A conversation with Terri Kozlowski a proud Native American warrior:
Athabascan; Tlinglet Tribe - Raven Clan. Her book, Raven Transcending Fear: a memoir. Terri writes about overcoming abandonment and sexual abuse. How to discover your authentic self. Join us as Terri courageously shares her amazing story.
In this episode with Terri K episode, we talk about:
About the Guest
Terri Kozlowski, author, certified life coach for people who want to master their fears and host of the Soul Solutions podcast!
About the Show
Podcast Host: Life & Leadership: A Conscious Journey with Michelle St Jane
A podcast for Global and Re-Emerging Leadership creating community/tribe, a circle of influence, transcendency of compassionate leadership in the world and wider universe. A unique destination for learning about Leadership + Conscious Stewardship + Legacy.
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Michelle St Jane 00:01
You're listening to Life and Leadership: A Conscious Journey. The podcast that shares wisdom and strength. Join your host, Dr. Michelle St Jane’s weekly conversation on how to have a positive impact for people, planet and the wider world. If you want to live a life with intention, be proactive with your time and bring your vision for the future to life one today at a time, you’re in the right place at the right time. Let's get started.
Michelle St Jane 00:29
Are you ready to take control of your life and develop successful ways to overcome fears and limiting beliefs? Today I have with me Terri Kozlowski of Kozmic Soul Solutions. She's an author and a certified life coach for people who want to master their fears. Terri is the host of Soul Solutions Podcast. Terri’s mission is to inspire others to transcend fear by living a balanced life where you continue to learn, explore and create while being present.
We're going to have a rich conversation addressing what Terri calls your intricate thought patterns, old egoic mindsets and go within to find the answers to create the life you desire. Who better than Terri? She's the author of the 2021 book, Raven Transcending Fear, a memoir about overcoming sexual abuse, abandonment and discover your authentic self. She shares her wisdom, encouraging us to take that most significant step in overcoming your fears and getting out of your own way. Become consciously aware of what you are conditioned to react to.
Terry, welcome. I'm looking forward to reading your book, Raven Transcending Fear. Can you tell us about your book, please?
Terri Kozlowski 01:50
My memoir was not something I was ever going to write. I had been asked for years whether or not I would write my story and it was not just "No," it was a "Hell no, I wasn't going to write it". Then in 2018, I became pregnant with a book. I was one of those people that has to research things. So I researched the process. I took a writer's course, nine months. A book was born. Now it went through some editing and we've done by the end of 2019, beginning of 2020. Then I got a book contract in October, and it comes out in March 2021.
The book was a deep walk for me from a place of childhood trauma, and abandonment into how I overcame. I realized that there was a lot that I was doing and suffering, myself, that it wasn't necessarily anyone's fault anymore. But it was my own thoughts that were causing me suffering.
When you have trauma when you're 11 and yet, you're still suffering at 40. At some point it's no longer what actually happened. It's something that's going on inside your own mind that's continually causing you to suffer and it's understanding that transition, reframing and understanding what it is, and why it is your ego keeps having you suffer through this trauma that happened 30 years prior.
Michelle St Jane 03:17
The book is going to be packed with lots of wisdom. I think the book is much needed because I resonate with your words and what happened decades later.
We have to become response- able, have a response- ability. Our executive brain is online and there are some amazing modalities out there to address this trauma, if you know about them. More importantly, if you're willing to become conscious on your journey.
I think we are quite nicely coming from a place of peace and prayer as well.
I resonated with your April 2020 blog about prayer as a two-way communication with spirit. I love how you put it, it allows for in a powerful, intentional pivot away from fear and towards your heart's desires.
Could you speak about how you came to write that one, Terri?
Terri Kozlowski 04:10
I had always been very spiritual as a child, and when I came off the airplane back to my dad after the trauma occurred, I told him I needed therapy. I'm 11, nobody at the age of 11 understands even what therapy is. But I was aware enough that what had happened to me was a pivotal change in how I was seeing the world. I spent a lot of time in prayer after that.
Basically I argued with God. I was very, very angry with God for a long time as to: “Why me, and then answering that question took another 20 years before I realized the "Why me?"
It was that I had already a contract with my mother before I ever arrived on the planet to have this experience.
Through this experience, I'm supposed to then take it and help others. Although my experience is for me, not as serious as others think it is, because of the way I reacted to it. I, from a very early age, knew that I didn't do anything wrong. That's one of the things that a lot of people who've had childhood trauma don't understand. There's blame and shame. The ego takes that and feeds it over and over and over again to us, where the trauma is relieved over and over and over again.
I, however, was fortunate enough to understand that through my arguments with God, and I am a very opinionated person, and God and I had lots of arguments about why it was I was struggling through some of this, and I did this as a child.
When I'm 12-13-14 years old, and now I'm trying to date which did not work out well for me. When I'm going through all this, there's a part of me that understood that this two way communication with spirit shifted my approach into how I was handling all the emotional aspects of not just going through puberty.
Then all of this angst that I had, all this fear that had been festering inside me, because I'm one of those people that when everything was going on, I completely shut down emotionally, and was dealing with the situation at hand. My sister's 11 months younger than me, she was with me when all this occurred, so I was trying to take care of her.
My mother was an alcoholic and a drug addict. I was trying to take care of her at 11 years old. All of this was angst that I was trying to deal with.
When you shift your approach through prayer, you look at things from a different angle and it's not so much woe is me, as is, okay, how do I overcome?
What is it that I'm supposed to learn?
And you can only do that when you shift your approach from the egoic mind into one of the soulful heart.
So through prayer, it develops your faith, whether your faith is in God or in the Universe, or whatever term you use, it builds your faith in something bigger than you are because something bigger than you are is what helps you through the trauma.
You don't help yourself through it, you need something else to help you walk through it. That allows for the authenticity of who we really are to rise up because that's one of the things trauma does, is it pushes that down. It squashes who we really are.
This forces us to be intentional.
When we pray, we have to be intentional about what it is we're asking for.
What it is, the outcomes that we want to get rid of the anger.
Or we want to get rid of all these negative things. At the same time, you have to be intentional on how that is processed, as well as how it is that you then reframe those aspects of it so that you can deal and you can handle what it is that you're walking through.
One of the big things that happens when you pray is that your ego gets humbled because it's no longer that forefront.
It's no longer saying: “Hey, their shame here. Hey, you shouldn't do that. Hey, you should be afraid because he's a man.”
All those things that the ego does trying to protect us. When you pray, the ego gets humbled and the ego realizes that it is not the powerful entity it thinks it is because if it really was powerful.
You wouldn't have had that trauma in the first place.
That came way later in my walk realizing that if the ego was really powerful, the ego wouldn't have let it happen in the first place.
Humbling of the ego is an important aspect to overall transcending the fear and understanding that what prayer is it's actionable. When we think what we're sitting and wallowing. If we pray, we've taken action and we've taken intentional action, to change our mindset. Because the reality is the awareness that we get through prayer is an awareness of our connection to spirit, our connection to everyone else, our connection to the earth. All those connections are vital for us to be able to ground ourselves into something that is peaceful and obviously joyful because when we get to that place of knowing, when we get to that place of awareness, then everything is let go.
Everything becomes free. And everything becomes easier.
Michelle St Jane 09:28
Beautifully said Terri.
I really resonate with your thoughts. My brother and I are three and a half years apart and I grew up in a very violent, dysfunctional alcoholic household.
So very quickly from three and a half, I was the little mother, and parenting my parents. And then my dad left when I was eight.
Suddenly, I had all these responsibilities for cooking and babysitting, pretty much the household stuff. I kind of was Cinderella, a terrible domestic goddess though. It stays with me today. But I really resonate, and I can remember being on the front lawn saying: “God, what's the point? God, I want to be a child. God, everyone in my neighborhood can play and I can't.”
My old soul took over and we had to survive. There were no choices about how we got on with it. I also bore the brunt of the very rageful mother, in circumstances of my birth, I was the mistake. So lots of trauma around that, that I didn't understand as a child until I got told when I was 13 that I was a big mistake. So again, hitting into puberty, lots of distress, adopting my mother's pain that was not mine to have.
I really appreciate your words and generosity of spirit in sharing your courage of well learnt lessons.
For me, I did a lot of speaking to a very paternal God, and I really felt all of the males in my life were very much letting me down or using me. God was in the masculine when I was a child. So I did a lot of arguing with God.
I resonate with what you said, I did a heck of a lot of arguing, and probably God was the only one that could really voice my demands, concerns, the unfairness.
My childhood God, became about nature for me and that was my peaceful place.
Then in 2016, I had this experience of my higher power moving from being around me in nature to being within me and feeling this deep connection. Then our conversation and prayer took on deeper meaning and more purpose. So much so that I'm very passionate about prayer and sharing the power of prayer as well, not centralizing it institutionally, but bringing it into the spiritual realm of possibility.
I really love what you said and I think, you get to see life from a new perspective when you have a trusted source that you can lean on, or share or ask for guidance from. I hear your story.
I'm interested in hearing how you reframe the stories.
Terri Kozlowski 12:12
Reframing is a tool that is used in the psychological world, I did not realize that when I started using the term reframing. I did a lot of research for the book concerning reframing to make sure that I was lining up with what I said, with what was actually practice.
But what I was doing was understanding that if I changed my point of view about something, and it came out in college.
There's a story in the book where I talked about, I had been sharing my story with certain people to get them to understand why I reacted the way I did to things, because how I react is based on my emotional wellbeing or my emotional lack of wellbeing.
If something triggers me, it used to be if somebody came up behind me and touched me on the shoulder, I went swinging. I was turning around swinging at them, you don't touch me, so there were lots of things like that that I needed to be able to explain to people.
A friend in college, he turned to me and said: “You like being a victim.”
I got irate. I sat with that for a long time, very angry at first but then I realized what he meant. I was getting something, My ego was getting something out of playing the victim. When you play the victim, there are certain things that occur.
Number one, everybody leaves you alone. They're going to walk on eggshells, they're going to be very careful about what they say, and at that time, I did want to be left alone. Let me do what I need to do. But I wanted to be left alone. I was okay with that. Then I realized there was a lot of negativity that came with that. That meant that people were purposely not telling me the truth because they were afraid of how I would react, and I'm really big on truth.
When I started to change in my mind was: Okay:
That's the terminology that is given to what had happened.
But that's not who I am today. Who I am today is the survivor. Who I am today is somebody who can look on that experience and say, “it shouldn't have happened. It wasn't my fault. I have no shame. I have no blame. I forgive the perpetrators.”
I walked through that process. I'm stronger and now. I can turn and help others who are in that same boat, who can't get past something.
They're stuck somewhere, been there done that I can help you to get to the other side, if you're willing to do the work.
From that aspect, reframing is about taking the situation and looking at it from a perspective of what do I need to learn. How can I learn from this? Not so much, why did it happen, but how can I make this into something that can be used to help others, to serve others?
The reality is we all come to this earth to serve others.
You had said that your trauma started when you were really young. But we all get here, and I've heard you talk about your grandchildren. When you look at your grandchildren when they're infants, without a doubt, they are authentically themselves. They know who they are, they're not shy, even three-years old are not shy about telling you what they want.
Everything about them is still in connection with spirit, still in connection with source. They're completely authentic until they get to be about five to seven years old, and at that age, they start being domesticated and conforming to those things that we, their parents and grandparents, want. You want to be a good girl. You want them to behave, all of that.
Sometimes I'm looking at things now thinking that through the domestication process, they forget who they really are. One of the things that we have to do as adults is remember who we are. We spend the first five years of life knowing who we are. We spend the next 10 years forgetting and being domesticated then we start our journey for another 10-15 years trying to rediscover who we really are, so that when we're 40 50 or 60, we can be authentically ourselves.
I think that we're seeing a new change in the paradigm and how people are raising children and are realizing that maybe some of that what we call bad behavior is them being authentically themselves. We don't necessarily want them to conform to society's ways because they may not fit into society's ways, and that's okay because I certainly didn't fit into what society said actually.
Michelle St Jane 16:42
I resonate with that as well. I didn't either. Fitting in has never been the mantle that I wear.
Thank you for speaking about the stories. I know that in my 20s and 30s and 40s relationships were replicating my childhood. I was not happy about that. But I turned into what I call a drama lama. I would share the stories and realize that I was habituating my victimhood through sharing these stories.
Once I had my 2 daughters. I was like: “Oh, hell no. I do not want my childhood or my life to be repeated with them.” I needed to clean up my side of the street. I needed to update my software, and my thoughts and my habits, and create a healthier way of being in my wellbeing and living my purpose.
That took some work and raising my awareness, and un-conditioning the conditioning. I have a deep hate for Disney princesses. They are the epitome of society's victims, and I have a granddaughter now, we're watching the next generation. We're teaming up, the women the family in the hopes that this is not recreated for her. She is a joy exactly as she is, the joy of life. Her favorite song is from Frozen, Let It Go. Teachers are coming in very small sizes and I love that.
One of my favorite mentors is Jean Houston, she does Your Mythic Journey. She says, you write your story out and then you mythicize. You put yourself as the hero and imagine your great success. At the end of it singing and dancing it into life, and I love the way that the exercise changes the energy. So Terri, I'm going to just quote you. "I love how you say I'm passionate about the work I do, because I've lived through it, and I've come out the other side." And I saw the term warrior’s success stories, I celebrate that, that sounds so fabulous. How did you come about that term?
Terri Kozlowski 18:46
I am a Native American. My mother is Athabaskan, Tlingit Raven clan and because of the research I did into that aspect of my mother's family and understanding her story, and why it is she ended up how she ended up. I talked about that in the book because she has a horrific story. She was never ever going to be the mother I needed. There was no way possible for her to transcend and to do that, because she was never aware. Part of the problem when you see people who stay in their trauma for most of their lives is that they don't become aware. Once you have awareness, awareness is the first and hardest step to take in overcoming any traumas of any kind, once you have that, once you are able to be aware and say: “Okay, there's something here I need to look at.” Once you have that awareness, the rest of it actually is not that difficult because you've already taken the first step. You know something is wrong and you know obviously that if something's wrong, there's a way to fix it.
Now, the ego thinks there's something wrong where the soul doesn't think anything's wrong. The soul just knows this is your journey. That's the other aspect of this, that we battle with the ego. A lot of egoic work in the mind that the ego uses to keep us in our suffering when we become aware of it, has to disappear. The hardest part is staying present because the ego works in the past and ego works in the future. The ego doesn't work in the present and the present, the only thing that works is the soul. So staying in the present moment becomes paramount to being able to heal. A lot of times, when you start that process, the ego comes and whispers in your ear, and then somebody else says something to you that triggers a memory, and it's hard to stay in that present moment.
That's why getting quiet and becoming prayerful, mindful, journaling, whatever it is you need to do to make sure that you have a foundation. That no matter what happens throughout the day, your foundation is of peace. You don't allow anybody to steal your piece because if you are letting people steal your piece, that means you're letting them have your power. And ultimately that power is supposed to reside within us, that power resides in a place where spirit connects us to the un-limitless power of the universe. That's what we have inside of us. But we shut that off, when we are in the egoic mind dealing with the past or worrying about the future.
Depression is the past. Anxiety is the future. So if you've been diagnosed with one of those things, that's where your focus is. Getting into the present moment, almost always eliminates that aspect of the egoic mind and staying present, because staying present is where forgiveness happens. Staying present is where healing happens. Staying present is where all the manifestation occurs. So if you were looking at manifesting the perfect life that you desire, the life that you were born to have, you have to do it in the present moment. You can't do it worrying about the past or the future.
Michelle St Jane 22:00
Perfect. And of course, we've had this powerful pause this year, which I find fantastic, it led me into podcasting.
Terri Kozlowski 22:08
Same for me, yep.
Michelle St Jane 22:11
I love what you said. The power of the present. I totally agree with you. The ego cannot stay in the present to perpetuate its illusions. That need the stories of the past and the fears of the future as you perfectly put, and in the present is when you can illuminate what is happening for you. For me, I am ever mindful that my thoughts and feelings are only visitors and that I can welcome them as I would a visitor, but I don't adopt everything a visitor wishes to give me, I can say thank you and move on. But being human and egoic, I have this itty bitty sh*tty committee, let me tell you, the demons of the people who can trigger me are all on the members of that committee.
I have to be mindful in those moments where I'm not coping or I'm hungry, angry, lonely, tired, that committee will step in and say: Well, let me help you with that, and it is full blown sabotage.
You are speaking very wise words, and I like the fact that you brought up your soul. Listening to your soul is a more recent practice for me and communicating with us. My soul brings me so much delight because my soul has fabulous hits of humor. In fact, most of our conversations happened just before I woke up in the morning. It is not unusual for me to wake up chuckling over some native thought that is joyful or unexpected. Or fortunately, I live alone, I just burst into laughter, still half-asleep thinking. It is just not what I would think. It's I am my soul. It's to realize this other part that is within me bubbling with joy in trying to communicate, and if my world gets too noisy, it's time to listen to the quietest voice.
Terri Kozlowski 24:05
It's interesting that you say it happens in the morning because the reality is for us to really communicate with our soul, there's a certain brainwave associated with that. That brainwave that when you're coming out of sleep and you're going to sleep, that transition from wakefulness to being asleep is that wavelength in which the soul communicates, and it's been measured, the frequency there has been measured. So that is why it's easier for you to do at that point, when you truly are quiet and prayerful in meditation, or other times that's also been measured from, I believe, it's theta waves. It's the powerful thing to know that there's this other side of you, and that other side is always connected to spirit, the other side she was always full of joy. It's always fully unconditionally loving yourself and others, and it's as you awake and your consciousness takes over. The egoic mind takes over, that all of that fades away. It's so sad and so frustrating to watch somebody wake up in that joyful space. And as they go through their day, watch them change.
Michelle St Jane 25:13
Well said. In fact, I listened to my soul so carefully, I'm now in the habit of keeping a notebook and a pen on the pillow next to me.
Terri Kozlowski 25:22
Michelle St Jane 25:23
If I get some instructions, I immediately write them down because I never remember in the morning. I'm usually shaking my head saying: “Oh my gosh, what was that fabulous thought, what was it?” It often happens like 4am. Blessings for me is I am an early bird, so it works well for me.
Terri, please share about your podcast, Soul Solutions.
Terri Kozlowski 25:46
Soul Solutions was started because my son told me that my message needed to reach a wider audience, and that if I had a podcast, it would reach a younger audience. I thought, okay. I found a course, and technically, that's how you and I met.
But when all was said and done, as soon as I could I got it started. Three weeks later he said: “Mom, now you need a YouTube channel.” Because he watches all his podcasts on YouTube. But since I started Soul Solutions, the idea was to connect with as many people as I could about the message of understanding that reframing how you perceive things ultimately changes the course of your life.
It doesn't matter whether you had trauma in your past, it doesn't matter if you are fully in the egoic mind, you can transition. You can transcend out of the fear and overcome the limiting beliefs that we all have because we're all human. And because of the humaneness that we exist in society, and because of the domestication we've all been through, we have these things that we have to overcome. We have these obstacles in our way. That's part of our soulful, spiritual journey.
I believe everybody comes knowing who they are, then we forget who we are.
Ultimately, our journey is back to spirit, back to our soul, back to being authentically ourselves. We're seeing a larger transcendence of people moving in that direction, not staying stuck in the egoic mind, as long as we've had in the past.
Michelle St Jane 27:25
Exactly. I'm going to revert back to prayer one more time.
I love the Serenity Prayer. This prayer reminds me of all the things I cannot change. The one thing I can't change my thoughts, feelings, actions, and that helps me stay at peace no matter what the chaos is. Whether it is my internal chaos or external chaos is. I totally agree with it.
Terri, you also have Kosmic Soul Solution Services. This is the place for you to share about what you do and let listeners know.
Terri Kozlowski 27:57
Kosmic Soul Solutions to do my soul coaching with one-on-one clients. Next, in 2021, there'll be a course that will come out on reframing to tie in with the book, “Ravens Transcending Fear.”
Everybody can reach me at my website to terrikozlowski.com, anybody who's willing to do the work, I’ll help. If you are unwilling to do the work, then I can't help you. So let's just put that out there. But if you're willing to do the work, I have taken people who have been in other depression on antidepressants, and in 12 weeks have come off their medication, and are content and happy married with children and having the best life they never thought they could have the life that they're currently living. I have another client she loves the transcendent work that we've done, to give her a different perspective and understand her worthiness.
That's one of the things that we women have issues with, understanding that we are worthy, just as we are. We don't need to do anything. We don't need to change how we behave for somebody else.
That's really difficult for a lot of women to understand and comprehend because we've been trained from our parents, from our grandparents from society that we are to be an accessory. And that is not the case. We were never meant to be an accessory. We are meant to be our own bold individual beings with power and understanding and compassion.
Ultimately, I think that we're seeing a resurgence of the Divine Feminine in the global community, understanding that the compassion that women have for community, for families, for those things and aspects of the mind and the spirit that are connected, that only women really comprehend because we are the ones that create life. We're the ones that raise the children and we have a different perspective because of the creative aspects that we have within our bodies and within our minds.
Michelle St Jane 30:06
Exactly. We've officially moved into the Age of Aquarius, which is the Divine Feminine as well.
Terri, I really am grateful that you had time for this today and your generous sharing of wisdom and celebrate your contribution with much appreciation in the world.
Terri Kozlowski 30:22
Thank you for having me, Michelle.
Michelle St Jane 30:24
Thanks, Terri. Okay, so to close the show out, I'm always open to conversation. So if you're someone who feels that something has resonated with you on today's interview, or an earlier episode, feel free to reach out to me on any social media platform, and we can continue the conversation.
As a Steward of meaningful Leadership in the world and wider cosmos, I have a passion for service through sharing wisdom, strength and hope. Thank you for the opportunity to foster open conversations, discussions and exchange of ideas that create understanding and connection among diverse groups. Your support is valued. Please subscribe, leave a review and rating, and more importantly, share with your connections.
Author, Blogger, Coach,Podcast Host
Terri Kozlowski is a proud Native American warrior:
Athabascan; Tlinglet Tribe - Raven Clan. She journeyed through the pain of child sexual abuse and utter fear of life after her mother abandoned her, at the age of 11, on the streets of Albuquerque. Rediscovering her true path in life, one of joy and love, she learned to transcend the fear that the egoic mind keeps bringing to the forefront of our lives. Terri is now a successful soul and life coach whose mission is to inspire others to master their fear. Her forthcoming book, Raven Transcending Fear: a memoir about overcoming sexual abuse, abandonment, and discover your authentic self, tells her amazing story.
Terri was a stay at home mother until the 9/11 when her husband lost his job in the airline industry. She went into the corporate environment and in less then ten years worked herself up from an executive assistant to Vice President of Operations of a medical device company.
Terri earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh and is a student of The Course in Miracles. She has received a certification in Life Coaching by the Academy of Modern Applied Psychology.
Terri has been a successful blogger for over a year, and is now taking her talents to podcast land. In August of 2020 Soul Solutions will launch. She will share her journey and will have candid conversations about overcoming fear and limiting beliefs with the authentic people who have successfully overcome their own negative thought patterns. Look for her anywhere you find podcasts.