Ep. 61: Lana Shlafer – Creating and Manifesting Miracles in Healing

Nothing happens without intention.

It was summer 2010, a couple of months before I met my husband when I was enjoying a long weekend with a bunch of friends on a sailboat on the Adriatic Sea. One of them was reading a book with what I though a weird title: ‘Ask and It Is Given’. Even though it was weird I was intrigued, got the book upon returning home, dove into it, started implementing what I discovered, and at the end of summer met the love of my life; even though I had to say that I gave up on love all together after so many heartbreaks and difficult relationships.

What does this have to do with this interview? The book is about the Law of Attraction and manifesting, and manifesting is the intention that brings results.

Not in the sense that you make something happen just by sitting around and wishing for it to be true. It’s that belief that moves you, and the world around you, in ways that we’re still just learning how to understand.

Lana Shlafer is a mindset coach and law of attraction expert who works with people who have reached an upper limit with what they believe they can create in life, and continuously helps them go beyond those limits. In this talk with her, we explore not just how she does that, but also what brought her to it (from investment banking, of all possible past careers), and the obstacles she overcame along the way.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • How the right questions get you unstuck in your recovery and life.
  • What to do when you start thinking worst-case scenario thoughts and how to snap out of them.
  • How to empower yourself to break the upper limit you created for yourself.
  • What to do to put yourself into healing vibration​.

Tune in + Share

Show notes & links

The show notes are written in chronological order.

00:00 – excerpt from the episode
00:56 – intro (listen to discover a little more about your host. Martin will tell you a new lesser-known fact about Dr. Maya)

01:34
Dr. Maya Novak:
It was summer 2010, a couple of month before I met my husband, when I was enjoying a long weekend with a bunch of friends on a sailboat on the Adriatic Sea. One of them was reading a book with what I though a weird title: ‘Ask and It Is Given’. Even though it was weird I was intrigued, got the book upon returning home, dove into it, started implementing what I discovered and at the end of summer met the love of my life; even though I had to say that I gave up on love all together after so many heartbreaks and difficult relationships. What does this have to do with this interview? The book is about Law of Attraction and manifesting, and Lana Shlafer, whose work I came across so many years ago, knows a lot about it. Here’s one thing that she’ll tell you: Nothing happens without intention. That’s what manifesting really is – the intention that brings results. Not in the sense that you make something happen just by sitting around and wishing for it to be true. It’s that belief that moves you, and the world around you, in ways that we’re still just learning to understand. She joined me on my Mindful Injury Recovery World Summit in 2020 and this is the interview we did back then. Please enjoy.

02:59
Dr. Maya Novak:
In this interview, I’m joined by Lana Shlafer who is a mindset coach and law of attraction expert. She works with people who have reached an upper limit with what they believe they can create in life. Over the past decade, she has empowered thousands of clients and students to manifest what seems out of reach. She’s been featured on television and in popular publications such as TV One, NPR, and The Huffington Post. Lana, thank you so much for joining me.

03:27
Lana Shlafer:
Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to have this conversation.

03:31
Dr. Maya Novak:
I’m super excited about this interview because I know you, it’s almost like I feel that you are a part of my family, even though it’s because of all the social media and everything! So, I’m super excited, and before we go into the juiciness, can you share a bit about you, your story, and how you became a mindset and law of attraction coach?

03:55
Lana Shlafer:
Yeah, so my story is quite complicated. Like when people ask me where are you from – because they meet me and they think I’m like a blonde California girl but there is a lot of different layers. So, I grew up in Russia. I was born in Siberia and I was there until I was 12. My dad is Jewish, and my mom’s not. But my dad managed to apply on a refugee visa – a refugee green card, and so we won a green card to come to the US and landed in California. And I worked to manifest the American dream, to create that life that was possible now for me. So, I went to school. I worked, worked, worked. I wanted to get the best internships, the best jobs. I started working in investment banking after college, and I had achieved everything that I could possibly want as my younger self, and what I felt like my parents wanted for me. Like that immigrant dream. I mean I was jet setting around the world and having a six-figure salary, and I was the most miserable I have ever been, and that was a really hard place to be because you work so hard when you have this vision. But when I got there, it was nothing like the vision. I just felt worse than without having that vision for what the future would be. I didn’t want to be my boss or my boss’s boss. I didn’t want to be any of the people I interacted with. It was not where I wanted to be and I had not even had the opportunity to pause and say, well, what do I want? That was not in my environment. I just had to survive and work and make it happen. And so I had kind of an existential crisis and I saved up a little bit of money and I decided to take a break from work – is how I thought about it. And so I ended up moving from Northern California to Southern California, being by the beach, and I got a job at this company that was doing success coaching for university students. It paid nothing, but it gave me this amazing training, my first training in like life coaching. And that’s where I really got to sit one on one with people and work with them, and it was an incredible job. I met some of the most amazing people. Like we had a bunch of young ex-consultants, investment bankers - people who were like super smart but burnt out, that was the people they recruited. So, all of us were in self-help and growth. We were going to workshops together. Somebody handed me the movie The Secret and Wayne Dyer books. Like it opened up my mind to all of this, and it seemed like a bunch of BS, honestly. I grew up atheist. I’d been meditating and doing yoga for many years at that point, but very secularly. I did not have a religious or I wouldn’t even call it the divine - that was a little bit of a stretch for me. But little by little, I started opening up to this way of being. I started going to Agape Spiritual Center after watching the movie The Secret. Michael Beckwith, who was in that movie, he’s the head of it. And I was really uncomfortable with going to a church, but I felt something there. So, I trusted my feeling even if it was uncomfortable and it really stretched my limits of what I thought. It was taught that religion is for the masses and churches are not great. Like, you know, where I grew up communism was very much against the church and capitalism. And so it was an interesting place of discovery. Eventually, I wanted to teach yoga because I had been so – it really – yoga was my pathway into feeling even like an iota of peace at moments throughout my day. Before that, I just couldn’t. I had eating disorders all through my teenage years. I just could not be comfortable in my body. Yoga gave me those moments of a break and of connection with my body that I didn’t have before. So, I became a yoga teacher. I struggled to make a living doing it and ended up living in Mexico in Todos Santos for like four months with my yoga teacher, like camping with a dog that I rescued on the street. I mean I did the whole hippy thing! And I was running through my savings. I was like, okay, I have to figure out how to make a living at this or have a direction. Like I didn’t want to go back to the banking world. So, I got my personal training license. I tried doing that, but in the end, what I faced are two limits. One is I couldn’t do enough work with people in action, even if I adjusted their body and added a little bit of the mindset, but realized the mindset limits were keeping them from receiving the value and I just could not go beyond that. And two is people would start opening up to me about really deep and difficult things. I had no tools to handle that because I didn’t go to school for this. So, I decided to go to grad school for therapy so that I could learn the process of healing, and understand how to hold space. From the beginning, I kind of new I probably wouldn’t be a marriage and family therapist. I chose a very progressive program where I felt like I could heal myself at another level and understanding the process of healing better. It’s the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. It’s called the fourth wave of psychology. It was so progressive. It included spirituality as a part of a necessity for people. And I feel like all these steps then led me to the point where I was in the middle of grad school, my then-boyfriend showed up at my doorstep and proposed. We ended up kind of talking it over for a few months, and he ended up moving up and officially proposing, and a month later we found out we were pregnant with twins. My life became from healing myself and learning all of this and kind of thinking, well, it’s okay that I have thousands of dollars in debt and I’m going to figure out, I’m in grad school too, oh my god! I have got to figure this out now! I mean twins, the risks of all kinds of difficulties during birth, and mother and child mortality, just to get through the pregnancy and the birth. But then how are we going to raise two kids at once? I mean it completely turned my world on its head and I feel like this is when a lot of the things I was doing, I got to really test because it never mattered more than ever. I needed to “manifest” – which I don’t even love that word, to be honest. I needed to go to town and create the life that I wanted to have as a mother. And so I just felt like that momentum really sped up. I had the most incredible birth. They were born over six days. They were born 33 hours apart, so they have different birthdays. We had this miraculous birth that’s been featured all over the news. And that really showed me what’s possible with my mind and with my body.

10:29
Dr. Maya Novak:
Mhm.

10:31
Lana Shlafer:
And I’ve felt like since then, really I’ve just been sharing and teaching and learning, and sharing and teaching and learning and practicing and it just keeps evolving.

10:37
Dr. Maya Novak:
This is an amazing story. At the beginning, I wanted to jump in but I didn’t. The law of attracting and manifesting, this didn’t come from your parents.

10:49
Lana Shlafer:
No!

10:49
Dr. Maya Novak:
So, it’s not something that they would teach you or anything like that.

10:52
Lana Shlafer:
No, they think it’s ridiculous, still! But – but! Years into this, when I’ve started to really – they obviously needed to see outside success. That was – their immigrant mentality is that security is a priority. So, I took everything out of my 401(k) to start my coaching practice and they freaked out. I don’t even think I told them until later, until I’d started actually making an income because to them it was such a no-no. But I ultimately bet on me, and what really drove me is that people kept asking me what I did and I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I wanted to teach the workshops. I wanted to do the things I wanted to do, and I really needed to invest in learning how to do that properly because those are skills. You’re not born with perfect speaking abilities or knowing how to do a website or writing a blog. And so I felt like my parents saw first of my personal fulfillment that was a step in the right direction, but their value on personal fulfillment is not as high as mine. But it’s when they started seeing the rewards that I was having, the clients that I was having, the features in publications – I was just published in Forbes magazine and it was an online version and my mom was like I was at the airport, it was looking for Forbes magazine! I said mom, it’s not the print version, it’s online! She was so proud, and like those are things they can understand.

12:18
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yeah.

12:18
Lana Shlafer:
The fact that I paid off my student loans and I’m not – these are the things that mattered. And so they are still skeptical but they are now understanding that this isn’t some phase. This isn’t some lada-dada; this is something that I’m actually practicing in my life. And that’s why I feel like it’s not the law of attraction, this woo-woo new-agey, to me, this is reality and how it works. I just started to understand how to make life work for me.

12:26
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yeah.

12:47
Lana Shlafer:
So, I feel like you can take out all that jargon, all that silliness with positive thinking. It literally is whatever you focus on, and how you approach it, is how you will live it. Like you can use very simple terms, it is a practical approach. I don’t need you to believe in this. I don’t need you to trust in me, certainly. I just need you to test it out. See the results and then keep doing it.

13:12
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yes, absolutely. It absolutely makes sense, and I’m a huge fan of the law of attraction. The first time that I heard about it was in 2010 when a friend of mine was reading Abraham Hicks Ask and It Is Given, and I was like what’s that? What do you mean to ask and it’s given, you know? And I started reading it and actually that year, I attracted my now husband who is an amazing guy. But talking about the law of attraction and injuries and accidents. You explained this more tangible result in regard to income and such. But talking about healing and accidents, is it possible that we actually attract accidents? And if so, are we to blame? Like this is my fault?

14:16
Lana Shlafer:
Yeah, great question. Great question – wrong question. When you ask – I said it’s a great question because it’s common, but it’s such a terrible question. When you ask terrible questions, you’ll get terrible answers. Like when you ask your partner am I fat in this dress? There’s no right way to answer that! That is a bad question, right. I don’t think of assigning blame in a manifestation in life because I find that to be so detrimental to how you feel about it. So, that’s also tricky for people to hear because they’re like but no, but that person did it, they are to blame. I’m like you can blame them, but that gives them all the power. You can blame yourself and that still doesn’t give you the power because the blame aspect places it outside of yourself. This thing happened or I am bad and I made this happen, and that does not feel good. It does not get you to be in a place where you want to fix this, experience healing, it adds more resistance to already a difficult situation. The shame and the blame are really what’s keeping the majority of the people from healing, in my perspective. If they could have the actual stimulus like an injury, like a chronic condition, like a cancer, like some other disease, but not resist it. Not blame and shame, they would already be halfway to feeling better in that experience. Resisting the resistance does not work. Embracing is the best word that I could say, and what I mean by that is to say listen, this happened. I wouldn’t wish this upon anyone. I wish it didn’t happen to me, but now that it’s here, now what? I find that going back and trying to find how I was in a negative state and this is why it manifested – I just think those aren’t very useful questions. Do you want to heal? Or do you want to just sit here and have a conversation that most likely will make you feel shittier?

16:22
Dr. Maya Novak:
True. Absolutely. So, yes, blaming and someone else did it or I am to blame – or why me.

16:33
Lana Shlafer:
Or why me, right, which is like “why me”? Which I totally get for a moment, right. Like you’re going to have a reaction that’s almost instant, but your response to that reaction – I have had so many times when I thought why me. And then it would take me a moment, now it’s easier, to say I don’t know why me, what do I want to do about it. Again, now what? Now what? Like I can’t change the fact that this happened, that I experienced this. Now, how I feel about it, what I do about it, and what happened next, that is in my control. I’d rather focus on things that are in my control.

17:12
Dr. Maya Novak:
Do you think that answering or not answering the question “why me”, could we potentially learn a bit more to get a bigger gift out of this in regard to it?

17:28
Lana Shlafer:
Yes, but that’s not – that would be a different type of question. The question “why me”, indicates that on that Kubler-Ross grief stages, you’re at the beginning and you’re not ready to receive the gift in the situation. When you are in the middle of the very uncomfortable experience that is paining you, the question “why me” indicates that I feel all the pain, I do not want any of it, and you telling me that there’s a gift in this – like – you know – like this is asking to jump too high. Now, if you’re saying, okay, well it’s happening. I don’t know why me. Maybe I’m cursed. What do I want to do about it? What can I do to feel better? What are my options? What are the mindset things? What are the traditional medical things? What are the alternative medical things? I want to feel better. By the time you feel better, that’s the time when you ask yourself something like “I wonder if this happened in a way to serve this?” Like the timing of the way it happened is curious. That’s the time to go back and feel into what were some of the factors that co-created that experience, and are any of them things that I may want to shift? Like being in that kind of environment where I was constantly talking down to myself and having relationships with people who were talking down to me, was not a very positive experience. And now that I feel a lot better, maybe I can even look back and say, you know, this happened because I was in this cycle of discomfort, and this pain, this condition, this injury was actually my portal out of that. So, even though I wouldn’t wish this for anyone, this was very uncomfortable, I hope I never have to live it again, I am grateful for the experience. It gave me something, some value, some meaning, transformation. And this is when you realize, like why is it that there is so many people that get a diagnosis, get an injury, and some people let it define them in a way that shrinks them. And some people define it in a way that expands them. You can’t look at that and not – especially now with the internet where you can find anything about anyone. You can’t look at that and say, for example, pick a disease of something, that that is absolutely bad because there are people that are writing books and sharing blogs saying this was the best thing that happened to me. This gave me such a huge opening into who I’m meant to be. It gave me the courage to do this and this and this. I am grateful for the cancer, for the injury, for the diabetes, for the heart attack, for the whatever it is, right. I am grateful for what it gave me, but you can’t leapfrog to that. And so the question “why me” indicates that you just need to feel the pain and then decide for yourself am I ready to feel better?

20:18
Dr. Maya Novak:
It absolutely makes sense and I love that you also mentioned prognosis because what I heard from doctors when I dislocated and broke my right ankle was you’re going to be limping for the rest of your life, be in pain for the rest of your life, that worst-case scenario. I remember lying the hospital and I actually – or both me and my husband – we both asked that doctor so can you share with us the best-case scenario and he was really shocked. It was like what do you mean? Best-case scenario? Because I have to tell you what potentially can go wrong…

20:59
Lana Shlafer:
Yeah.

20:49
Dr. Maya Novak:
… also, you know, losing basically the whole ankle. But talking about bad prognoses, can healing be affected if we are tuning into a bad prognosis or what we heard the doctors whoever we consider an authority in healing. Can this negatively affect our healing and our outcome?

21:27
Lana Shlafer:
There’s a multi-layered question here and I want to talk about, again, asking better questions so you get better answers, and then putting authority outside of yourself. So, don’t let me forget to go back to the second one. Again, the quality of your life depends on the quality of the questions that you ask, is how I look at it. So, asking a question that already has a bad prognosis in it, for me, at this point – I’m still practicing, but I’m getting pretty good at it. I look at everything as a neutral experience. There is no good, there is no bad. There is this thing and how I look at it is what will determine how I feel about it. So, if I am saying this is an unwanted scenario, that’s okay, but it’s neither good nor bad. I find those labels to be already limiting because you are basically – there’s a saying ‘whatever you focus on expands’ in the law of attraction. It’s one of the most famous sayings. It is true, but that’s not totally true. That’s not the whole truth. So, the common example, and I’ve even given this example a thousand times is me telling you don’t think of a pink elephant. Don’t think of a pink elephant. Don’t think of a pink elephant. Don’t think of it. Whatever you say ‘don’t’ to, you’re still thinking about it. It’s still in your vibration, right. So, when you’re thinking of a bad prognosis, even if you’re trying to make your way out of the bad prognosis, of the unwanted, you’re still very much focusing on healing, on moving away from, on demonizing even the unwanted. It has all the power. It is so big and you are so small. I am a big proponent of not asking for small problems but asking to be a bigger you. So, what types of questions can you ask and what types of things can you do that make you feel bigger? For example, you may want to speak with other specialists. Not just that one that has the one opinion – it is an opinion, an educated opinion. It might be the best opinion you can get based on a professional who’s seen this. But they’re going to give you an opinion based on the factors that they see, based on a statistical analysis of the situation. So, if you want to be the average, and that is your dream, and if you want to take people’s opinions and self-fulfill that prophecy, listen to your doctor. Follow everything you say, and you will probably be the statistical analysis for that opinion. If you would like to create something different, and if you – I feel like you have to look at it as an experiment. It’s an open-ended thing. Start with an assumption and then test it. Start with a theory of the hypothesis and test it. For example, if I do this will I feel better? Will this heal faster? Great, test that hypothesis. Because you can’t take everybody’s opinions and think they will work for you. Your body is different. Your chemistry is different. And most importantly, your mindset is different. So, what will work for me based on my assumptions, I could tell you all the affirmations, all the things, and they might feel like a whip to you because me telling myself in the mirror ‘I love you, you’re so beautiful, I feel amazing’. For somebody who does not feel that way, it’ll actually have the opposite effect, it will belittle them. They will just feel how not loved they feel by their own inner self, right. I feel like it’s understanding that if you move out, even a little bit, out of the duality that this is absolutely good and this is absolutely bad, and move into a little bit more openness, that there’s a whole spectrum of experiences and you can learn from all of them. And you experiment and you start taking back some of your power that makes you feel more empowered, like a bigger you. Before you know it, the problem doesn’t seem so big – even the really, really big problems. Like being in jail for 27 years for Nelson Mandela, or people getting diagnoses that are fatal or that are so extreme in their eyes from where they were before, getting paralyzed or something. It really it is not what happens, but what you make of it. If you can allow for even one percent of that statement to be true, and you spend the rest of your life uncovering, you will continue to progress and before you know it you will be sitting here telling your miraculous stories because you would have shown it to yourself. You would have proven what’s possible. I always like to define that a miracle is just something that hasn’t happened yet. People for thousands of years thought going to the moon was a miracle, it would never happen.

26:22
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yeah.

26:22
Lana Shlafer:
Until somebody did it, and now it’s a fact. Breaking the four-minute mile barrier for Roger Bannister in 1954, I think, the scientific community wrote and said the human body is not capable of running faster than this – until he did it. Now, people are breaking three-minute mile barriers. What else is possible is such a great question to ask because it opens you up. It doesn’t deny what’s happened, and it does not judge what happened as bad, which takes all of your energy away from moving forward and it sinks you back into it’s bad. So, what else is possible? Now what? Can I feel a little bit better? Is there an opportunity for me to increase my mobility a little bit? Is there an opportunity for me to have better feeling symptoms? It’s the one-degree shifts that make the biggest difference. So many people want to get to some final outcome and I’m like nothing happens even if you get to the final outcome. Because if you struggled your way through it, all you know is struggle. Great, your body might be healed, but your mind isn’t. But if you actually spend your time doing those one-degree shifts and really integrating them and creating a new you, that’s the real success, that’s the real healing, that’s the real purpose.

27:42
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yes, thank you. So, you said at the beginning that I should remind you about the authority, yes.

27:49
Lana Shlafer:
Authority, yes. I feel like if you grew up with parents who told you what to do, and you went to school and they told you what to do, which is what school was designed to do – to raise factory workers – and it just hasn’t been updated. So you should have heard the bell and taken an action. You were told where to sit, where to go, when to eat, what to do, what’s not allowed and what’s allowed. And you pretty much went through that system and you come out as maybe a college grad or maybe a high school grad. Nobody’s ever taught you to take care of yourself or to think for yourself, right. And so, so many people are spending their life looking for that next authority. But who can possibly, first of all, have the same desire for wellbeing as you for you, and who can possibly know you – all of you – as much as you? So, I am a huge proponent of becoming an expert in yourself and involving other people. When I was in the hospital, I was utilizing all of the other people. They were my advisors. They were not my authority.

28:58
Dr. Maya Novak:
Well, thank you for sharing this. Before we started recording this interview we talked a bit about your injury. You’ve been in the hospital and it wasn’t the easiest thing. Can you share a bit about this? And then we’re going to talk also about the emotional and mental aspect of this.

29:17
Lana Shlafer:
Yeah. So, it’s funny because you call it an injury. It’s so weird for me. I just think it was such a miraculous experience. I personally would never describe it as that, even though I was hospitalized and it was traumatic. But it was such a good trauma! I received so many gifts from it.

29:37
Dr. Maya Novak:
We'll continue in just a moment. I wanted to quickly jump in for two things. First, thank you for tuning in. And second, I’m sure you have at least one friend, colleague, or family member who would very much appreciate this episode. So share it with them and help us spread the word. Now let’s continue…

29:58
Lana Shlafer:
I had never had any serious injuries that warranted like spending a night in the hospital or anything. I had my twin home birth at home, and then I killed myself trying to nurse two babies and I sort of forgot everything I knew and struggled and suffered my way through it. My survival instincts kicked in. I was getting no sleep and there was a lot of like tension between the household members, and it was just a difficult time I think, for everybody. I had some clogged milk ducts and I just refused to get relief through medication. I tried all the natural things because I knew it would come out in the milk. So, I really suffered. Looking back, I had an assumption – an unconscious assumption that was largely passed down generation from generation – though my mom vocalized it plenty. She was like you’re supposed to suffer. She literally told me it’s supposed to be hard, you know how hard it was for me. I mean I have heard this my whole life, but now she was like you cannot give them formula, you cannot take medication, you are going to harm your children. So, there was a lot of pressure and a lot of resistance. And so I ended up doing all this homeopathy and all these wonderful things that work sometimes, and other times they do not. And so I ended up in the hospital in the emergency room. It was so bad that – I mean I think the highest medication I’ve ever taken might have been like a Vicodin or something, and that was probably for some teeth or something. They had me on high doses of morphine. It was the most painful experience that I’ve ever had. It felt like somebody was stabbing me in the chest repeatedly. I mean all the milk that I had saved up for my seven-week-old twins was gone in a nanosecond. I had to – I was still determined. I was pumping and dumping because I wanted the milk supply. I mean I am nothing if not determined. I have such like a survivor attitude, but that’s what makes me, me. And it also is what makes it challenging for me to sometimes take on these like woo-woo ideas, just like let-go, and I’m like what the fuck does that mean? Like you don’t understand. Like my kids are at stake. Like this is – you don’t understand. So I’m the queen of convincing anybody of the gravity of the situation. But where it got me was the first day they were assessing. The second day they literally took syringes and pumped out two full syringes like this of pus in my breasts, close to my heart. It was on my right side, but there was a lot of things going on energetically. And then they were like it’s still not going away and we’re worried that you have MRSA, this resistant infection, and you cannot see the kids. I told them I didn’t want them in the hospital anyway. But it was killing me. So this was two days. Now, it was the third day that I wasn’t seeing my kids, finally like we have to have surgery. And they literally cut out a giant chunk of my breast. I had a hole in my breast for weeks while it was healing. I had to dress it with gauze. It was the weirdest experience I’ve had. But I’ll tell you what was the turning point. It was like day two or day three in the hospital and I just had to surrender. I’m not seeing my kids. I have to just deal with this. I’m going to have surgery for the first time in my life, like major surgery. I don’t know what this means, and it was almost like – because I think I just had enough time on my own away from the crazy cycle I was in. And even though I wasn’t getting great sleep at the hospital, it was more sleep than nursing newborns around the clock. I think some sort of like sanity clicked in and it was like why am I not practicing anything that I did up until this. I had this incredibly triumphant birth where I received so much support. I followed my intuition. I followed what my body needed to such – I really went from like this high to this low. It was such a big nosedive and it was just – once you see, you can’t un-see. It became lucid, like oh, I resisted this. And I don’t even remember if I journaled. I don’t even know if I wrote or if I just talked on the phone with someone or if I spoke out loud to myself – probably all of the above. And I’m pretty sure I spoke out loud to myself because I was like I am committing to my wellbeing. This martyrdom that was passed down generation after generation ends with me. I do not want my daughter in the same position. And I wrote out this commitment thing that was like I do not to need to nurse my kids to be a good mother. I do not need to – like I just had this moment of taking a stand for my alignment as my priority, which I had just surrendered because I was like, well, they matter more. And it was really difficult and talk to so many women, especially mothers, who just cannot see outside of it. It is so ingrained that this sacrifice needs to happen. But when you realize that this is an idea that you are self-fulfilling, and for me, I got nowhere. It didn’t get me anywhere good. I was living my worst nightmare already. So, I was like, well, let’s see what happens if I surrender. I stopped having any kind of nursing schedule after I came out of the hospital. My friend, bless her heart because we – this was in the middle – I left grad school to give birth. We are broke. I am in debt. I have all these rich investment banker friends that have kept going and I one friend who’s such an angel. It was just like I am wiring you money, you are hiring a nanny, you need help. And she literally wired, I don’t remember, a few thousand dollars into my account. Like I – once I surrendered so much help came in. It was so difficult for me. I’m such a prideful person. I have a hard time asking for support. I had to. I had to, and then say thank you. I received. Like, thank you for being here. And so that was the shift for me. It was that I realized that I was sacrificing myself for some other good and when I made the other good bigger than me, I felt oh, so small, and I injured myself, really. I drove myself into this hole, and I am so grateful for it because it was such a solid commitment. I go back to that moment sometimes when I feel like the kids need me, somebody’s sick, and I have to give to them. It is so difficult for me to not just martyr myself, and I have to remind myself do I really want to do this? And it’s a tricky question. Our society does not do well with women who are independent and empowered and do not feel like have to slave for their children. I love them with all my heart, but there were times when I just said to my husband I have got to leave. Take them to your parents, do whatever you need to do, I’m leaving for the next three hours, and I would walk out the door. It allowed me to keep my mental sanity. Again, some people would be like I could never do that, that’s so traumatizing for the kids. And I was like I grew up in a household with parents who didn’t do that and that fucked me up. And I promised that I would not be resentful to my own children. This whole injury was such a portal to another level of living this that I am still experiencing. So, I’m grateful. I look at that scar – I had a scar specialist who’s a massage therapist, and I’m like can I – I don’t know if can – oh yeah, there you go, you can see it a little bit, but no, you can’t really see it. Anyway, she told me that this is one of the best healed scars she’s ever seen. And I said because I love this scar. I love it so much. Like, thank you, body, for waking me up because I was on a train to nowhere. My husband and I were fighting like cats and dogs. I was like I don’t think I can be married to this guy. I mean everything was on a train where I didn’t want to go. My beautiful body said ding, ding, ding, ding, time to wake up! So, I’m grateful.

37:59
Dr. Maya Novak:
Wow, you mentioned quite a lot of things here that are so extremely common after an injury, especially after a serious injury. That it’s not just let me wait a week or two weeks, but it can be weeks, months, sometimes years of recovery. So, it’s an emotional roller coaster. Often it’s what do you mean to surrender? What do you mean by not have a schedule? Because if I surrender, if I don’t push, if I don’t suffer through the pain and everything that mean that I’m not going to actually heal. That means that I’m not going to do what it takes to heal. So, my question…

38:42
Lana Shlafer:
Yeah. I think it starts with an assumption. And we – you and I can’t convince anyone of this.

38:47
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yeah.

38:47
Lana Shlafer:
This is something that you honestly have to come on your own to…

38:51
Dr. Maya Novak:
Mhm.

38:51
Lana Shlafer:
… and then this will make sense. So, I am not here to convince anyone. I am here to say what if the path to healing is feeling better mind-body-spirit.

39:02
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yeah.

39:02
Lana Shlafer:
That’s been the truth for me and thousands of people I’ve worked with, but I don’t know if that’s the truth for you, and I’m not here to convince you, but this will be here if you want to explore it. And I honestly feel like people have to hit some sort of rock bottom and just tire themselves out the way I did. Like just get to such a low point, whatever their bottom is, where they’re like okay, I’m willing. I mean I’ve had to do that so many times where I kind of hit rock bottom before I make the decision. I waited until I was absolutely miserable and borderline suicidal to finally be like you know what, I really do want to study psychology, I’m going to apply to grad schools. Because I thought it was stupid. My parents thought it would get me nowhere. It was like this whole thing. Psychology is not a real thing. Like all of these assumptions, but I just couldn’t deny that people were the most interesting things to me. And then I didn’t want to be an economist. I didn’t want to be an investment banker. And even with yoga and personal training and all that, I really found that the body really expressed the mind. And so I realized I just don’t want to keep in these cycles that I knew there could be deeper healing, and I wanted to learn it. Even if everyone in my life thought it was frivolous and dumb, that I needed to get to rock bottom to admit to myself. That’s what I mean by surrender. I feel like surrender might be the wrong word. I feel like it’s reclaiming. For me, it was a reclaiming. It was a stepping into it. It’s not a letting go of. I’m not letting go of anything. I’m just really stepping in and claiming what I know to be true.

40:35
Dr. Maya Novak:
And this would be my follow-up, so how do we actually surrender, and I think that you beautifully answered this here. How do we actually then surrender? When I introduced you I also mentioned beliefs, that you help people who think that they reach their upper limit. When it comes to beliefs and belief systems, there is a lot when it comes to healing, especially when we talk about doctors and authority and so on.

41:06
Lana Shlafer:
Yeah.

41:06
Dr. Maya Novak:
But in combination also with the law of attraction, it’s like you know what, I want to be healed. I am suffering or this is happening for – I don’t know – 18 months, 24 months or something like that – and I want to be healed but I am not. So, does this mean that the law of attraction doesn’t work or what might be potentially the problem here?

41:32
Lana Shlafer:
Yeah, wrong question, once again - looking for problems. I’m just like do you want to feel better or not? That’s what I would ask the person, and they’ll be like yes. I’m like what can you try today to feel better? That’s it. Go do it. A part of my grad school was training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. It’s been used in John Hopkins University for, I don’t know, 20-30 years by Jon Kabat-Zinn, who created it specifically for chronic pain patients who were beyond help. They’ve done all the surgeries. They’ve had all the drugs. They were alive but with chronic and sometimes debilitating pain. So, he took the practice of meditation but in a completely secular – like no little Zen bells, no oms, no nothing. Like in a medical setting, people coming in for like a support group and doing this every simple body scan. And so I had a whole course in it and we went through the whole protocol and it was incredible. Again, he’s just telling people to try this. Try this. The results were phenomenal and undeniable – to the point – I mean it’s at our major research hospital. This is not some woo-woo somebody in a yoga studio out in a hut and dancing around a fire. This was somebody who wanted to help people badly enough that he was willing to explore if their bodies are not responding, will their mind. What they found over and over again, you guys can look this up – Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) – all the research is that the mind really controls how we interpret pain, and the mind really controls our potential for healing. That’s been proven in a gazillion different ways, but again, I don’t want to convince anyone. A lot of times, this is what happens, and if that’s you, that’s okay but I just want you to get honest with yourself because awareness is really the first, most important, biggest step to any of this. So, if you’re a person that this happened to you and you just assumed it’s going to be bad, and you just assumed that there’s pain and you feel no way out, and you already were feeling like powerless, like a powerless person in your life overall, things happen to you, these people did this, this situation happened. I was born here, my mom, my dad, my this, my job, and so you now have this experience of feeling powerless. Then none of these things that we’re talking about are going to be useful to you. Like if you just assume you are powerless, then life will reflect that back to you over and over. So, what I’m asking is not to say I’m all-powerful now! I’m going to surrender and open. I don’t even know what that means. What I’m asking is do you want to feel better and are you willing to try new things? Read a new book. Try a new program. Do the meditation thing. Like, do a workshop. There’s so much training out there now. Just keep your eyes open and explore. The biggest evidence you will have is I feel better. One thing that happens, people try one thing one time and they don’t see the results. I’m like, well, try it a few times. You might need to repeat it a couple of times to see any kind of impact. But also, don’t be discouraged if that thing doesn’t work. Like I find the way that most people approach affirmations to be completely useless – in my life or in their lives. So, I’m like well, then don’t do affirmations. Traditional meditation doesn’t work for like I don’t know what percentage of people, let’s say 50 percent of people that have any kind of trauma or PTSD. It can be very re-traumatizing to enter your body when your body isn’t safe. So, don’t do that. Find other ways. There’s a million other ways to get to that desired goal. The key is to say – maybe even the healing becomes less of a goal and it’s just like can I feel better – whatever that means to you. Can I feel a little bit better today, I find to me a much more realistic and like open-ended question, versus can I heal this, is this possible, my beliefs are bad, I don’t know how to feel worthy, I don’t know how to feel powerless, whatever it is. Why is the law of attraction not working for me? Who cares. Do you want to feel better?

46:03
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yes. I want!

46:06
Lana Shlafer:
Okay! Then I convinced you!

46:11
Dr. Maya Novak:
No, it’s true. I mean this conversation is absolutely not to convince somebody because if someone doesn’t actually – is not open-minded - perhaps there is the potential or perhaps there is another opportunity or perhaps – whatever. Then maybe in a year or two years, who knows, maybe never, and that’s okay.

46:33
Lana Shlafer:
Yeah, that is okay.

46:34
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yeah.

46:36
Lana Shlafer:
That is okay, and I feel like when you’re watching somebody who has a chronic injury - I think it’s sometimes harder not when it’s you, but when it’s somebody else that’s really powerless. Love them where they’re at. I don’t think it’s love when you are trying to fix them. I feel like love is embracing and saying I know that you will find your way, whatever your way is, and I will be here.

47:03
Dr. Maya Novak:
Yes, and you also mentioned a very important thing, which is sometimes we really have to hit the rock bottom first because sometimes we just have to – I don’t know if this is really a good thing to say – we have to suffer, you know.

47:18
Lana Shlafer:
Yeah, yeah.

47:19
Dr. Maya Novak:
But sometimes we really have to go through this, so that we are like okay, enough is enough. I have to change something now.

47:26
Lana Shlafer:
Yes. I think it’s that so many of us like I said, we’re taught that discomfort and suffering are a part of life. So, we have kind of grown comfortable with the discomfort.

47:37
Dr. Maya Novak:
Mhm.

47:37
Lana Shlafer:
We are comfortable with the suffering, and so the unknown feels uncomfortable. It’s unknown, it’s scary, it’s less predictable. So, a lot of people – and we’re biologically wired for that to not got into places that are scary and to stay alive and survive. And so it’s uncomfortable to explore thinking of things in a new way. I think for a lot of people, when they make the outcome like a very binary I either heal or I don’t, they’re afraid of even setting that goal because they feel like they’ll fail themselves one more time.

48:16
Dr. Maya Novak:
Mhm.

48:16
Lana Shlafer:
Life will disappoint them one more time. As I said, you’re starting at a powerlessness level. I feel like, again, a much easier opening would be to say can I feel better, not trying to get to absolute perfect healing. My master coach has Crohn’s disease and she was hospitalized after like being a dance and all that, and she was told she might not be able to have kids. She ended up having twins and then another child. And even as she started doing work with me years ago, her goal was to go into remission. It was like I’m going to go into remission because her symptoms are so uncomfortable. I mean you lose control over your bowels. You have to carry extra clothes in your car and your office everywhere. It feels very powerless. This is so normal already, even with the medication, and she’s tried all these alternative methods and nothing got her into remission. Finally, I was like why do you think remission is this holy grail? What do you think is going to happen? I was like what do you – what would you do in your life if you went into remission? How would you feel? And we spent a lot of time on that, and one of the biggest successes I feel like I’ve experienced in a person that I saw the journey, is it was so impossible for her to imagine to have a full life with those symptoms. It felt almost impossible. Like the fact that you could soil your pants at any moment does not allow you to go and do the things you want to do. You can’t go on a boat. You can’t go on a plane. You can’t do a lot of things that you might take for granted. Her biggest shift was I don’t have to go into remission to do things that I want to do, I changed the way that I look at them. And so she hasn’t gone into a remission but her symptoms got so much less, that it’s miraculous. It’s almost impossible for her doctors. They’re like what are you doing?

50:08
Dr. Maya Novak:
Stop fighting.

50:09
Lana Shlafer:
Yeah. Well, she stopped chasing like this carrot of remission. I mean, like okay, great, let’s say you have – I don’t know – an injury in your back, like back pain is for so many people, right. And you think if only my back healed. I’m like yeah, okay, great. It heals, now what? They don’t even know beyond that, they make it the holy grail. It’s the same way that a person who has eating disorders like me, I thought if I just get to that body size everything in my life would be better and I’d be happier. It didn’t work! I did not work, not at all! So, I’m just saying don’t make some outcome the holy grail. Make feeling better your real goal and celebrate the progression and just say what else is possible? How can I feel a little better today?

51:03
Dr. Maya Novak:
Wow. So, there are people who are listening and they are like, yeah, it makes complete sense. But I also know that there are people who are listening to this and they are losing hope about their healing. What would you say to someone who losing hope about their recovery?

51:22
Lana Shlafer:
Go ahead and die!

51:23
Dr. Maya Novak:
[in shock] Why that?

51:26
Lana Shlafer:
When I was pregnant with twins and there was such a high risk of one of them not surviving throughout the pregnancy or having complications during birth that would make me not well, it had such power over me. It was so painful to think about it. I was so obsessed with not having my babies die that I realized that this thing became so much bigger and more powerful than me. So I – I mean had years of visualizations, of mindset practice, and I do not recommend this for anyone, although Gary V suggests this for everyone, actually, to just imagine that you’re dying, okay. And I would imagine – I would first imagine one baby dying and what would happen. I would cry all the tears. I would have all the grief. It was so painful, but ultimately it was a feeling. And I wanted to find in my mind a way that there was still something beyond that. And then I would imagine both babies dying. What would that mean? I mean I’d come up and have no kids. How would I go on? And then I gave myself permission to feel all of that. What if I die? When I die, I’m just like whatever, I die. I will be an angel watching over them, you know. That was not my challenge. My challenge was them. But it freed me up. It freed me up from this big – first of all, I think everybody has to make peace with death because it is going to happen. One hundred percent, without a doubt, it is going to happen one day and it’s guaranteed. So, our society deals with that terribly. Like death is the worst thing that could happen, even though it’s guaranteed. So, I’m just like you can’t – you have got to find a way to contextualize death however you want to think about it. However, you make sense of it, as something that is a natural part of life because it is, and prepare for it like it is a natural part of life because it is. It would be like being shocked every time you have to pee. Oh my god, I’m going to have to pee, I can’t do it. Oh my god, I’m going to hold it, I’m going to hold it, I’m going to hold in, oh no, it came out! It’s biologically, as far as I know, I don’t know. I mean you could talk about transcendence and going to different dimensions and all that. However you want to contextualize it, it is going to happen. So I say if you lose hope, great. Lose hope, and when you stop trying so hard the hope will be there. When I stopped trying to stop this big thing from hurting me and paining me and having power over me, I reclaimed my own power and I said, well, if that happened, I will find a way to go on or not, and it’s okay. Like it will be – I don’t know if okay is the right word, but life will go on. And so I’d recommend for everybody – and Gary V suggests that you do this on a day to day basis to just have perspective of your life because nothing is guaranteed. So here you are thinking, oh my god, I have this injury, I’m going to spend 12 months in recovery, and here’s somebody who walked out on the street and got killed by a bus. So, you can look at that and say, you know what, I have use of half of my body. What do I want to do with that half? Or you can say I have another 12 months that I know will be great. Like people with degenerative diseases that can be really difficult, right, because there’s always something looming over them, thinking that I’m going to degenerate. I’m like we’re all going to degenerate. You just happen to know or least you think you know. So I would focus on how can I live the best life today? Let this be a portal into the most incredible life experience that you can imagine. I feel like most people are half-dead anyway. If this gives you a chance to really wake up and live in full color, high definition, full-out, then man, you are winning already.

55:33
Dr. Maya Novak:
This is definitely a different kind of answer! Because this is one of the questions that I ask every single speaker and it’s definitely a different kind of answer but it – sometimes a bit of tough love is necessary for us to move, to be a difference.

56:00
Lana Shlafer:
I feel like I’m here, to be honest, and everything I say is my opinion. If you have a reaction to it, great, that’s your reaction and you can process it. If you disagree with me, you can disagree with me. I’m just sharing what I have found to be true in all of the things that I’ve done and all the people I’ve worked with. And really, it’s a basic spiritual truth that you can find in any religion where you just recognize that you are a child of God, or however you understand it, and you will return to that. Like you will lose this body, this will happen. And to make peace with that – I love the Native American perspective on this where they honor death as a transition and it’s so normalized. They’re not putting kids outside of funerals. They’re not making it a sad – they’re making it a celebration of that person’s life. I feel like I am here to promote true life, not suffering while alive. I wouldn’t call that a full life. And while you’re still here, and you still have a body, I suggest you make the most of it. But I can’t force you to do it!

57:09
Dr. Maya Novak:
Absolutely.

57:10
Lana Shlafer:
I’m going to do it, and I feel like that’s the best thing that I can do, is to live full-out myself.

57:18
Dr. Maya Novak:
Absolutely. So, we talked a lot about different kinds of approaches or practices or even techniques, but I would like to ask you what is your number one advice that you would give someone who is injured right now and healing.

57:36
Lana Shlafer:
Feel. Learn how to feel. I would say 99 percent of the people in the western world do not acknowledge their feelings and do not actually experience their feelings. Feelings are meant to flow like waves, but when they get wedged in you and they become cellular memories and they start to really sit in there, that’s when they give you grief and discomfort. So, if you’re feeling grief, feel grief. If you need to find a counselor to feel grief about the fact that you’re injured, go do that. If you are feeling anxious, then feel anxious and really allow yourself to feel it because resisting it is just making it worse. Covering it up and running away from it – I wish it worked. I could be a very fast runner if I needed to. It just doesn’t work. It’s ineffective. So, how can you allow yourself to feel this anxiety, and let it inform you to what actually needs to change? I think that feeling, truly acknowledging something, is part awareness and part, hopefully, permission to actually make changes and to prioritize yourself. I hope that any kind of injury is an opening for you to choose you in a better way, whatever that means for you. That is not selfish. I look at it as something that is self-full, and if you don’t fill yourself up, you’ll have nothing left to give and you will become a burden to yourself and to other people. That is not my desire, so, I take it very seriously, like I did at the hospital. I realized I was so empty so I had nothing to give. I had to start filling myself up because when I fill myself up, it overflows and it is such an abundant way of interacting with the world then, and with my kids, and with my partner, with everything, with my body even. But that depletion doesn’t get me very far. And so I can’t even acknowledge the depletion until I feel it. So many of us are running and denying and repressing and suppressing and there comes depression and anxiety and medication and da-da-da, and before you know it, there is an injury.

59:47
Dr. Maya Novak:
I love that you mentioned not running away because it comes to recovery and when we talk about pain or when we talk about the body that is changing, usually there is a lot of running away. I want to run away from this pain. I want to run away from this body that is changing. I want to be like I was before. It’s never like being in that moment and embracing what is actually happening.

01:00:14
Lana Shlafer:
Yeah. I think that’s the hardest thing to do, is to sit there and feel. I don’t think I have ever actually done anything harder. It is a legit difficult thing, but if you want to live a better life, this is something you will need to learn. I am a big proponent of surrounding yourself with people and ways – people who come to my program, this is what we work on. So there is as much support as can possibly be given so that they feel like okay, it’s scary, it’s comfortable, I want to run away, but I’m here with someone and I can feel that there is a space and a container and a safe place to feel unsafe, right. So, I feel like getting support around it is key. It’s necessary. That’s a part of hitting rock bottom, I think. I could of, I guess, asked my friend for money to hire a nanny earlier. I could’ve done other things, but I had too much pride. I had too much – I just had this idea that I can do it all myself and I was not open to support. There were just so many series of humbling experiences that taught me that it is actually a joy. I kept thanking her. Like, thank you for doing this. Thank you, I will pay you back. And finally, she got so annoyed. She was like stop thanking me. I did it because it makes feel good. Like this is – wouldn’t you do that for me? I’m like yeah, well, stop thanking me, I don’t ever want you to mention this again – and we didn’t for like a year until I paid her back. And so it was a recognition that there’s so much support out there and it’s such a joy. So that, and I think I realized that the whole support piece, it was so hypocritical for me to want to help others, but not to want to receive it. So, whether I knew it or not, I had to get honest and say I was judging the people receiving. I thought that they were the powerless ones and I’m the powerful one. So, it was a way for me to feel more empowered, and when I recognized it, I was like I don’t want to do that. I want to learn how to receive and give and be in the circulation. So much about physical pain is allowing more support because you almost can’t handle it yourself, and I don’t think you’re mean to. I don’t think you need to. What if that pain came – as Rumi says – to be the crack that lets the light in.

01:02:40
Dr. Maya Novak:
Lana, we could talk for hours. I have that feeling that this could be like a three-four interview! But we’re going to slowly wrap it up. I have one more question for you that is a really out of the box question.

01:02:56
Lana Shlafer:
Okay.

01:02:56
Dr. Maya Novak:
I ask every single speaker this, and I’m interested how you’re going to answer this. So, if you imagine right now that you are being injured and you know that it’s going to take you a while for this recovery, to go through this recovery. Now, in this moment, you can choose one of two gifts or one of two options. Option number one is that you go through this recovery and healing. You do everything that you can in your power to heal in the best possible way, and then at the end, you get a gift of potentially not being injured ever again. Gift number two is that you can go back in time and actually prevent the accident from happening, but then you take risks and perhaps you might be injured the very next day. So, which one would you choose and why?

01:03:53
Lana Shlafer:
For sure, one, because I don’t look at anything as something that’s gone wrong and I feel like it’s all there to serve me. So, I don’t really want to go back and change things in that way or at least I feel like I can by receiving the gift in it, then my perspective of what happened changed. But my ideal of life is not – my like dream is not to live my life somehow stagnantly perfectly in alignment and to never feel pain and to never suffer and to never be injured physically or stuff. I feel like that is – it may be possible, but it is not my most desirable outcome. My most desirable outcome is so much bigger than that. It’s that whatever happens, it serves me and expands me and evolves me and makes my life better so that whatever is happening, I can use it to make lemonade out of, right. For me, that is the self-realization and the true healing of empowerment and feeling like I am deeply grateful for every part of my life. That kind of healing, I can’t put a price on and it is worth every pain that I’ve lived. And so if the pain is happening now, I know it’s there to serve me as well.

01:05:25
Dr. Maya Novak:
Beautifully said. Lana, where can people find more about you?

01:05:30
Lana Shlafer:
You can find me on my website, lanashlafer.com, on Facebook, on Instagram, on YouTube. I mean you can’t go anywhere without finding me, really! My book is coming out soon. It will probably be out by the time this interview is live. It’s called Manifest That Miracle. So you can read it for actual stuff. My book is definitely more of – less convincing and more practical approaches, here are actual ways that you can do it, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9… like try these ways and see how it works for you because I find that to be, again, more impactful for people to actually test it on themselves. So, go pick up the book. Check it out. Hopefully, it gives you some relief and healing.

01:06:13
Dr. Maya Novak:
Lana, thank you so much for being here. This was amazing. Thank you for sharing all the knowledge and all the amazing love, and also tough love. I really appreciate this.

01:06:24
Lana Shlafer:
Thank you, thank you. Thank you for having me.

01:06:27
Dr. Maya Novak:
This wraps up today’s episode with Lana Shlafer. If you haven’t done it yet, subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you’re using to tune in. Of course, also remember to share this episode with your loved ones and help them out. To access show notes, links, and transcript of today’s talk go to mayanovak.com/podcast. To learn more about The Mindful Injury Recovery Method visit my website mayanovak.com and find my book Heal Beyond Expectations on Amazon. Until next time – keep evolving, blooming, and healing.

Love and gratitude xx
Dr. Maya

Do you think this episode would help anyone you know? Please share it with them.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *