ERP 132: How To Work With Your Soul’s Agenda With Ani Anderson and Brian Trzaskos [Transcript]
ERP 132: How To Work With Your Soul’s Agenda, With Ani Anderson And Brian Trzaskos
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Welcome to The Empowered Relationship Podcast, helping you turn relationship challenges into opportunities and setting you up for relationship success. Your host, Dr. Jessica Higgins, is a licensed psychologist and relationship coach who shares valuable tips, tools and resources for you to dramatically improve your relationship.
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Thank you for joining today’s podcast episode, episode 132 – How To Work With Your Soul’s Agenda, with Ani Anderson and Brian Trzaskos.
Before we jump into today’s interview, I just want to ask you to join me in setting our heart and our mind to the intention of gaining more insight understanding and clarity about intimacy and relationship, knowing that it will challenge us and that it is complex and sometimes we can get confused and lost along the way.
The conversations that happen on the Empowered Relationship Podcast are intended to help you feel better prepared, more well equipped in negotiating the highs and the lows, as well as everything in between – the stability and the security of your relationship, and ultimately doing relationship well.
A couple of notes about this interview. I believe when we were on our call, they did not have headphones, hence my voice at times has a little bit of audio distortion feedback. I’m hoping most of that has been edited out, but just to have a heads up.
More importantly, I wanna prepare you to the fact that Ani and Brian have a very unconventional story. I actually had not heard their story prior to interviewing them, and at one point I was surprised and a little taken aback, and was calibrating as I was asking them questions and really trying to hold true to the values of Empowered Relationship, while also really supporting them as guests, and having an open mind. So what I wanna invite you into is having an open mind and listening for the values and the intentions and the goals that they have been operating on within their unique expression of relationship, and that they view relationship as an opportunity for growth, and that they’re also growing themselves and that they have a high priority for their individual development, as well as the development of their relationship.
They also subscribe to similar principles discussed on Empowered Relationship, like compassionate conversation, honest communication, vulnerability, and really doing do-overs, really being in the practice of developing skillfulness and mindfulness in relationship.
They also share with us a system that they’ve developed around identifying the soul’s purpose, and also how to support one another in relationship in regard to our each individual soul’s agenda. Let’s get started with this interview.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Ani Anderson and Brian are a dynamic husband and wife team who help compassionate entrepreneurs create the financial freedom they really want without compromising their integrity. As sought-after rehabilitation and energy medicine professionals for over two decades, they have helped thousands of people achieve their desires through employing natural law and sensation-based mindset practices. Together they have created multiple businesses, a teaching institute, blended a family, and love sharing with other couples the secret to their success.
Ani Anderson: Thanks so much for having us, Dr. Jessica.
Brian Trzaskos: Yeah, this is great. Just wonderful, thank you.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Yes, so you guys reached out to me and it sounded like you felt some resonance with some of the things that are talked about on the Empowered Relationship. We’d just love to share a little bit about your guys’ story and how you wanna share with the listeners today.
Ani Anderson: Yeah, thank you so much. Brian and I did find a resonance with a number of the guests that were on your podcast, and we were interested in sharing a bit about how our relationship has worked, because we didn’t start as a relationship in a personal way, we started as business partners, and now we’re business and life partners. So our process has been really interesting, our story is really interesting.
Brian Trzaskos: Yeah, to say the least. I think what has really grown out of our experience of being together in terms of being really successful as both a couple and an entrepreneurial partnership is having a really deep understanding of each other’s purpose for being here.
Ani Anderson: Yeah. Do you mind if we share a little bit about how we met?
Dr. Jessica Higgins: No, I would love to hear that, and I just wanna clarify, Ani – are you saying you guys were actually in relationship more professionally first and then developed more intimacy?
Ani Anderson: Yeah, we started as business partners, actually. I moved into the area where Brian lives, having been a rehabilitation specialist that was pretty specialized as an energy medicine and rehabilitation specialist that saw people; private pay, private care in a little city that I lived in.
Our family moved to this teeny tiny little town, and I was ready to hang up my shingle with my specialty that I’ve been doing, and one of the first people that I met when I moved into this teeny tiny town did exactly what I did, as a rehabilitation specialist, using energy medicine and holistic care, and I couldn’t believe it. It was Brian.
So we began talking about ways that we can collaborate and we ended up opening up a wellness center together with another person in the area, so we each had our separate businesses, we had each been entrepreneurs for a few years before that, and so now we had this center… We each had our separate businesses, doing our own thing in two separate rooms, but basically doing the same things with different clients.
Brian Trzaskos: Yeah, and really interesting – the other part of that is that we each wanted more, both personally and professionally. We liked to talk with people about what’s that hidden desire that they actually have, like what do they really, really want in their lives, and that hidden desire is actually what’s driving us to expand our experience in life, or to have more of life, or to grow in life. And each of us actually shared this hidden desire to “become enlightened”, if you wanna think about it like that… To really know the truth of existence, to know the truth of experience in a very deep way, and weren’t really sharing that openly with anyone else in our lives.
Ani Anderson: It wasn’t necessarily a concept that was met with a lot of enthusiasm by other people, maybe even could feel a little shameful that we wanted to experience life in such a big, bold way, but I remember reading books by people like Wayne Dyer, and Deepak Chopra, and Thich Nhat Hanh, and really wanting to understand life like that.
Brian Trzaskos: Yeah, really diving into a lot of that work by the Dalai Lama… We had these aspirations — I’m sure you’re familiar with this… Really to live a complete experience of loving kindness and depth, and even in the face of all types of atrocities, still be able to be compassionate and hold this great source of love. Have you ever had that kind of desire before?
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Absolutely, and all of the people you’re referring to I’ve definitely either heard speak, or have read their material, or been a part of a workshop, so absolutely, I’m a big fan of what you guys are describing.
Brian Trzaskos: Yeah, so in our personal lives, that was, again, not met with a lot of enthusiasm, as Ani would say, so we connected on that level as professionals, and started to meet more closely that way, having some in-depth discussions about these kinds of things, because we were both doing reading in that way… And we kind of had this invitation with each other of kind of walking that path together, since we had no one else in our life we could do that with…
Ani Anderson: And it seemed like a really great kind of friendship idea, like “Hey, maybe we’ll start a book club” kind of thing, you know? And along this parallel, we were also growing our business. We had just begun teaching a stress management course together for the first time. Brian was producing one of his first guided meditation CD’s, and I was helping him out with that… So we were beginning to have some more business adventures together, too.
Brian Trzaskos: Very shortly after we had this understanding that “Hey, this is something we’d like to do together”, I remember walking into the wellness center that we owned, and Ani and I caught each other’s eyes, and it was literally like we had never seen each other that way in the three years we had known each other previously. It was almost like we saw lifetimes in each other’s eyes, it was very… Well, unsettling.
Ani Anderson: Yeah, and also exciting at the same time, because our families were friends, our kids went to school together; our kids were actually best friends in school as well, and we lived in this teeny tiny town, so on one hand that was very unsettling. On the other hand, it felt like we were getting a glimpse of what we had been wanting for so long – this really bold, mystical, spiritual experience of life, and it was being offered to us in that moment. So we both went home and shared our excitement and our wonder and curiosity with our spouses.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Okay, that’s what I was gonna ask… Were you guys both single during this time, or…?
Ani Anderson: We were married, with 2.5 kids and a white picket fence.
Brian Trzaskos: Yeah, married with families. Our kids went to school together at a little Waldorf pre-school in our town… So it kicked off something for each of us, and we shared exactly what we felt was happening with our spouses. We didn’t know it was happening, but what ended up kicking off for both of us was this intensely energetic cathartic experience that lasted about three months, and it went in a three-day cycle.
One day it was this incredible almost flushing of old karmic patterns, of baggage, of genetic thought beliefs – however you wanna think about it, but literally being just flushed energetically from the system, which was so difficult and really trying.
The next day would be a day of kind of reorganization, and then the third day would actually be like a day of enlightenment. You’d actually feel one with everything, like you had just been completely cleaned out and in connection with every other molecule in the entire universe.
Ani Anderson: And we cycled, so on the day that Brian was kind of going through hell, I would be feeling enlightened, so I could support him, and vice-versa – when I was having a hard time, he could support me… And our spouses as well were going through similar things, and we all supported each other through the process. So in terms of empowered relationships, really all of us taking a lot of personal responsibility for ourselves and for what life was handing us, which was really hard, and doing our best with it to not only support ourselves and our own growth, but each other through the process.
Brian Trzaskos: Yeah, so there were days where the four of us would sit around the table together and just literally talk about what was going on, and our experiences, and these patterns that were being released from our bodies, and all the struggles around it and the pain in supporting each other through this whole time period, and being very open and honest with each other around that process.
After about three months what Ani and I realized was that for us to do our larger work in this world together we needed to do it together, we needed to do it not just as a professional relationship, we needed to actually be able to dive deep into a personal understanding of these relationships and how dynamics work on literally a soul level.
The magic of this, I think what we discovered is that when anything happens in our life – or anyone’s life… Because storms happen in people’s lives; things just come out of nowhere, completely unexpected, but when we meet them with complete honesty and integrity, everyone through the process has an opportunity to shift and change and come to a higher level of being within themselves also.
So it was of little surprise to us actually when after we made our decision that it was important to be together that our ex-spouses actually got together, too.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Really? I know I was listening, and I’m like, I know listeners are like “Well, what about the spouses?”, and it sounds like through your dialogue and through that openness and willingness to be as transparent and be in that place of ownership, that it was a real catalyst for everybody who was willing to partake in such journey, if you will, it sounds like.
Ani Anderson: Yeah, that’s exactly right, and it was of utmost importance to us that we get through whatever was going on with as little damage as possible to our families. I came from a divorce background, I didn’t want my kids to feel some of the pains that I felt as a child, and so it was very important to us that we uphold ourselves as the adults in the relationship… In the best interest of all us, including the kids. Our three children live in two houses with their four parents, kind of rearranged, and it’s interesting actually, because people in our tiny town will catch us every once in a while and laugh and say “You guys are better this way, actually!”
Brian and I share such a deep and loving relationship; we love to be a certain way in the world, and our ex-spouses love to be a certain way in the world, but they’re really wonderfully matched. And although the town did not meet it with enthusiasm at first – let me tell ya; at all – it’s really met with a lot of respect now.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: And how long would you say that this process took for blending and rearranging, if you will, the structure of family?
Ani Anderson: The rearranging took very little time, but the integration took a few years.
Brian Trzaskos: That’s still a process that is constantly going on, that blending process, the understanding the family dynamic process. I think just like with any family growing up, where you have two 12-year-olds and a 9-year-old in a house, with all the things that are added into a child’s world and the relationship just through their pure development and those types of things – it’s a constant process. But the thing that I’m most proud of is that the four of us as adults can actually sit and talk and have meaningful discussions around what is best for all of our kids.
We go to each other’s parent-teacher meetings, and all three or four of us are sitting in a parent-teacher meeting about our kids.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Well, this is really dynamic… I’m giggling because that’s in your bio, that that’s something you guys really uphold as part of what you’re doing in the world. I imagine for the listeners that this is a little outside of the norm, in that it is something that you probably didn’t have a model for, and how to really —
Ani Anderson: [laughs] That’s the truth. [laughs]
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Yeah, this is a rare story, an example of something done in this way. The fact that you guys — and I know that most of what you guys are wanting to share on this episode is really the soul’s agenda and how that is supported, or how that fits with intimacy and relationship, and I would love to turn towards that topic in a moment, but I’m just feeling how sharing in this work together could be synergistic, and that the intensity of that and the excitement of that and sharing that with one another, that that can’t help but fuel. I think that this is one of the things that we will have a pursue and we will have somebody maybe outside of the marriage that will be resonating with us, or it would be building and we would be able to share with them in that excitement… Actually, there’s a lot of neurochemicals involved, right? The dopamine and all of that, and then the soulfulness and the values to be able to do that professionally – I could see how the opening of that could really occur, because you’re talking about the match there, and I’m imagining you guys are so aligned as far as the work you’re doing in the world and then how you wanna live personally and intimately.
Ani Anderson: Yeah, you’re absolutely right, and we’ve helped couples in our work with this soul agenda work, who will rearrange their family situation, but we’ve also worked with couples who find those soulful connections with their partner, with friends, with same-sex friendships… In all kinds of ways.
It actually made me kind of fearful, because it was really important to us that we continued to help people. We were working and serving clients through this whole process… It made me really nervous that maybe all of our couples or our clients were gonna get divorced, or maybe we’re only supposed to help divorced people… I was really nervous about that for a while, and what I saw after we really started to work with people and help them to learn the integration tools that we developed during this process was that these soulful connections are available to us in many different forms.
What happened to us isn’t what’s gonna happen to everybody, but the level of connection that we’ve been able to develop is available to everyone.
Brian Trzaskos: Yeah, and that level of connection actually even beyond our relationship with one another. My relationship with my parents has been completely transformed through that experience, and that was one of the most difficult things about that whole experience I went through, was the relationship with my personal family, with my family of origin. Those relationships are far better now than they ever were based on the work that came out of that process, and deeper friendships [unintelligible 00:20:50.26] because again, when you understand how someone operates from a soul level, you can kind of work through all of the clutter, all of the surface problems that people think they’re experiencing and really get down to the soul of the issue.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Yeah, and I imagine — I’m just listening to the way in which you guys perhaps navigated through this terrain, and in my experience, if I am grounded in my practice as much as judgment, criticism, blame or whatever is coming at me, if I’m not reacting, it shines a light and it provides a space for healing vulnerability and honesty that somehow (not always) can really cut through to a deeper level of connection, because I am able to uphold in myself what I’m willing to engage in and what I’m not willing to engage in, and with love.
So if there’s a positioning that you guys are really holding and doing your inner work to not get hooked on all of those little tripwires, that then allows for another level of relationship with anyone.
Brian Trzaskos: Yeah, absolutely. We call it going to the eighth floor…
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Okay… [laughs] Nice.
Brian Trzaskos: We’re talking about the seven chakras, and for listeners who may not be familiar with a chakra, the chakras are, according to the yogic traditions, energetic portions of our physical experience that transcend just our physical experience. There are seven chakras that are associated with the physical body, and we’re used to talking about going to the eighth floor… Using that as a symbolic way to look at everything very objectively that was going on in our own experience and in the experience of the people that were connected with our experience, to again, look at things from that soul perspective and not taking it so personally, not making it about our own persona.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Okay, I have a question, and I don’t know how — I’m just gonna ask it… Because a lot of what I’ve talked about in the way of feeling attraction outside of a relationship, or feeling chemistry [unintelligible 00:23:18.09] awakening, that that doesn’t actually have to be about that other person, it could be more information about places in that person, that parts of themselves had been dormant or they haven’t been maybe really addressing their needs, or maybe even the soul’s agenda, and I know you guys are gonna start talking about that, so I don’t know if that fits… But that hasn’t been addressed in their marriage or their primary relationship, and that there is a philosophy of being able to bring that back to the relationship… And I’m just curious what you guys think, because it sounds like, Ani, you’re like “I don’t worry that we’d be promoting divorce”, because sometimes the marriage hasn’t expanded its capacity to… I don’t know if I’m losing you guys, but…
Ani Anderson: Nope.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Okay, okay. Right, because we need to continue to do our individual growth work that is integration of all parts of our being, and sometimes in a marriage we have cut certain parts off because we haven’t felt like it’s acceptable, or that it’s gonna be too disruptive or conflictual, and I’m just wondering for you guys – it sounds like it was a choice that you guys made. What do you think about that philosophy of having an attraction or a connection with someone outside of a marriage, and it awakens maybe parts of ourselves, and that that actually could be fuel to be able to bring it back to the marriage? I’m just curious what you guys think about that idea.
Ani Anderson: We agree with you 150%.
Brian Trzaskos: Absolutely.
Ani Anderson: Absolutely. What happened with us was all about us as individuals becoming whole. That’s what it was about. So awakening our soul’s agenda, which we’re gonna talk here in a second, it was really about awakening aspects of ourselves that we were not expressing, and that’s part of the reason why at first the process was a little bit confusing, but after some of the integration happened, really coming to an awareness of — just as an example, I’m remembering a day after I moved in with Brian that I was in the kitchen, I had just cooked dinner, I’m cleaning the dishes, I’m feeling resentful about the fact that I’m doing the dishes, and I thought to myself “Oh my god, I’m in a different relationship… I’m in the same situation, I’m just in somebody else’s kitchen”, and I thought to myself, “This is a huge opportunity to reclaim me in a way that I didn’t know maybe before and I didn’t choose to before, but I’m going to now.”
So a lot of the integration period was really about us – it’s really what it was about – becoming who we are. And we were in this relationship together, but everything you just said is totally 100% true. I totally believe – and have seen it – that people can reclaim themselves and continue on in their relationships.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: And it’s super hard to do. I have clients that it’s — I don’t even know that they know… Like, it just feels to insurmountable to approach relationship where it’s years and years and years of status quo, routine, and patterns and habits, and to really change that, do a pattern interrupt and bring themselves — not that this is true for your guys, I’m talking about my clients… That they almost feel that it’s easier to start anew.
Ani Anderson: Yeah… Not necessarily. So this is really where [unintelligible 00:27:07.04] work comes in, if we can describe it a little bit to you.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Yes, please.
Ani Anderson: So through our integration period, as we were trying to figure out what the heck could happen to us and how to go on, this process was developed that we now call “Find Your Soul’s Agenda.” So I took a number of purpose courses; I felt completely lost after this had happened. During it was kind of a whirlwind, and I was courageous enough to kind of keep my stuff together so I could manage it, and after I felt completely apart.
So I took a number of purpose courses to try to figure out what the heck I was supposed to be doing with my life, who I was, what just happened, and try to put the pieces together. And it was interesting, because I’ve found through these purpose courses similar results, but none of them I could really wrap my head around or go “Yeah, that’s it.”
I remember the fourth one, I hung up the phone from the phone call and thought “I am missing something, because these courses are pointing me towards a similar answer, but I can’t figure it out at all… Like, how to integrate it, how it makes sense – I can’t get it. I don’t get it.” And so Brian and I both studied Eastern medicine for a while, specifically Tai Chi and Qi Gong was one of our favorite energy medicine modalities. So I started to think about this concept of purpose in the form of the Tai Chi, or the Yin Yang symbol… That symbol where there’s half white and half black, with a little seed of the opposite; in the white there’s a little seed of black, and in the black there’s a little seed of white.
I started to think, maybe these purpose courses were only pointing me towards half of the whole. Maybe they were just pointing towards let’s say the light aspect, but not the whole of my purpose, and as I started to be curious about that, it became very clear to me that the depression I was feeling, the stuckness I was feeling, everything that I was grappling with was actually the exact opposite of what these purpose courses had described as my purpose. They were the other side of the coin. I was just unable to turn the coin over in my life, so that I could experience my purpose in the way that I wanted to… But I was experiencing my purpose, I was just experiencing the opposite of how I wanted to be experiencing it.
So I started to play with these concepts and I started to put words around these purpose statements, and I started to make them make sense for me… So I started to look things up in the dictionary, in the Thesaurus, and I started to craft what might be a purpose statement for myself. And I shared it with Brian, and we started to play with it with him as well, and what we discovered throughout the process of working with this within ourselves and then in looking at each other is that our purposes were like, you know, hand in a glove to two parts that could go together, meaning that what I was here to experience in the world was also a piece of what he wanted to experience and he needed to be inspired to be experiencing in the world, and the same for me with his – what he was here to experience in the world, I needed in order to be able to fully live my purpose. So we started to become very curious about how what we now call soul’s agendas worked together, because it seemed to us that this wholeness of purpose was like the soul’s purpose, the soul’s agenda coming through us, being lived through us in a way that wanted expression in the world, and we basically had a choice how to experience it, whether we experienced it in the light or in the darkness.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: I love that. So you’re describing your personal process, and I’m also imagining that people are like — because when you talk about purpose courses, are you talking about… Because there’s a lot of — even in the corporate world, there’s the big five, there’s personality tests, there’s different ways that people try to discover purpose… Is that what you’re referring to?
Ani Anderson: Yeah, and actually what you were describing with some of your clients feeling, this is a lot like “How do I wrap my head around all of this stuff?” We felt like that too, and we started to play with this within ourselves, and then we started to play with it within our clients, and what we realized is when we know our soul’s agenda, we basically have a compass for navigating any life circumstance, including these difficult life circumstances of “How do I become more me so that I can heal my relationships?”
Brian Trzaskos: Yeah, especially when you make a decision to — I think what you were talking about before, Jessica, was to stay in a relationship or leave a relationship, and I don’t take any of those decisions lightly. I mean, certainly my decision to leave my marriage at the time – there was so much shame, guilt and humiliation, like I’d never experienced before in my entire life. It was so painful and difficult for me to make these choices in terms of what was the best thing for me to do.
In hindsight though, understanding my soul’s agenda statement – we’d love to share those with you as an example, if we can, in just a moment… But it flowed perfectly with, again, what was my important work to do here in the world for myself and for my family actually, and for the people in my life, was to make a decision, again, based on what my soul’s agenda is.
Ani Anderson: And we’ve done this work with a number of people who have taken lots of different kinds of purpose courses, like you were talking about, including corporate kinds of things, and everyone has said that this process really helps to put some awareness around the other purpose courses in a way that they hadn’t experienced before because we describe it as a whole, and because we help them to see both sides of the story, they’re able to discover things about themselves that they just didn’t understand before.
Brian Trzaskos: Can we give you an overview of that process, Jessica?
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Sure, if you will… I was wondering, and maybe this is exactly what you’re doing – to give people/listeners a chance for them to find themself a little bit in what you’re describing before you maybe give an example. I don’t know if that’s where you were going…
Brian Trzaskos: Yeah, absolutely. So when we take people through this process, which is the first step in a larger process we generally take people through, but this first step is really critical, is we have people go through a memory recapitulation process. We ask them to come up with their three favorite memories from when they were children, and then their three favorite memories from their personal lives, and then their three favorite memories from their professional lives.
Once they come up with those three favorite memories, the memories that really feel a certain way to them – that’s the key thing, when we do sensation-based mindset work with people, it has to do starting with sensations in the body… Not necessarily emotions, but the felt qualities of the experiences that people have.
So when people start to describe these memories, we make a list of the felt quality sensations that come along with those memories. Does that make sense so far?
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Yeah, it makes sense to me perfectly… I was doing some somatic work with a client last night, and I had not done anything with her, so I was like, sometimes people might feel – you know, if they’re afraid somebody’s disappointed in them, they might feel their stomach drop, or if they’re angry, they might feel their jaw clench, or if they’re scared, they might feel their chest collapse… That’s kind of what you’re describing, yes?
Brian Trzaskos: Yes. Sensations are so fascinating because they are actually flags for our subconscious conditioning; they’re actually flags for how we’ve been programmed to experience the world, and very quickly we can turn those flags into emotions, and then that will affect our decision-making. But if we understand that they’re simply flags to tap into the subconscious, then we can use that information to actually discover our purpose for being here in such a way that “How do we navigate through the world on an unconscious level?”, so to speak.
So when we have people do this process and we come up with these felt quality sensations around these nine key memories that they’ve had throughout their lives, we walk them through a choice-making process, starting to whittle out some of those felt quality sensations. In this choice-making process we walk them through, we will end up with one or two key felt quality sensations that exist throughout all of those memories in a very profound and meaningful way for that person.
We then have them take that felt quality word and look up the definition of it, to discover how society views that word. Then we look up the synonyms and the antonyms for that word in order to discover what qualities of that actually means for that person to bring it back to full circle again, so that they actually understand their complete meaning of that word in their own experience.
Then we help them create a statement from that word that becomes a compass for them when they’re making any decisions in their world.
Ani Anderson: For the listeners, is it okay if we just do a really quick experience thing?
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Yeah, absolutely.
Ani Anderson: Great. So this is our process that we use, but there’s a really simple way for you to tap in here and get a glimpse of what your soul is here to experience… And that’s simply to recall one of your best memories, and it doesn’t have to be from a specific area of your life. For the listeners, I’ll encourage you – you can close your eyes if you want to, but maybe it’s already popped up. So think about that memory, and I want you to feel like you’re back there, and/or like you’re watching it on the movie screen; sometimes that feels really good, too.
Tap in with your body, feel the sensations in your body that are rising. Notice where the sensations are, and then describe them to yourself. What do they feel like as you describe those sensations? And even if you can’t put a lot of words around it, that felt quality that you’re feeling in your body, that is what you’re here to experience in this lifetime. That’s a piece of it.
The opposite of those sensations are going to come up for you as well, and they’re a very important piece of your process as well. So if you were able to describe some of those sensations, start to be curious about what the opposite sensations would be, and describe them as well, and you’ll get a real glimpse — you probably had some a-ha moments of “Wow, I’ve felt like that in my life. I don’t like to experience that!” Or the ones that we do, like “Yeah, I’ve felt that at other times. I really like to experience that!” That’s your soul speaking to you. That’s your being state coming through.
Brian Trzaskos: And once we help people develop that sentence structure, the way it works in relationships is really magical, and this is one of the places we just light up…
Ani Anderson: Yeah, it’s so cool!
Brian Trzaskos: …when people come together in this way. For instance, after doing that work, my soul’s agenda statement is to live in the flow of unconditional love and acceptance, and to share that experience with others.
Ani Anderson: And mine is to feel alive and to inspire others to feel the same. And the meaning of feeling alive to me is – so I created this myself, this definition – is to feel fully expressed, and here’s the cool thing about how this works as a couple. So in order for me to feel fully expressed, sometimes I don’t wanna speak up in our relationship; sometimes I slam my mouth shut and I don’t wanna share, but I’m here to experience the fullness of my expression and my aliveness, but I can’t do it unless I have somebody who can really, truly, deeply love and accept me unconditionally, and guess who’s here for that?
Brian Trzaskos: Right, so that’s my work. And in me, the opposite of being unconditionally loving and accepting is trapped. So I notice that when I really struggle in life, when my body sensations are all contorted and tied and restricted, if I can go to that eighth floor and look at myself saying “What am I experiencing right now?”, it’s almost always “I’m feeling trapped, I’m feeling trapped.”
In my long history — maybe not my long history of being alive, but in most of my history of being alive, one of the things that I’ve really struggled with in being trapped is not being able to express myself. So who do I have here in my life, whose soul’s purpose is to help other people express themselves fully?
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Nice, nice. Well, I’m imagining for people that are listening and have had this wondering or search for their purpose, that that in and of itself feels like a journey, and then to have the awareness around how in relationship both partners’ purpose and how those fit — is that what you also help people with? It seems like what you guys are describing, you guys are really able to see the fit nicely, and for others is it a process of seeing how it fits?
Ani Anderson: Everybody’s your soul mate, that’s the cool thing. Everybody is your soul mate. The question is “What are you really here to experience AND to inspire others in?” and the same for the people who you’re dealing with, you’re in relationship with… We’re all here to experience ourselves fully and to inspire others in those ways. So even in the difficult relationships, we’re still here to be soul mates and to inspire each other’s growth.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: I love that.
Brian Trzaskos: Yeah, and it’s always there. We’ve worked with lots of couples through this process over the years, and couples will say it’s not there… It’s always there. It’s absolutely always there. We can’t always see it because of the expectations that we have about life, the way that we’ve been programmed to live through life, or our behavioral patterns and those types of things, such as what you’ve talked about just a little earlier in this podcast, and in other podcasts as well… Just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. So part of the really fun thing is helping people actually illuminate it for themselves and to see how it works in every one of their relationships, so it turns their life around and on. It’s really amazing.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Yeah, because I think by the time people are searching for outside support, sometimes they’re in pain enough that it can be overwhelming, and they’re like “I can’t do this alone”, and they’re looking for answers and they’re looking for support. And it’s often less about sifting through all the intricacies and what happened, but more of how to help them find that channel that opens and shifts this all. I know I’m talking really abstractly, but…
And I feel it also is really inspiring. It gives people a sense of belief and hope, because when they’re in it, it’s hard to know which way is up, and it’s hard to find a lifeline, and I think in the way you guys are languaging and crafting your system, this is one way to do that.
Ani Anderson: Yeah, I’m so glad to hear you say that, because we feel so passionately about this work. We love to help people live it. We also really quite simply love to inspire people to know that they can have deeply meaningful, loving relationships in their lives, like we’ve been able to have with each other and with a lot of other people in our lives as well.
Brian Trzaskos: And even with our ex-spouses. We understand our ex-spouses at our soul level too, and that’s why the re-organization of our family… When we share with people our story, people are shocked, and we’ve kind of gotten over the shock because it’s actually just the way it’s supposed to be.
We have regular communications and conversations and meetings with our ex-spouses to talk about more than just the kids, but “What’s happening in your life? How are you dealing with things? Where are things going for you?” and we’re actually pretty close friends in that way.
Ani Anderson: Yeah, they mean a lot to us, as do our business colleagues, and our clients, and our friends. For us, probably the biggest gift of life is deeply meaningful relationships.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: The way you guys are describing it, it’s all relationship, and that channel is available if we’re willing to be in that flow, and that it can impact every relationship.
Ani Anderson: Yeah, absolutely… If we’re courageous enough to look at ourselves and live in integrity.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: So it feels like we’re progressing, starting to wind down, but I actually have two questions while I have you, and we don’t have to if it feels like too much… But I’m wondering – it feels like when you were talking, Ani, about the coin and being able to identify the light, and that the flipside might feel like the hardship, or the stuff that we might label as more challenging… Is there a threshold, and how do you get to one — I mean, I’m sure that’s a whole process, but could you speak to… Is that just a mindset, or is there — I just imagine that… I’m just imagining that threshold is maybe not as easy, or something.
Ani Anderson: Yeah, if I’m understanding you correctly, I describe it like this – obviously, we’d like to live in the light side as much as possible, because that’s the fun part, and that’s the part that feels good. But we’re here to grow as human beings; being a human being is no easy task, and so when we know both sides of the coin, rather than running away from the places that are difficult or potentially painful or frustrating in our lives – we can welcome them, because we know that we’re on purpose.
And then if you can imagine that Yin Yang symbol, and that little seed of the other, like the seed of the white in the black, for example… When we’re in those difficult moments and we’ve opened ourselves up to realizing that we’re on purpose, even though it doesn’t feel so good, we know that there’s a seed in there of what we want most. That seed is actually the piece that’s gonna take us to the next level. We need to look for it.
So because we know we’re on purpose, we can remain open, we can remain more conscious during the difficult and frustrating parts of our lives, and we can look for the golden opportunities, whereas when we’re closed up, a lot of times we can’t see them or we’re running in the opposite direction or we’re hiding. So knowing your soul’s agenda like this on both sides of the coin really allows people to remain conscious and open even in difficult times, so they can see opportunities and get to the next level quicker and faster. It’s not about avoiding the darkness, it’s about welcoming it in, so that we can continue to grow.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: I love it, I love it. And I also imagine too, Ani, that sometimes it’s all connected… I think I shared a story when I was talking about vulnerability, and it was deep, deep, crippling grief, and when I was willing to surrender into it, I had probably the most profoundly felt sense of grace, this sense of peace and love, and the willingness to turn in instead of away, or fight and push it away.
Ani Anderson: Exactly, yeah, that willingness to surrender into it is key, just like you were saying. I remember a time I was so depressed I could not get a handle on myself. After we had reorganized our relationships, I felt like such a horrible mother… And I went to my ex-husband actually and I told him I was struggling, and he said, “You have to learn how to have fun!” It was a wonderful piece of advice, of course; I was so glad that he was trying to support me, but that’s that piece of advice that just says “Look towards the like, stop looking at the dark.” But what I really needed to do was go one step deeper into the darkness in order to be able to find my own light.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Beautiful. Okay, and then the other question was — and maybe this is something that people can just get in contact with you and learn more, but the question is… I imagine you guys are human, and life is happening… [laughter]
Ani Anderson: Yeah…
Dr. Jessica Higgins: …what does this look like when you guys get tripped up on something and how do you guys [unintelligible 00:49:37.09] It’s not an easy thing in partnership to lovingly invite someone into a place if they’re in a funk, right? I don’t know how to articulate that exactly, but you get what I’m saying…
Ani Anderson: Totally… So we have lots of tools in our magical backpacks, energy medicine strategies and things. For example, perhaps people have heard of EFT Tapping – that’s one that we pull out. Or meditation, or going for walks… We have a lot of tools in our magical backpack, and Brian and I both take care of ourselves on a daily basis as a number one priority – to take care of our body, mind and take care of ourselves.
We also pull out some of those tools when we are triggered, or when something is happening that’s difficult. I mean, we have three kids, for crying out loud; we get triggered. [laughs]
Also, there’s a lot of compassionate conversation that happens in our house. For example, if someone’s triggered saying that, I’m triggered in saying what we’re feeling, and asking for a second chance to communicate what we’re trying to communicate, and working through things.
There is a lot of honest communications that happens, a lot of vulnerability, a lot of getting messy and messing it up and trying again, all of that stuff in order to be able to get where we wanna go. I think that underlying that is our commitment to our own growth as individuals, and knowing that we both are empowered within ourselves to step into relationship together so we can support each other in that way.
Brian Trzaskos: For me it’s a couple of things… We both know that our sensations drive our behavior, so we have all these tools that Ani was describing around our sensation-based mindset work that we do… And the other thing, again, is just knowing that — for me, knowing how Ani ticks, knowing what it’s really about for her when she gets stuck.
Ani Anderson: By stuck – angry, sad…
Brian Trzaskos: By stuck – angry, frustrated, sad, whatever it is, and I can ask her one question that usually can open things up… It’s “What do you need to express?” Because I know that that’s her soul’s agenda, I know that’s what she’s here to do, it’s to express herself, and she’ll get really stuck when she’s not doing that. When she’s not expressing herself is when she really gets stuck.
And Ani can ask me one question, like “Where are you trapped? Where are you trapping yourself?” because she knows that’s the dark side, if you will, of my soul’s purpose, it’s when I feel trapped or when I feel conditioned, rather than unconditional. And often times just that one question based on knowing each other’s soul’s agenda will allow us to go “Oh yeah, you’re right”, and create the openness to be able to then express something that is difficult to express, or to recognize “I’m trapped between two things that are difficult to talk about.”
Dr. Jessica Higgins: That’s awesome. Great, well how do people get in touch with what you guys are up to and offering?
Ani Anderson: Yeah, we’d love to have people come over and visit us at our virtual home – we’re at http://www.practicalalchemist.com/ and if this podcast was inspiring, we would love to have you visit that website and then add /empoweredrelationships and we’ve got a PDF that we developed that really helped us to come into integration with all of this information, because one of the biggest things that shows up when you’re on the growth train is guilt and shame… So with the understanding of universal principles like balance, like we were describing and talking about those two sides of a coin, one thing that we came to realize is that guilt is reconcilable, just like your bank account… [laughter] Guilt is reconcilable; you don’t have to live in guilt.
One of the ways that people often get stuck and don’t reach out for help or don’t say what they’re really feeling or don’t allow themselves to be vulnerable is because they’re feeling guilty. So if listeners wanna come visit us at practicalalchemist.com/empoweredrelationships, they can grab a PDF that we wrote about living a guilt-free life.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Nice, and I will have these links on the show notes as well, so that’s easily accessible. Is there anything else you guys wanna say as we wrap up?
Brian Trzaskos: I’m hugely grateful for this opportunity, Jessica. I respect your work so much, with all the honored guests that you’ve had on your podcast; I just feel so honored myself and grateful to be a part of this process and to be sharing with your community. It just feels really, really good.
Ani Anderson: Yeah, thank you so much. This was a wonderful opportunity.
Dr. Jessica Higgins: Thank you for listening to today’s episode. I hope you have found value in the discussion of really identifying the soul’s agenda and how to support one another, and really looking at what’s underneath. Sometimes it seems like we’re feeling tension around the dishes, or something about the children, or whatever it is, but often times there’s something really essential and critical going on underneath.
So if you’re interested in connecting with Brian and Ani, I encourage you to visit today’s show notes, which can be found on my website, DrJessicaHiggins.com, click on Podcast and you can find today’s episode, 132 – How To Work With Your Soul’s Agenda, with Ani Anderson and Brian Trzaskos.
Until next time, I hope you take great care.
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