Client Stories: A Celebration

Lee:
My Old Stories about Myself Don’t Control My Life Anymore

Alejandra’s Note: I watched Lee transform his life through our work.  His story is lengthy and so worth reading!

“When I began Language Alchemy work, I was feeling lost and in a state of seeking. I wanted to find something that could solve all my problems, heal the suffering of a painful breakup and help me adjust to a new job and co-workers in a competitive environment.  Yet, I was not very sure of what I actually wanted. From the beginning, Alejandra was able to zero in what I needed; it was like she knew me already and accepted me, as I was. It felt so safe and settling to be seen by someone who saw me wholly, to be known, without judgment, and to experience such immediate compassion.  I knew I could tell her anything.

I had done some work on myself before working with Alejandra. Growing up gay in a conservative suburb in the 60’s and 70’s was not an easy life. The hiding of and coping with that had had an effect on me, which has reverberated throughout all areas of my life, especially in connecting with people.  I even tried “conversion therapy” through a church. That only led to me feeling more confused and self-critical.   I had also done many hours of conventional therapy.  But Language Alchemy work is very different; it’s interactive, requiring participation and work. In therapy, I got tired of listening to myself talk about my childhood and myself week after week with no solution in sight. A lot of the work seemed theoretical. Alejandra has given me tools every step of the way which I can use whenever I encounter challenges.

In our sessions, we’ve done role-playing and inward exploration around triggers that has been very hands-on and practical.  Learning how to quickly recognize and navigate triggers has changed my life. Because the work is kinesthetic and somatic, I’ve learned to be with my whole being, not just my mind.

In working with Alejandra, I learned about the importance of paying attention. That sounds easy but my attention likes to bounce around (apparently not unusual for creative types like me). Learning how to focus and direct my attention was key to becoming present to what was actually going on for me. In time, the seeking became observing.  Instead of seeking something outside of myself that could magically fix me, I learned to observe my feelings and reactions objectively and began to learn the language of describing those feelings and reactions, which has ultimately led to finding deeper understanding and empathy for myself and for all my relations.

I was able to observe that my language in my internal dialogue was in one way or another telling me there was something wrong with me, that I was not enough. I felt so depressed that in an attempt to explain my interpersonal challenges I had wondered if I had Asperger syndrome.   I observed how hard it was to receive opposition or “negative” feedback because I took it as a validation that I was not enough. With Alejandra, we did many inquiry processes and I got to see how all this external orientation was actually giving me the opposite of what I wanted. Instead of feeling calm and confident, I felt so anxious and unstable because I was depending on others to validate me and to tell me who I was. As sessions went on and my awareness and capacity for empathy and compassion expanded, my seeing sharpened.  The concept that my “cure” would come from something outside of myself diminished. The journey was inward.

In our journey together, Alejandra taught me to connect to a different language, a deeper language within me; the language of my longings. When I listened to my longings, I connected to a deeper sense of my being that is naturally calm, vast and bright. From that sense of self-connection, I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted tools for navigating challenging interpersonal situations. I wanted confidence in my own being. I also wanted a partner to share my life with.  The more I observed my internal language, the more I realized that I could choose to communicate differently. As my internal language changed, the language I used with others changed as well.

I learned to listen in a whole new way and to be present with others and myself in a way that feels connecting and safe. Relationships changed at home and at work. I’m able to maintain cordial professional relationships and I’ve made friends at work. And when I experience someone having a conflict with me, I no longer habitually hear the internal message that it’s “all about me.” In fact, I can have empathy for them, I can ask them questions and we can look for solutions together. As a result, I feel more connected with everyone.  At work I feel I’m part of the team. The same thing happened with all my relations including clients. Receiving feedback from clients was hard sometimes.  Now, it’s so much easier to see my clients’ comments from their perspective, and to get right to the solution if a solution is needed instead of feeling deficient or defensive. I’m so much happier in my work.

And I have a partner now! It’s been two years and our relationship is unlike any other relationship I’ve ever had because I can express what’s important for me in a less judgmental way.  I can listen to him with empathy, which is so much more satisfying than fighting.   And when I do get triggered, I can recognize the trigger for what it is and I am able to more quickly digest it using my Language Alchemy tools. At the same time, I’m able to remain open to my partner and hear what matters to him.  There is no drama left unchecked in this relationship. When we hear each other, all the unnecessary intensity dissolves.  I’m now able to be more mindful that his needs and desires are equal to mine in value.

It seems funny now, that before working with Alejandra, I sometimes thought of clients in terms of creative projects and that customer service was a professional attribute that helped me become more successful. My perspective has flipped. Now, I see each person who comes to me as an opportunity to serve them,  to support them in having an amazing day and to feel good about their experience. I see each client as an opportunity for connection (to the degree they feel comfortable). And most dear to me, as I have become much more aware of how poorly women are sometimes treated and perceived in our society, I see my work as a way to honor and esteem them while they are in my chair, so that they have an uplifting and respectful [or gracious?] experience. I’m happy that Alejandra is one of the many women I have the great privilege to have on my chair.

Working with Alejandra has been unlike any other experience I’ve had. She’s supported me in more ways than I expected. For example, when I went on a quest to find my biological father, I discovered quickly that it’s not easy to get this kind of information out of people. Frustrated, I brought this issue to our work together.  Alejandra and I role-played several scenarios.  Then, I felt a shift in my search. I noticed I was going about it like a detective. In my communications with people who had information, I could not get anything out of them. While on my search to find my father, working with Alejandra also helped me learn how to prepare for the potential of receiving a “no” as an answer and how to be in acceptance and respectful of that outcome.  Knowing and understanding that what really mattered to me came from my pure intention, was more important than my attachment to the outcome. This new understanding made a difference in how I approached requesting the information I was seeking.  With that shift, I was ready to talk to the person who had access to the records. Using the Language Alchemy tools, I was able to let this person know why finding my biological father was important to me. I was able to speak with authenticity and vulnerably from my heart. And with that, we connected and in the end, they gladly helped me and I was able to find and meet my biological father. It was such a special moment in my life.

In this time I’ve been working with Alejandra, she’s been my surrogate best friend, with whom I can freely confide and be received with love. It does not matter what state I am in; she is non-judgmental, warm and nurturing.  I feel trusted for my own capacity to see things and move into conscious action. And the truth is that I do have the ability to be aware and act consciously. When I leave each session, I am always more upbeat, and calm, more clear, more resolved, and more self-confident.”

Lee Brock, Hair Colorist, Cozza Salon.

http://www.josephcozzasalon.com/

Natalie:
Finding My Own Peace Was Key to Raising Peaceful Children

Alejandra’s Note: It was so fulfilling to work with Natalie and witness her language become more authentic and powerful. This allowed her to be the mother she aspired to be with her children.

I met Alejandra during a retreat at Esalen, an incredible place near Big Sur. I was drawn to talk with her. She told me about her teachings and creating Language Alchemy. I intuitively knew that my own defeating internal dialogue was due to a sort of PTSD from listening to very angry people most of my life. I’ve been doing work to clean out those ‘mind viruses’ and plant new ideas and beliefs that are my own.

With Alejandra’s support, I looked at how my internal dialogue was draining my energy and I realized that this old internal dialogue defeats my attempts at realizing my dreams. I felt drawn to do this self-reflection with Alejandra because I know that if I am serious about raising peaceful children, I needed to do a lot of inner work.

In this work together I’ve had to figure out what my ‘own’ desires and values were….. and that’s where I am now. The work I’ve been doing with her has been validating my gut feelings and guiding my way through a bumpy path. I learned that communicating with compassion doesn’t mean just being nice, what a revelation!

Alejandra brings together so much knowledge with softness and strength. I love working with her. In addition to working with her one-on-one, which has been necessary for me to open up some very tightly protected areas of my psyche, I also started a tele course with her. This was great because it gave me the opportunity to practice with a group of people and see that I was not alone. Since doing all this Language Alchemy work, I’ve been able to navigate difficult conversations successfully, being true to my heart and express my true self.

Natalie C.
Napa, California

Mitchell:
I No Longer Feel Lonely When I Am Alone

Alejandra’s Note: It was so sweet to see Mitchell tap into the truth of his own power and his world so quickly!

“My parents taught me that when I needed help, it was a good thing to go and ask for help. I just had a big breakup and I felt like I did not know how to move forward.  I could not focus on my studies or my future and felt lost and lonely. It seemed that I could not motivate myself anymore.

My mom suggested I called Alejandra. My mom took Alejandra’s workshops and knew Alejandra could help me find my way back. My mom said Alejandra was going to show me what was valuable about me. At the time, I could not tell one thing that was valuable about me.

I remember the first conversation Alejandra and I had. I could not talk without crying. Alejandra’s voice was very warm and very touching to hear. I immediately felt I could trust her. I felt I could be me around her and that being me was okay to her.

Talking to her was like a sanctuary. I knew I was in a safe place. That safety helped me be open to discuss what was going on for me with total honesty. In our sessions, we did lots of exercises to alleviate my stress and helped me regain my confidence and power. I learned that I did not need to have a girlfriend to feel lovable and okay with myself. I don’t feel lonely for not having a girlfriend anymore because I learned to be happy with myself.

I could follow her gentle guidance and little by little the focus on my studies and my goals reappeared.  We worked not only on having tools for my day to day life, but also on the bigger goals.

Now, I have my own Zen. I feel more comfortable in my own being. I am able to notice so much about myself, like I can put myself in my own shoes and understand what I want and need.

I feel prepared to succeed because I notice when I’m believing useless stories in my head or intense feelings. I now know how to work with them so that I can connect to the real me. I would sum up our sessions as a journey of self-realization.

I will graduate from college in the spring.  I applied for three internships and all of them accepted me! I will be working in an awesome recording company.”

Mitchell Beard

Musician and college student

This is an example of my music on SoundCloud:

And Bandcamp: Brothers Beard.

Michael:
I Found My Confidence, My Courage and My Truth

Alejandra’s Note: It was such an honor to see Michael become a leader. I’m so proud of Michael and the work he’s done. I also love that he calls me twice a year to share how well he’s doing.

“When I began my year-long journey with Alejandra, I struggled to have a healthy relationship with myself and others; mostly because I was unable to speak my mind, tell my truth, and express my needs in a healthy manner.  Further, I was stuck in a proverbial rut in my career life as well.  I did not feel as though I had a purpose, and I did not know myself well enough to know what I valued and what I wanted to do professionally.  Through my work with Alejandra, I learned to connect with myself in a way that I had never done before.  In so doing, my self-talk ceased to be negative and my drive and passion for life came back.  In developing compassion for myself I began to communicate compassionately with others.  I applied to law school and I was accepted.  I am currently working toward my J.D. with a focus on environmental advocacy.  If it had not been for the work Alejandra and I did together, I would not have been able to walk through the fear that was keeping me from growing.  I like the person I am today, which is something I could not say before working with Alejandra.  I am extremely grateful for the year I spent working with her and I would recommend her to anyone.”

Michael A.
Wisconsin
J.D. Candidate, 2018″

Patty:
I Learned to be a Grown Woman. I No Longer Let Others Bully Me

Alejandra’s Note: Yes! It’s so beautiful to witness Patty continue to speak up with conviction and confidence even if she is receiving unwarranted feedback. Her story continues to inspire me as we keep working together on the subtleties of her patterns!

“It took me while to agree to go to a workshop Alejandra was teaching. My friend suggested it repeatedly and finally, I said yes. I was ready for a shift. I knew I was holding myself back but I was worried about being judged for being myself or for admitting  feelings or mistakes. Something needed to change in my life, and I knew no-one would do it for me. Once I met Alejandra, working with her was not even a question; it became a priority.

I really like Alejandra’s style. I learned so much about myself in the workshops. I wanted to work with her one-on-one because she’s very natural. It’s easy to be myself around her. It is so easy to open up to Alejandra because she is not mean, critical or judgmental. I encountered so much meanness, criticism and judgment in my life for being me. I was bullied a lot when I was a teenager.  I was scared to just let myself be without being guarded. I was even guarded from myself.

However, even though feeling guarded was my habit, there I was telling Alejandra during our first consultation about the difficulties I was having with my boss. I told her I had challenges with men I was intimate with in my life, whether it was my dad or men I was dating. I heard Alejandra say, “I can help you” and she sounded really honest about helping me. When I heard that, I felt I could trust her. I liked that we both agreed at the beginning about what we were going to focus on together.  At first, I signed up for 10 sessions and she gave me a summary of our work together. I was so impressed. I had not even noticed that she had systematically tracked everything. She blew all my expectations.

Working with Alejandra is like talking to a friend but it’s like magic. She has talent. I learned what I needed to be confident with my boss. I could feel this force behind what I was saying to him when I needed to communicate with him. Alejandra gave me tools to help me stay calm in meetings even if I was being interrupted; something that is very triggering for me. I learned to listen instead of being confrontational when the situation did not require that.

We started talking about patterns and I was able to see my patterns. I realized that in certain situations the child in me was taking over and communicating instead of speaking as an adult woman. This type of communication was generating the same unsatisfactory results. I honestly did not even know who this grown woman was. So, I was not centered at all and therefore I did not trust myself. I did not have confidence in my intelligence. The outcome was that I was reactive.

With her guidance, I am now able to differentiate my feelings and stories about situations from what is actually happening. This understanding helped me improve my communication skills around issues at work and with my family. I can talk with choice from the perspective of the grown woman I am.  Before, I thought several situations in relationship were always my fault. So, I had the pattern of defensiveness or over explaining. Alejandra helped me see that in a relationship I have only half of the responsibility but not all the responsibility for everything that happens between me and another person. This awareness helped me be kind to myself and communicate in a way that lessened the stress for me. We spent a lot of time looking at my needs and what works for me or doesn’t work for me.

I also learned to meet my reactions when I experienced others being mean to me. People still say mean things to me, but now I am able to separate what they say from the thought that I am the cause of their meanness. I see it as a way they communicate from their patterns.  Being able to see it from this perspective, keeps me from getting mad at myself and from seeing which situations I can really fix and which ones can only be fixed through collaboration instead of me thinking I need to take the blame.

We worked with imagery on the vision I had of me in 6 months. I started making behavior choices based on my vision. I would say that my biggest accomplishment was to learn to set boundaries. This alone allowed me to make progress. I am pretty good at setting boundaries based on my needs both in my personal and professional life now. Before, I used to be the one to say yes and give more than I would receive. Over time, I was able to develop healthy friendships and professional relationships where there is more mutual support and reciprocity. It’s almost a fleeting memory now to consider that I was afraid of setting boundaries.

Now, I can handle conflicts and challenges by speaking clearly and professionally at work and communicating in a way that protects my needs. I really learned a lot and Alejandra is patient! We also did many roleplays where Alejandra helped me communicate powerfully at job interviews and negotiate skillfully while applying for senior level positions with confidence. I used to think I could only do things if others let me. Now, I know I can fill in my own shoes.  I can embody the professional position I am in or be the grown woman in the situation.

Something that is very valuable for me is that I feel completely confident that Alejandra believes I can to the best person by being myself. I consider her my friend and I admire her and care about her. She’s so good; a lot of people are missing out.  She is committed to supporting me with her knowledge and warmth.  She’s really the best kept secret!”

Patty Johnson, Sillicon Valley, California.

Laurie:
I Am Able to Stay Connected to My Center When I Communicate Something Challenging

Alejandra’s Note: I’d say Laurie’s middle name is Compassion. I loved watching her connect to her compassionate nature and speak from that powerful place within herself.

It has been an amazing and beautiful journey working with Alejandra. From our initial conversation, I felt at ease knowing there was a safe container to share my experiences. Before our work began, I wasn’t aware that “alchemy” could be associated with communication but, during our time together, I realize it couldn’t be any other way. Transformation did indeed happen with how I connected and communicated with others and how, when I dropped into my heart and felt, rather than engaging my brain to think about something, the more I was able to effectively convey my feelings, needs and desires.

I felt stuck in several of my relationships and Alejandra helped me uncover the pain and patterns that ran deep and didn’t allow me to always express myself in a compassionate, loving way. Through our work together and the tools we developed, I had many aha moments, particularly when I communicated with family and friends. Where previously tough conversations may have rocked me off my center, I was able to stay connected in my heart and speak from a place of authenticity. Afterwards, I would think: “Wow, that was so much easier than getting all bunched up!”

The Language Alchemy work I did with Alejandra keeps supporting me despite the fact that the one-on-one work ended. I kept a journal with communication tools that I was learning during our sessions. I still consult my journal and find it a useful guide when I need to communicate what matters to me authentically.

I am honored to have experienced the love, kindness, compassion, and wisdom Alejandra brings to her work and grateful for the difference it has made in my life.

Laurie (Oregon)

Lee:
Our Group Has Grown Deeper and Stronger

We asked Alejandra to facilitate the conversations in our group because we wanted to go deeper and feel more connected to one another in the group. Her style of gentle and responsive facilitation is gentle, non- judgmental, and an invitation towards introspection, honesty and self-growth. The way she talks and guides us has modeled, and encouraged that same honesty and openness within our group. This has become apparent for us as a group – and has moved us all towards implementing this approach in our personal relationships.  I used the tools I learned from Alejandra with a team of social workers I supervise and… it works! We have grown – deeper and stronger- since our work with Alejandra, and appreciate where she has guided us.

Lee P.
San Francisco

Vicki:
Our Group Bonded Even Further

What I most enjoyed about Alejandra’s facilitation was the ease with which she took command of our group and enabled us to focus on the topic of the day.  She has the ability to make everyone feel comfortable about expressing their feelings and thoughts on whatever exercise or subject we were involved in. I think the group bonded even further through some of the exercises she shared with us. Personally, I am working on “owning” several of the behaviors that would make my interactions with people more real and satisfying. I’m grateful for the energy, warmth, caring and wisdom you brought into our lives.

Vicki K.
San Francisco

Hillery:
My Husband and Kids Notice I Listen Much Better

I joined Being Real, the online communication course, because I needed to reset how I communicated with those closest to me. By the last class I felt a genuine transformation. My husband noticed it, as did my 2 middle school girls. My transformation inspired my husband to work on his own communication style. The course has helped me strengthen my relationship with my girls, and has helped me lead more effective business meetings. It’s a work in progress of course, but my husband and kids in particular notice that I listen much better, and I notice that I drop into the belly to communicate wants and needs from the heart. The combination of the course’s learning materials and the experiential piece were great for allowing me to learn more about myself, and learn how to honor myself and others when communicating. My husband and I have recommended this course to many friends and acquaintances. Alejandra, thank you so much for the love and energy you put into creating all of the materials, and into the weekly sessions.”

Hillery M.
Director of Marketing and Communications, Massachusetts

Rob:
I’m Inspired to Make Changes in How I Communicate to Have Healthier Relationships

“I became aware of my communication patterns/habits and was inspired to make changes in how I communicate so I can have healthier relationships. Also, I learned how to listen empathically by listening to Alejandra, who has amazing listening skills. “

Rob M.
Non-profit Consultant, Vermont

Maria :
I Clearly Saw My Habitual, Negative Communication Patterns

During the Being Real online course I was able to see more clearly my habitual, negative communication patterns. By being aware of them and using Language Alchemy tools, I can change these into positive habits that lead to better, more harmonious and respectful communication.”

Maria R.
Environmental Engineer, Massachusetts