In the Limelight with Clarissa Burt interviews Paulette Bodeman: Author of The Breakaway Girl
Clarissa here In the Limelight with yet another fantastic guest this morning, I’m excited to have a very good friend that I’ve known for a long time, Paulette Bodeman, who is known as a tantric yogi. Her book, “The Breakaway Girl”, she’s dedicated to me and it’s an autobiographical work, correct?
Paulette Bodeman: Yes. It started because I’ve been teaching yoga, meditation and tantric philosophy for quite a long time. It started between journaling and questions that my clients and students would ask. It morphed and became this memoir. It’s also self-help; in the end, it’s broken into four parts and dedication to the goddesses because they are our Super Powers. I tell the story about my writing coach where I kept saying to him, “I don’t know the title.” He said, “Just keep writing, the book will tell you” and the book told me. One day I’m hiking with my husband in northern Arizona and we’re talking about the book and sections. We were talking about how my mom at different periods of my life called me ‘the black sheep’ of the family. When we were hiking away I thought, ‘I was never the black sheep of the family. I was the breakaway girl.” and I was like, “Oh gosh, that’s it!”.
The whole premise, the idea, just morphed. The whole course of my work has shifted and changed because what I realized is that we’re all breakaway girls and guys. We have these moments in life where we need to make a shift and have to break away from what’s keeping us stuck in that story.
Clarissa: And to that end, you’ve created an online digital course for women mostly but men as well that help them get out of that stuck place. To move forward into enlightenment, empowerment. Tell us about that, I want to do the course.
Paulette Bodeman: The course starts in October, called “The Roadmap to Legacy”. It’s led to this idea of breaking away, creating the life you want, and making these shifts. Everybody in the coaching world right now is talking about leaving a legacy. I want to shift that. I believe you have to live your legacy every day. You have to learn how to create a new narrative, rewrite the script of your life and live your legacy today. Then it becomes the legacy that you leave. It’s not that you wait towards the end and you decide, ‘wow, did I do what I want to do?’ Do it now. That’s the online course; learning who you are, where your stuckness is, and how to get out of that. I call it the “B.S. Limiters”, that bullsh*t you tell yourself. The rumination that keeps you spinning in a circle. I truly believe we are not controlled by her circumstances, though it does mess us up, we have the power to rewrite the story of our life.
Clarissa: It’s amazing how many women I speak to that do hold themselves back and don’t realize it. I think they get stuck in the ‘I’m taking care of everybody else’ place and that’s what I’m supposed to do as a woman, as a daughter, as a mother and a wife. They don’t leave enough time for themselves. It’s cool that you’ve created this course to help women in that place. I know there’s a book in everybody, a message in everyone, there’s a story in everyone. There’s much more to be done. I know this is true for myself as well. You were at my 60th birthday party some months ago and 60 is a whole different number, a whole different world. I don’t think about legacy in the sense that I don’t have children but I have friends, I have family and other people that might either want to look up to me for some reason or that I could leave something of value to. It only dawned on me recently. I thought legacy meant leaving something to your children and not having them I didn’t worry about it.
Paulette Bodeman: This is a huge part of my program! I helped take care of my folks their last couple of years and I have all these little stories about my mom, who was an amazing woman. As she was passing, we would have these conversations, called sutra in yoga, these short, pithy statements that are potent and packed with stuff, she spoke to me in sutras. She would grab my hand and say to me, “When I’m gone, don’t feel sad. Keep doing your work. I didn’t have that at my age. Women need mentors. They need voices. So keep doing what you’re doing.” What spurred me on was when they were able to come for family dinners and I would ask them questions. One day I wanted it to be about just my mom and dad so we asked them silly questions like ‘What’s your favorite dinner and color?’ and then I said, “What’s your legacy?” My mom started crying and my son, who holds his feelings rather close, got these tears to his eyes. He said, “What are you talking about, Nana?” She said, “I don’t have anything to leave.” He said to her, “You’re the legacy.” and she was like, “What?” We each went around the table and told her one of the qualities we either had because of her, learned from her or emulated to be passed on because of her. That’s the legacy. How you are living your life every day.
Clarissa: What a powerful moment. Is it a weekly course? Is it every week or can you do sort of a binge on it?
Paulette Bodeman: It’s eight weeks through Zoom and it will be recorded live. If people cannot make it live, they will have the recording and it’s theirs to keep. Every week will be my teaching. We’ll do some exercises, journaling, coaching and then some physical things because we have to embody this.
Clarissa: First of all, I want to know what tantric and yogi means. How do you know when you reach the status of a yogi? Are you told? Is it something gifted and given to you? Is it something you just know?
Paulette Bodeman: A great question. People still think of yogis today as people who get on the mat and do asana posture practice and that is true, especially here in the States. Yogis are people who want to engage in life fully and look at the philosophy. Tantra means to weave, to web, it’s like a thread of your life. It’s a methodology like an inner G.P.S. for life. It gives you these guidelines in this roadmap to how to weave your inner and outer landscape and create a life worth living. You create a “legacy-self”. You become a yogi when you decide to up-level your life and become more aware and conscious.
Clarissa: I want to talk about the book “The Breakaway Girl”. I’ve always said about Paulette that she does things with her body that I think are illegal in about 16 different states. I say it in jest because the things she can do are enviable, to say the least. When did you start your practice and why?
Paulette Bodeman: I started later in life because you talked about that 60 mark, I’ve hit that 60 mark a few years ago. I started because I was never an athlete. I was very shy as a young girl so I didn’t do much. I had a young son who I say was my guru because he pushed the boundaries and he made me have to look at life differently, not just the same ole. I was led to the practice and philosophy. Meditation came first and I wanted to make sure that I showed up and was the best mom for him and the best person I could be. I made a lot of mistakes.
Clarissa: Did you get a lot of answers from meditation?
Paulette Bodeman: I love meditation. People think meditation is about stopping the thoughts in your mind. From a tantric perspective, that’s impossible. Our mind thinks involuntarily. It’s like our heartbeats, we breathe. Our mind has thoughts. Meditation is simply showing up, you pay attention to ‘Is this that same crazy thought that isn’t true anymore?’
Clarissa: It still is stopping. It’s relaxing into a chair, on the floor, on the mat, whatever that is. Closing your eyes being mindful of breath and going where the universe is going to take you, I suppose. The first two steps of stopping and sitting down for me is a huge challenge. When I’ve tried it before, it was challenging because I feel as though I’m taking away from something I’m supposed to be doing.
Paulette Bodeman: You have to break away and shift that thought. That’s a habitual mindset: the busier we are, the more productive we are. The thing is, the Dalai Lama said that he meditates for an hour a day when he doesn’t have a whole lot to do. I can’t imagine him not. When he does have a whole lot to do, he meditates for two hours because it expands the time frame. You don’t have to meditate for 20 minutes or 30 minutes. You start with 3, 5, 10 minutes, maybe 20 minutes but it sets the tone of your day. It calms your nervous system and it clears the cobwebs away. Anything worth something of value, legacy, whatever, is challenging. It doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. Life can be hard but when you give yourself time to pay attention to ‘what is it I want’.
I see on your board says, “Eliminate limiting beliefs and emotion”, that’s part of my course. I have this model called “the BREAKaway model” to stop that loud chatter in your head. BREAK is the limiting B, beliefs you have adopted from the cultural DNA that do not serve you anymore. The R is rumination. What are those thoughts that take you down the rabbit hole of time that you just keep spinning? You have to pay attention to that. What are the emotions and feelings that arise? I’m feeling anxious, feeling challenged or feeling fear. A is authorship. Take the authorship of your life and rewrite your script. K is kinesiology, how are you going to embody this and move it?
Clarissa: I remember when you were writing the book, it was cathartic for you. You struggled with wanting to do it or not do it. You got past that. Then it was what’s it going to be called? What am I going to put in it? Is it going to be more of a teaching book? You said no, it was going to be an autobiography. There was a real zigzag around this project and body of work. I remember going through this with you on a phone call or two asking me what I thought and you went through it fully. There were a couple of breakaways for you along the way.
Paulette Bodeman: I appreciate how Clarissa has always been there for me from the day we met.
Clarissa: Do you remember how we met? I don’t even remember.
Paulette Bodeman: You started teaching me Italian, but I failed the class.
Clarissa: You broke away from Italian. That’s what you did.
Paulette Bodeman: I just want to say we always have breakaway moments and it’s paying attention to them, letting them work for you, not against you.
Clarissa: I love you dearly. I do. Paulette Bodeman everybody, you’re going to want to get her book “The Breakaway Girl”. When are your courses going to drop and how can people find you?
Paulette Bodeman: They could find me on PauletteBodeman.com. The course starts in October and my podcast starts in early September.
Clarissa: Well until next time.
Paulette Bodeman: Ciao. ✧