A Therapist Takes Her Own Advice

A Healing Journey with Nicole Poole

August 25, 2020 Rebekah Shackney Season 1 Episode 17
A Therapist Takes Her Own Advice
A Healing Journey with Nicole Poole
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Nicole Poole, shares her history of trauma and her journey to health and healing. She talks about how CPT Therapy, EMDR and meditation have allowed her to stop the negative tape playing in her mind and regain her sense of self. Now, during the pandemic she has found a way to spread joy throughout her community and beyond by chalking the sidewalks in her neighborhood. Find her creations at Wordsmiff405. Don't  miss her in a livestream reading of The Odyssey on Saturday, August 29th at 7:30. And here's the link to the This American Life episode that inspired Nicole to seek CPT therapy.


Nicole Poole is a native Oklahoman, recently repatriated after 20+ years in NYC and a few in Paris. In addition to specializing in multidisciplinary collaborative performance and live composition, she is an award-winning audiobook narrator, collection curator, entrepreneur and advocate for Oklahoma’s artists.

Nicole has performed stateside and internationally, in both self-produced projects and with companies ranging from the New York International Fringe Festival to England’s Royal Shakespeare Company.  She is a core member of the Walter Thompson Orchestra and founding member of Kollecti’F, an international poetic cabaret launched in Geneva, Switzerland in February, 2020. She has narrated more than 200 audiobooks, and her work has been recognized by Publisher’s Weekly, AudioFile Magazine, the Independent Audiobook Awards and by the Audio Publisher Association’s Audie Awards.


Nicole is the owner and curator of the O. Gail Poole Collection, a significant catalogue of works of visual art by her late father. She has produced exhibits of his work in Oklahoma, Paris and Tuscany; most recently, “O. Gail Poole’s Sideshow,” a landmark exhibit of more than 60 of Poole’s bizarre works of human folly, was granted a solo exhibition at the Fred Jones, Jr. Museum of Art.


As the North American Liaison for Art Ludique le Musée, a Parisian museum dedicated to the art of entertainment, Nicole is the bridge between the museum and film/comic contacts including SDCC, Pixar, Blue Sky and the late, great, Stan Lee. 


Nicole is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma School of Drama; she is also a certified Creative Catalyst and member of the founding cohort of an intensive program in artistic leadership and entrepreneurship through the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. 

Finally, Nicole’s values of compassion and service, combined with her penchant for collaboration and delightful disruption, manifest in pop-up creative hijinks around the world.

Thanks so much for joining me today for A Therapist Takes Her Own Advice. If you connected with what you heard here, and you want to work with me, go to my website, rebekahshackney.com and send a message through my contact page. And if you have enjoyed what you’ve heard here, please subscribe, rate and review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

A Healing Journey with Nicole Poole

Rebekah Shackney (00:07):

Hi, I'm Rebekah Shackney. And this is A Therapist Takes Her Own Advice

Rebekah Shackney (00:17):

I invited Nicole pool on the show because I've always admired her. And I guessed that she would have an interesting story to tell though, I didn't quite know what it would be. We met back in college in the nineties. She was one of the stars in the drama department, and I was a lowly freshmen trying to make my way, but she was always kind and encouraging. After college, I knew the Facebook Nicole, the working actor who always seemed to be doing something fabulous. I had no idea she was a trauma survivor, and I had no idea she'd been on a journey to heal from that trauma for the last year. Today she talks about that journey in the hopes that others who suffer can find the inspiration to stop suffering in silence like she did for so long and reach out for help. You'll hear her mention that she often dissociated in the past. This happens when some part of the person's mind and behavior become separated from their awareness. When a person feels scared and can't physically escape the situation they may dissociate. It's often experienced as losing time or having an out of body experience. It's a trauma response that protects the person who is being actively abused, but even after the abuse stops, the traumatized person may dissociate in response to fear, stress, or other perceived danger. I'm so grateful to Nicole for agreeing to share her story in such an honest and vulnerable way.

Rebekah Shackney (01:54):

Thank you so much for being here today, Nicole Poole.

Nicole Poole (01:58):

Hi, it's my pleasure. Yay. Yay. This is exciting. Yeah.

Rebekah Shackney (02:03):

So tell me a little bit about yourself.

Nicole Poole (02:05):

You know, I never know how to launch into that.

Rebekah Shackney (02:07):

How are you?

Nicole Poole (02:11):

I'm, you know, I'm actually doing pretty well. Thanks despite everything I'm enjoying my life beginning to enjoy my life more and more these days. Um, I'm a performing artist, multidisciplinary artist. I'm a curator of, um, a giant art collection left to me by my late father. Um, and I am currently in Oklahoma city after 25 years in New York and a few in Paris. I moved back here to take care of my dad's art and my mom. And that's where I'm based. I'm an audio book narrator and I, I, I produce all kinds of hi-jinks.

Rebekah Shackney (02:53):

Excellent. So tell us a little bit about your career trajectory.

Nicole Poole (02:58):

Okay. Well, um, when I was 18, I lost a bet playing pool and had to audition for a local theater. And, uh, I got the part and stayed with them for a couple of years until they went bankrupt. And the University of Oklahoma was right across the street. So I audition for the school of drama and got in. And four years later, I graduated and, um, moved directly to New York in a rental car with $800. So, uh, from that point on, um, it's been, it's been a lot of, I did straight theater, uh, for quite a while. I was able to join the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Denver Center Theater Company with this huge co-production of Tantalus, uh, 10 and a half hour play, um, written by John Barton directed by Peter Hall. And these are guys that started the RSC and I came back and started doing voiceovers and on camera commercials and I did one more straight, bit a theater and realized that, um, life was short and theater was long and didn't pay very well. So, uh, uh, and the play, the, it was a wonderful play, but it was so dark. And, you know, with my particular personality, I tend to really be affected by my environment. And so I, I really got involved with downtown what I call downtown raggedy ass experimental theater and, um, working multidisciplinary. So I've been part of a community, um, that uses sound painting, which was, is a sign language for, um, live composition. Uh, so I've been working with that in the US and in Europe for many years now, basically, I'm just, I'm a creative and, and I, I have a lot of interests and I've somehow found a way to be a professional dilettante.

Rebekah Shackney (05:06):

I just want to take a step back. You mentioned that you're really affected by your environment. Can you tell me a little bit more about that, um, and that dark play affected you?

Nicole Poole (05:18):

Sure. Well, that's a, that's a good launching point, I guess. Um, so my background involves a lot of trauma and, um, violence and neglect, and I've spent, you know, several decades trying to run from my past and, and you really can't. Um, so I, my, my particular diagnosis is complex trauma, and that means that I was left without a really strong sense of self. Um, I dissociated so much that experiencing my life in real time, um, was never really an option for me. I didn't understand that it could be an option. So when I found theater, I was so grateful because I could slide into characters and be those people, you know, without the pressure of having to decide for myself who I wanted to be. And, um, and I think that that variable sense of self, I just felt like I was always blown around by the elements, you know?

Nicole Poole (06:34):

Um, and I like, for example, I can't watch scary movies I can now, but in the past it was so real to me. I would just get triggered by everything. And so anything that was dark or violent, um, I, I just, I couldn't, I couldn't sustain it because I, I believed it. I was right there. Um, yeah, so to go night after night in a very dark stark, existential play, it was really having a giant impact on my life. And, um, you know, so, so I've, I've always tried to find joy, um, and tried to follow that these days I'm getting, making better decisions about it, but in the past, you know, it was like, Oh, okay. I need a strong personality. Okay. Well, here's an abusive ex husband. Um, uh, I'm sorry, I'm kind of going off the point a little bit. There's just, there's a lot to try to unpack.

Rebekah Shackney (07:38):

Sure. No, but I I'm first, I'm really sorry that you had to struggle with that. That's, you know, and it's, it's, you know, somewhat shocking to me as someone who went to college with you, you know, you always seemed to be this happy, joyful, you know, just effervescent person. And so it's, it's, I guess, amazing to me what goes on underneath the surface that we don't see in other people and especially people who've struggled with severe trauma, they have to put up this facade that is protective.

Nicole Poole (08:14):

Yeah. I mean, I think the core of me is, has always been, you know, just determined to, to hold on to that joy. Cause that is, that's really part of me, but, um, yeah, just, it just overrun with, with vulnerability and, and not really understanding, you know, if you grow up without a lot of nurturing without, you know, with, with a very variable and violent and unpredictable environment, um, you don't, you don't grow up knowing how to trust the world, right. Or trust yourself, or trust other people. So, you know, you, I think like many people, you construct the personality that works the best, where do I receive the most positive affirmations? Um, yeah. Yeah.

Rebekah Shackney (09:08):

So what kinds of things did you do to preserve yourself during your life? How have you managed to tolerate discomfort and you know, what kinds of things did you do?

Nicole Poole (09:21):

Well, I think when I was a kid, it was my imagination. You know, I was by myself a lot. I lived with my paternal grandmother, um, who had always taken care of me when I was a kid. She was always dependable and great. And I don't think anybody really realized the extent of her dementia. Um, after my parents' divorce, I was sent to live with her and I would talk to, you know, my folks on the phone, but I rarely saw them and, you know, and they couldn't see, um, the grandma was in bed all the time that there were roaches and mice everywhere that she, you know, couldn't cook anymore, that she was, you know, grandma just departed basically. Um, so I spent a lot of time with my imagination. I spent a lot of time, you know, I don't know, just playing in the dirt with sticks and I, you know, as a result, I can entertain myself pretty easily. Let's see. I flunked out in my first year of college, um, and, uh, took a couple of years off. And then once I got back in with theater, I was so I loved it. I loved the structure of college and a syllabus, and there were goals to meet and, you know, um, so that really thrilled me. Um, and then I just spent a couple of decades distracting myself as best as I could from all of these, you know, increasingly loud self deprecating thoughts.

Rebekah Shackney (10:58):

And how did you distract yourself?

Nicole Poole (11:01):

Oh, man. Golly, through everything through, I mean, I had a lot of fun, you know, in some of it, uh, moving to New York. Um, I had had a full ride to, um, to a graduate program in theater and I couldn't wait to go there. And, uh, during a summer job I was raped, um, by one of our former classmates and I turned everything down and moved to New York directly. And so, you know, I just, I, I started auditioning and, and trying to get, uh, trying to get as much contacts, you know, as many contacts as I could within the theater world. And so work really became, um, my biggest distraction, um, work relationships, um, projects, drama, um, you know, travel that eventually came in. Um, and just kind of anything I could do that was interesting and would keep me from thinking really cause any quiet time I had, it just felt like there was so much pressure to, uh, it, I just felt terrified of being alone and being alone with my thoughts. So, so now I'm doing the work to really reverse that. Um, and I love my own company, which is fortunate during lockdown.

Rebekah Shackney (12:44):

It is so, but I want to just take a moment and say, um, you know, wow, I mean, it's, first of all, it's, it's so common that people distract because you're trying what you know, to do to avoid pain. And when your thoughts are what is causing you pain, of course you want to just not think and do whatever you can do to not sit with yourself. Um, and as you have come to, to know that though, it doesn't go away, it sits with you. It just, it gets buried Deeper and deeper.

Nicole Poole (13:24):

Yeah, for sure. Yeah. So, you know, like the call is coming from inside the house, that's terrifying, you know,

Rebekah Shackney (13:34):

Very terrifying, really. So what happened that you were able to start doing the work? What changed?

Rebekah Shackney (13:42):

Well, you know, I, I have had a string of, or at least two main, um, psychologists, uh, when I was in New York, one of them was, um, my last marriage counselor who turned into my coach, um, the late great Ed MeHan and he was wonderful and he was, he was a coach. He was like, okay, so what are we gonna do about this? You know, very, very Irish, New York. Um, and I met with him weekly, um, to just kind of hold my hand through life. And I, I just imprinted on him, you know? And, uh, and I really depended on his counsel, um, until I moved out of the city. Um, you know, from there on out, I was in a relationship. So when you're in a relationship, sometimes it's the perfect distraction because you can focus all of your, on the other person and you don't really have to think about what's wrong with you.

Nicole Poole (14:56):

You know, you just work on your environment and their reactions. And, you know, even though I do have a pretty particular background of trauma, I don't, I feel like other people feel similarly, you know, maybe I'm just ramped up with it. Um, so when my relationship, um, ended and I came back to Oklahoma, man, I was just in a tailspin. Um, you know, I was angry and surly and blah, and I finally realized that, wow, there's, it's not like this is going to pass. If I want things to change, I've got to do it. Um, so I started serious work last summer. Um, and I, uh, I, it's funny, I had kind of been thinking that like, Oh, you know, maybe therapy would be a good idea, uh, again, because the antidepressants weren't working, the anti-anxiety wasn't, well, it was doing its job, but I just felt numb. And, um, so I heard a bit on, I think it was this American life called, uh, um, 10 sessions and it was describing the reporter's journey into Cognitive Processing Therapy or CPT, which has been developed for PTSD. And I never considered that I had PTSD or any kind of trauma. I just thought, well, you know, that's that's life. Um, with the million voices in my head, they're like, just get over it, stop feeling, sorry for yourself. You know, I never really admitted that maybe I had been damaged by my past. So, um, I found a therapist here who practiced CPT, and I went on this 12 week journey. And that's when I was diagnosed with complex trauma.

Rebekah Shackney (17:04):

That's amazing. I mean, because it does sound like it was just this happenstance, like you knew you needed something and then this, this model of treatment fell in your lap and you found somebody and you were able to make the connection and go do it. So I think that's great. So tell me about that journey

Nicole Poole (17:24):

I realized I wasn't enjoying my life, you know, and, and I really wanted to, but I had no idea how to get there. And I was comparing myself to other people and really being hard on myself about what I should be doing. And that should word is just such an insipid little word. Um, so during the course of this thing, it actually helped me as silly as it may sound, identify the emotions I was feeling and where am I feeling them in my body? Because when, when you've been traumatized and you're a, you're a dissociater, or you're lost those things are kind of lost to you unless they extreme emotions. You know, I can recognize happy or sad, but when it comes to the millions of emotions in between those things, I can find them in a character with a script, but finding them myself, wasn't really there. So I started identifying emotions and then making lists of what are called stuck points. Um, like for example, I'm looking at my little list now, no one will ever understand me. I'm broken. I'm actually stupid. I'll always be broke. I'll never be a leader. My worth is in my looks, you know, and it's just on and on and on. I'm a has been, and I'm reading these out loud and sharing these because I have a feeling that other people might feel similar things.

Rebekah Shackney (18:56):

And so many other people, so many.

Nicole Poole (18:59):

Yeah. And to just take away the stigma of it all, um, for me, that's really important. So anyway, so every week I would go do these worksheets of, um, you know, levels of responsibility. Where's my fault. Where's the fault of somebody else. Where's my responsibility. And it's challenging questions and patterns of problematic thinking, esteem modules. And, you know, we'd go to like, what's the situation, what's the thought or the stuck point in the emotion that comes with it, what's the evidence for all of these challenging thoughts, you know, and noticing that there are a lot of, a lot of commonplace things for PTSD and for complex trauma, jumping to conclusions, everything is black and white over simplifying overgeneralizing, trying to mind read, you know, um, uh, it just felt so validating like, Oh my gosh, there's actually a system in place that can help me challenge that can help me because logically I can reason myself into anything, um, usually towards the negative, but emotionally I really needed some help. And this provided the jumping off point. So right. As soon as I got that diagnosis, then I started, um, I started in deep with meditation and with, um, really working on mindfulness and I can't stress enough how much that's helped me. Um, and now I'm working with a therapist who, uh, does EMDR.

Rebekah Shackney (20:45):

Excellent. Yeah. And I just want to say. All of those behaviors, um, the black and white thinking and, um, kind of the, the maladaptive behaviors that you are stuck with are part of what protected you. It's like a scaffolding that you had to construct around yourself. So, because you were used to being hurt. And so they were protective at least during a time when you were being regularly traumatized. And so when you moved away from that, you still had that scaffolding and you didn't know how to take it down. Um,

Nicole Poole (21:21):

That's a really compassionate response. That's really nice.

Rebekah Shackney (21:25):

Oh, my pleasure. I just think it's important that people don't beat themselves up because of these learned behaviors that really are learned to protect that little kid from getting continuously hurt.

Nicole Poole (21:38):

Absolutely. Yeah. And that's the key, because that becomes a feedback loop for sure. That, you know, in addition to the behaviors that helped protect me, I learned to internalize all of the, um, all of the criticism, you know, um, and my, my therapist right now, she said, you know, it's like, if you're looking, I imagine you looking at one of those Funhouse mirrors that reflects back a million different reflections of you. And every one of those reflections are just screaming at you, you know, of what you should do or shouldn't do, or, or, you know, just constant correction and criticism. And she said, what's interesting is they all might look like you, but none of them are, they're just kind of wearing your mask because you've internalized them. So let's start to really challenge where these voices are coming from and that's been insanely helpful. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Rebekah Shackney (22:39):

Yeah. I love that. I really love that. No, I'm going to steal that. Don't get me wrong. Um, so, so you've been, um, you've gone through the 12 weeks. You're doing EMDR, you're meditating, you're practicing mindfulness. Um, so how are you doing now? I know I asked you at the beginning, but with all that we've heard and all of the trauma that you've mentioned, how are you doing now?

Nicole Poole (23:06):

I'm really doing well. I, you know, of course it's, we're in a pandemic, so there is anxiety. Of course, there's, you know, I I'm stuck in my apartment for the most part. So some days, some days I'm just bored and melancholy and I have half finished projects all over the place and the kitchen is a mess cause I don't want to clean it again. And, um, but I started doing these little sidewalk chalks in the park next to my house, just as an outlet, you know, as a performer, we can't gather anymore. And even though I'm an audio book narrator and that's great, it's me and a microphone. And I really might, my love language is connecting with other people. So I started just doing these little chalks, um, kind of just zany or somewhat inspirational quotes. Like I didn't want to fall all the way into live, laugh, love, because I feel like that's insincere, but, um, little things like you have a great smile or, you know, "shimmy spot" or "shake that groove thing," or, you know, nice "lift that chin dare to be the hero of your own story." I would start to leave these little things for people and, you know, people would tell, my neighbors would say, Hey, is that you? I liked that. Well, so I started getting better and I started looking up how to do calligraphy with chalk and, you know, my cursive got better. And then I started drawing these little characters and just leaving little Easter eggs for people to find, you know, little mice and making things out of, out of the grass and the cracks, um, or the imprints of leafs in the concrete. And, um, from that it's, I don't quite understand the appeal, but I've got an Instagram account and they're like, I've got over 500 followers now of people who just love it. I know my neighbors by name. I, you know, we give each other air high fives, they give me suggestions and it's become this, this community, which for me has been so important because if you look at social media or the news, it's like, ah, we're all, we apparently all Americans hate each other. Right. And all I have control over is my immediate surroundings and right now, and so how can I make that better? And you know, so, and I wake up every morning, like, Oh, Oh no, I know I'm going to put a ma mouse about to go into amaze. And the other mouse is like, no, no, come over here where the rainbows are. Um, you know, and just like, I love it. Little, little acts of storytelling really, um, that I'm really enjoying got my first commission I guy wants meet guy, wants me to do his driveway for his wife who is high risk and can't really get out much. Um, yeah. So that's become a really fun thing and a steady thing for me to do in the mornings in the evenings. Um, so in answer to your question, I feel great. I've, you know, I went back to school, I'm starting to produce things. I'm, I'm curious about my world. I, I no longer feel like there's some invisible ceiling holding me down, you know, I'm, I'm really starting to spread my wings and love my life.

Rebekah Shackney (26:41):

That's fantastic. That is fantastic. Tell me about your mindfulness practice.

Nicole Poole (26:49):

Um, meditation, meditation, you know, people have told me this for years and logically I'd go, Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Right. Yeah. Yeah. I got that. I go to yoga, um, and yoga is cool, but I was there so that I wouldn't look fat, you know, which is a whole nother thing. Um, but uh, sitting on a pillow and setting a timer and being present in my body with my breath, with my thoughts and trying to develop this kind of consciousness, that's watching me like watching my thoughts, zoom through my head and holding them with compassion and letting them go. Um, that's been really important because I now have a self awareness that I never had before. Um, you know, while I'm chopping vegetables, when I'm on overdrive or overdrive on autopilot or something, you know, that's usually the point when all of these critical thoughts would come up like, uh, or like in the shower, I've had a million invisible arguments, you know, with people who, you know, just that I'll create, well, if she says this, I'm going to respond with this. You know, like I was doing this all the time and now, now with mindfulness, now I can go, Hey, little thought, did you know? That's cool, but where's that coming from? And then I'll start getting curious about like, okay, well, great. Thank you for that. I think we can put you to bed for now. Let's focus on chopping the carrot. What does it look like inside the carrot? What's the sound of the knife? And it's really nice because it's like learning to be the master of your own computer, you know, rather than feeling like, ah, this damn thing somebody called the geek squad, you know,

Rebekah Shackney (28:44):

Oh, I love that. And you know, it's funny I get the same blank stares when I talk to my clients about meditation that you were yeah. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh, this isn't going to help me. Or my mind goes too fast. I can't sit with it or whatever. And for me, I also had the same reaction when people talked about meditation in the beginning, but it does work. It really, really does.

Nicole Poole (29:11):

And you know, you hate it the first time you do it. You're like, you know, you settle in and you're like, Oh, um, and you're really good for about four breaths. And then you think, Oh yeah, I've got to go to target and get a ..., you know, um, keep at it, keep at it.

Rebekah Shackney (29:28):

It's funny how that laundry that's been sitting there for a week now feels very urgent. I've got to go do that right now. Yeah. And that's our mind and body pulling toward homeostasis that, you know, we don't our mind and body don't want to change and yet we're constantly changing and evolving and we hate it. So getting just meditation helps us get to be more comfortable with the constant change and the constant uncertainty and the constant upheaval, especially right now. Yeah. So it's really important.

Nicole Poole (30:07):

It really is. And you start to learn that you have a choice, you know, um, because we see what we aim for. If, if I'm in a bad mood, of course, I'm going to see the dog poop on the sidewalk. Of course, I'm going to see somebody, you know, with their, with their dog, not on the leash or I'm going to get really outraged and irritated about things, because that's how, because that's the view that I was looking for. You know, if instead I go, okay, let's look for magic. Great. You look down and you'll find a feather or, you know, you start to really, and I don't, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm pretty funny about woo, but you start to get a little woo. Because as soon as you start looking for joy and looking for magic, it's there. I mean, that's not to say that the world's not on fire and that people aren't suffering, but you, there must also be joy and that's accessible.

Rebekah Shackney (31:12):

Yeah. And if we focus all of our attention on all of the disaster going on and all of the uncertainty and all of the scariness, we are going to be destroyed psychogically.

Nicole Poole (31:25):

Absolutely. There's yeah. That'd be resilience. Yeah. And this is how you do it. Cause I, you know, for a while, let me just put this in real quick there for awhile, I realized that I was in the, I was in the character of waiting every day. Just felt like I was, you know, like waiting for Godot. I was waiting for something like as soon as this is over, as soon as there's a vaccine or as soon as there, as soon as something. And once I realized that I was like, I'm spending a lot of energy trying to anticipate the future. How about I try to enjoy right now? Cause that's all I've got and that's, that's been really helpful. So thank, thank, thank whoever. Thank the universe thinker, all of them for that. I started this journey before the pandemic hit. Um, you know, I feel, I feel so much compassion for people who are suffering right now so much because my gosh, what an anxious time you must be busy.

Rebekah Shackney (32:34):

I am. Yes. Yeah. And I, I too feel a lot of compassion for people and it's really hard. Like they're coming to you and saying, what do I do with all of this, this uncertainty, this suffering. And I say, stop watching so much news and focus on what you have control over and really start to meditate this time. I know I told you this before, but really do it this time. Um, and you know, I don't want to say if they would only do what I tell them. Um, but if they would only do what I tell them, I'm kidding. No. Um, but I, you know, the other piece of all of that is it's such a gift to sit and really mindfully listened to people, share their pain and validate that, that you're having a normal reaction to a really scary situation. And it's no wonder you're feeling this way. And here's some things that could help, you know, go for that walk, find that beauty.

Nicole Poole (33:42):

And I love that you're taking your own advice.

Rebekah Shackney (33:46):

I'm trying, I'm trying to take some, some of my own advice. Not always. Um, yeah, but I, you know what I'm really fascinated, um, about, um, I love that you found chalk art, which seems so small, but it's this creative expression. I think the other bit of, of preserving mental health is expressing yourself creatively. And it's so important. I think when you don't have a creative outlet and it doesn't have to be art or theater, it can be baking or puppets or rollerblading or whatever. It can be so many things, but if you don't have creative expression or something that makes you feel masterful and alive, that turns in on yourself and you feel worse.

Nicole Poole (34:41):

Yeah. Well, you know, that's interesting too, because you know, there's American exceptionalism makes us, like, at least for me, I was like, Oh sure, I could knit. But then there are so many other people out there who are better at knitting than I am or I could, but there were so many other people that blah, you know, uh, I would play things out to their logical negative conclusion and then not start. Yeah. So one thing I know is every human being is creative, you know, and I've heard a lot of people are like, Oh, I'm, I'm not an artist. I couldn't do that. Well, yeah, you can. Yeah. You can, you know, artists may have a different skill set that we've worked to hone, but you can color, you know, you can, you can get a box of crayons and go, go crazy on a coloring book. Try that for a minute. You know? Well, it feels silly. Well, of course it does because you think it has no value. And the value in the arts is enormous. Just do something creative,

Rebekah Shackney (35:53):

Right. And with stuff like that, it, with meditation, with creativity, I think the action comes before the feeling. You've got to try it and push past that this is weird. I don't want to do it. You have to push past that and really see what it feels like. And then you get it.

Nicole Poole (36:14):

Yeah. You that's a really good observation. Um, you know, you should do this for a living, but the, um, you know, I th I think we're also so hard wired for instant gratification. If we're not immediately good at something, we don't want to do it.

Rebekah Shackney (36:32):

Yes. Um, yes!

Nicole Poole (36:33):

But if you start small, it's like, who are you? What game are you trying to win here? You're going to try to be the best colorer that ever was. You know, if you begin doing it for your own joy, it is a meditation because you start to find your own voice and you start to really follow the things that make you fascinated. And that, for me, leads to an interconnectedness, because if it's something that I find interesting chances are with so many billions of people in the world, a few other people might find it interesting too. So it doesn't have to be the world's best, you know, I'm sure there's, there's, there's always an audience.

Rebekah Shackney (37:19):

Yeah. And even if the audience is just you

Nicole Poole (37:22):

Well that's yeah, of course. Yeah. Sorry. That's specific to my art.

Rebekah Shackney (37:25):

I mean, no, but I think you have found an audience because you've not only pleased yourself with making the, these chalk art, um, sidewalk chalk art, you've pleased so many people. I can't imagine being a kid walking through your neighborhood and just seeing that, or a person who's really stressed out right now and seeing that and, and, and you're giving them joy, you know, I could, and that's yeah.

Nicole Poole (37:52):

Like, um, these Instagram messages, this one woman's, uh, took a photo of, I wrote right after a rain, um, let us revel in impermanence. And she took a picture of that and sent it to me. And she said, my three year old had a tantrum right in front of this thing. And this was the best reminder ever. Thank you. You know, and just, I can't tell you how meaningful it is to me. You know, the, again, part of meditation is this is a moment of suffering all beings suffer. May I be kind to myself in this moment? You know, may I treat myself with compassion? May I feel at ease and understanding that other people, everyone out there has got some story, some thing that they're suffering through and struggling through, you know, you start to take the world a lot less personally.

Rebekah Shackney (38:59):

It's true. And, and I think it's so important to know you don't have to suffer in silence. We are all here together and there is support out there. Um, and I'm going to put your Instagram feed in my, in my show notes. So people can look at your sidewalk, art. Um, and I, and, and, you know, if you're really suffering, I think people should do what you did and reach out for help get a therapist, find a meditation teacher, talk to a friend, whatever it is, but reach out because it, things are so much less painful when you share them with someone.

Nicole Poole (39:41):

I absolutely affirm that. I was terrified to share. You know, now that I've started talking, good luck getting me off the phone though. I know we've got to go, but, but for the longest time it was, I felt so much pressure to keep up appearances and, and never admit to anything, even as, as benign quote, as depression, you know, don't admit that because people will think you're crazy. Well, I've, I, I know what it's like to hide. It's not like I wanna, you know, just, although I'm talking to you because I love your work. And I love your, you know, the people who listen to you, I'm selective in who I tell my story to, but I'm no longer ashamed of it. It's it's mine. And I can't change the past. The past couldn't have happened any other way. What am I going to do with it now?

Rebekah Shackney (40:38):

Right. Right. And I am so grateful to you for, for trusting me and trusting this audience with your story. And I think that, you know, people can hear it will hear your story, and they will say, I can change my life too. I've suffered similarly. And I want to break away that scaffolding and get to happiness, get to real life

Nicole Poole (41:03):

Hardest part about it is just making the decision. It really is. And you know, it's not easy and it takes practice. But once, once you run it yourself with radical self love and radical self compassion, it's not as hard as you think. And it will turn everything around

Rebekah Shackney (41:26):

And we all deserve that. We all deserve it. So, Nicole, tell me, um, what is, tell me about the project that's coming up on August 29th.

Rebekah Shackney (41:37):

Oh, that's fun. I'm doing, um, I'm joining Oklahoma Contemporary. They are producing a live reading of The Odyssey. It's the first time in the history of this book that a female has done the translation and yeah, it's a big deal. Emily Wilson has. Um, the big thing that she did was the opening lines people have translated is like, um, you know, Odysseus was a man of many turnings. Odysseus was a turning man. He, you know, whatever. And there were so many interpretations of that. And she came in with a Odysseus was a complicated man. Um, so they're, they've engaged 24 actors, uh, both local and national to each read one of the books. There are 24 books in The Odyssey, nd they reached out to me. So I'm reading mine, which is a very, very bloody book, um, think, think red wedding, um, Game of Thrones. I'm reading that, uh, the 29th at seven 30, you can find it. You can find [email protected] on their YouTube Channel and on their Facebook page. So, um, I right after me is Bebe Neuwirth. And then right after her is the, uh, as the author, Emily Wilson. And I, I can't wait. I can't wait. It's, it's just bizarre that, you know, it's like, I've closed a circuit coming back to Oklahoma somehow I've, they've been able to combine my, you know, sort of classical training was Shakespeare and Tantalus in the Royal Shakespeare company and contemporary performance and audio book narration into one performance. And I just, I'm so excited for it.

Rebekah Shackney (43:31):

I can't wait. I can't wait to listen and tune in. So that's great. And I will put that in the show notes as well. Very exciting

Nicole Poole (43:39):

For me though. Those pronunciations are tricky.

Rebekah Shackney (43:42):

I always do. I always do. And I know you can do it. So thank you so much for being here today, Nicole Poole.

Nicole Poole (43:51):

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Rebekah. This is, this has been lovely. Um, and I can't, I can't wait to listen to more. I love listening to you cause I'm like, Oh, I know her.

Rebekah Shackney (44:01):


Nicole Poole (44:03):

For real. Thank you for the work that you do. Healers are more important now than ever. And I can't imagine what it's like to balance your own life with your responsibility towards your patients, but seriously from, from, for the entire country. Thank you for the work that you're doing. It's really important.

Rebekah Shackney (44:24):

My pleasure. And thank you for listening to a therapist, takes her own advice. Remember the information shared here today is not a replacement for treatment with a licensed professional. If you've connected with what you've heard here and want to work with me, go to my website, Rebekahshackney.com and send me a message through my contact page and please subscribe, rate, and review on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen.