Connecting with Michanda Lindsey on the Essence of Being


Life is full of lessons and it is not linear .  We explore the multi-facets of life, what it means to find our essence of being, and embrace the journey with Michanda Lindsey.   She helps us accept that there is no one-size fits all and that when we learn to embrace the messiness and just enjoy it, we can just BE and make the most of our experiences. 

More information about Michanda and her solutions can be found below:

https://www.michandalindsey.com

Credits: Raechel Sherwood for Original Score Composition.

Links:
YouTube Channel: Uncover The Human

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/wearesiamo

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wearesiamo/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WeAreSiamo

Website: https://www.wearesiamo.com/

Transcript

Alex  

Welcome back to an episode of Uncover the Human. We are joined this week with our guest, Michanda Lindsey. Michanda, welcome to the podcast.

Michanda Lindsey  

Thank you. It's a joy to be with you all. Definitely. Thank you.

Cristina  

Thank you for joining us.

Alex  

So just give us some background. What's your story? What brought you here? What makes you tick?

Michanda Lindsey  

Ooh, I say "I never know what can come out of my mouth," when something along that question is asked of me. You said you have cats, Alex? 

Alex  

Oh, yeah. Yes. Currently, many, many. We're fostering a few. So right now, there are seven cats in the household.

Michanda Lindsey  

How many lives do they say cats live? I don't know. Seven times nine is 63. I feel like I could probably fill in about 63 avenues, talking about what I've gone through. So let's see my story, Alex, and Cristina, so excited to share with you. You know, I think I'm just that person who loves learning and growing. And my path is certainly anything but linear. It's anything but predictable. There are certainly parts of it that I wish I could have skipped over, but at the same time I'm grateful for everything I learned. And that's the caveat: I've learned a lot of things. And I'm still learning. But it doesn't mean I want to relive some of those lessons. I'm very honest about those lessons--they helped me grow. So I just really believe that we all need to embrace the multi-facets of our lives. Embrace the messiness, embrace the fact that, you know, there's not one size that fits all, and just enjoy it. And I wish I would have known that earlier, Alex. You know, I spent a lot of time mastering--Cristina and I talked about this before, when we chatted-- I was mastering trying to be like, perfect. Trying to be an overachiever. And I have many degrees, and they all wore me out and probably almost killed me. And so it's nice to have shed that, and to practice just being right now. And so I don't know what else I can say. There's a whole lot more, but I'm gonna pause there for a second. So I'll just say that that's me: learning, growing and shedding behind some of that old stuff.

Cristina  

I like all that, and you are the essence of being from our first season.

Alex  

This definitely feels like the most honest answer they can give, because everybody does have those stories. And usually we try to either retell it as a linear version, or as some kind of like, "these are all the things that led to the current moment," but there's always 10,000 other little facets and other little pieces. Everything that added to this was not all in a row.

Michanda Lindsey  

No, it was not. And it wasn't predictable. You know, I was talking to my kids, they're in college now. And I was saying to them, I said, "what if, like right now you've met the person you may spend the rest of your life with because you know, your dad and I we met as freshmen in college many, many, many moons ago. And you could not have paid us to believe that one day, we'd be married and have kids." We didn't even meet in Colorado, we met at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. You couldn't pay me to believe any of that. So when I asked them, like, "hey, what if you guys have met, like, the person you're going to spend the rest of your life with?" And their answers were like, "I hope not!" I never know. Because if someone would have told me that your dad was that person back when I was your age, I would have probably said the same thing. Like no way we're gonna ever like that. You mix it up. And of course, life unfolds in all kinds of ways and our way of it unfolding was, I mean, it's pretty kind of ridiculous and crazy and amazing too. So yeah.

Alex  

This feels painfully familiar. I'm curious how that applies. You've got kids, you said they're in college now. And college is very much like, in my memory anyway--and I don't mean to project too much to everybody else's college experience--but that's a bit of an "in-turmoil," a bit tumultuous time. Like you're kind of trying to decide a lot of things, figure out where things might land. There's also, at least I remember, having a belief that there was going to be some more steady path afterwards, or something predictable about, "I do this!" And then, there's a more predictable outcome, which, as we've all since experienced, is very much not the case. So I'm curious, you had the experience. You've been through many degrees. What's it like both going through that and leaving that, plus talking to your kids about it?

Michanda Lindsey  

Well, these are metaphoric degrees. So I have one degree. I want to be clear about that because I say that I'm probably the person with the least amount of education in my family, I have one lonely Bachelor of Science degree. And I'm in a family of people who kept going, and I'm content with my one lonely, Bachelor of Science degree. I have no, you know, low self-esteem about that. I'm okay with that. And I went to school, thinking I was going to go into Pre-Med. And I think that was still like that old wanting to pick a career that everyone's gonna be like, "Wow, that's so great! Be a doctor!" I liked the idea of it. And I really do love science and how things work in the body. Like, the actual discovery part of like... we're made so amazingly. And I participated in a few workshops and apprenticeships and programs that kept me all excited. And then I say, "Chemistry cured me of all of that!" You're in that massive lecture hall, and you're like, "you should have never taken chemistry" for how much isn't actually translating for me. I mean, I felt like "I am the only one in this room who is clueless about what we're doing here?!" 

Alex  

Probably not!

Michanda Lindsey  

And so I say that I would spend hours back then, Alex and Cristina. It was just, like, constantly spending time in a chemistry lab. My work study was in the chemistry lab. I was going to chemistry tutoring sessions, and I was getting like a straight C-/D+, oops, of yeah, we get an F. And so that was my chemistry experience. And then I remember, because I spent so much emphasis and time on chemistry, if a class came up where I had to write a paper, I'm like, "Oh, my gosh, the paper is due! Just let me throw something together." And then I would get an A, but like what are you kidding me? I threw that thing together, I barely put any time into it. What is the problem?! I'm putting all of this energy into like, the Chemistry, I want to be a doctor. What's wrong with this?! And so finally, I just had to get

honest and let that go. I was like, "you know what, I'm okay not being a doctor, this is too much suffering." And so I went from that to, "I think I'll be on TV." So I was a news anchor, a news reporter. I call that the BC life before children. And now they're, you know, ordained as a priest and then decided formal ministry, oh, my gosh, that's not my thing. Like, I appreciate it. I understand it works for a lot of people. But like, it was too narrow for me. I need to be able to reach people of all backgrounds or whatever, like, I don't care what you say you believe or what you call it, I just want to connect with people! Because we're all connected. And that's all that matters to me. So I'm rambling. And so I tell my kids this rambling story to say, just learn, and learn who you are, and learn maybe what you don't like and what you want to try. Because most of us, most of us, whatever we get that degree in and what we imagine it's going to be, you're going to end up somewhere else anyway. So have fun on the journey. Let's not get stuck on what we call it, or "what am I going to do when I finish?" Because whatever you say; let's not put that thing in concrete, because it's probably going to change. So that's my take on that. I pay a little attention to what they say they're studying, and I just care more about, "what are you excited about?" Like, what do you like? What are you learning about yourself? And then there are a lot of stories about what they're stressed out about, what class they didn't like, or what big project they have going on. So we talked more about that then what they're going to do when they finish because they're like a senior and a junior now.

Cristina  

It's a great approach. It's true though, at least when I went. There's this idea, a myth, a dream, an expectation, all of the above, that you pick a degree, you pick a major, you graduate and then that's it! Your whole path is right in front of you. All you have to do is kind of one step after the other and you don't have to make any decisions. It's all very clear and set up.

Michanda Lindsey  

Yeah, I mean, wouldn't that be nice and then almost scary at the same time again, like it sounds nice... but when I really slow it down and think about that... that's kind of scary. I'm glad it's a little bit more nuanced and colorful and more kaleidoscopic than that.

Alex  

Also, I hate to think that I was right when I was 20. And thinking about what life was going to be like. I'd hate to be kept to that.

Michanda Lindsey  

Yeah, like, it's kind of fun that you have this picture, you know, when you're in your 20s. And it's also like, wonderful that that picture is not the "her story." It ends up being a tiny fragment. So I don't know, it's an interesting time. And, you know, I really have a lot of empathy for our young people right now, because there's so much more that they are digesting and experiencing, than we, I'll speak for me at least, than I did. During that season, for me, it was so much about like, "what are you going to do when you're finished? What's your title going to be? What's going to be your next job?" and I was so brought up on that Nike culture of like, "just do it! You got to be something! Keep going, go, go go! No pain, no gain!" So, whatever accomplishment you have, like, "What's next? What am I going to tackle next? Where am I headed to next?" All that energy spent on trying to be somewhere and get somewhere. And my husband, he's my renaissance man. He does, like, all kinds of cool stuff. And one of the things he does, is he writes poetry. And he has this amazing poem that it's called, "I'll Be Happy When..." And he goes through this litany of things like, "I'll be happy when I'll be happy." And it's like, ultimately, when we put off our joy, or the emphasis on it, it's based on an occurrence. And not even a present occurrence, but like some future occurrence. Once that occurrence arrives, if it even does arrive, it can't sustain us. There's no peace in that. And I'm really encouraged by our young people who have all this going on. Like they're talking about, like, wow, racial reckoning, and the climate, and, you know, the pandemic, and school shootings, and I mean, all these heavy things. We didn't have a drill or lockdown when we were going to school. We had tornado drills in Ohio and fire drills, but, you know, no one had lockdown drills. And so when you talk with them, there's such a... as much as they're a little bit disenchanted, and that's putting it mildly, with our leadership overall, like global leadership, let alone you know, country leadership. I also see this depth of them exploring and asking these deeper existential questions that I was too busy trying to get to that next thing to ever slow down to meditate on or contemplate. I don't know where that came from.

Alex  

Yeah, that is once again, painfully relatable. Definitely, all that makes sense. That's how it kind of feels. And, actually Cristina and I were talking about this just the other week. There was somebody coming out of college, and she asked Cristina, "how do I figure out what kind of job I want to do? I want to figure out what really aligns with who I am." And when she told me about that both, she and I kind of digested the fact that, at that age, I don't think either of us had asked that. It was all just, "Well, what job title seems kind of interesting?" As if that was a full personality or even the right way to think about the choice, when you don't even know what it's like to be part of that job, or part of any job.

Michanda Lindsey  

Absolutely, absolutely.

Alex  

So what are you doing these days? You said you'd been doing a little bit of coaching and a little bit of everything really.

Michanda Lindsey  

I do a little bit of everything. That's that question where people ask you at an event like, "Hey, what do you do?" I'm like, you know, "Tell me more about you first!" That way I know, "Well, which one of my cards should I pull out?" It's kind of how I feel. I'm not talking business cards, but like, if you imagine you're holding a playing deck, like "Which card do I pull out? I think I'll stick with the hearts tonight, maybe we'll do clubs, maybe we'll do diamonds, maybe we'll never know." I've reached this place where I don't even know the titles fit anymore. And that's really funny because we live in such a world that focuses on a title. And we say, "What do you do?" and I like how you phrase it: "What am I working on?" I'm working on ultimately, you know, this whole journey of life of practicing how to be gentle with myself and with other people, how to be more present, how to hold space for people, and their journey of doing that. So, as a quote, "Coach," you know, and I put the air quotes up when I say, coach, because I don't even think that title fits. And people who know me, well will say that, "We don't know what Machonda does, but just go talk with her." And so what I help people with is... just when I'm chatting with them, they may say, "Hey, there's this area in my life, that's causing me some pain or some disruption right now." And I don't care what it is, if it's related to a career, or whether it's related to relationship, or just that numb sense that there's got to be more and I just feel stuck and disconnected from my own life in my own self. I don't care what people say, even, you know, I was sharing earlier that, you know, I offer executive services, so people like, "Oh, I'm an executive, I'll come to you," and I'm like it's all this same, whenever anyone comes to me, we're gonna still... I'm going to ask the questions about like, "Well, what do you care deeply about? What are your values? If today is your last day, what is it that you hope that you learned? And what is it that you hope that you've shared?" And so as we peel back, this idea that I need to have reached a certain pinnacle, or I need to have things solved, Ed., and finished Ed., I want people to make space to consider "Well, what if it's all continuing '-ing'? What if there's not a finish line? What if I can see all of this as part of growing '-ing' and not something that I should be finished with by now and I think that's so challenging for our culture, because, you know, it's so based so much on the external and checking something off of a list. And then moving on to the next piece, you know. We go from preschool to elementary school to, you know, middle school and high school and college. And then what's next? What's next? What's next? As opposed to, well, do we see our connection to life, to ourselves, and then to one another? Can we live in this place that has more purpose and meaning? And that's why I want people to really slow down. And I do need to slow down--we practice a lot of breath. And I think breath is a beautiful metaphor. That inhale, take it in, and receive... and then hold it for a moment before you let it go. Just receive it and hold it and be still. And then exhale. And as we're exhaling, we're not just like purging, and getting rid of something, but like, that's a part of a beautiful exchange, where if you think of trees, like we're giving them what they need. You know, they need that carbon dioxide, and we're receiving from them when we breathe in. So like, there's this beautiful opportunity to constantly be like, receiving and sharing and giving. And when it comes to ourselves... I say, what I know for me, was what I was so out of practice with, when I began to question and look at myself. Like, "Wow, I did not really know how to receive it from me. I didn't have to receive from anyone and I certainly couldn't receive from me, how can I be gentle? How can I love me from me to my love? How can I make space for presence and not 'doing'? I valued doing. What can you see that's tangible? That shows accomplishment?? You know, I was addicted to all the A's of like, "I need Affirmation and Adoration and Attention and Acceptance. And you know, all these things like I was a little puppy. I need more! Give me more! And it was never enough. And I needed more of that. And so to finally wake up and say, "Wow, that was a lot of time spent majoring on the minors." And yet, I'm grateful for it because it gave me the contrast, but I certainly don't want to go back to that. And so now you know, making space to help other people in that journey is what is most meaningful for me of all the things--whatever I have my hands in--that's ultimately what I want to help people do. Go inside out and make space for knowing how amazing they already are. And to live in this place with more ease and stillness and presence and a genuine acceptance and not craving that outer acceptance.

Cristina  

I love everything you just said.

Alex  

That's just one more massive gut punch of relatability. Close to home.

Cristina  

Yes. Very much so. Well, it's interesting because I started thinking about the contrast between our physical life, because when you're talking about the breath, I started thinking about how physically the breath is a great example... But everything about our body is in movement. It's always in the "-ing," it's, you know, our blood goes to all parts of our body, and it doesn't just stay there. Actually, we don't want it to stay there because otherwise we lose limbs. You know, it's constantly flowing; the breath is constantly coming in and out. Everything. Our cells are constantly renewing and dying and renewing. Our hair is constantly growing, and we cut it and it grows again. And yet, we have managed to, spiritually at least, in societal pressures to spiritually, really look for this finite. This, "You accomplish one thing, and that's the finish line." And then it's another thing as the finish line, and everything is siloed. And it's separated. And it's all about finishing, not continuing.

Michanda Lindsey  

Exactly. Yeah, that's what, you know... it sounds like you can relate. I try to be careful not speaking for everybody, but I certainly know that I was conditioned, and primed to be a finisher, to be like, "What have you accomplished? What can you show for yourself?" I should have some beautiful widget to provide for you,"Here's what I've been working on all these years, here you go." And I can offer this, you know, beautiful bow and ribbon package that's supposed to somehow exemplify why we're living. And I think that's such a mistake and creates so much distress and turmoil. And I think we have done a disservice to our young generation and to our own generation, when we perpetuate that. And so if we can interrupt it, and really become connected to the more, which is, I say it's invisible. It's visible inside of us. It's not visible on the outside, it's invisible to us already. And what's so great about that, is I don't need to go on these long external journeys. It's really right here. And external journeys can help and like, who wouldn't want to go traveling to the Himalayas? Or, you know, go hang out in Peru or you know, like the beautiful places we can go that certainly support it. But ultimately, this is where we need to go-- is right inside to our own heart, soul, spirit, essence. I don't care what people call it. They can call it anything, my light, all these different words, and can almost create even more distress on what word is it? What is it like? And I'm like, "I don't know, whatever you want to call it, but it's inside of you. Doesn't matter what you call it-- it matters to your connection. Can you hear? Are you able to slow down? Can we hear that?" And if not, the distress is well, "What's wrong with me? Because I'll never feel satisfied. And people told me I should feel satisfied and content and have this joy if I just follow this menu of what I'm supposed to be doing." And instead, when we throw all that out, we realize like, "Wow, there is no supposed to. No one can define it for me. It's my discovery," people can support us, and that we support one another. We do need connection. But ultimately, it's inside of us and making space for that with massive love, and gentleness and a sense of humor helps to be able to laugh at, "Yep, that was my skin and my knee on that. Yep, that was me. Putting my foot in my mouth. Yeah, that was me falling out. Like, that's me!" And if we can laugh at these pieces and be like, "It's okay, that just makes my soul more seasoned. It makes me more like, 'Okay, I have more facets now because of that!'" as opposed to thinking about something where we need to have shame or hide or not share. We need to be more vulnerable with each other, that all of us have made massive mistakes. You know, we've all done things that we've regretted. And none of those things define us. We're so much more and opening up to that.

Alex  

Yeah, that's a really great goal to try and help impart that to people too, because that's definitely a cause of suffering and it'll pop up. Even if you start to become aware of it, it'll pop up 10 to a dozen times... a day, a minute a month. That'll come up. Just some version of like, "Right, I'm still punishing myself for that. Oh, still lagging behind that one. Okay, all right. I need to accept more of the full story."

Michanda Lindsey  

Yes. Um, you know, I say, introduce me to someone who has been hurt on this planet. I'd love to meet them. I mean, have you met that person yet? No.

Cristina  

We've met people that pretend they haven't, or pretend that they have, but it didn't matter. It didn't hurt. They were above that. They were too strong for that.

Michanda Lindsey  

Yes! And I used to be one of those people, like, "I'm fine. I'm fine!" And I remember when I was younger, the messaging of being told, "be strong." And being strong meant not to show weakness. And even as a woman, it was like to hide your feelings, you know, so I had to put on this like, ridiculously masculine, false armor of "I'm okay." And like, even like, my music or voice had that lower, you know, like, wow, all that energy, being someone I'm not... it's exhausting. And it causes suffering. Because you wake up and you wonder, like, "What's wrong with me?" Nothing's wrong with you. What the issue is, is you swallowed something that wasn't yours. We swallowed a truth that was not our own. That's what's making us sick. That's what we need to like, you know, regurgitate and get out of us. All of these old beliefs that people told us who we think we should be, as opposed to embracing like, "Wow, like, we are all this massive, beautiful masterpiece. And at the same time, we are a messy work in progress." It's both, and they are both true. And we don't live our lives in these pie charts. Like, "Here's my professional life, and here's my personal life. And there's my family." There's no such thing as these charts, and these pie pieces and segments. No, it's all interconnected, there's this beautiful flow if we make space for it, and we begin to see ourselves as connected to what's inside of us, and then connected to this massive allness that we don't even understand. And stop trying to understand it! And I love trying to understand because I get all into like that-- I mean, we cut our cable a long time ago, so I don't get any more Discovery-- but I used to love watching those Discovery Channel shows. And I think it's cool to try to discover it. But ultimately, we know! There's so much that we don't know!

Cristina  

We'll never know.

Michanda Lindsey  

And that excites me to say it's not about the knowing. Stop waiting until I know, to experience. Just simply... Let's live, let's support each other. And let's do it with a lot more kindness and love and light and peace. Because if we only focus on the hurt, and we don't heal through that hurt, then we pass on that hurt. And that's what we're feeling. Generations and generations of hurt that's just been passed on and passed on, because none of us is designed to hold it. We weren't designed for pain and hurt. So it has to leave us. And the healing is the only way to see that it is almost recycled. So we're not passing that on, we need to let that energy be changed and transformed.

Alex  

Definitely heartily agree. There's definitely a lot of pain that just gets passed down generation to generation just historically, culturally. We just continue to, without addressing any of these things, it always continues to go on. And I'm curious, you talked about some perfectionism. You felt like the puppy, you felt like you were chasing these things. And those are all very relatable. What drove you to feel like there was a change that needed to happen or drove you in finding what change you wanted to make.

Michanda Lindsey  

I was telling my husband this, it's funny last night, something similar came up in a discussion with these really cool people we met just on Tuesday, we hung out with them again Thursday. And so, I was telling a story of how a young man, maybe about, I don't know, by its... time is so relative, I don't know if it was five years ago, eight years ago could have been four years, but it happened. And so he asked me that question in a different format, and without thinking what just came out of my mouth was-- he's like, "How, what, what? What's in you? What's this new insight? Where did it come from?" And I was like, "Suffering." And that was like my first like, kind of like off the cuff answer. And I would make that more nuanced now. I wouldn't just chalk it all up to suffering, like suffering means to me more glory. I would just say that, you know, it comes from something I can't define. I think that there's something in each of us that, when it's our time, we become no longer able, literally able to continue in, what I now call like, a lie. Except I didn't know it was a lie. And so I just reached this place where I don't know... the cosmos, everything, help, and all of a sudden, like, I just no longer can tolerate it. It's unbearable. It's unbearable to think that I'm going to try to morph myself into something that is so not me. And it happened during a time when I was serving in a formal ministry, as a priest, and I don't, I'm really careful how I talk about this part. Because a lot of people love their ministries, and I want them to continue to love their ministry. So I'm not speaking for all ministries, I'm speaking very specifically for where I was. And the environment was perfect for my growth, in its imperfection, because I was also a mirror of imperfection, of not knowing who I am. So I'm in this environment where I'm almost rewarded for focusing on the exterior. And many of us are empaths on this planet. And so we can intuit and we know how other people are feeling. And I twisted that gift to fulfill the part of me that craved performance. So what I mean by that is, if I could sense what someone wanted from me, I would give it back to enhance my performance. And it wouldn't be true. And I remember thinking about how I had deeply hurt a dear friend, like a sister to me, she literally... I had my first son's first birthday party at her house, because we were living in this tiny little loft downtown, and no one could ever park to come see us and we had no air conditioning. So she would always like, you know, come pick me up sometimes, and bring me over when I was pregnant with my second son. I, you know, came over with my snack bag, and my son who'd by then was in a toddler pack and playing, carrying a seat and all of that. And I would haul it all in her car, and hang out. And so many years later, while we were both serving in this ministry, and as a large ministry at the time, she and her husband had made the decision that they were going to move and leave, you know, go beyond this ministry. Which sounds fabulous, except that was not the culture of the ministry then, it was like "No one should leave, we want you to stay." And instead of me being accepting of that, I was so in love-- and love isn't even a good word, because I don't want to like mess up the word love with this-- I was so in, whatever the tainted version of love is, like I was in some kind of like, cloud of thinking that I need to be a good priest. And a good priest would tell you that you're not supposed to go. Because that's what we do. And I'm following, you know, this whole order structure that we have. So we have a bishop who says this is how things should go. So I want to make sure I'm in support of what he's saying. So it was a lot of just constrained choice making that was not authentic. And one day I slowed it down. Because I really believe this happens with so many of us there comes a point where your soul is like, "Have you had enough? Have you had enough of not being in accordance with who you are? Like all this, you've been doing very little as who you are. A whole lot is energy spent on things that are not who you are. Have you had-- you sick of it yet? Have you had your fill?" And when I said yes, it was as if I was literally asking the question that my husband asked of me when he said something to me. He said, "You've taken on what's not yours." And when he said that I wanted to know like, "Gosh, ouch. And thank you because it hurt. And it was real. I guess I needed it. And I wanted to know what else I have taken on that's not mine." And then an avalanche came in. I thought about this close girlfriend who I'm like, "Wow, she's like a sister to me and you just judged her in a moment when she was really trying to move outside of this culture that was really narrow. Instead of you being understanding and compassionate and supportive of her you were judgmental. You were narrow minded. And you didn't even believe what you said, even worse. You're just repeating what you thought you needed to say." And that made me ill. And when I looked in the mirror and said, "Wow, I No one forced me to do this. I did this. Where did I go astray?" And it was like, "Well, when you stopped listening, on the inside, is where you went astray." So imagine like here I am serving in this ministry, and I've gone astray because I'm listening outside of what's supposed to be right. And I'm not checking in here and so I made a decision like, "Wow, I am now committed. I want to hear from the inside and speak from that place." And that's what really began this massive quaking, an opening, and a joy and a freedom. But there was a lot of all stuck up there, there was a lot of travel to get there. And thankfully, I had a beautiful place of support. And I still do now, a small group of us who support like, "Wow, my so called ministry is simply being who we all are. And that's what my priesthood is. It's not about converting anybody. I'm not about making them go anyplace. No, you know, formation classes." The only formal thing I might do is a wedding or a funeral. But outside of that, it's like, "No, we're just constantly all here to help and support each other."

Cristina  

That's a powerful question. "Have you had it now?" I can definitely relate to that.

Alex  

I'd also love to know, just in various examples, you might have thought, I loved how you phrased it, you said "Sufferings had enough glorification already," it's a very strong message, but it was better said. But, yeah, what made you say that? I can definitely feel true to that within myself. I'm curious what your experiences were.

Michanda Lindsey  

It's one of those things that just came out at the moment, I hadn't really thought of it. I'm hearing it, too, come out of my mouth, but that is really true, and that's really cool. I don't know where that came from. It's, it's just... I should take it back, some people say, "We don't know where it came from," it came from the depth of who we all are. That's where that came from. And that's new to me sometimes, too. Like, I'm getting it, I'm getting it new too. So we all have those experiences when we just let it come through. And it was one of those ones like, "Wow, that is really cool. It has gotten a whole lot of glory. I've certainly let a lot of glory in my life." And so, I think that, I listened to this podcast when my husband and I were driving to the mountains about a month ago. And I definitely needed to because somehow driving up to the mountains at night just freaks me out when he's driving, because it's like this whole like, "I need something to not be looking at you because then I want to tell you how to drive. And that doesn't go well. That's my fear dressed up as control. And so I know all that, so let me just breathe, breathe, and a podcast helps me to like not be looking at like how close you are to that guardrail there." So anyway, I'm listening to this podcast, and it was, I think, Carolyn Myss, and she was talking about how support groups, as an example, can be really helpful for people. We have many of them, that so many of us, again, like who hasn't gone through pain, whatever, you know, trauma, there's probably a support group close to that, if not already for that. And we put a lot of emphasis on that, because they can be tremendously helpful. And she described it as like, "It's a boat to get you from one side to the other side. The challenge is that some people make the boat a houseboat." And I thought how she said that was so powerful. And I really believe that's probably where that came up in me, is thinking like, "Yeah, our culture almost celebrates that. And then we have a badge of honor," it's like, what do they call that? Like, the, there's a term for a humble brag or whatever, like, oh, I don't want to, you know, like, we try to do that whole, like, what are words like, simply, I want to wear as a, you know, as a breastplate of, you know, look how special I am, like, "I was up all night doing that. And oh my gosh, like, you know, when my son was, you know, went through this, when I went through that!" We just kind of like to tell the stories of suffering as if like, "I need you to know how much I've suffered." And I'm like, "I don't know why we do that," again, it's that craving for attention, I think, in this weird place, that we put a lot of attention on that. And then we start confusing the suffering with our identity. And that's why I think we need to be really careful, because instead of saying, "I'm going through something," we start saying, "I am that thing." And we're not that thing. It's something we're going through, it's something that's teaching us and if we twist it, we start saying that's who I am, then we give away our power.

Cristina  

We also put those expectations on others. So it's all about hard work. It has to be hard to be worth it to be successful to get you somewhere to be rewarded. If it's not hard, then it doesn't mean anything. If you don't want to work hard based on my definition of hard work, not your own, then, you know, you're just not worth my time. You don't have value.

Michanda Lindsey  

Totally. I mean, and it's kind of this weird place again, where I think it's like we're so out of practice with joy and love and receiving that that I'd rather talk about my difficulty. Talk about the suffering, talk about the pain. I'd rather you see that part of me, then to be at peace, and to figure out that I am at peace. And that's, you know, a part of the experience here too, is coming home to that. And I think because it's so unfamiliar, we create more, like we really do, subconsciously and consciously, we have to kick up some kind of chaos, we have to sabotage something, because that is the familiar comfort zone is when I'm feeling the opposite of love for me, when I'm feeling the chaos when I'm feeling confused. Because the stillness, the quiet, joy, and love, it gets into that area, "Do I believe I deserve that? Do I believe that's who I really am." And, those are all things we're learning and growing, and we need to help one another. You know, make that shift and understand things like, "Those are also aspects of who we are," and, "Wow, when we want to, you know, support one another and experience that."

Alex  

That's a really great way of putting it. I really just love all the things you're saying. I really love that differentiation, between, the idea of the houseboat of suffering, right, there are people who pause on the way. I was considering like, I'm curious how you got through some of the suffering? How you push through those things. But, I'm almost more curious now, if we look at this from the other side, what are ways you feel like, you know, there are examples of times when you do experience that love from the other side? Feel like there is that compassion?

Michanda Lindsey  

Yeah, it's what I talk to a lot of people about when you know, the question we ask when we go through something so painful is, why? And we're looking for this cause/effect answer like, "Well, what did I do wrong?" Or, "What did someone else do wrong?" And, and I'm like, "Life is so much more multi-dimensional, and a moving multi-dimensional component, that it cannot be traced most often. I mean, there's some things of course, you know, that are like direct, but a lot of other things are just... it is. And there's not an explanation. That really is so challenging for the humanity of our mind. And we become fixated on "I need to understand it." And so we keep on the hamster wheel up in this mind, needing to process and understand something that was not designed to be processed and understood. It was designed to be experienced, and to teach us and to see it holistically and accept it, and surrender to the lesson, which simply means stop fighting and trying to change it and trying to you know, deny it or push it away or blame someone else. And just simply get to that place of like, "Okay, I'm here." I talked about when I was married the first time. I'm like, "Who was that girl thinking she should get married?" In fact, my dad just sent me some pictures, and he asked me like, "Honey, I found the pictures from your first wedding to want me to send them to you?" I'm like, "Heck, why not? Let's see what was going on during that time, because it was so long ago. It was about like, I don't know, 27 years ago now. Or 25 years ago now, maybe."  Plus, there are a lot of great pictures of our relatives, some of them who are no longer, you know, living with us on this side. So I was like, "Yeah, I really want to see some of those." And I looked and I'm like, "Gosh, she was clueless!" And I just look at the picture, like, "She had no idea who she was! Who is this girl in this picture?" She just didn't know. And I remember telling people before the wedding, that it felt like someone was sitting on my chest. And instead of seeking out people who I knew had some depth, I literally sought out probably the most shallow people I could find to remind me what I wanted to hear which was, "It's just jitters! You'll be fine! Haha, just jitters!" It was not just jitters. But I didn't know that. I totally didn't know that. And so when I am in this marriage that I'm like, "This is craziness. This is awful. This is how did I get here?" And I'm like, "Well, you got here. No one put a gun to your head. No one forced you up the aisle. You weren't kidnapped and like you chose this." And I'm like, "Yeah, I did choose this. I totally chose this." And so needing to look in the mirror like well, "Here we are." So you could pretend it's not bad and like, "Well, I've tried that that's not going well. I'm losing weight. I'm losing my hair. I feel miserable. That's not going too well. You could leave. That would be embarrassing. What will people say? Oh my gosh, my wedding was filmed on TV because I was a little TV news anchor celebrity then, like, that would be so embarrassing!" And finally, again, like you just reached this point, and I was like, "I don't care what anybody says, this pain is awful. And you can talk about me all day long. I'm going to choose my own peace of mind and my own health and I'm going to go forward, and I'm going to own this." And the first part of owning, well it wasn't the first part, but eventually, through it... you asked the question like, "Well, what led me here?" and I was like, "Well, because I didn't know how to listen to this voice inside of me. I didn't even know what that voice was. I didn't know my own worth. I cared too much about what other people thought of me." And so that's one example of how we can put the emphasis on the wrong place. And so when we make the shift to, "I can accept my flaws, my mistakes with gentleness, and I can also choose a new." And that's so liberating. And wanting to experience that liberation is what I believe we all are here for, like to have that freedom, and to expand and to grow. And it takes going into like our deepest fear sometimes, and what will people say, making a mistake, you know, something doesn't work out, changing it, all these things. And it's usually the idea that that's way worse than the reality. And the reality is like, "Wow, you just go through, you just keep going, just keep breathing one breath at a time, you don't have to go 10 breaths at a time, just this next breath, this breath right here. That's the one focus right there." And so that's been a really huge compass, for me, is to understand, like, "Wow, I'm capable of really creating chaos and pain for myself. If I'm not careful, I can create that chaos and pain for other people. And I also can be a conduit and a creator of healing." And if I have a choice, then I want the latter. And because we all have a choice.

Cristina  

What is it like to help others go through this journey?

Michanda Lindsey  

I love it. I mean, I really do. Like, that gets me up every morning, because we're all connected. And I love looking into someone's face saying, "It's all okay! All is well," it's one of my favorite quotes. And I can't take credit for its Adi Shanti who says all is well, in parentheses, "Especially when it doesn't seem like it. And more well, that could be imagined." And I quote that so often because I love it because it's all, all, not a couple of things. Not some things. And is present tense, not could be not might be not will be not used to be is. Well. And yes, especially doesn't seem like it that fits the occasion, usually. And then when you say, "... and more well, that can be imagined," it just reminds us that there's so much more than the human mind can comprehend. So stop trying to comprehend it in our minds, and open up in that deep place, whatever you call it, essence, spirit, presence, soul... open up in this massive place that can be okay with the mystery of what it cannot contemplate and understand--that there's so much more. And we open up to that. We see, "Wow, there's far more in us than what we even thought. We're not what other people told us. We're not our pain, our mistakes, we're not our hurts. We are constantly changing. And we are ultimately all here connected." And we have an opportunity now with so much chaos happening outside to say, "I may not be able to change that, however, there's this beautiful principle that when I change in here, I'm able to make more enlightened decisions, and that has massive impact in everything we do." And then it's coming from a place where there's harmony and integrity, and also some ease and joy. And it's not all strife and got to bust a brick wall. So I quote, well, actually, you know, I talk about the stage of the divine feminine, where there's like, "Wow, there's a wisdom and an intuition and an opportunity to do things without it being power over action. And this form of like, action as the only choice. It's like actually letting go is a powerful choice. Being is a very powerful choice. And amazing things can happen when we do that.

Alex  

I was thinking of... Brene Brown did a podcast with a guy who talks about the five stages of grief. And he talks about how they're developing the idea there's kind of the sixth one, which is finding meaning. You get to some kind of acceptance, but then you fail to find the meaning and I was thinking about that. We talked about when people ask, Why has this happened to me? People ask, "What am I going to do about this? And there's a kind of a fine line to walk here but, asking why this happened in that... treat it as rather than the effects, treat it as the cause. This happened, so what is available to me now? What is? And not not to say that like, everything should happen, everything you know, it's not good that painful things have happened to people. So I'm not trying to excuse those things happening. It's just to say, "What can I get from this?" And I really love that distinction.

Michanda Lindsey  

Yes, it just means we need to move from a different set of like, almost like a playbook that we've been following. You need to just close that playbook and just toss it aside, and now just like, "Okay, all of this is available." You're not confined to this little playbook. Like just put it down, and then like, open to the all. And now, what if I've been looking at this from just this small narrow place, and that's what's causing me so much stress and distress. If I close that, and I put it aside, then maybe I can make space and room to perceive that this isn't happening to me, but this is also happening through me, and with me, and for me. Because I'm connected to them all. It's not like something happened outside to me. It was with me and through me, and ultimately, it's for us to come into, you know, a greater consciousness, a greater understanding, not intellectually, but a greater knowing that we are all enough.

Cristina  

So true. Such a different perspective.

Alex  

Michanda, have you ever just recorded your thoughts for a long time? I'm pretty sure if I just listened to that all day long, everything would be a lot better. Things would be a lot nicer.

Cristina  

Hypnosis tapes for when you fall asleep!

Alex  

Oh man, I could endlessly listen to that. I love the way you've thought about the world. I love the way you're expressing these. It's just, it's fascinating.

Michanda Lindsey  

You know, I think we are fascinating. You know, I love working with people. I know if I were to spend more time with both of you, with anyone! Like we're all so fascinating. We all have these amazing... the fact that we're still here is fascinating, because we didn't get here, just like, "Oh, I went through some daffodils and tulips and that's how I'm here today!" Like we all went through so much to be in this moment. And I love learning about that with everyone that we encounter. If we had that chance to really get to know each other like, wow. What I find is that each of us have different variables, so to speak, or different specifics, and yet those specifics are so universal. It's like the craziest thing. Like, I may not understand anything about what someone is saying. And I understand and I know it. And that's what's so cool.

Cristina  

We know it inside. Yeah, it's way deeper than the words and the external stuff. You just know it.

Alex  

There's this wonderful Swedish word, I think it's Swedish anyway. It's called sonder. And it just describes the moment when you realize that like everyone else you run into has a life that is just as complex and just as detailed as yours, just as filled with all of these things. I love that. I feel like this takes it even a step further. You get to actually dive into the stories of those people. You get to not only realize that that is absolutely true for them, but start to find out what that truth is. What has it been like to get to this, this place where you just walk past this person on the street, you may never see again, and they have decades of experience from before that and decades yet to come. And who knows what brought them there where they will get a chance to actually explore that. And that's incredible. 

Michanda Lindsey  

It's incredible, and I've learned so much. And I think that's the piece I want people to know is we learn from each other. So when I talk with clients, I tell them to run from anyone who tells you that they mastered something, ED., because I say I've mastered nothing. I am also a work in progress. I am sharing with you what I'm able to share and hold space with you as you're discovering it. Because ultimately, each of us discovers it. And so we hold space for one another with that love and acceptance and compassion, so that people can see into who they are. And when they really connect and see the fullness of who we are and like that begins them on their journey of freedom. I'm like, and then you're not going to need me. And then you just pass it on and pay it forward in whatever way you do. And then share with me too, because that's what we're all here for. It's reciprocal. And so that's what I really love about you know, connecting with people is that, "Wow, we, I mean, we're this beautiful, massive constellation," like yeah, we look at these constellations, we can see, you know, through the telescope, but like we are some massive constellation that like someone else is probably looking through a telescope at like, that's what I think is so fascinating. You know who we are.

Cristina  

I'm a big fan of the constellation. Anything. Like I recently heard a podcast about someone who says he's allergic to pyramids, referring to the work pyramids and companies, because he believes that you know, what really works is constellations. It's just all these stars connecting with each other, helping each other creating something bigger than each other, you know, and constantly just moving together. And I, you know, it was one of those moments like, "That's it! I'm allergic to pyramids. I know I've never liked them. But that's it!" And it's the constellations that's the concept. That's who we are. We're not pyramids, we're not one on top of the other.

Michanda Lindsey  

Totally. And I love that, as you were talking about, yeah, we're not static constellations, like we're in motion and it moves and like you see one, like, I don't know, massive design or whatever. And like, it's gonna change. And that's what I think is cool as, as we each grow and evolve and learn more, it changes. And we're all connected to that. And so that's what I really love about this season. That's no more about like, "I've got mine." It's like, "No, we're here to help each other. That's, that's our massive call." And it's a big shift from, you know, being rewarded for taking care of me, and seeing ourselves as an individual. And working hard to see that that was another lie, I was fed that I was separate.

Alex  

I love the seeming contradictions in what you got to present here. There's some wonderful things, we are all kind of unique, we have a very different flavor of what we got here. And as you said, before, we have some of the same underpinnings. I mean, I know what you're talking about. But I know the feeling, right? I know what has brought you here, even if I don't know what's brought you here we talk about, you can't go for the external. You can't look for the external approvals. And yet when you learn this, like, Okay, I'm going to help other people, you end up getting this help externally. Ironically, it just not this is not the approval external, it's just help from other people. And there's so much back and forth where you have to know yourself to know other people you have to get out, like, away from the external to get to the connector.

Michanda Lindsey  

Absolutely. I mean, it's all a little bit counterintuitive. It's all a little bit like, upside down twisty turvy, it's all little, you know, turned inside out. It's all of that because... it just makes me laugh, like, "Wow, we've spent so much time looking at it from this really flat, material, shallow picture. And actually what's really there is magnificent and dynamic and moving and changing and shifting and can't be measured and can't be quantified and can't be defined or labeled. And as much as that may just really mess with our heads up here. It's so awesome. And it brings liberty and freedom and it also brings a little bit of accountability to say I now own the role and the choice. And I see that one of our most powerful gifts is choice, and to really begin to want a connection to say, "Are my choices in harmony with who I am? Am I choosing from a place of depth and meaning or am I simply going through the motions? Am I simply beating someone else's expectation, or even my own idea of an expectation? That's not truth.

Cristina  

So true. Well, I'm sure we have at least 62 other constellations of conversations and explanations to go through. So, 62 more hours?

Michanda Lindsey  

No, because all the cats! If you get another cat Alex we're in trouble. Yeah.

Cristina  

Just multiply or if you change cats do we keep the old lives and just compound?

Alex  

I'll let you know as it changes.

Cristina  

This was truly illuminating.

Alex  

This was super fascinating to get to talk to you Michanda. I'm so glad we got to do this. Thank you so much for joining us. This is, just again, incredibly interesting just to get to talk to you at all, plus about all the things we get to talk about, which is... all of these are some of my favorite topics. I love talking about just the depths of what is living and what is being.

Michanda Lindsey  

We're all students in that, and so, I'm excited to hear what, you know, future generations will say. I say that we're the manifested hope of ancestors before us. And so it'll be interesting, like what we have left and the ethos for, you know, the future. Who will then be our manifested hope?

 

Cristina  

That is beautiful. So, two questions for you: First, where can people find you, should they want to be illuminated into their journey?

Michanda Lindsey  

You can find me on Facebook and Instagram. I'm gonna put out a little disclaimer that I'm sometimes not as consistent on social media because I personally am working through my own... My own just stuff about social media right now and trying to see the light. So you can find my name is Michanda Lindsay on Facebook and Instagram. If you email me, it would probably be easier. It's a long email. So it's Michanda@MichandaLindsey.com And then my website is also MichandaLindsay.com, A lot of Michanda Lindsay. When you have a name like that, there aren't too many. So you can use it for all your domain space. And you don't have to worry about anyone else having it. So it's really easy.

Cristina  

And we'll have this all in the show notes. So nobody has to keep track and write down the spelling right now. And our last question is, what does authenticity mean to you?

Michanda Lindsey  

Well, I would say authenticity means being who we really are, who we already are, who we always have been who we always are, because I believe it is constantly present. And the opposite of all those things I talked about earlier of living in the veneer trying to please other people, you know, I say when the ego wants to try to drive and get in the front seat, I'm the opposite of authenticity. And so I have to tell my ego, like "You know you always get us in a ditch. Like, "You're supposed to sit in the back seat. Whenever you drive we go off in a ditch. Like, you know that, so that's why I'm telling you to go in the backseat. You're really only good when there's absolute physical danger. And there's usually not a whole lot of physical danger going around. So your job is to stay in the backseat, and my job is then to make sure you stay in the backseat." So authenticity is keeping the ego in the backseat and like being you know, understanding that it wants to try to drive but usually it's not needed to, to get us anywhere except in a ditch. And authenticity is a lot of practicing. Being who we all are is connected with love, light, power, grace, ease, joy, compassion. That's who we all are authentically. So I think authenticity is being intentionally in harmony with who we all already are.

Cristina  

I'm definitely going to remember the ego driving into the ditch, as well as everything else you just said, but that's gonna be on my mind whenever my ego starts taking over and be like, "No, no, don't let it! Let me turn on your movie on the DVD player in the back!"

Michanda Lindsey  

Disney movie in the back seat!

Cristina  

You've got Mario Kart, you can drive the Mario Kart in the back. 

Michanda Lindsey  

You're allowed to be in the car, but you're not allowed to drive, yeah.

Alex  

Well, thank you so much for joining us, Michanda. This was a wonderful conversation. And I loved all of the metaphors that you use. I tried to write as many as I can remember immediately and then I'll just listen to it for the rest of it. But thank you again, so much a fantastic conversation and thanks for doing this with us.

 

Michanda Lindsey  

It was wonderful to talk with you both. Thank you so much, Christina, Alex, a joy to be with you. And so my pleasure, my joy today. I'm grateful.

Cristina  

Thank you and have a great weekend. 

Alex  

And thanks, everybody for listening. 

Cristina  

Thank you for listening to Uncover the Human, a Siamo podcast.

Alex  

Special thanks to our podcast operations wizard Jake Laud, and our score creator Rachel Sherwood.

Cristina  

If you have enjoyed this episode, please share, review and subscribe. You can find our episodes wherever you listen to podcasts.

Alex  

We would love to hear from you with feedback, topic ideas for questions. You can reach us at Podcast@WeAreSiamo.com or at our website, WeAreSiamo.com. LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook.

Cristina  

Until next time, listen to yourself. Listen to others and always Uncover the Human.

Michanda Lindsey Profile Photo

Michanda Lindsey

Transformation and Presence Coach

Michanda Lindsey believes that each of us is already magnificent, whole and and that the answers to our deepest questions are already within us. Under the umbrella of Presence and Transformation, Michanda provides Executive Coaching, Life Coaching and Spiritual Coaching. She works with individuals and groups of all backgrounds in person and virtually, and offers The Flow coaching certification program, as well as Equity and Inclusion trainIng. Michanda supports her clients in making the powerful shift of living inside out instead of outside in. By guiding people to connect more deeply to their inner heart, Michanda leads them to their own reservoir of power so that they can create and access more peace, purpose and connection to themselves, others and life as a whole.

Passionate about the arts and committed to bring light to the complexity, vulnerability, and majesty of humanity, Michanda is also serving as a Producer for the upcoming film BLACKFACE: the story of nobody. Altogether her eclectic background as a Presence and Transformation coach, a former television news anchor and reporter, and a present day priest, yogi, wife, mother, and film producer, leads to one underlying river of hope. Michanda desires for all of us to know the beauty of oneness, the freedom of being enough, the power of presence and the treasures found in stillness.