Betsy Brandl Rippentrop
I am fascinated with the great potential of human beings, and it’s my life path to help people align with their true nature and get in the flow of their ideal life. My goal is to help people awaken and thrive, rather than merely get by. Yet, there are so many road blocks and for most of us we feel limited, whether by our finances, schedule, family life, health, education, or even simply our own lack of belief in ourselves. We know we could feel better but don’t always know where to begin.
We are swimming in a world of joy and miracles, but most of us our too numbed out, or stressed, or busy, or overwhelmed, or tired to really be fully alive and awake for what is our birthright: JOY.
How did I get to this place? It’s been a lot of decades, mistakes, lessons, and miracles.
I spent the decade of my 20s studying the expansive and miraculous mind. I learned about personality, behavior, unconscious drives, thought patterns, nature vs nurture, consciousness and what helps people to really thrive and be happy. Throughout this process I earned a PhD in counseling psychology, spent my fair share of time as a patient in the therapy chair, and sat with hundreds of my own patients hearing their stories and struggles. I learned that the mind is powerful, and in the words of the Buddha, with our thoughts we make our world.
The next decade of my life focused on the body as I deepened my yoga practice, pursued yoga teacher training, took anatomy classes, learned Reiki, began a regular practice of meditation, opened a yoga studio, wrote a book about the chakras and studied with incredible yoga and meditation teachers including John Friend, Rod Stryker, Angela Farmer, Bo Forbes, Sally Kempton, and Gary Kraftsow. I learned that inhabiting my body and following it’s guidance only deepened my knowledge of self, and made me more grounded and stable.
Then I found myself smack dab in the middle of a busy and full life: 3 young kids, a yoga studio to run and grow, and a full private practice. I was running myself into the ground, and on the path to burnout, and yet still unaware. People would say to me, I have no idea how you are doing all of this. I remember feeling offended by these comments, and convincing myself that I was holding it all together as I dove back into my to-do lists, agenda, and goals. My perfectionism and need to achieve was on OVERDRIVE.
You probably already see where this story is headed. I eventually crashed and burned. My wise body (for which I have deep gratitude) got sick. Repetitive strep throat I couldn’t kick that turned into autoimmune problems, and a deep fatigue and depression that hung over my mind and body for months. Just getting my kids dressed, fed, and off to school was enough to exhaust me for the remainder of the day. Where was the energetic, motivated, upbeat Betsy that I knew and revered?
The next 4 months were my dark night of the soul, or as my girlfriend aptly named it, my Universal Smackdown. My focus became figuring out how I had arrived at this place, and how I needed to change.
I first approached the smackdown from a purely psychological place. Was I stressed, depressed, going though a midlife crisis, burned out, vicariously traumatized by my client work? When this questioning didn’t yield the insights I desired, I approached it from a physiological place by getting blood work, consulting with physicians, settling into restorative yoga, changing my diet (goodbye gluten and dairy), and starting supplements. Somewhere in the midst of this all, I realized I was still vacillating between this is all in my mind or there has to be biological, measurable reasons for this fatigue, instead of honoring that my body and my mind are indeed connected and continuously communicating.
The deep irony in all this, is that my life’s work and focus is the mind-body connection. I teach, write, lecture, and passionately espouse the importance of listening to your body, honoring your inner voice, paying attention! It took this smackdown to show me how ingrained in our culture (and in me!) it is to approach our suffering from a disjointed and narrow perspective. My lesson: If I can disconnect with all my training and understanding of the mind-body, it can happen to anyone.
What I went through re-taught me in a very clear way that we will never fully heal if we only focus on the mind, or if our primary focus is just the body. We MUST bring equal and respectful attention to both body and mind, because they are of course, deeply connected. We must address both our neurotic minds and the myriad of fears, worries, hopes, and dreams that live there, as well as our bodies with all its aches, pains, allergies, symptoms, and fatigue.
My life’s work is to create space, dialogue, and experiences where you feel safe and encouraged to give equal acknowledgment and attention to your body, mind & spirit, and open you to the possibility that there is a larger plan and flow to your life. Your points of pain and suffering are the places you MUST GO, because they are your greatest teachers and hold the key to your growth and transformation.
Follow me and my posts for further reflection, guidance, and insights about the journey towards integration, health, and well being as we learn to thrive and awaken to our full potential.