Welcome to the Revolutionary Rompereglas podcast, where we meet at the busy intersection of trauma healing, sexuality, spirituality, embodied decolonization and radical self compassion. I’m Isha Vela, trauma psychologist, somatic expressive coach and energy alchemist. I’m passionate about how the healing of our intimacy wounds and dismantling of our social conditioning contributes to our collective evolution. I believe that embracing our full human experience is a holy process, and that our greatest gifts are sometimes alchemized from our deepest pain. I’m interviewing healers and leaders who are sharing their personal liberation journey and how they created a life love and business in alignment with that purpose. My intention is that the conversations and tools shared in this podcast will inspire and support you on your own liberation journey. So get ready to drop into your emotional body, tap into your intuition and unveil your fierce and flawsome expression.
Hi, and welcome to the very first episode of Revolution Rompereglas. I’m your host, Isha Vela. And I’m so glad that you’re listening right now. I’ve been wanting to share a podcast for a few years, and I needed to do some healing around my voice and my throat to be able to get this point. This is a very vulnerable experience, even though so many people are podcasting right now, it just feels like a drop in the bucket. But for me, it is part of my healing. For about six or seven years, I’ve felt the call from spirit to share my ideas and my message and just myself with the world. And at the time that I received the call, I was in my four year practitioner certification for somatic expressive energy healing. And I was recovering from a chronic viral infection that had almost taken me down. So I was on the, I was on the up and up. But I would experience sort of dips in, in my health, so I still wasn’t out of the woods. And so when I got this message, it was like this, almost like a command hallucination. It’s like I could see the vision of what I was supposed to be, but it felt really far away. And it felt like I couldn’t say no to it. So it felt really scary. It felt, uh – it just felt so far from where I was in that moment. And part of the reason I panicked was because I had created safety for myself in staying small, hiding my gifts, blending in with the background and not fully owning my power. And so I cried, I grieved for about three months straight. And at the same time that this happened, George Michael died. And I’m laughing because George Michael is, has been very important in my life, his music. And so I was grieving at the same time that George Michael died. And that just added another layer of the grief. Because I felt the pressure from my ancestors so strongly. It’s almost like I felt bullied and I would go crying to my therapist. And, and he would be like, you can do this on your own timeline. I was like, no, no, they want me to do it now. So I did feel that pressure. And you know, it may sound strange that I’m making such a big deal out of this. But you know, I’m an empath, I’m a delicate flower, I feel everything. And so for me, you know, what happened was that I was – this poked at a really protected wound around expression and visibility. Right? Other people don’t have problems talking or going on video. For me it was a big, big deal. It still is, right? So this is part of the process. But, but at the time, it was like no way. So as a child I did have an understanding that individuals could change the world. And I remember even in, what was it, fifth grade, I wanted to be one of those people. I wanted to change the world. I wanted to be somebody that stood out. I wanted to be a leader. You know? I wanted to, you know, I wanted first to be a dancer or an actress. I do have a flair for drama. But what happened was that my expression got shut down in a particular way when I was a kid. There was physical and psychological abuse in my family of origin. There was codependency and emotional incest and I was a very sensitive emotional child. So I absorbed the energy of that environment really easily. And I learned that it wasn’t safe to be open, loving and vulnerable. And hiding and making myself as small as possible was the safest way for me to be at home. And then growing up inside of a colonial structure, and I can’t emphasize that enough, because there are subtle messages daily, on the daily, that communicate to you that you are less than, right? Not only, you know, there’s the peace around being Puerto Rican, and living in Puerto Rico. But then there’s obviously the added layer of being a woman, and living inside of a patriarchy, living inside of colonialism. So I did express myself in the way that I could, I expressed myself through dance and art. And when I came to the states to go to college, I got re-injured. It was quite a shock to my system to be met with American racism because, you know, in my head, I had grown up with the idea that America was better. And I wanted to leave the island because I wanted to, like, you know, live inside of the fantasy world that had been presented to me over television. And so when I came to the States, I just was smacked in the face with this, like, inequality, that it was not what I had been told, I had only been on vacation, you know, like to, you know, visit Busch Gardens, or, you know, I went once to New York to look at some colleges. But beyond that, I hadn’t really explored the United States. So it was quite a shock to my system to really see, you know, how how people of color were treated in this country. And I had personal experiences with racism. There were people in my dorm, for example, who let me know that they weren’t comfortable with me touching them, because I was physically affectionate. And of course, yes, thank you for telling me that. But we didn’t look at it from a cultural lens. And so it just, I just felt like, I felt like I was made to be a predator. I was, I just felt wrong. And because I, you know, I was vocal in my own way. I was, you know, one of those people who was like, when I saw something that was not just, that wasn’t fair, I would speak up about it. And because I was vocal against a guy on my floor who was really sexist, and really scary, in some ways. I was voted biggest damn mouth, in my dorm. And when that happened, it was like, the final nail in the coffin of expression. Something in my throat just shut down. And I went way underground. It hit me in that core wound of expression. You know, for that, and for many other reasons, like culture shock, etc. I experienced a deep depression for about two years, where I could barely get out of bed and finish my classes. I was on academic probation, for I think four semesters, much longer than I think they usually let people stay on academic probation for, and I decided that I needed to leave the United States. I went to live in Germany to study abroad, and felt a little bit of relief because I had found some affinity with, you know, a culture that was familiar to me because my mother is German from Germany, and met my father when he was in the army and in her town, her hometown. And in graduate school, some years later, I also flew under the radar, I was also quiet, I kept my head down, I did the work. And I made sure not to say anything that would attract judgment or criticism or even attention. And the funny thing – or not so funny to my friends – I would actually get my friends, the people I shared similar values with, to say things for me. I wouldn’t take the risk to say them first, for fear of being wrong for fear of being judged, etc. So as is often the case, we teach what we need to know. And this is certainly, this certainly has been the case for me. Even now, there’s a tiny place, right, much smaller than what it used to be, that’s telling me that what I’m sharing with you right now is boring you and that I should just rush through the rest of this – through the rest of this recording, so that I don’t take up too much time. And so that’s why I’m taking my time and slowing my self down and breathing a lot. Right? So creating this podcast is part of my healing process in progress. And I’m aware that somewhere in my family’s history, I don’t know exactly where, my indigenous ancestors, who I invited into this recording, into this episode, before we began, they had to abandon or bury their practices, their language and their traditions in order for me to be here, right, in order to produce children and grandchildren and great grandchildren so that I could be here. In a sense, they had to die spiritually as part of colonization. And part of healing my ancestral trauma is continuing to open my throat, to my authenticity, to my vulnerability, to truth telling, right, so just sharing what’s true in the moment. And part of the call that I received that day, I think it was in 2016, was to support people in their holy human expression. Right? It’s not so much about bringing back the specific traditions of, you know, indigenous people or my indigenous people. But it was helping people get in touch with their inner divine by peeling back the layers of their ancestral trauma, and dismantling internalized systems of oppression, right? Colonialism, capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy. And I will say that most of our trauma is collective and ancestral. Right? Unless you’ve had a car accident, or, you know, experienced a natural disaster, right? Most of our trauma is collective and ancestral. Our socialization process, which I like to call our collective conditioning or collective brainwashing, is a form of trauma that limits our range of human expression, right, we learn to sit still, we learn to not flow with certain impulses, we learn how to show our social face. And even from our parents, like, if your great grandparents experienced terrible and painful losses, and it’s unprocessed, that gets carried through epigenetically, it gets carried through energetically, and so what we call personal trauma often has deeper familial patterns, we don’t know the origin of, because, you know, people didn’t have time to process their experience, it just became decontextualized. And we call it like, we refer to it as our family culture, you know, and even as women living in patriarchy, right, because it hasn’t been physically and psychologically safe for women to express their truth, their opinion, their desires, their real selves, most women have some wounding around expression. You know, and then we have this, what I call the disease of wanting to be liked, I’m sure I’m not the first person to say that, but it ties into our attachment. Right? Part of the reason, you know, women have this more strongly is yes, because of patriarchy, but because we’re also – we have a, I think, we’re socialized at least to have a stronger capacity for connection, we are like, very much about sisterhood, and sharing and collaborating. So when we’re not liked, or when we face the threat of ostracism, you know, or possibly losing love and belonging, we don’t want to upset that. It becomes a real threat to our survival. And, you know, the system sets us all up to be quiet, and to be seen only as it relates to our sexual consumability. And add to that the intersectionality of being a woman of color or of a different culture. And that’s a pretty thick layer. So in 2011, I was in my late 30s, I was having my first child. And when I had this child, she broke me open in a lot of ways. First, she opened my heart. I had never experienced love like that. And I had children actually late in life because I didn’t think that I would make a very good mother. I didn’t want children, I didn’t like children, I was disconnected from my own inner child. But I had reached a point where I was really curious about that love, I really wanted to experience that mother-child love. So she broke my heart open. What also began happening was that I was experiencing like, like sensory flashbacks. So not… some visual stuff, but it was more an awareness of my body, I was sort of noticing that there were, I was really hyper vigilant about, you know, how the bottle was placed in her mouth, or, you know, how she was held. But really, it was a lot around the mouth. And I, at the time, I didn’t think of myself as a trauma survivor. You know, I’d done my, my doctoral internship in the projects of the Lower East Side. And at the time my daughter was born, I was working in community mental health, and working with folks who were monolingual Spanish or newly arrived to the New Haven community. So, you know, whatever I’d experienced was so small in comparison to the really intense trauma that I was working with. So that and having a hard time admitting that I needed help delayed the process of getting help, you know, I was a sole breadwinner. I was a new mom, I had also begun my part-time private practice. So I was totally in scarcity and survival mode, right? It was that internalized capitalism of like, I need to go go go. It was like hustle mode. I felt like I had to hold it all together. I was in a codependent pattern of really over functioning for my family. And I felt like I couldn’t stop. And because I was like this, and I was experiencing some, some strange symptoms in my body, but I was ignoring them. I became ill with a chronic viral infection that took me down. And when I say took me down, I mean that I stopped being able to digest food properly, my intestinal walls were essentially destroyed. I wasn’t absorbing vitamins and minerals. And that showed on my hair, skin and nails, etc. It was just, I was just not well. And I learned about energetics, a body psychotherapy, from a graduate school friend. And after doing an immersion weekend, I looked at myself in the mirror, and I was like, you can’t pass this up. You have to do this. I knew that this work was gonna save my life, literally. So from the floor, from the bathroom floor I was laying on and inside of the four year cymatics certification program, I started to wake up to all the trauma I was holding in my body. I had no idea it was there. But it had been controlling me the whole time. Like just fears around letting people see me, just to my, the idea that I was so incredibly unlovable, right, and I was afraid to get close to people because they would see that or they would realize I was unlovable. My fear even of groups of people, so much distrust and anger, feelings like I didn’t belong. I mean, in those four years, I really went so deep into my healing. We went into some really fine grained experiences around energy in the body, inhabiting my energy body, because I was, in my own subtle way, dissociating. I wasn’t feeling the deep emotions that I was capable of, and that are actually a gift, but because they weren’t appreciated when I was young, it was made to be wrong, oh, you’re too sensitive, that I just shut it down. And during my training, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, Trump got elected, and I participated in an ayahuasca ceremony, and one of my dearest friends was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer. So that all happened within a year. And something about all that broke some part of me like, it just was like, I’m done. I made a vow to myself in that year, and to my ancestors, that I wouldn’t ever shut up again about the things that matter to me. And over those four years, right, the four years that I was in the program, I also recognized the ways that internalized systems of oppression had played a role in how I participated in the world. So that vow was really, really was like a bigger, a bigger understanding of what I was reckoning with in my own body. So this place in me that felt like I didn’t belong, the place in me that had experienced bullying and teasing as a child, it was also connected to having grown up in Puerto Rico and feeling unwelcome and feeling like I didn’t fit into the white American experience, like, all of that made me feel like I couldn’t call myself a leader. But in those four years, as I began sharing more of my voice, and what I believed was true, and people would respond to it, like, oh, wow, I never thought of it that way or this and that. I was like, oh, oh, yes, like I do matter. And what I share does matter, does impact people. And at that moment, I realized I had, I had absorbed colonialism so deeply in my cells, and that this was a systemic issue. That was the point where Rompereglas born, breaking those internalized rules in my body, right? Because it felt like, that’s what it feels like when you come up against that, that programming that’s there since day one, it’s like a nervous system stop. You know, we often call it a block, but it’s like a nervous system stop. And when I realized that the places in me that didn’t believe I could do certain things or those, those internalized rules, I made a decision, and it really was a decision, that I would no longer believe the lies that my brain tells me. You know, over those four years, I’d had experiences with spirituality that connected me to a love that was so deep, I decided to believe those experiences versus the shit my brain was telling me. And when I stopped believing those lies, my whole life opened up to me. Everything that had felt impossible before became available. It was like, it was really like this unveiling, this opening. And I was looking around my life and looking around my house. And there was actually moments where I would look around and I would say, this is not my life. This doesn’t feel like my life. And that’s because my life had been constructed out of those limiting beliefs, and I needed to close them out. So I ended my marriage of almost 14 years. I started setting better boundaries. I started this project Revolutionary Rompereglas. I started thinking of myself as an entrepreneur, which wasn’t an idea I grew up with. I began to follow intuition in my life in business, I showed up more authentically, more vulnerably, more connected, you know, and started stepping into my purpose and leadership in bigger ways. And I think the biggest part of it was accepting humanity and accepting life exactly as it was. You know, this is something that I’m most appreciative of, because the the body work, we’re really talking about the nervous system. And many people don’t want to talk about the nervous system, because it’s not, it’s not really sexy. But when you expand your nervous system capacity, you can just handle shit, you can just handle life. You know, I was gonna start this podcast in August of 2020, when a tree fell on my house, and I was just like, okay, we need to move now. And I, I was between homes for three months, and just last month, moved into an apartment, and was able to unpack my podcast mic and start the podcast, but I was, I really just accepted the situation as it was. And that was very different from, you know, five or six years ago, where I would have just like, you know, railed at the sky and asked why or been angry. It wasn’t, it wasn’t that way. So, you know, I think the real work here is, you know, what I really learned over the course of those four years, and what I want to support you in, is having a deeper relationship with yourself, all parts of yourself, especially, especially the ones that have been shamed and disowned, right? The more you can connect with those and love those compassionately, the more you can open up in compassion with others. You know, the more I allowed my emotions to be expressed, the more I downregulated my nervous system, right? And that is also something that I, that I want to share with you that is this nervous system down regulation, because our nervous systems are so loaded up with unprocessed ancestral trauma. And the compassion piece, right, like owning the parts that are shamed, or that have been disowned, or shunned, those are some of the most, the juiciest parts of your expression. Right? And we often think of those, like, let’s say, you know, you have this part of you that is dramatic, or, or, you know, likes to take up a lot of space. In Puerto Rico, we have a word for that, it’s called presenta, right, where you’d like to be in the middle of everything, you’re nosy. And you know, what, maybe, maybe the gift in that is that you do, you are good with picking up some space, right? Maybe you have capacity to take up some space, and maybe that’s a leadership quality. Right? So the last thing that I want to talk about, just very briefly before we end today, before we end this episode, is increasing your capacity for pleasure. Right, because those internalized systems of oppression are very limited in terms of like your receptive capacity, your ability to receive what’s good in the world. And when I increased my capacity for pleasure, again, it was like this opening, it’s, it was like this looking around of like, oh, I get to have that. And I get to experience that. And I get to give myself that. It was just inviting more and more prosperity into my life. What I came away with is owning myself, owning my emotions, owning my energy, owning my sexual body, because no system could own me or how I felt about myself. And because of the work that I’ve been doing, supporting other healers, coaches, leaders and entrepreneurs, I really saw that we, we have a hard time loving ourselves, like we give so freely to other people. But we don’t give ourselves that same amount of love and space and compassion. And I knew that’s part of what I wanted to change to balance, the bring that balance, the inner and outer balance. And what I’m ultimately here for, right, is to support you. But I’m also here for the ripple effect, like the bigger picture. I’m into creating culture and generating a new world from the inside out, right? Because the real work, the real evolution is, yes, the one inside of you, and the one – the evolution of your immediate relationships with partners, with your children, with coworkers. So yeah, that’s it. That’s it for my story today, I went on a little bit longer than I wanted to. But I really wanted to give you the full picture of what I’m up to, what I’m about, what you’re in for as part of this podcast. And I am dropping episodes on the new and full moons because I’m a little bit of an astrology geek. I feel like I need astrology just to keep myself grounded, because I’m very affected by the movement of the planets, my moods are very affected. So, when this drops, I will have announced that I am, I am running a group program called fiercly expressed mujer. And that will be included in the in the notes for this episode. All right, thank you so much. Bye. Okay, that’s it for today’s episode. I hope that this conversation moved some energy for you. And if you found this valuable, it would mean so much if you contributed to the sisterhood and shared it with a friend. Remember to hit the subscribe button so that you get notified of new episodes dropping on the new and full moons of each month. If you haven’t already, leave us a five star review and make sure that everyone who needs this transmission gets it. See you next time, Rompereglas.