Answering the call of your Purpose with Frida Soerensen
Full transcript of call
Luanne: Welcome everybody to “Answering the Call of your Purpose” I am Luanne Marie here and I have another weekly beautiful guest for you and her name is Frida Sorensen. Is that how you say it?
Luanne: Yes okay but before we jump in Frida, I just want to remind everybody if you’re new watching this, the reason for creating this podcast is I’m all about Purpose and I want to share with you women and men who have actually answered the call. There’s one thing to hear it but there’s another thing to actually answer it and put their beautiful work out into the world, and so I thought this is a great kind of platform to bring inspiration to you. So that is the reason and we’re just going to jump right in today!
So my beautiful guest and whoever in the Philippines at the moment Frida, aren’t you?
Frida: Yes yes i am!
Luanne: A lot of time in Melbourne Australia, so I just want a quick introduction. I know you worked in a social workforce for many years and this kind of led you to the work but you have a Graduate Diploma in Counseling and Human Services through the La Trobe University in Australia Melbourne and being a Professional meditation teacher and Graduate of the Australian center for meditation and mindfulness and of course you’ve had over 10 years of personal yoga and meditation practice and you look so young to even have those numbers there!
Frida: But this little wrinkle there everybody!
Luanne: Thanks for challenging Frida! What are you doing right now?
Frida: Right now, I’m actually quite new into the coaching business but I’m a Mindfulness and Meditation Coach and I work with stress and busy female entrepreneurs and business owners. I teach very simple relaxation and stress resilience skills, as well as really focus on self-care; really nurturing and looking after ourselves. I do one-on-one coaching with that.
Luanne: And I must have to give you just a little shout out here because I’ve been working with you and still are in there! And it’s so important, you just really nailed it there that it’s kind of like the spiritual entrepreneur or business owner and can be really stressful even if you’re on Purpose so I am loving working with you at the moment. But, what led you to where you are today?
Frida: So you mentioned a little bit about my background in social work but there’s actually two parts to what has led me to the work that I’m doing today and the first part really started early. From very early childhood my relationship with stress and my parents are actually multicultural.
So I grew up both in the Philippines and in Denmark where my dad’s from and we spent most of the time in the Philippines, probably nine months out of a year, we’d be in the Philippines. My parents run a business, I was raised by all sorts of family members and I was very grateful for my childhood. And then, three or four months of that time we’d go back to Denmark. So you have a child that’s having to juggle two different cultures, two or three different languages but not only that I was actually juggling two school systems.
I was doing eight or nine months in the local village school here in where I’m from, it’s a very small provincial village. I remember being knee-deep in water in the classroom during the rainy season. There was one year we haven’t had a ginormous hall in the blackboard and the teacher would just write around and then three or four months out of the year we’d go back to Denmark and I was very lucky that the local school there where my dad’s from, they allowed me just to slot back into the school system but in order to keep being able to do that, my father was actually homeschooling me while I was in the Philippines. So, I’d be Monday to Friday in the local school and then on the weekends, I’d be trying to cram in the whole danish school curriculum.
Luanne: You speak two languages as well?
Frida: Yeah, I speak three through four languages actually so we have a dialect. A local dialect which is very different to Tagalog which is the Filipino National Language, so we have so many different dialects that there had to be a national language so that we all could understand each other. But going back to that, it really built in me this habit from a very young age; a habit of always feeling out of time right? So I was always behind in the Danish school system, I was always behind in the Filipino school system and then there was this feeling of being out of time because on the weekends, I also just wanted to go out and play right? So if I didn’t get something, if i was finding it hard to learn something, there’s this feeling that “oh my god i’m running out of time” right?
And that’s one of the keys to feeling stressed is that we don’t feel we have the resources to deal with the challenge or the threat ahead of us. As a young child, it was this feeling “oh my god I’m always having to catch my tail” so I did really well and I love my childhood. I’m very blessed to have had such a rich cultural background.
So the second part to that story was then because I didn’t have enough of just having the two cultures and having to straddle two cultures, I moved to Australia and became a social worker and I came straight out of University and into a youth worker role that I was working with young men in prison and working with really vulnerable young people. And again came across this feeling that I didn’t have the resources, I mean especially the inner resources; the mental and emotional capacity and the self-care skills by the way! It’s not something they teach you at University so it really made super clear that the anxiety and the stress I felt previously, it just blew up during my first five years working in social work and then very slowly started to go out and find to actually upskill myself to work out how do I continue to do meaningful work without burning myself out?
Because the whole industry was full of this kind of way of work, I mean a lot of different work industries, we burn ourselves out and there isn’t a great deal of thinking about the individual, the energy, the vitality that goes into this work so from there, I started exploring mindfulness meditation yoga practices…
Luanne: And it was better you could cope in the job because it feels like? It was an amazing service and that you’re providing these young people but also you were so young as well and then you went out of Uni… it’s not naivety, I’m not trying to say that it’s just like everything is new so you put everything and then you go the real world happens the strength. So what I’m hearing is that, you went out and you started to find ways that you could help yourself.
Frida: Yea, for sure I mean I have to admit, I spent a lot of time just freaking out that everybody looked like they had their stuff together and freaking out inside going why do I not feel like I have it together right? Everybody seems to be working really well, they’re professional, they’re just coping, they seem to be coping well. Then, the more I learned about myself, the more I was able to actually step out of this system that we created for ourselves and look at the madness that we think is normal that we take for granted that it’s normal to work 50 to 80 hours answering emails at 11 pm, picking up client calls during dinner time, that’s meant to be your family time, coming to work sick.
It started to become really clear that you can choose to step out of this madness and to certain degrees obviously.
Luanne: And so from that, you learned. So when did you leave that career?
Frida: Yes so it did take me a while because I know I did love the work and it was meaningful work. And I think because I grew up in a third world country and seeing poverty, I always had this urge to be helping in some capacity and because I understand the child in me so much, the child that perhaps wasn’t heard or perhaps didn’t know how to ask for help, I really connected with young people. I also really connected with women, most of my colleagues were women and how as women we just have this urge to give so much of ourselves with very little concern for our own well-being and our own replenishing back into ourselves.
So I started supporting other people within my organization and I was supervising staff as well so that was a very good opportunity to start to change the culture and teach people how to have better work boundaries as well that you can ask for help. You can take a sick day that’s what they’re there for if you need even just to have a mental health day. So that really then led me to, I’m developing a mindfulness for social workers within my organization and incredibly amazing opportunity for me to be able to do that obviously but also to be able to change even just a little bit of the work culture that we find ourselves in and that’s what really led me to what I want to be doing. I want to be helping people take, put themselves first really.
Luanne: Well I love that because that’s kind of leads into the next question of what do you believe is your Purpose?
Frida: Yeah so I think my purpose is (to put it very simply) is to help people realize their worth. To help people take the steps to prioritize themselves first because of the implications of when we don’t do that and I saw that so clearly in the social work industry. You have these incredibly giving, caring, compassionate people who burn themselves out and the helping industry has a reputation for very high numbers of people burning out.
Luanne: The healers and therapists…
Frida: Yes exactly! Because it’s our energy that we give out. It’s we’re giving out our being to other people and that’s very much the same. Other industries are very similar. You are giving yourself to the work but the implications when we don’t put ourselves first is you see even if you’re just in the social work industry, you see young people being left behind. Young people are being let down again and again and again because these good-meaning people have given more than what they could actually give which then has a ripple effect into the world.
You know a young person who is abandoned for the 10th time, going back into the criminal system or you know if you’re running a business like your clients miss out your… and the good, the change that you could create in them and then the change they create in their work and into the world, it’s this ripple effect right?
Frida: Yeah so it’s, if we can turn that around and we can put the energy back into ourselves then the ripple effect you could create with that you know um yeah i think it’s incredible.
Luanne: And so how did you answer the call of your Purpose? Because what I’m hearing is like of course you saw there was a huge problem and then where you were working and in that industry and then you did practices or you learnt practices created your own program for them but what did it take for you to answer that?
Frida: I mean I think the first step was really to recognize that I had something to offer. Then being brave enough to… for starters go to my employer and say hey can I do this and I will do it while still doing my myload of work and that was also giving out another portion of my energy.
So I think one of my values is “Courage” actually.
Luanne: I love that!
Frida: So it’s yeah being an introvert, being courageous and putting yourself out there is incredibly hard. Putting myself out there to my organization and saying you don’t even have to pay me extra, I will do it because I can. I care about the work we do, I care about my colleagues, I care about changing the culture.
And then the second part of that was then to recognize that I can’t do the work that I really want to be doing if I stay within the same career. So then it was confronting the uncomfortable feeling of what do I need to do? What do I need to change? And that is to maybe give up some of my security and go i’m gonna go and pursue this other type of career or this type of work or I need to re-educate myself not completely from the beginning but nobody knows of me. I don’t have a lot of experiences in this industry so that was the second calling.
I actually quit my social work career and I enrolled in a meditation teacher training course and then, there was also another calling that was happening at the time and that was the calling to figure out what is my other heritage? What is my Filipino heritage and how does that fit in?
Luanne: Oh wow!
Frida: So I was super lucky that I have a partner who loves traveling and exploring and personal development as much as me so we both quit our jobs and we moved back to the Philippines, moved back into my childhood home. And then you know, I just started offering anybody in my community; my friends, my family, the opportunity to learn meditation, mindfulness and yoga.
So I started the first yoga school here in my province so that was sort of my first way of going out and really teaching these modalities or these practices.
Luanne: That’s fantastic! It is really inspiring and that’s why I’m doing this, you think you take courage and you have to be uncomfortable. You can’t just start and answer the call of your Purpose unfortunately. It’s not sacrifices, it’s just trusting and taking a chance which I’m hearing and kind of totally changed everything.
So then why do you think it’s important to do your Purpose work? Or for you and and for everybody?
Frida: It’s such a brilliant question. I mean the first thing I thought about when I read this question was actually… have you read about “The Five Regrets of the Dying”? If I recommend anybody who hasn’t read these to go and look up “The Five Regrets of the Dying” by Ronnie Weir. So she was working with people at the very end of their lives. And what I was getting at, is that the number one regret that people have and I’m going to read it out so you know I get right is that “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life that others expect of me”. So I mean I get goosebumps every time I read this, but this is really for anyone who’s feeling uncomfortable because something in them is wanting them to change or go out and do something different. The reason is that when you find the thing that lights you up or you find the thing that gives you meaning, you can live a meaningful life but you can also really give yourself to the world in whatever shape or form that is whilst also making a meaningful life for yourself, not a happy life because happiness is fleeting. Happiness is in the moment. It’s like 30 seconds when you see the sunset but “meaning” is for life. So I think i’ll leave it there.
Luanne: One I’m going to, I never read that book but I had a friend and she would read she would just talk to me about it yeah and it wasn’t… you’ve just inspired me to actually go and download it or to buy it. Every time she would you know, because I’ve had this reaction, this emotional reaction when you’re talking about it’s like yeah reminders. Don’t wait to that end?
Frida: It’s a reminder isn’t it? That we’re lucky to be here. And regardless of where you’re at, if you’re not really sure what you’re doing or you want to do something but you don’t know it’s like go out and start now
Luanne: And I love how you’re touching on meaning and there’s all this awesome joy you know? Purpose yes.
Frida: Yes, joy again like there’s this… that happiness gets thrown around but yeah it’s you kind of have to actively work at it. To find the joy and the meaning and the happiness and yeah I think it comes through finding meaning with what you’re doing.
Luanne: Yeah that’s a big why right? So knowing your Purpose is one thing and what else do you think it’s taken to live and express your life purpose? So I mean like for me I know my life purpose but knowing and not doing is not necessarily doing it. So shadow work or healing I mean it’s probably what you do now but what else do you think can help you express and embody that purpose?
Frida: We touched on it before, I think being willing to be uncomfortable because so many of us are just so happy to be fine. To be comfortable in what we’re doing to just do the same routine everyday day and this is what meditation is so amazing for is that it allows you to and only if you have the courage. The courage comes back again. You have to have the courage to take a moment to figure out what is that uncomfortable feeling that I get every time I read some inspiring story of someone who went out and did their thing. What is that uncomfortable feeling about my relationship with my mom that I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to bring up? It’s taking a moment to feel that uncomfortable feeling. What is this dissatisfaction that I have with my life? What is the disappointment, that niggling disappointment? It’s having the courage to question what is that? Why am I feeling that way? Explore that and it might be that I’m in the wrong profession or it might be that I’m not in the place with my husband that I want to be in or I’m not expressing my creativity because I’m fearful of what people will say. It’s being courageous enough for starters. Journal about that.
Journal about your fear, your uncomfortableness, the thing that you want to create. What is this feeling of not being loved or not being enough? Which is becoming this self-expression of giving everything and then exhausting myself so that I feel like that is the beginning to be courageous enough to ask those questions but to feel that in your body as well because we have a tendency to avoid, suppress, distract ourselves. You’ve heard that one number down right?
Luanne: We don’t numb it yeah it’s always sitting exactly. Like once we feel it, acknowledge it right?
Frida: Yeah the beautifully put. And then of course the second step is to then go out and do whatever work you need to do. Do a course, do a personal development. I’ve read Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now”. Whatever you were inclined to do, do exercise or go for walks in nature. Anything that’s going to jog or start to loosen those parts of you.
Luanne: Yeah oh wonderful thank you! What I like to ask too is who is a favorite person who you’ve worked with? And I mean who you’ve kind of supported and why they or one of your favorites?
Frida: Yeah, well I have to say someone that’s very near and dear to my heart is a colleague that I actually supported and worked with before I moved to the Philippines and we were co-creating, co-running a youth leadership program and the work that person brought to our work together was creativity. Like the creativity and the enthusiasm and the vitality that this person had that I was working with and that really matched my skills as a leader. We were so well and so well supporting each other and it sort of… it really reminds me of the importance of community. That when you are working on your own as an entrepreneur, it can be so heavy, it can be heavy that you have to make all the decisions yourself. You have to put yourself out there. Your voice, your face when you have a community, you create you make decisions together and especially as women we’re like hardwired to be pulling our resources and to be creating the thing in the world so even back in our tribal days, women would come together and create beautiful, supportive, nurturing environment. So never underestimate the power of community and reaching out for help when you’re not sure.
Shout out to my lovely colleague from my days in social work!
Luanne: Yeah I know we’ve been there so many similarities when you’re talking I’m like, yes I love community. Women when they can get together well definitely, when we were in the old days but we didn’t learn so much from so little. Just using our resources but also our inner resources too.
Frida: Yeah yeah for sure!
Luanne: Oh my god I could talk to you for hours but Frida, where can we find you? And also I see a little special gift and we can find you and we can opt in for that. So where can we find… ?
Frida: Yeah so okay wonderful. You can definitely find me on my website and that’s fridaasorensen.com and it’ll appear down below and you can also find me my local business is “Wellness with Frida” on Facebook. So you can go in and have a look at what I’ve been doing in my community.
Get to know me a little bit there, not super active there at the moment because I’m building my coaching business but definitely you can also message me on there and connect with me that way then you can download a “24 ways to relax in less than 10 minutes”. I’m all about relaxation and doing it quickly, doing it while you’re sitting in front of your computer, doing it while you’re preparing a tea or even if you just got a few minutes up your sleeves, you can definitely calm your nervous system and bring yourself back into a state of balance even within a few minutes. So I really recommend you try that out!
Luanne: Yeah because I’ve been working with you and I’m sure I know some of you have 24 which are fantastic especially for busy entrepreneurs doing their work but it just made a huge difference for me. And I remember I’m like “oh that’s right! Frida said to do this” and when I’m feeling it okay and then I’m good to go so thank you for sharing that with us!
Frida: Yeah you’re welcome!
Luanne: We’re going to end on something kind of a little bit lighter if you want to go there but I love this! Can you share something about you that nobody knows?
Frida: Well my partner knows this and my nine-year-old nephew knows this as well but… and it ties into relaxation. So actually before I have to do something as I said I’m an introvert, and courage is one of my values. So before I have to do anything where I put myself out there but even when I run my sessions, I have a dance. I do a dance in front of my computer around my office! I have a playlist that I put on and I just go for it and sometimes this happens in the kitchen, it might happen while my partner’s having work, doing his work on his laptop. It’s really just to get your body moving, get the energy going and so for a meeting today, I had a little shimmy!
Luanne: And I won’t put you on the spot to show us but what so what’s your favorite song that you’re dancing to at the moment? What’s one of your favorites?
Frida: At the moment I’m really connecting to the lover energy so I’m really into archetypes and “lover” is the side of us who is amazing at connecting with people who are soft and gentle and puts herself first. So “Change” by Tracy Chapman is one that I’ve been listening to and I can’t quite remember some of the other ones… “How long will I love you” by Ellie Goulding, beautiful song! So that’s more like a really bringing good for self-love, really bringing those beautiful loving vibes into yourself but if you need to shake it out, Taylor Swift’s “shake it off” it’s a good one! You just need to like to laugh.
Luanne: I know I’m always looking for good music for my playlist. So well thank you so much Frida! It’s been such a joy.
Frida: Very welcome
Luanne: Everybody go and see her over at fridaasorensen.com but the links will be below. She’s given us two books which you recommended: two books “The Regrets of Dying” and Eckhart “The Power of Now” and then changed by Tracy Chapman. I love it! Thank you so much Frida!
Frida: You’re very welcome
Luanne: We’ll see more of you well, I’ll see more of you because I’m still working so then everybody come back each week! We have a new guest but for now let’s celebrate Frida! So thank you so much.
Frida: Thank you so much Luanne for having me. So wonderful connecting, bye!
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My online coaching business: https://fridaasoerensen.com/ My Filipino wellness business: https://www.facebook.com/WellnesswithFRIDA