worthy of having my needs met? Now, sometimes we’re gonna have boundaries crossed. So how do we communicate that, and this is, you know, something that can elicit a lot of physical sensation and emotion for us, but I’m going to share a very easy plug and play format.
Lee Noto 22:11
And so it goes, my boundary was crossed when blank, I felt blank, my need for blank was unmet. And my request is that blank. So I’ll fill this in, for example, my boundary was crossed when you touched my upper thigh without my permission. So this part needs to be a specific observable piece of behavior, not my boundary was crossed when you were a jerk, that’s subjective. It’s got to be objective. I felt angry, I felt unsafe, and I felt aggravated.
Lee Noto 22:46
So in this blank, we want to use emotion words, not I felt as if you didn’t care. Let’s get to the core emotion of what’s happening. I felt sad. I felt grief stricken, I felt aggravated, so that the other person understands what your emotional experience is like. So they can be there with you, if they choose to. My need for blank was unmet, my need for consideration was unmet. My need for physical space was unmet. My need for consent before receiving touch was unmet. So now the person knows, oh, okay, here’s where I didn’t meet their needs. I’m very clear on that. Now, my request is that, before you go to touch me, you ask for my permission, is that something you’re willing to do? And now you make a clear request. So you are creating a sense of empowerment, and you’re making a request for your needs. And then you ask because that’s something you can do. The other person can certainly say no, and we should end this relationship right now.
Lee Noto 23:48
Or they can say, hey, yeah, you know, what, thank you for sharing that. Thank you for your clarity. Thank you for speaking up. And like you said before, if this is something that they have a response to, or defensiveness to, then that’s, that’s for them. That is their responsibility to handle what is triggering for them.
Heather Clark 24:11
So what are some of the emotions because I know a lot of times when the boundary is crossed? Typically, anger is your signal, like, wow, I’m really irritated by this or I’m mad, what’s going on? Typically, at least in my frame of reference, that’s okay. Well, a boundary has been crossed. Let me discover what that boundary is so that I may reestablish it. But also it sounds like you’re talking about not just anger, but discomfort, upset a feeling of non safety. What other signals could people interpret as Oh, maybe this is a boundary issue?
Lee Noto 24:51
Yeah. So that’s a great question, because often, we don’t often we don’t have a huge lexicon for emotions, because We are, we live in a society, we are so ruled by thought. So we have a lot of thoughts about things, but we’re often very disconnected from our emotional state. And one of the resources that I would refer people to is Dr. Marshall Rosenberg’s nonviolent communication feelings list.
Lee Noto 25:18
If you want a robust list of feelings to choose from, that’s a great resource. Other signs that we can observe in ourselves is our body language. So do we find and body language can be a great way to just easily observe what’s happening and track discomfort or a need for space or something else? So starting to see when we pull away from something? Are we turning our shoulder away? Are we curling our shoulders inward to make ourselves smaller? Are we puffing our chest up to make ourselves bigger? Are we stepping away from someone? Are we clenching our fists or grinding our teeth? These are all visual, physical cues, which most people can also visually observe, that will let us know. Alright, something’s happening right now that feels a little outside of my resting state. Perhaps there’s a boundary violation here or something else for me to look at. And even if I cannot verbally communicate, anger, disgust, a lack of feeling of safety, I can see that my body’s having a physical response. And that’s something that I want to address.
Heather Clark 26:34
I love it. So as additional cues, like, wait a minute, maybe something’s going on here. And I would suggest, unless you’re really well versed at boundaries, it’s an excellent place to start to ask yourself, Is this perhaps a boundary issue? Maybe I have a value that’s being violated, maybe there’s a need that’s not being met? And then being able to explore it, and then using these structures that you’ve provided to help people step through? Okay, well, how do I get to what I want it? Pardon me what I really want here. And so, in romantic relationships, this plays out somewhat differently than in other relationships. Because if you’re romantically involved with someone who continually crosses your boundaries, it’s probably not conducive to a healthy relationship, you know, just like, can you? This is my boundary? Can you honor that? And if the answer is no, well, it’s pretty clear. Okay, we just move on here. How do you recommend people handle it when it is perhaps a work situation? And they are not in a position of authority? in the workplace, at least, to enforce that boundary?
Lee Noto 27:46
Yeah, that’s a great question. Because often there are different rules of engagement in professional settings. And so one of the things that I share is, you know, this, this will vary from work situation to work situation based on the openness of those we’re working with, and the amount of connection that they have to their own experience, and also the amount of mutual respect that they display for themselves and others. And so we can sort of use the same format as well, in understanding how to communicate this in a work setting.
Lee Noto 28:22
So the first thing I would advise is for the person whose boundary has been crossed, is to take some time to reflect on what has happened, it’s very easy to react out of an emotional response. And to say things that we wish we wouldn’t have said, in a professional setting and in most settings, that that can have consequences. So again, going back to slowing down, slowing way down, and tracking what’s happening inside the body, which you may not choose to share with your employer that you feel a tightening in your chest.
Lee Noto 28:58
This is just for your reference so that you can create awareness and intimacy with yourself. So slowing things way down, taking a few deep breaths, and then starting to understand the situation. So what happened, and I would use this in any context, but this is particularly useful in professional contexts. So if we were to draw two circles on a piece of paper, and in one circle we write what happened factually. So if somebody were looking at this from outside of a window, they could corroborate that this happened.
Lee Noto 29:38
And then in the other circle, looking at what we wrote in the original circle about the truth of what happened, starting to write our story about what happened, because this is going to help us tease apart the fact that our employer has not answered any of our emails. And that is what happened. We wrote five emails and employer did not answer them. Now, perhaps some creating a story that they’re useless that they are a terrible employer, they don’t pay attention to their team. This is, you know, grounds for a report to HR, etc, that that whole other story is not the truth, that is just the story that I’m telling, because I have felt triggered in some way.
Lee Noto 30:24
So first starting to tease out the real facts from my emotional response to them. And that can sometimes feel challenging because we like our stories, we like our emotional responses, because it, it feels justified, and sometimes we feel righteous, and that can feel satisfying. And especially in a professional context, where presumably one wants to keep their job, we want to really get a clear understanding of what’s happening. Now, once we have the facts, I am a huge advocate of seeing where we have either contributed to the situation if that is something that’s relevant, and where we as individuals who are participants in our lives, can take radical responsibility.
Lee Noto 31:12
Now, I don’t say this to dismiss behavior from someone that might truly be harmful. I only say this, because it is very easy for us as individuals to point the finger at why everyone else is to blame and why we should be absolved. So it’s just a kind of reminder to say, Okay, if something is happening on the team that I work with, is there a way that I can really step up as a leader and take more responsibility? And what would that look like? And is there a way in which I’m contributing to the miscommunication that’s happening here? Did I not say something? Did I not make clear what I needed? And is there an opportunity for me to say, Hey, you know what, actually, because we’re on a tight deadline, I really do need email responses within 24 hours is that something we can work together on.
Lee Noto 32:05
And so as we understand our responsibility, our contribution, and being people who can really come with solutions to the challenge before we make it someone else’s problem, that can really help create a solution based conversation, rather than something that you know could end in undesirable results.
Heather Clark 32:34
I love it. What I especially love is when you’re getting started with it, slow down, take the time to do that internal work, do that personal work, ensure that you’re taking responsibility for whatever is actually yours that keeps you off, that drama triangle keeps you from spinning. And once you’ve done that work, what I have noticed, at least for myself and clients is that you’re able to respond much more quickly. First of all, you’re not reacting, you’re responding from that unshakeable place. And if you’ve done enough of the processing, you can do it in the moment, which more people view as powerful. Because you’re coming from that powerful place. But to respond in the moment without first doing all of this internal work. It does not often go well.
Heather Clark 33:32
If you’re like no, I’m clear what’s happening. I’m immediately clear with the boundary as I quickly reestablish it from a place of love. And now let’s move forward. That’s great. But I love your approach of can we slow down first, let’s take the time and step through what’s really happening here. Separate facts from feelings, because Sure, it might be true that he’s a jerk. But what are the observable facts? Because people are going to have a different story and a different perspective on it. And adopting those different perspectives really helps a person take the stress out of the situation. Yes, if not all of it, at least ratchets it down. So I love that that’s beautiful. So I’m super curious Lee, what’s your origin story? How did you come to be doing this work?
Lee Noto 34:21
A lot of challenge of my own with boundaries and communication. And really understanding what intimacy is and going on my own heroines journey through these challenges. And this has, you know, manifested in many ways throughout my life. But growing up, I was I moved around a lot and for the formidable years of my life, didn’t live with my parents and lived with extended family. So already I had the impression as a little girl that you know, I needed to be on my best behavior in order to keep The love of my caregivers, because they were passing me around, they were traveling for work. But you know, I’m sure my little girl mind made plenty of meaning of mommy and daddy not being around. So, in growing up, once I was living home with my parents, my mom ran a tight ship.
Lee Noto 35:19
And she’s from a Chinese family. And it was mostly me and her because my dad was still traveling for work. And so, you know, in Chinese culture, there really isn’t a lot of space, at least in traditional Chinese culture for speaking up or acting out, there’s a very tight line to walk with behavior and presentation, behavior really, physically, academically, basically, in all the ways. So I grew up in that kind of environment where she was more or less a tiger mom, that is a very true archetype that exists. And I, you know, we have a great relationship. Now, I am so grateful for how she raised me. And the message that I got early on before I had done the inner work in my adult life is that it’s not safe to speak up.
Lee Noto 36:09
Because when I speak up, there is punishment, there is no space for my emotions, I have to perform. And I have to perform well, in order to keep my mom’s love. And I have to look a certain way. So I have to be thin, I have to be pretty, I have to be in shape. Because this is what I’m taught makes a desirable daughter, a desirable woman, and a woman who can go places in her life so that I’m not stuck in the same position my parents were stuck in.
Lee Noto 36:36
So, you know, we form all of these impressions throughout our lives. And as a result of my dad’s absence growing up, I, I created a particular kind of relationship with men in romantic relationships where, you know, I did whatever I could to keep them around, because I got the impression as a little girl that there’s no way I could keep dad around, which is my my first true love my father. And so I employed a very intelligent evolutionary tactics to keep partners around that, from sexual tactics to emotional tactics. And throughout time, I developed a number of, I mean, what I would call adaptive imbalances.
Lee Noto 37:23
And so this was anything from defensiveness to projecting to gaslighting, to denying and lying. And because I’ve done the work, I can, you know, with, without a sense of shame, really come clean about these things now, because that’s just what it was. For me, I adapt it in the best way I knew how to keep myself safe and to keep love. And, you know, for those listening, if our behaviors seem off, or if our partner’s behaviors or someone else’s behavior seem off, there’s a deeper question to ask. And that might be, what does this person think they need to do, to remain safe and to remain loved and approved of because as humans, the one thing we want most is connection, and community and safety.
Lee Noto 38:14
And so often, when we act in ways that seem just the opposite of love, it is typically because there’s fear of loss of something. And that is a lot of what I experienced throughout my life. And so, as I got into this world of personal development and spiritual development, this this story was very much how I began to serve others, and in serving others created a lot of healing and transformation for me. So it’s funny, I always joke and say that I, I’ve certainly served my clients, but in many ways, they’ve also served me.
Heather Clark 38:53
Beautiful. Fantastic. I I’m also pretty curious. What’s it mean to you to be unshakable?
Lee Noto 39:03
Lee Noto 39:05
So I can, I can first start by saying what unshakable doesn’t mean to me. And it doesn’t mean always have it together. It doesn’t mean impenetrable. It doesn’t mean always perfect or never emotional. It means that we have such a grounded sense in ourselves, because we have created a space for such deep and radical love and acceptance. And when we make that a practice, when we make that our priority and our job, and our commitment to ourselves, to show up in that way, we find that we have this sense of self that is sovereign, and that is autonomous, and well and vibrant. And it doesn’t mean that we don’t experience emotions. In fact, just the opposite. We experience emotions. In our unshakeable city, we surrender to what is moving through us the energy, the emotion, the experience, and that is this sort of unshakable bility that is this force and this pure power, that is acceptance and so unshakeable to me really means deep acceptance for what is and the surrender into that while you know, doing our best to act from a place of love and intention
Heather Clark 40:35
that is beautifully put. And you’re really getting at some of the deeper undercurrents. Because the reason why I put it like that is because what I’ve noticed if I start with people, well, this is all about love, and deep acceptance of what is people are like, Yeah, that’s a great story. So anyway. But yeah, that’s exactly it. It’s through all of the processes. That deep acceptance of what is becomes a natural outgrowth, like, allowing love to flow is now a natural outgrowth. And that’s the true roots of being unshakable. That is beautifully put, thank you so much for that.
Lee Noto 41:20
Thank you for asking.
Heather Clark 41:24
Oh, and your story is deeply fascinating, because one of the things that I share about is the identity gap, the gap between who you really are, and how you’re being or your identity. And if I understood you correctly, your entire upbringing felt like as you share, it felt like it’s all about the identity of it. What does this look like? How is this presented to the world, and if this falters at all, there was a very real feeling of risking losing love, acceptance, support, approval, and all of that. I just want to recognize that it is the work doesn’t have to be hard, but it is certainly some work to move through that. And it feels like you’ve come to a place of deep acceptance for yourself and of the situation.
Lee Noto 42:21
Yes, and I, I spent the last number of years in deep spiritual introspection. And like, so many of us 2020 brought me an extra potent opportunity to take another look at my relationship to my origin to my mother, in particular, to my father, and with myself. And so I, I feel very grounded in saying now that I’ve, I’ve done a lot of moving and shaking in that area of my life, and it has made all the difference.
Heather Clark 43:04
It really has a sense that you are able to see other truths than what you had previously related to did. Does that resonate? Oh, absolutely.
Lee Noto 43:15
So I’ll tell you a quick story, which is relevant for so many. And that is being with family during the holidays. So there are many memes out there. Because so many of us have similar experiences where we get together with family, and we love it, we love our family, we want to see them and spend time with them. And there are a number of triggering things that people say or do. And it’s we chalked it up to family dynamics, and this is who they are, etc.
Lee Noto 43:43
And so, in this journey, these past few years that I’ve had various forms of my own awakening, you know, the, the transformation that I’ve been on, when I first you know, had any sort of my own spiritual context was, Oh, my gosh, this is great. I’ve got to tell everyone about it. My parents, and they need to do what I’m doing and get on board because look how much they’re suffering. And now I can see it all I will fix them. Well, that didn’t go over well, nobody wants to be fixed. And nobody wants to be changed from a place of feeling like they’re not good enough.
Lee Noto 44:23
And I would know, because I spent a lot of my childhood and formative years thinking that about myself. And over these, these number of years, I’ve gotten a chance to look and see what’s really happening. And it all came to a head this last holiday season where I went home and I felt as if I was experiencing an actual graduation ceremony because for the first time in my adult life or my life at all, I could look at my parents, and I could I could observe all of the dynamics that were happening and I could Simultaneously observed my discomfort with those dynamics that they were, you know, blissfully unaware of.
Lee Noto 45:07
And I could see that all of the times that I’ve wanted to change something in the past was not because it needed to be changed, or because they’re wrong or dysfunctional, whatever it was, because I was so innately uncomfortable with my own discomfort. And I wanted to avoid my own anger, and disgust, and how these people who raised me could be behaving. And so I made it my job at that at earlier stages in my life to therapy’s them, they never asked for that. They never gave me their permission to give them my unsolicited advice.
Lee Noto 45:44
And, you know, I also had to look at my sense of moral obligation that I carried with me that if I have the answer, they should know about it, because this will improve their life, we get into a philosophical debate here and again, they never asked for it, they’re going on about their lives. And when they want my advice, they asked for it, and then I willingly share it with them. And so it was really profound to be home with them this holiday season and say, Wow, this is just how it is for them right now this, I see this dynamic, and it doesn’t feel particularly healthy for me, I see them in it, I feel my discomfort, I feel my desire to change this and want to, you know, move in or, you know, eject out of the situation. And can I just slow down and be with what’s happening for me right now, and be present with them.
Lee Noto 46:38
And as soon as I was able to do that, I kid you not it opened this huge world of emotion for me. And for the first time ever, I could feel them deeply, deeply. And it was intense for me, because I could feel their sadness and their loneliness. Even though they’re in a marriage, I could feel these emotions. And, you know, I, it wasn’t my place to say anything about it, because perhaps it’s a projection. But I felt a deep emotional connection to them. And that was unavailable to me, before I had done any of this inner exploration around these dynamics.
Heather Clark 47:21
I love that so much. The I’m wondering, I’ll be real curious to see if over time now that you’ve shifted, how you relate to them, if their behavior changes as well, because that’s, that’s been something I’ve noticed in my life, once I dropped the, you’re broken, let me fix you. Once I was like, I don’t need to swoop in and save them. There’s no rescuing. Let me hop off this drama triangle, and allow people to have their own experience. Even though I don’t agree with that experience, even though I don’t understand why that’s what they would choose. Like, that’s fine. while still maintaining the boundaries, you can have your experience, but you’ll treat me with respect. No establishing that people tend to reconfigure around you. Yes. So I’ll be really curious to see if that happens. But I love that you’ve shared this beautiful experience of having this whole emotional world open up as well. And it’s gorgeous, because it feels like that also has deepened intimacy in that type of relationship to
Lee Noto 48:32
Oh, so much. So because I mean, we all have had the experience, or many of us have had the experience with our parents, and the nagging and the they always ask me about this thing. And it’s such a pain, I’m so annoyed by it. And, you know, those things exist on the surface. But when we do the work of being present, and being with what is for us, and, and sitting in the discomfort when there’s discomfort or allowing the joy when there’s joy, then we can really start to see into the worlds of others.
Lee Noto 49:10
And when I look beyond my initial frustrations about my parents behavior, I see. Wow, you know, my mom consistently asks me about my finances. Because she’s concerned for me, she wants nothing more than for me to feel safe. And her way of inquiring about my safety is not Hey, how are you doing today? Honey? Is everything well, in your world? It’s How much money did you make? What is your bank account look like right now? You know, and it’s, you know, not the way I would inquire about someone’s well being, but this is what she has access to.
Lee Noto 49:49
And the more present I am with her, the more empathy I can extend and the more I can see Wow, she really cares For the times when it is a boundary violation, I say, Hey, you know what? I’m not willing to talk about that with you right now, why don’t we talk about something else? And she can say, yes, let’s talk about something else, or Nope, the conversation ends here. And then that’s that. And, you know, but but doing that exploration allows me to see Wow, they love me so much.
Lee Noto 50:21
That’s why they insist that I eat this piece of food that I don’t feel like eating right now. It’s just their way of, of wanting to love on me, and oh, my gosh, if that’s not the most beautiful experience I could ever ask for when I remove my stories about it, is that I just want to be loved on and I want to love on others, and we’re all doing the best that we can to create that experience for ourselves.
Heather Clark 50:50
Yes, and your mom, that’s how she is expressing love by asking you about your bank account. And it sounds like you’ve shifted into I receive that love without me having to respond to the bank account question. Like perhaps that’s a boundary? I don’t need to respond to that question. But thank you so much. I received that love from you, mom. And thank you so much for wanting me to eat this piece of food that I have zero interest in, I received the love and I’m not eating it. Thank you.
Lee Noto 51:18
Heather Clark 51:20
And it’s it. And clearly, it sounds different in actual conversation. And you don’t need to necessarily highlight everything. But it’s really allowing that love to come on board letting that love in. And then using it to fuel the boundary, but not How dare you ask me about that bomb or whatever, you know, someone’s normal response might have been in the past, like, Oh, I received the love. Thanks so much. Yeah, I’m not talking about that. So anyway.
Lee Noto 51:51
Heather Clark 51:53
And she can, she can do with that which she wants to, or insists really works in many different situations. But it is, or at least at the beginning can be challenging to recognize, well, maybe that’s just how this person wants to deliver love. It isn’t how I prefer to receive it. But maybe I could receive the love without the actual action and answering the question or the eating the food or whatever like that. And that what I’ve discovered in my life, and I think clients are finding this as well, is that’s one of the things that helps you become unshakable. It gives you that different perspective. It allows you to be with what is and to be with the profound love that truly is there that maybe you weren’t aware of, because you were making it wrong, or rescuing or something like that. So I just really love this perspective.
Lee Noto 52:49
Yeah, and as you’re saying that it’s bringing up so much for me, because, you know, oftentimes we can understand what we want and like and need by seeing the non examples of it. And that can empower us to communicate how we want to be loved to others. And this is a bit on radical responsibility again, because there’s, as we clear up our energetic and mental and emotional space, it allows us to clearly communicate to others. So this, there’s a perfect opportunity for me to say to my mom, Hey, Mom, I totally received your love, I understand why you’re concerned. Thank you so much. I feel so loved by you.
Lee Noto 53:33
And I also feel really loved when we have meaningful conversation. I also feel really loved when I come home and you make me my favorite childhood soup. Can we do that next time we hang out? And now I can start to make requests for how I want to be loved on. And most people, if you’re in a healthy relationship with them would say Heck yes. Oh my gosh, thank you for informing me. I would love to love on you the way you like and the way you prefer in the way that feels good for you. I just had nothing to go on before. So I just did what I always do, which is what makes sense to me. And so, us taking that responsibility when we keep coming up against a place of conflict or frustration is to say what’s not working here? Okay, I see this is not working. I can surely mention something about this and still appreciate someone’s effort. Now, opposite to that what would work and can I speak up for that? Can I take responsibility for creating the kind of love in my life that I want because it is no one else’s responsibility, especially if I’m not speaking up.
Heather Clark 54:51
Absolutely taking responsibility for your own feelings and actions that is definitely the theme for becoming unshakable. The theme for really stepping into a life that you truly love and enjoy. And it can feel real hard and overwhelming. However, just like you’ve given the example of it’s not taking responsibility for ensuring you receive love and the particular way you want to. It’s taking responsibility for asking for what you want, and then making a new choice from that place, you’re not trying to jump into somebody else’s world and control their behavior. It’s powerfully staying in your own world with the I thank you for this. And this is my preference. Let’s explore that. And then that gives other people an opportunity to respond or to not respond and you’re not trying to, well, I am now going to manipulate this relationship into getting what I want. It’s like, No, I’m going to get what I want by being clear, being respectful and asking. I love that.
Lee Noto 55:59
Yeah, that’s, it’s, it’s a good one. And, you know, I think the last thing that came up was, when we take responsibility for ourselves in that way, we also allow others to take responsibility for themselves. And this is a big thing on boundaries and codependent relationships. And where the water gets murky sometimes, is that as caring empathetic people, we want people in our lives to have a good experience when they’re in our company. And oftentimes, that can translate into, okay, but because you’re upset, I’m responsible for making you happy, because I see that there was something I did that quote unquote, made you upset.
Lee Noto 56:44
And now, because we don’t have familiarity with taking responsibility for ourselves, we also don’t know how to not take responsibility for others. And so this whole conversation about responsibility, if we start to do it in one area, we don’t have to boil the ocean. But if we start to do it in one area, then it will trickle out and impact the ways in which we’re able to create connection, and circling all the way back to the beginning. The ways in which we’re able to create intimacy in our lives, and from my personal experience as a human and in the work I’ve done with others. That’s what we all want. We want intimacy and connection. That’s what truly fulfills us.
Heather Clark 57:31
Beautiful, and that is the fast track to getting there, Leo, this has been absolutely delightful.
Lee Noto 57:37
Likewise, oh my gosh, I’m just beaming right now what a great conversation that is just important for all of us to hear and remember.
Heather Clark 57:48
Yes, please share where we can find you. I know that people are going to want to know more about you and what you have to offer.
Lee Noto 57:55
Absolutely. So you can find me on my website www.lenovo.com l e and Oto. If you are a fan of the social media channels, you can find me at that same name on Facebook, and at Lino tau on our Avellino to underscore on Instagram, as well as LinkedIn. And if you want to drop me a direct line firstname.lastname@example.org
Heather Clark 58:21
beautiful and this will all be in the show notes in case you’re like I did not have a pen. It is good to go. You can find it at unshakable. being.com Lee, thank you so, so much for coming on to the show. This has been glorious.
Lee Noto 58:34
Thank you so much for having me on. It’s been a real pleasure getting to speak with you today.
Heather Clark 58:41
Thanks so much for listening. I’d love to hear from you. Go to unshakablebeing.com and submit your question, comment, or topic request. May you be unshakable, unstoppable, and vibrant again. Until next time.