From Feeling Broken To Inhabiting Joy with Elena Sonnino
If you ever struggle to find pleasure, or feel "broken" due to life's circumstances or experiences, listen up to this episode as we’re gonna dive into the journey of pleasure and how to find joy in the process.
I'm taking with Elena Sonnino, life coach, yin yoga teacher, and author of the book Inhabit Your Joy: A Book of Nudges.
When Elena was diagnosed with cancer in 1997 and had a hysterectomy in 2012, she never imagined that it would result in tremendous sexual pain.
Tune in as she shares some of the key tools that have supported her on your journey back to pleasure, and how you can use them too!
(full transcript below)
In this episode you'll discover
JOIN IN THE DISCUSSION ON THIS EPISODE AND MORE IN MY FREE FACEBOOK GROUP, FIND YOUR FEMININE FIRE HERE.
Elena Sonnino is a life coach, yin yoga teacher, and author. But what most people say about Elena is that she brings delightful sparks of energy to everything she does.
Elena is on a mission to help you transform the walls of survival mode into doors of possibility so that you can step into the spotlight of your life as your most rooted and nourished self. Her work helps you get out of your head and into your body as your source of wisdom, and moves you from beyond shoulds and into delight, one day at a time.
At home, Elena enjoys watching the sunrise, tending to her many plants, riding her Peloton bike, and impromptu kitchen dance parties.
Learn more about Elena at www.elenasonnino.com or by reading her new book, Inhabit Your Joy: A Book of Nudges.
And please - if you have a question you'd like Amanda to address on a future episode, submit it on this anonymous form.
If you've been interested in learning more about coaching with Amanda, she's now booking coaching clients for 1-1 support in creating the relationship and orgasmic pleasure of their dreams. If you’ve been thinking about it, maybe we should talk! Link here to book a free call to see if we’re a fit.
EPISODE 216: Elena Sonnino
[Fun, Empowering Music]
Amanda Testa: Hello, and welcome to the Find Your Feminine Fire podcast. I am your host, Amanda Testa. I am a sex, love, and relationship coach, and in this podcast, my guests and I talk sex, love, and relationships, and everything that lights you up from the inside out. Welcome!
Hello, everyone, and on this week’s podcast, I am going to be exploring some themes around feeling broken and maybe when you are struggling to find pleasure or if there have been experiences in your life that have really disconnected you from that or that have involved pain. That’s a very real part of life, and so, what I’m really looking forward to today is I’m talking to Elena Sonnino, and she is a life coach, a Yin Yoga teacher, and an author, and her most recent book is called Inhabit Your Joy: A Book of Nudges. I just love that name. [Laughs] We’re gonna kind of dive into a little bit of the journey of pleasure and what that looks like and what we might think we might want to do to ourselves that might not be the most supportive and what, actually, are some beautiful ways to kind of move through this journey because, really, there’s never a destination.
There’s always gonna be the road, and so, really, it’s around kind of finding your way and finding the joy in the process.
So welcome so much, Elena. Thank you for being here.
Elena Sonnino: Thank you so much, Amanda. My heart was smiling as you were sharing that, and it is so much about the journey and that process, right? So thank you. I’m delighted to be here.
Amanda Testa: Yeah, and so, I’d love it if you wouldn't mind maybe just sharing a little bit of your story and kind of why you have such a passion around this.
Elena Sonnino: Yes, I mean, passion is such a good word for it, right? I do have passion around this because this has been a journey I’ve been on -- oh, my goodness -- for 25 years without me even really realizing it. So in my early 20s, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
At that time, I was kind of starting, right? You're in your early 20s. At that time I wanted two things: I wanted to be a mom, and I wanted to be an elementary school classroom teacher. Then, there I was, relatively healthy and being diagnosed. That time in my life changed everything I thought to be true about my body.
The first six months of chemo actually weren’t a huge deal. The worst thing about them were that I gained a lot of weight and I lost my hair, but I felt relatively good, but what happened was even my relationship to receiving pleasure -- because my body was changing so significantly, my drive for pleasure or passion kind of felt nonexistent, and I was newly engaged at the time, and it became everything about pleasure felt like I needed to armor up for -- there was something already wrong with me, and here I was in my early 20s, and my life hadn’t been filled a lot with pleasure.
I hadn't really started to experience pleasure through sensuality until about that time, and it felt cut short so abruptly. I went on to heal, and then I recurred, and when I recurred, I ended up having a bone marrow transplant, and because of that, theories around me being able to have children kind of came off the table, I developed blood clots which meant, in the long term, I wasn't ever going to be able to take estrogen because there was a clotting risk, and my body essentially (even though I survived) started moving towards early menopause in my very early 20s, and so, my body literally started changing from the inside out.
Again, pleasure felt unaccessible to me, passion felt unaccessible to me, and I just kept being told by doctors -- honestly, by my partner -- we are just gonna kinda have to push through this. I was, to some degree, a bulldozer in my life. [Laughs]
I was that person who saw a situation and -- as my dad said to me once, “You're that person that can do anything she sets her mind to,” and I believed him at the time, but what I’ve realized since then is that everything that I’ve achieved in my life had nothing to do with my brain. Yes, our brains are super powerful, but the moments of the most aliveness that I’ve experienced have come from that very deep place within me where I embodied possibility or I embodied hope without certainty, right?
When I found out I was pregnant, we had been going down a path of a donor egg. I was weeks away from receiving a donor egg, and that created its own obstacles to receiving pleasure, right, because suddenly everything became very mechanical, all of it.
The doctor -- I burst into tears when they told me over the phone that in the ultrasound, to figure out what my body was gonna be doing, that they saw something, that that’s not what they thought they were gonna see. So he makes this call, and he tells me, and I’m sobbing, sobbing, crying, and he lets me cry, and then he says, “Look, you have a choice. You can grieve or you can celebrate until the day you can’t.” It was instantaneous for me. I knew. “Option B, please,” right? [Laughs]
And so, I knew I was learning this lesson again and again to show up for the possibility even in uncertainty, but when it came to passion and pleasure and desire in my body, there were big, big walls that I built up because it felt like I was constantly needing to defend myself, and that I couldn't possibly be soft or vulnerable, and I really couldn’t depend on anybody else. So I kind of walled that part of me off, and then I started experiencing (after a hysterectomy that I had) significant vaginal pain during intercourse.
I’ve listened to so many of your episodes that talk about how this isn't the only way to receive passion and pleasure and to be intimate with your partner, and yet, that was what I thought to be true, and over time it became so significant that more walls got put up.
And then somebody said to me, “You are not broken. This does not define you, and this does not mean that you can’t experience pleasure and passion and desire and have a healthy, intimate relationship with my now-husband.” Hearing that -- when a pelvic floor physical therapist said that to me about a year ago, I could feel the wall -- it didn't come crumbling down. It wasn't like a magical flipping of the switch, but suddenly there was a little sliver of light, and the more we started to explore breath work and really look at the system as a whole -- things aren’t fixed.
There is still pain, and I am still very much in this process, but I’m so passionate about this because I know so many women who, for whatever reason, have created walls around themselves to protect themselves and feel like, “Oh, no, pain? I’m just gonna have to be there, and I need to be fixed, and I need to keep seeing doctors, and I’m gonna try this one more thing ‘cause that will make it all okay,” and, I believe without a shadow of a doubt, that the thing that we actually need has nothing -- doctors are amazing. My dad is a retired doctor. Doctors can do magical things, and yet, I don't know that that’s where the answers lie. I feel like the answers are within us in a much deeper place.
Amanda Testa: Yes, yes, yes. Well, I am just very touched by your journey and your story.
I think there are probably a lot of listeners that can relate to having pain or to having experiences that wall you off -- those experiences that cause you to be more hypervigilant about what you're gonna let in and be more self-reliant and not really trusting others. Another thing, too, that you mentioned, and I want to kind of loop back to this because what I hear from a lot of clients that have had trauma with their bodies (autoimmune or cancer or disease or things like that), that it's when you find there's a disconnection with your own body because it's not doing what it's supposed to do in the way you want it to, right?
Elena Sonnino: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: And so, that can bring up a lot as well. And so, I'm wondering if it feels okay to maybe share a little about your journey to reconnect with your own body and to find that -- you mention embodiment a lot which is such a big thing -- but embodying that possibility amongst all the unknown that you are experiencing.
Elena Sonnino: Yeah, absolutely because (you're so right) it is that exploration, right, of starting to look for other ways and redefine our relationship with ourselves because, as you were saying, I could almost see myself bracing for things, and now realizing that that's just not gonna be the journey -- and so, for me, I think the process started -- pelvic floor physical therapy was the first doorway for me, and we discovered a few things: that my pain was kind of surface level. It wasn’t deeper. The muscles -- there was some clenching because -- when we really went back to it, it started around that hysterectomy and feeling like this thing had been taken from me, and I needed to protect myself, and so, breathwork was the first opening where I started to realize okay, I have the capacity to create opening and to create possibility within me, and I know breathwork to be powerful in my practice in general and in my body, but there was this -- it literally felt like something that I could open and close when I chose to, right, and that I could allow it, and that I could allow expansion. So breathwork was the first doorway.
The second was just experimenting with kind of redefining what I saw and felt as pleasure, and almost going on, like, a pleasure scavenger hunt, and being out in nature and seeing something that I found pleasurable and letting that live inside me for a moment or allowing touch to feel pleasure, but really starting to retrain my brain to say, "Actually, I can receive pleasure," and collecting evidence in all sorts of different places around it. And then, I think, the path that continually surprises me is noticing the relationship between the energy centers in our body, right?
So we think of the sacral areas being that place where our sensuality, creativity, pleasure, passion, desire live and exploring that. Recently, I had a moment after I had gone to yet another doctor because there was going to be a procedure that held hope to reduce my pain, and the doctor’s appointment didn't go particularly well. It was pretty disheartening, and I actually went to a pretty dark place. I came home with my husband, and I'm like, “We're too young to never be able to experience penetration again,” and he just kind of looked at me and allowed me to have my mini temper tantrum. [Laughs]
Then, I paused, and I recognized that my body was asking me to listen, and what my body really wanted me to know -- it was like a whisper. My belly literally said to me, "You know, maybe you need to move me a little bit. Maybe you need to explore what could be possible in different ways," and I was having a conversation with somebody, and this whisper -- it was maybe a little bit more than a whisper. It was a loud nudge -- belly dancing was the message! I was like belly dancing?
I remember I said that out loud, and the person I was talking to was like, "Belly dancing?" So I did what I do, and I just wrote it down. I had to let it be 'cause I needed to not overthink it 'cause I can do that. [Laughs]
Then, the next day -- 'cause I ask myself this question on a regular basis of where can I be curious today -- I wrote down: "I'm gonna get curious about belly dancing." So I started Googling it and, lo and behold, there was a studio that, among other things -- they teach pole dancing and all sorts of things which was also something that I had done years ago once and discovered that that is a workout, and my upper body was sore for days, right? [Laughs] But I realized that this studio had a four-week belly dancing class that started the subsequent Sunday, and I was just gonna go, and when I got there, the instructor said to me, "We're gonna go through movements, and I'm gonna show you things, and there's gonna be choreography, but at the end of the day, my intention is that you fall back in love with that energy that's inside you," and it was like everything aligned in that moment. The puzzle pieces, I could feel them coming together, right, because that's what it is. It's redefining that it is love and it has to start with me.
I have to be in love with all the parts of me before I can receive and experience and savor pleasure and passion with anyone else, from myself, and that that's the way to self-partner, to recommit to that.
Amanda Testa: Mm, I love that following of curiosity because that's such a key piece, right? It can be so challenging if you really want something, if you really want the pleasure, if you really want that penetration (if it is) or if it's orgasm or whatever it might be.
Elena Sonnino: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: And our culture is one of a lot of do, do, go, go, so it's very common that we approach a problem by, like, all right, here's the thing. If we're gonna fix it, I'm gonna force myself to do this. I'm gonna make myself do these things, and that is the exact opposite of what works, right? I mean, our body, often -- this is a lovely thing that one of my teachers Layla Martin says, and I think it's so true especially when it comes to healing is that you can only go as fast as the slowest part of us is ready to go.
Elena Sonnino: Yeah, Amanda, you're so right. So it's funny that my husband is an aerospace engineer by training (a systems engineer) so we have a spreadsheet for just about everything. I'm amazed that actually we don’t have a spreadsheet for this, but I don’t want him to listen and get ideas. [Laughs] I remember when I started pelvic floor physical therapy, we had essentially stopped having sex because there was so much pain, and my PT said, "So we've discovered that this isn’t the deeper tissues. We've kind of relaxed the inner thighs which there has been a lot of gripping, right? It would kind of be good to get a new baseline."
So I go home, and my husband's all excited 'cause we have this homework, and that baseline attempt created more trauma because I was -- here I was, doing just this of forcing, like, here I am, and I remember I was like I'm gonna breathe, I'm gonna be calm, and I tried to coach myself through all of it, and I had practiced some Yin Yoga beforehand and set the stage, right, and yet, because my tissues are the way they are, there was a moment of trauma at the point of penetration that then has made everything harder since.
And so, that was this moment of realization for me that this was not going to be the approach, and that I had to get curious, that I had to listen in other ways, and that the only way through this was gonna be through exploration and, perhaps, experimentation and trying and just getting creative.
Amanda Testa: Yes.
Elena Sonnino: And maybe that can be fun. There's a difference, for me, in feeling like you have to do something and feeling like you get to do something, and I think I had a period of time where this felt like a have-to, and the opening came when I started to see it as a get-to.
Amanda Testa: Yeah, I love it.
Elena Sonnino: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: And I love how you're following your curiosity, and another thing that you mentioned, which I think is so key, you know, to kinda spend that time with your body because our body holds so much wisdom, and we often just don't know how to listen, but that is a beautiful step to take. Like all right, let me just spend some time with this space in my body and notice what it might want or need. What does it have to tell me?
Elena Sonnino: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: And there are such amazing things you can find out, and it might take a while, and I think what I also celebrate about you is just your devotion to connection to yourself and to having that partnership with yourself because that's one of the big keys -- just showing up for yourself and just honoring whatever is there whether it's pain, whether it's numbness, whether it's pleasure, whether it's whatever. It's so hard to do, but that devotion to yourself just gives you that potential possibility and also just that knowing that no matter what, you can show up for yourself. I think it's a challenging thing especially when you are wanting to be in a different experience, you know? It can be really hard to honor where you are or to connect, but I think that's why the little baby steps you say, like going curious -- what is a curious way I can approach myself today?
I love that question that you ask yourself every day. Like, what can I do to be curious about this today, and that does give that shift of, like, ugh, now I've got to deal with this damn thing again? It's like hm, let me see what might bubble up -- that something as a want-to out of this whole thing, right?
Elena Sonnino: Yeah, absolutely, and I think the thing that stuck out to me when you were describing that is that the more we do that, the more we allow ourselves to belong, right? I was just speaking with a client who's having some medical issues, and her spine and her body and things just aren't moving in the way she wanted them to, and she's a very physical person and she's a doer. This conversation -- this reminder I think that so many of us have, that we see ourselves as something that needs to be fixed, something that needs to be problem-solved, project-managed, right, whatever it is -- spread-sheeted about -- and yet, when we get curious and we listen and we talk to those parts of our body that are talking to us as a friend, as an ally instead of an enemy, then the body knows things long before our brain does, and it is just so wise and magical and powerful and beautiful, and yet, too many of us, for whatever reason, have come to see our body as an enemy, as something that has to be fought against versus flowed with, and that, I think, is the continual journey.
It's definitely not a flip of the switch, right? I am in flow and in output, but it's always that moment of reckoning when I notice ooh, yeah, I'm not really showing up in allyship with my body.
I once wrote a letter to my body as my hero. It was like a love letter to my body, and that was hard, and yet so powerful. It just changes the words and the language we use for ourselves, but it's a continual effort. Like, now might be a good time to write another one of those. [Laughs]
Amanda Testa: I love that. Yes, and you know, like you say, we do have that health within us. I love how one of my mentors Rachel Maddox calls it your blueprint of health, right, because no matter what we have that within us, that original essence, that blueprint of health, and because of life and trauma and all the things, then, we have these imprints that show up that hide us from the blueprint, but the beauty is is there are ways to let that blueprint come back alive.
It's such an amazing thing to witness, and I witness it all the time with clients, and it literally blows my mind. I'm like you just watch them and it's like we just get disconnected from it 'cause of life and because we have never been taught how to do it, right?
Elena Sonnino: Oh, right.
Amanda Testa: Yeah.
Elena Sonnino: Yeah, they definitely do not teach us in school.
Amanda Testa: [Laughs]
Elena Sonnino: It's so true, right? I think about that -- I mean, it took me years to realize the thing that healed me from my Hodgkin's Disease were my own cells. I had an autologous bone marrow transplant, so they literally depleted me with chemo, brought my immune system to zero, and I gave me back my own cells, and then years later, the daughter that I wasn’t supposed to be able to have came from me.
I mean, it sounds ridiculous, but I broke my -- I fell on the ice and broke my wrist this January, and when I went to the emergency room the first thing they said is, "Oh, this might be surgery," because of my age and da, da, da. Then, the orthopedist looked at it several days later and was like, "No, you're just gonna need rest." But, again, my wrist got to heal itself. I had to listen, I had to be kind to it, I had to not -- 'cause it was my right hand, and I'm right handed, but it's over and over again. Even this energy center of pleasure and desire and the possibility and the beauty and the power that lives within me, I am more and more convinced -- I had a conversation recently with my dad 'cause this is a really fabulous and fun conversation to have with your parent, and yet I went there. [Laughs]
Amanda Testa: [Laughs]
Elena Sonnino: And we were talking -- you know, 'cause this whole I can't take estrogen, and he was like well -- because there's always been this question, am I really at blood clot risk? I don’t actually believe that I am. I think it was a symptom of everything else, and so, what if I went and they ran the tests and determined that I'm not? Then I went wait, do I really want to actually want to take estrogen? The good or the bad, it doesn’t matter, but it was this reminder of that's a choice, and I could make it, but if I actually believe that my body has everything it needs to heal, then why am I gonna go down that path and spend all this time listening to people that might be very smart, and yet, that doesn’t actually feel aligned to this embodied knowing that I have, that my body is amazing and wise and it's own best teacher, and so, what if I could just trust? So that's the plan, [Laughs] to trust and allow and be curious and listen, above all else.
Amanda Testa: Yeah, and I know that self-trust piece is really hard sometimes, so I'm wondering what do you do when it feels hard to lean into that trust?
Elena Sonnino: Yeah, so I'm a big believer in evidence, [Laughs] but looking for evidence in the most delightful way. It's one of my favorite questions to ask, "What's working?" But when I think about when I start having a hard time trusting, of just pulling back and saying, "Okay, but what do I know for sure in this moment? What evidence do I have that I can trust my body?" I start with the surface-level things of, okay, my body knew it was tired. I gave it extra sleep. It feels nourished. Right? So the really concrete things or I broke my wrist. It has healed itself because I listened, and I didn’t force.
Then I start looking for more and more examples, and over time, as I collect time, my brain kind of can't help but see the evidence and say, "Oh, okay." So it does take reminders and sometimes even distractors. So sometimes one way to come back into trust with myself is standing in front of the mirror, and one of my favorite breath practices -- and I'll stand with my right hand on my belly and my left on the heart, and I look at myself, and I breathe in, "Thank you," and I exhale, "I love you," because I find that the distrust happens when I start going into that fixing-broken mode, and so, I need to come back into that relationship of love and gratitude for what's here versus the force and efforting. So that ability to say, "Thank you, and I love you," helps me come back into relationship with who I am, what I am, what's possible inside me.
Amanda Testa: I love that so much. That is a beautiful practice. I would urge you, if you're listening and that resonates with you, maybe notice what feels like a doable way to get curious about doing that possibly for yourself, right?
Elena Sonnino: Yeah. Yeah, and you can do that anywhere -- at my desk, brushing your teeth, in the car. It's just this reminder that there is so much within us that we get to honor, and then I've played with some honoring practices. I am queen of impromptu dance parties in the kitchen or here at my desk, but anything to -- actually, after I broke my wrist, I really needed -- it sounds so silly, but I was kind of mad at my wrist. It happened the day that my book launched. I mean, the universe was really asking me to slow down. [Laughs]
Amanda Testa: Yeah.
Elena Sonnino: Right? So much efforting had happened, and I had to come back into honoring and celebrating, so I started writing little love notes to my body, to my wrist. I started talking to my wrist. So any body part that we can start connecting with, being in dialogue with, and the pelvis, the sacral, the root area, I mean, there's a lot to connect with there and be in relationship with. [Laughs]
Amanda Testa: There is a lot there. I remember a woman who I had on the podcast once, Rebecca Anuwen, she was talking about how it's an under-the-sink kind of place, right? And it's so true because everything we don’t want to feel we're just like, "Oh, we're just gonna, like, shove that in there," and whether or not you have a physical wound, you still have the energetic space.
So there's so much there, and when you start to unpack it, it can feel a lot, and so, that, too, is like you don’t have to rush through it. You can take your time and one day at a time, one step at a time, one layer at a time. Yeah.
Elena Sonnino: Yeah. Yeah, and the body is home base for me has always been so -- that's always an access point for me in terms of just coming in, whether it's dancing or shaking. I learned a practice in my first belly dancing class. I don’t think they call it shaking, but you're standing, and your knees shake, and over time, the faster you go, your whole body shakes.
Amanda Testa: Yes.
Elena Sonnino: But it's that release that happens when we give our body permission 'cause we're not meant to hold onto things.
Amanda Testa: Yes.
Elena Sonnino: And it's when we don’t allow things to move through us that, then, they get stuck and we create those energetic blockages, and so, honestly, the infrared sauna is also another favorite tool. [Laughs]
Amanda Testa: Yes!
Elena Sonnino: To sweat things out and just allow whatever's there to be there, and then to naturally be released.
Amanda Testa: I love that. I think there's so much, and just those little ways that you can find that resonate with you to let your body have a moment to do what it wants to do without trying to control it or without trying to direct and force, you know?
Elena Sonnino: Yes, yes!
Amanda Testa: And just listening. I love that, that curiosity that you’ve mentioned. Yeah.
Elena Sonnino: Yeah, and, you know, the other -- which is kind of really fabulous practice for somebody to play with is something like a child's pose or a twist, anything like that. If I think about getting into the body, into the belly, into the pelvis, into that root area and just breathing, right? When I ask myself that question, "What do I need today," sometimes my body needs a happy baby shape, and that was actually a shape that my physical therapist wanted me to practice and practice breathing there in terms of opening and closing.
We don’t need special tools. There are so many tools that are available to us for healing and for play and we are our own best tool. We just have to remember to connect with ourselves.
Amanda Testa: Ah, I love that so much. Well, I mean, I just appreciate all the wisdom that you've shared and just really honoring your light and the spark that you have to talk about this. I think it is important to talk about because if you're listening -- and I know a lot of clients and friends in general that have gone through a lot at a young age, and you're like what the -- you know, this isn’t supposed to happen to a twenty-something and just honoring that and all the realness that comes with that, and then being able to find this new connection with yourself. Like you say, it's a journey, and there's new ways of redefining what brings you joy and pleasure. I would love if you would share a little bit about your book, if you wouldn’t mind.
Elena Sonnino: Yeah, absolutely. So Inhabit Your Joy -- apparently I have to reach for it -- it's a book of nudges, and I had thought about writing a book for many years, and I kept telling myself, "Oh, I don’t know what I'm gonna write about," and then I decided well, if I'm gonna be really curious and get out of my own way, what is that thing that I know about me? I have been told that I'm a nudger, that I, in the best possible way, I ask questions that help people find their own answers or help bring them back to themselves, and so, then, I decided how can I make this as delightful and aligned to me that I can? And so, this book kind of wrote itself.
It is divided into three sections: be rooted, be curious, be alive. Each section has anywhere from 10 to 15 nudges that are meant to -- I designed it -- my intent as I wrote it was that it would be a book that would live on your desk or in your nightstand, and you could open it almost like an oracle deck, and a nudge would find you.
I've had some people who say they were reading it cover-to-cover, and then they say, "And now, I'm gonna do it your way." [Laughs] There's no wrong way to be nudged, but I do that. It's on my desk, and I literally will close my eyes, take a breath, and allow a nudge to find me. [Laughs] You'll love -- I just opened, and the one that came up was, "Be Curious Number Five: What If You Did Know?" And so, there's always a little bit of a story of context and then the nudge itself which is meant to be something that you could just play with, ask yourself, maybe journal about. There are some Yin Yoga shapes here -- a child's pose, a twist -- with some guidance about how to either get rooted, get alive, and get curious or get alive and choose that joy, choose to inhabit your joy even in uncertainty, right? That joy isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, that this journey to being alive is full of all of it -- the dark storms, the rainbows, the sunrises, the sunsets, the hazy days, everything in between, but we get to make that choice to be rooted, curious, and alive, and the more we do that, the more we inhabit the truest part of our self that does live in joy.
And so, it's been a great delight, and I always envisioned this book was gonna be shared from friend to friend in connection and community, and it's been great fun to just get to talk with people and play with these nudges with people. So it's been a joy to kind of send out into the world. [Laughs]
Amanda Testa: I love that. So beautiful, and I'll make sure to put a link in the show notes of where everyone can find the book Inhabit Your Joy.
Elena Sonnino: Thank you, yeah.
Amanda Testa: I love the nudges. That's a good reminder for gentleness and, like, let's just gently get curious and nudge ourselves here, right? [Laughs]
Elena Sonnino: Yeah, and it's interesting, right? I think as we get older -- I'm approaching 50, and this gentleness with ourselves is a gift we can give ourselves. To be curious and not have to be so forced, and not have to know all the answers and have the certainty of the path. We like certainty. It's comfortable. We like knowing where to go unless you're like me and you end up in a new city. One of my favorite things to do when I land somewhere is go for a walk without a map or without Google Maps on my phone either (now, in the new technology of traveling), but it's just that idea to give ourselves permission, and so, for me, anytime that we can do that in all the parts of our lives, the more we get to experience this journey that we're on.
Amanda Testa: Yes! Ah, thank you so much, Elena. I so appreciate you being here, and I'm wondering if there are any last things you'd like to share or if there is a question that I didn’t ask that you wished I had asked?
Elena Sonnino: Oh, I mean, no, I think that when I think of everything we’ve talked about and this sense of curiosity and then the embodiment of it, one of my favorite questions that I'll just leave everybody with is this question of what would feel delicious, especially as we're talking about passion and pleasure and desire and reconnecting with our body.
Maybe the answer is chocolate, but maybe it's belly dancing. Maybe it's to go out and be in the rain or go stand on the grass barefoot or go play with your children. Whatever it is, this question of what would feel delicious today is a beautiful way to take the boundaries off, take the old expectations off and begin to access that curiosity. So just a fun practice to play with.
Amanda Testa: I love that. I love that 'cause I'm all about pleasure in the little ways, 'cause it does add up so much when you're kind of being more aware of what you enjoy and what feels good. Maybe it's a beautiful sunset, maybe it's watching a bumblebee take some pollen from a flower. It could be anything.
Elena Sonnino: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: And it does kind of open up the potential for receiving more of what else you enjoy.
Elena Sonnino: Yeah, and if you're focused on exploring what would feel delicious, you're not focused on feeling broken.
Amanda Testa: True.
Elena Sonnino: Yes. Yay! [Laughs]
Amanda Testa: Yes, thank you so much.
Elena Sonnino: Thank you!
Amanda Testa: Where else is the best place for everyone to find you? I'll also put it in the show notes, but where would you like for everyone to connect with you?
Elena Sonnino: Instagram is a great place. Come hang out with me there. I also have a Facebook group called Live Your Sunrise. There are always morning nudges, bed-time reminders, and inspiration in between, so those are two great places. Then, my website, elenasonnino.com, is the home for all the things.
Amanda Testa: Beautiful. Well, thank you so much, and thank you all for listening. I would just invite you to maybe take a moment to digest what was something that you really appreciated from this episode or something that you want to give a try. Feel free, if you have questions you can reach out to us. You know how to contact Elena, you know how to contact me, so let us know what you loved.
Elena Sonnino: Yes, thank you, Amanda!
Amanda Testa: Yes, goodbye, everyone!
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Thank you so much for listening to the Find Your Feminine Fire podcast. This is your host, Amanda Testa, and if you have felt a calling while listening to this podcast to take this work to a deeper level, this is your golden invitation.
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[Fun, Empowering Music]