What if it isn’t depression or simple lack of interest…what if it’s a midlife crisis? Explore midlife crisis for women with holistic practitioner Eva Vennari and I. We look at why women tend to poo-poo the idea, how female midlife crisis is different than that of males, what the signs and symptoms are, and–most importantly–what you can do about it right now.
Eva shares her personal story of midlife crisis, and how she moved through it gracefully.
Eva Vennari is the founder and CEO of The Elevate Institute, a cutting-edge health coaching firm specializing in empowering driven professionals to take charge of their body and their health.
Heather Clark 00:02
Welcome to Unshakable Being: inspiration and practical tools for purpose led helpers, guides and leaders like you to shift out of stress, stop going in circles, and get what you want in your life, body and business. I am Dr. Heather Clark, and I’ll be your host.
Heather Clark 00:19
Hello and welcome back to the podcast. This week, we have Eva Vennari. She’s the founder and CEO of the Elevate Institute, which is a cutting edge health coaching firm that specializes in empowering driven professionals to take charge of their body and their health. Eva, welcome to the show.
Eva Vennari 00:38
Oh, gosh, thank you so much. I’m so happy to be here. Thank you.
Heather Clark 00:42
I am thrilled to have you on for people listening. Eva and I connected not too long ago, and we talked about some really fabulous and wonderful things. And we decided one of the topics that was super interesting to me, and I think you’ll find it interesting too, is midlife crisis for women. So Eva, tell us all about midlife crisis for women?
Eva Vennari 01:08
Well, it’s one of those conversations that you have with your friends, your sister, it’s in the dark like mushrooms. And people think that midlife crisis is only for men and I have to say firsthand experience says otherwise.
Eva Vennari 01:27
Yeah, it’s real, and not very many people are talking about it. And so that was one of the things at least we discovered in our conversation is we need to talk about it. So here we are.
Heather Clark 01:36
And here we are. Why do you think that people in general, but certainly women in particular, are not recognizing what they’re maybe going through as a potential midlife crisis?
Eva Vennari 01:50
There’s definitely the associated thought that it’s men. You know, what do you think of when you hear midlife always going through midlife crisis, there’s the red Corvette. There’s the new wife, there’s the you know what I mean?
Heather Clark 02:02
Eva Vennari 02:04
We’re filling, filling a void of some kind, it’s perceived by that person. And that reflects in the outside world, and men are often tagged with that stereotype. And women….even in my own circle of highly aware, socially intelligent women…they poo poo it away. I would make a comment, you know, I’m feeling and I listed off all of these things that were associated with midlife crisis come to find out through my own curiosity: lack of interest in the things I normally am very interested in; no motivation; almost a depression but not quite; it’s to the point of you can have some gratitude about what’s going on, but you don’t really care.
Eva Vennari 02:53
And it’s very… it can bring a person really down. And if you have the gumption to bring that up to other women there. I’ve noticed that 100% of the time, this is Oh, well, Eva, you know, we all go through those periods of time. And it was swept under the rug and not really recognized.
Eva Vennari 03:19
I think that’s part of the reason why we, we push it away and say, Oh, well, we all go through that it’s minimized. And really, it’s a bigger issue, because it can take 10 years to go through a midlife crisis if you’re not careful.
Heather Clark 03:33
Was that your personal experience that you’re just like, Oh, no, no, that’s not what this is. Or was it clear for you that it was a midlife crisis?
Eva Vennari 03:41
Well, let me just say, this was kind of fun. The discovery of how I realized I was in midlife crisis. Do you know the show on–gosh, I think it’s on Prime Video. It’s called The Crown.
Heather Clark 03:56
Oh, yes. Yeah.
Eva Vennari 03:58
So all about I believe it was Queen Elizabeth and her now troubled husband, Philip. And they had, they were taking over the whole grounds there at the castle where they are. And apparently there’s a bunch of different buildings there. And one of the groups of monastery leaders had come to them, and said, we would like to use one of these buildings so that we, as men who come to a certain age, that’s how they put it can talk about these problems and work through them in a spiritual way.
Eva Vennari 04:37
And Philip, at the time, this was, according to the show, I don’t know how exactly accurate it is, but I’m just going to use it because that’s what I know. And he’s like, oh, he poo pooed it away. He’s like, Oh, no, you guys are silly. A bunch of you know, softies talking about your feelings. And as they were sharing what it was that these men were going through, I identified with that. Yeah, that’s me too.
Eva Vennari 05:04
I quickly picked up my phone and I started to Google midlife crisis for women. And it’s there. There’s information, but it’s just hidden. And I found myself checking off these markers. I went, Oh my gosh, that’s what I’m going through the feeling of malaise. The feeling of is this it in life is this, you know, I work so hard, I’ve come to this place, what’s going on? Why? Why don’t I feel like this is, you know, satisfying anymore. And so that’s how I found it. That’s how I realized.
Heather Clark 05:41
One of the things I find fascinating is that, when you saw it reflected in the outside world, it was easier to recognize what was happening for you.
Eva Vennari 05:51
Heather Clark 05:52
And, you know, you’re fairly introspective, you’re fairly, you know, aware. So it’s like, oh, I see what’s going on, and then immediately move on. Are you running into people who continue to deny that that might be happening for themselves?
Eva Vennari 06:08
All the time. All the time. There’s stories, and this is this has been in conversation, even in around practitioners who work in the invisible illness world, and I’m talking about things that don’t show up on an X ray with a doctor.
Eva Vennari 06:24
So this is chronic fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, depression, fibromyalgia, you know, these things that run in circles with each other. A lot of people have been inflicted with these things, and they feel it as part of their identity. And I think it’s a combination of two things. One, we, you know, there’s that, that desire to feel like we have an identity and and stick to the story. Well, either My mom has it, I have it, my sisters have it, it runs in our family, whatever that is. But when it comes to an acute moment where you’re previously not afflicted with midlife crisis type issues. And all of a sudden, you wake up one morning, and you are there isn’t a long history, there’s not a story there to capture you.
Eva Vennari 07:13
And so you would think– it did alarm me, it alarmed me at the time, I thought, what the heck is going on? It really bothered me. I tried journaling it through, I tried talking it through this with my friends. I tried a bunch of different things just to kind of get an idea. No one was able to reflect back to me, ‘Yeah, this is normal. This is midlife crisis you’re going through it.’ Turns out, there’s not just a midlife crisis. There’s also quarter life crisis. And I recognize a lot of these things. And kids who are just graduating from college and feel like maybe they chose the wrong major, they’ve graduated, they have this paper in their hand, and they actually don’t want a career in it. So they experienced that too. And they feel the pressure of the rest of their lives. So it can happen a lot sooner than just midlife.
Eva Vennari 07:58
So all that. I brought up a bunch of different things. So where do we want to go from here?
Heather Clark 08:05
Many delightful directions.
Heather Clark 08:08
And as you’re sharing, it kind of has the energy that people tend to maybe bully themselves out of recognizing it’s a midlife crisis,
Eva Vennari 08:12
Eva Vennari 08:18
Heather Clark 08:19
or even gaslighting themselves like ‘oh, no, no, I’m sure that’s not me.’ And I wonder if it hasn’t happened…it doesn’t sound like it happened that way with you…but perhaps it has with some of your colleagues or clients. What helped them shift out of that?
Eva Vennari 08:38
My personal sharing seems to be key. I’m getting into the intimate space of the mind, where thoughts are yet to formulate into words. And people tend to have a difficult time owning those thoughts and words, because we’re also in a place of time, space and time with our communities where we said, Whoa, just think positively, you can think positively.
Heather Clark 09:15
Eva Vennari 09:17
Yeah. And that irks me too, because our emotions and this really does tie back to my work, when I’m talking with a person who is experiencing these invisible illnesses.
Eva Vennari 09:31
Oh my goodness.
Eva Vennari 09:33
You can deny yourself for so long, but that creates a physical cavitation between your heart and your mind and you become out of coherence out of alignment with yourself and that actually creates physical manifestation that is anxiety by the way. So we feel something different than how we think about it. So all of these these wonderful things that settle into our experiences our emotions are meant to be guideposts. They’re meant to be messages for us here. You’re driving down the road, your car says empty, your gas is not going anywhere, the car’s not going and you’re going to just ignore it and say, I will think positively, I will get to my destination. That’s not how we work, either.
Heather Clark 10:18
Eva Vennari 10:21
And when we feel a sensation that is less than neutral, less than I’m calm, I’m Zen I feel good. We get into things like criticism, of self and of others when we get into not just curious, now we’re judgmental. Like, I don’t, I don’t like what he says, I don’t like what they do. I know, you know, and we judge and you say, oh, who they think they are you we get into these mindsets. These things are meant to alert us something is going on. It’s not just the other person we’re co creating in this world. So something is opposing you and creating that conflict. And I think when it comes to that internal conversation, where I don’t feel good, I don’t like where I’m going in life, or I don’t feel like anything I’m doing is mattering. I can’t find for me, it was all about I can’t find my motivation. And can I just tell you, that was a direct effect of clearing my mother wound.
Eva Vennari 11:22
So there’s, it’s a path, it’s a path along the way. And so and our emotions are the things that are meant to guide us and then we ignore them. Well, you’re going to end up on my doorstep saying ‘Eva, I have chronic conditions and doctors can’t find what’s wrong with me. Will you help me?’ Yes, I can. But guess what, I’m going to help you. I’m going to guide you through this process because we are going to come to it. There’s going to be a place where you’re going to have to look at your dang emotions.
Heather Clark 11:49
Eva Vennari 11:50
Heather Clark 11:51
Karla McLaren, I might be misquoting her, but she calls emotions, “action requiring neurological programs.”
Eva Vennari 12:00
Heather Clark 12:00
And deny them all you want. That’s like, you know, dead end road, cliff ahead and you just keep driving like, Okay, well, you’ll be fine for a while.
Eva Vennari 12:14
Yes. Just like jumping out of a plane without a parachute.
Heather Clark 12:18
Exactly. And then the relentless positivity, I guess, I don’t have an issue with the relentless positivity, I have an issue with the toxic positivity, which, from my point of view sounds like what you were sharing about people like, ‘Oh, no, no, I’m sure it’s all fine.’ And ignoring what’s actually going on. And it at least from my perspective, ignoring what’s actually going on, because they’ve judged it as bad or wrong.
Eva Vennari 12:45
Heather Clark 12:46
Or if things aren’t going well, for me, that means I am somehow bad or wrong or not enough. And I can’t deal with that. So I’m going to just jump ahead and, ‘no, no, it’s all good–sunshine and roses!’
Eva Vennari 12:59
My mother used to say just put a smile on your face. And and while the physical action, they’ve proven it, the physical action of creating a smile, can improve your mood. If if you’re doing it to ignore or bandaid effect, an actual real problem going on that you need addressing, then you’re just going to end up right back where you were.
Heather Clark 13:20
Absolutely. And I love that we have a very similar outlook and a very similar approach on this because it sounds like you and I both feel like it all comes down to not just identity. But are you truly being you? Are you denying any part of yourself? And then the exhaustion and disconnect that that creates.
Eva Vennari 13:41
Oh, yes. It takes an awful lot of energy to overcome yourself battling you.
Heather Clark 13:47
Yeah. And I love this so much. And I physical, one of the physical manifestations that you shared was anxiety. Do you believe that at least much of these invisible illnesses, this is the root? Or do you find that there’s a slightly different root there?
Eva Vennari 14:07
100% of the time, I am, at some point in the journey with one of my clients and I work one on one with everyone they get my personal attention. I have found that they’re placing their attention…they’re not putting themselves first when they should be. So they’ll place the priority of the relationship with others, especially a loved one parent, husband or wife over the needs of their own self care. And it tends to slide and slip and ‘Oh, well, you know what, I only gave him this one time,’ and then it becomes a pattern.
Eva Vennari 14:55
And as soon as you allow yourself to go down that road, then you end up with, you know, a new habit because that’s how you create habits. We’re for going ourselves and so when we get down into the nitty gritty of their habits, what is your daily you know, what is your road look like every single day what what is what are your tasks? What are you doing? And usually I will hear that they are putting their priority of their self care behind everything else. So that’s that’s what I have found to be true and the midlife crisis portion of it… Well, that’s kind of like we’re highlighting that very problem.
Eva Vennari 15:38
And for, just to kind of circle back on mentioning the mother wound, I was raised by someone who instilled in me a desire to achieve I tease, I introduce myself as a chronic overachiever. I can’t I couldn’t help it. Like for years, I could not help it. And it was a desire, unknown to me, but instilled in me by my mom, that achievement was paramount. And she never asked me to with words, there was something in the relationship where I felt driven.
Eva Vennari 16:20
And so it was the get straight A’s, be the best in the class. And I’m not just talking about academically, I was advanced in everything I tried. And when people hear the litany of things I was involved in, they get exhausted just hearing the list, you know, from from, you know, being being varsity volleyball, varsity track, and then a French club president, year book editor we can go on.
Eva Vennari 16:50
Achievement was a big thing. And I went through life doing that same thing spent the next 20 years raising kids on my own being supermom, you know, being where I needed to be bringing home the bacon and cooking it. You know, this was the high expectation.
Eva Vennari 17:06
And one day, I decided, I wonder, I had a question. I wonder what’s behind this drive. And that questioning myself, I wonder what’s behind this drive, because I wanted to be able to put it down, I wanted to have control over when I was driven. And when I could relax, you know, I wanted that choice. The problem was I lacked the skill set to motivate myself. So this became a huge problem for me. So at some point, I realized, oh, wow, this need to drive that came from mom. And so I spent some time in meditation, I spent some time healing some old, some karmic core wounds.
Eva Vennari 17:45
My life lesson then became, how do I motivate myself. And so that place that I healed the mother wound, that core wound, whatever, whatever that was, I can’t put my finger on it at the moment. But it was more like, I’m now free from that dysfunctional need to achieve.
Eva Vennari 18:07
And it released something in me and I no longer had a drive pushing me. And now I had to learn how to motivate myself. And that a lot of people stop right there in the why have I no motivation. And that’s it. And then they feel depressed, and they feel hopeless, and they don’t know where to go. This is, this is where most people stop the journey.
Eva Vennari 18:27
And that’s why it takes 10 years, or more to come out of it. And and there’s no snapping out of this. It’s a ‘Alright, the way out is the way through.’ That’s the old adage. And it’s true. It’s so true. So we’re looking at things from a standpoint of, of an observer now and saying, All right, what’s missing? So I’m constantly questioning myself, you might have heard the theme, I’m always questioning what, why do I have this drive? And then when it’s gone, I go Where the heck did it go?
Eva Vennari 19:01
Yeah. That’s kind of that’s that’s the that’s the path for most most people that I’ve had this conversation with. And if you get stuck in the doldrums, you know, I’m reminded of Pirates of the Caribbean being stuck in the doldrums. It really is like that. There’s no wind, there’s nothing on the sail and you’re just going well, what do we do now? Blow the damn sails. Paddle do something, make some movement and see where it takes you
Eva Vennari 19:29
So that, it was an interesting journey?
Heather Clark 19:33
I bet. What beauty did you find in that in-between stage of not having the drive pushing you, but not yet, finding the skill set to motivate yourself?
Eva Vennari 19:47
Well, being a chronic overachiever, here’s what I did.
Eva Vennari 19:52
I decided maybe others are having this experience too. And so to blow in my sales, or get the paddle out, so to speak, I started to practice gratitude journaling in a new way. So rather than just listing out, you mentioned it earlier, we judge things as good or bad. And most people when they gratitude journal only lists of things that they judge good for them, good happening to them good happening around them good happening for others. And I warn against that. And I invite the option to view all things around us as having a potentially excellent benefit for us in whether we can see it right now or not being grateful for all things in our life. That’s, that’s what I did for myself. And that’s what I encourage others to do. So that’s what I did. I created a book.
Heather Clark 20:55
That goes along with my idea that everything is happening for you, whether you believe it or not. I just invite people to play with that, like, what if…sure it sucks, but what if that’s happening for you. And that tends to help people at least shift their worldview around it, which can definitely improve their stress and their unshakability.
Eva Vennari 21:20
Yeah, I agree with that statement wholeheartedly. Nothing ever happens to you. And there are many who would try to argue with me, but Eva you don’t understand, right?
Eva Vennari 21:33
Let me tell you why I’m going to dig my heels in and tell you this is how it is. And but you can have freedom to them. Really can just by shifting the viewpoint. Let’s look at this from a different perspective. Let’s expand the container with which you hold your life story and and make room for an alternative one.
Heather Clark 21:56
Well you can hang on to your old story if you want to. But you know, how’s it working out for you?
Eva Vennari 22:05
Eva Vennari 22:07
Yeah. And it’s really, it’s really, it’s one thing to be on the other side of all of this conversation and tell someone who’s in the middle of it. Well, how’s that working for you, however, we’re looking for, at least for me, when I say something like that, I’m looking for a way to shake the ground, you’re on and get you to do that self reflection. Because without that, I’m not playing my part to get you to the next step. If you want it, it’s we all are playing a part. And that’s, that’s really the beauty and all of this my look at Yeah, my relationship with my mom, we It was interesting. And I use that word with with a little bit of
Eva Vennari 22:43
Eva Vennari 22:45
interesting to me is not just oh, I want to be inquisitive. It’s more like, Huh, that doesn’t quite sound right. I used the word dysfunction earlier. And it felt it felt normal, growing up, but the dysfunction was very clear as I started to mingle with other human beings, as an adult and realize, Oh, no, that wasn’t normal. And, or, or even appropriate, and the drawback was 100% of the time, you’re relying on your parents to raise you, and therefore your livelihood, and your survival depends on that. So you, we link a sense of love to whatever we are shown and that becomes the new norm for love.
Eva Vennari 23:21
And then I repeated that pattern with an abusive husband, and then ended up with not knowing how to handle the numerous dramatic events that happen when you raise two young girls, you know, into adulthood. And it gets to the point where, at some point, you realize you’re the common denominator. And all of these people are part of what I would call a metaphysical soul group. They’re there to play their part and get you to grow. So I had some growing to do. And I grew into a place where I now saw gratitude where most people would see victim.
Heather Clark 24:00
Well as you realized that the dysfunction and the conditioning you were raised with was like, oh, that that doesn’t really work here. That’s not what I want to do. How did you find your way through?
Heather Clark 24:12
Because when I work with clients, a lot of times are like, I get that what I’ve been doing isn’t working. And I know that this is probably several generations old at this point. And how do I in a moment to moment basis, make a new choice? Because a lot of times people don’t have really great role models, even in popular culture, you know, you look to TV, for example, you’re like, wow, there’s not a lot of great role models here.
Heather Clark 24:44
What way through did you find and how do you support clients to make these shifts? Because knowing what would be helpful and thinking about it is one thing. But the rubber has got to meet the road at some point.
Eva Vennari 24:58
I have been doing a little lot of questioning myself on that very subject even recently, and then my midlife crisis happened. About a year ago I was when I went through this, it took me four months to move through it. And so in retrospect, I was thinking about how very closely the story that we tell ourselves when we have a chronic condition are very similar to the stories we tell ourselves in midlife crisis.
Eva Vennari 25:23
And I thought about all of that. Remember the overachieving okay? So in gymnastics, I was a gymnast, and under the age of 10, I was constantly tumbling, loved it loved it loved it.
Eva Vennari 25:36
And my coach, I would say, Eva, there’s no try, there’s only do I mean, it was pretty much Yoda. So it’s the constant, not giving yourself the excuse to stop, because you failed once. And then for years, from the age of nine, through I mean I still played my flute. I’ve played, I played my whole life, I love playing the flute. And when you learn, to read music, and play an instrument you are trained to you read the music, if you make mistake, you keep going, you make another mistake, you keep going, you don’t stop and start over, stop and start over.
Eva Vennari 26:13
And this is where I think people get stuck, if they don’t have the training. And this is where we see also on a bigger picture when it comes to education, removing music, learning wherever removing the things that make us more well rounded people and just focusing on what we think is important as writing and arithmetic, you know. So it’s like these beautiful teachings that I received that framed my not just stick to itiveness. But it’s, it’s the knowledge that if you do keep going, you’re going to live, you’ll be okay, you’ll get to the end. And this is something that’s in me. And I’ve been questioning that it’s like not just playing music, but also in reading.
Eva Vennari 26:53
So for years and years and years, I went with undiagnosed and I still today I don’t I’m not diagnosed with dyslexia. But when I look back at my, my history of education, I know I have it. So I remember being in front of the room. First grade being asked, Eva will you read out loud, you stand up and you read. And she then looked at me the teacher she’d say, Now what did you just read, I said, I don’t know, I was concentrating really hard, and just getting the words out.
Eva Vennari 27:20
So I then was coached in reading more and off offline, you know, without having a label on me, it was just Alright, let’s, let’s figure out how to push through this. So I have been faced many, many, many times with the failure, move on failure, move on until you become to the point where you’re practicing perfect. You practice perfection once you get to perfection, but you practice the failure over and over again until you finally get there. And it’s just a progression. And this is the one skill that I have, I think has been something I’ve been sharing that has helped others. It’s like, don’t stop, keep going, keep moving.
Heather Clark 28:01
Well, it sounds like you are able to really relate to this as from what you’ve shared, what I hear is a resilience with failure. And how can you… What would you suggest for people to build some resilience with failure?
Eva Vennari 28:21
take up an instrument.
Eva Vennari 28:27
And if it doesn’t get you cursing, it’ll certainly get you to resilience.
Heather Clark 28:36
I’m laughing because I too played the flute like I was never in gymnastics. But there are lots of parallels between your story and mine. Like I completely resonate with overachiever. And I also completely agree with music. There’s well I made a mistake and you just keep going. And it’s almost like you keep going but not an ignore that it happened but somehow weave it in to everything else you’re doing. And it’s tuning in and harmonizing with people around you. Like there’s so much beautiful with it. But in at least the music education I had, that was just that was a structure, you’re going to mess up. It’s going to be okay. Just note it mentally so you know where to practice and what happened. So you don’t continue to make that mistake and just keep coming back.
Eva Vennari 29:23
Eva Vennari 29:24
out. Okay, go ahead.
Heather Clark 29:26
Well, and how can people…what would you recommend for people to make that information portable, because there’s a lot of people listening to this podcast that are just like, I cannot do one more thing. I cannot I will not pick up an instrument. OK… What else?
Eva Vennari 29:49
So it really comes down to your curiosity, what is it that you’ve, you’ve wanted to do and maybe it’s time then if you don’t have time for one more thing. Take stock and inventory, Eva, that’s one more thing, dang it, of what you’re doing. And see if there’s something you can nix off the list. Or make it less time consuming. Give it to someone else. If your kids are getting older, make them do those chores that you hate doing. Like, like it’s about, it’s about releasing something that’s no longer serving you to make room for something more.
Eva Vennari 30:22
Because if you’re unhappy, then that’s what’s going on. Now. Now, it’s about reassessing. And I’ve come to the place I remember, this is a fantastic moment of, I have so much on my plate, and I’m thinking of finals, right, you’ve been in finals week,
Heather Clark 30:33
Eva Vennari 30:34
when you know that you’re doing three hours, sometimes longer tests and exams. And I remember being at home the night before the finals, and finals week, as they called it. Books strewn everywhere, my strategy was to get things done in pockets of time, so that I could absorb and learn and not just, you know, jam information into my head review so that I was ready. And I got to this level where I was looking around, and I’m like, Okay, I have my history exam here. And I have my math exam over here. I know that I have an A in math. And if I actually spent the time to calculate, I know that if I study everything I need to for this exam, it’ll take four hours for me to study. But I really need to spend that time over here in history. So real quickly calculated, what grade do I need to get on this final? In order to maintain my A, huh? Some people might have issue with that, but I didn’t. And I took it and I realized I need to get a D and that was it.
Heather Clark 31:42
I hear that. And I’m like, there are people that don’t do that? What? You know, where do you invest your time? Like, man, I could fail this test. Yeah, and still get an A in this class? I’m not I’m just gonna sell this book at that point. I’m done. Yeah, I gotta focus on pharmacology. I got to focus.
Eva Vennari 32:04
Yeah. And I think that that’s a that’s a skill set that I learned because I know I was I had that whole, I would tease about it, the dyslexia. So I created a bunch of strategies for myself. And I people tease me all the time anyway, they only know you’ve got a strategy for everything. Yes, because they work.
Heather Clark 32:21
They’re just jealous.
Heather Clark 32:24
Jealous of a strategy, I think is what it is.
Eva Vennari 32:27
Heather Clark 32:29
Because what I’ve noticed, for at least friends and clients, they’re like, how did you do that? I’m like, Oh, I just, I just created the strategy. And I just worked it. And here’s the structure. And they’re like, for them. It’s like, it’s magic. Like, no, it’s just what I do. Let me teach you how like, man let’s… And it’s simply a tool, once you learn how most people like, Oh, that’s pretty easy to implement. Great. But
Eva Vennari 32:57
yeah, and then we all need a hand every once in a while. It’s okay, I even me, I get to the point where I look around, and I think this is too much. I can’t, I can’t keep this up. And so I gave myself a white light at the end of the tunnel, and work towards that and and I’m constantly reassessing what I do.
Heather Clark 33:16
Well, one way of looking at that is that is that foundational piece of Profound Self Care where you are putting yourself first. And part of that is putting yourself first is where do I want to invest my time and energy? And using finals week as an example, ‘Like, well, I’d like to pass all of this and I’d like to get as good a grade possible. And here’s the amount of energy and time that I am willing and able to put into it.’ And then you just do essentially, it’s just a calculation after that.
Eva Vennari 33:49
Yeah, exactly. And I hear others with their college stories, or their test stories, wherever they they had, they were faced with college, you know, we’re with, you know, finals week. And I’ll hear things Oh, I took NoDoze to stay up all week. And I just pushed myself.
Eva Vennari 34:07
Um, I realized I’m not a self medicator. And I just I realized the number of people who are self medicating with something to stimulate them to get through their day, it doesn’t stop at college, we get used to it. And we like that we can be so so so productive. But you’re the ones that are going to not they’re going to burn out and you’re going to end up going well, I have all these problems. And I don’t know why and the doctors can’t figure it out. But you’re still taking speed or whatever that’s called now these days. They’re still taking it and it’s widely used in the workplace today. And it’s kind of scary.
Heather Clark 34:45
Yeah, even if it isn’t something that’s an actual drug, there’s something that people are using, that’s, in my opinion, out of alignment. Maybe they’re using external motivation. Maybe they’re using too much pressure. And probably you agree with this, correct me if I’m wrong, but that, again, if you’re putting yourself first like, here’s the amount of time and energy I’m willing and able to put towards this. And I can choose to use some NoDoze or whatever. And I could choose this and I could choose that.
Heather Clark 35:15
And I would just encourage people to look at, where are you making every day your finals week? Where are you investing energy that doesn’t actually serve you? And I think that’s part of certainly burnout, but also this midlife crisis, I see midlife crisis as a subset of burnout.
Eva Vennari 35:34
Heather Clark 35:34
And I think that is what’s getting people there. You’re, you’ve had the capacity, you still have the capacity to invest your time and energy into these things. But you’re not getting a return on that investment. And I think that’s a way of not putting yourself first.
Eva Vennari 35:50
Eva Vennari 35:51
Yeah, wholeheartedly and you hit the nail on the head, I often will bring to light we can be addicts and not realize it. So a lot of people say oh, well, you know, I’m, I’m in AA for alcoholism, or I’m recovering from this other drug here. Well, you can become addicted. A lot of introverts do they become addicted to processing. And that’s when you hear comments like, oh, You’re overthinking things. You know, people who are processors, they got a processing so you can find yourself worrying, not worrying, but worrying in the mind, you know, the mind just goes like a rat on a wheel, and you’re constantly moving, that is a direct reflection in my world of adrenal burnout.
Eva Vennari 36:40
You can’t let yourself rest, you can’t let yourself stop. And that was part of the reason that made me reflect Why do I feel like I can’t stop? Why do I feel constantly driven. And I wanted, again, I wanted to control over that I wanted to be able to put the brakes on when I wanted to and not feel like I couldn’t enjoy, just sit back and relax. So yeah, music, fun, sure, get up and dance and all that. But if if you need, like, if you need that kind of stimulation in order to feel anything at all, there’s a problem.
Heather Clark 37:19
Do you–are you finding your clients are needing the stimulation to feel anything at all?
Eva Vennari 37:25
I find Yeah, a lot of them have a disconnect. And so I get into the metaphysical space. And there’s a definite that coherence between the mind and the heart, I can see that in my theater of the mind as almost like a chord a lot of people are living there. Consciousness is only in the shoulders and up. Because the body at some point starts to break down, it’s in pain, and they don’t want to be in it, they don’t want to be aware of it. And so their souls there, if you will, their consciousness is sitting really high up outside of their body. So that automatically disconnects you from your heart. Now you’re not feeling and it becomes the normal state of being people are choosing to not feel because it’s too painful to feel.
Heather Clark 38:17
I have a friend who encourages people to sit and feel their feelings. And I know that when people at least when my clients get started with that, it can feel very overwhelming because they’re not used to it number one. And number two, there’s not quite a lifetime of backlog of feelings to feel, but it can the perception is that. What structures do you use to help support people during that time that they’re beginning to reconnect and beginning to feel all of these feelings?
Eva Vennari 38:53
I warn them of that sense, they may feel overwhelmed before we even start this, right.
Heather Clark 39:02
Eva Vennari 39:03
and it’s their choice to go on the journey. You can you can you know, there’s the whole old adage, you can lead a horse to water, I make it to the point where all that’s left to do is drink. And really it’s about that I’m here it’s a safe place. I’m going to do this with you once I’m going to show you how to do it. And then I want you to practice it on your own.
Eva Vennari 39:22
And this space of where you’re coming into feeling again, where you haven’t been there in a while. It’s like going into an attic that hasn’t been stepped into for a bit and the light doesn’t quite work right and you pull on the string and the little light in the center of the room doesn’t pop on. You know you’ve got some maintenance to do, but just pay attention to what pops up first and deal with that. And then then get there and then get there and then see what else you want to tackle but don’t try to think that you need to feel everything from your whole history. You don’t. This is just about getting back in touch is a much smaller touch point, then we’re perceiving.
Eva Vennari 40:04
And I find something really fascinating with the body. I’m in love with the design of our bodies and how it works, there’s something that’s called a calcium shell, that I can see on a mineral test, when I test hair. So when I test what’s in the hair, I can see how much calcium your body is getting rid of. And that amount shows up on this test. And if it gets to a point where it’s very high, I know that there are things going on emotionally, physically, that the body says we’re not ready to feel that this extra calcium running around in the bloodstream is going to keep you from feeling protection, kind of like a shell, right?
Eva Vennari 40:45
That’s why we call it a calcium shell. So you’re set up, you have a net under you. And maybe just knowing that it’s there might help you take that step out and get on the trapeze and swing. Because it can feel that scary, but it really is much smaller than that you’re just taking a step on a path
Heather Clark 41:10
Heather Clark 41:12
So tell me how did you get to be doing what you’re doing tell us your origin story.
Eva Vennari 41:17
I was a hot mess
Eva Vennari 41:26
from overachiever to you know really chronically complaining I I am was undiagnosed with untreated depressions since…gosh, 12, 13, something like that. And was told at 20 Oh, you’ve got autoimmune disorder. All sorts of tests are run you know, they accuse the Epstein Barr virus for being the downfall of all civilization. And I say no, it’s much deeper than that.
Eva Vennari 41:54
What’s causing my immune system to to fall I went through scarlet fever at the age of 20. I was personally quarantined. The world told me stay home for six weeks. Personal experience comparing this to COVID I start scarlet fever is much scarier. That’s how bad it was. I thought I was going to die a few times.
Eva Vennari 42:15
And married shortly after. Miscarried after that at 22. I was told I was infertile completely went through perimenopause at 28. Went from doctor to doctor what the heck’s going on with me? Why am I feeling this way? nobody seemed to know that they just wanted to give me some depression medication, I was told I was going to be in a wheelchair I developed arthritis. I mean, list goes on and on.
Eva Vennari 42:38
So I had all of these conditions. And I was searching, searching, searching searching for the answer. And meanwhile, I wasn’t in health, I wasn’t in healthcare, I wasn’t practicing any sort of, I didn’t really have a life’s purpose if you will, a message to send to the world, I was living my life. And working in information technology. I had a career in that for 10 years. And then I moved into construction–yay me–in 2008. That ended.
Eva Vennari 43:07
You know, I seem to follow the wave of what’s not going to work and talk about things happening for you. And it was shortly after I was blessed with insomnia with my issues. And I put in a search string in Google. And I put in all 30 different symptoms and diagnoses that I had been given. And I came across this very strange article that started to reflect me started to speak about the experience of my body and what I would feel if I have these things, these imbalances, these toxic metals, these things going on, emotionally, mentally, like what it would look like and I was enthralled. And at the end of this article, it said you may want to consider mineral balancing.
Eva Vennari 43:46
So I found a practitioner waited till morning, and I called her and I told her I’m your next client, I highly encourage you to do that. For me, that’s fine. You can call me up and tell me, you’re my next client. It made sense to me. If you give your body what it needs, it will heal itself and I went, Oh, that’s a good place to start. Maybe I maybe I could get rid of my back pain. I could get rid of this arthritis, maybe I can get you know, maybe things will revert I had no idea how much I would reverse it. I have reversed all of it. But it took time.
Eva Vennari 44:16
And nine months after that morning phone call. I had been on the program for a while. And which is which is just a lifestyle. I mean, everything that we’ve been talking about is stuff like that with supplements and food we’re looking at at all of the physical stuff in your world. And I decided I’m going to become a practitioner because I really was a selfish motive. I wanted to save money on the whole thing myself. And because I’m an overachiever, I was like, I’ll just become a certified practitioner. You know, this is interesting to me.
Eva Vennari 44:49
So two weeks after that I’m on the phone with my now deceased ex husband and he was 45 at the time and he’s complaining to me about heart prolapse, hepatitis B doctors found out he’s got diabetes And oh, by the way, iron toxicity. And he was just confused by the whole thing. Complaining just complaining to me. And I says, Well, I just this is ringing a bell for me and why don’t you try some mineral balancing? We’ll get you figured out. And he laughed at me. So none of that I’m fine. My doctors have me, I’m on medication.
Eva Vennari 45:26
You know where this is headed.
Eva Vennari 45:28
So, two weeks later, I received a phone call. And the hospital’s informing me. He’s passed away he had a massive heart attack is what the heck and they says, Well, he came in for kidney stone removal, we were just going to put them through some ultrasound work. We gave him something intravenously to calm him down so that he could go through the machine. And he, we couldn’t revive him. He had a massive heart attack. So age of 45. And he was not only on medications, he was on 17 of them. And after putting his affairs into order, this was July of 2011. That happened, I opened my doors for business. So I took my certification out of curiosity and overachievement and I decided I’m going to help others realize they have an option. And that’s what I’ve done. So from September on September of 2011, to now I’ve been doing this work.
Heather Clark 46:24
That is quite a journey. And that’s a lot to really integrate, just as you were sharing, I was very present as to how many opportunities universe kept delivering to you. And when it was time, it was time. And you integrated it and transformed it and then chose to Hey, I’ll become a practitioner. And I just think it’s fascinating, all the different reasons people get into doing things. Because there is a perception that, oh, it’s just all love and light. And this is my calling. And you know, sometimes it happens like that. But most of the time, it’s, I don’t know, that sounds fun, or I’d sure like to save money on this. I just love that. Let it be okay.
Heather Clark 47:05
And then to have all at the same time, the well, I imagine it was quite devastating to discover that your 45 year old ex husband had just died. That’s, that’s very dramatic.
Eva Vennari 47:18
It was devastating for myself and for both of our children who were at the time, you know, teenagers who were
Heather Clark 47:27
Eva Vennari 47:28
And we had just made arrangements for one of our daughters to go live with him. He was now able and wanted to and she wanted to live with him. And so we made that that’s what we were talking about. We just finalized that whole conversation. So when I heard that he had died. Now, we needed to reassess that as well. So there was a lot of big upheavals and changes and shaking out of reality, that that needed to be refocused. And I tell you what, having something like that go on, it refocuses your priorities for you.
Heather Clark 48:06
Eva Vennari 48:09
Yeah, there was no question.
Heather Clark 48:14
Yeah, and the reason why there was a groan when you like, I did not realize what was coming next was that he was passing away. But as you share with the story, like oh, I, my doctors have this handled, I’m on medications for that.
Eva Vennari 48:29
Heather Clark 48:30
At least from my own perspective, I always tried to share with people how medications are a tool. They’re not necessarily the solution. And there’s a certain amount of well, what can I be doing to help maintain my health? And for some people, that is medication. There’s nothing wrong with that. And for other people, it’s well, let me explore Is it possible that there is an imbalance? Is it possible that a mineral balance would really help support my body such that it could recover? Or is this more is there feelings to processes are things to be what like, there’s a lot of different ways to approach it. And I just would appreciate if people would look at more than just the one way and certainly more than just traditional medicine. And I don’t know if you can hear me stepping up onto my soapbox, cuz as a pharmacist, well,
Eva Vennari 49:28
Heather Clark 49:29
How many people, especially when I worked retail, asked me, you know, Heather, how can I decrease the number of medications I have? And most of the time it was for financial reasons. Because even with copays this gets really expensive, real quick.
Eva Vennari 49:46
Heather Clark 49:47
And so we’d look at it, I do the full thing. Okay, well, here’s what we can do here. Here’s what we can do here. And how, what’s the quality of food you’re eating? Have you considered getting some exercise, that’s appropriate for you maybe a walk every night, because there’s, you know, it would improve your health that would improve your fitness, some weight may actually come off that would likely impact this health condition here, blah, blah, blah. And they were just like, No, I’m good.
Eva Vennari 50:19
Yeah. Yeah, like, yeah.
Heather Clark 50:22
Okay. You got me, because I thought you really wanted to solve it. Okay.
Eva Vennari 50:28
No, that’s the story. I’m talking about it. Yeah, that really invested. They believe that what they’re doing is healthy, that they’re good with it. And they don’t want to change because they have no faith, that the change will actually help.
Heather Clark 50:42
Or even because one of the things I really love about you is you’re looking at the big picture. And it because I think all the best practitioners do. I’m even thinking now Oh, my goodness, this was the early 2000s. Someone came up to the counter. What do you have natural that can help me with hot flashes. So I came out, we went through what was available there in the store, we talked about what was available other places. And I said, and this is a great tool. And how much sleep are you getting? And what are you eating it? What’s your exercise? And she’s like, I just wanted this to solve it. Um, no, that’s not how this is gonna work. And that’s not how it would work even with a prescription.
Eva Vennari 51:32
Yeah, and there’s a misnomer thinking that it would Yeah.
Heather Clark 51:35
Yeah. And the culture is such that people just go blank, like, all of a sudden, you’ve grown antennas or something and you’re speaking alien language. They’re like, okay, not everybody, obviously. But it happened enough. I was like, Okay.
Heather Clark 51:55
So not everybody is willing and able to do the holistic approach. But even if you feel like you can’t do everything, I really love that you’ve got a lot of questions about well, what, what does work? What can you do? What if it is as simple as sitting with the feelings? You put it a little bit different? But what was what if it were as simple as paying attention to the emotions, using them as guideposts? Like, what if that’s the place to start, and I really love your approach.
Eva Vennari 52:27
That actually, is
Eva Vennari 52:32
I wish that we taught that in schools from the age of like preschool how to understand your inner voice, understanding the development of your intuitions, not thinking that it’s witchcraft is not is about, you know, really understanding feelings,
Eva Vennari 52:51
and not just knowing what to label them, but what to do with them emotion, you know, emotional intelligence, they talk about know, you know, your emotions. There’s plenty of people who could tell me they’re angry, but they can’t tell me why.
Eva Vennari 53:02
So what what to do with that, you know, like, in my world, anger comes down to two things, confusion and pain, you’ve been hurt, emotionally or physically. And it’s like, if you know that, then you can back into it. And I think that these little strategies that I have, like that, once shared, and they are applied, people can see Oh, I have more control over my health, and therefore how I feel and how I am showing up in the world than I thought I did previously. And that’s bonus.
Eva Vennari 53:34
You know, we’re not we’re not out there plowing fields anymore, we get it, we get the option to have a more rich and full life and help help people in whatever way we choose. And I feel blessed for that opportunity. So I’m going off on my own soapbox.
Eva Vennari 53:50
Yeah, it’s, it is amazing. The number of people who are in that conversation very quietly with a doctor says, Well, can you tell me what’s what’s wrong? What’s going on? And the answer might be, well, if you don’t want to take medications, we really don’t know beyond that. So we don’t know as been a very common response among the people who eventually find me after knocking on many, many doors. And so it inspired me to talk about it more and actually start a conversation on another… I’m, again overachieving.
Eva Vennari 54:25
So I have a podcast already called Owning Your Health. And it talks about the two pronged approach if you want to stay on on your medications. And you also want to empower yourself with other things to help get off those medications eventually, or just improve your overall health. That’s that one. Then I decided, you know what, we’ve got stories. We have practitioners and doctors and patients who are all frustrated around what’s going on in our healthcare. How can we up level this conversation and bring it out of the darkness into the light? And so I started a podcast called When Doctors Say We Don’t Know.
Eva Vennari 54:28
And we’re having these conversations, bringing them to light the things that you To be a shameful conversation is now able to be talked about more openly. And it’s an inclusive conversation, I’m not shaking my stick at anybody and saying Shame on you for it’s about All right, you’re doing this now, how far away is that from, how you want to live, and what you want to feel in your body, and how you want to feel and how you want to show up. Because we all have desires that are unmet.
Eva Vennari 55:27
We want to close that gap, and that is part of it.
Heather Clark 55:33
I love it. And I especially love the approach because as you’re sharing, it feels like for you, you’re clear, this is a systems problem. But there might be some individuals that are actively perpetuating the problem. But by and large, this is a systems problem. And many very talented practitioners are caught in the system.
Heather Clark 55:54
Heather Clark 55:54
feel caught in this system. And it’s unbelievably frustrating. And healthcare practitioner burnout rates are off the charts. And so are suicide rates because you It feels very dead end. And I really love that you’ve created this forum for people to especially practitioners, to listen in and speak the frustration and have these conversations. Ideally, we would all find a solution, and it would be the magic bullet.
Heather Clark 56:27
But we can work together and help resolve the systems issues that can be resolved and improve people’s experiences, both from the practitioner side. And from the consumer side.
Eva Vennari 56:42
Yes, yeah. Because it is a co created, it’s not as against them, but whoever you perceive yourself to be in us on either side of the fence. And if there is a fence, let’s let’s take it down. Let’s build a gate.
Eva Vennari 56:54
On the fence.
Eva Vennari 56:55
I’m more about that inclusive conversation. You’re absolutely right, I do see it as a systems problem. And you know, if we take that into the microcosm of it’s how we think about the system is also a problem, we should not be putting the entire burden of our health care onto a doctor, we need to take control over our own health care and be a significantly greater part of our own healing.
Heather Clark 57:23
And it’s maintaining, at least in my language, that’s maintaining power, like you’re keeping your own power. And you’re using your physicians as essentially a consultant like, okay, I don’t know you do. It’s kind of like, I’m not going to learn everything about how my car runs.
Eva Vennari 57:42
Heather Clark 57:42
I go to a mechanic for that. But I don’t just believe everything they tell me either. I’ve got questions, and I know how to tune in to my own intuition. And it’s the same thing, when you’re utilizing any healthcare service, or really any coaching service, any service.
Eva Vennari 57:59
Anything on the way out to the grocery store and picking like which which eggs do I choose going down the drink aisle? Which water should I buy? All of these things have? Have you at the core, you don’t have to be at the effect of ads or what other people’s opinions are you have a voice it’s yours.
Heather Clark 58:16
Claim it and use it. Love it. I would like to know what it means to you to be unshakable
Eva Vennari 58:27
to really know who you are.
Eva Vennari 58:33
It’s that simple.
Heather Clark 58:37
Beautiful. Thank you so much. Is there anything that you’d like to add that we haven’t had a chance to talk about today?
Eva Vennari 58:46
I would like to share a free offer that I have, if you want to I know. I have a fun thing that I do, I just started to do. It’s called Chinese face reading. Started about, gosh, beginning of COVID. And
Eva Vennari 59:05
there were ways to assess people for years in the Chinese world without having to take your clothes off. They wanted to keep the integrity of especially female patients. And I wish I wish we did that today in our own medical practices. And I did that through looking at the face in the face, you can actually see there’s a reflection of your own health, what’s going on with your heart, your liver, your kidneys, your spleen, your your overall inflammation, what’s going on, you can see that in the face.
Eva Vennari 59:39
And so I offer that very reading free on my website. And most people who are just simply curious, don’t if if you have something in mind that you want me to look at, you can upload your selfie and tell me in the forms, hey, I want to know about this and I’ll do my best to answer.
Eva Vennari 59:54
I put my own eyes on your face. It takes me about 10 minutes and you’ll hear from me personally. So if you go to theelevateinstitute.com, right there on the homepage says yes reveal, reveal the signs of illness hiding in plain sight. And as the Chinese face reading, you click on that, and it brings you to a forum, upload your selfie, and I’m more than happy to give you my assessment. Most people on when I’m done with it, and they reply back. Yeah, I kind of knew that. But I was afraid to go to the doctor.
Eva Vennari 1:00:29
Yeah, because nobody wants to hear that we don’t know or they don’t want to hear I’m looking for, you know, I want to be drug free. I want to take medications. Well, I can give you some options. So that’s a place to start.
Heather Clark 1:00:42
Beautiful. Thank you very much. And thank you so much for coming on the show like this has been delightful.
Eva Vennari 1:00:49
It’s been for me as well. Thank you, Heather.
Heather Clark 1:00:52
Beautiful. And I also want to capture it Where can people find you?
Eva Vennari 1:00:57
A lot of people will run into me on Facebook. I am the only Eva Vennari in the world that makes it super easy. So that’s v as in Victor E double na ri you search for me and connect there. I’m I do. Hop on there once a day at least and I’m looking through messages. So feel free to reach out and say hi,
Heather Clark 1:01:18
that’s fantastic. And just if you detected any disturbance in the Force, that was my envy.
Heather Clark 1:01:24
The name Heather Clark. You can’t even swing a stick without hitting a Heather Clark. So
Eva Vennari 1:01:36
I’ve obviously Googled myself a few time. Yeah, there’s I mean, I’m the only one so.
Heather Clark 1:01:44
And again, thank you so much for coming on the show. I just I’ve enjoyed this time, so much.
Eva Vennari 1:01:50
Me as well. Thank you for having me.
Heather Clark 1:01:56
Thank you so much for listening to Unshakable Being. You’ll find more information in the episode show notes at unshakablebeing.com. Subscribe to the podcast and share with your friends. May you be unshakable, unstoppable, and vibrant again. Until next time.