The Natural Evolution Podcast

Season 1

Episode 4

S1E4 – Forgiving Yourself with Dr. Keesha Ewers

In this episode we’re visiting with Dr. Keesha Ewers, who struggled with rheumatoid arthritis as an embodiment of repressed sexual abuse. In her study of Ayurvedic medicine, she has found that most people with autoimmune disease have the 4 Ps present:

  1. Holding on to poison from past pain
  2. People pleasing
  3. Perfectionism 
  4. Pitta of the Ayurvedic dosha spectrum

What can happen with undigested trauma, even seemingly insignificant events get meanings and actions attached to them.  Those subconscious beliefs usually can’t be fixed by yourself.  The mind that created the belief can’t fix it.  As Dr. Keesha says, sometimes you need to borrow a brain that is trained to see patterns, such as a therapist, to resolve the issues.

Later, Dr. Keesha was diagnosed with breast cancer and she was immediately able to see that the tumor came from her self-hatred over something that had happened to her children.  She had done the work to help them heal and forgive, but hadn’t forgiven herself.  

Dr. Keesha Ewers is an integrative medicine expert, Doctor of Sexology, Family Practice ARNP, Psychotherapist, herbalist, is board certified in functional medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, and is the founder and medical director of the Academy for Integrative Medicine Health Coach Certification Program.

Dr. Keesha has been in the medical field for over 30 years. After conducting the HURT Study in 2013 (Healing Un-Resolved Trauma), she developed the HURT Model for understanding how past childhood trauma impacts adult health. This led to the creation of the You Unbroken online program for patients to heal their own trauma and the Mystic Medicine deep immersion healing retreats she leads at her home on San Juan Island, WA.

Dr. Keesha is a popular speaker, including at Harvard and from the TEDx stage, and the best-selling author of Solving the Autoimmune Puzzle: The Woman’s Guide to Reclaiming Emotional Freedom and Vibrant Health, The Quick and Easy Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook: Anti-Inflammatory Recipes with 7 Ingredients or Less for Busy People, and Your Libido Story: A workbook for women who want to find, fix, and free their sexual desire. You can listen to her Mystic Medicine Radio Show and find her programs atDrKeesha.com.

https://www.facebook.com/drkeeshaewers

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A Podcast Launch Bestie production

Listen to Episode #4

About our Guest

Dr. Keesha Ewers is an integrative medicine expert, Doctor of Sexology, Family Practice ARNP, Psychotherapist, herbalist, is board certified in functional medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, and is the founder and medical director of the Academy for Integrative Medicine Health Coach Certification Program.

Dr. Keesha has been in the medical field for over 30 years. After conducting the HURT Study in 2013 (Healing Un-Resolved Trauma), she developed the HURT Model for understanding how past childhood trauma impacts adult health.

This led to the creation of the You Unbroken online program for patients to heal their own trauma and the Mystic Medicine deep immersion healing retreats she leads at her home on San Juan Island, WA.

Dr. Keesha is a popular speaker, including at Harvard and from the TEDx stage, and the best-selling author of Solving the Autoimmune Puzzle: The Woman’s Guide to Reclaiming Emotional Freedom and Vibrant Health, The Quick and Easy Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook: Anti-Inflammatory Recipes with 7 Ingredients or Less for Busy People, and Your Libido Story: A workbook for women who want to find, fix, and free their sexual desire. You can listen to her Mystic Medicine Radio Show and find her programs at www.DrKeesha.com

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S01E04 Forgiving Yourself with Dr. Keesha Ewers

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Podcast Transcript

Hello, and welcome to The Natural Evolution, produced by Rebel Health Tribe, a radio show focused on providing you with inspiration, education, and tools for true healing and transformation. I’m Michael, and I’ll be your guide on this adventure as together, we explore the very nature of the healing journey. And here we are, live with another episode with Dr. Keesha Ewers. Dr. Keesha, thank you so much for being here.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

It’s my delight to be here with you.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, this is one that I’ve really been looking forward to. Keesha is one of my best friends in the health world and I always get really excited when we get to connect. So a lot of you from our audience will know her, she’s been involved with several of our masterclass and other offerings. For those who don’t, Dr. Keesha is, as I said before we went on air, the most voracious consumer of education that I know, and I know a lot of people that do a lot of education so that’s pretty bold and saying something. I’ll run through a little bio here so you can get to know her and then we’re going to jump right into talking about her story.

Michael Roesslein:

So Dr. Keesha is an integrative medicine expert, doctor of sexology, family practice, ARNP, which is nurse practitioner, psychotherapist, herbalist, is board certified in functional medicine and Ayurvedic medicine and is the founder and medical director of the Academy for Integrative Medicine Health Coach Certification Program.

Michael Roesslein:

She’s been in the medical field for over 30 years and after conducting the HURT Study in 2013, which is healing unresolved trauma, she developed the HURT model for understanding how past childhood trauma impacts adult health. This led to the creation of the You Unbroken online program for patients to heal their own trauma, and the Mystic Medicine Deep Immersion Healing Retreats she leads at her home on San Juan Island in Washington, which is gorgeous there if you’ve never been to the area.

Michael Roesslein:

Dr. Keesha is a popular speaker, including at Harvard and from the TEDx stage, and the best-selling author of Solving The Autoimmune Puzzle, The Women’s Guide to Reclaiming Emotional Freedom and Vibrant Health, The Quick And Easy Auto Immune Paleo Cookbook, and Your Libido Story, A Workbook For Women Who Want to Find, Fix and Free Their Sexual Desire. You can listen to her Mystic Medicine radio show and her programs at drkeesha.com. We’ll have all kinds of links and things to social media and websites down below and in the show notes so you’ll be able to find everything there.

Michael Roesslein:

So I hope I didn’t miss anything. I’m sure I did, I’m sure there’s things not included in there, but that sums it up. Oh, and she’s also in a master’s program right now in Buddhist studies as a part-time hobby, so that’s got to be the most strangely perfect combination of educational things that I’ve seen in one list.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

A certified conscious death doula too.

Michael Roesslein:

Oh yeah. That actually came up in another conversation I was having with someone for the podcast who lives in Perth, Western Australia, and there’s an organization there of death doulas that they call death walkers. And he was telling me about it and I said, “I know one of those.” And so I was going to introduce the two of you, so we’ll do that another time. For those listening, that’s Eddie’s episode, Eddie Enever in this season, check it out. He’s in Perth, Western Australia, has three times survived cancer.

Michael Roesslein:

So let’s get into it. I’d like to know, you started as a nurse so can you just give a brief, how those things all fit together or the order in which they happened? And so we’ll cover that and then we’ll talk about your own health crisis and, and healing and what you’ve observed of the healing journey.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Well, actually, when we were still off-air and you said, “Keesha, who has to know everything,” right? And it’s really interesting because I always used to say if someone came to my office and stumped the chump, then the chump would go back and figure it out, learn, right?

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

So when I was 19, I was an associate degree RN, registered nurse, and did 10 years of intensive care unit and balloon pump and… All the ICU stuff, right? Love the ER, ICU. And I was a real high adrenaline junkie kind of person. Had four kids, was raising them, and then at 30, I got sick with rheumatoid arthritis. And my model of medicine didn’t have anything for that. It was like methotrexate, right?

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. It’s, here’s some drugs to hopefully slow the progression of this disease.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

And when you get worse, come back. And so that statement, when you get worse, come back, that was one of those moments of, there must be something else to know that I don’t know right now. And so it’s sort of like the call of life to know more than what you have right here, Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, find a mentor. And so for me, I went into [Ped med 00:04:54] and I found yoga, the research articles for yoga and autoimmune disease and wound up diving into yoga and becoming a yoga teacher and Ayurvedic medicine, and Ayurvedic medicine said, oh, by the way, auto-immune disease is undigested anger. So sitting back and going, wait, you have to digest your feelings and your emotions and your experiences? That’s not a terminology that we have in our culture, that you actually digest these things.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

And so that was that moment of, okay, there’s more here. Wait, wait, there’s more. Digesting feelings, emotions, memories, and oh, and if I don’t, this is what happens. I get sick, my body gets sick. So it was the first time that this idea of the mind/body separation that we put forth in our culture stopped and it collapsed on each other. So that’s how Ayurveda came into the lexicon and I started really practicing that. And then functional medicine, learned about functional medicine. But I had decided when I was able to reverse my rheumatoid arthritis that I needed to go back to school and help other people do that too, and I didn’t have a licensure for that. So that’s when I went back and got my nurse practitioner license. It was like, I would really like to be able to do this with people.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

So I’d done a lot of hospice and that kind of stuff along the way, ICU, death and dying, so I was always very interested in this peaceful life, peaceful death, conscious life, conscious death that was being introduced to me by people that were dying well as opposed to the ones dying in a great deal of pain. So they were all teaching me like, oh my gosh, you know? And so then-

Michael Roesslein:

Anyone I know who’s worked hospice has told me how rewarding of an experience it’s been. Mirra, my wife, worked hospice nurse for a while too when she first got out of school.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yeah. And it’s like it’s the conversations that you have with people no longer are masked, there’s nothing that… It’s just all removed, it’s so beautiful. And so that taught me another thing, like, oh, there’s these masks we wear. And so we’re working in the world of psychology but I don’t know that, [inaudible 00:07:12] is this medical area I don’t know-

Michael Roesslein:

You just know you’re having interesting conversations with patients.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And then functional medicine came on the scene for me and I was like, oh, this is Ayurveda in English, right?

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, pretty much.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Kind of. I mean, not really, but it is kind of, and I thought, gosh, this might be more accessible, because I would have patients come to me every once in a while, and like an image that’s behind me, a Saraswati would be very scary to a Christian who would think that this was me trying to enforce some kind of religious construct on them, and not understanding these archetypes and symbolisms. I thought, oh, functional medicine will be a-

Michael Roesslein:

Trade that for a white coat.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yeah, right?

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

So-

Michael Roesslein:

We like the white coats here.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

We do, like they have authority.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

So I let go of my white coat and the symbolism, learned functional medicine and then started into private practice. I probably hadn’t been in private practice more than three months I think and someone came in with gastroesophageal reflux disease. Now, Ayurveda and functional medicine and Western medicine, they are going to have a different take on that. But in my nursing training, it would be, here’s some Prilosec. My other parts were like, oh, what are you anxious about? And I started realizing, I can’t separate those two things out. I’ve got to go back to school and learn therapy styles and techniques and learn how to be a psychotherapist.

Michael Roesslein:

To handle the what you’re anxious about part.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yeah, give tools. And so then the next 20 years of training was all that stuff, energy and therapy, and then doing my own work along the way because for heaven sakes, the reason that I had RA was because of my own unresolved trauma. So I wound up getting a PhD because I wanted to find out, gosh, all these women that are coming to see me for low libido, when I ask them very simple questions like I know you want bio-identical hormones. I’m happy to give them to you but do you like your partner? You know? Tears. So I looked in the medical literature and there’s nothing to reflect what I’m seeing, these stories of trauma affecting everything. And people still at that higher level wanting hormones, wanting something to fix it right away. But when I’m asking these questions like, well, when’s the last time you had a libido level you were happy with? Tears.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

And so, “I don’t feel seen, I don’t feel connected to. I’ve never had a libido level.” Well, you know what? Estrogen, testosterone and progesterone aren’t going to fix that, right? That’s not what this is about, this is about something deeper. So I did a study called the healing unresolved trauma study because I started seeing that unresolved trauma was such a huge piece of all of it, and it was for me too. Rheumatoid arthritis pops up. Hello, you haven’t dealt with the sexual abuse from your ten-year old version of you. Yeah, you haven’t. This is it, right here. The anger that you’re supposed to be digesting that you haven’t even felt, that you don’t give yourself permission to feel, that you haven’t even realized you have to feel, that’s now turned on you. Okay, let’s go, let’s do this.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

So to me, instead of having to know everything, it’s like doors dropped down in front of me and if they’re closed, then there’s the light gleaming and you can see, oh, if you go through that door, things will be eliminated. You’re going to get this thing that’s lurking over here in the shadow out into the light. And then so each door, I’m always really excited to open up and go through. So yeah, this Masters of Divinity program in Tibet and Buddhist studies, I started looking around and I thought, Western psychology I’d studied a great deal and the people that seem to have the most awareness, awake awareness of the mind and are able to observe it with a really great methodical structure to it that stabilizes it, not have it just be glimpses and flashes, the Tibetan Buddhists.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

And so this door drops down in front of me with light around it and it’s like, yeah, let’s learn what the geshes… They spend 20 years studying the mind. That’s all they’re doing is studying the mind. Let’s learn how they do it. What’s their structure? Because I get these flashes and visions and sprinklings and glimpses, but it’s not stabilized for continuity. Let’s go learn that. That would be neat, if it could just be stable all the time, right? Yeah, so that’s-

Michael Roesslein:

So how long have you been in that program for?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

I’m in my second semester.

Michael Roesslein:

For years?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Eight semesters.

Michael Roesslein:

Oh, that’s an extensive master’s program.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

It’s an extensive learning. There’s a lot, yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, cool. It sounds fun. I’m definitely interested so I’ll keep tabs as you go along the way. And then we’re also together going through a program at Luminous Awareness Institute, which I never really know how to describe to anybody, but that’s a two year training that encompasses the basic entry point level information around some Tibetan Buddhist practices and meditations, but also psychology and neuroscience and energy and-

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Attachment theory.

Michael Roesslein:

Attachment work and trauma information, and I still haven’t mastered the two sentence elevator-

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

You just did it to follow that.

Michael Roesslein:

Does that kind of work?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

Okay. I sometimes say wizard school, but then people think I’m pretentious. So we’ve been in that together for almost, I mean we’re a year and a half now all the way through that, and yeah, that all makes sense. I kind of have followed a similar, not similar exact the same types of education, but for me, it’s the same kind of thing. I learn this because of that and then this happens so I learned that. So then this happened so I go there, and then I’ve gone from fitness to nutrition to functional medicine to deeper work because my life has required it.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Right.

Michael Roesslein:

Like from superficial to deeper level healing and understanding, to where you can’t exercise people out of trauma and emotional pain that’s causing their physical disease. So I gradually, begrudgingly usually, have to drag myself kicking and screaming further down that rabbit hole until I get to the next place, then I’m like, oh, this is nice. I shouldn’t have been scared of this. But I can relate to the never-ending doors that seem to need to be opened to…

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Until you die. I mean, honestly-

Michael Roesslein:

What else should we do?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yeah. It’s like I think this is what, I don’t know, maybe… In Tibetan Buddhism, they talk about seeds of karma that have been planted, maybe even in other lifetimes. And that they’re popping as you go and you just never know what just happened, if that’s something that has been set up for your whole life. It’s kind of how I feel right now learning this lore of, wow, these guys, I was right, they do have this down. And it’s just amazingly detailed and complicated, you know?

Michael Roesslein:

Amazing what you can figure out when you don’t do anything else for 60 years of a lifetime-

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Study the mind.

Michael Roesslein:

Other than sit and study your own mind and the mind itself.

Michael Roesslein:

Hey, if you’re enjoying the show, make sure you head over to rebelhealthtribe.com/kit, that’s K-I-T, and grab the RHT starter kit, which includes a sampler of four free videos from our professional masterclasses and webinars, the RHD Healthy Sleep Guide, the Wellness Vault Coupon Book, which will save you money on all of our favorite health-related tools and resources, a professional product guide and a coupon for 15% off your first order in our shop. That’s rebelhealthtribe.com/kit, K-I-T, and you’ll get all that delivered right away.

Michael Roesslein:

Also, if you’re on Facebook, we’ve got a fun, engaging and supportive group over there as well with thousands of health seekers just like yourself. Just search for rebel health tribe and you’ll find us. Thanks for listening, and now back to the show.

Michael Roesslein:

What I’ve learned now, I have a very rudimentary understanding of modern psychology, slightly older psychology, cutting edge, the whole range of psychology, but then also some Buddhist philosophy and study and some Taoists. And I always laugh, it’s the same thing in medicine too. When conventional medicine, quote, figures something out and there’s this big announcement, and the functional medicine people have been talking about it for 20 years, it’s like that on steroids. Modern psychology is like, did you know that this, this and this? And then there’s Buddhists like, man, we wrote that 2200 years ago. And then it’s probably funny for like, look at the Westerners catching up. Oh, they just discovered this thing, oh wow. And we probably have it wrong anyway, but it’s fun to watch the crossover and what a lot of people don’t realize is most modern mindfulness practices that are really popular in the West now like styles of meditation or a lot of psychology modalities, like therapy modalities, a lot of these things actually have roots in Buddhism and Taoism and those lines of thinking.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

It’s a really interesting thing that happens though, and I heard a practitioner call it one time. He is a Sanskrit scholar and a non-dual tantric Shaivism, his name is Christopher Wallace and he talks about these things called near enemies to truth. And it is fascinating now that I’m deeply into the Abhidharma and how the mind actually does its things. And there’s so many, like they talk about six minds, not one mind, and like 51 minds on top of this other kind of mind. It’s so big, the map, it’s so big.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

And there’s this thing where take something, and I know they did this with medications too. What’s the active ingredient in an herb? And then extract that, so they take away the synergistic stuff that goes with the herb and then synthesize that. And then we find out that, oh, that doesn’t actually work like that in the body the way we want it to. That’s kind of what we do. We extract what we think is going to help us the best, but we’re not changing the value system in which we’re rooted. And so it’s real interesting because mindfulness practices actually don’t resemble too much of what they originally were teaching, and it’s the same with yoga, yoga now.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, yoga here in Berkeley is not yoga in India, or even yoga in India now is probably not yoga in India-

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Well, and there’s so many different lineages and ways, but the spiritual aspect of it that we would label spiritual is actually just the land, the air, the water that’s breathed and inhaled and lived in, and the morphogenetic field that this is born from an into actually has a different…

PART 1 OF 4 ENDS [00:19:04]

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

This is born from and into, actually has a different emphasis. It’s not about material wealth. So if I’m using mindfulness so that I can reduce my anxiety because my job is making me crazy, but I have my job because… You know what I mean? So you just… That’s not really Buddhist practices. So it’s really quite fascinating as I’m diving into this of just going, “Oh wow.” We don’t even realize the morphogenetic information we’re passing in the field with each other, as we are exposed to these different things, how we change them. So anyway, it’s just quite fascinating to me.

Michael Roesslein:

Well, let’s do another entire podcast on that and then… Because I’d love to. And we’re going to have different seasons on here. So there’s going to be different areas of focus where this one is all about the healing journey and stories of that nature. So let’s have another conversation about that because I would love to talk for an hour purely about that. Today, I’d like to chat. You mentioned in your educational journey, there’s a blip of rheumatoid arthritis in there.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yeah. There’s a big blip.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

More than a blip.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. And as a lot of our audience knows, my wife has… I don’t want to… Never been formally diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis because her rheumatoid factor is always negative, but she’s had three rather significant autoimmune flares in the last three and a half, four years that involve excruciating full body joint pain and has been diagnosed with, I believe they called it remittent something, something rheumatism. Basically, “Your joints hurt and we don’t know why. Here, take these drugs.” And lupus and she has Raynaud’s now, that developed after the last flare. That stuck around. But everything else, we’ve got under control. No pain for seven months, everything’s going pretty well, but the Raynaud’s has stuck around. So she has to wear gloves when we walk the dog in the morning and anytime there’s any chill weather, but I now know what it’s like firsthand to be around rheumatoid arthritis and pretty severe joint pain in an individual.

Michael Roesslein:

And it’s nasty stuff and as the partner, it’s terrifying and hopeless. You can’t do anything. I can’t help. I can’t make it go away. I can’t solve it. And she has gone down… I’m not going to talk about personal details about her, but her own work that she’s been doing has gone from this level of depth to this level of depth with the next flare, to this level of depth with the next flare and it’s kind of, “Okay, okay. I hear you. Okay.” It’s forced both of us down a journey that neither of us probably would’ve chosen without the pain behind it. And for that, I’m grateful, but I don’t want to minimize when I say a blip of rheumatoid arthritis. That’s a scary diagnosis and for most people, they’re led to believe that, “This is just how my life is going to be, right?”

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

I had it.

Michael Roesslein:

When did the symptoms come? Oh, your grandfather had it?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

My grandfather had it. So then when I was asked if I had a family history, then it’s like, “Okay, this is genetic. Here’s your prescription.” Right? “And well, hang on just a second. Is there anything else? No?”

Michael Roesslein:

Did you just start having pain?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

You were working as a nurse and then you just started having pain.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

So I was actually… I ran a lot of marathons in those days and I was training for a marathon and it was just this quickly and this is how a lot of people will describe it too. Now, I work with mainly people with auto immunity at this point and they’ll say, “All of sudden, I’m sick.” That’s how I experienced it too, where I’m training for a marathon and the next day we’re supposed to go to Disney World, and the whole family suitcases are packed, everything’s on go in the hallway waiting, and then that morning when I woke up, I was flattened and it was just overnight. Literally overnight. I had had plantar fasciitis and knee pains and things like that, that I could take some Advil and move on through, which I did.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Of course. And this, when I woke up, everything was just… I had gained 10 pounds of puff all over my joints and they were… I had red inflame. My hands were narrowed. I mean, it was overnight. And it was also a sensation of having myself unplugged from power. I was used to feeling very, very vital and hopping out of bed in the morning, going for a long run, getting back and getting the kids ready, just really, I was a type A… My friends called me an Energizer Bunny. And it was like someone had taken the batteries out. My experience was flattened, exhausted, deflated, excruciating pain when I woke up. And I thought, “What is going on?” So obviously, we didn’t go on our trip. I got in to see a doctor and then I was diagnosed after some blood draws and the history of my grandfather having this and he was wheelchair bound for some years in his life with it.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

So I was on my way home from that appointment, just instantly saying my model of medicine doesn’t have an answer for me. And I always think about this. You hear people say this, “You have to find a why,” mine was my kids. I was such a dynamic mother. And the person behind the wheel when I was contemplating on this was not going to be that. So my experience was of despair, hopelessness, powerlessness, and also, I have to figure this out. My kids, they’re not going to get this. They’re not going to understand when I go from this to this.

Michael Roesslein:

How old was your youngest at the time?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

My youngest was a baby.

Michael Roesslein:

Oh, wow. Okay.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yeah. She was one. Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

And you can’t explain that to a child?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

No, no.

Michael Roesslein:

No. And they’ll pick up on it too. Now that I know what I know, that will be picked up on.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yeah. And I was a perfectionist. I was a people pleaser. I could put my kids there and go, “Oh, I’m not going to be able to be a perfect mom. I’m not going to be able to please them.” And that got me through the door into the next region where I had to heal that stuff too.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. Isn’t the type A people pleaser the autoimmune personality type?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Oh, yeah. I say it’s four Ps. [inaudible 00:25:47] in the [inaudible 00:25:48] spectrum, holding onto poison from past pain, people pleasing, and perfectionism. Those four Ps are usually present with auto immunity. Women have 80% of the autoimmune diseases out there. So for me, it was like, “Okay, that got me into… Let’s seek a door to go through,” was that part and that was the perfectionism that drove me to that. So I hid the experience from my family as much as I could because of my people pleasing, perfectionism.

Michael Roesslein:

You didn’t want them to be worried or scared-

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

I didn’t want them to be worried or scared.

Michael Roesslein:

… or upset or take care of you.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Exactly. And then learned quickly enough, because that would’ve also made me sicker and sicker and sicker and sicker to do that.

Michael Roesslein:

To suppress the…

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

To suppress all of it, to keep my family from it, to not ask for support, to not ask for help. Those things, I would’ve gotten sicker and sicker doing that. But what it did is it just got me into that place where I could start seeking like, “Okay.” So then I found Ayurvedic medicine pretty quickly and the undigested anger part was the doorway like, “Okay, here it is.”

Michael Roesslein:

That’s a primary teaching in Ayurvedic medicine?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Well, it was a primary one for me that stood out.

Michael Roesslein:

That’s the one that said, “Hey ding.”

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Well, that’s just off the page.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. Repressed anger. So that then probably led you on a little investigation of, “Why am I angry? Why am I angry? What anger?”

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Actually what I did further was I looked at the word autoimmune and I thought, “That means I’m killing myself.” Auto means me against me. There’s no winner. So when did I first want to die? And why am I killing myself? Those were really important. And because the anger felt like it was because of something else and I could feel like my body attacking itself that, “Wow, what is this epic battle about? Why am I killing myself? Why am I turning on me and committing suicide?” That’s how I felt about it. I got it really, really clearly. So that’s the question that I ask. “When did I first want to die because I don’t want to right now?” And that is the one that led me to that 10-year old little kid who was being sexually abused by the vice principal of my elementary school. Then I went, “Oh, okay. This has to be connected.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

This has to be connected. Because she wanted to die bad, off this planet, gone. And was learning to talk to angels and was staying in other planes of existence and realms and things like that because of the horror of what was going on.” I knew that she had to get healed. That was the one in there that was just in a rage, a rage that nobody would listen to her and including me and my perfectionistic run marathons, be a perfect mom. That she wasn’t hearing from me either. So I really got it. I was like, “Oh, okay.” Right? So that RA was gone in six months because that work got done right away. I really be understood, “Okay, I’ve abandoned myself, right? It’s the same exact thing. I felt abandoned at the age of 10. I’m abandoning myself right now.” I dropped in and I stopped being outward facing and caring for everybody else. I mean, I still did that, but I let my attention draw in and down and started working really quickly and nurturing and healing and doing that work, that really deep work.

Michael Roesslein:

I have two… Can I ask you a question about that experience?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

Did you tell anyone?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

I did. But I did it in my 10-year old little way. So my dad was in the Navy, and we lived in Japan for a lot of years. I was raised with no television. I read books like Nancy Drew.

Michael Roesslein:

Congratulations.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yeah. Nancy Drew.

Michael Roesslein:

Now you know what a gift that was.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yeah. Lord Of the Rings. Those books don’t contain the word sex, molestation, abuse. I didn’t have those words available to me. So the vice principal was saying it was because I was in an all-black school. I was one of two white girls.

Michael Roesslein:

Where was this?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

It was in Florida.

Michael Roesslein:

Okay.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

In Key West, Florida. And he was saying it was because I was white trash and I was bad. So when I would say something, I would say like, “Mom, I don’t want to go to school.” And she would say, “Why?” Because I’d always loved school. And I would say, “Because…” And I was like… And I remember trying to tell her I’d started my period when I was 14. Same thing, “Mom. I started my period [inaudible 00:31:00].” I didn’t really know how to come out and enunciate what was going on. I don’t think I had the words available to me. So I would cry, I’d have headaches. I didn’t want to go to school. I never said the precise action that was happening. “The people are mean,” right?

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

“The people are mean.” So things like that.

Michael Roesslein:

That’s pretty vague and a parent wouldn’t really know what that means. Yeah.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

It’s so vague. Yeah. And I remember one time getting up the courage on the playground to go up to the playground duty teacher and tell her like, “He’s mean.” [inaudible 00:31:41] back out there and play. It’s like I didn’t have the right words and I couldn’t… And I was so petrified because I believed I was doing something wrong.

Michael Roesslein:

Oh, yeah.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

There must be something that I’m doing wrong here, which is where my perfectionism was born. I have to be perfect to survive here.

Michael Roesslein:

Well, I think it’s very overlooked by adults, how easy it is to psychologically manipulate children. To convince that they’re the victim. I see adults do it to adults, but to do it to a child is too easy. Especially for someone, I’m sure that that was not the first time that that happened with him with a girl.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Right.

Michael Roesslein:

So they can almost sense that too like, “Who’s going to… Who can I get away with this with her? Who doesn’t have the words or who isn’t going to be able to tell?” And what I’ve learned a lot in Gabor’s training is that with the trauma, it’s not necessarily what happened.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yes.

Michael Roesslein:

Although it can be what happened as well. That contributes, but it’s what didn’t happen around validation and support and protection and understanding and caring and all these things and being seen and being saved and protected. And whether a child doesn’t tell anyone or they tell someone and they don’t get believed or they don’t tell them in the correct way and it doesn’t get across or whatever it is, that’s almost uniform, whereas if something traumatic happens to it. Uniform in people who eventually have PTSD and traumatic results and things, whereas if something traumatic happens to a school bus full of kids, some of them end up like that and some of them don’t because the ones who don’t, were right away protected, validated, sheltered, loved, cared for. And I’m not knocking your folks. They had no idea what was going on.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Oh, my dad was hard to see. My mom was shut down in her own way because that… Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

That little girl was totally alone with this thing and nobody knew and…

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Right. And it only happened probably three or four times in the year. Right? But every time the Intercom would go off to say the Pledge Of Allegiance in the morning, I would go straight back into the fight, flight, freeze. Right? I’d freeze in terror because the crackling of the Intercom meant I could get called to the office. Right?

Michael Roesslein:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

I even think about it a little differently than… Gabor Maté is so amazing. And that missing element that didn’t happen in the healing unresolved trauma study that I did, what I found from and put in this model is what happened and doesn’t matter. It does, but it doesn’t matter as much as the meaning you attach to it.

Michael Roesslein:

That you were a white trash and bad.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yeah. And the behavior that gets then tagged to it. Right? That’s why when someone’s an emotional eater, you can’t just say, “Stop eating, love yourself.” You actually have to go back and find the place where food became a refuge. And in that spot, what was the belief system that was created because of the meaning to… And it could have been… This is where people get a little derailed too. It doesn’t need to be sexual abuse. I’ve done therapy on people who their biggest trauma was getting hand-me down clothing. And their perception is they never got anything new, so they were not worthy.

Michael Roesslein:

Or what we’d consider pretty mild emotional neglect or like parents who aren’t fully present, or a parent who’s stressed out all the time.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yeah. But what I just described is not even neglect.

Michael Roesslein:

No, no, no, no.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Right?

Michael Roesslein:

I just mean something you would look at now as a observer and be like, “Oh, that’s fine. That’s every kid’s thing.”

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Right.

Michael Roesslein:

But it doesn’t have to be-

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

It’s the biggest thing to you.

Michael Roesslein:

… big T trauma. It can be…

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Exactly.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

So it doesn’t even matter. So when then you become an adult and you hear horrifying stories, you go, “Oh, thank goodness that never happened to me. I had a great childhood,” but there are so… All of us have trauma in those places where there were moments that we made up meanings, attached behaviors to them to be adaptive strategies that may not be working for us in adulthood. Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. He jokes that if somebody starts out with him by saying, “I had a great childhood or a perfect childhood,” he goes, “I know a lot of places I can ask questions then, because they’re going to probably fit the same pattern that it’s like a red, either, “I don’t remember my childhood,” or, “I had a great childhood or both,” red.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

“I don’t remember,” is amazingly big red flag and, “I had a great one,” is too. It’s like, “oh sweetie. Oh, I’m so glad. And let’s start investigating down this road then.” Right?

Michael Roesslein:

How did you know? So you went into the [inaudible 00:36:36] and you read about the undigested anger and you found out when was the first time you wanted to die and you went back to your 10-year old little girl, how did you know what to do there? Did you work with the therapist or did you study anything?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

I did.

Michael Roesslein:

How did you… You told the therapist like, “Hey, this is my situation and I want to work on this?”

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yep. I said, “Ooh, this is a whole big mess of Pandora box that I just opened and I need to get some help.” And I call it now. When I give lectures and I’ll say, “Sometimes you need to borrow a brain.” And moment was me knowing I have to go borrow a brain. The brain-

Michael Roesslein:

A brain who’s not involved in the process.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

And I have a graphic in my book of a dog chasing its tail and of a brain chasing its spinal cord because I’m like the mind chases its tale, T-A-L-E. So your story, the one that your mind created, then you’re asking it to fix it, doesn’t work. The same mind that creates the belief can’t fix it. So you have to go borrow a brain out here that’s trained to see patterns. Right? And be able to get in there and go, “Oh, so here, how about this?” And invite you to a different way, it’s really important in those times to have that. So, yeah. That’s [crosstalk 00:37:51].

Michael Roesslein:

That’s great that you had that because understanding it, I figured out a lot of my stuff like that, psychoanalyzed myself for years, and I didn’t know that I didn’t know what to do. I thought just figuring-

PART 2 OF 4 ENDS [00:38:04]

Michael Roesslein:

And I didn’t know that I didn’t know what to do. I thought just figuring it all out was the thing.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Right.

Michael Roesslein:

Like, “Oh, I do this thing all the time, and now I understand why I do this, so I can just stop,” except I wouldn’t stop. And then there would be even more shame attached to it, or more guilt attached to it, because I know why it happens, I can see the whole pattern, yet I’m powerless to stop doing it, versus being totally oblivious and unconscious to it. There’s no shame there. It’s like you don’t even realize it’s happening.

Michael Roesslein:

And it’s not until I’ve started studying a lot of this stuff that I realize that getting it, and that first “Aha” that you had where this is the thing, that’s just the first step.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

I have to heal this attachment to this little girl that I don’t have myself, because I had-

Michael Roesslein:

But she’s still there mumbling to someone-

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yeah, she is.

Michael Roesslein:

… And that someone is you-

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yeah, yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

… wanting to be heard, and if they don’t get heard-

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

And if I don’t tune into her, then the adult me is going to be walking around, looking for relationships that are perfectly designed not to be able to connect to her, because that’s what we do, so if you have… Whatever your attachment style is, you’re going to find the people that are going to hit that button for you so that you can learn how to heal the wound, but you don’t realize that’s what’s going on, right?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

And so, that’s exactly what was happening, and at some point in your life, you can get to be old enough where you can look backwards and see the litter behind you and go, “Oh, every time there’s litter, I am there. Every time there’s upset, I’m there. Maybe it’s not so much about these people out here, maybe there’s something here.” And so that’s the first time that I really started going, “So the mind needs to observe the mind.” Oh, and we don’t even have language for that.

Michael Roesslein:

No, there’s concepts now that I’m starting to experience that I don’t know how to verbalize it yet. And a lot of it taught… One of the problems, learning things like Tibetan Buddhism is they teach it from their language, and their culture, and their way of living to people who also are from their culture, their language and their way of living. I don’t know, it might’ve been from you, but I heard a story from someone that the first time the Dalai Lama came to the United States and met a bunch of Americans, he said, “I can’t teach these people because they’re…”

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

It was [Annalisa 00:40:23].

Michael Roesslein:

Was it?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

I heard that story, but Annalisa tells it, yep.

Michael Roesslein:

“They’re too traumatized. They’re too damaged. They’re too… They’re just coming from a place that I don’t even understand where to start.”

Michael Roesslein:

Because I’ve read books. I have a couple of classic Tibetan Buddhist texts over there on the shelf, and I start reading them, and I’m like, “I don’t know what the hell this is talking about,” but if they could just show me what it was talking about, I would get it. So the language barrier is tough. And then, so six months… Were you on meds? Did you start taking medications right away to get that under control? Or did you go through-?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

I didn’t do any medications.

Michael Roesslein:

No? So six months, though, of stress-related focus, probably you stopped running marathons-

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

I did. I couldn’t run them anymore.

Michael Roesslein:

… and working on the little girl and the anger and everything, six months later you were-

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

And realizing that my sugar addiction-

Michael Roesslein:

Wasn’t helping.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

… also had to do with this, because I would get home from school, and my mom would have a freshly baked dessert there, and that was my refuge. So learning that, “Oh, I don’t need that anymore,” and cutting out sugar and gluten and dairy and all these things that I was running marathons to keep my weight under control because I was addicted to those things. I was a complete addict of trying to fill this hole that was perceived, right. And so when I started really making those connections, and they were fast and furious, I was like, “Oh, yeah, yep, yep.” And the thing that you’re talking about when you figure it out, it’s your adult brain doing it, that this one back here, right, that fires the signal in the first place, comes from the reptilian brain-

Michael Roesslein:

Overrides it every time.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Well, and it’s why you can’t just figure it out, right. That deep healing and nourishing has to start coming in. And so as I was doing that, then I was less… This took about five years, for that food peace to finally clear completely.

Michael Roesslein:

The craving and the signal and the want and the initial-?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Where I could say, “Oh, that’s actually rat poison. That’s rat poison for me.” And I could really get that. In my genetics, gluten is rat poison. I’m so intolerant. And I had to go through some, “I feel better, but maybe a little bit will be okay,” and do this… I call it the detox-retox roller coaster.

Michael Roesslein:

Yep. I’m pretty familiar with it.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yeah. So doing that too took a lot longer than six months, but I was able to reverse what was going on systemically as I was doing this work. So…

Michael Roesslein:

And then you had another pretty significant health crisis, didn’t you?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

I did. So 10 years after that, my son came to me, my 18-year-old son, who’s now 30. He said, “Mom, I need to let you know something.” And I said, “This sounds serious.” And he said, “It is.” And we sat down at the dining room table and he said, “I just need to let you know that…” His older brother, Cameron, “Cameron and I…” He said the babysitter’s name, and I’m not going to say, but the kid down the street that I used to leave my kids to play with every once in a while to go to the grocery store, had sexually abused them. And oh my God…

Michael Roesslein:

All of them?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

No, the two and maybe my daughter. She doesn’t have a recollection of it. And what the boys say is that, also, was twice, and it was like… My oldest son has Asperger’s, and he said, “Mom, I don’t want him to come back.” And I said, “Did anything happen?” And I think the intensity of “Did something happen?” put him into an Aspergerian kind of fugue, and he said, “I just don’t want him around.” And I said, “Okay.” And then I went and I called the kid’s mom, who was a good friend of mine, and I said, “I think something happened here,” and “Can I talk to…?” And then she got really angry with me.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

And so I shelved it and just didn’t have him come back. So I watched them, I asked the younger one, who was talking to me at the time, but he was too little too. And so then he said, “Yes, something did happen,” when he was 18. And I just lost it, and I said, “How come you didn’t tell me? How come, when I was asking, you didn’t tell me?” And he just said, “I didn’t know that anything was wrong. I just didn’t feel comfortable.” Which is what is so interesting, right? Because this was a 12 year-old-boy with my younger boys, and it wasn’t adult-child. He wasn’t preying on them.

Michael Roesslein:

No, it’s like, older child-younger child.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

They were playing doctor, kind of stuff. Yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

I have a good friend who was sexually assaulted as a younger child by an older child, and has been through a lot of work on it now.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yeah. So I just said, “Okay.” And I tracked him down, I found him, called him up, and he said, “Oh, I’ve been waiting for this call, Mrs Ewers, for 15 years.” And I just-

Michael Roesslein:

You called the babysitter?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Oh, yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative). I found him. Oh yeah.

Michael Roesslein:

Between those two events, between being told what happened and between talking to him, what was that like for you? What were the emotions there?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Instant rage. Instant rage, grief, shame, despair that I had let my children down. I hadn’t protected them. I went into this instant action. I mean, he talked to me, I had found him within two hours.

Michael Roesslein:

Oh, wow.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Oh yeah, no, I hunted him.

Michael Roesslein:

Oh, so this wasn’t an extensive period of time? Did you talk to him that day? Did you call him that day?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Oh, yes.

Michael Roesslein:

Oh, wow. Okay. So there was no, “Let’s go outside and take 10 breaths.”

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

No.

Michael Roesslein:

There was an, “I’m finding him. I found him. I’m calling him now.”

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yeah. Yeah. And I called his mom, and I left a message on her machine. “Remember that conversation? Something did happen. I need him now. I need to find him.” And she actually, yeah, gave me his number. So it was like, [inaudible 00:46:52].

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

And he said, “I’ve been waiting for this call.” And I said, “I just have a few questions.” I wasn’t in a rage at him. I was very, very… I’m an ICU nurse, so it was calm, and handled it like [inaudible 00:47:08].

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

And so he told me what had happened, what the experience was from his end, why. And I said, “Okay, that makes sense. That happens. I see that. And I’m going to ask you to take some responsibility here and help pay for therapy,” which we did. I even facilitated this full forgiveness process between my kids and him. It was amazing. It was this most amazing whole thing that happened. And then four months later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Michael Roesslein:

You were 30 when you got rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis, right?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yeah. I was in my early 40s. So 40, 42, something in there.

Michael Roesslein:

All right.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

So what had happened is, I had managed to make everything okay out here, make sure the kids were in therapy, they were getting what they needed.

Michael Roesslein:

Okay for them.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

And then I went into a rage about my own experience, about my parents, because what I realized was, “Oh, that’s how it can be. Oh, you can actually say something and have a parent show up.”

Michael Roesslein:

Whose rage was that?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Oh my gosh, my little kid self, right. So what I did was, I wrote a poison letter to my parents, which is never a good idea, everybody never do that, but it was this angry dump, right. And I had a hiking buddy, and she was my best friend, and I told her, I was telling her about it, and she actually called my parents and warned them that this was coming, which was a really good move.

Michael Roesslein:

Preemptive…

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Preemptive… Yeah. She got a little preemptive shielding-

Michael Roesslein:

“Keesha’s about to drop bombs on your house. Heads up.”

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

“Keesha’s sending… Just know she’s going through this thing, and-“

Michael Roesslein:

So you’d already done the work with the little one when you did your rheumatoid arthritis work. So the deal between you and her was on good terms.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Heels. Right.

Michael Roesslein:

And then she saw this happen and-

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

So then she was mad at the adults.

Michael Roesslein:

… was like, “What the hell? Why didn’t this happen for me? Who wasn’t responsible for me?” And…

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Exactly. And in the intervening years. Like, here’s my son at 18 telling me years later, and I went into action. I had told my parents as an adult and gotten nothing, not even an “I’m sorry.” Nothing. And so I was just like [inaudible 00:49:42], which is never a good plan, never a good plan. And so, luckily, because Jan had warned them, they were ready, and my dad said, “I’m flying out there,” because I was… And I said, “No, you don’t need to do that, dad.” And he said, “I’m coming.” And I said, “Well, I’m packing a backpack right now. A 75 pound backpack to go into the back country so I can go out and howl at the moon and rage and hit the ground and cry and sob and be under the stars and get into the earth.” And I said, “That’s what I need right now.” And he said, “I’m coming, then.” I said, “All right, you are going to need to be able to hear everything that comes out of me, because I’m in a rage, in case you didn’t notice.” So he’s like, “I’m coming.”

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

It was the first time, the first time. And I would say that you can still heal without your parents showing up in this way, but it was remarkable. And for the very first time in my entire life, my mother apologized to me for something, too. And it really changed our relationship. It was remarkable. My dad came out. He did. He hiked into the back country with me, and tell us the story later. I mean, he died about a month ago, but he would tell this story, “Yeah, 150 pounds I had on my back,” and we laughed, and we cried, and I was able to do what I said I needed to do.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

So, I got the cancer diagnosis, and when I saw the blood supply to this tumor in the ultrasound, I said, “I know what that’s from.” It was this vibrant, healthy tumor with this blood supply that was feeding it. It was just beautiful. In my left breast, right over my heart. It was so obvious. It was just like, “Here you are.” It was labeled, “Self-loathing,” “Shame.” It was just there, and I could just see it. It was glittering with all of the hate I felt toward myself. Glittering with it. I could see it running through all the vessels that were feeding it. It’s like, “Oh God. Okay, I know what this is from.”

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

And I was able to forgive him, and the kids were on their track, and I had done nothing to forgive myself. My baby on the hip, opening the glass door, the sliding glass door, the kids are jumping on the trampoline with him and me saying, “You know what? Would you like to just stay with them and play while I take her to the grocery store, and then you guys can…?” Witnessing that woman from that perspective, right, and going, “That was just lazy. You didn’t want to grab your kids, take him into the car, go to the store. You saw a way out.”

Michael Roesslein:

So, “I hate that woman.”

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

I hate that woman, right. And so that was the hardest thing in my entire life I’ve ever had to do, was to stop hating that woman, to look at her and go, “Sweetheart, you were operating off of the skill level you had in that moment, and you didn’t know that he was going to do that.” I had to forgive her. And it took a long time.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

And I was with a group at the time. I was doing clinical hypnotherapy. It was in a two-year internship, and it just happened to be right then that I had to take that into… And the partner that was working with me on this, when I came back from my hypnotherapy and I was… I finally, finally forgiven myself. She was crying. She was sobbing.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

And I said, “What’s happening?” And she goes, “The fact that you showed up for your children in this way,” because I was just sobbing. I had these teddy bears, all four of them, these teddy bears, and I was sobbing, “I’m so sorry I didn’t protect you. I’m so sorry I didn’t protect you.” And I was just crying. And she was like, “I had this happen to me, and my parents still haven’t acknowledged it. If you could only see that your kids are so lucky to have you to care for them, and to… The minute you found out, you went into action.” She said, “That doesn’t happen, Keesha.” And so that was like another doorway I was able to go, “Oh, okay.” And it got me closer to forgiving myself. [crosstalk 00:54:23].

Michael Roesslein:

That’s where borrowing the brain is huge too, because we tend to believe the story that’s the worst about ourselves, so you’ll focus on the, “I screwed this up and put my kids with an abuser and this happened to them, and I didn’t know, and I suck-“

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

“Because I was so damn lazy.”

Michael Roesslein:

“… And I’m terrible, and I’m lazy,” and all these things, and you had just done this rather remarkable thing for them from an objective standpoint. I’ve never heard of something like that being handled like that, especially with a forgiveness facilitation and those types of things. That’s incredibly healthy for your sons to go through that process.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Which is what they say today.

Michael Roesslein:

That’s amazing that exists. Yeah. I’m sure they do. But that story doesn’t get through. I’ve had many people try to convince me of many stories about myself that I will fight to the death that there’s no way that that’s true. I’m this shitty thing over here. “I’m not that thing that you say, because I did that one shitty thing that one time, so these six good things don’t matter.”

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

And I’m seeing her tears, I’m lying down and she’s sitting up, and I’m looking up at her tears, and she’s sobbing and saying, “I would give anything to have you as a mother.” And she’s like 60 years old, and she’s like, “I wish I would have had half the mother that you are.” And I was like, “Oh.” And she also made me see, “This thing that you’re doing is actually kind of this self-flagellation for pleasure. Your not letting yourself off the hook is actually bringing you something. What is it? You’re dying right now. Literally dying. You’re killing yourself.”

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

So, “Oh, that’s it. I don’t want to have to face all this shame. I don’t want to have to own the shame. I don’t want to have to live in the shame. I don’t want to have to have the same visible. I’d rather die. Oh.” And so then that actually helped open up, like, “Okay. Yeah.”

Michael Roesslein:

So did you do any kind of treatment for that?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yeah. I mean all the-

Michael Roesslein:

For the cancer?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

No, it went away.

Michael Roesslein:

It just went away?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

It went away.

Michael Roesslein:

You did the emotional work and the-?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

The next time I went back, because I was already eating clean. I was already doing all of these things. And so I knew. And when I tell this story, I’m always very careful, because I don’t want people to think like, “Oh, she’s saying you can just think away cancer.”

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah, or “It’s my fault I have cancer.”

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Or, “It’s my fault I have cancer, or rheumatoid arthritis, or any of those things.” When I tell these stories, I always say, “Listen, this happened to be labeled. I could see it on the ultrasound. It was like, that’s what this is.”

PART 3 OF 4 ENDS [00:57:04]

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

… from the ultrasound, it was like, that’s what this is. We all have our own reasons that our bodies do what they do, have messages that we’re trying to get. I got my message. I had a pathway of understanding that my body will talk to me through RA, so it was pretty fast, like, Oh I see you and that has to go because if I don’t and I always say that resentment is the most toxic chemical on the planet. I had so much resentment towards my younger self, resented her. Nowadays we can talk about, in my family, all of this stuff and even have joy around it. It’s amazing because we can go, Oh, that was the pathway towards this bit of wisdom and my kids can too like, Oh, that’s the pathway towards this bit of wisdom. Thank goodness that happened, but that’s not an overnight thing.

Michael Roesslein:

No. I’ve learned that when I’m in it because I’ve been in it a few times in the last few years. We’ve been through some hellacious stuff that people, well-meaning people and very educated people and very experienced people who really care about me a lot have said, things along the lines of there’s a lesson in this or you’re going to come through this or you’re going to… I wanted every one of them to die. I don’t want to hear it when I’m in it. I don’t even want to hear it for myself and even after it’s been a few times and I knew that, I’ve come through it, I went into it again, I’ve come through it. The third time, I was like, you’re going to come through this and et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. There was even parts of me that were like, shut the hell up me. I want to be out of this right now. I don’t want to be going through this. I don’t want this to happen. I don’t want hard things to have to happen for me. Why can’t I just not say suck, so that I can just get better without some sort of cancer or disease or pain or suffering or depression or whatever it is.

Michael Roesslein:

I just want to get across that it’s not easy to go through these things.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

It’s not a straight line either.

Michael Roesslein:

It’s not clear. It’s not like, oh, this really sucks right now, but I’m going to be awesome soon. There isn’t that 20/20 and when you’re in it, you’re in it.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

It doesn’t become awesome with a lesson at the end, unless you’re willing for that to happen too because you can keep repeating it over and over again, by being unwilling. That’s one thing that I always feel really grateful to all of the stages of myself, that I’ve always been super willing to investigate what’s going on in the mind. I’ve always been before I knew those kinds of things to say.

Michael Roesslein:

And to touch the pain. Those are significant pain. There’s nothing more hardcore than shame.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

To drop into it and go, well, hello there. All right, here I am. What do you need from me right now? I’ve always had that. Always. I feel really grateful about that. I can go to all my little versions of myself and go, you know what, if you’ve got that, then you’ve got this. This is going to be how it’s going to go and this is the life you have and just be willing, always, to say, what do you have here for me? How can I be supportive of you? That’s including, especially, the one that is the one that’s the murderer inside of you. Oh, how can I support you?

Michael Roesslein:

Everybody has one. Don’t act like you don’t.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

I love her. I’m just like, oh, murderous, there you are.

Michael Roesslein:

They’re the one who came out when you heard from your son.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Yeah. She, oh my God. She was a psychopathic killer. To be able to actually see her and see, oh, that’s in you. You didn’t even know that. Hello. To be able to start working with her later, it was just like, okay and love her. All the crazy, all the crazy.

Michael Roesslein:

Thank you for sharing all of that. I know a lot of that is a sensitive subject and I know you’ve talked about it a lot and you’re very open. I’ve learned in talking about really difficult things, that the more I talk about them, the easier it is to talk about them, to the point where people get the misconception that it’s easy or that was easy for me or that there wasn’t a point in my life where I would break down if I started talking about the same thing.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Oh, I broke down when I was telling it, when I’ve got my head and I was talking about the woman that I hated so badly. I weep when I feel the hatred, that I was energetically pouring onto her head. Oh God, so much. I wanted to kill her and I was. I had cancer. I was literally killing her.

Michael Roesslein:

I’m glad you didn’t.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Me too.

Michael Roesslein:

I’m sure she’s glad about that as well. You now work predominantly with women with autoimmune conditions, probably not exclusively women, but since most autoimmune conditions are women, your patient basis probably mostly, women with autoimmune conditions. We’re told most autoimmune conditions, you’re told that this is what you have now and this is going to get progressively worse. There’s some doozies in there that are much more challenging to slow down and reverse, things like MS. Terry [inaudible 01:02:57] we’re going to be discussing in this season as well, her recovery and reversal of MS. There are possibilities there, but some of them are beasts of conditions and some are a little bit easier to deal with, but I think across the board, the official medical diagnosis of any auto-immune condition is that you have this now and then you’re going to forever have this and we can give you drugs that might slow the progression of this or lessen your symptoms or put you in less pain and when they don’t work anymore, come back and we’ll give you something stronger or better or more aggressive and that’s it.

Michael Roesslein:

Then they get this diagnosis and then that’s crushing on a number of levels and that’s it. That’s the route. I’d like to leave the conversation with a little message of what you’ve seen and what you’ve experienced and what you’ve witnessed over the years of working with auto-immune individuals quite a bit and auto-immune with yourself. Somebody who recently started developing some symptoms or has had them a long time and didn’t realize what was going on and finally got a diagnosis or whatever it is and they’re scared and the doctor told them this and they don’t know what to do or where to start. I’m sure you get people in your office that are in that exact position.

Michael Roesslein:

What do you lead with? What’s the first thing you’d like to say to them? I know everybody’s different, but I’m sure there’s a…

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

I have them read my book, Solving The Autoimmune Puzzle because it kind of steps them through very gently into a place of, oh, I see there are so many pieces to this puzzle and I am unique. Not everyone’s the same. What happened with Terry and what happened with me, isn’t going to be the same for everyone else listening. That there are some, I call them the corner pieces of the puzzle, that actually are all needing to be addressed at the same time. Not one at a time, but at the same time. That is genetics. It is your gut health. That is your level of toxic burden and it is your trauma and everyone has it. Those four are interplaying with each other. The past trauma piece and how you’re dealing with your stress today is influencing how your genetics are expressing themselves. I could get RA back within six months, I’m pretty sure, if I were to-

Michael Roesslein:

I’m sure if you tried.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

I could. I have it in my genes.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. If you jumped your stress levels up, started running marathons, eating a bunch of gluten and sugar and maybe-

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Getting really angry.

Michael Roesslein:

A huge Fight with your family.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Exactly. Creating drama or just letting the drama impact me, [inaudible 01:05:38], letting it impact me. All of those things, they all interplay with one another and everyone is always looking for the one thing and it is one thing. It is this feather that finally makes the scale tip, but there was a whole bunch of stuff on that scale already. Really stop trying to find that one thing and really drop in and understand that this entire system here and it can take 10 to 30 years to develop an autoimmune disease. Most of the people that are listening to us are working on one and don’t know it.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. I’ve talked to Dr. Kharrazian in one of his presentations in our masterclass at Cyrex where he’s partnered with the labs. They’ve done long-term reoccurring tests on people and he said in their research, they found antibodies 25 years before anyone developed an autoimmune condition, diagnosable auto-immune condition.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

A diagnosis, right? When people have the [inaudible 01:06:39] piece, they don’t really understand that it’s auto-immune usually or eczema, rosacea. This is actually auto-immune. It’s really saying, oh, my body is trying to give me information. It’s not betraying me. My body’s not betraying me. It’s not shutting down. It’s not trying to kill me. It’s actually trying to give me information. If I turn toward it, instead of being combative with it, turn toward it as a collaborator and say, oh, I put you to bed every night, hopefully for at least eight hours and you never get the rest that I get. Ever. Heart never stops. Lungs never stop. Lymphatic system, liver, it’s all doing its work at night. You never get a rest and you’ve gone along all these years with no gratitude for me. No appreciation. Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Now you’ve had to turn it way up to get my attention and instead of feeling frustrated and angry and how do I get out of pain as quickly as possible, what if I turn toward you and say, oh, what can I do to be supportive? What’s going on? That’s where a bunch of functional medicine testing happens and all this stuff because you’re trying to get the data from your body to find out the answer to that question. How can I be a support to you? You’ve hauled me around all these years, without appreciating.

Michael Roesslein:

I’ve never heard that vantage point before regarding sleep. The body doesn’t sleep.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

It doesn’t.

Michael Roesslein:

Well, it sleeps, but it’s still doing things. Some parts of it are doing more things when you’re asleep. We can get a break, the body keeps going.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

That’s right. One day when I realized that, I thought, oh my God, I’m so sorry I don’t treat you better. It has its own consciousness. When you start really living in that reality instead of my body should and there’s another thing is we have this idea about this optimal performance of the human body, but whoever said it’s supposed to do that? It’s like, we’re so entitled. You have a disease. That’s normal deterioration of a human body. That’s normal. Why do you get so angry at it? Turn toward it, love it, ask it questions, get data from it and really be in a place of, oh, hi. I see that this shame that I’m running from is actually tearing you apart. Okay. I’m so sorry. The resentment that I have about something from however many years ago is actually running in my veins and causing toxicity in me.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. There’s real physiological reactions to that. People don’t realize how much science there actually is too. I’ve taken a dive down a lot of that now too and the neurotransmitters and the hormones and the cytokines and the nervous system and everything, every single thing in your body, every one of those systems, which controls how everything functions and how you feel and how you experience your existence, every single one of those things reacts to your perceptions and your experience and your emotions.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Only your perceptions. That’s the thing. The first thing that I would say is, really examine your expectations of your body. If it’s hurting, why do you have an expectation that it shouldn’t hurt? That’s like having an expectation that your car doesn’t send you a signal when it’s on E or you don’t have your seatbelt on. It’s the same exact thing. We have this amazing organism that we run around in, in our consciousness and if it sends it’s little flashing light that it’s low on something, then we get mad or we take coffee to make sure that it’s not tired in the morning or we drink wine to make sure we can go to sleep at night and relax. Those kinds of things are sugar in the gas tank for some bodies. It’s important to ask your body, like why is the E going off?

Michael Roesslein:

Instead we just turn off the bleeper.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

We put duct tape over it or we get mad.

Michael Roesslein:

There’s a comedian that says, I don’t remember which comedian. I always forget who it was. Sorry, I apologize artist. They said in our culture, the two drugs that are legal, accepted and glorified, there’s really three. Nicotine/tobacco is one, but are alcohol and caffeine and they encourage you to drink caffeine so that you can do the work you don’t want to do and get through the day that you hate and then they give you the alcohol in the nights and the weekends so you can get blacked out, forget about the things that you hate doing and then in the morning you feel crappy, so they give you the caffeine. Without a solid supply of caffeine and alcohol, this entire society would collapse.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

That’s exactly right.

Michael Roesslein:

I don’t think he’s wrong. I think there’s a lot of truth in that and we use those things instead of looking at like, why do I feel like hell or why am I in pain?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Why do you have an expectation that you won’t feel pain? We’re entitled. Why do you have an expectation that your body doesn’t do this thing that it’s doing?

Michael Roesslein:

Any amount of discomfort, it’s like personally offensive to us. Why is nobody carrying me around on a cloud and fanning me and feeding me grapes?

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

That’s like getting into really recognizing and confronting death and deterioration. Change your expectation because that’s going to happen. You will die and this body will deteriorate, if you’re lucky enough to live that long. With that being said, then ask it lots of questions and support it as much as you can and don’t get mad at it. It’s doing a bang up job for you.

Michael Roesslein:

Yeah. Most people don’t even understand 100th of 1% of the things that their body is doing for them at all times. The more I learn in that field, the more I realize I don’t understand. Even our most advanced science doesn’t understand. This is like the most complex organism in the universe and we get to drive around in it, which is pretty sweet.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

It’s an amazing gift and blessing. It’s like, wow. That’s another thing the Tibetian Buddhists say, is that this is a precious human birth. Don’t squander it with resentment and anger. Really have compassion for all of the parts, even the ones that are angry and are murdery.

Michael Roesslein:

Your stabby part.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Your stabby part.

Michael Roesslein:

Cool. Well, I could talk to you for three more hours probably. We’ll have to do more podcasts and more discussions. I want to talk about the Tibetan Buddhism and your work with your parts. I’d love to learn more about the forgiveness facilitation process that you used because I think that that could be such a powerful tool, culturally, that we have right now. There’s so much damage in this culture of generations of oppression and hate and violence. I think a cultural forgiveness exercise would be something that we would be well-served from. I appreciate you making the time to have this conversation. I know how busy you are and I always very much enjoy it when we’re able to connect. I think the audience got a great deal out of hearing your story. I know I did, so thank you so much.

Dr. Keesha Ewers:

Thank you.

Michael Roesslein:

Everybody can see everything below, but your website’s there, your social media, everything else. If you want to find Dr. Keesha or her book or her online programs that are great or inquire about working with her one-on-one, you can find all the links just below on the show notes.

Speaker 1:

This brings us to the end of today’s episode. Head on over to RebelHealthTribe.com/kit to access the RHT Quickstart, which includes four full length presentations from our RHT master classes, two downloadable PDF guides and a 15% off coupon, which you could use in our retail shop. If you’re on Facebook, come and join our Rebel Health Tribe group over there. Finally, if you liked the show, please subscribe, leave a review and share with your friends. Thanks for joining us. We’ll see you again soon.