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Power of Alchemy with Christina Lopes



This episode features two inspiring women who will speak to the power of alchemy. Our first guest is, Christina Lopes, who spent a decade working as a neuropediatric clinician before becoming a life coach, spiritual teacher, author and entrepreneur in 2013. Today, she seamlessly bridges science and spirituality to help others heal from significant trauma, open their hearts and live fulfilling lives. Christina's unique coaching style includes a focus on the heart as the primary driver of healing and transformation. Instead of mind. She holds a doctorate degree in physical therapy from New York University and a master's degree in public health from John Hopkins University. Then a story from Elena Christopoulos, founder of a sustainability management consulting firm. Elena's contributions have helped create over 500,000 green jobs worldwide, with 60 percent of the positions going to women and BIPOC folks.


IN THIS EPISODE

[01:40] Christina Lopes on what she is most passionate about

[02:04] Christina Lopes on how she serves others as a living

[03:58] Christina Lopes on her childhood and spiritual awakening

[05:32] Christina Lopes on the catalyst that began her spiritual journey

[06:51] Christina Lopes on her four years of isolation

[08:47] Christina Lopes on why she decided to help others

[11:54] Christina Lopes on how she blends science and spirituality

[16:14] Christina Lopes on her work process

[17:43] Christina Lopes on her online resources

[18:44] Christina Lopes on her spiritual retreats

[22:02] Christina Lopes on her work’s success

[25:49] Christina Lopes on supporting one’s spiritual awakening

[29:46] Christina Lopes on what clients gain from her

[31:11] Christina Lopes on a lesson that resonates with her

[35:58] Christina Lopes on the rewards of her work

[39:32] Christina Lopes on her dream for herself and women

[42:58] Christina Lopes on her mantra

[46:26] Christina Lopes on her secret to a rewarding life

[51:02] Christina Lopes on her definition of success

[54:50] Christina Lopes on the pandemic’s effect on spirituality

[56:39] Christina Lopes on how to begin a spiritual journey

LINKS


FULL TRANSCRIPT

Passionistas: Hi, we're sisters Amy and Nancy Harrington, the founders of the Passionistas Project podcast, where we give women a platform to tell their own unfiltered stories. On every episode, we discuss the unique ways in which each woman is following her passions, talk about how she defines success, and explore her path to breaking down the barriers that women too often face.


Today we'll be joined by two inspiring women who will speak to the power of alchemy. This episode, we’ll hear a story from Elena Christopoulos, founder of a sustainability management consulting firm. Elena's contributions have helped create over 500,000 green jobs worldwide, with 60 percent of the positions going to women and BIPOC folks.


But first we’re joined by Christina Lopes, who spent a decade working as a neuropediatric clinician before becoming a life coach, spiritual teacher, author, and entrepreneur in 2013. Today, she seamlessly bridges science and spirituality to help others heal from significant trauma, open their hearts, and live fulfilling lives. Christina's unique coaching style includes a focus on the heart as the primary driver of healing and transformation. Instead of mind. She holds a doctorate degree in physical therapy from New York University and a master's degree in public health from John Hopkins University.


So please welcome Christina Lopes.


Christina: Hello, everybody.


Passionistas: Thanks for joining us today. We're really excited to dive into your story. What are you most passionate about?

Christina: It changes in different phases of my life, I think it's been changing, but right now it's service. So, I work in the helping field, and that's really always center in my life, is my ability to serve others, and to which capacity, and that's where I'm at right now. For a long time now, I think I've been there.


Passionistas: So, explain how that relates to what you do for a living.


Christina: Yeah, so literally, my entire career is based on serving others. So I'm a spiritual teacher now. I used to be a clinician, so I was already in the helping field before. I was a clinician, I was a physical therapist. I worked with children with disabilities for almost 10 years. And then my life kind of fell apart, and as happens with so many of us, when our lives fall apart, we just, we just go, "Wait a minute. Let me, it's time for me to change course a little bit.” And so, that's literally what I did. I completely left my clinical career behind, and I went into mindfulness and spirituality, and so first I kind of went through my spiritual awakening and my own process, my own internal process of transformation. And then I started coaching others, and it was just something that was just so natural to me. I started a YouTube channel that took off also. And so I serve now in different capacities which, as a coach, but also as a YouTuber, I guess. You know, putting quality content out there and just trying to help people as best I can, because, you know, a lot of people are struggling right now, and a lot of people are going through this really big transformation of going through spiritual awakening. So many people are going through spiritual awakenings. They don't even know that that's what's happening to them, but they're seeking something more than their nine to five jobs and their, you know, white picket fence with 2.2 children and a dog. And so they're breaking those ceilings, whatever ceilings we had over us. And so now, people are waking up more, going internally more, and so more and more people reach me because of that, really.


Passionistas: So, let's take a step back. Let's talk a little bit about, tell us about your childhood, where you grew up and, did you always have this sensitivity to spirituality as a child?


Christina: Yeah, yeah, I did. And I come from a long line of women who have had spiritual gifts. My grandmother was known in her little village, and I grew up in the Azores islands. My parents are Portuguese, but they're from the Azores islands, which are these remote islands in the middle of the Atlantic, but they belong to Portugal, so I grew up there. I was born in the U.S., but I grew up there. My parents were immigrants in the U.S. and they wanted to return. And so I've always had these sensitivities since I was a little girl, but I didn't, I was very afraid of them. I didn't want to explore them, and so I did precisely the opposite: I went into science. Because I wanted everything explained, and I wanted, you know, I wanted everything rationalized. So that's what I did for a really long time, but life has a way of always bringing you back to what you're supposed to be doing. So sometimes you can go on detours and, you know, sometimes life will allow you to go on these detours for a while, but inevitably, you know, if you're meant to do something on this earth, it will always come back to you. You know, it's kind of like a boomerang, you know. It will always come back. And so that's when, you know, finally, my life fell apart, and I said, “Well, I've been running away from my spiritual gifts, and that really hasn't worked out so well. So, so maybe now it's time to, you know, go into the things that I was afraid of and just explore those and be open to, you know that being my purpose and that being my higher calling on the planet, and, you know, just going head first into that.”


Passionistas: So, what was the catalyst for you to do that, to explore that part of yourself?


Christina: It was really my life falling apart. My marriage fell apart. You know, it fell apart suddenly, and it was kind of those moments where, I think when unexpected things happen to you, it has just, it has a way to just completely shake you and what your mind thinks. You know, our minds always think they have control over everything, and they have control over life. And it only takes one sudden event--whether that's a loss of a loved one or an accident or something life threatening or the loss of a significant relationship very quickly--for your mind to be kind of jolted out of that illusion that you actually control anything down here. And so that was it for me. You know, I just, I thought to myself, “Well, since my life is falling apart, let's just let it break all the way.” You know? And it was that moment where I was like, “I have no idea what I'm doing here on Earth, but apparently the plan that I've, that my mind has concocted for my life hasn't worked out so well. So I'm now willing to be guided by something else, whatever that is.” And that's kind of what started me on this whole spiritual awakening journey.


Passionistas: Yeah, so now, you lived in solitude for four years at this point, right?


Christina: I did, yes!


Passionistas: So, tell us what that experience is like, and like, what were some of the important things you learned about yourself during that time?


Christina: For me, it wasn't terribly difficult in the sense that--I'm solitary by nature. I love my alone time, and so--but that was to an extreme. I mean, I was in, you know, what spiritual teachers call “hermit mode.” A lot of a lot of Mystics and spiritual teachers around the world have gone through, you know, periods like that in their lives, and that's really what happened to me. I spent 4 consecutive years alone, usually immersed in a forest or on some kind of deserted beach. I really surrounded myself by nature. I would meditate hours a day. It was a very contemplative phase of my life. I was already doing YouTube content at that point, but it was more just, you know, hey, let me get my camera out and just, you know, start saying some things in the camera and sharing some things with people. But it was very, I was still very cocooned and going through very, very deep, profound transformation. So the reason that I was by myself was I had a lot to process. I had a lot to heal within me, and I could only do that alone. And so I wasn't, I wasn't forced. I didn't force myself. I just felt that I had a calling to hermit mode. I had a calling to solitude. And I just let that play out until I started to feel this strong intuition four years later, that it was time to come back to regular life and to regular society, and that's really, I think those four years really prepared me for, you know, coming out, coming back to the real world and being able to help people in a capacity that I probably couldn't have before without having gone through the stuff that I went through.


Passionistas: So talk about that transition of coming back and, why--I mean, it's one thing to contemplate your own life, but why choose to help other people?


Christina: It was just, it's just always been a natural calling. And it became very, very clear very early on in my awakening. I remember that, during the initial phases of my awakening, I wrote my first book, and during the second part of that hermit mode where I was alone, I wrote my second book. And it became very, very clear that it was always a two-side. It has always been a two-sided thing for me. There is always a very deep part of me that knows that I can only help others to the extent that I could help myself. The deeper I go within myself, the more I can serve, and the more I can give. And I knew that these, that I would be toggling these things. So, you know, the more I went within myself, the bigger my capacity also to then serve. So it was interesting because even--you know, I had some really, really, I mean, my spiritual awakening, the whole process, the main process of my spiritual awakening, lasted six years. And in those four years that I was alone, part of the reason that I was alone was because I was going through severe changes, and, you know, some pretty crazy physical symptoms. And different things were going on, and I felt that I was just too sensitive to be immersed in the regular world. And so I had a lot of things happen to me. I don't know if you guys have heard of a Kundalini awakening, but I had a Kundalini awakening in the middle of my spiritual awakening. And yogis refer to Kundalini as just an energy that moves up your spine. I had never heard of it before until I actually felt it in my body, and I thought, “Okay, I'm, I must be dying, because I don't know what the heck is going on with me, but this is insane.” And so I went through a lot of physical changes that are quite common with healers, especially healers that have a sort of, have a very shamanic energy. So healers that are here to kind of help really affect change in people's lives a lot of times go through that healer’s path, what's known in Shamanism as the Wounded Healer Path. So you just have to go through it. You know, in traditional Shamanic circles, usually a Shaman apprentice takes around six to ten years to be able to become a Shaman themselves, and it's because they're going through the training. They sometimes, you know, go off into the jungle by themselves for months or years on end, and it's part of their training. And so I went through very much the same training, except I wasn't traditionally trained by a Shaman. But I went through my own personal process. But there was always this image inside of me that was, you know, all of the things that you're going through, document them, understand them. Because then you'll be able to translate what you're going through for other people who are going through the same. And so I've always toggled this personal experience, documenting a personal experience to then share with others. That just comes very natural to me.


Passionistas: So then, tell us where the science comes in. How do you meld the science and the spirituality when you're helping other people?


Christina: You know, they're, to me, science and spirituality have never been mutually exclusive. They're very complementary, you know, and I think, I think that, you know, the division between science and spirituality is really, it's nonexistent. To me, they're becoming closer and closer. And the reason that they're becoming closer and closer is that because, as science advances, a lot of the things that Mystics have been saying for thousands of years turn out to be true, and it isn't because, you know, it's because the measurement and the ability of science, to conduct experiments, to measure, has become more sophisticated. And so the more sophisticated science gets, the more the Mystics end up being proven correct, you know. And so to me, science and spirituality merge. They're completely, you know, in sync. But for me, what was really important, especially after I went from science into spirituality, what was really important for me was to understand that experience trumps everything. And that's really what it means to be spiritual. What it means to be spiritual is that a spiritual person prioritizes experience over anything else. And so when you're sitting there in meditation and you are connecting to a source or you are connecting to a tree or you're connecting to an animal, and you can see colors and you can see all these things going on, I don't need science to explain to me what's happening. I can feel it. I'm experiencing it. And so I think science is useful for certain perspectives and not useful for others. And when it comes to my work right now, I still use it a lot. You know, my academic background and my science background always come in handy, whether it's me being able to integrate nutrition into a client's life, whether it's helping them with exercise. A lot of my work, I'm very fortunate that I was a physical therapist, so I was already an expert in the human body. And so now, when I came into healing, one of the main ways in which I used my clinical background was to actually help people heal trauma through the movement of the body, because trauma is housed biologically in your body. And so the training of being an expert in body and anatomy and kinesiology and biomechanics came in handy understanding and knowing the body, you know, inside out. I was then able to teach people how to move their bodies in certain ways, that they were processing trauma and processing grief.


So that was, I think that's probably the biggest way in which I currently merge my clinical training with my coaching and my healing work, is really through that, is helping people understand that they can't heal--a lot of people today, and you know, it, the West really is limited in our ability to heal well, because the West is still very much up here in the mind. And so for us, healing a lot of times, when it comes to trauma, the first thing that we do in the West is we go see a shrink or we go see a psychologist or, you know, a therapist. And we talk, talk, talk, talk, talk sometimes for years with the same therapist. Every week we go, you know, to our therapist office, and that's a really important starting point for healing. But you know, Eastern philosophies, Shamanic philosophies understand that talking about something, that healing it at the level of the mind is one level of healing, that you must go down into the body, otherwise you cannot heal anything unless you get into the somatic component of healing and where your trauma is housed. And that's really where my work goes into, a majority of the people that reach me and the clients I've worked with, thousands of clients now. And the majority of the time when they reach me, they've already worked with the therapist for a long time, and they just kind of hit a wall, and there's just something within them that they know, “I have to go deeper. There's something else deeper that I need to heal, and I can't access it by just talking about it with my therapist every week. I need to go deeper.” And so a lot of people reach me that way.


Passionistas: So, talk a little bit more about that. How do people, how could people work with you that are listening, and what's the process of working with you like?


Christina: Yeah, so, I no longer do one-on-one work. I worked for a long time one-on-one. But it's just, you know, our wait list started getting very big. So I'm working more and more, I'm no longer working one-on-one with people. I'm working in groups, so the primary way in which I work with people is through our online coaching programs. So people will usually, we have a mixture of, you know, self, 100% self-taught, you know, they just go on the courses and they do their thing, and then we have another coaching program where I do coaching weekly calls with people. So during the week they watch the video modules, and then on Saturday we do a coaching call together in a healing call with the whole group. And so that's really, that's really powerful. And then the third level that I work with people is through in-person retreats, so those are really popular. We do a big retreat once a year in the south of Portugal. And so, yeah, that's pretty much how people work with me now is through my retreats, my coaching program, and connecting with me on YouTube, really. But you know, on YouTube it's a wider audience. And the content that I prepare is, you know, is prepared beforehand, so I'm not, I'm not live, but if you want to work with me live, then it would be through my retreats or through my coaching programs.


Passionistas: So tell us a little bit more about the resources and videos people can access through your website and through YouTube.


Christina: Yeah, the majority of people reach me is literally, they're just looking for something on YouTube, and I pop up. So probably the easiest way is you can just go on YouTube, and if you just type in Christina Lopes, you'll see my channel pop up right away, and you can also go on my website ChristinaLopes.com. And so those are two easy ways. A lot of times, people really do find me the majority of time through YouTube, because there are hundreds of videos now on my YouTube channel. It's a large channel. And, you know, I'll usually get emails or messages from people saying, “I just spent the whole weekend in this rabbit hole of your videos, one after the other after the other, and they've helped me so much.” So we're really, really proud of the YouTube channel and, you know, it's just the ability to be able to help people with free content that even if they cannot afford to work with me, we're still, they're still assured to have really, really high value content on that YouTube channel.


Passionistas: I want to hear more about the retreats. Tell us about that.


Christina: Yeah, so, so the retreats are really powerful. So this year we had a retreat in April with 110 people in the south of Portugal, and the retreats are really kind of, you know, my baby. I love to work alive with people, and I love to work with really large groups. My energy is just made for working with large groups. It's where I thrive the most. And so our retreats are just this amazing kind of mixture between more masculine energy, where we talk more, and we have Q&A's, and we have coaching, and we talk, we're more in the mental aspect-- followed by probably the most, most popular aspect of our retreats are our night ceremonies. So we have ceremonies every night during our seven day retreat. And in those night ceremonies, the energy is more feminine. So there's a lot of drumming, there's a lot of music, we have a, we have gifted musicians that go with us on retreat, and they play every night. And every night is a different, a different ceremony. You know, we do past life regression, one night we do a feminine ceremony, another night we do-- all kinds of different things happen during these ceremonies. A lot of them are spontaneous, so I'm trying to think, like, “What do we usually do in the ceremonies?” They're coming, you know, they're spontaneously arising on, you know, on the spot. But it's probably the most, the most prized aspect of our retreats is those night ceremonies.


Yeah, and so, you know, people, the community aspect is really strong too. So a lot of people just really connect with their soul family when they come, when they come on retreat, and they get to know people, because a lot of times when people are going through a spiritual awakening, they feel very alone, because usually their family or their friends don't understand what they're going through. A lot of times there's pressure for a person to go see a psychiatrist or a psychologist, because to their family and friends, if they are not spiritual at all, it looks like that person is positively losing it. So they'll just say, “Hey, I think you need to go see a psychologist. I need think you need to go see...” You know, that's usually the vocabulary that the West has for someone that's going through profound transformation. You're either having a nervous breakdown, middle age crisis, you know, these are different terms that people give in the West to things that they can't explain, and these are really profound transformations that people are going through. So a lot of times they feel alone when they're going through these changes. So when they come on retreat, suddenly they connect with all these people, and they’re like, “Oh my God, I am not alone. So many people are going through this.” And so it’s very comforting. So we have a really, really strong community component to our retreats that last a lifetime. We did a retreat last year, and they're all added to a WhatsApp group, and still, to this day, every day they're chatting along in the WhatsApp group. So they remain connected even after the retreats. And so we really do prize that community, and that community building component of our work is really important.


Passionistas: Is there, like, a success story or something that somebody has said to you after working with you that really sticks with you?


Christina: I think, I think you...oh my God, there's a lot of them, but one of them that I'm remembering right now is when I was doing, when I was doing one-on-one sessions, I did one-on-one sessions for a really long time. And I remember I connected with a gentleman who, you know, he was just, he was having these horrible dreams every night that he was crashing his car and killing himself against a light pole or a tree sometimes, and he kept having this recurring dream. And so he was freaking out, and so he booked a session with me. And, you know, I could read in his energy that that's where his timeline was going. And so I, you know, started to ask him questions, and I remember him, you know, sharing with me that he struggled with alcoholism. And, you know, I could sense that that that was where this timeline was going, where his-- and when I, when I talk about timeline, for the people that aren't spiritual-- timeline is, you can use the word destiny for that. So people who have spiritual sensitivities or mediums, whatever you want to call them, your energy is very easy to read, and so you could read a person's energy, and based on their energy, you can extrapolate their timeline, where their timeline is going. That doesn't mean destiny is deterministic. It’s not. It's not determined, because if you take a step to the right and change your energy, your entire timeline changes. And so a lot of times, you know, if you go talk to a psychic or a medium, and they say, “Oh, this is going to happen,” I always caution people that that’s not true. It's a game of probabilities that people with spiritual sensitivities have. And so when I was reading his energy, there was a high probability at that moment that that's exactly where his timeline was going, and he was having these dreams as warning signs. And I was really, I'm very direct. I've always been very direct with my clients. And I said, “Look, you know, this is what’s going to happen to you if you don’t stop drinking. Like, there’s no other way for me to say this to you.” And I remember that he was just, you know, like, completely, completely, like, his head, it felt like something exploded out of his head, because he was struggling with this, right? Like, he was really struggling with this, and he was getting early warning signs that if he didn't, you know, change his course, that this is what was going to happen to him. And you know, just one session, one hour together, and he stopped drinking forever. Like, he never picked up a drink again. And so his entire life, his entire timeline shifted just from that one session.


And this is kind of, you know the “What helps me wake up in the morning, why would I wake up in the morning for?” It’s really just this, you know, profound blessing that I feel, and being able to affect people’s timelines in a real way and assist them, help them kind of come out of the challenges, the blocks, the boxes, the constraints that they're in and just, you know, showing them something new.


Passionistas: That's incredible. That's quite a gift. It's amazing. You mentioned that sometimes the people who are on the periphery of-- who aren't the person going through the change but, or, you know, going through the spiritual awakening but are the people around the person who are going through the spiritual awakening-- that they sometimes struggle with it themselves? So, what advice do you have for people who may know someone who's on a spiritual journey, and they want to be supportive, they want to be an advocate, but they're not sure how to be. Do you have any advice for those people?


Christina: Yeah. So probably the first thing, the first piece of advice would be to always ask that person what they need, and to offer support in the sense of just being there for them. Because a lot of times when we are going through these profound transformations, what we really need is a non-judgmental, receptive energy, sometimes to just listen and, but listen from a place of non-judgment. So that means that, if you're not going through that process, you have to be able to empty yourself out of all of the projections and judgments that you have about what that person may be experiencing. So in your eyes and the person that's not going through spiritual awakening or the person that's, you know, an atheist, or the person that doesn't even see what the other person is seeing, what the person that's going through spiritual awakening is seeing. Sometimes it's real-- and it's not even just with spiritual awakening. It’s with everything, really, you know? Like, if I'm talking to a friend who's going through a divorce, and I've been through a divorce too, and my-- let's say my divorce was horrible-- the likelihood that I'm gonna project my horrible divorce on that person is really high. And so it's the same thing with this example in that, if you see someone next to you, and they seem to be struggling, and your mind, the first thing your mind is saying is, “Oh my God, this person's going crazy. They really need to go see a psychiatrist, because what they're saying here to me is totally crazy. Like, they’re talking to spirit guides? This is insane. They’re hallucinating. They’re probably schizophrenic.” I heard this many, many times. Snd so maybe you have something to learn. You as the person that's observing that have a lot to learn, in the sense that maybe that person showing you what they're going through is perhaps a little trigger to kind of pierce the balloon of, “Oh, I've got everything figured out, and I know exactly how the world works, and there's no such thing as spirit guides, that's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. No. You know, the only things that exist is what science can measure, and that's it. Nothing else exists.” And so along comes this woo woo spiritual person, and they're saying they're going through all of these different phenomenon, well, can you listen to that, and can you offer support without projecting your judgments and your energy on them, you know? And this is a, this is a hard skill sometimes, you know?


Of course there are, there are moments when people are going through really hard aspects of a spiritual awakening. One of them that's very known, that Mystics have been talking about for a really long time, is the concept of the Dark Night of the Soul. Everyone’s, you know, a lot of people have heard this term, the Dark Night of the Soul. And this is a moment in the spiritual awakening where, really, you feel like there's no light at the end of the tunnel. You have, you're just, you're buried in trauma, you're trying to find some ground, you're trying to see, you know, what's up and down, left or right. And Mystics have been calling that the Dark Night of the Soul, and a lot of times when we're in those moments, we do need help, you know. So I've had clients who, their friends have to come over and help them and say, you know, “Where do I take you? Do I need to take you somewhere?” And then they, “Oh, I’m going to see this Shaman, can you take me to this Shaman, or can you take me to a psychologist? Or can you take me to a psychiatrist? Because I feel like I need mental support.” There's nothing wrong with that either, and so I guess, for the people that are supporting, the biggest thing is to just be able to offer that support without projecting your beliefs onto the situation. And that's not always easy.


Passionistas: And what do you hope that the people that you work with take away from the experience of working with you?

Christina: Just that they, that they feel better, and they have a different perspective, and they have a different...I think the words that are coming out, that are coming right now to me, is that they feel lighter as they walk away from me. So that they feel lighter in the sense that maybe something's been healed, or maybe they've been able to drop guilt and shame that they've been carrying for a really long time about something that happened to them in the past, and they hadn't let go, or they hadn't processed it. But maybe it's, they feel lighter because they were going through severe either a disease or a physical illness, and through our work together, they were able to heal that disease in a different way. Maybe it's just feeling lighter in the sense that as they walk away, they have a different perspective on a challenge or a problem that they had, and just, you know, the work that we did together, they were able to just kind of bust out of the way they were thinking about something, and that shift in perspective lightens them immediately. But in general, that's what I, you know, that's what I hope I, you know, I do in people's lives, is just help them. You know, help them walk a little lighter on Earth. You know, life is too short for us to be carrying very heavy loads, you know?


Passionistas: Most definitely. Is there one lesson that you personally have learned on this journey that resonates with you the most?


Christina: Oh my God, so many. So many. But I think one that I still work on this to this day is the idea-- Michael Singer talks a lot about this in his books especially. So, Michael Singer is the bestselling author of “The Surrender Experiment.” And “The Surrender Experiment” is his life story, and it's a beautiful, beautiful-- he was a best selling author before. I think Oprah made him famous, also. He is the bestselling author of “The Untethered Soul.” That’s one of the most sold spiritual books on the planet. And then years later, he wrote his biography. So I just knew Michael Singer through “The Untethered Soul.” So it was a great book. I didn't know his life story, and then years later-- I think this was, like, 2014, 2015-- he came out with his autobiography. And when I sat down and I read that book, that was probably the biggest lesson that I've ever had in the concept of surrender. And I think that so many of us have so much to learn about what it means to live a life where you are co-creating your experience with this thing we call “life,” or “the universe,” or “God,” or “Big Bang,” whatever you want to call it. There's this beautiful energy that manages to make everything go round, and that manages to keep us floating through space, barreling through space at 70,000 miles an hour, and we don't even notice that we're going 70,000 miles an hour. There's this incredible intelligence that just makes everything go round, and that incredible intelligence is also the intelligence that made you. And that intelligence can help co-create all kinds of experiences in your life if you allow that to happen. And so the Michael Stinger story-- it's a great read. I recommend it for everybody. One of my favorite books-- just the way that his story hit, his life story starts with a very, with the premise that, “I'm going to say yes to everything that life sends my way.” Now, this seems pretty simple, but this is a radical, radical idea. I'm going to say yes, so ,you know, one of the-- I'm not going to give Away the story-- but one of the first stories when he decides, “I'm not going to let my ego get in the way, I'm going to say yes to everything that life presents,” Well, the first day, this guy comes up to him, and he's a student. And he's like, “Can you please give me tutoring for--” I think Michael Singer was an engineer. And he was like, “I need tutoring. I don't understand.” And Michael Singer, his mind was like, “I don't want to be anyone’s tutor. That's ridiculous.” But then he remembered his promise to the universe. And he's like, “Fine. I'll be your tutor.” And the whole story just develops. One thing after the other happens. That, it's mind boggling. You can't even believe that the story is actually true, and it's like, this is his life story. And he goes from literally living in his van to being a multimillionaire, by literally this concept of, “I'm going to say yes to everything that presents itself in my life,” and this is what radical surrender means.


And that's, you know, one of the big lessons that I've been learning in my spiritual awakening is, you know, I'm American. You know Americans, and they're very templated with this, “Let's go out there and grab life by the horns and hustle and do and action and do.” And so for someone who's templated with that American mindset, the concept of surrender is not as easy. But when I started to practice surrender, the most miraculous things happened in my life that are just beyond a description. Like, I would sometimes say to myself, “Holy moly, I can't believe that life could be this easy if we just stop struggling. If we stop fighting, if we stop hustling, if we stop using our energy inappropriately.” And so for me, that's still, you know, the lesson that I work on every day, is being able to surrender to life, to trust life, trust that life is working for you, not against you. Trust that life loves you. You trust, trust, trust, and, you know, the more you trust, the more you surrender, the more you kind of let go of this grip of control that really just stresses us out and it’s just no fun.


Passionistas: Well, there's our message for the day, Amy. Yeah, exactly the message that I needed to hear today. I just want, I wish I could just hug you. People must, like, people that you work with must just want to hug you all the time. We always say during our interviews, there's always one moment where we hear what we're supposed to need to hear that day, and that's the one. What's the most rewarding part of what you do?


Christina: I think that the, you know the most rewarding part of what I do is really just seeing the transformation in others and knowing that that transformation is coming, because also I chose to step into my destiny-- or my Dharma, as Buddhists would call it. And that when we all step into our Dharma or our destiny or our paths, that version of us is really the version that's not only in the highest interest of us personally, but at the highest interest of everyone around us, because you're, we're all a gift to the universe when we are on our paths. It’s, we have so many gifts to offer. And for a really long time, life just felt like a struggle for me. I was already in the healing profession, but I knew there was a part of me that knew that my energy was supposed to be helping people in a different way. I just didn't, it wasn’t tangible for me at the moment. And so now, just seeing the transformation and even just the, you know, the-- to give a quick example here-- I'm thinking about the retreat we did in April. This was our largest retreat to date. We did one retreat last year. There was 17 people. This year, there was 110, so we increased our retreat significantly. And I remember that even just going from-- I started doing retreats with one person. I went one person, then 17, 20, then 110. And there was a part of me that said, you know, “But the more people you work with, the less you'll be able to work individually with people, because the groups get bigger, right?” And so there was a tad bit of judgment on my part. There was self-judgment and self-criticism that maybe I wasn't doing the right thing. That maybe I wasn't affecting people as much as I should when I was working with them one-on-one, and I remember I struggled with that a little bit. But I just kept strong with my inner intuition on what felt good to me. What felt good to me. Working one-on-one with people did not feel good to me anymore. Working with big groups felt good. And so that's what I tell people all the time. Follow your feelings. Follow that passion. Follow that excitement. What gives you excitement? Walk towards it. Walk towards what gives you excitement. And we just did it. I was like, “No, I want to do, I need to be doing retreats that are bigger and bigger. That's what I'm here for,” I could feel it.


And so we had this retreat, and it was just amazing. I'd walk through the hotel and, you know, I'd be talking to people all day, and after a week, just the transformation in the entire group, I suddenly understood that it wasn't about me. I was just bringing people together, but they were healing themselves. They were hanging out. They were having these amazing experiences that had nothing to do with me. And so I started to understand this idea that you, the more you are on path, the more you affect others, and you affect change. The less you are on your path, the less you're going to be affecting the people around you positively, at least right? Because a lot of times what ends up happening when we're off our path, we negatively impact the people around us, because we're not in our truth. And if we're not in our truth, the people around us are going to be affected by that, also. So, yeah.


Passionistas: What's your dream for yourself, and what's your dream for women?


Christina: What's my dream for self? Oh, my God, I don't just have one dream. I'm like a, I'm a non-stop visionary. I'm dreaming all the time. So, so a big dream that I have currently that I could talk about, we're going to be building a healing and retreat center in Portugal that's very state-of-the-art and very different from anything out there. So I'm very, very excited about that. So that's a personal dream that I can talk about.


Dream for women? I think my biggest wish for women is that they just, they free themselves, really, from all of the constraints. Some constraints are imposed by society still, but a lot of the constraints are imposed from within them and, you know, imposed in the form of beliefs and the form of insecurities and the form of self-judgment. And I really wish freedom for women. Freedom-- not just freedom from external circumstances, we still focus a lot on external circumstances-- but the freedom within. For them to think differently about themselves, about their bodies, about who they are, about their sexuality, about everything about them, and they understand their perfection regardless, right? But really is, freedom would be one thing. Another thing would be that women learn to step into their feminine energy. Powerful feminine energy is returning to the planet after being suppressed for thousands of years, and the women that are on this planet right now are really in charge of the rising of feminine energy again on the planet. And this rise of feminine energy is really where the energy of the planet is going moving forward, because we've had millennia of masculine dominant energy and now the pendulum is shifting. And that's the way we're going to heal our planet, is through that. But for us to heal our planet through feminine energy, women have to be comfortable in feminine energy, and we're not. You know, the women that are most successful out there are women that have had to step in the masculine shoes in order to become successful, you know. And now we're seeing this this turn, where now the feminine is being accepted in boardrooms and the feminine is being accepted everywhere really. But for that to happen, women have to be comfortable in that energy and have to reclaim that energy and reclaim the power of that energy. And that sometimes isn't easy, especially when we've been, when we've been educated as little girls that, you know, successful women do do, do, do, do. You know, you gotta have every-- even to the point of saying that, “Now women can have it all. They can have children. They could be CEOs. They could do whatever, they could, whatever, whatever.” And then I have a lot of women coming to me, saying, “You know, I'm burnt out because I've been told that I should be doing all of this, and if I want to stay at home with my children, I'm considered not successful, and if I want to dedicate my life to my career and not have children, I'm also considered incomplete, because I don't have children.” And so we're constantly being torn in different directions. And what I tell women is just, “Follow your passions and whatever you want to do, and screw whatever anyone else has to say about it,” you know?


Passionistas: That's fabulous. Do you have a mantra that you live by?


Christina: Oh my God. Lots of them. Lots of them. Let me think of one. I use so many mantras. Let me think of one that may be pertinent for the audience right now. I'd probably say something around surrender, really. I probably say something around surrender. You know, like, “I surrender to the goodness of life. I surrender to my highest path. I welcome my highest path.”


And I had a mantra on retreat that sometimes is harder to work with, but I'll leave it here anyways, because this is a mantra for the courageous. And it's the mantra, you know, “I welcome my path no matter what the consequences.” And sometimes this is a harder mantra to work with, because a lot of times, I repeated this mantra a lot in our last retreat, because we had quite a few women on the retreat who were in very unhappy marriages and relationships, and this is happening a lot. The woman is waking up. If she's in a heterosexual relationship, the woman is waking up, and she's waking up faster, she's having a spiritual awakening faster, and then the partner isn't. And then what ends up happening is they drift apart, and then the woman ends up being very unhappy and doesn't know what to do. And so we worked with this mantra a lot on this last retreat, the ability to surrender to my highest path, no matter what the consequences. Because a lot of times when you welcome your highest path, you're going to have to make difficult decisions, and you're going to have to act on those difficult decisions. It's not, it's not pretty smelling roses all the time. When you say to the universe, “I welcome my highest path,” then the first thing that the universe is going to do is it's gonna completely destroy what's not in your highest path. And that part isn't pretty all the time. And so that's why I say, “Work with this mantra with courage.”


I love to, if you're into working with archetypal energies, I love to work with goddesses when it comes to this, and one of my favorite goddesses to invoke when working with this surrender, “I surrendered to my highest path, no matter the consequences.” When you start repeating this, it may be a little scary initially, but then you can call on the archetypal energy of the goddess Kali, which is the Hindu goddess of destruction, the slayer of demons, the slayer of egos. So the historical image of Kali is, she's holding a severed head, she's got a sword, and she's holding a severed head. And you look at that image, and you're like, “What the heck is she doing?” and then you figure out that the symbology is, she's literally just cut the head off of egos, of anything that doesn't serve you. That's what that head represents. It represents your ego, it represents the things that no longer serve you. And Kali comes in, and she just cleans that up for you. So I love to work with Kali energy. When it's time to call in my highest path, I call in my highest path, no matter the costs. That's a great mantra, but it's not an easy one to work with. You got to be open to it.


Passionistas: That's really powerful. So, what's your secret to a rewarding life?


Christina: I think, really, a rewarding life is just taking one step every single day towards your highest calling, or your highest path. And when I talk about the highest path or the highest timeline, when you incarnate on planet Earth, this is a universe of infinite possibilities, right? Infinite possibilities. We know that even just studying a little bit of quantum mechanics. We know that, you know? Something could be here, or it could be there, or it could be over there, or it could be over there, over there, over there. So there are infinite possibilities in the universe, and when you incarnate into this body, that means that there are infinite possibilities for you too. But-- there's always the but-- when you incarnate in each life, your soul has prepared a highest path of them all. So there are multiple, multiple infinite doors that the universe will open for you, but there's one door that is your highest path that your soul could have possibly designed for you for this lifetime. And so that's the door that I want to open. That's the, that's the trail that I want to follow, is towards that highest path, towards what my soul really wanted me to do in this lifetime. And so, even though there are other doors over here, some of these doors, “Oh, look, this door looks a little bit easier to go through. My life would be a little bit more comfortable if I went through that door.” But that’s not really my highest path And so I'm going to stay true to that, and I'm going to continue to call my highest path.

There's an extreme example that I give of this, that a lot of people have heard of, because Christianity is something that's, you know, all over all over the world, and one of the principle, or the biggest religions in the world. But everyone, even if you're not Christian, has heard the semblance of the story of Jesus and how he died. Everybody seeing that symbol of Jesus, you know on a cross, right? That’s how he ended. He died at 33 years of age on a cross. Well, his highest path, and even if you read stories of him, you'll notice that as he was walking towards Jerusalem, he knew exactly what was going to happen to him, and he could have turned around at any moment. And he could have ran away. He could have just disappeared. But every single day, he walked towards Jerusalem. Now, imagine if you're in his shoes, and you know what's gonna happen to you, and you still walk towards Jerusalem. That is an extreme example of what it means to walk your path. Because at the end of the day, he fulfilled his destiny. And we all have destinies, all of us. And at the end of the day, if you fulfill that highest destiny, it will feel like your soul is singing, regardless of how many difficulties you may encounter. Following your highest path doesn't mean it's going to be easy, as the story of Jesus illustrated. Following your highest path is still going to be the most rewarding to your soul, and there's a feeling inside that a lot of people have never accessed because they haven't, they haven't gone on their soul path yet. They're still too distracted doing what society thinks that they should be doing. “Oh, I'm in my mid 20s, I should be finding a husband! Oh, oh, oh, ooh, ooh, I'm getting close to 30. I really need to start having kids, because my biological clock is ticking!” We have all this bullshit that's thrown into our heads, and so we end up following these different timelines, and a lot of times, we don't even question if that's really what we want. And so the moment we say, “No, what's my highest path? Please show me, divine creator, whatever, whatever, life, please show me. Give me a breadcrumb that I can see and that I can take on that trail.” And the moment you do that more and more every day, you're going to be walking towards your highest path, and you will feel better and better and more fulfilled, more fulfilled. You'll be, it’s a feeling that's really difficult to explain unless the person starts walking it. But walking that highest path, it's worth it. No matter no matter what it is, it's worth it.


Passionistas: That's incredible. So, you've talked about people's, you know, preconceived notions of what success is. So, what's your definition of success?


Christina: That's changed over the years. That really has changed over the years. So, until recently-- this is a transition that I had to do in my own life-- until recently, success for me meant the amount of people that I could help on the planet. So until recently, if I could help a million people or 2 million people, that would, I would be more successful than if I helped 100 people. So in my mind, that was what success meant. Well then, last year, because of that, I had a burnout. I had a severe burnout last year. Insane amounts of work that that I was doing, I burnt out, and I'm still recovering, and I'm still healing. It's been a difficult process. And when I was going through that burnout, I had some really difficult conversations with the universe, and I said to the universe, “There's got to be a me in this success equation. There's got to be a me.” So then I started to say to the universe, “I'm here to affect the lives of as many people as is meant. I don’t even care. As many people as is meant. But I'm here to affect that change while also living joyfully myself. So I'm not here to affect change by sacrificing myself or at the expense of myself. I'm going to be in this equation too.” And so now, that's where success is for me, really, is the ability to affect the lives of other people positively, as many as the universe wants. I just do my work every day, and I reach as many people as I need to reach, and I reach as many people as life wants me to reach every day, and it's growing more and more and more, but I don't care what the number is. But I'm not doing that anymore at the expense of my own joy and my own happiness and my own health. So I think that, I think that measure of success is really important, because I I don't think that we focused enough on it. So a lot of times, and this is especially true for women-- a lot of our men too. Actually, men have the same issue. So when they're, they allow the outside world to dictate what success means, and then they try to follow that. “Oh, I'm going to follow that. Oh, I’m a woman? Oh, I’m 30? I should have a child already, because my biological clock is ticking! And I'm told by society that I'm less of a woman if I don't have children. And so let me go do that. That's success.” For a man, maybe success is, “Oh, I need to be running a company or being someone's boss, because that's what success means for men.” And so I'm just coming up with examples, but you see how success a lot of times is being dictated by the outside, and a lot of times, it's not even a conversation we are having with ourselves. What does success mean in my life? And it's got to include me. Right? It’s got to include me. So, that’s what I, that’s what I would add when it comes to any kind of definition of success now, is for us to always include ourselves in that equation. So yeah, for me now, it's, I'm going to continue to serve, but I'm going to do it to have fun also at the same time.


Passionistas: It's really interesting, that's come up a lot lately with women, no matter what we're talking to them about, what their area is, it’s like, “But I've got it--” you know, activists, “But I've got to have fun while I'm doing it.” And it's something I think that gets overlooked way too much, but I think people have gone through, especially the last few years, have gone through so much that everybody's reminding them. A lot of people are reminding themselves.


Christina: Oh yeah, yeah. This whole COVID pandemic has been a major reset for people. It's been a major trigger for Awakenings all over the world. This was really a blessing in disguise in so many ways. And, you know, when you're stuck in your house staring at four walls, your distractions are all gone. Now, you got to go in where-- that's what I was doing for four years. That's what hermitting is. That's literally why Mystics have been doing that. That's why Mystics were sitting in caves thousands of years ago, just sitting there staring at the walls. Why were they doing that? They weren’t stupid. They were doing that because they understood that the only way for them to figure out what they wanted or what was meant for them is if they removed all distractions. And so that's what we did in the COVID lockdowns, right? I had, I've never had so much work in my entire life. That's where my burnout started, actually, was during the COVID pandemic, because there were just people reaching me by the thousands. And I remember I did, I did YouTube live meditations for 12 straight weeks, and people would show up, like 7 to 8 thousand people every single meditation. And I'd finished the meditation, I'd be like, “I don't know what just happened to me, but I feel like I just got hit by a truck. It was so much energy. And I did that for 12 weeks straight during the lockdowns. And so that was kind of the beginning. And then after 12 weeks, I told—I was like, “Alright, guys, I've been having fun with these meditations every week, but I can't do this anymore. Now you guys are off to meditate by yourself.”


Passionistas: Wow. What advice do you have for someone that wants to begin their spiritual journey, spiritual awakening, but they're just not sure where to begin?


Christina: Usually the easiest way to begin with a spiritual awakening-- unless it's triggered by something external like mine was. You know, a lot of times people's awakenings are triggered by something that happens that's outside of their control, like a, you know, a life-threatening car accident, you know, the the loss of a relationship, the loss of a job, the sudden loss of a job. But for people, you know, people can wake up without having any kind of drama happening in their lives, and one of the best ways to do that is just to start to ask very contemplative questions and very introspective questions. The universe loves open-ended questions, because it means that you start to open your energy up to receive guidance. And a lot of people say to me, “Well, I'm not a medium or a psychic like you. I don't have those sensitivities. Like, how am I going to know when I'm receiving guidance?” You will know because the universe always speaks to you in a way that you will receive it. So for some people, like I've had people say “I, you know, I don't even have a third eye. I don't even know what the heck it means to be spelled—like, I don't know what the heck you're talking about.” And then, you know, the next session, they'll be like, “Oh my God, I was at a grocery store standing in line, and I started having a conversation with the person behind me. And we just went into this conversation, and that person just gave me a message of something that I had been asking the universe for.” This is how the universe works. You will receive guidance in the way that you can best receive it. So if you feel like you have no spiritual sensitivities whatsoever, you can still open yourself to the up to the universe, and the universe is going to plant someone behind a grocery store line, some random stranger that's going to tell you exactly what you need to hear at that moment. And so that's, you know, that's kind of where this can start for people, is the opening up of the energy and saying, you know, I'm open to receiving guidance and to going deeper. I know that my life is much more than what I've been living. I know that it is and I'm ready to go deeper into that.


What else is out there for me? What else does life want of me? I love this question. I love this question. We very rarely ask this question. We usually ask the question, “What do I want from life?” We very rarely ask the question the opposite: “What does life want from me?” This is a great question. Great, great question. What does life want from me? What is the universe pulling out of me? I love this question. Because the universe is always going to pull out of you what you're meant to do anyways. And so I love this, this, “What does life want of me? I'm willing to open up and to listen. What does life want of me? And I'll follow that that breadcrumb.” And so that's a great way. But the contemplative questions, you know, “Is there anything from my past that I need to heal? How do I--” Just the simple question of sitting down and asking yourself, “How do I feel right now? How did I feel?” Or, “How do I feel about this--” whatever, the fill in the blank. “How do I feel about this?” And the moment you start to go into exploring your emotions and how they feel in your body, you're already opening the door to a spiritual awakening, because a spiritual awakening is very, very connected to the body. Very, very connected.


Passionistas: Thanks for listening to the Passionistas Project podcast and our interview with Christina Lopes. To learn how to awaken the journey of spiritual rebirth, visit ChristinaLopes.com.


And be sure to visit ThePassionistasProject.com to sign up for our mailing list, find all the ways you can follow us on social media, and join our worldwide community of women working together to level the playing field for us all.


We'll be back next week with more passionistas who are defining success on their own terms and breaking down the barriers for themselves and women everywhere.


Until then, stay well and stay passionate.

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