Jan. 12, 2022

E177: Healing your Inner Child with Gestalt Chair work with Michelle Chalfant | CPTSD and Trauma Healing Podcast

In this episode, I'm very excited to be back with you with another episode with my guest Michelle Chalfant, and we talk about healing your Inner Child with Gestalt Chairwork. Michelle Chalfant is a licensed therapist, holistic life coach, author,...
See show notes at: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/e177-healing-your-inner-child-with-gestalt-chair-work-with-michelle-chalfant-cptsd-and-trauma-healing-podcast/#show-notes

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In this episode, I'm very excited to be back with you with another episode with my guest Michelle Chalfant, and we talk about healing your Inner Child with Gestalt Chairwork.

Michelle Chalfant is a licensed therapist, holistic life coach, author, podcaster, and developer of The Adult Chair, a transformational model of self-realization. Her extraordinary work has helped people all over the world improve their relationships, become unstuck and develop healthy self-love.

With over 5 million downloads, The Adult Chair podcast is where simple psychology meets grounded spirituality. Michelle’s audience receives practical tools and techniques they can use to access their personal power and transform their lives.  Michelle brings a sense of passion and over 25 years of experience to all areas of self-healing.

Listen to this episode because Michelle brings us a tremendous amount of value; she takes us through the top to bottom of Gestalt, what it means and how it works in our healing journey.

Learn more about Michelle and her transformational model, visit: https://theadultchair.com/

Get a Paperback copy of Think Unbroken Understanding and Overcoming Childhood Trauma for FREE at: https://book.thinkunbroken.com/

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Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation! Hope that you're doing well, wherever you are in the world today. I'm very excited to be back with you with another episode with my guest Michelle Chalfant, who is a licensed therapist, holistic life coach, author, podcaster and developer of adult chair a transformational model of self-realization. Michelle my friend, how are you today? What is going on in your world?

Michelle: I am wonderful, thank you. Everything is good in my world today. It's a peaceful day, it's a good day.

Michael: I love it. I love those days, I'm glad that you're having a good day. I'm super excited to have you here. You know, it's funny reading your bio, I'm kind of like, oh shit we’re cut from the same cloth, I wonder how she got here, so out of curiosity and so we can give a little context to the listeners. Tell us a little bit about your journey and how you got to where you are today.

Michelle: Yeah, you know, and I love your whole message I have to tell you because I'm someone that grew up feeling really broken. I had more emotional abuse, I would say and instability growing up. Grew up in Rochester, New York with a very enmeshed, Italian family like everyone was in each other's business, no boundaries, my dad's twin brother hated my mom, there were no boundaries there; there was a lot of drinking. It was just a little chaotic, but also on the outside, looking in people thought, you know, everything was perfect.

So I grew up in that found myself, pretty depressed, which again, way back when nobody really talked about that kind of thing but in high school college, I found my self depressed but functionally depressed. I had a boyfriend, I had friends, but on the inside I always felt like I was holding on to the secret that I was broken. Actually I used broken and damaged, so I had two words for myself. I felt like damaged goods and again, this is way back now in my 20s and I always also love to help people. I had my own things that we're going on and then really having this desire to help people so very naturally, I was always drawn to spirituality. I loved meditation, when meditation wasn't even a thing, thank God because it saved me is really saved my life honestly.

Learning about meditation, I was handed books, this is before the internet I have to tell you. In the 80s and 90s, there was no internet but thank God like friends would say here read this book or read that book and it just I was like, yes, this is like breath for me, give me more. So I went on to become a therapist and along the way, I also really realized or had this idea like – you know, I have such a negative thinking inside my head, I think that I hate myself on top of everything else. So what I really need to learn how to do is to love myself, so I went on this quest in my 20s and I feel like I will do be on this journey the rest of my life because I love to heal and I love to teach others how to heal and just again like I met with mentors and took classes and just went on to learn as much as I could from people and along the way I was healing. And about, 10 years ago, I was working with one of my mentors and we were doing something called cheer work and this is where the whole idea for the adult chair came from, we were doing chairs and I love chairs is just a form of Gestalt therapy. We have empty chairs in your putting like personas in each chair, and I was like, oh my God, I love this. So created this model because it helped me so much and I took everything that I learned over the course of about 25 years and put it into this model and kind of cobble together a model, it is called the adult chair. I teach people how to live in the healthiest versions of themselves emotionally speaking because that's what I find that so many of us, there's no toolbox like how do you do it. The adult chair teaches people, how you do that, it teaches people how to get unstuck. So that's my whole life story in a couple of minutes there.

Michael: You know, it's funny you said something that's not with me for a second. You're like, I'm going to be doing this journey forever and I think one of the interesting misnomers in this whole process is an even one of the things I'm really diving into right now is like there's levels to this shit. Like today I feel very strong about who I am and then someone will ask me a question and I'll go oh shit I'm questioning everything about who I am and I think it's really fascinating to be in this position where your reconciling (A) of the work that you've done and (B) being like – I'm good, but see, okay wait, there's more.

One of the things I'm curious about is, when you go back to being in this position in high school and college, having people recommend books to you, that strikes me, I dare, I want to call it odd and the reason why is because there must have been a catalyst for that. Like, how do you get them that position where people are actually offering you things that can help you along your journey?

Michelle: Because I've always been very verbal about what I love what I'm into and again, this is back in the 80s and 90s, not a lot of people were meditating and I remember one of the first books, I was given, somebody handed me, the book Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch and I was like, oh my God, yes, this is what I've always believed in my whole life, thank you. I don't know, I didn't really hide how I I felt I'm going to say my whole life, I think I came out of the womb, a very spiritual child, which is different for me than being a religious child. I was born and raised Catholic, but it wasn't about being Catholic, it was like, I knew there was something greater than me out there somewhere and I felt that thing inside of me, that to me is being spiritual and that thing was guiding me and that thing gave me hope all the time. Again, this is not like a religious kind of thing, it drove me so I was able to speak out loud about always how I was feeling. It's very emotional verbal about my feelings, my emotions so people would hand me books, they would invite me to classes. I remember someone said come to this past life, regression therapy thing where I was like, okay, let's do that like anything out of the norm and way back when people called new agey, which is pretty common now, I was doing it, I was going to yoga, nobody really did yoga way back on, everybody does yoga way back then I was up for anything. It was like people would seek me out, it was very strange but it just happened, so thank God because it's such a big part of who I am.

Michael: Do you think that some of that comes from being in the family system that you were like – everybody's up in anybody's shit anyway, is it just natively a part of who you are.

Michelle:  It's just who I am and people today will be like – I can't believe you said that out loud to everybody like on my podcast and when I do like a live event, I'll tell everyone, my whole story, I'll tell you any detail, you want, I don't care like, it's just who I am. And I realize actually, since having a platform now in telling that story how it helps so many other people and I realized like, I wish I had heard that when I was in my 20s, I would have felt less alone. I would have felt like I wasn't so broken because when you get in a group of people and you tell your story, other people go, oh me too, wait that happened to me, oh wait that sounds like my family. You know, it's like obviously you don't feel like you're so broken, you're so alone.

Michael: Yeah, do you feel like that's so often to your own benefit or detriment to be able to be that open? And the reason that I ask you, that is why so many people who just feel like they're carrying the weight of this all by themselves, whatever that might be for them. And I think in my own experience stepping into vulnerability, like is everything because it does remove that barrier of aloneness, but at the same time, there are sometimes ramifications in that. So I guess it's two parts; one, do you feel like it's been beneficial or detrimental, or two, how do you reconcile like – am I doing the right thing for the right reason by sharing this story?

Michelle:  Yeah, I do feel like it's a good thing because, again, I feel like my mission here on this planet is to help people to transform, that is why I'm here. It's been inside of me since I was a little kid, I feel this just passion for helping others, my work does not feel like work, it feels like play to me like I get so much joy out of what I do, so sharing my story feels beneficial because I know it's helping others. The thing that was a detriment for me was that when I used to have a private practice because I'm a therapist and a life coach as well. I was also codependent and I would carry the weight of my clients with me, so that's when it was hard and of course, it wouldn't share to my clients on an individual basis, but that's when it was harder for me I should say when I was codependent and I worried and that I would carry all that with me. But as far as sharing my story I really, really feel like it only helps people and I let go of it. You know, like when you're sharing your story, do you know what I mean? Like, it comes through me and I let it go and then we move on and I'm not tied to that story, it's not who I am anymore, it's part of who I am, it's part of how I got here and I'm happy for that but no, I feel like it's honestly, it's a positive that answer both of your questions.

Michael: Yeah. Well, I don't think there's a right or wrong obviously. You know what? I like that you talk about the chair work and that being just this kind of branch of Gestalt because I found that in my own journey, Gestalt really for me is probably the most transformational type of therapy that I was able to step into. There's something about the practicality of it that I think that maybe other modalities miss out on. For this sake of conversation and those who perhaps formed kind of take us through the top to bottom of what Gestalt is what it means and how it works in the the healing journey?

Michelle:  Yeah, for sure. I'm just going to put it through the lens of the adult chair model that I created, if that's okay with you because it's all good stuff, there are a big part of it as goes about. The salt is all about really, you hear people use the term, the empty chair technique, so you can put different personas or parts of ourselves in these chairs and it can become your mother, your father, or even a part of yourself. Let's say the perfectionist, let's say it's the victim and then you can work with those parts whether they're part of you inside, or part of you outs, or partners or someone outside of yourself, it's powerful work. But with the adult’s chair model is based on three distinct aspects of your life, it's a whole life journey that we take so, we start out as children. So, the first there's three chairs; the first year, as a child chair is from the age of 0 to 6 this is when we learn all about true emotions, true needs, spontaneity, passion, intimacy, and vulnerability from the age of 0 to 6, after the age of six is when the ego starts to drop in that is from the age of about 7 to 24, this is what we call the adolescent chair, so it really is from pre-adolescents, adolescents to adolescents, so the Adolescent chair is all about ego stuff.

So again, victim, codependent, narcissist this is where learned not to live in the moment because the ego is lives in the past and the future. It's always on guard, it's based in fear, this is where we make up stories and assumptions, we really want to go in and we go into our heads. This is where we are reactionary, this is where we have rage, this is where we defend instead of feeling or emotions. So it's not a bad part of who we are, but it does take some understanding of what we want to do with the Adolescent is get to know these parts.

The third part of who we are, what I call the adult chair, this is the healthiest version of self. We move in here around the age of 25, if we had modeling that showed us how to do it, we quite naturally slide into this adult chair. In the adult chair, we are present moment, we live with fact and truth or compassionate. We know how to tune into our child part, the inner child, which is where we feel our emotions and we don't react to them but instead we process and then we respond. This is where we have compassion again, for self, for others, this is where we're strong we can set boundaries. We're very aware in this chair so that's the goal. No matter what ailment or what issue that we have were able to plug into these three chairs.

So when I have client, when I used to have clients, they would come into my office out of three chairs that were set up, and I say, do a check-in from the chairs. So this is that Gestalt therapy and I have people, let me give you an example. Remember, this girl came in and she was hysterically crying and I said, what's going on? She said, oh my God, I'm going to lose my job, I know me to lose my job and I still will do a check-in from the chairs and she jumped in the adult chair and she says I'm going to lose my job and I said is that fact and truth because from our adult, we live in acting truth in this very moment. She says it is true and I said, how do you know she says well everyone else that has been hired up to me has been let go or after me has been let go, so I'm next on the list I said, so is that an assumption that you're getting fired or is that truth? She says, well, it's an assumption; I said get over here and your adolescent chair and she says, oh wow, okay, and I said, so that's not true, that's an assumption and I said, what do we know that's true and then she said, well, my boss loves me, he says he can't do anything without me, I'm his right-hand, she went on and on and I said, so we don't even know that you're ever going to get fired. I said, but we do want to be adults about this, so let's go ahead and send a resume out, let's start thinking through this just in case as it turns out, she never even got fired.

In fact, she ended up leaving on her own because she was always worried about getting fired but this is how we typically show up from this adolescent chair. We show up from this part of us that lives in fear that lives and storing and assumption that's not even, I mean, and when we ask ourselves, what's fact and truth?  We snap out of that fear, because most the time that fear isn't real and that's where we live. Does that make sense?

Michael: Yeah, 100%. And I think part of my experience and it was reliving and being stuck and trapped in fear of the past, right? And I think that probably holds true for many of you adult survivors of childhood trauma. I think there's one thing to have the conversation and to be in that present moment and go, okay, this is the scope in which through, I'm looking at life, can I make meaning of that? And then there's everything that happens when you walk out of the office. So from a practical standpoint, one of the things that helped me tremendously was just understanding, kind of like the system of change and how you reprogram your brain, and how you make meaning of things that are happening in your life but it took me a while to really hold on to the fact like as I was walking down the street, chances are I probably wasn't going to get murdered so I didn't need to have my keys between my knuckles, right? And I think part of it is just living, part of it is the experience of going through those things that you are learning and trying to understand in this Human Experience, but for people who they go through coaching and they're on the edge there on the precipice of filling like this change that can happen can happen, but they yet remains I'm stuck. How do you start to bridge that gap so that people can actually start to elicit change in their life?

Michelle: Well, you know what, we use a lot of different techniques within the adult chair model. So one of them is parts work, one of them another technique that I love is doing inner child work. So when you talk about change; the inner child work is in my opinion, like, such Foundation because that's where so much of our wounding happens is while we're in this younger state. So I teach people how to reconnect with the inner child with the inner child is where all of our emotions are, it's where our true needs are and we don't know what our true needs are. We know what we want, we don't know what our true needs are. A true emotional need is something like – I need a hug, I need you to tell me I'm okay, I need you to tell me that I matter. So when you start teaching people these things, this is where change really starts to happen.

So when they leave the office, I give them ideas on how to work with the inner child, so then go home and keep working, and they come back and they go, oh my God, I can't believe it like, I've got this relationship with this part of me, and it's being integrated and everything in my life is starting to change. I've seen this like thousands of times in my office like over and over and over again just people keep changing just by working with that inner part because we cut ourselves off from that part when there's trauma and even if there's not trauma, most parents don't reflect back to us. Hey, you know Michael, what are you feeling today? Or how does that make you feel when so and so? That didn't happen at least I don't know about parents today, I think they're getting a little better at it but that needed to happen for us when we were growing up. So what have we had to learn how to repair in ourselves now and that's how we'd start this change and continue the change when they're not in an office and when they're on their own at home.

Michael: One of the more fascinating aspects of my journey was recognizing and understanding how dissociated I was and connecting that to being, you know, 4, 8, 12, 15 years old, and saying, I literally learned how to turn off and understand that was an autonomic response to the stimulus that was in my life and it was a parameter of safety that needed to happen in order for me to probably make it to this moment, but tapping into the inner child part myself was arguably more difficult than most other things because the only thing I ever wanted to do when I was a kid, was be a grown-up, right? And so, there is this big disconnect me a long time and I think I'll always be working on connecting that a little bit deeper, but for practicality say, can you give us a couple of examples of things that people who are listening right now where they're like – I'm very disconnected from the reality of my emotional state. What are one or two things that they could do or think about or contemplate to start to rebuild that, or even for the first time build that relationship with themselves?

Michelle: I love that, that's a great question. The thing is like you said, disassociation happens with so many of us and what we need to do is to learn how to become present with ourselves, sitting quietly, feet on the ground and just noticing your feet are on the ground, taking some deep breaths, closing your eyes and noticing what do I feel in my body? So instead of going after emotions, and I've had people that sit with me and they're like, I don't know what I'm feeling, I'm all stressed out, no, it's okay, we want to take this slow because so many of us, don't know how to feel our emotions but you do know possibly how to feel something going on in the body. And when you close your eyes, you got your feet on the ground, you're taking some slow deep breaths, bringing yourself into the moment and you look at what's going on in the body with curiosity which means you might feel a teeny tiny tightness in your stomach and I mean tiny, you might feel a tiny little tightness in your throat, so be with that. Those are emotions that you're feeling physically and that's perfect, this is a phenomenal place to start. Again, you don't go at it like, you're tackling the emotion, you're looking at it with curiosity, like gosh, you know, am I feeling anything? Maybe, let me close my eyes, in check and you close your eyes, you might feel your shoulder, start to come up a little bit that's something too.

So we start there, you don't have to label the emotion, but you've just tuned into the physical body, and then you be with whatever you're feeling.So if you have a little teeny tiny knot in your stomach, or your shoulders rub, or whatever it is, sit with it, feel it, and just breathe, that's it.

You don't have to do anything but what happens is when you give attention to that emotion, physically speaking, it moves through you. In fact, emotions only last 90 seconds when you're in them, the reason that they last longer is that we make up a story about the emotion which drags it out longer and longer but when you're purely feeling an emotion, it moves through and I've worked with I've lost track of how many people they say; I can't film, like let's just get curious about the body, they'll feel something we'd be with it and it moves through every single time, I've never had someone not be able to do this. But it's light and that's why I invite people to close their eyes, just get inside the body, if you don't want to close your eyes, you don't have to but tune in what's going on and when you can tune into that, you can start feeling your emotions and it builds from there. So that's a great way to start, great place to start.

Michael: Yeah. I think it's important to not run from it, right? And I think that's the really scary part of this whole thing is, you know, I recall when I first got deeper into the side of the work, we're 6, 7 years ago, I'd be in therapist’s office and he would say, okay go through this process, what do you feel? I'd like nothing, right? I'm just like emotionally shut off in this really intensive way because it's safety. And you talk about this idea of letting go, how do you let go while understanding that the physiological response that you are not experiencing is built into an autonomic responsive safety? Because I think what happens is people are just like it is so native, let me run through my perspective, as someone with like ACE score really had fucked up childhood, right? So I would be in this place where, you know, the emotion it would just rise to this place and I'm like, no matter what it's going away, happiness and sadness, joy, fear, love, lost, guilt, shame, whatever and I'm one point I thought and you've probably experienced this with clients as well, I was like, oh, I must be a sociopath because I feel nothing and I know there are people having that experience and they're hearing you or they're heard me and they've listened to a hundreds of these episodes so far and they're still like, I don't know what the fuck to do. So when you're in this position and you're just so deep into the autonomic diction to into you subconsciously and someone says, you will just feel the emotion and I'm like I can't because it's fucking turned off. How do you do that?

 Michelle: What I would do is put something on your lap like in my office I said but really heavy little like the size of little pillow like a bean bag or you can take some heavy books and you put them on your lap for wait, because you want to ground yourself, you want to keep yourself somehow in the body. I remember working with people to, I would say, okay, go stand up against the wall and push against the wall as hard as you can then what comes out? And I mean, I remember working actually with a lot of men and they would just start screaming and I said what's going on there? Like I feel anger, I feel great, let it and I had in my office soundproof walls, it was fabulous. And they just start screaming and I loved it and it was amazing because just standing and pushing on a wall and having some kind of resistance, let's so much come out and underneath again that anger, that rage, that defense, it was a defensive, thank God it was there. They needed for it to be there when they were younger, but they didn't need it now but underneath that, it was beautiful like tears, sadness like, all of these other things that were underneath, that anger and weight rage were protecting.

So, having weight or pushing on something, is another way to help get these emotions up, and out in through. Another thing is, you can go outside, you can chop wood, you can go outside, or go in your room to punch a pillow. Do something physical to start getting the energy moving; understand that emotions are just energy, use energy, we want to get that energy to move, not just move, but we want you to sense it. So, if you're physically doing something like punching a pillow, screaming into a pillow, something like that in the moment after is when you are, then your muscles start to loosen, then the emotion can start coming up again, it might not be an emotion, it might be that tightness in your stomach, it might be that tightness in your chest, so those are two or three different things that you can do.

Michael: Yeah, I love it. I don't know if you'll agree but in my journey and obviously, in being in your own journey, there's a sense of freedom that comes with that letting go, you know, the analogy I like to use its carrying a backpack full of bricks with you until you decide not to carry them any longer. And I often get pushed back in, so I'm really curious about your thoughts on this from people when I talk about the idea that to a certain extent, like there's choice that you are making and whether or not you are in your stuckness. And so, I recognize it, it's not to say there are not biological markers that may be indicative that I'm wrong, I'm not saying that's not the truth but I also think about the reality that you can be taking action in your life. There are things that you can do, there are movements that you can make. How important do you think is decision-making and follow through us?

Michelle: Are you saying the decision making to change shift or grow or transform? Is that what you're talking about?

Michael: Yeah. Absolutely.

Michelle: Yeah, I think it's really important, you have to decide I'm ready, and I'm ready to move forward, but I want to say something about that to another thing I just want to point out, is that in the adult chair model, we work with something called parts and I really believe we have so many different parts of self, so even though you're looking at me, you know, Michael and you might go, it's one of us but really wear a cast of thousands on the inside. We have the perfectionist, the rager, we all have all the same parts, some of them are more dominant than other parts, we have parts though that protect us. So again with me I was a disassociated as well, I didn't want to feel anything, I was like I'm out so you might want to also get in touch with that part that is blocking from feeling those emotions or blocking for moving forward.

So if you're a visual, you close your eyes, you say, am I ready to move forward? What's blocking me? Close your eyes. Is it a brick wall? Is it a cement wall? Is it a person standing there? What's going on?And I love to invite my clients to write about it, to talk about, like, who is it? What's in the way? What does that part of you need to know? Well, it needs to know that I'm okay, as I move forward and nothing bad's going to happen because here's the thing, these parts that are blocking us are more than likely from a long time ago when we had that trauma.

So there for a good reason, but what we want to do is get in touch with that part, talk to that part, you can write it down. If you're not a visual person, you might hear words. If you can't hear words, you're going to send something like, you might say to yourself, I don't know what it is, but something's telling me not to move forward. So we use these words from our parts, all the time. So pay attention, something's telling me not to move forward, what something? Again, is it a person inside of you? Is that a part? Is it a wall? What is it. So you start talking to that part, that's so helpful with. Again, feeling the emotions or making that decision to move forward because maybe you can't make that choice to move forward because there's a part that saying no freaking way or you're going to move forward, this is too scary. And what you have to do is then educate that part so you say, hey guess what? I'm however, yours old that you are today like hey, I'm 40 years old, I'm not 6 anymore, I'm not 10 anymore, I'm 40 and I can do this, I'm safe. And then that part goes, oh my god, I didn't even know what your 40 I thought you were seven, no. And then what you find is the resistance starts to go away, so these resistant quote-unquote parts of us they're real and if you feel that I encourage people to turn toward it, you can't ignore it because it's going to be there until you pay attention to it and give it attention and talk to it and figure out why it's blocking.

Michael: And when you're having that conversation and let's call itself, right? So your fear is future and I think for a lot of people, unfortunately, the fear is success, the fear is do I deserve to have the life that I believe I'm capable having, it's the narrative ingrained in you from all the experiences leading up to this moment, there's this huge part of you is like I want to start that podcast, write that book, ask that person, I'll quit that job, do that, you know, whatever it is that thing that gets you awake at night and yet you're still in consummate battle with self. So even through the acknowledgement and having the conversation and noticing and bringing presence and awareness to it yet you still are in this place of stuckness. How do you navigate that? Because I see, and I felt, I've heard in my own personal experience even is your like, I am gone through the process of understanding the pros the cons, up to down, the left the right, of every single thing that happened on the backside of this decision and in my heart, my soul, my spirit, I go, I know. Do I have to do this and how do you have created that forward momentum?

Michelle: Well, I would do what I just what I was just talking about, which is parts work. Parts work is huge. I would ask, like, if you were blocked, I would say to you, okay, what does it feel like? What does it feel like to want to move forward but you're not moving forward? What is blocking you? Is it something inside of you? Do you get event; you get an image? Yeah, I see a brick wall. Okay, let's talk to that brick wall, what is it want you to know? It's there for a reason? Ask it what its purpose is? These are the questions you ask the parts, what is your purpose? And more than likely it's there to protect you and then you let it know how old you are and which is like a re-education to this part and then that part goes oh, wow, oh my God, you're what? You're 40 or 50 or what? Oh my gosh. I didn't even know. Yeah, I'm telling you this work with parts transforms people, it helps them to get unstuck and helps them to move forward. You have to turn toward that part of you though that's in the way versus trying to just dialogue with yourself.

Like I'm just going to push for think about like New Year's day, everyone goes, I'm going to lose, I'm going to get in shape, I'm going to do this and that it's bullshit, it doesn't ever happen, right? Because there's a part of you that stuck in the past, just like you're saying there's a part it's like we're living with unconsciousness, we've got to become conscious, we've got to start talking to these parts that are in the way, we got to get, like, the whole team on board and then we can move forward, we got a lot of parts inside of us that actually are wanting us to do good and to be good but they it sounds crazy but we don't live very consciously, we live mostly unconscious.

We're like we get up every day, we do the same thing and then we get up the next day, we're doing the same exact thing, it's like, wait, I need to make a new conscious choice for my day, today I'm going to do whatever it might be, write a book like you said, go to the gym, lose weight, gain weight, whatever it might be, and then you have to go inside of your body.

What does that feel like? Yuck, I'm tight. I doesn't feel right; I don't want to do it talk. I love to journal, write it down, what is it about not moving forward and doing the writing that book. What is blocking you? What's inside? You have to turn toward the thing that scares you turn toward what's blocking you.

Michael: I love that book. The first thing I write down at all, and I write in my journal every single day is face fear. And what's so fascinating to me is like, I don't know what that fear is going to be today. I truly anything but I often I get stuck in this idea that if I do and maybe this is a good stuckness that if I don't face it, my life is not going to be what I believe it's capable of being and that fear I have found 99% of the time, it's when I face it my life is actually better, right? It is actually right there.

And I want people to understand like the reality about life and I'm sure that you may agree I won't put words in your mouth but I think the reality about life is like facing the fear often brings out positive. It's like right there, just waiting for you and the fear of success, we have the weight of the past, all the bullshit narratives and stilled from into us from other people. Like, when you start to release yourself from that, you go for it. Like it's the old adage burn the boats to take the island at some point you gotta commit, you just got to be in this. I want to get personal with you for a moment because I think it matters, what do you think is one of the greatest commitments that you have made that has made a dramatic and noticeable difference in your life in this healing journey?

Michelle: That's a great question. I'm going to say it's interesting what you just said. I'm going to say that it wasn't just one thing what's coming to me are all the times when I wanted to quit and I just kept going. I mean, I've had some shitty things happen in my life, like in my career, all these different things but I'm just going to keep going anyway, I'm just going to keep getting up and I'm just going to keep walking, it's a mindset almost versus one thing. And there have been times of telling you, I wanted to walk away from everything everything, I'm like, no, I'm going to do it for one more day and let's see what happens and then one more day and then one more day.

I can't even think about 10 years out or five years out, but I'm like, I'm going to get up and I'm just going to keep going, I don't know what tomorrow is going to hold, I don't know what today is going to hold but when it come it to myself I'm just going to keep going.

When I was younger, suicide that was like, that was a thought that I had, there's no doubt about it. I was like, I'm so depressed, I'm just going to end this all today, it's going to be a lot easier just to off myself, I'm out or do I just take one more day and I just keep going one more day.

Let me make it through today and let's see if tomorrow's any different and I would keep going but that was, when I was younger before. Now, I have a business, I don't think I don't have those thoughts anymore but there have been times in my business event when a marketing company completely screwed me, I lost so much money and I was like, I'm out, I'm done, I'm like, no I'm not, I'm going to keep going just one more day. So yeah, I guess it's a mindset for me, it wasn't just one thing, it was so many things.

Michael: Yeah, that's really beautiful. I'm right there with you and I think that ultimately it is and you hear it all the time and it becomes on pause but people are like one day at a time, but it's so true because you can't do anything about tomorrow, you can't do anything about five seconds ago, I cannot take back anything that's happened ever in the history of my life. The only thing I can do is try to do this moment and there's something really beautiful about being present like, if you can get to that place, like, it really does feel like a huge game changer, like, even if you're listening to us right now, I dare you turn off your fucking phone, I dare you. Go and just be present in the world today and see what happens, right? You know, I love this conversation Michelle, I can literally talk to you all day. I think there's levels again that we can get into with this but before I ask you my last question, can you tell everybody where they can find you?

Michelle: Yep, they just go to theadultchair.com that's it. There's the podcast and everything else I do is right there.

Michael: Awesome, amazing. And obviously, we'll put the links in the show notes and all those things. My last question for you, my friend and I think that you'll like this one is, what does it mean you to be Unbroken?

Michelle: To live authentically. For sure, to live out loud and not be afraid and authentic. Like to me authentic is vulnerable and letting the world see who I am and that is living unbroken.

Michael: Beautifully said my friend. Thank you so much for being here.

Unbroken Nation, thank you so much for listening.

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And Until Next Time.

My friends, Be Unbroken.

I'll see you.



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Michelle Chalfant

Michelle Chalfant, MS, LPC, CHC

Michelle Chalfant is a licensed therapist, holistic life coach, author, podcaster and developer of The Adult Chair, a transformational model of self-realization. Her extraordinary work has helped people all over the world improve their relationships, become unstuck and develop healthy self-love.

With over 5 million downloads, The Adult Chair podcast is where simple psychology meets grounded spirituality. Michelle’s audience receives practical tools and techniques they can use to access their personal power and transform their lives.

Michelle brings a sense of passion and over 25 years of experience to all areas of self-healing. To learn more about Michelle and her transformational model, visit theadultchair.com.

Michael UnbrokenProfile Photo

Michael Unbroken


Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.