Surfing: surfing is the ultimate metaphor for what we’re trying to do on the spiritual path. Connecting with something powerful that is greater than us, trusting, letting go of control, being in the flow, surrendering, beginning again, and again, and again. Just like in surfing, the waves of life don’t stop coming but you can learn to surf.
As a part of my series about “How To Learn To Finally Love Yourself” I had the pleasure to interview Emily Pereira. Emilyis an author, yoga instructor, and mindful mama of two. Based out of Costa Rica, she runs a successful international coaching enterprise and retreat center that helps women call in love and create the wholehearted lives they envision. Emily believes that when women are able to let go of fear and learn how to transcend societal programming, that’s when the feminine can rise and we can come into our destiny.
Coined the “Relationship Whisperer”, Emily works with individuals across the globe transforming even the most seemingly hopeless stories into love stories. She guides individuals on how to call in intimate, heart-thumping, passionate, I got-your-back-no-matter-what love, and build the family and lifestyle of their dreams. Her raw, vulnerable storytelling, woven with actionable insights about women’s empowerment has reached millions worldwide.
On November 17th, 2020, Emily released her memoir, The Quest: from the Hollywood Hills to the Amazon Jungle. The book takes readers on her incredible personal journey of healing heartbreak, breaking free of old programming and harmful patterns, and finding radical self-acceptance. Emily’s writing speaks to the modern heroine’s journey and highlights the various trials and tribulations that come with navigating our romantic relationships and entanglements as well as the process of coming into our personal power.
Emily has an innate gift for helping sweep women out of spin cycles because once-upon-a-time, she was deep in one herself. After years on a hamster wheel of heartbreak and hopelessness, Emily called in her beloved at 38 years old, had her first baby at 39, and second at 42. Her mission is to give women the tools and knowledge they need to build a deeply fulfilling life with true love and vitality.
Thank you so much for joining us! Do you have a personal story that you can share with our readers about your struggles or successes along your journey of self-understanding and self-love? Was there ever a tipping point that triggered a change regarding your feelings of self acceptance?
Ummm, YES! Many people who are just finding me now might look at my Instagram and think that it’s all been smooth sailing. I live in Costa Rica and just founded an international retreat and wellness center with my partner, Manex. We have two beautiful kids and we surf together and play music together and live in a house overlooking three acres of unspoiled jungle. But it wasn’t always like that.
I started this journey that I’m calling The Quest from a very different life. I was chasing perfection, working incorporate as a very senior consultant in the pharmaceutical industry living with my internet tycoon boyfriend in a penthouse in LA, and I thought shoes with red bottom soles were supposed to do something for me. HA! My life looked good from the outside.
It sounded good. Heck, it still sounds good, but I wasn’t happy. I was partying in Malibu and Aspen on the weekends and selling anti-cancer drugs during the week and I kept wondering what it was all for. And then, thank goodness it all fell apart. My man cheated on me, my so-called friends abandoned me, and I was (temporarily) homeless. That’s when I began my spiritual journey. There were a lot of pitfalls along the way, you don’t just start the spiritual journey and everything falls into place. You stumble and eventually, you get back up again. You are creating your reality so that you can learn absolutely everything about yourself and fall in love with that self again and again through forgiveness and compassion and, finally, the HUGE joy that my life is today.
According to a recent study cited in Cosmopolitan, in the US, only about 28 percent of men and 26 percent of women are “very satisfied with their appearance.” Could you talk about what some of the causes might be, as well as the consequences?
Oh my goodness, that’s a very sad number!! I think the dissatisfaction stems from a lack of focus on the internal self. Image has become emblematic of who we are. When we see doctored photoshopped images, and then we look in the mirror, and the mirror gives us back a very different reflection without the lighting, without the filter, people become disappointed in themselves. But the self holds incredible richness inside. And because we are so focused on the external, we never meet the wealth of the internal and a gap begins to form between who we think we are, meaning our external appearance, and who we actually are.
If there were a way to social media our inner beauty, the popularity contest would look a little bit different! The person with the most depth, the most wisdom, the most heart, and the most compassion would get the most likes. We need to hold our own council here. What are we growing inside that is magnificent? Are we creating? Are we laughing? Are we curious? Are we learning about the beauty in our own thoughts, our imagination, our wishes and dreams and wisdom? If we can shift the focus from external to internal, our feeling about our outward appearance tends to radically shift. Sure, we might say, I’m fine about how I look! Because we are in fact so busy with the inner playground.
As cheesy as it might sound to truly understand and “love yourself,” can you share with our readers a few reasons why it’s so important?
To love ourselves is the most important thing in the world. If you look at the word confidence, it means “with fidelity” and confidence in the self is often how people move mountains in their career, find love, and realize happiness. But how can we be loyal to ourselves if we don’t love ourselves? As well, if you love yourself, you have a kind of anchor as you go through life. There are a lot of gayle storms out there: breakups, job losses, illness, but what you were born with and what you have until you die is the relationship with yourself, if you work on that relationship, life is a whole lot easier. This means really getting to know yourself. Journaling, exploring past wounds and joys, find out where you are strong, where your innate talents are, spend time getting to know yourself. This is how compassion and love bloom.
Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?
The very first thing I want to say about this is the same thing I say to the women who come to me for love and relationship coaching: sometimes a mediocre relationship fits the bill for a while. If by “mediocre” we are saying that he isn’t “the one” then maybe he is a good friend, he makes you laugh, he’s comfortable and for a woman who is in the aftermath of heartache, that can be okay for a while. It gets sticky when you are afraid to let that relationship go and look for what you really want.
And here’s the other thing I tell these women: if you are imagining it, then it can happen. The universe, spirit, whatever you want to call that great force, does not give you the image of something that you can’t have. But most women need tools and practices to get them to that love.
Our culture teaches math, science, reading, even art, but it never teaches us how to attract and keep the life partner of our dreams. That’s a gap I saw early on and I spent years developing the rituals, practices, and mindset shifts that need to happen for women to really step out of mediocrity and into something spectacular. Those are too in-depth and frankly too intimate to go into in an article but suffice it to say when women begin to focus and educate in this way, the mediocrity falls away and almost immediately they are stepping into that deep, supporting, lasting love that they really want.
When I talk about self-love and understanding I don’t necessarily mean blindly loving and accepting ourselves the way we are. Many times self-understanding requires us to reflect and ask ourselves the tough questions, to realize perhaps where we need to make changes in ourselves to be better not only for ourselves but our relationships. What are some of those tough questions that will cut through the safe space of comfort we like to maintain, that our readers might want to ask themselves? Can you share an example of a time that you had to reflect and realize how you needed to make changes?
Interestingly enough, that safe space of comfort is actually the place we are most afraid of. In order to cultivate self-love, we actually need to learn to comfort and “hold” ourselves. There’s a tremendous amount out there that is telling us not to do this. We are constantly told what to do, which draws us out of our own inspiration and into another’s dictums. And from there, the list of what we are supposed to do is long: feel the fear and do it anyway (when the fear maybe telling us something important), leap and the net will appear, use your voice, be nice, be grateful, network, be the expert, be ambitious, be in the now, set goals, charge more, lean in and on and on and on…The overarching culture is very hip in telling women what to do. When in fact, to cultivate a strong sense of self-love, which can propel us in the direction of our dreams, we need to turn inward and ask not the tough questions but questions that bring out our inner beauty.
Close down the voices telling you what to do and turn to the self to say, “Hey girl, what turns you on? What are you curious about? What do you love about yourself? Where are your strengths? What are your talents? What are you most wanting in your life? Is there any reason you feel that you might not get that (and this is about really listening to the answer to that question so you can address it internally)?
Often women start small here. They might start with gratitude for the self. You can look back at your day and write down at least five things you did that you are grateful to yourself for. When you are depressed, one of those might be getting out of bed, another one might be brushing your teeth and eating at least one healthy food, and so on.
We, as women, need to start being our own cheerleaders. What we focus on grows, and if we want to expect a lot from ourselves, we need to begin to give ourselves an equal amount in return.
So many don’t really know how to be alone, or are afraid of it. How important is it for us to have, and practice, that capacity to truly be with ourselves and be alone (literally or metaphorically)?
More than anything during this pandemic, the women I work with have said how lonely they feel. This goes for essential workers who are on the frontline in the medical field. They are still going to work and yet feel extremely lonely. The isolation of the collective is felt everywhere and even if you are super busy, that aloneness speaks volumes.
Of course, some people are extroverts and some are introverts, and the latter will have an easier time of it. But spending time alone and being comfortable with it really finds its genesis in knowing the self. It often is not that we dislike ourselves, it is that we dislike how others see us. The fact is most people don’t know themselves. They don’t know what fills them up, what makes them happy, what turns them on. And a lot of my coaching is about falling deeply in love with a self you didn’t even know you were carrying around.
It starts with what I call “Being the Beginner” which is simply giving yourself permission to try things you have never tried before. The pandemic is a great time for this. I have a friend who started taking the ukulele and online singing lessons and she was one of the happiest people during the lockdown. You can try anything right now because of the abundance of often free classes, but you want to begin to notice what you love, what you love to cook, to eat, to watch, to read and do, take note of what brings you joy. And once you can fill your days with these loves, you cease needing so much outside entertainment. One of the main reasons we want others is to be entertained, but we have that capacity right inside the self.
There will always be loneliness, it is part of the human condition. Some people feel lonely even when they are in a big crowd or have a big family because the mind tells us we are separate from each other and we feel as if we can never be fully known. But know yourself and you’ll always be with your BFF.
How does achieving a certain level of self-understanding and self-love then affect your ability to connect with and deepen your relationships with others?
When we don’t know ourselves, we essentially have no rudder for who we want to cultivate as friends or lovers. When we don’t know who we are and what we love, we don’t know what we want to share with others or even what we’re looking for. We are the flag without the mast, simply landing on peoples’ laps, and that is a recipe for disappointment and heartbreak. Life becomes happenstance rather than intentional. When we know who we are, what we love, what we appreciate in ourselves and therefore another, that’s when love gets really exciting.
If you know you respect yourself because you are great with money and good at a party, or if you know you love reading in bed rather than going to that masked ball, that’s partly how we decide what we are looking for. I mean, we might be into someone who gets us out of bed for that masked ball, but unless we know we want that, we may be confused by a dynamic of differences rather than excited by them. As well, it’s almost impossible to get vulnerable if you don’t know yourself. What are you actually sharing if you don’t know who you are inside? Vulnerability is one of the keys to intimacy and if you don’t know who you are, it’s very hard to get vulnerable with another person.
So, getting to know yourself is understanding what brings you joy, but it’s also about understanding where you have felt betrayed or sad in your life and being able to both hold yourself there and share that with another human being.
In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?
We are a society that celebrates experts with answers, and while answers are finite, QUESTions are infinite. One question that would absolutely benefit society as a whole is not what does the world need, but what is it that makes me come alive? What makes me feel connected to myself? Where do I feel most passionate and purposeful?
When we are lit up by our own lives and creations, we enter that field of “enoughness.” That’s when competition, greed, and domination fall away. When you’re filled up, you don’t overconsume or rape or pillage the planet, there’s an inner peace that presides when you’re doing something deeply meaningful.
What are 5 strategies that you implement to maintain your connection with and love for yourself, that our readers might learn from? Could you please give a story or example for each?
In order to stay connected to the self, the key is to get out of “your head” and into your body. Embodiment practices are most effective for this.
My go tos:
1. Surfing: surfing is the ultimate metaphor for what we’re trying to do on the spiritual path. Connecting with something powerful that is greater than us, trusting, letting go of control, being in the flow, surrendering, beginning again, and again, and again. Just like in surfing, the waves of life don’t stop coming but you can learn to surf 🙂
2. Playing guitar and singing: at our most fundamental core essence we are vibration and when we play music or sing it, we are tuning into the inner rhythm and tonal effervescence that moves through your body every day. There is inner music to your life that is felt when you engage in any instrument, even your voice. Long ago, they said that the gods communicated to us through the use of music, and you can feel that when you are inside of a song, singing and playing. Absolutely everything drops away, and you are that song.
3. Writing: handwriting in particular can be an incredible way to kinesthetically get into the body. When we write out our thoughts, we get them out of the body and we understand them as witnesses, rather than having the burden of them swirling in our heads. This is also a creative act, where we are engaging with our thoughts when usually they are distracted. I do not necessarily write with the intent to create a finished project, but the writing often forms itself into social media posts, where I can connect immediately to my readers and the less immediate form of chapters for my next book.
4. Dancing: moving the body to music is one of the fastest ways to drop out of the head and into the body, to release blocks and stuck energy and feel alive! This is how we reconnect with the rhythm of life.
5. Being of service: helping others access their magic gives me a deep sense of purpose which delivers me right into my heart.
There’s no right or wrong here, you don’t have to have tons of talent or a lot of hobbies, the thread that runs through our connection with and love for ourselves is a deep experience of presence. That can come at any turn. I notice it just by spending 10 minutes on the floor with my daughter, Saia Moon. When I really accept the moment for what it is and shelve all else to come into her imaginal world, I notice a deep experience of connection and love that is not possible if I was distracted by the day-to-day.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources for self-psychology, intimacy, or relationships? What do you love about each one and how does it resonate with you?
1. Unleashed with Alexi Panos- Alexi is so authentic, fun, and deep and has fantastic guest interviews that cover everything from love, passion, purpose, and tips for leading a truly epic life!
2. Conversations from the Heart with (Yoga Girl) Rachel Brathen– Rachel is such a sensitive soul who cares deeply about the world. She is so vulnerable and really brings you along the journey of her life.
3. Over it and On with it with Christine Hassler — Christine is a compassionate and skillful coach. She coaches people on-air and her shows are super inspiring!
4. IGNTD w/ Sophie + Dr. Adi Jaffe co-host this show about living life super ignited! They are off the cuff, super vulnerable, and have fantastic guests!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? Maybe we’ll inspire our readers to start it…
The Quest Movement
One of the most powerful movements that the world could get on board with at this time is what I like to call The Quest. The Quest starts with longing or a desire. It can be a desire for anything: love, a big career, a life that inspires, equality, or justice for all.
That desire does not represent lack, as we’ve been made to feel. That desire is our compass for our personal quest. That longing is the magic elixir to open a thousand doors in your life that were not open before.
So, if we can reframe wanting and desire as a state of wonder, then you have already won your game.
My memoir was the seed story for The Quest movement where now a lot of readers are discovering that they can create lives based on passion and purpose.
When I began my personal Quest, I was uninspired and apathetic. I couldn’t name one heart-churning passion. I’d unconsciously accepted the programming: if I can’t do it perfectly… if I’m not going to show up and slay, I probably shouldn’t do it at all. I was in an invisible prison, obsessed with how it should look outside rather than how it should feel inside and it never felt like it was enough. I’ve found that this feeling of “not enough-ness” is responsible for all of the world’s aliments from war, rape, and racism to infidelity, over-consuming, and overworking.
When I discovered the key to liberation from this prison of perfection is a little ol thing called permission, I started painting huge canvases after never picking up a paintbrush. I started dancing, and suddenly I found myself in a burlesque troupe. I thought I couldn’t carry a tune, and I started learning guitar and singing. I hadn’t written in 11 years besides emails, and oh I dunno… the occasional thank-you note, and I started writing (and published) a book. Permission gives you access to your inherent passion and passion is the compass guiding you to your purpose. Passionate, purposeful living is the portal to entering that field of feeling “enough.”
This is not just an individual journey, this is really global. It’s about waking up the world. We need one another as support and comfort as we fling ourselves toward the beautiful unknown journey of The Quest. Because I think of this as a worldwide journey, as the book was launching, I’ve partnered with the Love IS project, an organization that spreads love worldwide by empowering artisan women in developing countries, supporting an ethical supply chain of love.
The founder and I created a special edition copy of the book for Christmas that includes a bracelet made by the women at the Love IS project, The bracelet, created in Indonesia by a fair trade cottage industry, is a talisman of your courage as you move into your Quest. Every time a woman wears it, she reminds herself that she is right where she is supposed to be and the inherent gifts meeting her at every time and that she is spreading healing and love across the planet.
When you gift this to another woman, you are honoring her courage. Her journey may look totally different, and that is OK. Ultimately we are here to grow into wholeness and the more people who do this individually, we will begin to see healing on a global scale.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that you use to guide yourself by? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life and how our readers might learn to live by it in theirs?
Life isn’t happening to me, it’s happening FOR me!
Taking personal responsibility has been the magic stone in my pocket for the past 14 years. With this lens, I’ve been able to treat each moment (especially the super challenging ones) as a precious gift divinely sent to help me heal and grow into a woman who knows herself, loves herself, and has the courage to be herself. I credit this mindset shift for the ability to land on more expansive horizons again and again no matter what life throws at me.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you hope that they might help people along their path to self-understanding or a better sense of wellbeing in their relationships?
My first book just came out, The Quest. It’s a memoir and one thing I didn’t expect is how quickly it is alchemizing people’s lives. Every day I am getting notes from women saying that they have been waiting for this information and inspiration for years. I want to bring all of these women together to meet each other and to work together through the journey of understanding the depth and breadth of their incredible spirit and potential.
To that end, I created a Companion Guide to The Quest so that they aren’t just watching me go on this quest to inner and our realization, but they can go on it themselves. It is full of never before seen exercises, rituals, and practices that can turn your life around in a very short amount of time.
Women will form Companion Guide circles around the world to work through the book and they can augment that with the Love Academy, a 2-month intimate experience with me where they raise their personal frequency to call love into their lives. One thing that women are really missing and looking for now is that conscious relationship that feels like a sweet sanctuary and rocket fuel to create the life of your dreams at the same time.
Thank you so much for your time and for your inspiring insights!