Episode 26: Paula Newman
Part-time actor, friend and meditation teacher talks with Paul about her life being profoundly affected by her painful English upbringing, Hitler and Back to the Future. They also discuss the importance of Vedic meditation and the Body Ecology Diet.
Welcome to episode 26 with my guest Paula Newman. My name is Paul Gilmartin—I dont know why I felt the need to draw my name out there—and, uh, this is the Mental Illness Happy Hour. An hour of honesty about all the battles in our heads, from medically diagnosed conditions, to everyday compulsive negative thinking. Feelings of dissatisfaction, disconnection, inadequacy, and that vague sinking feeling that the world is passing us by. You give us an hour; we’ll give you a hot ladle of awkward and icky. But first, a few notes. The website for this podcast is mentalpod.com. Mentalpod is also the twitter name you can follow me at, and it’s the Skype name if you want to leave me a voicemail. You can also just call, uh, directly, and leave a voicemail at 818-574-7177. And uh, leave me question, a uh, comment, criticism—whatever—a uh, fear. I like to use listeners fears sometimes when I run out of fears for the fear off. Uhm, lets see what else. GO to the website, take the survey. Lets me get to know you guys a bit better—and you can also check the results of how other people answered questions, and that’s also a fascinating way to see how much alike we are compared to each other. We really sometimes think that we’re so terminally (unintelligible) unique, and uh, we’re really not. I was quite thrilled actually, when I looked at the survey, after about 500 people had taken it, and I saw that overwhelmingly the two things that screw with people the most is procrastination and self obsession. And uh, I always thought that was just me. Uh, I am not very proud to say that the lessons of 9/11 if there were any, with all the coverage—If there were any lessons, they were completely lost on me this week. Uh I played hockey Tuesday night—it would have been what, two days after the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. I couldn’t have been a bigger baby. Couldn’t have been more self-absorbed, couldn’t have been more of a pouty little bitch. I uh, I’ve been playing in this hockey league for a couple of years now. And the team I was on last season—and the season ended a couple of weeks ago-- I went to the—it was an awful team to play on. We just had no flow, way too many guys who didn’t know what theyre doing. It was just, it was just frustrating. SO I went to the guy that runs the league, uh, a couple of weeks ago, when the season ended and said, ‘’ I don’t think I can play on this team again’’. Its not that were losing. I understand that losing is a part of it. I don’t even mind finishing in last place. What I mind is never being in the game. Never getting the enjoyment of making and receiving passes. Just basically running wind sprints up and down the ice. Its just,its not fun. You know, id rather go jog and not be frustrated. He said ‘ well, you know, we’ll make a couple of trades and we’ll make sure you guys have a better team, next season.’ So, this week and the week before were the first two weeks of this new season with this revamped team. Even worse than last year. And this week we played this team, um, loaded with these talented Russian guys that just know—they’ve been playing with each other for years. —they know how to pass to each other. And I know before the game even begins it’s going to be a blow out. Its going to suck, its gonna be an hour of just chasing the puck up and down, watching them celebrate as they score. And for the most part it was. They beat us ten to seven, but I was pissed that we scored as many goals as we did because it didn’t—it robbed me of the self righteous anger of the blow out I predicted. So now I couldn’t go to the guy that runs the league, and be angry that he still hadn’t made the teams fair enough. Because the teams, in my opinion, still suck, we just happened to get a lot of lucky goals. So now I’m saddled with this team, maybe for the rest of the season, and it’s driving me fucking crazy. And im feeling like a victim. And all this shit that everybody went through this last weekend; people that lost loved ones, people that saw horrible things that will scar them for the rest of their life; completely lost on me. Im 48 years old. You know somebody said one time, ‘’the worst handicap you can have in life is a bad attitude’’. When is mine going to go away?
Everybody I know is bizarrely, beautifully, fucked up in weird way. I couldn’t stand you in the audition. I couldn’t stand you. Yes! Awful! I was drunk! And I learned that I could solve my problems through violence, since I couldn’t communicate.
Im afraid that my genitalia is ugly.
What was your role in the robbery?
You never knew what you were going home to.
I had a jar, that had teeth in it.
I was a wreck
Other peoples teeth?
PG: I'm here with my friend and meditation teacher, uh, Paula Newman. I’ve known Paula for probably about seven or eight years. You may recognize her. She had a pretty big part in Pirates of the Carribbean. She played Keira Knightlys dresser—what would you call that? —Lady in waiting?
Paula Newman (PN): Lady in waiting.
PG: hows that for me knowing that old Shakespearean timey time stuff? You do a lot of voice over work and ADR stuff. And I had always known you, as someone who was, uhm, I guess high strung would be the word. I hope that’s not insulting. But you were wound pretty fucking tight when I met you around seven or eight years ago. Charming, but somebody that I would think to myself, boy she is so charming, but I wonder if I had to spend an entire day around her, if I would still find her charming? Because she is a kinetic bolt of energy. And then I bumped into you about three years ago. And you seemed totally different. In a good way, you still had the—you were a nice charming person—but there was this calm to you that was really amazing. So we started talking, and you, tell me, what happened in your life.
PN: well, uh, what had happened was, I think prior to that three years ago—lets think—im trying to sort of do a timeline as it were…
PG: Do you want to start from early on and then work our way—?
PN: no! That’s fine, just, you know, numbers. I'm not as good with them as I used to be. Or remembering things. Id say, about, it was 2002, I got hurt with this injury. Everyones heard of carpal tunnel and tendinitis, and don’t spend too long on the computer. And I sustained an injury. And the ironic thing was I was the ergonomic person. I had all the ergonomic stuff—
PN: I was only working six hours a day in an office. And I wouldn’t say I was working. I mean, id get there thirty minutes late. You know, do what youre supposed to do. Turn the computer on; throw a lot of papers around the desk. And then id go get my latte, and a big chocolate muffin, and id do that. And then id take a lunch break for an hour and a half. Cause you know, it takes fifteen minutes to get to the mall for lunch, and then fifteen minutes back—
PN: and I need a whole lunch break. And then before you know it, its teatime, and being British, that takes about an hour. So I say I was working six hours a day, but not really.
PN: and uhm, I started to get these pains in my wrist, I knew what it was and I took all the preventative action, and um, it didn’t work. It didn’t work. Within a month, I was unable to dress myself. I was flat on my back. I was in so much pain, I couldn’t sit upright, and um, from that point after being in the nightmare of the workmans compensation system—right around the time when Arnold came into power and started cutting all the benefits-- I just ended up getting worse and worse. And it got to a point where I thought, ‘’im either going to end up on medication for the rest of my life in a bowl, and just fly back to England, or I need to do something. Because the pain medication was not really numbing the pain anymore. And the pain in my head, the voices in my head, were what were really driving my insanity.
PG: what were the voices saying?
PN: oh, all kinds of insane—
PG: (in a british accent) hello love!
PN: not ‘’hello love’’. No, no, no. It was more like—
PG: (british accent) youre a bit of a cheat eh?
PN: no, no, you complete and utter disaster of space, you just didn’t do anything, you failed, you came out here to prove everyone wrong and you failed at that. Youre a freak! Youre how old? You don’t have the house, you don’t have the guy, you don’t have the right car, aaaah, you don’t have the right body, and now youre in pain. And now youre never going to be able to retire because you can’t work.
PG: and how old were you at this point?
PN: I was 31 at the time. And uh, just, everything fell apart. The relationship. The aspirations of moving to Los Angeles to seek adoration really. And uhm, I started on the path then. And through that path, around the time that I had first met you, um, I started to get more clarity of mind because the prescription medication and you know, the legal substances which we can do to blot out pain, it wasn’t doing it anymore, and—
PG: it almost seems like that stuff, while it may get rid of the physical, it exacerbates the psychic pain.
PN: well a lot of the solutions that people use to help with physical pain, um, calm the mind. SO, when youre able to physically do something, even if its breathing, or going for a walk, as people say is really good for people on the edge. ‘Go for a walk’ ‘it helps the mind’. But if going for a walk is painful, all youre left with is listening to the voices. You cant block them out. You know, people will often exercise themselves til theyre tired. You know doing things to make you physically tired. But if your body is already tired as it is, and in so much pain as it is, then all you got, youre just faced with pretty much those voices, and those judgments all the time. And so through that, I went through a long process of trying to discover what would help me, and uh, facing severe, you know severe fight or flight issues with uhm you know, basically trying to survive, and being so young, no one would ever want to shag me again, and all that stuff that goes on in the brain.
PG: Can you be more specific about the fight or flight stuff? Like, what were, what were, some specific…..
PN: oh yeah, I will—first of all-- fight or flight, I am going to end up a young lady in a paper bag. Not an old lady in a paper bag. I wont be able to make any money for myself, and I don’t look like I used to, so I wont be able to find a guy to pay for me, because I cant physically do the things that I need to do to find a guy that would allow me to have whatever I wanted. And then I wasn’t able to do any physical comedy work anymore because I was in so much pain, so I can’t do that anymore. I don’t have any savings that im supposed to. My parents can’t support me. These are all the fundamental survival things. I was really panicking. And I was having panic attacks about ‘how am I going to survive when I get old?’ but I was really having panic attacks about ‘I don’t know how to get through the day’. You know, I mean I, pet sat for people, and I have animal allergies. You know, and I sublet—
PG: are you ok right now? With the—
PN: yeah, right now im ok, but cats are the worst.
PG: oh, ok, because I have two dogs so….
PN: (laughing) theyre ok—
PG: all right.
PN: believe me, its September. Theres all kinds of things flying around—
PG: all right.
PN: and, yeah, so I subletted my place out, to pay for some medical stuff. I mean, I used plastic (unintelligible) I had to get very resourceful with what I could, and this is a fight or flight panic. It was a constant state of panic. I remember the fear of a disability check not coming. That I was going to be cut off. And I had a panic attack when I got a letter form them, and I couldn’t open it. And it was the check. But my mind just saw an address and thought it was a letter from an attorney cutting me off. Because I was at a place where I wasn’t able to work enough to get more qualification, it was going to run out. What do you do? And then I wasn’t bad enough to get social security. And so it was this weird space, you know, and it’s hard—
PG: I can’t imagine how many people are going through that exact same thing right now. I bet there are so many people listening to this podcast that are stuck in that unemployed place. And you’ve got all that other stuff on top of it. It, it, it, sounds completely overwhelming. So, im sorry to interrupt, but the thought just occurred to me of how commonplace that must be in today’s economy.
PN: well, ive figured out that’s the people who watch Oprah and Dr. Phil, you know, on the couch, you cant work—
PN: and try and look for some inspiration. You know. And I remember getting quite resentful at Oprah, because I thought, ‘’ why are these shows not doing a show about people who actually physically can’t do a lot of these things?’’ I used to eat lots of chocolate brownies—something to make me feel better—and then id feel fat afterwards. So then there was all that body image of fight or flight. So, in the path, I found a few things that helped me out. I needed to get more clarity of mind because the stuff I was using really wasn’t doing any good physically. Because I have the kind of body that if I go to the dentist, if I have a wonky tooth, they’ll numb me up, and then make a little joke about ‘’oh, haha, you need a little bit extra’’ and then ill come back the next week, say I have to put the crown back on, and the extra doesn’t work. My body has adapted. You know. Just like a work out program. You do it for a little bit, my body goes, ‘’yeah, good, good.’’ And then it plateaus. And Ive got to shake it up. And you know, im a bit lazy, so I just give that up.
PG: and were you not sober at this time?
PN: yeah, I hadn’t—I was still using alcohol—I was actually using—
PG: you’ve been sober for how long?
PN: almost eight years now. SO I was using alcohol and prescription medication and then some to help blot out my consciousness from the pain, and the physical pain too. And, you know, I was aware of some, you know; let’s say mental illness challenges within the family and people abusing alcohol when I was younger. And, you know, a voice would—
PG: any specific family members you want to…
PN: not specific that I care to say---
PG: okay, sure
PN: lets say close—
PN: very close
PG: all right
PN: within the small part of the family tree. And so I had been introduced to some kind of help with that. I went back to that, but I also found better nutrition helped. I changed my diet. And through that people had been telling, ‘ meditation really helps your body, meditation, meditation, meditation.’ You know, I went to a bloomin’ artsy fartsy drama school. We used to do yoga. And sit on a block and breath out of our sphincter. And you know what? No. I'm done with that.
PG: by the way, I apologize. Somebody’s gardner is blowing some leaves. Theres nothing we can do about that. Except breathe.
PN: (laughing) breathe, yes breathe. I was told to breathe. I think youre right. People say ‘’highly strung’’ ‘highly wound’’. I like to choose the word ‘’excitable’’.
PG: yeah, that would be a good way to describe it. But you—it was always, it channeled in my mind, in a way that was socially acceptable. There are some people that are wound in a way that you just need to get out of the room. I never felt that way towards you—in fact I was actually kind of drawn towards you—because you had a, um, I don’t know, a kind of outlook on life that was really—while you may have had those voices in your head—to the outside world you presented a, I don’t know, a personality, that attracted people. But then again, I may also have not met you at your worst.
PN: it could be, could be, yeah. I mean I definitely have a darker side where I shut people off. I get belligerent. Uh, and um—
PG: that’s so hard for me to picture because you have always been such a sweet person. But uh—
PN: well I probably always was sweet, but you know, the sweetness got a bit bitter, and yeah, well it got to the point where I was keeping myself in my room, turning off the phone, and you know, doing the D&D, I don’t want to do the D&D, the drink and dial, because, no, no… So id unplug the phone—
PG: to exes? Or anybody?
PN: anyone, in general.
PG: I never got, I never, ever had the desire to talk to people on the phone when I was drunk. Whats, whats that about? Is it loneliness?
PN: yeah, it’s reaching out.
PG; I suppose in some way its kind of good. But youre kind of unloading on other people.
PN: well the thing is that I had a particular relative that would do it a lot. And so—
PG: to you? Or to anybody?
PN:I was around, watching them do it, and then I received it too, when I left home—
PG: ooh, ok.
PG: what a gift.
PN: (laughing) I had these pointers that, you could just tell by the first exhalation—
PG: (laughing) I know what…
PN: when the answering machine clicked, ‘’ (exhales) Paula….’’ You just don’t want to—the message is going to go on—that was before voicemail—
PG: you turn the volume down.
PN: you can, pretty much, get your laundry, take it out, come back, and theyre still going, theyre still going. So it was really unattractive. And my vanity was, I didn’t believe I was ever really attractive. I remember when I was younger I told the neighbor, ‘ I think I want to go to become an actress.’ And he said, ‘’ well, you have to be pretty to do that.’’
PG: oh my god.
PN: and, you know, theeres so many things to remember in life. A neighbor, a male older figure saying you have to be pretty for that, you can’t do that.
PG: that had to be devastating—
PG: and by the way, you are attractive, so…
PN: (laughing) I remember thinking, ‘F-you, im going to prove you wrong.’ And you know, that has a certain aspect which is the, ‘you go girl’, ‘you go for it.’ But you know what? I take everything to the extreme. I really believe part of what happened with my injury was, I sat there in that little cubicle and I thought ‘ oh god, get me out of this.’ I really was invisioning a better looking guy, a better house, or a house, car—
PG: and was that in England, or here?
PN: that was here, in America. And uh, oh I should get a telly series, cause im funny. You know? Yeah, I got out of there real fast. Within a month I was out of there.
PG: because of your carpal tunnel.
PN: because of the bad injury. Its actually you know, its not just the carpal tunnel, it’s a myofascial pain syndrome, which sort of the delts, between the neck and the shoulder. And those muscles are super, super tight—
PG: from being hunched over in front of the computer…
PN: right, exactly, and uh, I fully believe that even though I got medical attention, I did not get the kind of uh, compassion, in the medical attention that my body required. My body shut down. And it went into spasm. And it hasn’t ever really released. And I went through acupuncture, chiropractic—some of those modalities are still used. But there was this fight or flight reaction that happened in my body. And my body shut down. It said, screw you all, youre not here to help or support me. Im going to be like a hedgehog, crawl into a ball, and just roll away and die.
PG: and you still feel like it hasn’t released?
PN: a lot of it has. I mean, I get, I couldn’t drive here, like I could before. I couldn’t do lots of things. I, its been a slow process, but what I can do is amazing. I couldn’t put my arm out. And for those of you listening, I'm just talking about putting your arm out sideways, not even horizontal—
PG: you couldn’t stretch your arm out horizontally? What would happen?
PN: I would go like this, im sort of bending my elbow right now. And there were shooting pains all the way down the arms. From the face, all the way down the neck. And it would quiver.
PG: Oh my god!
PN: it would quiver. And, I during the path, I went to Thailand for a while, my father lives there. And id have a rolly bag. And I couldn’t even roll the bag very far on the concourse because it would pull from my arm all the way up my neck and it pulled up my face.
PN: and so I constantly had hot chili patches. Theres still a lot of them in Thailand and Chinese medicine. But hot cayenne pepper on a sticky patch, and you put it on your body and it heats it up like crazy. And I lived with that. And I would take pain pills—I remember flying to Thailand being so grateful that the pills knocked me out for the 14 hour flight, just one of them—so I didn’t have to it in a position. My arms, I couldn’t put my arms to the side. I had cushions around. I still drive and I had to have a cushion on the right side because they didn’t have good armrests. But don’t get me into talking about bad ergonomics in cars. Bucket seats are horrendous. Theyre designed to like close your heart off. And when one becomes a victim, you sit in whats called a ‘’c’’ shape. And your heart chakra is closed off, and that’s why yoga is so good. Because the sun salutation makes you open up your chest. So no matter what depression one is going through, if youre able to do those physical activities, physiologically opens up pathways where when you said breathe,you can actually have the space to breathe into…..
PG: I just want to pause you for a second. Anybody listening, if your bullshit alarm just went off, and youre tempted to turn the podcast off, I know exactly how you feel. Because if somebody would’ve mentioned chakra, and sun pose, or any of that other stuff to me two years ago, I would have thought here’s another fucking new age person that just loves to hear themself talk about their esoteric bullshit. There’s no truth to it. And you taught meditation about a year ago, and it has profoundly changed my life. I never realized that I could feel the peace that ive felt through doing meditation. And even while you were coaching me through the meditation. I was thinking ‘ this is a bunch of malarkey’—
PN: oh yeah!
PG: this is horseshit, this is a scam—
PN: That’s what I was thinking while I was teaching you! No, im kidding ( laughing)
PG: and the fact that I trusted you, and ive known you for seven years was the only thing that kept me, uh, going through it. And the fact that I needed to try something. Because I, just, had this anxiety and this doom that I couldn’t—I felt like I needed to get to the, I needed another practice in my life to help me be more calm. So, sorry for stopping you, but I just want anybody listening that is kind of shutting their mind down, just try to, try to have an open mind.
PN: no, no, I understand that too because I came from that place as well. And I can honestly say, I only have that point of view now because I went through what I went through. And because specifically the meditation that I learned, the Veydic Meditation, which is the one that I taught Paul, is the one that allowed me to then open up. So, going back with the pain and stuff, it was depressing. I was, you know, definitely categorized as depressed, I remember the doctor, he had seven different pills he prescribed me, and I remember saying to him, ‘I don’t know what these are’, and gave him a lecture about , ‘ youre just a drug pusher with a few letters after your name. I can get addicted!’ and then I looked at him and I said, ‘’if you give me some Vicodin, I know that will work.
PN: problem is, he didn’t give me the Vicodin. He just looked at me like I was a little crazy and then I knew that I needed to find another doctor. And, see, the thing that swept my mind is that I know what will work, I know what will take me to a black out, that’s what I want. And that was whats so wonderful about the ayurvedic meditation, is that you can, just zonk out. You know, I liked, I want to be away from the hassles of the head, you know……and so those physical things that I talked about, opening up the heart and the chakra, I was in such a bad place, chiropractors and things couldn’t really do that. It was so locked down. And so the first—
PG: they can help with certain things, but for you, youre saying it was, you were too—
PN: it was, it was such—
PG: --your problem was too deep—
PN: it was so locked in, that they would do what they could, and then like a sponge, I didn’t have the elasticity, I didn’t have the adaptation energy anymore. I was (makes sucking noise), drained. Spiritually, emotionally, and physical. And everything was inside, gone. And I felt so old, I mean, I remember feeling old when I was young. When iwas about ten years old, I almost had a mental breakdown because I thought the weight of the world was on my shoulders. You know, I really believed that uh…..
PG: were you the happy maker in your family?
PN: I don’t know what you woyld call me. I was the eldest child, and it was very traumatizing to me when my father left.
PG: how old were you ?
PN: he left on my eighth birthday.
PG: that’s always a good time.
PN: yeah, I remember—
PG: and do it on a birthday
PN: yeah, you should.
PG: literally on the day of your birthday?
PN: yeah, on the day of my birthday, at my birthday party, and I remember asking him ‘ will you stay for my party?’—
PG: are you fucking kidding me?
PN: no, and uh, and he said ‘’ no’’, and I remember having my first out of body experience. I remember just disconnecting, and I can still see it there, looking down at me, there my brother and my dad. You know as you get older, you understand how hard it is to leave a child on their birthday, that obviously there’s a lot of stuff going down that you couldn’t sit in a party, because you would have created more wreckage. Uh, being there with a child and a scene, and saying ‘im sorry, I have to go now’’, I have to go, im going to explode. And, uh, I really lost my train of thought…..(laughing)
PG: so, your dad left on your eighth birthday—
PG: and you, you felt like you were going outside your body?
PN: yeah, yeah, no, it was before that. It was something we were talking about, the physical challenges of opening up. I like , (unintelligible)… feeling old! Yeah, I felt old, because I believed that even though I was told, over and over again, by both parents I was not the cause of the divorce, my psyche took on, divorce, Paula’s birthday, not good enough to keep me at the party, not good enough to keep it together for the birthday party, ergo, your fault. And theres this deep, deep programming. And then what I did was very close to my mom’s mom.. my grandma. We always had like this little connection. Like id say to my mom, ‘’ oh, she’s coming over today!’’ and mom said ‘’I just got off the phone with her, she’s not coming’’ and then she’d arrive at the door. She said, ‘’oh, I just changed my mind!’’ and my mom would look at me like ‘’what kind of crazy child are you?’’ oh, no, she would do that for other reasons, not that.
PG: why would she look at you?
PN: because I was the one that says ‘’no, shes coming, I know shes coming!’’
PG: right, right…..
PN:and she was the one that just got off the phone and she said no, shes not coming. So ( laughing) (unintelligible) but I was close to her, and so my dad left in August, and the following April my granny died unexpectedly. They thought it was flu, but it was meningitis. She was taking arthritis medication that covered up a lot of the symptoms. And so she randomly just died. And it was on my brother’s birthday.
PG: and how old were you then? Nine or ten?
PN: no, I was eight still.
PN: and, um, that was a source. She was going to be the solution for my mom to get a job. And she would look after us, and my mom would work in London at the airport at the time and have a job, and be able to help support us. And that—
PG: were you conscious of this, or—
PN: oh, yeah. Oh I knew what was happening, we would—
PG: so you, and your mom both felt like she was your safety valve?
PN: oh yeah, yeah, exactly.
PG: and youre original safety valve, your dad, had already left. So she was your last hope when she died.
PN: she was, pretty much, I remember making a decision at eight years old thinking ‘ just don’t trust adults’ you cannot rely on adults. And you know, as ive gone through my path, ive actually had to amend that. You cannot, I cannot put my hope in humanity, in human beings on an individual basis. Because the nature is stuff will happen. And I did. I remember having a long chat with this thing called god like why did this thing happen? What were you doing? You know, and I remember then making a decision. Um, it seemed so bizarre but I remember thinking ‘ cant trust adults, what am I gonna do?’ well, I don’t want to be a prostitute and end up on the streets—
PN: I don’t want to go to prison—
PG: but, as a child prostitute in England, don’t you get to wear those fingerless Oliver gloves? Wouldn’t that have a certain charm to it?
PN: well, the thing is, I hated porridge.
PG: ( laughing)
PN: and, that was the main reason, no. Scots, that would be the Scot side of me liking the porridge with salt on it. Yuck! And—
PG: and what part of England were you raised?
PN: im from the south of England. Very pretty, very wealthy.
PG: is that Bath, or Dover, or what is that?
PG: why is—
PN: you know, theres the Isle of White, and I talk about the Isle of White because Americans remember it from The Beatles song When I'm 64. Opposite the Isle of White is where we lived. By the beach, near the forest, lovely.
PG: sounds beautiful.
PN: it is beautiful. And you (unintelligible) want to get the frick out of there because you can’t stand it and it’s horrible. So I then realized—at the time in England—If you were of a lower socio-economic structure, you would get free education. And I thought, ‘ well that’s it, im gonna study really hard, im gonna get the frig out of here, im gonna get a degree, and im gonna find my own way. And don’t trust anyone, and don’t rely on anyone.’ I became very very quiet, and very introverted. I would study really hard, I had really not much relatedness, even with my friends, and they used to make fun of me. YOu see this Hermione Grainger character. She’s supposed to have bushy hair…bollocks! Her hair is lovely. I had the bushy hair. They’ draw—back then it was a blackboard—they’d draw this face and this crazy curly hair. And underneath it he’s write Paula. And id walk in, and that pit of my stomach would go, huuhhh. And im thinking ‘ these are my friends’.
PG: and they probably meant, didn’t mean to hurt you, they were just being silly. But kids don’t know how deeply they hurt each other.
PN: I don’t, I think they were—
PG: you think they were?
PN: yeah, yeah, I think , there was one girl now, as I think about it, as I go on through my life. I think she’s quite passive aggressive. I think there’s something about me she didn’t like, I think so. Ive begun to believe that.
PG: and you were like, what, nine, ten at this age? How soon after your dad leaving was—
PN: no, this, this I remember was like just before preteen. I was at what we call comprehensive level, so 11 or 12—
PN: so I still was very, very quiet. And then something happened. Let me tell you.
PG: what happened?
PN: Michael J Fox was in Back to the Future, and my life changed.
PN: oh my goodness, I had the biggest crush on him. He was short, which was perfect. And he would play, you know, Marty McFly on Back to the Future. And, I was gonna go to Hollywood, and I was going to be amovie star just like him. And I had posters all over my wall. And it was as if the switch went off. Suddenly I became outgoing. I told everyone I was gonna be famous. You were gonna see—and all those chaps—I mean I never really had a boyfriend—no one really asked me out, cause I was a bit odd, you know? And now I was really odd. I went from the quiet girl, to the ‘’I HATE YOU ALL’’. And then thing was is that. I got authority on my side. Because I had figured out at that point… we had studied, as awful as this sounds, Hitler’s consolidation to power. I still remember, this history teacher was phenomenal, we had this history teacher come in, and we did a school trip to Russia before the wall came down. The year below went to Egypt, the year below went to China—
PN: yeah, oh he was phenomenal! I mean, we say teachers cant change someones life, he, and he was the one that said ‘’whats going on with your English, are you dyslexic?’’ I mean, I was orally so good in class, that they thought I just didn’t pay attention when I put things on paper. I mean, some teachers had done some red flags, like, she writes like a german person, her verbs are all backwards. She can only spell complicated words. I mean, it was like, so sublte—
PG: so youre dyslexic?
PN: yeah, I am dyslexic, but not so severely dyslexic that they noticed it back then. I would cover up a lot, and I would be very good orally in class. And we learned world hisroty, and I liked world history and I liked power. How do these people get power? Cause I needed some power.
PN: and uh, he had a page and it was all about Hitlers Consolidation to Power. How he worked his way through the system to get up to the top, and when he got to the tp he had already changed all the rules, so he could rule the place. And I remember thinking ‘’that’s a bit genius isn’t it?’’
PN: don’t think I will kill all those people, but I think I might learn something from this chap. And so, I learned that if you have an authority figure, you have to be somewhat respectful. But you also got to not put up with their bollocks. So they know that, they’re kind of like, and also ive learned—
PG:you have to put up with their bollocks, or not put up with their bollocks?
PN: no, no, youre not gonna put up with all their bollocks, but you pick your time, and especially if it was male, being cheeky worked wonders.
PN: cause they thought, ‘ oh, shes got a bit of spunk to her, I like that.’ So there was a (unintelligible) English teacher there. They called him the Nazi teacher, taught German, everyone was scared of him. I used to answer him back. So the teacher started to get on my side. They were all like ‘’ good for her she wants to get out, she wants to be someone.’’ And they made me a prefact. Now, those of you who’ve seen Harry Potter, talk about prefacts, really it is the biggest thing to be a prefact. Theres about 24 of you in a school. And only 12 girls and 12 boys are asked to be a prefact. And they asked me to be a prefact and it was like all these shutters went that weirdo. Before she was so quiet and now shes so loud. But it was done in a way, that I could work through a little bit of the system that, they, I was respectful enough. I was a little out there, but they were also a little envious. I thought in my head ‘’ there they have their silly little pion lives, they never went out and did what I went to do’’ and just as we can, when I work with kids, those who have got the gumption, youre like, ‘’yeah you can! You can do it!’’ and um, so I then became very loud. And I became the opposite of what I was. So I had repressed for those years after what happened with my granny and my dad. I repressed it in, and I held it in. so I had this exuberant personality, fueled by this deep rage underneath it all. Which would—
PG: which is a scary combination. Especially with someone who’s clever.
PN: (laughing) it was, you know, I was so angry at men, I was SO angry. Im resentful that, you know, they ought to ask me out. And then it was weird because it was just like—
PG: but British men are so warm!
PN: yeah, you’ve been drinking too much—you know what?—it wasn’t until id come to this country that I realized why Americans think British men are gay. Because, you know, I was working with some chap and he turned around and said (in thick british accent) ‘’oh hallo!’’ OH my gosh! Now I understand why you think british men are gay.
PG: because they annunciate so clearly.
PN: because they annunciate so clearly. And they say please and thank you—
PG: and theyre a little a feat.
PN: then you’ve got the other side, the ruffians as I call it. And you know, I would flip from both, I liked both. And um, but at least ruffians were kind of cleared with what their actions were.
PG: and by the way, I went to a—my brother lived in Chelsea for a couple of years at Lords of London and I went to visit him—and he took me to a Chelsea-Manchester United game and I, you know, ive seen hard core gang members, ive seen psychopaths, I don’t think ive ever been as scared as I was at that Manchester United- Chelsea game. I got up to walk down the aisle to go get a steak and kidney pie, and I walked in front of somebody’s field of vison and this guy grabbed me and said ( angry british accent) ‘’ get the fuck outta my way’’ and literally threw me down the aisle—
PN: oh yeah!
PG: and my brother told me if anybody asked you who you were rooting for, don’t say a fucking word. Don’t say on side or the other. So, uh…..
PN:there’s a lot of aggression there, they just have to get it out—
PG: a lot of aggression.
PN: I, you know, you think im exuberant, but I purposefully don’t go to sports bars and certain places when England is in the World Cup. I have friends who come over to watch me yell at the television—
PG: you mean when England is theoretically in the World Cup? Cause theyre never really in the World Cup, not since 1966. Sorry England.
PN: unfortunately I have to agree with you. Its just sad ass.
PG: yeah, yeah.
PN: you know what the thing is I fall for the delusion every time. (shouting) “ yeah! Come on England! ‘’ and you know what? Theyre lazy m-f r’s because they only play as good as theyre supposed to, and if they play balls out, like they can, then they have the potential and this is the thing where it comes into relationships. Falling in love with someone who has the potential is sucks as a girl. Your like I can see that potential happening. But that’s not who they are right now.
PG: no, its not, and then it turns you into a manipulative nag—
PN: Control freak!
PG: because you think its your job to get them to that potential that you see.
PN: yeah, yeah, yeah.
PG: and then they feel the crushing weight of those expectations. And very few people I think rise to the occasion when they feel that crushing weight. That’s probably why England plays so badly every year in the World Cup.
PN: id say that’s what it is. I don’t know man, but if, yeah, there was a flick called 66 and it was about that year, its brilliant. But, it does bring the country together and I get very excited. Im a bit of a mad woman when it comes to that.
PG: so, you cant be in the bar when England is in the World Cup?
PN: if youre in an English pub, its different. But then people are drinking to sort of numb it out. But I scream at the television. I get in there and jump around. You know, I have a friend that comes from South America who just finds me entertaining.
PG: I want to come watch you.
PN: oh, ok, all right then, yeah. I get—people think im animated now—I become animated like crazy. So, you know, that all came out.
PG: doesn’t all the diving bother you in European soccer though?
The faking that theyre injured. That, i……
PN: yeah, the sportsmanship has changed. I mean the game has changed a lot—
PG: it didn’t used to be like that?
PN: you know what? Ever since the Premier League has opened up, you’ve got more international players playing in England, the world is a smaller place. I mean yo used to really have England going against another country. And now, everyone plays for different teams in that Premier League.
PG: so they all know each other?
PN: yeah, they all know each other. They know each other’s quirks. I mean it is a game, and its showmanship. But you know, it is fun to go yell and scream and lose your voice and just let it out…
PG: and be a part of something bigger than yourself.
PN: oh yeah!
PG: there’s something really, really awesome abou that. Im a huge Chicago Blackhawks fan, and watching them win the Stanley Cup in 2010 was fucking amazing because I had watched every single game leading up to that season. And it was so gratifying, and it was something that my wife and I did together. And when you find something, when you’ve been with someone for a long time, and you find something you can do together, that you both genuinely love—because a lot of times, one person is really enjoying it and the other is just kind of putting up with it-- but we both really enjoyed watching their games, and I remember us just squeezing each others hands when Patrick Caine scored the Stanley Cup winning goal. And it happened in this really weird way where nobody could really tell what had happened. And so we’re squeezing each other an looking at each other like ‘’did they just, did they just win this fucking thing?’’ and it was, I don’t know it was this really—
PN:its exciting! It’s live! It’s in the moment. Its being in the here and now. All the other crap that’s in my head goes out the window and we can focus on—
PN: whats really happening in that moment.
PN: so, it’s actually tapping into joy and bliss—
PG: right, like a great movie where you just forget everything else except that.
PN: yeah and then you walk out, and then im really depressed. (laughing)
PN: cause you’ve blacked out for a while from it, you know.
PG: and now your eback to your shit life—
PN: yeah, exactly
PG: all your problems…….
PN: yeah, yeah, yeah. So there I was, like this kid at school who was really angry and loud. And then the number one soccer player in school asked me out.
PN: and so he became my first boyfriend.
PG: what was his name?
PN: Stephen. (laughing) it didn’t last very long. In fact, he cheated on me, and I just chucked him. Chucked him is what we used to say. Right before my big exams, because I wasn’t putting up with that crap. Id seen what happened to my mom, and I really believe women just have to cut it off at the knees. If it starts early on, this is not a good sign. Just walk away, cut your losses. And of course, I loved it, the more he wanted me back. And im like, ‘no, no no’. I just—
PG: the best thing you can ever do if you want a guy to fall in love with you is break up with him.
PN: (laughing) so, yeah, it was a very interesting dichotomy. My mom would always feel bad. I mean, I had a very loving mom in spite of all the stuff that happened. And, uh, you know, she passed about a year and a half ago. ( voice cracking) and you know, being a single mom back then, when there were no credit cards. She was in a small town where she couldn’t pay the bills. You know, you know, and being on the flip side trying to help bring up a kid, you, eh, miss it. Having someone to relate to. Yo know you appreciate what you did get taught. Where I was growing up, in my teenage years, angry and fueled by what didn’t happen, for me. You know, and then you get a little older, and get to appreciate what did happen. You know. So I was very angry and I was gonna move to America, because England was the root of all my problems.
PG: ( laughing) right.
PN: I was misunderstood in England, I was different, I was not acknowledged for who I really am. And then I moved to America and automatically im different, so I can get attention. Im misunderstood, but that’s because now youre just stupid americans. Its not because im a weirdo. Cause I believed I was a weirdo. Ididnt fit. I didn’t feel like I fit in the family. I mean, I looked like everyone in the family, but chemically I felt off. You know, I didn’t deal well with certain things that other people dealt with. I always had afunny tummy. And I was always very emotional. And some days id wake up and id say, ‘’mom, I can’t go to school today’’ and she’d be like, ‘’why?’’ and I’d go, ‘’ I feel sad’’, and she’d be like, ‘’yeah, I understand’’. And id stay home! And id spend the whole day obsessing about what theyre doing without me. Will they remember that im not there?
PG: (laughing) right.
PN: and id kick the flu in like a few days because I wanted to go back. And all they did was criticize me and say,’’ you can’t get over the flu in three days’’. And I was still sweating some of it out. But I had to get back.
PG: I remember doing that same thing sometimes, not going to school, and there would always be like the same three programs on, you know, like Bewitched,I don’t know, like two other ones, The New Zoo Review and some other show. And I remember this knot in my st—first there would be the relief—yeah, lilke you said that I don’t have to go to school, and then the comfort of these shows, and then the nagging feeling like the world is passing you by. And its like youre fucked either way. Its like even when you get what you want, there’s still part of it…..
PN: yeah, yeah, and so there I was, you know, and then I moved to pursue what would fix me. You know, I really wanted all those—there’s nothing worse, than being in a room when you think you look good. And there’s a guy over there and you notice him, but then you notice that he doesn’t notice you-- if he had noticed me then I just want to walk away. But he didn’t notice me! So all those blokes that didn’t ( grunts) notice me, they were gonna notice me. I was gonna be on the big screen and they were gonna notice me. And they were really gonna suffer. Cause they would’ve got married young, and they would’ve had kids, and ALL their children would have posters of me on the wall.
PG: (laughing) WOW!!
PN: ( laughing) That’s what I wanted! Adoration! So anyway, fast track, get hurt, nothings working with regular medicine. And, uh nutrition, I started changing—
PG: so we fast track now to you back in your 30’s?
PN: yeah, yeah, yeah ( unintelligible) nutrition—
pG: is there anything you want to touch on, coming to here, that you want to fill that gap at all between…
PN: yeah, well you know, I came over here—id got into drama school in England—and I decided, what was I gonna do? I just didn’t have anything to bring to the table. I needed to go live a little. And so, I took a year off, but my mum knew I wasn’t coming back. I wasn’t coming back to England. And so I went to Carnegie Melon out here, and there I felt different, again.
PG: different not in a good way?
PN: yeah, pretty much. They had this idea of what English people were, and I was the English girl there. And so I let them live behind that farce and I was drunk most of my freshman year. But I knew that I needed to get by, and uh, private artsy fartsy, had to pay my own way. And, uh, I thought maybe I had a problem my senior year. And so I stopped drinkning my senior year and I thought that if you could get through senior year of college and not drink, you cant be an alcoholic. You cannot have a problem…at all. My drug use went up, but I didn’t touch a drop of liquor! ( laughing)
PG: what did you start using?
PN: I liked certain types of brownies cause I liked sugar, a lot of sugar. They wouldn’t give me any of the hard stuff. I was refused from drug parties, because they saw how messed up I would get on alcohol. And I was scary, I was scary. I liked to pick fights with boys. You know, one cause I had all the aggression against my dad, two to put them in their place, and three it can lead to something quite interesting afterwards. So ( laughing) I wanted to see who was gonna step up to that game! Let me see….hhmmm….(laughing)
PG: you mean, would there be sex afterwards?
PN: oh yes! Oh yeah! See, well you know. Are you really scared of women? Lets see whats going on. You know, just changing that role-play thing. Which is kind of exciting uh—
PG: how would that transition from you arguing with a guy, to you fucking a guy?
PN: well cause you get into physical fight.
PN: yeah!!! You have to phsycially hit them—
PN: you start pushing them a little bit, and then prodding a ltitle bit. And then the guy goes through this, I don’t know, but then you sort of give them the eye at the same time, and then theyre really confused. Ah! This is the best thing about being brunette, you can just confuse men. If I was blonde, theyd like know it was a completely different game—
PN: how? Because there is absolutely this idea of what blondes are.
PG: oh, because they would think a blonde couldn’t be that clever?
PN: they would assume a blonde wouldn’t be that clever, yeah. Yeah because I was brunette, they were like—and its really deep in the subconscious —and im sure blondes will hate me, or they might appreciate that. That’s the thing. That’s the game. You know, and so, then that can lead to some—
PG: so you give them the eye in the middle of it—
PN: THE EYE!
PG: -- and say, ‘’im really not angry at you’’
PN: im really not angry…..
PG: im seeing if you got the balls to fuck me.
PN: and theres certain eye, and hair movements that would sort of like go with it. So, then you’d see if that would, you know, happen. And sometimes, it wouldn’t even go that far. I just needed to know that they wanted me, then id leave.
PN: its just needing to feel full inside. That wanting…
PG: that attention.
PN: yeah, and then it got, as I got, you know, older, it got less and less about the physical aspect, and became more and more about ‘ can I see that look in their eye?’
PG: that they wanna fuck me.
PN: is it there?
PG: what, what? Can you describe what that look was?
PN: whoa, that’s a really, really good question. I don’t want to say it’s glazed. Its not glazed. But it’s a certain focus. Its not far off from the focus a criminal gives you, when you know theyre going to kick your ass if you don’t leave the scene or something. Like that look of like, theyre stern and they say…. It’s not far off, cause theres a very focused element to it. And theyre distracted from where they were. The key thing is I would distract them from what they were doing—
PG: you’ve got their full attention.
PN: um-hm, yeah.
PG: and, and, probably, ultimately, that’s the hit you wanted anyway. Was that full attention.
PN: yeah, yeah, absolutely. 100 percent there, in the moment, for me.
PN: ( unintelligible)
PG: that’s so amazing that you’ve been able to understand that that is what youre doing. Because I think a lot of people go through life, and don’t even know theyre doing that. They engage in drama to get something they didn’t get as kids, and don’t realize that theyre their own worst enemy because theyre trying to get this, cover up this pain, or fill this void that’s been there since they were damaged.
PN: it’s really hard to date when you want to go through the other side of that. Its really hard to date, because you know the game that youre playing, and you know and spot the games that theyre playing early on. And so, I could have a chat with a guy and within just a couple of minutes of talking to him know that, no—
PG: your game is not in the same league as mine. I have no interest…
PN: I sort of, I know, I know….. the good thing was, through it, I know what solid attention is. Oh have I got your….. you know what I mean? Are you looking at me? Have I really got you? And when theres someone who’s genuinely interested in a little bit more, theres that same kind of attention there, but its not as frenetic and charged as it were. And so—
PG: and that’s got to make you want it more. Cause you want, you got em halfway there right?
PN: yeah! But if theyre really interested in you, you know it. You know there’s those films like He’s Not That Into You…..
PG: written by Greg Behrendt, friend of the show
PN: oh, okay. There’s an element, there’s a huge element that I get. And um, or I knew. Because from doing, from playing those games to know, ‘can I get them’. To then getting bored, because I get bored very quickly. Im bored ok, I thought I could get ( unintelligible) to having to go through the thing and then just getting their attention. Then when you want something more with someone, knowing that it’s a similar kind of focus as in the presence being there with you. Not the same kind of fix. Uh, then it’s backed up with action. Whether you call or you don’t call.
PG: but then youre vulnerable. Cause youre waiting for them to do something right?
PN: you know, I believe that’s part of the plight of the female condition. I really do. And I am female and I am insecure, and I have all those feelings, so, even though I would kno w that htat was part of the game, I would still feel what I felt. So what would happen is I would get resentful if they didn’t all or something—
PG: if they didn’t come back to the eight birthday party ( laughing)
PN: (laughing) I don’t even remember the party to be honest with you, ( laughing) I don’t remember. And so, its uh, its always backed up with action. You know, id say ‘’youre all mouth, and no trousers.’’
PN: you know, which causes a problem. In England, women call their husbands stupid all the time, it doesn’t mean anything. “youre stupid!’’ you know, I’ll call people, my favorite line is banana head. And if someone actually has the courage, what do you mean, banana head? Whats a banana not got that you have? Well, it aint got a brain. It means youre acting like a piece of fruit, youre not using your noggin. Youre a banana head! People are insulted. You know, so when you call—americans, don’t like being called stupid-- cause it means something a bit deeper than it does in England. British women always nag at their husbands. Oh, come on, idiot! Just idiot, you know, uhm…. And so that, that bluntness, and that frankness is not always appreciated. But then, yo know, as I used to talk to some people, like, I can’t go out on these dates, its just not working. Im not like that, whats wrong with me? Because the people were like, ‘ if youre not going on a date every week, there’s something wrong with you.’ Why don’t people like you? And a close friend of mine was very kind and was saying ‘’no, that’s whats right with you Paula.’’ Cause, why do you want to waste your time, go buy an outfit that makes you look good, sit through a painful evening, and not really like the food anyway. When you really just want to get up and leave. You know, they’re like, that’s why people drink on dates. ( laughing) you know, so there was a long process, and it was just me knowing myself. Ive always felt that there’s been an old soul in me anyway. And, so, you know, that was a process, and as I had to get more clarity of mind and sober up, I had to then deal with the fact that I still wanted this male attention, but I knew that those games don’t work for me. So I had to have myself go and sit in with another group of people who were really doing their sexual issues. And then not just actually sexually acting out, the mental issues with it. I would play mental games in my head with men in the room, and not even talk to them. And just like, it was really, really quite deep. And that was quite painful, and uh, uh, being female, every time I would have my monthly cycle, all this stuff would come up. Id feel depressed, and lonely, and I would really have to keep sorting it out. And there was a big breakthrough with it. Slowly, but surely, you know, I found myself being attracted to the first chap I ever went out with, a womanizer. And it just knocked my socks off. Because I had spent that long time, but I wasn’t sober of mind. And so there I was sober, and I thought ‘what has not been resolved?’ and I still will say that if I ever see that person around, it still will send something, electricity through my body, that those deep, deep stuff there. And, and I dotn know. I mean, if you want to talk on a cosmic level, I mean, who knows? Maybe there was some past life thing, I don’t really care. But I know that it is very chemical, and those games that are played in the mind are very subtle and powerful you know? You know, and the chap that im with now, you know, im just blunt as heck. You know, and he comes from hardcore south central women, so im a walk in the park ( laughing)
PN:im just like crazy, nutty white girl. You know doing her thing as it were. But un, the clarity of mind helped, and then youre having more of those crazy thoughts when you get clarity of mind. Changing my food, not having the cigarettes anymore—
PG: by the way, if I can just interrupt for a second. You turned me onto a book that changed my—in addition to turning me onto a meditation-- you told about a book, uh you said ‘ I was suffering from just feeling foggy and having no energy’ just feeling like shit and you said you should check out this book called The Body Ecology Diet. And I ordered it from Amazon. And it is not a convenient diet to do. And its not a calorie deprivation diet, it is a, it is a, low acid, low sugar diet. And I decided that I would give it my best for three months and see how it worked. And it, changed my life. I mean for one thing I dropped about twenty-five pounds in two months, but the other thing that was amazing about it was, my energy started to get better and a lot of the fogginess in my head lifted. And I still incorporate a lot of stuff from that diet. So if anybody is out there and you want to try something, uh, and you don’t—like I said, its not a convenient diet—but, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It helps peple that have immune disorders, I used to have a lot of joint pain, and it helped with my joint pain. It helped with so many things, and uh, I realize now that I had what they call Candida in that book which is an excess of yeast in your gut. And theres good bacteria and bad bacteria in your gut, and when the bad bacteria, the yeast, takes over for the good bacteria, you know the stuff that helps you digest milk and all that kind of stuff. Um, when that balance is off you get all these fucked up health issues. And uh that diet, it was just amazing. But the first three months of it, is BRUTAL.
PN: you know, my experience is this, especially think, ooohh meditation teacher, shes going to be talking about, do just the acupuncture. My experience with my body is that I always thought I could transcend beyond things, and I can, you know, ive had moments where I’ve had a shift in consciousness and a cold has gone away, or something has gone down. But ive also had severe moments where my body needs medicine, and ive had to have a surgery for something. And so I absolutely am. And whats so great about Veda Meditation is you have no opinion on medical issues. Do what you need to do, because what it does is it helps relieve the stress of the situation. Because that, gets removed sometimes, the body has the capacity to adapt and heal whats going on. Other times, it doesn’t. and so, um, the path with the body stuff is actually ive had to go re back and re do over some of that body ecology diet. But I have problems with dairy. But the cocoa biotic drink—even though it’s a bit pricey—I can have that for a few days, its nice and tart as well, and I can feel the shift in my body. And one of the recent things, it talked about thyroid problems with women, is they neeed to have good bacteria. You know, I'm probably gonna end up going to see a specialist to get my blood levels checked out, cause that’s the same thing to do. But I also believe that there’s something that we can do, rather than prescribing all of these medications to just blot out what we can. I mean, I needed to take what I needed to take—and I still see acupuncturist—but I don’t see it the way iused to. You know when you have a physical injury, I went to an immune doctor, I went to a doctor who deals with HIV patients, because I need you to really tell me why am I so fatigued? What is going on? And he just said all the blood levels were normal. You basically have IBS, your body lives in physical pain. So anything you do that’s repetitive is gonna drain your system. And you know, I said well, let me ask you this, ‘’ I have a few viruses that come up, are viruses not triggered by trauma? If I deal with my trauma, with the assistance of meditation, will that not, then, keep the viruses squelched?’’ and he looked at me and he started spewing all this technical information and I was like, ‘yeah, right, I know what that means.’ And he said, ‘’oh, im sorry, I thought you did. And in a word ,yes.’’ He says you’ve got to try and keep them down. Because, I said, ‘’well, don’t these viruses cause cancer?’’ and he said, “yeah, we are finding more and more evidence that theres some hidden virus that’s in your system that can (unintelligible) come up.’’ So, its good to know that I had a medical doctor actually reaffirm the mediation practice to start dealing with this emotional trauma, you know, with whats going on. And all the trauma comes from one horrible word: rejection. All the fear comes from a form of rejection, and I have to compensate. And it goes so deep. And I get so electrocuted by that. And what I found out as I got down further in the line, training and training and then deciding to be a teacher of the Vedic Meditation was it helped release fear. And the idea is is that you get to such a level—and im sure the other meditations do the same-- that fear is what stops me from being in the moment. That is the root of all of my problems. And so I have particular practice where, if my head is rattling about what I need to do, and why I need to do it, im running on some fear. So on a daily basis, I write down im having fear because: and I just go off on a stream of consciousness. Very similarly, people have um—what was that book that woman did, The Actors’ Guide, or something?—
PG: oh, I know, the, the, Artists’ Way. Julie Cameron I think is her name.
PN: wonderful techniques to the stream of self-consciousness. But I took it a level further. It’s really about fear. And when I do that, and then I meditate. Im not sitting there and thinking about all my fears. Because, the sub conscious, and this is so fascinating, cognitive science, neuroscience, is the cutting edge science in regards to healing physical ailments, in my opinion. Im reading a book by Annette Bernal called Move Into Life, about how she discovered that the certain people could do the same physical therapy over and over again, and it wasn’t healing their bodies. But when you start doing movements that actually open up passageways, neurologically, their bodies started to heal. And how, sometimes you can do( unintelligible) certain things, but if the brain isn’t being reprogrammed its going back to, oh, im supposed to be hurt this way. Im not saying it’s a cure for everything, but its fascinating that this part of our technology and world the sub conscious mind, which runs all of my behavior, and this tiny part that we live in, the conscious mind, when I put some of that down on paper. Theres then some space for whats blocked to come up and out. And my experience, and the only reason why I ended up learning this Vedic Meditation, was somebody told me it heals the central nervous system. It gives your body 2 to 5 times more rest than sleep.
PG: I have to say, since I started doing it a year and a half ago, actually its been about a year since I started doing it. I don’t need as much sleep. My sleep schedule is still fucked. I go to bed way too late, and I get up too late—
PN: I know, you sent me a text at two in the morning( laughing)
PG: I know, I didn’t go to bed til 4 last night! But, if I used to have a night where I would only have five hours of sleep, I would be dragging the entire day and I can get through a day, sometimes, on four or five hours of sleep and, ive just noticed—and sometimes the quality of my meditation is, um, I know there’s no bad meditation, right?-- this morning I meditated, and im not kidding you, it was 20 minutes of worrying with my eyes closed. Thast basically what it was. But one of the things that you taught me was that it’s ok. Its still, youre letting some of that stress out. And even if you just go to your mantra once or twice in that twenty minutes, youre still letting go of some stuff.
PN: the process is, what is meditation for? If I want to retreat from the world, I am going back to my depressive state. I am going back to wanting to be a hedgehog in a ball. The meditations purpose, is for having the eyes open, the waking state bliss experience. I want that fix of ‘yay! England won the World Cup’, from inside all the time.
PG: is that feasible?
PN: feasible? I think there are demonstartions of people within different realms of meditation technique walking around with their eyes open feeling this bliss. Absolutely.
PG: ok. Because ive experienced moments of it. Sometimes days of it, maybe even weeks. But there are people walking around feeling that way all the time?
PN: im sure there is. But they also have the blessing of the human body. We have this human body. You know, I have a spiritual experience of what im going through as a woman, isn’t a problem. It’s the human experience that’s kicking my ass. You know, oh, im human, oh these things happen. So, the meditations purpose is, how can I be in a blissful state in the waking state, and that reduces to pure joy and then, we then help one another. We get into what some people might think is the ‘airy fairy ‘ stuff. But, I mean, Mother Theresa found it in what she was doing. She hardly had to eat. She was give, give, give. But she had very little time for people who were being welled in their depression. Get out, help someone else. Now of course when that comes from the wrong place, we get into another place where were not really taking care of ourselves. But the practice of the meditation and because we have that special sound, that Mantra, which is a Beeja mantra—
PG: a what?
PN: a Beeja Mantra b-e-e-j-a. which is Sanskrit for seed. That charms the mind, so all the thoughts that are coming up, are stressors you might have in your waking state, but I bet you, after you meditate after twenty minutes after you’ve been thinking about it, those thoughts that you have, now post meditation, waking state are not as stressful, or as plagued. Or, what you do is you have an inkling to take action. And that’s what its about. It’s not a meditation practice for the faint of heart who just want to feel good. The great news is it’s not an exclusive technique either. I love to go to yoga studio now and chant ‘’ommmm’’ I love it! It feels so good in my body. But I could not do that unless id had a grounding practice of this particular meditation. I used to sleep for three hours every afternoon. And I did it the second time on my own. And it was the noisiest, most painful twenty minutes of my life. I needed to lie down, I needed a ddrink after that. It was just too much, listening to all the crap in my head. And then I lay down, I was very clear. My body didn’t need the rest. And I thought, I have enough knowledge now, to know, that if my body doesn’t need the rest, clearly it’s doing something for me that my conscious mind cannot comprehend, but subconsciously, something is being reprogrammed. And so, as a result of that demonstration, and that was so clear to me. I know, do it, do it. And today I know, wasn’t the best. I got up late, Ive got to drop this nine year old off, I hadn’t meditated when I was supposed to. And im like, well you don’t really have time, and then ‘yes, you do’. So I sat down and there was sucha shift in consciousness after id finished that twenty mintutes. It wasn’t the quietest of twenty minutes, but ive done enough now that the judgment of the voices isn’t there. I mean life is one percent event, and 99 percent judgment about that event of what it means about me.
PG: people have been asking me-a lot of my friends know now that im unemployed—and they’ll say ‘ how are you doing?’ and I’ll say, ‘my life is great, my perception is horrible’. And that’s it in a nutshell. And that’s one of the things that meditation helped me with. Is that feeling that the world is passing me by. The second day I did meditation after learning from you, finished my afternoon meditation. And normally, cooking food for myself always flet like a rush. It felt like I don’t have time to do this. I need to get out there and figure out how the fuck im gonna make a living, you know, ten years from now. And I got up from that afternoon mediation, and I went into my kitchen, and there was no, I didn’t feel any pressure. I didn’t feel the burden of time on me. And my limbs felt different. As I was reaching for a pan I felt fluid. It almost felt like I was moving through water. And I was like ‘’motherfucker!’’ Paula didn’t lie to me! She has turned me onto—and I called you the next day, actually I went in, cause the first three days I went in a row under your guidance—and I in that next day. And you said ‘’how was it?’’ and I said I would be doing this every day for the rest of my life. This has changed my life. This is just another tool in my belt to help me cope with my broken brain.
PN: that’s right, its another tool. And its practical. I mean I have all the stuff in my voice. Oh! Youre too much of a spaz, no one wants to learn meditation from you! Oh! This doesn’t work! It’s a load of rubbish! Ive joined the loonies! Whoa! Crazy! And then you do it. And I had the honor of teaching someone over the weekend, theyd been meditating for a while, and when you meditate after a while, you can get a little advanced tweak, you know to really excel. And right in fron t of me, huge change. Next day came back, said ‘’ oh my goodness, I meditated and my shoulders dropped’’ I question it all the time—‘’’how can this be so—and my partner learned , he only learned it because I told him to learn it, but he did it and was like, ‘’this, is something else.’’ This is something else. And its practical, and its designed for people with busy minds. And the thoughts are fine. Let them do what they want. Being somebody who gets to teach it once in a while, I know that youre giving someone a gift if they choose to use it. (unintelligible) if they choose to. Ask and give them a technique to be self sufficient, and they can get closer to them being in the now and having bliss. They may surpass me. I pass on the information. They have systematic technique that they can do. They do not have to keep coming back to me as some spiritual ( unintelligible) im human being and I have a technique that I can pass on. And it’s profound what happens! The only people who it doesn’t work for, a very small percentage, are the ones who do not follow the intructions. Have ideas about a busy head and its not working. And I said this is turning meditation upside down. Because it’s not dealing with the conscious mind, it’s dealing with the subconscious.
PG: well, anybody that enjoys this podcast, should thank you because I came up with the idea to do this podcast, while I was meditating. You know, David Lynch has a book out, Catching the Big Fish, basically the gist of it, is the best ideas that you have, are kind of buried deep in your subconscious, and through meditation you can get rid of your fear and your self obsession, and catch those and bring them to the surface. I could be marring that horribly, but that from what I read from the book.
PN: you want to catch the big fish with the idea that the big fish is the bottom of the ocean. I think of it like this: neopolitan ice cream. Lets pretend the vanilla is on top, the strawberry is in the middle, and the chocolate bliss layer is at the bottom. We start in the vanilla layer. Conscious mind, chatter, action. And we de-excite through the field of thought. And as we de-excite, just like bubbles in a bath come from a small….. we eventually hit the chocolate bliss layer. And we go down deep and we get that, and we come up to the waking state having caught that feeling, and remembering just like the endorphins, the rush, the serotonin of chocolate. And it does it for the brain. And it does help the opiate receptors. This is why this meditation is so helpful. And, it’s not by accident. We want to catch the big fish. An those who have trouble with the conscious mind meditation techniques, or seeking a bit more to support the conscious mind. Which is chanting, or saying a mantra, or positive thinking—these are beautiful things ,but if youre having trouble and you want more, this will go down deep and bring up the deep to the top.
PG: yeah. And it is—I want to thank you for being my friend. For teaching me to mediatete, and coming on and being honest about some really painful, personal stuff. I really appreciate it. And if anybody is in the Southern California area and you want to contact Paula about taking, learning meditation from her, uh, how can they contact you?
PN: yeah, I have an email which is firstname.lastname@example.org. Aware, because as we get more enlightened, we become more aware on all levels. And the website is awaremeditation.com and if youre not in the area, I know teachers in other areas that I can refer you to, and you can see it on the website and find out a lot about it.
PG: great. Well, thank you, thank you so much for comoing. I know your schedule is pretty crazy and we went a little bit over on time. So im sorry if im probably gonna make you get into traffic. But, you’ll just meditate when youre bumper to bumper.
PN: uh, no, not when youre driving you don’t! (laughing) that’s crash meditation! I took a crash course in meditation! Literally (makes crashing noise) thank you very much for asking me. BYE!!
PG: I would like to wrap things up with first of all some thanks. Thanks to my wife Carla for always giving me great input and feedback on the show. Thanks to you guys for giving me great feedback. Taking the surveys, sending me emails, leaving me voicemail messages. I really, really appreciate it. Thanks to Steve Green for running the website, thanks to the folks for helping me keep the spammers out of the forum, and before we go, I’d like to read you a letter that I got from Lisa, is her first name, and im withholding her last name and it says; hi, love your show, youre brave and youre good at what you do. That’s it, that’s the letter. Wouldn’t that be creepy if that’s how I ended it? She goes on to write, ‘’I don’t know if you respond to emails’’, sometimes I do, ‘’but if you do, you might have an idea for me. I think my mom is actually chemically depressed. Her dad was a bit manic-depressive and her brother definitely is. Im sure she needs therapy and/or medication, but shes in total denial and is ‘’done with psychology’’. Because she went to several counselors about her marriage and none of them helped her. So I am stuck trying to make her happy. ( as I have been my whole life since she argued with my dad and I was her confidant and defender.) she then goes on to give me more details about it, and I wrote back to her and I said; lisa, thanks for your email. Im flattered that you value my opinion, and get something out of my show. Im always hesitant to give advice because im not a professional, but I will tell you what I would tell anyone else who wrote me with circumstances similar to yours, we cant change people. We can make a suggestion, especially if they come to us for advice. But beyond that, the most healthy thing for us to do is to let them be themselves. And if their behavior is too hard to watch, we need to set boundaries so that we don’t have to watch it. Now, thinking thatwe can change someone who is sick, is in itself, its own form of sickness. Their happiness becomes our drug. And I knew it becaue I grew up facing my feelings on how everyone else felt. If an unhappy person entered the room, I took it upon myself to make them happy, or at least to get validation from them. So I could rule out them being unhappy because ofme. It is, an emotional treadmill that leads to insanity. And I urge you Lisa to get help yourself. Most of us need it because when we detach from sick loved ones, we feel so guilty, we will need a sane objective voice like a therapist or a support group to help us deal with that anxiety. Your mother is an adult who is in charge of her own life, you are not her parent, you are not responsible for her. The most loving thing you can do for her is to establish firm but loving boundaries, and take care of yourself. True freedom, is to be able to find peace, no matter what is happening around us. I think your issue is a really, really common one, and I appreciate you letting me read your letter on the air. I hope you guys got something out of the show today. And ive said before. If youre out there and you feel like youre stuck, and you feel like there’s no hope there is. There is definitely hope. And, you just got to be patient and not give up. And uh, know that you are not alone. Thanks for listening.