Reconnecting the head, mind and body with Maggie Hayes


Like a dog shaking after a bath, the movement of the body is a form of emotional expression. Humans have been socially conditioned to overlook the power of sensation in the modern world. We regulate our bodies by internally containing our stresses and emotions, leading to anxiety and the denial of natural self-expression. This episode is all about reconnecting our heads, hearts, and bodies through using movement, breathing and meditation.

Maggie Hayes

Maggies “healing journey” really began in 2012 – when she was tired of feeling like a mess, and not in control of my life. Throughout the following 10+ years she would shift from a career in media + politics into yoga + somatic healing, unpack repressed memories of childhood trauma, commit deeply to my recovery, and completely change all aspects of my life.. multiple times! Every single step she has taken has brought her closer, more intimate connection with the Truth, with her Truth, with a deeply rooted sense of safety within herself, with the capacity to fully express and embrace all that she is… and with a burning desire to share this work with the world.


From cold showers to dealing with anxiety, in this episode of ‘Evolve’, Maggie Hayes talks about what she’s learned from being a somatic mentor and embodiment guide. Over the past 10 years, Maggie has been on a journey that’s taught her the significance of reconnecting with the body to channel energy, and the importance of breath-work to stabilize the nervous system. Maggie’s work on The Core Rising Method specifically aims to help those healing from trauma.

In this episode of ‘Evolve’, we also touch on:

–       The three pillars of The Core Rising and how they help us reconnect with ourselves.

–       How the body can help us to express stress.

–       Unlearning socially conditioned methods of regulation.

–       How breathing can be used to regulate stress.

–       Why the vagus nerve is important and how it connects to the body.

–       Basic breathing methodologies, like the ‘Breath of Fire’.

–       Managing negative energy through meditation.

Unlock the wisdom within your body, by starting to reconnect with it.

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Maggie: [00:00:00] are energetic beings. We hold energy, we transfer energy, and all of that’s really powerful. I mean, if you make eye contact with a person, you can probably get a sense of how they’re feeling, right? That’s energy. It’s powerful. ’cause you can consider, what kind of energy do I want to feel in this moment?

What kind of energy am I gonna bring into this? Moment, what kind of energy do I accept from other people? Right? Boundaries. Hmm. It doesn’t even have to be this unseen force. It can just be a matter of a question within yourself, because any kind of emotion is. An energetic experience. 

Carolyn: Maggie Hayes is my guest today and let me tell you a little bit about her.

Maggie is a somatic mentor and embodiment guide focused on nervous system and body-based practice. She has taken her training and personal practice of over 10 years and created the core rising method. A unique combination and flow of body-based techniques from the [00:01:00] worlds of somatic healing, embodiment, yoga, and breath.

These modalities all come together intentionally to work with the body’s systems to satisfy the energy you feel and safely express it, allowing it to process and move through you. The core Rising method feeds Maggie’s passion of connecting people to the wisdom of their bodies because. She believes that this connection to self is the foundation to collective healing and a new path forward.

In my conversation with Maggie today, you are going to hear us talk about components of your nervous system, the words, sympathetic, parasympathetic, vagal tone, vagus nerve. These are all terms that once were saved for medical classrooms or psychology. Areas and now they are finding a place more and more in [00:02:00] our corporate world, and that’s because they relate to nervous system resiliency.

  1. Both Maggie and I believe that this is a critical skillset for leaders to develop as they navigate through these difficult times in our workplaces.

Intro: Welcome to Evolve a new era of leadership, a podcast for real leaders to join real conversations. With business experts, practitioners, thought leaders, and change makers who integrate head, heart, and body in all they do, who commit to compassion and curiosity, who commit to radical self-leadership in their quest to understand others better too.

Because the only way to deliver real results is to understand what it takes to lead real human beings. This is a new era of leadership.

Carolyn: I’m Carolyn Woa, and this is Evolve [00:03:00] a new era of Leadership. Hello, evolve listeners. Welcome back to another episode of Evolve, a new Era in Leadership. I’m your host, Carolyn soa, and today I’m really excited to have with us someone from the West Coast, west Coast, California. Maggie Hayes, welcome to the show.

Ah, thank you 

Maggie: so much. I’m so excited to be here and I’m from the East coast, so it’s like, it, it feels very resonant to be back. Oh, there we go. In, in a space with you. Yeah, 

Carolyn: there you go. Well, and you know, as a wannabe west coaster, I’ve been to California twice this year and you could really see myself living there for longer than, you know, a few vacations.

So you never know. You might see me on a beach one day out there. Oh, I 

Maggie: love that. I always say my, my family’s from New York and I always say like, my heart is New York, but like, I feel like my soul is like California. So it’s nice to have both. 

Carolyn: That’s good. That’s good. I like that. So, Maggie, you popped into my feed because of your work [00:04:00] around somatic practices.

And I thought you would be a great guest to have on the show because you have experienced deep experience working in a corporate environment, and you’ve got this business now the core rising that really is geared at helping people get more in tune, connected to their nervous system. So like that’s right up my alley.

I’m hoping that we can have that conversation today for the guests and just talk about our nervous system and resilience as a foundation for healthy living. Yeah, 

Maggie: absolutely. And I feel like it’s so important, especially to take some nervous system awareness into corporate life. I really feel like it kind of feeds.

All assets of who we are, both personally and professionally because they can so often be intertwined those buckets, sometimes maybe as separate as we wanna keep them. It’s like you can’t help but kind of let them just like kind of mesh into each other. So I think having the awareness over your body [00:05:00] and your states and your mind and how your mind is connected to your body just kind of really feeds all of it.

Carolyn: Tell us a little bit about the core rising and sort of what are some of those like introductory or initial areas of focus that you have to help introduce people to their nervous system? 

Maggie: Yeah. Yeah. So what I do is very practice-based. So I tend to work with people either one-on-one or in group settings, and we approach nervous system regulations through kind of three main pillars of practice.

And those pillars are movement, which I tend to kind of use as our gateway into the other practices of breath work and meditation. Mm-hmm. So I like to offer these kinds of really tangible practices. So that you can start to really get the felt experience of what it’s like to work with your nervous system.

Because somatic work is nervous system work. It can be described, but it’s more potent and more powerful when you actually feel it. So that’s why I like to approach everything through [00:06:00] practice, and I really do see everything as a practice, you know, when it comes to. Regulating your nervous system to growing your awareness.

It’s not usually just like a one and done situation. It’s something that you slowly build over time because we have a lifetime of experiences and conditioning and programming behind us. So it really takes time to kind of unlearn all of that and come back to just the truth of who you really are, which I believe is really accessible when we do have that regulation and resiliency.

Carolyn: So you say movement, breath work, and meditation. And you and I both have spent time in the corporate world. Movement means going from office, like meeting room to meeting room, uh, or getting to the office. Breath work means holding your breath as you sit. Oh my gosh. Through stressful days and meditation.

No, don’t really have time for that. So like, how do you make this tangible? Tell us a little bit more about that. Ooh, 

Maggie: that is so good. I absolutely love that you [00:07:00] just brought that through. It’s so true, right? We get. So like bogged down and like just our life and we make excuses because we’re dysregulated, right?

Because we feel this like sense of urgency to really fulfill all of these obligations that we have because like we’re human. We’re busy, right? People are so busy. Throw on top of like having a job with like being a parent as well, right? There’s so many responsibilities. So that’s why also I love somatic work because it is designed to be so simple.

We think that everything has to be like so complex in order for it to work. But I will, for example, if I’m working with a client, I’ll invite them into some kind of consistent practice, just a few times a week of, and this might sound like a little woo woo, so bear with me ’cause it works. Yep. A few times a week.

Taking dedicated time to just shake your body. Mm-hmm. Sometimes I will literally go into a bathroom stall, like if I’m in a public setting, like in like a corporate office or something, I will go into a bathroom stall. I will shake my body. [00:08:00] It’s a natural way for our bodies to discharge stress and to return to that regulation.

Carolyn: So that’s what I was gonna say. So if you could just share with the listeners what that is doing so people know there’s some science behind 

Maggie: it. Yeah, absolutely. Right. It’s not just some esoteric spiritual experience. So what the shaking is doing, for instance, is activating those parasympathetic nerves in your body, in your nervous system, right?

Carolyn: Which is the system that tells 

Maggie: us to slow down. Which is the system that signals that we’re safe, that we can take some time to rest, that we can slow down, we can recover. So when we are stressed, Say we have a big deadline coming up or we just had a really stressful call with our boss or something, you can take five minutes, go to the bathroom, shake your body, and that stress is gonna just kind of like move around.

’cause we can treat it as like its own energetic experience. Just the experience of stress. You can treat it as its own energy and you can work with it. Through your body. [00:09:00] So shaking is going to bring you from that state of stress back into that parasympathetic state, which is the rest and recover state.

Right. And it’s just gonna let you. Have access to other resources that allow you to breathe a little bit slower that allow you to think a little 

Carolyn: bit more clearly. So somebody described that once to me, as you know, when dogs like shake it all off. Exactly. I just, you know, when I came home from a walk with my dog this morning and he did that reset and every time I look at him, I think I wish we as humans did that more often as well.

So now I’ve got a visual, Maggie, next time I go into a. A public restroom. I’m gonna like visualize people like shaking in the stalls. Oh my gosh. 

Maggie: That is my goal to get more people shaking in bathroom stalls and ifferent settings. Yeah, but it’s true, right? So you look at animals and then you also look at like little kids, right?

Yeah. Like little kids, they’re on a playground, they fall, they cry, right? They express their emotions in some kind of like, Emotional, almost [00:10:00] primal kind of way. Right. In this very simple way. They cry, they scream, they shake, they run around, and then they just go back to playing ’cause they’re good again.

Mm-hmm. Yeah. Right. But it’s kind of like all the learnings through our lives that tell us that we can’t act that way. Yeah. It’s a return to just what we’re 

Carolyn: designed to do. So what would be like a really tangible example to come back to this terminology? ’cause you know, regulation dysregulation, not necessarily jargon we hear in the corporate world.

  1. When would you suggest to a client that could be a useful strategy to help them navigate through a stressful day? How would you use it? How would you have used it back in your corporate days, for example? 

Maggie: Hmm. Actually, I, I have a recent example. So say you had a full morning of meetings. Even if the meetings aren’t particularly stressful, even if they are, it’s a lot of output for your energy and can leave you in somewhat of a [00:11:00] dysregulated state, dysregulated just being off balance from like your normal kind of homeostasis that you have in your body.

If you can, after those meetings, after that full morning, either like take that five minutes. Just to either like shake it out or take a step back. Take a step away from your computer, relax your body, take a few deep breaths. Another piece that is very calming and very regulating is using your five senses and connecting with something in your surroundings.

So for example, after this long morning of meetings, morning, I sat myself back. I have this coffee cup that’s a piece of pottery. So it’s, I had like a little texture to it, so I was just kind of rubbing it. And really breathing deeply for literally a minute. Yeah. And my energy felt restored. Yeah. So it’s all of these kind of built in resources that we already have and just taking just a few minutes to 

Carolyn: use them.

And they’re not complex, as you were saying earlier. Our five senses are so [00:12:00] powerful and I think we’ve just, I’ll speak for myself, but I think I am speaking on behalf of many. We’ve come to just. Overvalue and overfocus on this cognitive prefrontal cortex. Yeah. And overlook the power of sensations and smell or just moving around in general.

Yeah, so if we can move ourself into a restroom, if you don’t wanna shake it off in your office or turn on music, I know sometimes in my workshops I’ll just have people just like shake their arms right out and just sort of like jump in their seat a little bit if it feels a little bit too awkward to get up and actually shake the body.


Maggie: when we can return back to that balance, that’s when we can really kind of produce the most value. Because we are fully resourced, right? We have access to the different parts of our brain that store different information. We have access to different parts of our body that allow us to really relax and be present.

Whereas when we can kind of get caught up in the day to day, it’s almost like as if our energy is just pulling us forward, [00:13:00] pulling us forward, pulling us forward, trying to get us to just. Kind of check mark off all of the tasks that we have to do, but it’s like, how much value are you bringing into those tasks if you’re not really present and resourced 

Carolyn: during them?

Now, you’ve mentioned that word a few times, so I wanna circle back to it. This notion of being fully resourced. Mm-hmm. What does that mean? 

Maggie: That means, uh, kind of like what I just said before, having access to the different parts of our brains, right? The part that allows us to be logical and reasonable, the part that allows us to be creative and expressive, and then also the parts of our body that allow us to be calm, that allow us to be relaxed and actually grounded.

Right? You can literally feel your hips and your seat or your feet on the floor so that you are here. Versus worried about what’s [00:14:00] coming up ahead or worried about the past, right? And reacting from those worries. But rather you can bring through in the present moment what you’re actually capable of. 

Carolyn: I heard like, uh, three centers of intelligence, which I refer to those three centers of intelligence, head, heart, and gut, or body being fully resourced in all three, not just one, not just two, but all three.

And that integration of all three centers is really where we are at our most powerful, our most present. Our most authentic. And that’s something that, I’m on a mission with you to help people connect to that body piece. ’cause for so many years it was just the vessel that carried my head. Right, totally.

Yeah. So movement. Okay, so we’ve talked about movement in terms of activating that parasympathetic. Is there anything else with movement or should we move to breath 

Maggie: work? Another really powerful piece of movement is simply [00:15:00] just moving your spine. Which can also, again, sound very simple and like, is that actually going to work?

But if we look at the sympathetic nervous system, which is the home of the fight or flight, which is when we’re in that stress response. So there are sympathetic nerves that in your body that travel kind of through the middle of your spine to and from the rest of your organs, right? So from your brain down your spine, out into your organs and moving the spine stimulates kind of that sympathetic movement.

So that the stress, energy that you’re feeling has space to move and be expressed. Oh, right. Because that’s the thing, kind of with our emotions and with our energy, it’s like you wanna express it in an effective way so that it has the space to process so you’re not holding onto it and just constantly reacting from it.

So moving your spine, right, just like twisting your spine back and forth, stretching side to side. Side, arching your spine, rounding your spine, that can just kind of stimulate that sympathetic movement so that that [00:16:00] stress can just kind of make its way through your body and ultimately 

Carolyn: dissipate. Right?

You all can’t see us ’cause we don’t have this in video, but like Megan and I are both like moving around and shifting in our chairs. So you know, when you see people doing that in a meeting, it’s a good thing they’re trying to just, as you said, release some of that energy. Next time I’m sitting in a meeting and I’m squirming around like that, I’m gonna be, yes, this is positive movement.


Maggie: Yeah. There’s that sympathetic chain, like kind of like right where your lumbar meets your thoracic spine. So just like twisting and moving that area, which is right about around your middle back right. Can just really move some of that energy. Wow. 

Carolyn: Cool. And so what about breath work? Let’s talk a little bit about breath work.

What is central to that 

Maggie: practice? I. So much is central to breath work, but I think probably one of the most powerful pieces of breath work. When I start people with breath work, I always start them with a simple diaphragmatic breath. So when we are in that [00:17:00] stress state, that sympathetic state, we are typically only using the top portion of our lungs where those sympathetic nerves are situated.

But in order to counter. That stress experience to come back into balance, we can activate the lower portion of the lungs and starting to move the breath a little bit lower into the body where the parasympathetic nerves are. So I will start people simply with diaphragmatic breathing. I. Because when we’re in that stress state, the breath is so shallow, right?

You’re only using typically that upper portion, right? So your breath is like very much stuck in your chest. Yes. So we start simply just by breathing in and out through the nose. And as you inhale, see if you can like widen your ribcage. And as you exhale, see if you can make your exhale just like a little bit longer.

Then your inhale. So what that’s doing, not only are you activating those lower portions of the lungs as well, but you’re also activating the vagus nerve, which is becoming like a little more well known, a bit of a buzzword for very good reason. Yeah, [00:18:00] because the vagus nerve makes up the majority, about 75% of the parasympathetic nervous system, right?

So activating that through your breath allows your body to come back into balance to receive that signal that you’re safe, and we can stimulate the parasympathetic 

Carolyn: response. I had somebody ask this to me not too long ago in a workshop. How do you tell yourself to breathe? What are some intentional ways that you work with your clients around that?

Maggie: Yeah. What comes to mind right away is it first comes with noticing that you’re stressed and noticing that you feel anxious, noticing that you feel rushed. So that is step one. 

Carolyn: Before we go there, Maggie, I’ll speak about this from a personal perspective. Yeah. For many years I didn’t realize my body was stressed.

Mm-hmm. So I didn’t realize I even needed to breathe. What might be an indicator [00:19:00] that listeners could be aware of if you were like me 10 years ago? 

Maggie: Totally, totally. And I think there’s a couple components there. First of course, is the position of your body. Okay? The state of your body. Are your shoulders rounded forward?

Does your belly feel maybe uncomfortable? Maybe a little tense. How does your chest feel? Your jaw, right? Is there any kind of contraction? Are you activating any muscles in your body? Does anywhere literally physically feel tense? And then we can kind of take that into more of like an emotional, mental realm, and you can simply notice how.

You’re approaching different tasks. How you’re approaching different people. Are you short with people? Are you irritable for seemingly no reason? Are you rushing through tasks or are you procrastinating and avoiding tasks? Right? That’s an element as well. So noticing internally the state of your body and then externally, how are you relating to everything 

Carolyn: [00:20:00] around you.

I think you just described like most of my corporate life. Yeah, right. Am I stress or am I hunched 

Maggie: over? Let me tell you. It’s like I have this awareness because I lived it. Right? I’ve been there myself. So that’s the only reason. It’s like such now and knowing for me. 

Carolyn: Yeah. Okay, so now we know a little bit how to identify stress.

So we’re short, we’re maybe rushed, we’re procrastinating, so those can be indicators of stress and so. We’re gonna do a little bit of Maggie Hay’s breath work that we learned and try and get some more exhale. Can you describe why a longer exhale helps with, um, with sort of stabilizing ourselves? 

Maggie: Yeah.

Yeah, absolutely. So first I wanna backtrack a little bit and say like, after the noticing, even if you notice that you’re stressed, maybe stopping and breathing doesn’t feel totally accessible, and you still have this story of you need to rush and you don’t have time, and there’s all the excuses. So [00:21:00] what I’d recommend after the noticing is taking a little movement, taking a little shake, moving your spine right to discharge some of that sympathetic energy, some of that stress, so that your body can be a little more balanced.

Your brain can get the message that you’re safe and you have the access to actually take a few breaths and so it doesn’t feel like it’s so torturous to breathe. Yeah, just 

Carolyn: kind of like loosening things up a little bit. 

Maggie: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. So movement’s a really great gateway to these other practices, and right from there, the longer exhale really simply just stimulates the vagus nerve.

Carolyn: Mm-hmm. Yep. And that vagus nerve, can you just remind us, you know, from top to bottom, sort of innervates, can you describe it a little bit? 

Maggie: Yeah. Yeah. So the vagus nerve, vagal nerves, I’ll say make, like I said, about 75% of the parasympathetic nervous system. And it’s like your superhighway, like your information superhighway, just like decoding information from within your body, around your body.

A lot of sensory information. The vagus [00:22:00] nerve runs from your gut. To your brain, which could be it’s said while you’re stressed. Like that’s why sometimes you get that stomach ache. Yeah. It’s just this like beautiful kind of super communicator that runs through your body. Yeah, and it’s actually, it’s about the size of the spinal cord, which I always find really fascinating.

’cause the spine of course, as we know, just like is so intertwined with like all the functions of your body. Yeah. And the vagus nerve can be just as powerful. Yeah. 

Carolyn: Okay, so we’ve got movement, we’ve got a little bit of breath work. Is there a deeper sort of or other breath work suggestions you have for people during their day at the office or how to start their day or how to end their day?

Maggie: Yeah. Yeah. So it depends on kind of your intention with the breath work. Do you want to slow things down? Do you want to really settle yourself? And in which case, I would recommend the diaphragmatic breathing. I would recommend box breathing, which is [00:23:00] an inhale for a count of four. I use it for a count of four.

Hold the breath for a count of four. Exhale for a count of four. Hold the breath for a count of four. So that’s like one round in like a box, right? You’re inhaling, holding, exhaling, holding. Yep. And I’d recommend doing that for at least 10 rounds if you have the space. Yep. ’cause sometimes those first few rounds, you can still be in like a stressful state.

You kind of need to give your body a second to like acclimate. Right. So I recommend at least 10 rounds for that. And then say you want to. Focus more on discharging that stress, moving energy through your body. I would recommend something like a breath of fire, which is a short, sharp, exhale out your nose, and the inhale kind of happens naturally.

So kind of just what that sounds like and what it looks like for you is,

Carolyn: huh, I’ve never used that one. Why is it called Breath of [00:24:00] Fire? ’cause 

Maggie: it lights you up. It’s very energizing. Hmm. It’s also really helpful for digestion because on that exhale, you’re like snapping your belly in, right, right where your digestive organs are. Yeah. It’s just like a really like fun fiery practice to start to move energy through your body, and so I’d recommend doing that for three minutes.

Carolyn: Wow. Okay. I’m trying to like do it secretly, but not microphone. Pick it up. Interesting. I’ve never heard of that one. Cool. One of my favorites is 4 7, 8. Yes. Why is that one a good one? In, in what circumstances 

Maggie: would that be? So I’m familiar with that practice as it relates to alternate nostril breathing. I know that you can also do it without incorporating the alternate nostril breath.

And you know what? I actually don’t totally know why that count in particular. Mm-hmm. Is very calming. But I know that when used through alternate nostril breathing, it relates [00:25:00] back to more ancient yogic practices. Which is also something that I incorporate into my teaching. So the breath of fire for example, is a Kundalini practice, 

Carolyn: right?

Right. I’ve never done 4, 7, 8 through alternate nostrils. That seems like an advanced breath work. 

Maggie: Yeah. I don’t always teach that to clients unless we’ve been working together for a long time. But yes, that’s how I’m familiar with it. Do 

Carolyn: you get to use your like fingers to like plug either side? Like that seems really difficult.

The thought of like having alternate so. 

Maggie: I know. I know. And and it’s like especially frustrating if like one of your nostrils is like clogged up. Yeah. But over time, alternate nostril breathing and you don’t even have to use the holds. This is something that I teach as well. It has a way of kind of like just opening like both sides of your brain.

So like earlier when I was saying how you have like, Full access to like all of like the processing capacity that you have in your mind. Alternate nostril breathing kind of balances the right and left hemispheres too. And so what you can do, there’s a mudra that you use. You stick your thumb out, [00:26:00] you tuck in your index finger and your middle finger.

And your ring finger. And your pinky finger, yep. Also stay extended. And so you always start the left side receiving side of the body. Plug your right nostril with your thumb. You take an inhale through your left side and then at the top of that inhale you switch, you plug your left nostril, ah, with your ring and pinky finger, and then exhale out your right.

Ah. Then you inhale. Right? Exhale left. Inhale, left. Exhale. Right, so you’re like passing your breath back and forth. 

Carolyn: Now you just said a word mudra. Can you describe for the listeners what that is? Yes, 

Maggie: yes. I’m glad that you’re asking all these questions because we all just like sp off like random stuff, but yes.

So am mudra is a specific way, again, ancient yic practices, it’s a specific way to hold your fingers in order to align the energy that’s in your body. Yeah. And it usually goes with a [00:27:00] particular practice, so like, This one is the one that you use for alternate nostril breathing with your index and middle finger tucked in.

But then there’s one that probably everyone’s very familiar with that’s used in a lot of meditations. Just bringing your index finger and your thumb together and kind of letting the palm rest open. 

Carolyn: Yep. That is a mudra, right? I didn’t know that. Like the hum, that one? Yes. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Okay, cool. So now what’s the difference between breath work and meditation?

That seems like a good segue into the third component, which is meditation. Right? So that’s, yeah. That hum. 

Maggie: Yeah. Yeah. So the breath is of course a part of meditation. The breath is something that you can meditate on. It’s all a part of everything. The way that I like to use meditation in my practices is where we get kind of more into the somatic experience.

That being just the physical experience of your emotions. [00:28:00] Okay. Say more about that. Yeah. Yeah. So first, like, Very surface level. The question I always kind of ask people to explain somatic is when you’re anxious, how does your body feel? Maybe there is some kind of constriction in your throat, maybe your chest feels tight.

So it’s just noticing that physical experience when different emotions are present. And then on the other side of that, like when you’re excited, when you’re happy, how does your body feel? Right? So just kind of becoming more aware. Of that body experience. So through a somatic meditation, for example, if we are working with something like anxiety, I will guide a client into that physical experience.

And what this does is it allows you to kind of separate from that emotion or unblend as we call it, so, When anxiety, for example, is very present, we often feel like so powerless to it, right? [00:29:00] Right. Like we’re just being kind of pulled around by our anxiety, we’re reacting, we are feeling a type of way. We might even be shaming ourselves for having the anxiety, right?

We feel like we’re an anxious person. We feel like it’s part of our identity, right? But through relating to it somatically, you can start to notice, okay, this anxiety feels like a not in my belly. Then I can further kind of guide a client to explore that experience. So for example, like when you focus on that knot in your belly, that feels like it’s really anxious.

Do you see any colors, any shapes? Do you feel any textures or temperatures? Are there any. Memories associated that come up. Any words, right? Any kind of those associations. So you get to explore your emotions in a new way. So not only do you get to really separate from them, but you [00:30:00] also really get to like empower yourself and empower your own kind of awareness and intuition.

It’s such a fascinating process. 

Carolyn: I can tell you from, and I think I’ve mentioned this on the show, I do work with a somatic experiencing practitioner now. It’s beautiful. Yeah, and she’ll ask me some of those questions when we go to some places and it’s amazing because if I had been looking. At the outside in thinking, oh, that’s a weird question.

How is there a color when you’re sort of like in that? But every time she asks it, I can describe it. I can say a color, I can say a shape. And just even two years ago, this was. Absolutely foreign to me. I mean, I’m like, I have feelings in my body. What are you talking about? Like, and I think this is really where there’s such a tremendous opportunity, I believe for everybody.

But I’m gonna talk specifically about opportunities in our workplaces. There is such a huge opportunity [00:31:00] here for us to. Reconnect to this amazing wisdom that our body holds and the future, like AI and technology and all of these things that are artificially created. It’s like, why are we racing to develop more and more of that when there’s just so much wisdom right here at our fingertips and it’s so much more friendlier to the planet.

It’s economical. We don’t have to pay for it. That’s the piece that I’m just so struck by. Yeah, 

Maggie: yeah, absolutely. And like the more that you can really reconnect to that wisdom and to your body, the more of yourself you become, right? And the more that you can approach these professional aspects of your life with integrity and with just like truth.

So whatever you are creating, that energy is transferring. Versus transferring, like the need for more or like the [00:32:00] race to kind of be the best. Right. When you’re connected to your body, you’re just connected to your truth and that fuels 

Carolyn: you. And you’ve talked a few times, you’ve referenced energy and you know, I sort of asked you earlier too about being fully resourced.

Mm-hmm. Can you share a little bit more about this notion of energy and why it’s not a woowoo thing that we just need to like. Roll our eyes and move forward through, yeah, 

Maggie: I mean, first like tangibly, like you can like create energy with your body, right? If you just like rub your hands together, or if you rub your feet on the ground, right?

You become like a conductor of energy. You can actually feel that. And the idea is that. We are all energetic beings. Like humans are energetic beings. We hold energy, we transfer energy, and all of that’s really powerful. I mean, I’m sure when someone walks into a room, you can get the sense of like, maybe not [00:33:00] if someone walks into a room, but say you make eye contact with the person.

Let’s get a little more personal. Yeah. If you make eye contact with the person, you can probably get a sense of how they’re feeling. Right. That’s energy. 

Carolyn: Yep. Yep. Part of my sort of journey with energy is I helped facilitate, or I participated in a program years ago with my employer. Through Human Performance Institute in Florida.

Mm-hmm. And learning about the work of Tony Schwartz and Jim Lore around our four quadrants of energy. And that was really eye-opening to me to understand that energy isn’t just a physical entity. That you know, energetically, there’s emotional, mental, and somebody I spoke with the other day, she’s gonna be on the show at some point too.

She didn’t refer to it as spiritual energy. ’cause that can be sort of triggering for some people she referred to it as impact energy. Mm-hmm. But recognizing that. When we know we have energy in these sort of different pockets, it allows us to [00:34:00] broaden our perspective and just really, again, integrate all aspects of ourself.

Maggie: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s powerful. ’cause you can consider like, what kind of energy do I want to feel in this moment? What kind of energy am I gonna bring into this moment? What kind of. Energy do I accept from other people? Right. Boundaries. Hmm. Yeah. Yeah. So it doesn’t even have to be this like kind of unseen force.

It can just be a matter of a question within yourself because any kind of emotion is an energetic experience. 

Carolyn: Mm-hmm. Have you read any of the work by Cindy Dale? On energetic boundaries. Mm-hmm. I’ve read some of her work and it brought more fact, more relevance to why it’s important to understand this notion of energy.

And when we sit in our, I. Workplaces all day, and we don’t integrate [00:35:00] all these aspects of ourself, our head or heart, and our body. We’re not optimizing our performance to use that language at all. Yeah. 

Maggie: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Not at all. And like, like I was saying earlier, it’s like when you’re connected to. All three of those points is when you can bring that true self, that true essence, like into like every moment and really put out work that I believe is like the most worthwhile.


Carolyn: What inspired you, Maggie, to get into this line of work? Is there a why behind your business? Yeah, of course, 

Maggie: of course. Yeah. It really came from my own experience. I’ve brought this up a couple times in conversation before. I was listening to a panel with different people in the somatic world, and the question was, why do you do this work?

And one of them had this answer that just like really resonated with me. She had a background that aligns with the people that she’s working with and helping now. And so she said, to get into this work, I didn’t even realize that it was a choice. So, [00:36:00] The work that I do now, I’m working with people more and more specifically on healing trauma and then also people that kind of identify as like highly sensitive, right?

There’s a lot of anxiety present for them and they want to get more into their bodies and a little bit out of their heads and out of like those thought spirals and that mind experience, which are two elements that I really identify with. So kind of through my own journey, healing trauma. Healing anxiety.

I found somatic work and it was really the only thing that worked for me. The only thing that really made a difference talk therapy while was very powerful. It kind of kept me stuck in the story. It helped me. I. Understand what happened to me, and it helped me understand how to quote unquote feel better, but I still couldn’t actually do it.

Right. So like there’s such a difference between cognitively understanding something versus it being like an integrated knowing it actually becoming a part of your lifestyle. Yeah, and working with the body is what [00:37:00] allowed me to really integrate all of these things that I was learning. Yeah. So yeah, somatic therapy was a huge part in my own recovery.

And then in. It didn’t even really feel like a choice that I start to share it with other people as well. So yeah, in 2020 I became a certified coach and I started sharing this stuff and it’s just like evolved over the last few 

Carolyn: years. Yeah. I just wanna comment on something you said there about. The limitation of talk therapy for your own personal story.

Mm-hmm. You know, again, similar to mine, there’s only so much you can talk about. Right. And what we know now from the research and trauma therapy is that trauma is something that’s stored in our body. And so if we are going to resolve it and truly heal, then we have to do some sort of body work to release it.

That’s why I’ve been doing my somatic experiencing therapy and. It’s unbelievable. It really is. I can’t say enough about [00:38:00] it and, you know, different modalities for different people. I am not here dispensing any medical advice whatsoever, but what I am saying is that the body holds a lot of wisdom and has protected us in amazing ways and mm-hmm.

So this type of somatic work can just help us, as you said, you know, connect to herself. 

Maggie: Yeah. Yeah. The body, it is. So smart and has protected us in ways that we are not consciously aware of. Yeah. So to heal those experiences. Going back into the body, if you ask me, is a necessary step. Yeah. 

Carolyn: Now, Maggie, what advice would you give your, you know, 25, 26 year old self?

Now that you’re in this role, you’ve had your years of corporate experience, what would you say to your 26 year old self? 

Maggie: Yeah. Yeah. Uh, I had so much love for that version of me. [00:39:00] She was trying her best. I would tell her to just trust herself and keep going. A big thing that I experienced during those times was this like inferiority complex.

I thought that everyone else had so much more authority and like that I really had to prove my worth. And instead of being so consumed in the proving, I think if I had just trusted who I was and who I am, that it would’ve relieved a lot of pressure for me. Mm-hmm. But that said, I think every step that I took was, you know, necessary to get where I am now.

So, yeah. Yeah, got a lot of love for her, but she could have trusted herself more. 

Carolyn: Well, maybe there’s someone out there who’s able to hear that advice. Apply it to themselves. Now, Maggie, where could people find you? 

Maggie: Yeah, I would love to connect. I think the best place is probably Instagram. My handle is Maggie Hayes.

I ts [00:40:00] Maggie Hayes. I’m like super responsive to dms and comments, so I’d love to hear from anyone. 

Carolyn: All right. And that’s H A Y E S. We’ll make sure it’s in the show notes. And your website again, what’s your website? The core Beautiful. Beautiful. Yeah. Well, Maggie, we end off every show with three questions.

Are you ready to go there? I’m ready. Alright, so these are the three qualities of an evolve leader that I talk about in my latest book, evolve the Path to Trauma-Informed Leadership. And so the first question is one of self-awareness. So is there an anecdote, short story you could share with us, Maggie, where you had a moment of insight and awareness and it might not have been pretty, but it was truly, truly insightful for you.


Maggie: so I will share. I recently got out of a long-term relationship and we were together for about six years, and I think I brought so many [00:41:00] of kind of my programmed beliefs of that inferiority complex into that relationship and. I noticed that I was doing this towards the end of the relationship and the closing of the relationship, and this is, I mean, by no fault of his, because it was very much what I brought into the relationship, but I noticed that I was constantly just sacrificing.

My own needs. I wasn’t really aware of my own needs because I thought that I just had to kind of be there to please the other person. Mm. Um, and this feeds into the grander scheme of people pleasing, right? Yeah. So I put his needs above my own, I think, as women especially, not to say anything against men or anything like that, but I think that women have a lot of the mindset that we have to take care of everyone around us.

Yep. And that was very much what I brought into the relationship and. After years and years of sacrificing my own needs, [00:42:00] I just wasn’t really happy with myself. Yep. So I think that was kind of like a really big aha moment. Mm. I didn’t even realize that I was doing it. Yep. I was like, why am I so tense all the time?

It’s like, oh, because I’ve been ignoring my needs for years. Yeah. So that 

Carolyn: was a big thing for me. Thank you. Second question, and we’ve sort of talked a little bit about this, but. Maybe you’ll have another gem. What is a practice that you use to bring yourself to a calm state? 

Maggie: Yeah. So I think that depends on the day.

Okay. Um, I will share what I did this morning. Okay. What I did this morning was some shaking, some spinal movement and um, a cold shower. ’cause I woke up feeling a little anxious, feeling a little type away. And so I just knew that I kind of needed to get energy moving before I started 

Carolyn: my day. So that cold shower, I’ve never, I love hot showers, I have to say, um, who doesn’t?

But now that I know [00:43:00] what happens, like it basically activates our good old friend. Right. The vagus nerve. Is that what the cold shower does? If I’m not mistaken, yeah, yeah, yeah. I still haven’t done it, but I think I’m closer to maybe doing it one day. But that’s interesting that you said, like you just sort of noticed it.

That might be something that you would need today. 

Maggie: And what the cold shower does is it actually, it builds vagal tone, meaning your capacity to calm yourself down in stressful situations. Gotcha. Yeah. ’cause the cold water is obviously very jarring. Right. It’s very shocking to the system. So it’s a matter of can I acknowledge that I’m safe, get ahold of my breath, get ahold of my body, and allow myself to be calm here.

Mm. And um, yeah, so it does that and it’s just very invigorating. 

Carolyn: So do you have cold showers often? Is that like a practice you use often? 

Maggie: It is, yeah. Mm-hmm. It is at least a few times a 

Carolyn: week. Okay. All right. Maybe one day. I am not there yet. Do it. Do it. [00:44:00] And so the last question is one about connection and co-regulation.

And so what is a song or genre of music that makes you feel connected to something bigger than yourself? 

Maggie: Yeah. Yeah. Like I said earlier, I love this question. Music is such a big part of my life because it is such a beautiful co-regulation. I love house music. I love electronic music, specifically Nora and Pure.

There’s just something about the beats and the layering of the beats, and just like the energy that it brings, it just makes me feel like alive. 

Carolyn: Love it. You know, I asked this question to all the guests and I’ve never had one replicated answer. It’s just so diverse. Oh, I love that. Yeah. That’s so cool.

It’s, it’s really cool. Well, Maggie, thank you so much for coming on the show. The time flew by and I’m sure everybody listening has some real, practical, tangible things they can try out and help. I hope so. Reconnect with that amazing [00:45:00] body of wisdom. 

Maggie: Yeah. Yeah. And all I invite is just like, just be curious, right?

Mm-hmm. Just like be willing to just like play around and just like get to know yourself and like it’s fun, right? It’s not like a pressured process. Just make it fun. Yeah. 

Carolyn: Love it. Well, we’re gonna end on that note, Maggie, thank you so much to everybody who’s tuned into this episode, and we’ll see you soon.

Thanks so much. So you heard Maggie and I talk about being fully resourced. Is that what you thought the conversation would be about? You know, all the years I spent in teams and non-profits and in corporate settings resourced with, Something that was about other things and other people, and this conversation was such a great reminder that we need to focus on our own resources first, and it’s not a unilateral or uni dimensional 

Maggie: [00:46:00] aspect.

Carolyn: I hope you’ve taken away some great insights from our conversation today, and if you would like to learn more about my work and what I do, you can see me at Carolyn Swar. Com. Also, don’t forget, I’ve got a new book out called Evolve the Path to Trauma-Informed Leadership. You can find it on most major bookstore resellers or on my website.

Thanks for listening.


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