Eps 383: A Radical Awakening with Dr. Shefali Tsabary

Episode 383

My guest this week is Dr. Shefali Tsabary, and we’re having a special conversation to celebrate Mother’s Day!

Dr. Shefali tells me all about writing her book, “A Radical Awakening: Turn Pain into Power, Embrace Your Truth, Live Free” and how her divorce freed her up for a phenomenal, liberating transformation.  Dr. Shefali shares about how we’re conditioned and indoctrinated from childhood and how women can lead the way away from that.  We dig into owning your part of the dynamic in different relationships and how much work & courage accountability actually takes.  I share a story about my marriage and my expectations, and we compare the difference between letting go and giving up.  Dr. Shefali shares her wisdom on how we can challenge our obedience to culture and belief systems.  

Guest Description

Dr. Shefali Tsabary is an expert in family dynamics and personal development, teaching courses around the globe. She specializes in the integration of Western psychology and Eastern philosophy, bringing together the best of both worlds for her clients.

She is a mom to a young adult daughter, has many New York Times bestsellers including “The Conscious Parent,” “The Awakened Family,” and most recently “The Parenting Map.”

I have asked Dr. Shefali back on the pod to talk about ANOTHER book of hers, “A Radical Awakening: Turn Pain into Power, Embrace Your Truth, Live Free” that came out in 2021. It is a profound invitation to go inward, to dismantle our conditioning and to question our beliefs, and to live inside of the unknown.

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Takeaways from the show



  • Dr. Shefali’s book: “A Radical Awakening: Turn Pain into Power, Embrace Your Truth, Live Free”
  • Pain & grief from divorce 
  • Seeing the life experiences that interrupt your plan as opportunities 
  • Conditioning & indoctrination from childhood 
  • Accountability & owning your part in relationship dynamics 
  • Letting go of expectations for others you’re in relationship with 
  • Giving up versus letting go
  • Obedience to cultural standards 
  • Challenging your belief systems

What does joyful courage mean to you

Joyful courage means to know that the now is exactly what it needs to be, exactly mine, I own it, and it will lead me to the next now, so I don’t have to overthink the next ten “nows”.  This now, if I’m here, if I’m present, it will lead to the next now.  That’s the courage of living in the now and the joy of knowing it will lead me exactly where I need it to lead me. 



Dr. Shefali’s website 

Dr. Shefali’s book: “A Radical Awakening: Turn Pain into Power, Embrace Your Truth, Live Free”

Dr. Shefali’s other books

Dr. Shefali’s courses

Dr. Shefali’s Instagram 

Dr. Shefali’s Facebook 

Dr. Shefali’s TikTok

Dr. Shefali’s YouTube  

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book, shefali, women, culture, living, parents, today, subjugated, lead, letting, part, invitation, blame, dynamic, raise, courses, wait, brainwashed, awakening, messaging
Dr. Shefali, Casey O'Roarty

Casey O'Roarty 00:05
Hey, welcome to the joyful courage podcast a place for inspiration and transformation as we try and keep it together, while parenting our tweens and teens. This is real work people. And when we can focus on our own growth, and nurturing the connection with our kids, we can move through the turbulence in a way that allows for relationships to remain intact. My name is Casey already, I am your fearless host. I'm a positive discipline trainer, space holder coach and the adolescent lead at Sprout double. I am also the mama to a 20 year old daughter and 17 year old son walking right beside you on this path of raising our kids with positive discipline and conscious parenting. This show is meant to be a resource to you and I work really hard to keep it real, transparent and authentic so that you feel seen and supported today as an interviewer and I have no doubt that what you hear will be useful to you. Please don't forget sharing truly is caring. If you love today's show, please pass the link around snap a screenshot posted on your socials or texted to your friends. Together we can make an even bigger impact on families all around the globe. I'm so glad that you're here. Enjoy the show.

Casey O'Roarty 01:26
All right, listeners. I am so excited to welcome my friend and parenting inspiration. Dr. Shefali. Back to the podcast today. We got to be in conversation just a few months ago to promote her new book, The Parenting map and today, we are collaborating to bring a really special interview to all of you in celebration of Mother's Day. Just to remind you Dr. Shefali is an expert in family dynamics and personal development. She teaches courses around the globe. She specializes in the integration of Western psychology and Eastern philosophy, bringing together the best of both of those worlds for her clients. She is a mom to a young adult daughter has many New York Times bestsellers, including the conscious parent, the awakened family, and like I mentioned, the parenting map. I've asked Dr. Shefali back on the pod to talk about another book of hers, dog dark, radical awakening, turning pain into power, embracing your truth living at free. This book came out in 2021. And it is such a profound invitation to go inward, to dismantle our conditioning and to question our beliefs living inside of the unknown. That is life. I'm so excited to dig into this with you. Hi, Dr. Shefali. Welcome back to the podcast.

Dr. Shefali 02:52
Oh, thanks. Thanks. That's my favorite book. So I'm excited to talk.

Casey O'Roarty 02:56
Well, I just have to tell you, I was listening to you read it on Audible. And I had to go through it twice. I listened twice. And then I bought the book so that I could manipulate it and underlying things. And there's so much in it. We couldn't possibly cover all of it on this, you know, brief conversation, but we are going to cover a little bit of it. So it's been a minute since you were out in the world promoting this book, like you said, it's your favorite work. What was the inspiration in the context that came together for you to create this work?

Dr. Shefali 03:30
Well, you know, it was post my own divorce and my own radical awakening that made me aware of how I had been living such a sliver of my potential and how I had been hiding behind the shadows off my own unworthiness and inauthenticity, how I was so afraid of stepping out of confines. And this is Mind you I had already written books. I had already left India, but I was still shrouded in so much. inauthentic fear, shriveling self doubt crippling, that low self worth. And I just had such an epiphany ik outbreak that it resulted in this downloading of inspiration, creativity. I did two courses, right post my divorce, which are factory courses, actually, which were phenomenal courses. I wrote this book. I mean, I just burst forth with so much creativity. And then I've written another book. So and I only got divorced in 2019. So since 2019. I've written two books already and done innumerable courses, you know, expanded my coaching institutes. So what I'm saying I'm not recommending divorce, but I am recommending a radical awakening. Because when you free yourself from the shackles of low self worth of neediness of extreme dependency and a nourishment, with other people's opinions, validation approval and ideas about you, then you just live such a shadow of who you can be. And when you burst forth from that, there's a whole new awakening, a whole new rebirth, and a transformation that occurs that is so phenomenal. And it just sets you free, you become liberated, and all this creativity has come forth. Now, there's also pain. And there's also grief. And you cannot bypass that. I spent two years before my divorce, grieving the end of that fantasy of that long term. Death Do Us Part, total story I had bought into I mean, if you had asked me in 2016, if I knew I would be divorcing in 2019, the answer would have been hell no. So it was, you know, life is like that. So all of this led to this tremendous volcanic eruption within me. And this book is The out burst of that it's raw, it's real. I tell it like it is. It's provocative, it's deep. I think it's highly intelligent and intellectual. I know, I'm freezing my elbow. But I do think that I have given something that's of tremendous value, because I really dug deep, and it came from a very raw, brutal place within me. And that's, you know, that's the best kind of creative work one can give out in the world.

Casey O'Roarty 06:38
Yeah, I mean, you did, you knocked it out of the park, with this one. And what I'm hearing you speak into is the way that these massive life experiences are the places where the fantasy is interrupted, when the worlds like, actually, you have no idea what's going to go down, these can become these opportunities to wake up, right, and to recognize the other places where we're holding an illusion or a fantasy, and getting curious about those places. And, you know, as women, and this book is definitely directed towards women, we have and are so inundated with messaging about how to look and how to behave and what to achieve and what not to achieve, and how we should be moving through the world. Depending on our culture, our family, the neighborhood, we grew up in the part of the country or the world that we live in, talk about how these messages become our beliefs over time. How do they become, you know, what we hold as truths, when in fact, it's just this inundation of messaging?

Dr. Shefali 07:50
Yeah, I mean, we just get brainwashed. And we are conditioned. And we are raised within the confines of the belief systems of those who live with us when we were the most absorbent. So we had no choice. We thought every word out of our parents mouth must have been real. If they told us to hate black people were like, Okay, let's hate black people, there has to be afraid of Jewish people, okay, and so on and so forth. I'm just saying the most stereotype that's rampant hatred, to go around the world, or to be quiet as a woman to be skinny, and to, you know, fit a standard of beauty. We thought that was the Holy Grail. So it's very easy to be brainwashed. That's why brainwashing occurs early. And we try to get our children young, because biblical books and other authorities knew that children are malleable, so you get them young, and you indoctrinate them. And I'm sorry to say, but there's this mass indoctrination occurring right now as we speak, in homes across America and the world where parents are unquestioned. So part of my other work in conscious parenting is against this unquestioned unlicensed unrestricted authority of parents that allow parents to get away with this indoctrination and no one calls them on it. No one calls us parents on our audacity to uncontrollably manipulate, indoctrinate and brainwash our children as we please think about it. So all the isms in the world come from home first, and then they get further sedimented by culture, but I often ask my audiences, you know, who do you think is culture culture is you so we can keep saying culture, we can keep saying politics, we can keep saying the evil man out there. Well, but we are part of that system. And we have to start owning our role in propagating perpetuating these blind and delusional belief systems that are subjugated mostly by You know, women and men of color, women, for sure, and children, right, and now the earth, and now it's animals. So and I'm not saying white men are not subjugated, but mostly I'm talking about who is at the bottom of the totem pole.

Dr. Shefali 10:25
It's a system that just keeps on propagating itself. But we're part of the system. And that's the liberating part of the message is that we as women, especially since we're talking about women now, perpetuate in our own passive ways, our own subjugation, and women don't like to hear that. And I'm not saying we are the perpetuators in terms of leadership, but we are the perpetuators in terms of followership, and ultimately, the oppressed will be the only to rise. Why should the privileged rise, only the oppressed can rise? So the onus comes on the oppressed, and the oppressed, feel upset? And rightly so like, oh, first we are being oppressed. Now we have to rise? Yeah, but we do. And somebody has to take charge. And so this book is an invitation, and a plea, and a wake up call, to take charge for women to step into the authority, the empowerment, the leadership, the governance, and to lead the way, because no one else is going to do it for us.

Casey O'Roarty 11:29
Well, and it's also you really pulled, you know, you pull the curtain back. So it might, as a reader, going into this book, we're only so aware of our blindness, right? And then I'm reading or I'm listening to you in this work and realizing, Oh, damn, I haven't thought about it that way. I'm actually currently in this dynamic. So one of the things I love and then I'll tell the story is the invitation to think about, like you said, how we are in co creation of the dynamic that we're finding ourselves in, on the macro on the micro. And in your book, I love that you write about having the audacity. I love the word audacity having the audacity to own our part of the dynamic. And it's so much more common to hear people in a tough dynamic, blame the other people, right? What it makes it hard for us to own to have the audacity to own our part in a dynamic, what do you think gets in the way?

Dr. Shefali 12:36
Well, many things. One is our conditioning to always place blame on the external, and blame the external, not just for not providing, but also blame them for us even having the desire for them to provide right blame, blame, blame. So basically, just look outward. So that habit then comes into play when something does go wrong. Of course, we're going to blame the children, the status, the politician, the teacher, culture, we want to own our part. And then number two, it's lovely to be a victim because we get attention. So we get in the indirect attention we were seeking, we get a lot of, you know, airtime. So we don't realize it's so toxic, but we want any attention, negative attention, positive anything. So then another reason is because we're lazy, because to do that work, and own accountability is bloody a lot of work. And then we're cowards, because it takes a download of courage to look in the mirror, man, it that is the hardest thing. It's so nice to be to hide, right? Ignorance is bliss. But it's a bit too. So these are the reasons why we blame other people, lots of good reasons to blame other people, it allows us to just keep in the status quo, and allows us to have the, you know, the ignorance that oh, you know, we just have to keep waiting for the other to change. Right? So really gets us off the hook. But we don't see how it enslaves us how it binds us to the other how it makes us wait for them. You know, just the other day a woman asked me Oh, should I just be patient now to my partner decides if they want this relationship or not? And I was like No, I said but you also don't be impatient. You just don't wait for the other person you do what is in your now what about you in your now? You don't wait or not wait, it is nothing your now cannot be contingent on the other person. But we've been so primed for this kind of passive dependency on the other especially as women and we actually think it's been nice. It's actually a virtue, that we don't realize how we've disabled ourselves and crippled ourselves waiting for life on the outside to make a difference for us to make a difference.

Casey O'Roarty 15:00
Yeah, that inner freedom that you write about, it's so real. And so a current challenge that I'm in, and it's so funny, because our couples counselor is like, you know, we show up to couples counseling every time. And I'm always surprised. And I'm thinking, Okay, today's the day, Ben's gonna get to hear what he's doing wrong from somebody else. And every time she leans right into me, and she says, Casey, you have got to let go, like you are taking up all the space with your expectation and your judgment of how he is not enough wrong, not doing the right thing for you. What might happen if you pull back and I had so much resistance stuck? I was like, getting pissed, you know, like, Fuck you, Connie. That is not true, you know. And when I can lean back, and I can recognize, yeah, I'm taking all the space in the room. He doesn't even have room to show up differently. Because of my expectations. And like you just said, How can I be an invitation, hey, this is what's going on for me, here's where I'm going to be, would love to have you join me and letting him off the hook, you know, you get to decide how you're going to show up to this dynamic. Versus I'm going to dictate to you how you show up to this dynamic. And if you don't show up that way, now I'm pissed. And I'm resentful. And that is not the same as inner freedom. So it has been the letting go. And really playing with because I was stuck in this. Letting go is the same as giving up and I'm not there. I'm not giving this up. Right, I'm in it, I want it. And so it was really hard for me to be in letting go without it feeling like

Dr. Shefali 16:46
giving up. Yeah, but giving up is giving up a form based institution or a relationship letting go is formless, letting go is internal giving up as external, you're giving up something, or someone is letting go is an internal act of surrendering, you're attached attachments to how it should be, versus to how it is. That's what letting go is letting go what I think it should be to what it is to surrender to what it is, then I can make choices about the form. First, I need to do the formless. And until we can do the formulas, nothing needs to change on the outside. So not to worry, yeah. You're not letting go on the inside. So you have some work, don't worry.

Casey O'Roarty 17:34
I have lots of work, actually. But yeah, and recognizing to you know, as I listened to you talk about that, you know, and you talk about this in your book, you blow up these institutions that we have now, you know, like the idea, like you said, of death do us part and marriage should look a certain way. And I mean, it's unbelievable that when we start peeling back layers, how much attachment we have to form and how things look. And when it deviates from that the unrest that shows up for us trying to be with as it is, versus this creative vision of what we've been told it should look like. And that space between can be so challenging. And that idea that you talk about of consciousness of just even being able to have a conversation like this, right, and lifting up and out of it and seeing like, Oh, I feel like this because I'm holding my relationship inside of the confines of it's supposed to look a certain way. I can look however it looks,

Dr. Shefali 18:45
right, because we've been so raised to be obedient, and so vile and compliant, that we adhere to these cultural mandates with great civility, and that we don't realize how this rigidity you know, blues us to stagnation. And so when things show up differently, and demand that we be fluid, creative, spontaneous, different, unconventional, it goes against the grain of the good girl. Good girls don't bust the matrix. And that is to our folly. And so that's where we have to own our cocreation

Dr. Shefali 19:32
we can get upset that Oh boys are allowed to do it. Well, no one's stopping us at least today. So we can do it too. And that's where we get to own our cocreation how I subjugating myself. Okay, culture told me I need to fit into a standard of beauty but how I think I need to fit into a certain idea of beauty. Culture is not with me in my mirror in my bathroom, and cultures, not with me when I'm standing on the washing machine. He is not with me when I'm buying and selling high yield cars, he's not with me when I want to go, you know, get a boob job. That's me. I have to own me. And you can own you with compassion. Yeah, I've been screwed by culture. Okay, now I need to put this lipstick on. Okay, but on that you are doing it. And it's not some invisible hand of culture, and so on and so forth. Am I being stalked by anyone right now, in speaking up? Am I being stopped by anyone and asking for a raise? Or what is stopping me? Ah, my civility, my obedience to a standard that I think I should meet. I should look like this. I should not speak up. I should be nice and kind and sweet and polite. I should? Ah, so it's in my head now. Yes, it came from outside. But now it's in me. How he believes in me is the issue. Not that it lives. How it lives in us is the issue. So it is with trauma. Trauma occurs, but how it lives in us is the point. So we have to become aware of how these things have become living breathing dinosaurs living within us, and how we breathe fire into it every single day. And we have to own that, you know, no one is saying to hate my curves. I'm saying no one is saying to hate my wrinkles am saying it now. So in all these ways, you know, no one is saying I need to raise a perfect child and saying it. No one is saying I need to have a career and be sexy and be a perfect mother and sing it. So yeah, culture is the eighth. But how is the eighth living in you is where you become empowered. And then when you can make a choice to say, You know what, it's not going to live like this in me anymore. And when you get to alchemize, and redefine how it lives within you, each one of us can light that flame in our own way. Loud, soft, turn it off, put it on, it's up to us. But see, we don't believe we're empowered. Because we're not even aware that it exists be it lives within us. And see we have the power to change it. We're not even aware. And that's why in this book, radical awakening, I think I've literally cut through almost every belief system we can have, I think you did. Most of them, most of them some I just because it was too provocative, but to help people ask questions, to help us women, be brave enough to lean into uncomfortable topics that we never dare to talk about, even with our girlfriends, and to examine how these concepts live within us. Because ultimately, they're all illusions, and we get to transmute them as we wish. But we don't believe we have that power. Because it comes at a cost. And the cost is high. But the cost is ultimately of disapproval of leaving the fold of ostracization. And if we can be brave enough to just endure the fire of that, you'll actually see that you actually don't need that approval from others you don't need to belong. Because what you're belonging to is an unconscious paradigm that now you're rising away from. So you don't need that anyway. And if you're looking for approval, once you become more liberated, you will get approval from those who are more liberated. There are people out there who will approve of you, but you just can't see them yet. So it's a journey, you have to go through and be brave. And most women who've crossed over some horrific journey will be waiting for you ready to hold your hand.

Casey O'Roarty 23:35
I just wrote down braving the wilderness because this reminds me of Brene Brown's book and how she's like, Yeah, you make these big steps, just like you're saying. And it feels like Oh, god, oh, God, am I going to be alone? And it turns out, no, because all of your people are actually in the wilderness saying like, yeah, come on, come join us. Come join us in your awakened state come see the world as it is. I love that distinction of it, culture, beliefs, living outside of us. And then when we're not paying attention, you know, allowing it to be something that is inside of us. And I know, when we think about mothering On this Mother's Day special that we're providing here, and we think about all the shoulds I should do this, I should be this for my kids and my family and recognizing and pausing and taking that look inside and asking yourself well says who? Says who? And is that really a truth for me? You know, do I really have to make every meal from scratch? No, you don't. Everyone, you don't do it. If you love it, don't do it if you don't love it, right? Plus all the other things that we put on ourselves as mothers to be this quote, perfect mother or perfect wife or partner or perfect daughter, or sister or friend and I just starting to pay attention. That's the invitation that I really want to leave people with. As you listen to Dr. Shefali, discover, explore for you. What are the events that have taken residence inside of you start to pay attention to what those things are and question them. Yes. And read her book, radical awakening to learn how to better let go of those things so that you can be free.

Dr. Shefali 25:24
But if you're a woman listening, and you struggle with low self worth with confusion, with doubts with wanting more for yourself, but you just don't have the know how this book is that journey, I take you on a journey. It's my journey. I reveal things about my past and how I was in such a shithole. And how I rolled out of it. And I also talk about concepts that are so liberating if you are willing to embody them. This is, you know, a book that truly will allow women to step into their power, their sovereignty, their autonomy, their wealth, their inner wealth, their outer wealth. And the only thing that's really stopping us right now, right now, the first thing I'm not saying they're not systemic injustices. But right now, the first thing that's stopping us is our own ignorance. So this book is that light in the dark room that will help you shed light on your shadows on the cobwebs and start unpacking that that has been left behind because your true self is there. Your power is there. It's just been buried. It is Phoenix Rising, but you need to get her out of the ashes, right?

Casey O'Roarty 26:34
Today, what does joyful courage mean to you and this concept, and all that we're talking about with radical awakening? What does it mean to have joyful courage?

Dr. Shefali 26:43
Joyful courage means to know that the now is exactly what it needs to be exactly mine. I own it. And it'll lead me to the next now, so I don't have to overthink. The next step now is this now, if I'm here, if I'm present, it will lead to the next now. So that's the courage and living in the now. And the joy of knowing that it will lead me exactly where I needed to lead me.

Casey O'Roarty 27:10
Where can people find you find this book and follow your work?

Dr. Shefali 27:14
Well, they can go to Dr. For Dr. shefali.com. I have courses and coaching institute if people want to be trained by me, and I have all these amazing books that look at me praising myself.

Casey O'Roarty 27:27
I asked you to it's okay. full permission.

Dr. Shefali 27:30
Anyway, you can find lots of helpful things. How's that? Not amazing? Just help.

Casey O'Roarty 27:36
Yeah, for sure. Super helpful and follow Shefali on all the socials places too. She shows up there and drops really amazing wisdom. I am so glad to get to talk to you. Again. I want to say Happy Mother's Day to you. And thank you so much for all of your work and everything that you put out in the world for all of us.

Dr. Shefali 27:57
Yes, do all mothers out there

Casey O'Roarty 28:05
thank you so much for listening in today. Thank you to my spreadable partners as well as Chris man and the team at pod shaper for all the support with getting the show out there and making it sound good. Check out our offers for parents with kids of all ages and sign up for our newsletter to stay connected at the Sprott audible.com. Tune back in later this week for our Thursday show, and I'll be back with another interview next Monday. Peace

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