Updated: May 12
[00:00:00] Laurin: Welcome to the curiously wise podcast. I'm your host, Laurin Wittig. This podcast is all about women supporting women, mind, body, and spirit. It's a place where we will honor celebrate and share women's natural and experiential wisdom through Curiosity, provoking conversations, shared stories and tips.
We've all gathered along this journey. I invite you to join in the fun as we uncover the unique wisdom. We each carry within us. Ready? Let's get curious.
Hello, friends and welcome to the curiously wise podcast. I'm so excited to have a new friend of mine here, Angel Hiles. She is a holistic brain health coach and she has been a therapist for many years. I'm going to let you know.
Say hello and introduce herself to you. She can do a far better job than I can. So welcome angel.
[00:01:07] Angel: Thanks Laurin, you basically said just what I would say. So I am a licensed therapist and the state of Ohio and West Virginia. And yes, I have been a therapist for eight years now. Very much enjoy it. But recently I have branched out into incorporating. Brain health coaching, and I do have a holistic approach in both therapy and coaching.
And I just love teaching people about brain health because. As I struggled for most of my life with an impaired brain without knowing it. And it impacted most of my functioning. And so I love to teach that element because I never knew that. And it's very helpful in one's healing process of, empowering and giving you a sense of control of where you can improve your brain functioning.
So therefore all areas of health improves.
[00:02:01] Laurin: Yeah. So, can you tell us a little bit about your journey to discovering that you had an impairment?
[00:02:06] Angel: Sure. I wish I would've known so much sooner, but Hey, that's just how life happened, but you know, so basically through childhood, I had struggles in learning, but not all the time. Pretty much. I think coming out of my elementary years, sometimes like reading and comprehension was always difficult.
Just because of how my brain was processing to struggled with impulsivity basically just never making great decisions. Right. And that then kind of incurs shame, right. Because. I, without my knowing was kind of telling myself, I must be stupid. it's hard for me to read or I make these stupid decisions and then I'm embarrassed and I get in trouble and so I must be bad.
All of this just snowballed. And then I had digestive issues and headaches and Basically into adulthood and struggled with relationships because of this impairment and in addition to the brain impairment. But because I wasn't able also to have a healthy attachment, I always felt unsafe and insecure and didn't know how, because I didn't feel safe at me. An impaired nervous system. And then therefore, then I experienced. Relationships, if you will, you know, they didn't feel safe. So it just continued. And I was unaware of that also for most of my life. So it was very much a long journey.
It started with going to a holistic chiropractor who was treating more of. Route. using supplements and nutrition and asked me about my diet and I was slowly trying to give up bread, like these things and sugar, you know? And then I was doing a moderation and now I'm doing a lot better, but it is a hard process when, okay.
I know these things aren't agreeing with me, but it's not so bad that. I want to give them up completely. And the same thing goes for these other habits that I had created through life that helped. in life before, but then it was just causing harm. So very unhealthy habits, but they were created out of survival and, you know, just making sense and getting through life, but then they became very problematic.
And so now with knowing how the brain works and regulating my nervous system, it has strengthened my ability to function in a very healthy way.
[00:04:37] Laurin: Yeah, it's the brain gut connection is really, is very interesting to me. I had an allergy to egg. through my childhood and early adult years, and I didn't realize that it was expressing as anxiety, I would get teary and I would have anxiety, panic attacks, and I did not. Connect the two until much later.
I, well, much later I was in my twenties when I figured it out. Thank goodness. But the brain gut connection is amazingly strong and hard to, I think the hard to separate, you know, what's, what's going on because of what you've ingested versus what's going on because of the emotions that would otherwise be going on. so you worked with chiropractor. What was your next step?
[00:05:23] Angel: Well, you know, so the natural supplements he used they, there was multiple doctors there, but standard process and some other people use them as well. So they did muscle testing and just checked how you reacted to certain foods or. You know, nutrition, for example, a lot of the times though, they were able to recognize that I had adrenal fatigue or it was digestive so my Like the valves and the intestines or whatever, sometimes, they would do pressure points and close them because they weren't closing properly. So a lot of that bacteria and stuff was escaping. I know people are listening. Like she is not able to describe that effectively, but
[00:06:04] Laurin: Yeah.
[00:06:05] Angel: I'm not a doctor, but Basically though, all of those things helped me tremendously and it wasn't medication because not that there's anything wrong with that.
There's a place for that, but they couldn't ever pinpoint. Right. So it was very psychosomatic and nutrition related for me.
[00:06:22] Laurin: Yeah.
I have a similar but more it took more of my own investigation to find out what I did, but I did find a doctor who tested for allergies in a different way. And that's how I discovered my food allergies. so that was, similar to what you did, but a different kind of modalities, just lots of testing.
[00:06:41] Angel: So that's what I like
[00:06:43] Laurin: Yeah, and mine was, mine was definitely invasive shots under the skin stuff. Can, can you explain for some of our listeners who may not know what muscle testing is? Can you, give them an idea of what that means?
[00:06:53] Angel: So basically there's different ways to do it, . And I do it by just flipping my fingers and asking questions. And like this indicates a yes. And when it breaks through it. So now so basically you're tapping into the body. Innate intelligence and the subconscious and asking the body the questions.
For me, when I am doing emotion code, I do it. when it's flax, it's a yes. And I, when it breaks, it does that.
[00:07:19] Laurin: It does. It makes sense. And I was taught exactly the opposite, but it doesn't matter. You, you have to train yourself, you know, you, if you want you hook your forefinger and thumb together, so you've got loops that are in trouble. And you can say this is a no, no, no, no, no. And you're not letting go. And then you say it's a Yes. And you let go, or the opposite, whatever you were trained to and your body begins to understand. What it is you're asking of it, so,
[00:07:45] Angel: That's exactly right.
[00:07:46] Laurin: Okay. It's the same
[00:07:47] Angel: Thank you for that clarification.
[00:07:49] Laurin: Well, I just, I just didn't know how you did yours. So I don't use it a lot, but I was in my very first healing class. I was taught how to do that, and it's very helpful. at times.
And it's similar how you can train a pendulum, you know, so Yeah. it's
[00:08:01] Angel: Yeah. And it's the same with that. Right. And then there's nothing mystical or magical or, evil about that. It's just the subconscious, you know, by your right. It's you, the person, as in question creates that connection and the answers of knowing how. Interpret.
[00:08:21] Laurin: Yeah, it's actually a really useful tool that I forget to teach my clients a lot of times, because you can begin to tune into your body and get feedback from it without having to, hear it or get words from it or visions or whatever other people may get. So even those who don't feel like they have any of those kinds of gifts.
You can get really strong information from your body. yeah, it's a, it's a really useful tool. I, I encourage anybody listening who hasn't tried it out. I'm sure there's some videos and things on YouTube where people will teach you how to do it, but it's, it's a super useful tool.
[00:08:56] Angel: That's easy and anybody can do it, you know, essentially that's biofeedback, right. Your body as intelligence. and there's another approach where you don't have to do the muscle testing, but if you just stand. And ask a question, and these questions have to be yes or no. And when your body leans forward, that indicates a yes.
And it kind of moves backwards, like
[00:09:20] Laurin: Yeah.
[00:09:20] Angel: Can just kind of, and it might be subtle and maybe it just takes time because you're tuning in. Right. You have to quiet, you can't think. Cause if we think more, of course then we're kind of influencing. It's just allowing. You know this experience to happen.
And it's fascinating because like I said, there is that any intelligence in your body
[00:09:39] Laurin: Yeah. Yeah. It
[00:09:41] Angel: That our ego likes to try to get in there and say, no, no, no.
[00:09:45] Laurin: That's not the truth. No, no, no. Yeah. Our bodies are wise. If we learn how to hear them or receive information from them we don't often, I don't think as a culture that we do that very often. So do you mind me asking what kind of impairment you found in your own brain?
[00:10:02] Angel: Yeah, my prefrontal cortex is weak which means, so that is the boss of the brain basically. And. I think anybody that struggles with ADHD type symptoms, addictive behaviors compulsive, if you will, you know, those types of those things anxiety, a lot of that is related because without the boss of the brain online or fully active, The let me actually use, I think I used this last time this analogy, so the brain think of the prefrontal cortex as a writer and the middle part of the brain, the limbic system the emotional center, if you will, as an elephant.
if these elephant and the writer, right, and when they're inside, I think things are going smoothly, but if the elephant wants to go one way and the writer doesn't, who's going to win basically. Right? So the elephant, right? Like the elephant will always overpower the writer if you will, if they're in disconnection. So we have to strengthen the writer to be able to control the elephant.
[00:11:16] Laurin: Yeah.
[00:11:17] Angel: So basically the elephant, the emotional center of the brain was, in control. that also. Unconscious living, if you would like this automatic stuck in survival mode, your memory processing, all of that is affected poor decision-making impulsivity, all of those things because the executive center, which is our prefrontal cortex, making that bus, it helps turn that down and tells it.
It's kind of like the parent and the child part of the brain, like. What do you think is going to happen if you do that? And then they're like, oh, I guess like, no, the parent's not there to say you should think that's true. And so without that, it can cause a lot of habits. And just create a a storm if you will, because then with a negative behavior and then negative emotions.
And then you're, you're thinking also in other parts of the brain, not just the prefrontal cortex, but different areas. If they're just not communicating together and sucks in a sync, what word I want to use?
[00:12:25] Laurin: Synchronized, maybe.
[00:12:27] Angel: Thank you. That's it in a synchronized way, a lot of interruptions happen and hiccups and it can appear as a disorganized brain, right?
Where it's just kind of,
[00:12:38] Laurin: It sounds very,
[00:12:40] Angel: You forget something while you're talking, you don't go into a room and you can be scattered, you know, and that's just what it is. But you learn how to strengthen that and work within those.
[00:12:51] Laurin: So some of what you did to strengthen that and to heal that as in whatever way you can, it was through the nutrition work That you did with the chiropractor. Is that correct.
[00:13:02] Angel: That is correct. That is one element I have. And what I like to help my clients with is through all of it. it was definitely quitting substances. I used to smoke, used to drink Don't do either. I will have an occasional drink, so I will on that. But it's rare. did, what would that improve my sleep habits?
Right? I've started exercising, but a lot of it was definitely nutrition helped, but it was also emotion, coder, energy, releasing like really regulating the nervous system through. lot of these trapped emotions out. Because again, those are beneath our awareness and, and doing all of these things.
And I use essential oils because that can target also some of these emotions. so basically just a little bit of everything. I think all of it is very important and especially Polyvagal exercises, which is a lot of body work too. And breath work because increased oxygen to the brain is also going to help.
That's why exercise and body movement. who is together in a very phase two, of course, that has been an element that helps calm my mind because mindfulness practice is key, but it's quieting our mind. So we can hear from our bodies or from higher consciousness or God and all those types of things.
[00:14:21] Laurin: Yeah, it's interesting because our work overlaps a lot in, in what we're helping the person do, but yours is very focused on the brain. Mine is focused mostly on emotions. It seems through the, we tell ourselves, but it's got the same result. It's like we got to get the stuff out. We can see it and release it and let go and, develop better, more healthy habits and patterns.
So. I love to see how we all come at things from different directions, but it's all basically the same ideas. How do we help you get rid of the crap that's inside and find some new, joyful, you know, better ways to live healthier, happier. So it's, I just, I'm always fascinated to kind of draw these connections between the different modalities of healing. And even the medical system has their own pieces of this. So when you work with a, a client, what's your first step with them?
[00:15:14] Angel: Great question initially, you know, one is what is bringing them to me. Right. So understanding them and where they are and their goals. So is it relational, are we looking at that? Is it just creating new, healthy habits of wanting to lose weight or struggling with anxiety, so it's just getting clear on what's going on, but most often it is a balance of incorporating these things, but also understanding how you got here 'cause how we formed them. Right. And then understand that. How we can undo it. But I do like going through the energy releasing because sometimes that can just uncover a lot of things and provide the space. A person needs to start shifting. And be able to create these new habits, because it's just fascinating, like the subconscious, it doesn't have to be such a talk therapy. It's just a powerful energy release that allows them. Again, like that opportunity or that space to be like, oh, okay. I feel different.
[00:16:20] Laurin: Yeah. so much of, What I think a lot of healers do is to help release the energy of things so that you can let go of things faster and easier.
[00:16:29] Angel: Yes.
[00:16:30] Laurin: Do you have other tools that you use with your clients? I mean, we talked a little bit about muscle testing which may be more of the diagnostic side of it, but I'm sure that you give them like homework or something along those lines to do. So what sorts of things do you like to use, to help them find their way through this?
[00:16:47] Angel: Well, I do think, you know, each person berries, like, so when people want the accountability, which in coaching, I mean, accountability is a huge piece. So, you know, I will do that. I'll do check-ins and help break them. Well, one, let me just kind of back up. So defining the goal for sure. And then how creating a plan of how to get.
And then checking in, so yeah, sure. There's going to be homework. So it would be, for example, let's start practicing mindfulness, staying in the present moment, just when you notice your mind, time traveling to the future. And we talk about time travel. And, you know, what are you telling yourself? So you're just really creating awareness.
I love to walk them through a guided meditation. And then I also ask them to be practicing that daily. So that is definitely one thing I always use because it is essential. Basically the things we've talked about, checking in, how are you sleeping? Are you drinking water or what are you eating? Are you drinking a lot of caffeine? Do you smoke? Do you use other drugs? whatever it is, it's just looking at, you know, how much sugar are you eating and what are reasonable steps to start choosing something new to create these new habits? Basically wherever they are, whatever the goal is, so slowly, because too much too fast will often overwhelm and then kind of, impact the progress or impair the progress.
So you, you just want to do gradual and check-in and the encouragement piece I do feel like is another one of my strengths, not just intuitive ability to trust the process, like. Working together and just intuitively know what to ask or you know, where to go and help the person kind of tune into that and that encouragement piece and just support and empathy.
And. just knowing that you're not in this by yourself and then me holding my higher frequency and space for that person. And I, I find that that piece is very effective in itself and I'm sure you do too, right. That, that is like, oh, I can experience this because you're okay. and So I'm okay. there's no judgment. It's just a safe, quiet space
[00:19:05] Laurin: Yeah.
[00:19:05] Angel: To feel and to be.
[00:19:08] Laurin: Yeah.
And, I mean, I'm getting very much the sense from you. What I do is I am often just holding the space for whoever I'm working with to be quiet. You know, to allow themselves to recognize that they're feeling something, or they've got some negative script going in the back of their head or that there's a pain somewhere that they just haven't noticed.
Cause we don't get quiet very often in this, in this culture. There's not a lot of quiet to be had. So one of the things I use with my clients with the mindfulness, but also the quiet is to get out in the. Which actually, if you listen to them, they're usually not very quiet, licensed cause there's birds and there's squirrels and all kinds of things.
So that's one thing I, prescribed to my clients a lot is just go for a walk in the woods. And we have, I live in a place where we have woods everywhere around us, so, and beautiful parks that the county runs. So it's easy to do around here, but that's just one of those tools that I love too, because that quiet. And like you said, your frequency is high. So you're holding the quiet, but it's in a very uplifted kind of energy. that, that too is hard to find, especially these days. so I
[00:20:16] Angel: I love that you mentioned nature you're so, right, There's just so many healing properties with getting outside to bring the outside in and inside out, you know, it's that interconnectedness and that's part of the meditation I do too noting that we we're all connected and a lot of us we are sometimes.
It's not feeling connected. And so it is a lots and lots of disconnection because of what you're talking about, that hustle and bustle and in our minds and, critical of ourselves. So for critical of ourselves and others that disconnects us, We're not in that openness space and acceptance space and a loving space. Right. So if we're kind of stuck in the condemnation or, you know, just conduct.
And condemning, you know, on that conveyor belt, where's the connection, right? Or we're not appreciating what is these, all these natural elements, And what we have, you know, it just, we get in those habits of just being elsewhere and noticing what's not right, rather than these simple, beautiful gifts all around us.
[00:21:25] Laurin: I know the pandemic has not been easy for anybody, but one of the things that, one of the great gifts of it for me, Was that I would take a walk almost every day outside. I lucky I don't live in a city. I live in a place where that's very easy to do. And I just started saying, gosh, I'm so grateful. I have this beautiful place to walk.
I'm so grateful that the trees are, you know, the leaves are coming out on the trees. I'm so grateful for this. And I just, I didn't even do it consciously at first, but it became this very strong gratitude practice that I had dabbled in before. But it took getting quiet. Being unbusy to really, like you say, look up and go, wow, there's a lot to be grateful for.
Even in the midst of the craziness we've been living through in these last few years, particularly, but it's I think it's a very healing to be able to get quiet just on its own. It's that whole mindfulness practice idea that just get quiet.
[00:22:24] Angel: Yeah.
[00:22:25] Laurin: And it's not something that we train our kids to do, or that we've been trained to do unless we take up meditation, I think.
[00:22:32] Angel: And there's a reason why it's being taught so much. Right. It's extremely effective, but people give up on it because it feels so uncomfortable and scary. Like, oh, I can't, I can't do that.
[00:22:46] Laurin: I hear a lot of, well, I'm not doing it right.
[00:22:49] Angel: Right or so hung up on right or wrong. Don't make mistakes.
So true. So true. And I was one of like, oh, I did around, so shoot, you know, like, and I love to ask that question too. So what do you do when you make a mistake? You know, how do you experience mistakes? What story gets activated?
[00:23:12] Laurin: Yeah. Yeah. That's a great question. it's actually something I've been talking about with one of my clients is, getting the perspective. And if you can look back and say, okay, I made a mistake. what did I, where did I go awry? What could I have done differently?
How could I do it better next time, maybe even practice that next time in your head or in your journal. And to me, that's a very powerful. Self-reflection okay. I forgive myself. I messed that up. What can I learn from it? How can I do it better next time? Cause you know, these things come back around until you get it right.
[00:23:47] Angel: Oh, yeah. Yes.
[00:23:49] Laurin: Lessons from the universe. Okay. You can get a little better that time. Let's try it one more time.
[00:23:54] Angel: Are you sure?
[00:23:57] Laurin: You don't have to do this again was going, but wait, So, yeah,
[00:24:01] Angel: True.
[00:24:02] Laurin: So that asking yourself that question. Of how, how do I react when I make a mistake is huge. I grew up in a family with an alcoholic and a narcissist making a mistake was not a safe thing to do. So I trained myself to be as perfect as possible.
[00:24:21] Angel: I hear you.
[00:24:22] Laurin: I'll be the good girl. And it's been, it's been a journey in my adulthood to go. Yeah. Okay. I messed that one up. Okay. Moving forward and what can I learn from it? And how do I do better next time? Not how do I do it perfectly, but how do I do better? And for me, the quiet is often necessary.
It's like something happens and I want to go, but, and I can just kind of go, all right. Now can I deal with it calmly? Which is a learned thing too, for me. so I love that question. Well, this has been really lovely. I love talking to you. You're such a wise person. I have some rapid fire questions I want to ask you, and these are just for fun and they're just I ask all my. And just whatever answer comes off, the top of your head is what you need. Don't go searching for the right answer. Okay. No right answer. All right. So who is, or was the wisest person in your life?
[00:25:17] Angel: Miguel.
[00:25:19] Laurin: Okay. And
[00:25:19] Angel: My fiancé.
[00:25:20] Laurin: Okay. And so Miguel, is there a particular nugget of his wisdom that you cling onto, or that helps you, or that you, you come back to again and again?
[00:25:31] Angel: Yes, it is his discernment. I believe, you know, just his peacefulness of being able to observe situations and always provide rational response for a person who also struggles with ADHD Baffles me, like, it's an amazing gift, but he has a very strong faith and I admire that as well. So yeah, he's just wise in that way of just always saying what needs to be said in a loving way, I guess just a beautiful gift. So yes, I appreciate it.
[00:26:07] Laurin: Nice. Okay. What's your favorite or your go-to self-care practice?
[00:26:13] Angel: Probably nature and music, maybe reading. I have, so,
[00:26:17] Laurin: I know for me, it depends on the day. It's like, okay, today I need this today. I need that. But Yeah. nature.
[00:26:25] Angel: With the animals. I mean, it really just doesn't take much, I can tune in, but that's been
practiced, but. Yeah, all of that and exercise, I do enjoy it to release