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Episode 17 - And... We're Moving to Israel!

Episode 17 Overview

This week I’m going to fill you in on our big move, how we use thought work to make major decisions, and how you can live a bigger life... without leaving your home. To learn more about the model and thought work, originated by Brooke Castillo, check out earlier episodes of the podcast!


00:00 Episode 17. And we're moving to Israel, aka why Kayla is such a hot mess. Welcome to the First Year Married podcast, where we get real about building the marriage of your dreams. I'm Marriage Coach Kayla Levin, and I take newly married and engaged women from anxious and insecure to confident and connected with practical tips, real-life inspiration, and more than a little self-awareness along the way.

00:43 Okay, so this is not a moving podcast, but apparently this episode is going to be about moving, and I gotta say, I was extremely torn about whether to make a podcast episode about our move to Israel. We are moving to Israel this summer. And I'm going to repeat that a lot because I'm trying to wrap my brain around it. And the truth is that Noah and I have very different opinions about this. I was not planning on making an episode, and he felt strongly that it was a very good thing to make an episode about and guess what? This is our business. And so I'm gonna go with what he thinks because sometimes I really don't get why he thinks things are good ideas, but then I listened to him, and I'm really glad I did. I hope this is one of those situations.

01:32 Okay, so here's where I agree with him, and here is why I wanted to talk about moving to Israel, because I want to share how I'm using the model with all of this, how I'm using thought work with a very large international move. For those of you who don't know me, we live in United States right now so this is definitely a big move. We've never lived there before except for a year studying abroad. And, yeah, it's pretty major, new language, new culture, new country, new everything. Using this thought work with this, how I'm planning to use thought work in the future, and the fact that my expectations for how well that's going to go. I'm going to circle back to that. I want to talk a little bit about how the model works when we're making big decisions. And I also want to talk about how thought work allows us to live bigger lives, and I want to be really clear about what I mean by bigger because it's probably not what you think.

02:32 Alright, so let's begin at the beginning. How I'm using the model with this. I am doing a ton of models lately, often on paper, sometimes not. Sometimes, I'm really just trying to be clear on, okay, wow I'm having a really strong feeling. I'm feeling a lot of anxiety or I can't sleep or I'm really stressed out and nervous or there's obviously a lot of really positive emotions, but I don't need to run models on those because I like those thoughts and I want to keep them. But I'm also having some negative or less comfortable emotions, and so what do I do in that situation? I just thought this might be good, like let me be your guinea pig a little bit in terms of in the moment. A lot of the time, the question I get a lot from my clients is, "Okay, but what about in the moment? I understand this whole idea that my thoughts are creating my reality and my experience, but what does that mean right now when I'm upset or right now when I'm anxious?" Okay.

03:30 There's a couple things that I've been circling back to that have been really helpful. At one point, I know pretty early on when we were dealing with a lot of government stuff and citizenship and things like that and we're really ... The truth is my husband was doing most of it, basically all of it. But for whatever reason, between the two of us, I guess I did have a point where I was dealing with a lot and got very overwhelmed and this was really taking up a lot of our life, which is already, thank goodness, a very full and wonderful life. And I started feeling a tremendous amount of anxiety. I was feeling a lot of adrenaline. I really felt like my heart was racing and I felt the way you get when you get that adrenaline rush. It was a really helpful for me when I ... I actually kind of like it when my body reacts that strongly because then sometimes I can have a negative emotion for a while and not even notice it. But then once I'm really spinning out of control, then I'm like, "Oh wait, I should check in with my brain. Where is my brain right now?"

04:27 I told you this is going to be extremely candid, right? We're just being candid this podcast episode. I'm not gonna sound like I have it all together. I hope you can handle that. At that moment, I realized, okay, I'm a hot mess, so what's going on with me? When I really took stock of what was going on in my body, I realized that it was having basically a fight or flight response. And when I went back to the thought, I don't know that I ever really articulated the thought exactly, but it was something along the lines of I'm pretty sure this could be lethal. I'm pretty sure we might die, right? This this move could kill us. Of course, I wasn't thinking it consciously. I never decided on that. But again, this is just what our brains do when unsupervised. Yeah.

05:13 I was just so busy dealing with all of the technical details and the checklist and the getting the kids and the passports and all the stuff that I didn't really have a second to think, okay, while all this is happening, my brain is submitting thoughts to me. Yeah. I'm not necessarily doing it because I'm not paying attention. I'm off busy with my to-do list, and meanwhile, my brain is like this is really hard. This is overwhelming. I can't handle all this. I can't do this. Then, it basically, I think works itself up to we're probably going to die.

05:45 Now, enter me having a panic attack, not a full-blown panic attack but very uncomfortable. It was very helpful for me to literally just say, "You don't die from moving internationally." That's not really one, you don't die from that. That's not something we're gonna worry about. Getting all your things together and packing all your things and bringing your children and getting on the plane, that in itself is a safe activity, and lots of other people do it. Lots of other people make this move all the time, and we are just one of those people. They also probably had lots of big strong emotions, but they all, they did it. And a lot of them are really happy too, which is cool, but they're happy 'cause of their thoughts. I guess I'm just going to have to worry about all that over there, which is what I also wanted to say, which is how I'm planning to use the model.

06:38 A big piece of this decision, other than the fact that my husband and I really always dreamed of moving to Israel ever since we got married, it was never something that we felt was really a practical or wise decision for us, and things changed. A couple things changed in terms of his job and how I run my coaching program, and the age of our children. I don't know. Just a bunch of different things came and suddenly fit together, and we realized that the opportunity was in front of us and it was time to make a decision.

07:09 A big piece of making a decision to make a move like this is that we have now both been doing this thought work for several years. And the thing that I say all the time on this podcast and to my clients is that if I could just get it in your bones that what you're experiencing is happening because of what's going on between your ears and not what's going out in your life in front of you, that's enough. I could stop there. I think the rest of the model is phenomenal. I think that it gets us results in our life. It pushes us to our next level. It's a beautiful thing. But if I could just get you to realize that the stress, or the frustration, or just like in my example, the anxiety that you're feeling has more to do with your thoughts than what's actually literally on the ground right now in front of you, then I can go home happy, right?

08:05 And I feel like to a very large degree, we've gotten there, right? Where when I am having really strong negative emotions, I would say probably ... I want to give you a really realistic expectation. I'd say probably like seven to nine times out of 10, I pretty quickly realized it's time to run a model or it's time to even just check in with my brain and question what I'm thinking, definitely, anytime I have a very strong emotion. And that doesn't mean that nothing bad ever happens, obviously, but what it means is that we have a tremendous potential to frame what happens to us and what we make it mean based on the thoughts that we think. And that, to us, has been unbelievably liberating.

08:55 Because if you know that you can do something uncomfortable and if you're feeling uncomfortable, it's coming from your thoughts. It's not that you suddenly feel fine. It's not that we never have negative emotions. We probably have the same number of negative emotions as everybody else, but we're not freaked out by them, and they don't mean that something has gone terribly wrong. They're just information about what our brain is doing and then we can go make a conscious decision about what we would like our brain to be doing, which might be more of the same, and it might be a different track.

09:28 I think a big part of my game plan in terms of my thought work with this big move coming up is being totally cool with the fact that sometimes I'm not going to run the model in time. Sometimes, I'm going to have the negative emotion. I might even have the negative emotion and then react to it very strongly. Instead of realizing that that emotion is just coming from my thoughts, I might really feel like that emotion is real. And it's because whatever the problem, it's very real and there's no interpretation here. It's just bad. And then, I think my game plan is to kind of mess up sometimes. I'm just making space for that. That's fine 'cause I think that's all part of this experience of ... I guess, I sort of see this as almost a relationship with my brain.

10:12 I love when people ... I feel like there's different ways that we talk about the part of us that reaches for the cake when you know you shouldn't, and I love to think of it as the inner child. I like children, so that's helpful. Don't do this if you don't. But I always think of, the inner child doesn't know that the extra piece of cake is going to make them to throw up. How many times have I seen my kids eat too much candy and make themselves sick? Right. Okay, not too many times, but it's happened. That's 'cause their kids, right, and they don't know, but they're still lovable and they're not trying to hurt anyone. I kind of feel that way about my brain. My brain is like it'd be so much better to ignore the alarm clock this morning, right? It's not my base bad side of me. It's just like this kid who is like, "Hey, sleep's more fun."

11:01 I don't know if you can relate to that. But for me, it's much more positive in terms of a way of framing it. When it comes to using the model, when big things are happening in life, I sort of feel the same way about my brain, like okay my brain might sort of run away and decide while I'm not looking that moving to Israel is fatal. And I'm just going to laugh at that and be like, "Oh, come back over here," right? "This is the right track. You got confused. Let me help you," the same way I would with a kid. I think there's a quote and I didn't look it up before I started so I can't remember what it is, so please send it if you know what it is. But it's something like, "Treat yourself like a small child, lots of time outdoors, and plenty of snacks." Right. I kind of feel like that with my brain like, "Okay, sweetie, back on track over here," right?

11:45 Again, how I'm planning on using this model. One is, as I am right now, which is that if I'm experiencing a really strong negative feeling, the very first thing that I do is I try and differentiate between what is literally happening and then what I'm making that mean, using the model's circumstances and thoughts. Okay, so again, so how I'm planning on using this model with this big move is really just differentiating when I'm experiencing a very strong negative emotion. The first thing that I do is just really try and clarify what is literally happening on the ground right now, and what am I making that mean? How am I framing that? That exercise alone is usually enough to ... If it doesn't necessarily neutralize the emotions, it makes them not, in of themselves, powerful. Okay, now I'm bored and I know that I'm causing my boredom. I'm boring myself or I'm causing my own anxiety. That's a lot less scary than thinking that your life is causing your anxiety. Yeah.

12:43 Planning on using the model on a daily basis, not just as a high-stakes check-in in a situation like that, but really just running it, trying to be in the habit of running it at least once a day just so that I sort of stay on top of all those little things that kind of, like I said before, your brain wanders off if you don't pay attention. I am planning to sometimes forget, and sometimes fail, and sometimes succeed, and that that's all part of the picture. that's all part of this relationship. That's all part of just being a human being, and that's all great.

13:13 I also wanted to talk a bit about how the model works when we're making big decisions. Now, I guess I touched on this a little bit, but I think it's really important. The way that we did this, is that we, and this is generally how we make big decisions, is we made the decisions based on what we felt sort of on paper to be relevant, meaning, what are the factors, what are the values, things that we can really, I guess, what I can say is what's coming from the prefrontal cortex, what's coming from the part of your brain that makes plans, that makes decisions. We basically made this decision, almost acting as if we then weren't going to have to act on it, pretending like we're deciding this for someone else.

13:56 If there's this ... not that we spoke about it that way, but that's kind of the part of our brain that we were coming at this with because we know the emotions are going to catch up. We know there's going to be an emotional experience of whatever decision we do make, but that's a different job, right? There's a different tool kit for that than there is for making decisions. For us, making big decision, just comes down to our values and the tactical and technical information on the ground. Right. How old were the kids? How is their Hebrew? That is what was coming up in terms of making the decision. And the only reason we're able to do that, and that ability to transition for us, wasn't really a factor. Now, again, I don't mean ability to transition in terms of anything technical we'd have to be able to do, but just in terms of our own emotional experience, because we have the toolbox for that. And we use that toolbox all the time. Right.

14:55 We kind of feel that ... I mean, I'm speaking for my husband. He edits the podcast, so if you're hearing me say it, then you know he agrees. Otherwise, he'll just take this out. But we kind of feel that there's going to be negative emotion no matter what you do. The goal is not to be comfortable. The goal is not to always be happy. The goal is not to always feel secure. Right. The goal is to live a life in accordance with your values and for your dreams for yourself and in terms of becoming your best self, and as parents, what we can offer that for our children as well. Because we expect to have negative emotion wherever we are, it's not really a factor when we're making decisions consciously. Now, that doesn't mean that we don't let our emotions drive us sometimes. But when we're sitting down, sometimes a big decision is almost easier than a small one because you really do take the time to sit down and you're very clear on why you're making that choice.

15:55 Again, the way the model works when making those big decisions is that it's separate basically, is the big decision happens and the model is your toolbox that you're keeping in the trunk, that you're going to take out when reality hits and you actually do the big decision. Stay tuned to see how all that goes. It's gonna get real real over here on the podcast. Okay.

16:23 The last one is how thought work allows us to live bigger lives, and I want to be really clear about what bigger means. I don't want to be too repetitive. I think it's pretty clear at this point why I think that thought work allows us to live bigger lives. If we were scared of being uncomfortable, I don't know that we would have made the same decision. If we thought that this move is inherently something like ... Here's the thing, I almost forget what it's like without the thought work. But if you don't know that your thought is creating your emotional experience, then when you make a big decision like this, you don't know if it's going to be a good decision or a bad decision. Right. You don't know if it's going to cause lots of negative emotions or lots of positive emotions. That's because you're not paying any attention to what's going on in your brain, and so whatever your brain does, feels very random.

17:15 Or you pay lots of attention to your brain, but you don't know that it's optional. That's another one that I see a lot, which is I'm very aware that this is very difficult for me and I'm not the type of person who deals well with transitions. People will tell me all their thoughts, right, about the situation, but they don't know that that's optional. They think that if it's a thought that they had, that it's this deep dark truth about them. It must be very real and very true, where the way that I like to approach it is that my brain has offered me a possibility and I can decide whether that's one that I accept or not, whether that's true about me or not. Yeah.

17:50 The way that it allows us to be living these bigger lives is that we aren't so scared of that experience. We aren't so scared of that negativity. In fact, I would even venture to say that I would prefer a negative emotion that is associated with growth than a negative emotion that is stagnant, and so I'm definitely pursuing the growth one. And I do want to make sure that I'm being very clear on what I mean by living a bigger life. Living a bigger life might mean that you're a yeller, and you believe that it's possible for you not to be a yeller anymore. Living a bigger life might mean learning to live without the food that hurts your body, that you know hurts your body. Living a bigger life might mean opening yourself up to total vulnerability in your marriage. Living a bigger life might mean giving up on pleasing other people and hoping that they'll like you and being willing to be yourself.

19:03 While this episode is our announcement of our move, I don't mean to imply that the move is what makes life bigger for us. I think the move is more of an outgrowth of a lot of other things, and one that we're very excited about. I know I've talked only about my negative emotions, so it probably sounds like I'm being dragged. I promise I want to go. For me, the bigger life is becoming a mother who is consistently present with her children. It has to do with the way that I show up in my marriage. It has to do with being brave and pursuing coaching, which is something I have done now and continue to do despite the fact that other jobs feel more secure and safer to me.

19:51 Bigger is often wrapped up in, especially in the world of entrepreneurship, with starting your own business, or deciding to live out of an RV or having a no-spend year or a zero-waste lifestyle or ... We like to use trends with what bigger means. What I want to propose to you is that when we use these tools, there's nothing more powerful than thinking what is bigger in terms of your next development, your next piece of growth? What's that one thing that you keep coming up against that's so hard to get past and know that that is your biggest potential for growth?

20:37 That is the area where you shift that, and you're going to see everything else shift. It might be something that nobody else is going to see. It might be something nobody else will ever know happened. And that could be bigger than Richard Branson and everything he's ever started. It could be. What I would love to encourage you to take away from this podcast would be to start noticing what negative emotions are coming up for you, and are they coming from a place of growth and pushing to your next, whatever your next is? Or are they coming from a place of trying to stay? Are your negative emotions even not actually in themselves negative, but they're more about your negativity about negative emotions or you're trying to avoid negative emotions or your fear about negative emotions? Are you spending all your energy avoiding and being afraid of how you might feel instead of questioning why you're feeling that way in the first place?

21:42 Okay, that's your homework for the week, and I will be back next week with the next episode. In the meantime, I would love to hear from you. Pop over. If you haven't said hi yet on Instagram, send me a message or comment on something. I would love to touch base with you and connect. Have a wonderful week. Bye-bye.

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