From the arms of a martial arts instructor to a Russian yoga teacher, all while mourning the loss of her mom and renewing herself, Francesca shares her journey which has led her to teaching and coaching others worldwide.
And at the end of this episode I’ll share with you a tiny food that is a big powerhouse for helping fight depression as well as balancing hormones.
Our guest, Francesca Gentillé
I am very excited to be joined here today by Francesca Gentillé, who is an initiated shaman in 4 traditions, a clinical sexologist, she’s an empowered aging specialist, and a relationship counselor. She has published, appeared on television and also teaches all over the world.
Francesca has an incredible story to share with us today as well as a really generous gift just for listeners of Clean Food, Dirty Stories, which we’ll share with you later.
First though, let’s get to the story. So Francesca welcome to the Clean Food, Dirty Stories podcast! I’m really excited to have you here today!
Francesca: I am so delighted to be here Barbara. Barbara is also one of my favorite people in the world; creative, talented, big hearted.
Me: Well we’ve had a lot of adventures together. We have enough stories to fill up an entire season of a podcasts all by ourselves. But for today’s story I know that like me you grew up with depression. Also, you had some quite heavy food intolerances where you may have felt like you were almost in the wrong kind of family. So can you tell us a bit about that?
Francesca: Yes absolutely. I was raised in a very loud, periodically, emotionally volatile, creative, dynamic, great cook Italian family, an Italian American family. And my mother was bipolar: it was the worst of times and the best of times, and of course they were cooking Italian. So there were lots of pastas and wonderful homemade pizzas and canola.
Me: Sounds like heaven.
Francesca: It was on the one hand beautiful and so tasty but I would always feel tired and I would feel depressed and they would say in the family that I was always sleeping. They’d say “Why is she so sensitive?”
Enter the food intolerances
I think some of our sensitivities are signs of being a shaman and but on the other hand I think some of the sensitivity was exacerbated by the food intolerances. And I didn’t know this until many years later when a friend of mine was reading The Body Ecology Diet for candida yeast infection that wouldn’t go away. She said that when she started doing the diet her yeast infection not only went away, but within two weeks her body pain went away and within a year she lost thirty pounds. And it was the body pain that I that I kind of tuned into and I decided to try it and as I tried it I realized that my body wasn’t hurting. Suddenly I felt like I had more energy and I also felt like my mood was stabilized. Yes, a huge difference.
Me: So what food did you cut out for that? What were you intolerant to?
Francesca: I was intolerant to gluten.
Me: Wow! So Italian food was a big no, no.
Francesca: All the breads have lots of gluten. So all the pastas all of that is gluten. We eat that and I was also intolerant to cow dairy; so lactose basically.
Me: Well so cheese.
Francesca: Cheese, and I could have a little goat or a little sheep but in general they were cooking with cow cheese. And so those were two things that were death to my body and my immune system and really I think creating that leaky gut syndrome for me too.
Cutting out the bad stuff
Me: I know that you said that later on you solved all of that. So besides cutting out gluten actually what other foods did you cut out?
Francesca: Well eventually, I have to say I’m somebody who does my life in like small steps. I’m not someone who has created success by changing my whole life overnight, whether that’s in relationships or whether that’s in business or whether that’s and in food. Normally I’ll try one little thing and then try another little thing.
Me: Sounds like me.
Francesca: At first it was gluten and dairy but I was still eating processed, you know like quinoa pasta and millet bread. And then eventually I went on a two week kind of cleanse where it was no processed flours at all; some grains but no processed flours. No sugar, no caffeine, no dairy of any kind and lots of vegetables – cooked and raw. A little bit of grains that might be cooked and then a small amount of either fish or chicken, but lots of vegetables everyday. Many more than I had normally done in any given day and some fruits.
And I found in two weeks that I started to feel better and I found in a few months that even though I actually hadn’t lost any weight which was something that I wanted but even though I hadn’t lost any weight people would start to say “What have you done to your face? You look younger, you look radiant!” It was all these fruits and vegetables and wonderful fruit and juice smoothies. Then within a year I was down to my ideal weight and I just felt amazing!
Me: Wow, that’s fantastic!
Francesca: I did it the healthy way.
Enter the martial arts instructor
Me: So then I guess you looked so radiant and so amazing that the martial arts instructor found you right? You mentioned that – how did you meet him and what happened?
Francesca: Well in this process it wasn’t at the complete end of the steps towards health. But in this process of getting more and more healthy, I am also a teacher of relationships and sexuality, and I teach recovery from trauma, and I teach about tantra in a healing way for couples.
So while I was doing this, this gentleman came to one of my classes. I felt some energy between us, but at the same time I had learned that sometimes the man I’m most attracted to is the one that I need to walk away from.
My animal instincts that get very attracted to people do not tell me that that person is honest. They do not tell me that that person is good. They only say that we have compatible histo immune systems. I thought I should walk away and I did.
But he kept writing to me and one day the email wouldn’t work. I tried so many different ways but it would not go through. He had given me his phone number so I called him and I said “Do you know if there’s a problem with your email?” and he said “Maybe you’re just supposed to talk to me.”
A beautiful relationship
So we started to talk and it developed and it really became a very beautiful and magical relationship. He had been studying Dzogchen Buddhism which is a very spiritual form of tantra for twenty five years. We had a lot in common in terms of core values, and it became a relationship which I think of as a soul mate relationship of the best kind, where we were passionate and compassionate.
In the six years we were together we never yelled at each other, we never raised our voices. That’s not to say we never had a problem or a disagreement, but we were able to work through those disagreements while staying in a centered, mature, adult state. It was such a grace.
When I would walk into the room we’d each take a breath like “ah, now I’m safe, now I’m home”. And even though he swore he would never get married because he’d been married twice before and they were these terrible relationships, in four years he asked me to marry him.
Are you sure you want to marry me?
I always knew he would. Although I thought it was going to take a decade, but I always felt like “yes, he’s going to ask me to marry him. He just needs to heal a little bit from these past relationships”.
So when he asked me to marry him after four years I was shocked. He said “You’re not saying yes!” and I said “Well I-I didn’t expect you to ask me to marry you yet!”
I said “Are you sure you want to marry me? Do you know my flaws? Sometimes I’m messy and I don’t clean up right away”.
He said “Yes, I know that”.
I said “Oh and I love pretty things and sometimes I can kind of over shop and I’m not good at saving money”.
He said “Yes I know that”.
So I was like going through the list of all my flaws and he said, “Why do you think it took four years?” He said “I actually wanted to marry you sooner, but I wanted to make sure that I could hold space for your imperfections”.
And so I said yes, but we decided to wait until my son graduated from high school. That was a few more years down the road.
So you know, things were going well, but his business was failing. He was a full time martial artist, he taught martial arts to school children and adults. And it really wasn’t financially successful and that was very hard on his heart. It was very challenging for his self-esteem.
One day he came to me and he said “Francesca I have some good news and some bad news”. And I said “Tell me the good news!”
He said the good news is that a friend of his was selling a fitness center, a gym in town in his town with all the workout equipment etcetera. John said “If I combine fitness and martial arts, maybe that will be the ticket for success”.
I said “Honey, that’s great!” Because of course we want our partners to be happy and fulfil their life’s mission. I said “You should do that, what’s the bad news?”
And bad news
His martial arts studio would be open from about 8 or 9 in the morning till 9 at night with some breaks in the day. It would get very quiet until the kids came after school. So it had a certain pace that had some spaciousness in it.
And you know 8 or 9 in the morning till 9 at night, although still a long day, is not terrible. He said that this fitness studio was open from 4 in the morning till 11 o’clock at night.
Because he was investing his money into it, he felt that for at least the first maybe 4 to 6 months he needed to be there. He needed to see how it was being run so that he could try to change it and make improvements. And he said “For approximately 4 to 6 months sweetheart I’ll be getting 3 or 4 hours of sleep a night and I really won’t have any bandwidth”.
Well, be careful of what you say to the universe! I said “Oh don’t worry, our relationship is so strong, we can handle this”.
And 5 days later…
Within 5 days of that my mother died. 5 days after he signed the papers and put the money into the investment.
You never know how you’re going to respond to the death of a parent or someone that’s very, very close to you. You don’t know until it actually happens.
And I adored my mother but I was also afraid of my mother. I was conflicted and although I had a lot of anger towards her while she was alive, I made a choice never to bring that anger to her. As she got older her bipolar got worse and she eventually had Alzheimer’s, and it just isn’t appropriate to bring these kinds of unresolved issues to people who are mentally ill.
Me: But then you have to solve them for yourself, right? How do you do that?
The grieving process
Francesca: And all of those unresolved emotions were there. All the anger and rage that I never expressed to her was there. And then the grieving, because since about twenty five till when she died when I was fifty I had chosen to mostly be separate from her even though we’d been very close when I was young. So I was not only grieving that she was now dead, I actually was grieving the twenty five years that I had chosen to be separate from her.
Me: And did you regret those twenty five years?
Francesca: Yes and no, because if I had to go back I would probably still make the same decision because she didn’t feel safe to me. On the other hand, for the little girl like when I was very young and she was a bit healthier, probably from you know birth till about thirteen we were very, very close.
And so the little girl in me just missed her mommy. I would be at home alone curled up into a little fetal ball rocking and this little voice would come out of me saying, “I don’t understand!” It was this little girl who just didn’t understand that her mother was gone and didn’t understand that she would never have an opportunity to be close to her. I think the magical child always hoped in some way that they would reconcile. So yeah I was very shattered. My son would later say that it was like I was missing for two years.
Me: How old was your son?
Francesca: My son was… I think he was either, maybe about fourteen, something like that.
Me: Oh wow! Okay, so old enough to know that yeah there was some heavy stuff going on.
Walking in the underworld
Francesca: And yeah, those two years in many ways are a blur. I would eventually end up going to two therapists a week for over a year, a year and a half. And I really ended up feeling like I was later like I was walking with my mother in the underworld for that time.
Me: Oh wow!
Francesca: Yes, it was very deep, it felt very profound.
Me: That must have been very helpful, very healing.
Francesca: Where I am now, I’m at peace with her. I feel her love for me, I feel my love for her. It’s like we’ve completed what we were meant to complete in this life, and I feel like I’ve known her many lifetimes and I’ll probably know her again.
Me: Yep, I’m sure you will.
The birth of a crazy idea
Francesca: But in this time period where so much of my energy is now in the underworld or so much of my little girl is grieving and crying while my adult self is missing…In that time period John is getting three or four hours sleep a night. He needed me more than he ever needed me and I couldn’t be there emotionally. And then I needed him more than I ever needed him, and he couldn’t be there for me emotionally.
Neither one of us were thinking particularly straight. But we were noticing that we were getting more and more depleted, more and more raw. It’s almost like when you haven’t had enough sleep and your mind is just starting to think sort of crazy, and you almost feel like you’re shaking because you’re under-slept. Both of us were like that because I wasn’t sleeping well with the grieving.
Me: Well and you do literally start to lose your mind when you lose sleep, when you don’t have enough sleep, right? I mean that’s a proven thing.
Francesca: Exactly, and we came up with this crazy idea which is “We need more support, we need more energy in the relationship. I know! We’ll open up the relationship in a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ model”.
Me: Wow! So can you explain? Because some people might not know what that is.
How not to navigate an open relationship
Francesca: I’m not against open relationships or polyamorous relationships or swinging or anything else. And I think there are ways to have open relationships that are beautiful and ways to do them terribly. Just like there are ways to be monogamous that are beautiful and ways to be monogamous that are awful.
I mean it’s not the design of the relationship that is the grace or the problem. It’s really “Are we centered? Transparent? Collaborative? Compassionate? Do we have good communication skills?” That’s what’s going to make any design better or worse, depending on who we are bringing to that relationship.
Well one of the things as a relationship counsellor that I would say is that if you’re going to have an open relationship it’s actually healthy to be transparent, to reveal to your partner, to not lie, to not hold things back, to be able to collaborate so you still feel like you’re a partnership.
So even though you might be dating someone else, or going to a party and canoodling with someone else, you still feel like your home partnership is your best friend, is that place that you’re the closest to, is the person that you’re revealing everything to.
And I think it’s very dangerous to try to do this without revealing to each other. It’s very easy when we start withholding information, whether about sex or anything else. Sex, money, you name it; when we start to withhold information, it’s easy to build resentment. So it’s easy to start feeling more and more separated.
Now this is a crazy notion that I never would have agreed to in my right mind, but I wasn’t in my right mind.
Where’s my primary care support?
So we agreed and we weren’t living together at this time. We were living in different houses but we’d see each other every weekend and talk every day. And he ended up having a couple of, you know, kind of flings. Things that were a little lighter, it was fun, it was sexy but it wasn’t particularly emotionally depthful.
But I felt – oh my God! Barbara, I felt like I was going crazy. I felt like I just wanted someone to hold me when I cried. And I wanted someone to hold me in the night when I felt so frightened and alone. For me, I didn’t want just a little sexy fun fling.
I felt like I needed what they call in the hospitals in America ‘primary care support’. Like when someone is in the intensive care unit and they need twenty four hour care. I felt like that was me.
Enter the Russian yoga therapist
And there was a man that had been a student of mine who was very, very alluring, kind of reddish brown copper hair, big almond brown eyes, slender…He was a Russian yoga therapist and massage therapist.
Me: You already got me intrigued!
Francesca: With long hair…and he and I started to spend more time together and he was being emotionally supportive. And when this open relationship design came into being I went to him and I said, “What do you think?” Well he was all over it!
Francesca: Oh my God all over it and all over me! I remember a night, I think it might have been the night where I said you know, we’ve opened the relationship and we could get together where I think he said like he couldn’t get out of this chain link fence, he was somehow locked in. He actually climbed the fence, and he ripped his clothes! You know, this person who’s just like running to try to get to you…
Me: Like in a movie, right?
Francesca: And it was the beginning of…of course it was very passionate in the beginning and we were, you know, making love at night and in the middle of the night, and in the morning, and we were traveling together…within a month I had actually moved this guy in!
Me: Wow! Did John know at that point?
Francesca: No because we were doing the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ model!
Me: Oh! Oh my God…okay!
Life with a sexy fitness coach
And this guy was this primary care support where he would cook for me, and he was someone who cooked very vegan, very healthy. So he would cook for me.
He was also a fitness coach so in the mornings he would have me do yoga stretches. And it was in a way it was exactly what I needed.
I could tell that this was moving too fast and that John… I couldn’t keep doing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’.
When don’t ask don’t tell becomes ‘you’d better tell’
So I visited John and I said I need to talk to you. I said “I have gone and not just dated someone, I’ve not just had sex, but I’ve gone very, very deep. I’ve formed another primary relationship and I’ve already moved this person in”.
And of course John was shocked and hurt but once again he was getting three or four hours of sleep a night. He just didn’t have the bandwidth to even talk about it. It was just…we tried to talk, but he didn’t have the bandwidth, and I didn’t have my normal skill sets.
I’m normally quite erudite, normally very adept in language and communication and in graceful language and communication, and I wasn’t.
Within I would say maybe a couple of months, John called me and he asked me if we were having unprotected sex. And we were. John said, “Were you planning to tell me?” I said “Yes”.
He said “When were you planning to tell me?” And I said “You know, I think the next time we were going to get together”. John said “Well, it’s over”.
Another death to grieve
And then I was not only grieving the death of my mother, but I was grieving the death of the relationship with my soul mate.
It really was the best relationship I’d ever had and it’s now been ten years and it will be best relationship I’ve had so far; hope springs eternal, but so far – and it was another shattering for me.
So now I’m with this seductively charming Russian yoga master, and it seemed like ‘well maybe you’re supposed to be with him’.
Is this my stuff or his stuff?
But something starts to happen where I start to feel more and more insecure. And at first you know maybe I’m thinking ‘well it’s because I’m grieving’ or ‘it’s because I’m not centered’
But I’ve come to find out over the years – I now have a data collection taken from many relationships – that in the relationships where I feel the most calm, I am with someone who is honest, with good integrity and who is in fact trustworthy. And when I’m in a relationship with people who are lying to me or withholding or cheating in some way, I start to feel more and more insecure.
Me: Well that makes sense, right?
Francesca: There is an exception to this and usually whenever I start to feel a little insecure, possessive and obsessive in a relationship, I make sure to get counselling. I make sure to get the support so that I’m coming back to the center and I’ve separated out what are my issues from my childhood versus what is my energetic intuition saying about this relationship.
Me: Yep I get it.
When a healthy influence turns to dysfunction
Francesca: And so sometimes we do have some of our own issues from the past. But with all the therapy and everything…One week the therapists both said – even though they weren’t talking to each other – in the same week they both said “I think you need to look at your relationship. I think you’re not just grieving and I think that there are some things that might be unhealthy in your relationship” and they both said it interestingly enough the same week.
So with this guy, something would just snap in him and he would begin to yell at me. He’d yell at me and shame me and denigrate me – not just for like three minutes, but I would time it. For fifteen minutes, for twenty minutes, for twenty five minutes, for thirty five minutes.
Me: Right, so super unhealthy.
Francesca: Super unhealthy! and I would tell him, you know, “I’m grieving, this is not okay, I can’t handle this”. It would be fine for a little while and then he’d go back to it again. Very emotionally abusive. I didn’t actually find out until after we broke up that he had been… we also ended up teaching together and he had gone to some of the students in our classes after he found out that they had been molested as children, after he found out that they had terrible family backgrounds and it was hard for them to understand their boundaries. After he found that out, he would seduce them.
Me: Whoa! He should be in jail! Seriously!
Francesca: Yeah! I didn’t find this out until after we broke up and then …
Me: So what did you do?
What’s the lesson here?
Francesca: I tried to let my community know that this person was very, very unhealthy. And you know I did my best to get that information. But it felt terrible, really, really terrible. I had allowed him to stand beside me and teach, I’d actually helped promote him in my community. That’s still something periodically that’s heavy on my heart. And for me I want to say that I’ve learned to forgive myself and that’s an important part of healing.
Me: Oh yeah.
Francesca: We can’t just beat ourselves up, we have to get the lesson. Like what’s the lesson?
Part of that lesson – this is very interesting – when my mother died, no one came to visit.
What do you do when someone dies?
Where I come from back in the center of the United States, it’s more farmland, it’s more…people are in the same area generation after generation, and when someone dies, your friends show up or your family shows up and they bring you food.
They understand that you’re not going to want to cook, that you’re going to feel sort of out of your body. So people show up and take care of you at least for the first couple of weeks if not longer.
When my mother died, no one came to visit.
I tried to email and say, you know, my mother has died, I feel very shattered, this is so hard, I’m having so many emotions…and no one came.
Tough questions and enlightening answers
A couple of months later when I was out in the world I would see my friends and I would say “Do you know that my mother died?” “Yes”. “Okay uh…I’m curious, why didn’t you stop by? Or why didn’t you call?”
And what I heard really highlighted the wounding that we have in our culture around grieving. So what they said was, “Well you’re such an independent woman, I thought you would want to do it yourself”.
Well this is weird because you know, in most cultures in the world you grieve in community. You don’t grieve by yourself! That’s such a weird modernization. We’re meant to do this together. And so I thought ‘hmmm, that’s a wound of culture that they thought I needed to grieve by myself’.
Some people said that they were afraid of death. I understood that and I could have compassion for it, but I thought that’s another wound of culture.
Because death is so removed. It’s in the hospital, it’s far away, it’s in a hospice. We don’t see death like we would have seen it a hundred years ago, a couple hundred years ago where death was a part of life. You learn to work with it. Once again you learn.
People would say “I wouldn’t know what to say, I didn’t want to make it worse”. I would say “Well, let me give you an option. One possible thing to say is ‘I’m so sorry for your loss'”.
Me: Yes exactly!
Francesca: Fairly safe, but they literally didn’t know that!
Enter the life-changing answer
So the answer that started to change my life was when people said, “Francesca of course I love you, of course you’re important to me, but I thought that you’re so well loved that you would have people that were closer to you than me. People who would be with you”.
And I said “Well what I think I hear you saying is that you don’t realise that you’re important to me. That you don’t realise that you’re actually really close to me”.
And they said “Yes!” and I thought ‘Whose job is it to let you know that you’re important to me?’
Francesca: It’s my job! But I’m not doing a good job of letting people know that they actually matter to me!
When walls no longer serve
When I saw that I thought ‘Oh my God! I have a wall around me’. It’s the wall that I built to protect myself. I built it brick by brick as a child, as an adolescent, as a young woman. And I built this wall to try to protect me from being hurt by my family or being hurt by mean kids or etcetera.
But now I realize this wall that has been designed to protect me also keeps people from me and I have spent my life proving my independence and that I can take care of myself. So if I need to move forward in life, the next development in life is to let people in to care for me and to let out, to be vulnerable, to reveal how important you are to me.
Me: Wow! That is almost freaky because I had the same realization about the wall about a year ago. And in fact that was one of the reasons why I started this podcast! Because I thought, ‘What way can I start to share some vulnerability with the world?’ How can I start to yeah, just you know, tear down the wall, basically! So that is really freaky because I didn’t know that that was going to come up today. Wow!
We have to wrap things up pretty soon but before we do that, I mean what an incredible story! I want to put links obviously to what you do in the show notes. But before we get to the food tips for this episode I know that you have very generously offered a special gift for our podcast listeners. So can you say something about that?
Francesca: I have! You know, all of the suffering becomes a grace when we learn from it and in that we can help others.
So if anybody’s listening and they’ve suffered a lot, on the other side of that suffering is who you are as a healer.
I want to offer my support to all of the listeners and to say that I’m happy to offer you a gift session by phone or Skype. This will be approximately forty five minutes to an hour. You would email firstname.lastname@example.org and put in the subject, ‘gift session’. I’m happy to collaborate with you and really offer my support for our time together.
Me: Wow! That is awesome Francesca, thank you so much. I know that people will take advantage of that because I mean you’ve got so much to offer in so many areas. Around sexuality and relationships and even, you know, life’s journey and the whole thing. So thank you so much for that. I really appreciate it.
It’s been super, super having you on the podcast! So thank you again so, so much!
A food that helps you fight depression and helps with balancing hormones
So, I mentioned at the beginning of this episode that I’d share with you a tiny but amazing food that can help fight depression as well as help with balancing hormones. And that food is…
Benefits of flax seeds, including balancing hormones
Flax seeds are amazing and if you aren’t eating them yet, you’ve got to get yourself some. The reason they can help fight depression is because they’re high in omega-3 fatty acids. But they also can help with balancing hormones. I’ll link to a study in the show notes that seems to say that eating flax seeds may help prevent some forms of cancer.
Flax seeds are also high in fiber and low in carbs, and they help reduce sugar cravings, they improve your skin and hair…I mean there are just too many benefits to mention here, so I’ll link to an article or two in the show notes if you’d like to read more about flax seeds.
How you eat flax seeds
Now, how do you eat flax seeds? Well, some people buy flaxseed oil and pour that over salads and veggies. What I like to do though is buy the whole seeds and then grind them quickly in a coffee grinder or high-speed blender. You can then sprinkle them over salads or cereals, or use them to make crackers, bread, pancakes and all kinds of things. They’re great to thicken recipes.
And of course if you want some specific recipes that use flax seeds, I’ve got a gorgeous recipe for Nut Burgers (and ketchup) in my 5-Minute Mains recipe ebook that I’ll link to below.
Have YOU got a story to share?
If you’ve got a true story to share, and you’d like to know what food could have saved the day in your situation), I’d love to hear from you!
Got a question, or a comment?
Got a question, or a comment? Pop a note below in the comments, that would be awesome. You can also subscribe to the podcast to listen ‘on the go’ in iTunes.
I hope you have an amazing day. Thank you so much for being here with me to share in my Clean Food, Dirty Stories. Bye for now!
Francesca’s website: www.FrancescaGentille.com
For a 30 minute Gift Session, email Francesca and mention Gift Session from Clean Food, Dirty Stories.
Article on benefits of flax seeds: https://draxe.com/10-flax-seed-benefits-nutrition-facts/
Article on brain benefits of flaxseed oil: http://www.livestrong.com/article/472237-flax-oil-for-mood-brain-functions/
Scientific study on flax seeds and cancer: http://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/11/10/3828.short
Recipe ebooks including 5-Minute Mains (for Nut Burgers and Ketchup recipes): https://rockingrawchef.com/5-minute-recipes/
Francesca Gentille is a Certified Clinical Sexologist & Relationship Counselor. She is the popular internet radio host of Sex: Tantra & Kama Sutra and co-author of the award-winning sex & relationship book “The Marriage of Sex & Spirit.” Francesca is the co-director of the The Somatic Sensual Healing Institute, and the founder of The Sacred Courtesan School of Feminine Mystique and Power. She says: “There is no one true, right and only way to design a relationship, fulfill you purpose, or heal from past trauma. Together we will create a path that is uniquely suited to you. In a gentle, graceful yet powerful manner you will deepen your authentic life.”