Our bodies and emotional centers process information faster than the rational mind. As Cristina likes to say, "The body knows before the mind does." Our latest Uncover The Human guest is Becca Marshall, founder of ActivXchange and expert on showing up consciously and actively in everyday life.
In a powerful conversation on shower arguments, perfection, and building safe environments, Becca shares her insights and tools for checking in with ourselves and learning to listen to the messages our bodies are sending to us. When we improve our connection to ourselves, we can better connect with the people and world around us.
Credits: Raechel Sherwood for Original Score Composition.
YouTube Channel: Uncover The Human
Alex Cullimore: Yeah, wonderful to have you here. Why don't you give us and the audience a little background on who you and what you do?
Becca Marshall: All right. Awesome. Well, happy to be engaging in this conversation with you both today. I am an integrative practitioner and founder of a business called ActiveXchange. And what I do there primarily is I work with consciously driven business leaders, healthcare professionals and also emerging adults. And the work that we do tends to focus on opening doors for health and healing across a lifetime, right? So, we bring in different practices, and different tools to really help people create a personalized lifestyle medicine. I think it's something that we could all use and benefit from.
And oftentimes, it does come in from a holistic perspective. We do it in natural ways and utilize other things as needed and complement. This is something I’ve been in the world of psychology for, if not 20 years, we're right close to there. And the journey has led me here to really an integration of different Eastern and Western wisdom, knowledge, and practice to bring that together for individuals and groups that I have the opportunity to work with.
Alex Cullimore: What is the story behind the name ActiveXchange?
Becca Marshall: Well, I’ll be curious to kind of maybe turn that question back over to you guys as well with SIAMO or even Uncover the Human. Really, just anticipating this conversation, I really was reflecting on that. But I’ll answer first, which – So, ActiveXchange, I was sitting with the name of what it was that I was doing and really wanted to officially be doing in the world. And different names were coming through.
And I would sit with one for a while. And it's like, "Yeah, not quite that." And for a while, I was working with the name Thrive. And then all of a sudden everywhere it sounded like all these businesses were named Thrive. I’m like, "Okay. Not that one."
So, I had this just really like a large sheet of white paper up on my wall, and I would put ideas up there as I was moving around my house. And ActiveXchange really – And the way that it's spelled merges the words together. It's all one word, ActiveXchange. So, we sort of drop the e. We merge the words.
And what it has to do with is that piece of being actively engaged. Whether I’m working with one other human or several other humans, individuals, or groups, that I’m not just showing up with my expertise and my active engagement. I am. But so is anybody else that I’m working with. So that's the active piece. And there is a piece in that about being conscious as well.
As I mentioned, I work with conscious-driven people. And so, I don't think that there's perfection in that. I think that it's a constant state of learning around that. But that has to do with the active. I’m showing up for this actively. And the exchange has to do with, I think, that piece about you know the learner and the expert. It's like I will show up just as you guys do I imagine, right? We show up with our expertise. But I am not an expert. I am not the authority.
Anybody that I’m working with, they show up with their expertise also. And together, we actively combine our knowledge, our wisdom, and our direction. And we work together. So, it's almost like you know this reciprocity exchange. And that we're also all the learners in that exchange as well.
Cristina Amigoni: I really like that.
Alex Cullimore: That's a great name, yeah.
Cristina Amigoni: Yeah.
Becca Marshall: Yeah, thank you. Our original logo had that like an infinity symbol. And it's still in there a little, if you know what it is.
Cristina Amigoni: Nice. Yeah, it's such an important part, the active piece of the exchange. Because it's very common to just go on autopilot and just do things. It's just a motion. Let's just go through the motions. And then you kind of end the motion and you're like, "Wait, was I even there?"
Becca Marshall: Absolutely. You know that piece, that autopilot. First of all, on one hand, it's so beautiful. Like, thank you, brain, that you can come up with these associations. And that I get to be multifaceted in all these ways and do so many things. When it's working in our favor and it's allowing me to think about something over here while driving to the grocery store that I’ve done 100 times. Lovely.
When I’m wanting to be engaged in something and that autopilot kicks in and it no longer becomes a choice, because it's such a practice, or because I don't have the practice and how to be present, then this is where it really starts to not serve us. And so, that's that active piece.
Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, it's so true. I was just thinking about driving. How many times have we driven somewhere and then we get to our destination, and we literally have no recollections of driving there? Which is scary from the point of view of are you actually paying attention to the road? And also, then when you turn that and you realize that and you turn it on life and you start thinking like, "How many other things in life do I do that way?" Where I just start with no presence, no real attention, and I’m constantly thinking about the same thing. Because I think the driving, that's probably what happens, is like we're thinking about once we are at that destination. And so, especially in work and also in life, in relationships with other people, there's just a lot of that autopilot that can kick in if we are not conscious about it and make a choice.
Becca Marshall: 100%. I mean, I think you said that so well. And it's like it's one thing driving, which could also be very dangerous, right? Let's just put that out there. But around town, we tend to do that well, and it just happens. But what about the other places, right? What about the vacations that we yearn for that we just fly through, and we're not present intentionally or unintentionally? And then it comes back to the Monday, or it comes back to resuming work or whatever the obligation is. And it feels like, "Oh my gosh! I need a vacation."
Or like you said, showing up to relationships. Showing up to a relationship and kind of being an autopilot of like the dinner with my family or the conversation with my friend. And then being like, "Wait a second. Oh my gosh. I feel like I haven't connected with them." Or "Who was I? Did I show up the way that I would really want to?" It's big stuff, because it's our life, really.
Alex Cullimore: Yeah. It's very easy to get into autopilot as you grow up and as you just try – And if you're not specifically told more about consciousness. Was there a specific time when you started to turn more towards trying to be more conscious in life or anything that drove you towards that?
Becca Marshall: Yeah. I mean, there was like a specific time. There was a specific event. And it actually had to do with what I would call sort of a traumatic incident that I lived through. And I think, as human beings, we all lived through these in a variety of ways. And it was like this moment when my world changed, and I was receiving all of this new information at the same time.
In a way, it was sort of like this door to conscious awareness of like, "Oh my gosh! This is actually what's going on?" And the overwhelm. Like, I was flooded by the reality of events that I hadn't previously seen. And that was immense. And that was a really difficult time.
And you know how people say, "Oh, people have their stories of like books jumping off the shelf at them." I had one of those experiences. Actually, I keep the book close. It's right here. This book. Jon Kabat-Zinn's Arriving at Your Own Door. This is the book that jumped off the shelf at me. And it's just that – This is like a little bathroom copy, right? It's got just little paragraphs on each page. And I couldn't leave the bookstore without it. And I brought it home. And it tuned me into my senses. It tuned me into the senses, which put a pause on the flooding that was going on of all of the information that was coming through. And that was like 2007, I believe, that this happened.
And so, that was – Once I was there and I could feel the difference between the sort of the mind and the truth. And then there was this whole other wave of like, "Oh my gosh! The signals that my body had been sending to me all along despite me kind of living in this other reality," right? I didn't know it. But now I can look back on that and see that like, "Oh, I was sort of living in what I wanted it to be, versus the truth of what it was." And my body was sending me signals that I dismissed, didn't realize, or didn't know. And this Arriving at Your Own Door quite literally was my experience. And that woke me up to living consciously. And it's been a journey of learning that since then.
Cristina Amigoni: Wow! That's powerful, for sure.
Alex Cullimore: Yeah, you can definitely relate to that. There's definitely a feeling of suddenly realizing, "Wait, there's a whole different reality happening here that I have been existing in and not acknowledging or understanding."
Becca Marshall: Absolutely. And kind of innocently, right? One of my favorite quotes, Maya Angelou, "We do the best we can until we know better. And when we know better, we do better." And it's like we don't know what we don't know. And that doesn't make us stupid. That just makes us human. We're like learners. We're learners.
Cristina Amigoni: Well, and sometimes it's that awareness that, even once it's there, you can't unlearn it. And so, you may not make the move to choose to open the door, or to look back or to reveal what's been hidden behind the curtains. But you're constantly thinking about it. You're constantly – Because it's kind of like nagging you. You can't unlearn the little piece or the brick of walls that fell on your head, whichever it is.
I love Oprah. Actually, I heard a podcast with her where she talks about how the universe whispers to you. And the universe will whisper, which most likely, or in a lot of times, it would be that physical body sensation that we ignore. The universe will whisper something. And then if you don't pay attention, it'll start to get a little bit louder. And then it starts being a little voice in your ears. And then if you keep ignoring it, then eventually you'd end up with a brick wall knocking you over the head.
Becca Marshall: Absolutely. The universe doesn't have to be unkind. But it definitely will let us know eventually.
Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, eventually. Yes.
Becca Marshall: You bring up such a good point, right? The physical body is really the – In communication with us about what's right or wrong. I often talk with my clients about it. First of all, we're learning skills to be able to learn how to listen to the wisdom of the body, the language of the body. And ultimately, when we do, what we're doing is we're turning on our GPS. We have an internal GPS for navigating life. And that piece of like to ignore, it is what we do. And yet, there's this other layer of like we didn't really learn how. Our parents, our grandparents, our ancestors.
We're talking about sort of intergenerational stuff that we didn't really learn how to tune into it. And as humans, I often share. It's like, we have to learn everything. We have to learn how to tie our shoes. We have to learn how to hold the fork, or chopsticks, or choose your culture. We have to learn how to listen to the signals of the body, so we don't wet our beds at night, or we know when to go to the bathroom. The number of things that we have to learn.
And when we're talking about social, mental, emotional intelligence and awareness, it's like, of course, why would we not have to learn these skills, too? Let alone how to listen to our body? It's interesting. But it's real.
Alex Cullimore: It's interesting that there's a pull somewhere in your body pulling you towards whatever you do value or whatever you hope for. And can ignore it. You can do – And everybody will at some point. They'll make less choices that'll push them kind of away from that, away from what they're feeling, what their conscious our subconscious is kind of guiding towards. But there's always that pull. There's always that feeling of resistance. And to Cristina's point, eventually, it becomes a brick wall that's going to come hit you. But it'll be a pull, a stronger pull. And eventually, it'll just be like, "Okay. Well –" Or how long are you going to choose to suffer on this? How long would you like to live in this dissonance? Because it's going to get louder.
Becca Marshall: Right. And I think that's the key, is that it doesn't have to get louder if we learn the skills of how to listen if we learn – Now, we might not always like what we're seeing, right? The indicator of it's time for you to change jobs. Time for you to close this relationship. Time for you to move somewhere.
But I don't know. I would say in my experience, I would rather get that message and face my resistance to knowing what I’m being called toward and working through that with whatever support or in whatever way I need to. Then getting that hammer over the head that is the car accident, or the – It often comes in quite unpleasant ways.
Cristina Amigoni: Definitely does. And the ripple effect and the recovery then, it's that much longer and that much wider.
Becca Marshall: Yeah.
Alex Cullimore: Open question for both of you. Like, what are ways to help people kind of navigate that transition? Because there tends to be a time that if you start listening, then you start to hear that, then you start – Like you were saying, Becca, there's a moment where it's very hard. It's very hard to get into that, listen to it, get better at listening to it and think about all the time where you've been listening to it. Things you guys think of when you think of like helping people through that kind of transition into greater consciousness.
Becca Marshall: I think that one of the critical ingredients, maybe it's almost like a recipe. And I don't know that I thought about it this before. We'll see if we can play with this idea, right? But one of the critical ingredients in this recipe is I feel – And this is part of my style. Different people have different styles, right? But it's like a gentle kind approach. What is the relationship? The environment that we're starting to turn toward and face these things within?
And if the environment itself doesn't feel safe, like, my internal environment, or even the two of you sitting here on this call together with me today. It's like, then there's going to be more resistance to opening up to it. If I feel I’m going to be judged or criticized or something. Building this like a safe container within which to look and opening the door for things like, "Oh, I can be the learner? I don't have to be the expert already?"
What is almost the like ambiance that we create? I think that that's a critical ingredient. And being able to then bring in some of the other ingredients. Like, how do we ground into presence? What is the door for resourcing, etc., etc., etc. But this piece. In a coaching or therapeutic relationship, we're founded on trust. And different people are drawn to different styles. But that piece of trust, like, can I trust you with what I’m saying? That approach, and the environment, I think are key.
Alex Cullimore: That's a great answer. Yeah.
Cristina Amigoni: That is a great answer. Definitely.
Alex Cullimore: I did that in a different order when I was going through trying to understand life more consciously. I definitely started to see there was something else but didn't do much. Like, okay, what if you created a kind space to learn this for yourself? What if you felt more like, "Okay, I realized that I’m now a square peg in a round hole." But rather than, "Okay, well, let's find a different hole." It was more like, "Okay, well, let's just try and force this through and make this work." And it was not an easy way to do it. I really appreciate that answer. That definitely feels accurate.
Becca Marshall: Well, and you're talking about – At least through my lens, what I might share and see how these lands for both of you, is like I hear you talking about energy. What energy are we approaching it with? And is it yin or yang? Or nothing to do with sex and gender? Is it masculine or feminine?
And in the majority of our western culture anyways, we work with masculine energy. This is what we're taught. It's like, "Oh, this arises. Consciousness is arising. I’m recognizing stuff. Okay, what do I do? Right? How do I get this done? And let's force that. Like you said, like the square in the round to try to come together." And this other way, like, the kindness, right? And so, it's also like what's the driving force? Is it almost fear? Or is it that broader, more kind of feminine? More yin approach of like, "It's okay. We're human. This is the culture. This is what we've learned. All right. So, we can start to learn another way." And so, it's like are we driving it through sort of the love of where we're going or the fear of the kind of what we're doing wrong?
Cristina Amigoni: That's a great distinction. I really like that. It really paints the picture. Because there is a lot of that judgment that comes in from the, like, "Well, be resilient. Figure it out. Toughen it up." And it's not just for men. I think it is just so pervasive that even women feel that way. That's like, "Well, I’m supposed to be tough in this situation. Or I’m supposed to shave off my corners to fit in the round hole because that's what's expected. And if I don't do it, I’m a quitter. Or if I don't do it, I don't adapt. I’m not resilient. I’m not strong." All these things that are fear-based. Because they're all fear-based and judgment-based.
Becca Marshall: Absolutely.
Cristina Amigoni: And so, figuring out. Looking at the energy and bringing it from a different perspective even when you have interactions and when you have just any type of meeting interaction conversation and realizing like, "Hey, the energy here is different from the energy yesterday or an hour ago. Okay. Fine. Let's go through the motion of the words, and the action items, and the next steps and whatever surface business conversation. But let's keep in mind that energy feeling that was in the room. Because that is way more telling than any word and decision that was made.
Becca Marshall: Hands down. And now you're talking back, right? It's like comes back full circle to that internal GPS. The feelings. What is the body telling us? How does it communicate? It communicates through the felt sense. And we're so like culturally trained to be in the mind. What do I think about it? Does it make rational sense?
And so, we're really very often disembodied. It's like this much of our body-mind, right? From the chin up, how much of our whole body is that? A very small percentage. And this is where we're spending the majority of the time, even though all of it has intelligence, all of it is communicating 100% of the time.
Cristina Amigoni: So true. I get this image of like the gigantic bubble heads. That's how much weight we put on the mind control or the mind power that we think it has. And the rest of the body doesn't really matter. That it's like just this completely disproportionate bobblehead where two-thirds of the body is the head and then you've got these like sticks trying to keep it up. And then you topple over because it doesn't work.
Becca Marshall: Exactly. I love that. And it's not about like this us or them, or this duality, "Oh, okay. So, the feminine is the right way. And the masculine is the wrong way." No. It's about collaboration, right? It's like isn't that what we want in our relationships? Isn't that what we want for many of us in our lives? We need both. And we've just come so far in one direction that I really feel that, as a whole, our consciousness and humanity, there's this call for the swing. And maybe we don't need to go all the way back. But it's like can we come back in and recalibrate these pieces and bring in collaboration of the yin and the yang in our lives? How the structure supports the ambiance and vice versa?
Alex Cullimore: That's a great description of it, too. Because it's very easy to – Usually when you have conversations like this if you try and tell people or kind of just talk to people about the subconscious, but they're not ready to receive. That there's a feeling that they have to like to go zero to a hundred. Or it only exists in this weird ethereal you're now a monk who can meditate and hover at the same time. And I think it does really – It's worth mentioning and worth reminding people that there is like that balance that we exist in a world where we will be interacting with lots of people when, to your point, there'll be business meetings where you're trying to force just words out. There'll be times when you're very tempted just to be only in the rational brain. But it's not really where we live. And we don't just live kind of on the energy side. Because we also get to experience big spoken word conversations. And having that balance, and understanding interactions are really important. And not feeling like you have to jump to one end or the other. Or that those are the only two options.
Becca Marshall: 100%. Yeah. I think such a valid point, right? It's like it's just one day at a time. One moment at a time. And we get to start to shed the myth of perfection. And if we can shed the myth of perfection, then we're not busy beating ourselves up when it didn't go exactly as we wanted or planned. And we can actually learn from that and say, "Oh, okay. How would I do it next time?" Versus like, "Oh, I can't believe it." It's a whole different space. And you're right, we've got a lifetime. So, it's a journey.
Alex Cullimore: It's actually a rule in math. It's just a probability rule. If you have a continuous space. Like, all numbers, infinite numbers. And if you try and choose one specific one, as the chances of getting the right one or getting the expected one go down to zero, because there are so many choices, so many variations, and so many ways this could happen that it's actually impossible. And mathematically, it's this equivalent to having a zero percent chance of ever happening. This expectation that we're going to nail that one and find that very, very narrow piece and get it exactly right, much less, get it very right day over day, an hour over the hour, meeting over the meeting is an absurdly large expectation that will guarantee some kind of foiled expectations.
Becca Marshall: That is powerful. That's really powerful. I am not the most numbers-oriented person. But I’m snagging that. Because it paints a beautiful picture of what we do as human beings when we're striving for that element of perfection. And it's like it always moves. And that's a perfect example of why. What a difference it would be to set ourselves up with a different expectation and allow us to like to discover where it lands with our best intention.
Cristina Amigoni: It's funny because we're doing that even in the education system, when I was just thinking about that number how it keeps moving. In Europe, we don't have GPAs. So, that was already a culture shock when I moved here in for one year in high school and then college to think about it as a GPA thing. But then when I was in that system, the highest GPA was 4.0. That's the highest point.
And then in the last – I don't know when that switched. But I’ve heard in the last few years and the last some years that people are like, "Oh, yeah. My daughter is graduating high school with a 4.7." And I’m like, "Wait. What happened to the four was the highest? Do you just move the target up by one or half? Or what's a 4.7 if we're measuring to four?" And so, now what happens to the 3.8 if we're now having a 4.7 that's beyond perfection? What are we trying to do?
Becca Marshall: 100%. What does that create? I didn't know that. But that's huge. And I could see that. I can see that. I can see, it's like, "Oh, I’ve got 108 in history class this year," or whatever. It's like the same thing. What is 108? I thought we were – We got 100? Where's the cap here. And then that piece, this like moving target, which is striving, which can drain us incredibly, incredibly.
Alex Cullimore: We redefined the scale once it no longer applied. We recreated this like zero to four. And then we said, "Well, now, everybody was striving for A's." And it was easy enough to get a 4.0. So, they started to weight AP classes. If you do an AP class, it's an out of five on a weighted GPA. But really, it just means we chose a scale and either broke the scale, or it just no longer applied. So, we had to recreate it. So now we have 108 in history class. Now, it just didn't apply to be there. So, we just expanded the number set, at which point you start to realize, like, "Well, it does seem a bit absurd we have the number set to begin with. It has to be arbitrary. It has to be basically contextually defined by what's available and what it makes sense is part of the larger whole. And that will change over time." Because we still like to stick ourselves to the idea that we should aim for 100% while creating the idea that you can also get over 100%. And it's both.
Becca Marshall: Yeah. Some of what you're saying like it makes me think of how we work with outcomes and talking about the energies, the yin, and the yang energy, or like how we work with outcomes. How do we work with outcomes in our culture? And how does that relate to our health? And oftentimes, when working with people, we're talking about intentions. And we're talking about it from a variety of perspectives, including the North Star perspective.
And I’m not sure. I imagine you've heard this idea before, right? But it's like the North Star brings in this sense of like kind of what you're speaking to. We've shifted what's here and what's available to us. And I think it gives us that aim. But it doesn't exactly give us the linear model that is for sure going to get us there when we plug in our North Star with our internal wisdom and the ability to tap into that internal GPS. Now we can navigate a lifetime moving in that direction, right? I want to be this type of person. I want to live from these values. And this is how I go. It's not perfection. It's an aim in a way.
Alex Cullimore: That's a great metaphor. I like that.
Cristina Amigoni: Yeah. I’ve been kind of like thinking about trust. Because you mentioned trust a couple of times already. And it's something that I don't know why it's been in my mind for a couple of days or a week or so, where I keep thinking about this wanting – Especially in our profession, wanting people to trust us through the process. Because it's different. Because it's new. Because it's uncomfortable. Because it's not the autopilot. And at the same time, trust is an outcome, because it comes from feeling safe. From knowing that it's okay to not be perfect. From knowing that you're supported no matter what.
And so, how do we deal? I’m stuck with how we deal with this, we need to trust, but trust is also now come off after the relationship has happened or after we see what's going on.
Becca Marshall: What a powerful inquiry, really. And I think it would be amazing to hear from a hundred people on that one. Maybe that becomes another podcast question, really. Because it's really beautiful. And I think the word that I would bring into that mix is the way that I see working towards these North Star outcomes, which is cultivation. To do our best as humans.
Or let me bring it a little bit more personally, right? If I think about my role as sort of a way shower or guide or support the individuals or groups that I’m working with, I want to do what I know. And I could learn more along the way of how to create what I would feel for myself, and others would be a safe and trusting environment. I can offer that. And someone can come in and they can still feel unsafe. Or they can feel I’m not the right fit for them. And that's okay. That's where that subjectiveness. And them being expert, and myself being expert, and us being able to be active to know that, and feel that, and say that is fine, right?
There's that piece of like, "Okay, I set it up to the best that I know how to create an environment where trust can arise." And then over time, it's never just a one-and-done, right? The masculine energy would say, "Okay, trust. Check it off the list." When the truth is I create that environment every time. I hold confidentiality every time. I show up with my attention, my focus, and my interest every time. It's never just a one-and-done. It's like the outcome when people complete working with me, or they complete a session for them to feel like, "Oh, right. We had trust in that session." And then also, that its sort of this ongoing journey of cultivation.
Alex Cullimore: That's a fabulous answer. I love that. It definitely is a journey. And you even mentioned it earlier. You're talking about how there is no like there's no perfection. There's no getting to a conscious state. Yeah, you go through a workshop and then they give you a certificate that says you are now conscious. Just put that up –
Cristina Amigoni: And you're done.
Alex Cullimore: And you look at it once a while and like, "Oh, right. I’m conscious. Right."
Cristina Amigoni: It's right here, behind me, on the Zoom. It says, "Certified conscious person."
Becca Marshall: Yeah. Two things come up when you say that. One is a lifestyle. And maybe not everybody chooses it as a lifestyle. I choose it as a lifestyle, or I have to date. And I think it's like brushing my teeth. It's part of hygiene.
And also, it's lovely to have the capacity of the human brain to tune out, and to zone out, and to daydream, and to watch Netflix for 15 episodes in a row and do whatever speaks to people. Like, it's lovely to have those ranges. And I think the key is, are we making a choice in that? And that's like are we on autopilot? We're just floating through our life. We don't even realize that there's a choice, right? Or are we making that choice and knowing, "Okay, you know what? I’m watching Netflix tonight." Or it just ends up that I’m running away from my emotions? Or I’m running away from something else that is actually calling for my attention?
Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, I really like that distinction, because it's a conscious choice. It's not a judgment of saying, "If you're a conscious person, or if you are connected to your consciousness, you don't Netflix binge. Or you don't do these things." It's not about that. It’s about you making a conscious choice to just binge on whatever tonight? That's it. There doesn't even have to be a justification. There doesn't have to be a because of this, this, and this. It's like, "Is it a conscious choice?" Or are you looking down on your cellphone in the middle of a meeting or in the middle of dinner and then you don't even realize you're doing it until your kids bring it up?
Becca Marshall: Absolutely. That's the clincher right there. That's it. Actually – So, I’ll share something from this little book since you mentioned that. This is one of my favorite quotes. This was not pre-planned. So, in this little book, Arriving at Your Own Door, Jon Kabat-Zinn he says – This one's entitled Where You Are? And he says, "When you are taking a shower, check and see if you are in the shower. You may already be in a meeting at work. Maybe the whole meeting is in the shower with you."
Cristina Amigoni: I love that. How many times have I actually been in the shower and then at some point I wake up, I realize I’m in the shower, and I’m like, "Oh, did I wash my hair? I don't remember. Did I wash my body? I don't remember." And I do it all over again. And then halfway through I’m like, "Yeah, I think I did. But was that two days ago? Was that today?" That is like – I’m like tempted to do it like the third time. I’m like, "Okay, enough with the washing the hair. Be here and figure it out."
Becca Marshall: Yes, yes.
Alex Cullimore: I’ve occasionally had that moment where you stepped out and put the towel on your hair and you hear all the bubbles like. And you're like, "Oh, didn't wash that out. All right." Back in there.
Becca Marshall: Yeah, so relatable. Been there. Totally been there, right? Or that piece, like the whole meeting, is in the shower with me. It's like, "Oh, right. Oh gosh. How many times have I had this conversation? And it already happened. So, I actually don't get a redo."
Cristina Amigoni:100% of the time. And then you go into the meeting, you're like, "Wait. Why am I repeating myself? I’ve literally said this 10 times already. Were you not in the shower with me when we had this exchange?"
Becca Marshall: Exactly.
Alex Cullimore: You so on board with it in my head.
Becca Marshall: Yeah. To be able to laugh about it, and be with it, and have fun with it, right? When we talk about the environment. Or what do we do to get there? Can we bring in playfulness and humor? Because we're human. It's part of it. It's not bad. It's not a problem. It could be a challenge. And it could lead us in places we don't really want to be. And I think that's the conscious drive.
Alex Cullimore: I so love that idea. Like laughing about it, bringing it up as a way of finding that compassionate space. Because it is a form of compassion to be like, "Right. Yeah, that was kind of ridiculous of me. I didn't wash the shampoo out of my head or whatever." And if you bring that to the meetings, you allow for that space for people to like, "Yeah, I totally forgot. I hadn't told you this. I’ve had this conversation so many times in my head." There's just some humor there. We can all relate. And it just kind of gives context for this. Or tells people that you've been thinking about it for some amount of time. But it also gives the space to be like, "Yeah, I’m human. We're all going to do this sometimes." And we all usually laugh about it, because it's very relatable. But we often sometimes pretend like we're not supposed to have these moments where we're lapsing or not able to pay attention. And we're supposed to like somehow to feel ashamed of those or something when it's something that's unavoidable.
Becca Marshall: Well, and speaking of authenticity, right? To show up to another to say, "Oh my gosh. I had this conversation 10 times already." Or whatever it was. And to have the humor be available if and when it is, versus like the inner critic. And to share that. The three of us here sharing this right now, and anybody who is listening to this in the future, like, it's such a human experience.
And so often, for fear of judgment, or fear of something else, we're masking from that, or we're shielding from that, or we're pretending, "Oh my God. I got to get it right in this meeting. I don't want them to know that I’ve been thinking about this for three hours ahead of time and lived this conversation so many times." But to say it and like break the ice on it. Not all the time. But it's so much more likely that it opens the door for connection, right? For the other person to be like, "Oh my gosh. Me, too. Whoa!" Right? Now, we could talk about grounding. Now, we can ground. Now, we can actually be here. Because we're not trying to be something, someone someplace other than where we are.
Cristina Amigoni: I think part of that conscious choice comes from realizing that we have conversations in our heads, in our showers, in our walks with others that are not actually happening yet. And then when we get into the real conversation, we can distinguish which one actually happened in our shower and which one happened in real life. Part of that consciousness is to then have that compassion of realizing that sometimes when we hear things, and they go in a different way, or they don't go as we thought, or something is off, is we don't jump to judgment. We don't jump to, "Oh, that must be what that means. This is how I’m going to react to it. But we really go to it as, "Hey, I’m confused. Or I’m a little bit unclear. Can we go back to that just to clarify and make sure that I haven't missed anything or misunderstood anything?"
Becca Marshall: Critical, critical. And so, important for our relationship with ourselves, as well as our relationship with others to hold that space of like non-judgment, essentially, or to put that even at a pause. And to pause the assumptions that might come, right? Because it's like assumption judgment that happens. Was this good? Was this bad? Was this right? Was this wrong? It's like, "Okay, what about that non-dual space that actually exists?"
And I love the way that you are phrasing it, Cristina, it's like how do we bring in more curiosity? More checking in? Open space for the question versus likes the certainty that can come up in our reaction so quickly? It's like it's right there. We see blue. Do I like it, or do I not like it? We're trained in that, and that helps us to function. But not so much in relationships. I think we miss a lot.
Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, definitely. We recently had a misunderstanding where my first gut reaction, the autopilot was like, "Okay, that's what happened." Just go and say this. Like, okay. Plans have changed. Therefore, this is how we're going to do things. But I caught myself even, after writing the message. And I was like, "Am I sure that plans have changed? Am I 100% sure that I understand what just happened? And is the right moment to send this message? Or do I want to step away for a couple of hours and think through this and give it some space?"
And I’m so glad I did because a couple of hours later I deleted the message that I hadn't sent. And I sent a new one saying, "Could we talk about it? I think I’m unclear." As opposed to, "This is what happened. And therefore, this is what we're going to do."
Becca Marshall: Yeah, you shifted the energy. And it wasn't a complete misunderstanding. It turned out, to save a lot of back and forth on more misunderstandings and that exponential piece that happens.
Becca Marshall: Right. And it's like what allowed you to do that? So many things. Your ability to be conscious at that moment and recognize to pause. To consider maybe. Maybe this is the path that I’m taking. But maybe there are other options. Let me actually kind of like sit with this a little bit.
And then to open the space, right? Where maybe a younger approach would be, "Okay. This is it. A to b, to c, to whatever." And this other piece of like maybe a to b. Maybe not. That, I think, is one of our biggest challenges. It's like who's in the driver's seat? Is it the emotion of the moment? Because there are emotions in every single moment. Or is it me in that conscious choice of is this really what's right for this moment?
Alex Cullimore: It frees up a lot of time when you ask those questions. Instead of going like, "Well a means b. And then that means c, d, e, f." And then you come back to that person and you're like, "Why are we at f?" And they're like, "What happened? I was just at a. I have no idea how you got here." That curiosity.
And it also allows the space to allow other people to do that and give the freedom of like, "Look, instead of this weird expectation that you should have understood the first time, and that you can't ask me questions because that meeting's over now. So, like, you didn't understand it. And you should probably try and mask that and pretend like you're doing fine. Or you'd never ask a question again." It's not a helpful influence. And if you can allow other people that space, you open up, like, how much more would you like to receive the information that they might have missed? Rather than you being on the receiving end of an a-to-f conversation.
Becca Marshall: Absolutely. And this is where it's like I love the babushka doll, right? Because the babushka doll, if you're familiar with that, right? It's like the bigger doll. And then inside it, there's this whole row. And that's what I hear Alex and what you're saying, is it's like you're talking, that pausing within the self or inviting others to pause or pausing in relationship to others. However, that all unfolds, it's like how we hone those skills. And at least in my experience, it starts with us, right? My skill in doing that within myself allows me to catch the moments when I might invite that in relationship with others or invite that for others.
Oftentimes, I think – And being in the helping and healing profession, there's so much giving energy. And it almost – At least in this profession. And I think also, perhaps in like with leaders and other professionals, depending on our role, we often go out first, "Oh, what do they need? Or how do I do this for them?" Or that piece. And yet, to notice that like we are the babushka. What we're doing here inherently will ripple. Cristina, you've used that word. Like, it will ripple. I think that's a really powerful thing to realize of like practicing what we preach, honing it here, is actually – I think it's a better use of time, and space and energy, right?
Cristina Amigoni: Yeah, the ripple piece, I think it's very important. Because in the human relationship building, the human healing and the work that we do, which is not as tangible. It's not spreadsheets. It's not numbers. It's not calculations. It's not you know what we can touch and feel and see. I think realizing that sometimes we just become that occasional whisper. And we'll never truly know if that whisper grows or creates different habits until we're gone.
Becca Marshall: There's definitely that, right? That large reach. And that being said, I think we also can feel it and experience it in the day-to-day. A lot of it is cumulative. But it really boils – Like, how much different do I feel today being in tune with my body to the best of my human ability at any time, which changes all the time? In comparison to where I was in 2007. And there are other milestone markers for me. But it's night and day. It's night and day from, I’ll just say, like, the ease that's available. And that doesn't mean 100% of the time. But that's available for me now knowing some of these things.
And I think, Cristina, the subtle nature that you're speaking of, right? It's not all spreadsheets, this type of work, and this type of engagement. That's where it comes in, in the subtle sense. And so, being able to like to sensitize ourselves to that again. And there's a word that perhaps you know probably you do that. But I’ve learned through this journey of like ineffable. The things that are ineffable. The feelings and the experiences that there are no words for. And I think that a key piece in that is recognizing within the core of the self that just because there are no words does not in any way mean that there's less value.
Alex Cullimore: Yeah, that's an excellent statement. That's just easily true. And it's what we were talking about earlier. You kind of listen for the energy in meetings and just communicate in other people. That's the real content that's happening. We just try and strap words on top to do our best to convey whatever we're trying to get across. But if you can listen to that more low-level, more energetic feeling of what's this person really coming out with? Where are they really coming from? How am I feeling about this? That's going to happen so much faster and be more technically true than whatever we can try and munch together as possible in our conscious minds and in our speaking. With our spoken word, how quickly we can get out the words that might describe this very ineffable feeling?
Becca Marshall: And to tune into that through the body, through these other subtle senses versus – Because it's a whole other ball game to go through what you just described in the head. What are they thinking? What do they want? What am I reading in the room? What am I picking up? Like, "Whoa! Now, I’m not present."
But to do it, like you're talking about, from the embodiment. And like you said, it's so much faster, because we are intuitive beings. As much as we're rational, thoughtful beings, our intuition, is like bringing that online. And that's what I would call these subtle senses, the knowledge, and the discerning, and like picking it up through the language of the body.
Cristina Amigoni: I always say, the body knows before the mind knows.
Becca Marshall: So true.
Cristina Amigoni: So, figure out how to read those signals. Where are those signals?
Becca Marshall: And actually, in brain development, that's exactly what's going on. When we are experiencing something – Us, right now, experiencing each other in this conversation, we're receiving those emotional responses and those cues much faster just by the nature of how information is received in our body. And it's going through the limbic and the emotional center prior to it getting to that prefrontal cortex for us to execute what we're going to say. And so, we're feeling it first, for sure.
Cristina Amigoni: Very fascinating. You mentioned authenticity a couple of times. But that is one of our final questions. What does authenticity mean to you?
Becca Marshall: Authenticity, in reflecting on this, I think there are two pieces. And one is there's authenticity as like the definition of authenticity. And then there's like to live authentically and the being authentic. And I think that there's, of course, similarity in there. Like, how do we know how to live it in practice if we don't know what it is we're aiming for?
And so, I feel like in perhaps its simplest form, for me, authenticity is truth and living from the truth of my being, or from the truth of one's being in any given moment at any time to the best of our ability despite the impermanence of things, right? The ever-changing nature and evolvement of self, of situations, of whatever to show up to our truth, to show up to my truth in practice is authenticity in action.
Cristina Amigoni: I really like the evolvement part of that, because sometimes we do tend to think the truth is now established. It's in stone. That's it. Anything we learn from that moment on can be true, because the truth was already established. But that's not true. Truth evolves with knowledge, with experience, with practice, with emotions, with life.
Becca Marshall: Yeah, and to be in that dance, right? That's the energy dance. That's the collaboration. This is the truth as we know it now. I wonder what it'll be tomorrow, or in three years or – Yeah.
Alex Cullimore: One last wrap-up question then for you. Where can people find you? Where can they find ActiveXchange?
Becca Marshall: The best place would probably be our website. The website is activexchange.com, or also you can do it – Sometimes the spelling gets a little tricky on that. So, beccamarshall.com is a great place. We have been having it every third Thursday, I host an event. And they rotate. We have a book club that's very loose. People can come and go as they're inspired. And so, we have what we call a reflection event. And then opposite to that. So we have a reflection event. And then the following month we do a community, something that's called a connection event, where we learn about a particular topic, experience some distance healing, etc. And these just rotate through. That's probably the best place to find out more about what we're up to and to stay tuned with kind of the latest offerings that are going.
Cristina Amigoni: Excellent. And we'll have that in the showrooms so everybody can find it.
Alex Cullimore: Yes.
Becca Marshall: Beautiful. Yeah, thank you. We're also on other social places, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. But the website is usually a good place for a more thorough dive.
Cristina Amigoni: Excellent. Well, thank you so much, Becca. This was definitely a very powerful conversation.
Becca Marshall: Yeah, thank you this is a great opportunity. I loved speaking with both of you today. Really fun.
Cristina Amigoni: Same with you. And thanks for listening.
Cristina Amigoni: Thank you for listening to Uncover the Human, a Siamo podcast.
Alex Cullimore: Special thanks to our podcast operations wizard, Jake Lara; and our score creator, Rachel Sherwood.
Cristina Amigoni: If you have enjoyed this episode, please share, review and subscribe. You can find our episodes wherever you listen to podcasts.
Alex Cullimore: We would love to hear from you with feedback, topic ideas, or questions. You can reach us at podcast wearesiamo.com, or at our website, wearesiamo.com, LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook. We Are Siamo is spelled W-E A-R-E S-I-A-M-O.
Cristina Amigoni: Until next time, listen to yourself, listen to others, and always uncover the human.
Integrative Psychotherapist and Wellness Coach
Becca is the Founder and lead practitioner of ActivXchange. At the heart of her work lies a passion for empowering conscious-leaders, working professionals and emerging adults to become active participants in the cultivation of health and healing through personalized engagement in lifestyle medicine.
A practitioner of integrative mental health for well over a decade, Becca was drawn through her personal journey of healing & growth to weave complementary eastern methods with evidence-based western approaches to optimizing healthcare. Over the years, she has been successful in skillfully supporting individuals who are motivated to tap into their natural human capacity for healing and living well.
As a clinician, Becca has nearly 20 years of experience in psychology, energy medicine and holistic, mind-body approaches to cultivating health and wellness. Becca is a trauma-informed, licensed mental health counselor (in the State of Florida), and is a certified practitioner of BodyTalk, mindfulness and wellness coaching. Becca has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University at Buffalo and a Masters of School Counseling from Canisius College, and regularly engages in ongoing trainings & educational opportunities. At the moment she is training to become certified as a Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Provider.