Jamie Marich - Waking Up In America

Jamie Marich

INTRO:
Sometimes.. life’s journeys bring you to an intersection of people who so greatly influence your future that it seems like a dream. Dr. Jamie Marich not only found her awakening in our native country of Croatia but was mentored by a unique humanitarian soul who also had a huge effect on my life.
She found herself going down an alcoholic path, unaware of her addiction which led her to connecting the dots of resiliency in her own life. This important shift changed her purpose to helping others through her work in clinical counseling.

BUMPER
I am Tajci.
At 19 I was a superstar and I was lost inside. I left it all behind, switched continents and started all over. Years later I found myself lost again. This time in the American dream.
This is a story about awakening. About living the life you were created for. About going inward and discovering the joyous and purposeful person you and I are both meant to be.
This is “Waking Up In America.”

TAJCI
(sings) Dobro mi dosel prijatel… vu ovaj prekrasni dom..  (talks) Hi Jamie

JAMIE
Oh hvala. Meni je drago. So lovely to be here with you. And… you are gonna make me cry already.

TAJCI
So tell our viewers, I don’t think they understood.

JAMIE
It was a beautiful song of welcome.

TAJCI
Yes

JAMIE
Beautiful song of welcome, and I receive that welcome with a whole heart.

TAJCI
So, we talked about the dots… connecting the dots. And here are our dots: we come from the same country,

JAMIE
Well, I was born here. Just to clarify. You had the most intense experience. But it was a very big part of my culture, and my upbringing.

TAJCI
Yes and then you are connected to my music when you were very little.

JAMIE
Yes

TAJCI
We have the same mentor, father Svet.

JAMIE
He was one of my big ones in my path.

TAJCI
Yes. Then, earlier this year we were connecting through a friend who insisted I watch your TEDx talk and when I did, I became an instant fan of you and your work. And now, connect your dots for me.

JAMIE
Oh… it’s all about connection, isn’t it? ‘Cause I think about you mention father Svet, who… father Svetozar Kraljevic, who was one of the parish priests serving in Medjugorje when I served there. It’s a small village, for the viewers who don’t know, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the Croatian part of the country. And as we mentioned, that’s where my ancestry… just has been a big part of my life growing up and I went there after college, because as you mentioned I was on a very alcoholic path… very destructive path at the time. Didn’t know where I was going in life and through my travels, through my journeys, I went there simply because my grandmother had always told me about it. That was my motivation  as a backpacker. And I ended up meeting beautiful group of people, father Svet was one of them, but he was really the figure that welcomed me to stay for an extended period and work teaching English, and helping with some English language assisting. And I met Janet who was a social worker, an American social worker that had come back and forth during the war and she was spending an extended service period in Medjugorje as well. And she was the one who really put me on my path of recovery, and all of the children and the adults I had a chance to work with over there… were all teachers in a way.

TAJCI
Yes

JAMIE
And then from that experience there two and a half years, father Svet and Janet essentially both said, it’s time to go home and go back to school. And they sent me to work, or to school to study to be a clinical counselor and part of my resistance was, I don’t even like psychology, what’s this about? And I remember both of them said, trust us, I think you’ll like it. I think this is a good fit.

TAJCI
You are a clinical counselor.

JAMIE
Clinical counselor is my official title.

TAJCI
Yes and you are also an author of several books, and your newest book is coming out, we’ll talk about that later. You’re also a musician, you started out, right? as a creative artist.

JAMIE
Yes, from the age of three, I was playing violin. From the age of four I was in a “tamburasi” group,

TAJCI
Of course!

JAMIE
in my native Youngstown, OH, and so folk dancing and singing was a big part of my childhood. Doing dancing and skating throughout the years and, yes, art has been my origin.

TAJCI
You mentioned father Svet and you worked there as an interpreter, helping. Were you helping at the Majcino Selo? Mother’s Village?

JAMIE
Yes, Majcino selo, Mother’s Village. Really, the first job I had there was as a language tutor ’cause a lot of the children were studying in school and father put me to work.

TAJCI
And just for our viewers, let’s explain, this is an orphanage that father Svet put together. And right next to it, is a community for drug rehab.

JAMIE
Right.

TAJCI
And there is this amazing intersection of these orphans,  you know, people who, here are they – the guys in rehab who are orphaned by just being lost in the world, and this is how he explained to me. And right next to them is these kids from all kinds of backgrounds.

JAMIE
Oh right. ‘Cause I even learned when I was there, orphanage… it’s not orphan in the true sense necessarily of having both parents lost. But just a lot of displacement, and that’s interesting because, I although never had any direct work with the rehab work that was there on site, it was, talking about dots connecting… just thinking about how so many of those kids I had the privilege of working with, taught me so many valuable lessons… I referenced one in the TEDx talk. Just about resilience and overcoming fear, and that’s why I consider a lot of those children my spiritual teachers. Delighted to be connected with many of them still, on Facebook, the modern era has allowed for that, and they are my teachers.

TAJCI
Wonderful, and when we come back, we’ll talk about more in detail about those teachers that shifted Jamie into her life that she is living now.


This episode was made possible by FilmYourWhy, helping entrepreneurs like you create videos that convey the story behind your business and engage loyal customers. Find out more at FilmYourWhy.com


 

TAJCI
Jamie, you went to Bosnia and Croatia to interpret language and you came back interpreting life in a completely different way.

JAMIE
I think all of interpreting is about learning, really, ’cause what… I don’t know, I went there to learn. I went there to learn and it’s such a fascinating metaphor you just presented, I never even thought of it that way.

TAJCI
Isn’t it?

JAMIE
I’m overwhelmed.

TAJCI
But, you know, there is another thing. You said you were a backpacker, and all you wanted… you were there, right? Your initial reason was because your grandmother wanted you to travel, and isn’t that that all who wander are not lost?

JAMIE
Oh, I believe that.

TAJCI
We should give a credit to Tolkin for that quote. And another thing is that all who travel are seekers, pilgrims, you know? Why do we go on pilgrimages but to seek and look and what did you find there?

JAMIE
It almost sounds cliche to say I found myself, but it really is what happened. I know for me travel is a medium that brings that out, and to me, the fascinating thing about my travels through Eastern Europe was I didn’t go with any direct spiritual intent… it was, you know, to party, to see where I’m from and learn about different cultures. ‘Cause I was a student of history at the time. So that was a lot of what fascinated me. But it was the connections that we talked about earlier, meeting people… That became a big part of the spiritual pilgrimage. And it’s interesting, because I visited not just Medjugorje, but also a lot of other places in Eastern Europe, all these great holy sites and they are wonderful, and I’m not putting them down as holy sites, but it was the connections that were made.

TAJCI
Absolutely! The relationships and people.

JAMIE
Oh sure, with relationships and people, and others that it was truly transformative.

TAJCI
You are now in Majcino selo, Mother’s VIllage, and you so beautifully deliver that story in your TEDx talk about the little girl who taught you about…

JAMIE
Overcoming fear.

TAJCI
Tell us a little bit about that.

JAMIE
Sure.. I remember her name was Anita. And the essence of the story was, I was teaching her how to ride a swing, or to play on a swing because she saw all of the other children doing it and she was too afraid to give it a try. And I remember, it was one of the biggest lessons I learned about healing… presence… just being there for her and supporting her ’cause her goal was to ride this swing, ’cause it looked like so much fun. And how I was able to get her to start it, was by first sitting on my lap as we went on the swing together. And it was fun, and it was great. And then eventually we worked into it… to giving it a try on her own. And so she gave it a try on her own, and little more each day she went higher and higher. And I’ll never forget the transformative part of that whole story was when she fell. Because in pushing her limits and experimenting, and exploring the fun of it, she fell. She was trying to jump off of it, like she saw the older kids doing. And she cried and cried and cried miserably and my first instinct was, ‘she’s never going to want to do this again.’ I got a little terrified, but it was being there for her, giving her that support, validating that, yes, this stinks that this happened. And before long she was up on the swing trying it again. This time going higher and higher. And just declaring “I’m not afraid any more.” And that was a big shift for me, learning about the power of overcoming fear. ‘Cause so much of my own personal paralysis, spiritually, mentally, physically has been about fear. Really at various points of my journey.

TAJCI
Is that why you found yourself in addictive behavior?

JAMIE
Oh sure. I mean, fear of feeling my emotions, fear of the unknown, fear of being judged, I mean you can name a whole laundry list of fears and not feeling like I had any real coping to deal with the fear. And that was a big part of what started it.

TAJCI
How did that moment help you to release… to tap into those fears and release them?

JAMIE
With that story specifically, I am not exactly pinpointing the chronology of when in my journey over there it happened, but I believe it was actually after I had put down the drink officially. And Janet who was the figure father Svet introduced me to, she was a big part in that journey.

But for the first nine months or so that I was learning to live without alcohol, it became a matter of how do I address fear. How do I address feeling a heavy emotion? And I remember, one of the dots that connected, seeing and hearing Anita having that experience was… really is about faith.

And my own work with Janet at the time is that the greatest recipe, if you will, for fear is to have strong faith. And for me, that’s taken on various shapes over the years, but I know that the more and more that I am challenged to work with my faith, my spiritual practice, it’s helped me deal with that fear as fear comes. “Cause it doesn’t go away.

TAJCI
Right. Yes.

JAMIE
It doesn’t go away, but it’s what are you going to do with it when life gives it to you.

TAJCI
Which is important because when the fear comes, and we fall off of that swing, are we gonna go back on, or stay away… But there is an important part in there, is that a) Anita had you right there and you allowed her to cry and feel the sadness and everythiing, and hurt and feeling of failure, right? And then, you were there as her support to come back. And I think so many times in our lives, when fear comes a) we are not allowed to cry; b)we ‘re not allowed to say, “I’m scared!” right?… So you now provide a lot of that council for others… but what about  you? What’s your fall back on that fear?

JAMIE
I still go back to that story. As having so many of the deep lessons even today when fears come. Seek support. I have such an amazing support network of friends, of mentors, of teachers who I can lean on. They let me cry. That’s very important. That’s very important. And another part of that story I still go to today is the lesson is when I fall, am I gonna stay down or am I gonna get up on the swing. And it’s hard. I’m the first to admit that it’s hard to get back up on the swing. So, Anita is one I’ve never been able to find on Facebook and get in contact with, so if she should happen to be watching, somewhere in Croatia, or the U.S. I thank her…

TAJCI
Or anywhere in the world!

JAMIE
Or anywhere in the world! So many of those lessons, still stick with me today from that story.

TAJCI
When we come back, we’ll talk to Dr. Jamie Marich about what to do when you fall off the swing, and her work in Dancing Mindfulness.


This episode was made possible by FilmYourWhy,
helping entrepreneurs like you create videos that convey the story behind your business and engage loyal customers. Find out more at FilmYourWhy.com


TAJCI
We’re talking to Dr. Jamie Marich, clinical counselor, author, expert on trauma, could I say that?

JAMIE
That’s what a lot of people call me, so… but they say expert is somebody who’s made every mistake in the book and has learned from it. On that account, I’m an expert.

TAJCI
That’s wonderful! We talked about little Anita, a little girl that you encountered, who fell of the swing and taught all of us on this show a beautiful lesson. There is a trauma involved there.

JAMIE
Part of my teaching is that trauma… the English word ‘trauma’ comes from the Greek word meaning ‘wound’. And I think, I hate to always say, it’s as simple as that, ’cause there is nothing simple about trauma. But we sometimes try to over-complicate it by talking about the clinical PTSD and clinical diagnosis and all these things that happen with the brain. And that knowledge is great and wonderful. But as humanitarians, as people who work with others it really is about understanding that trauma is any unhealed wound. And if the wound remains unhealed, it can infester and continue to cause problems in our lives. And that’s a lot of how I teach about trauma in the various ways that I teach.

TAJCI
When I watched your TEDx talk and you mentioned, that’s how you open the talk… a few years ago, my kids asked me, why do people go to psychiatrists and therapists? And I explained, when your arm is broken, you go to see a healer, a doctor and they put your arm together… when your heart is broken, you have to go see someone, but so many people, unless it’s a big trauma, we don’t heal these wounds.  So talk to me a little bit on that… and I don’t want to say: ‘every day trauma’ I don’t want to undermine that word, but broken heart…

JAMIE
Sure. Wounding… That’s why I like that word ‘wounding’ so much… “Cause I think we have an understanding that all wounds can cause an issue, even if it is a simple scrape. It needs some time and attention, in order to heal. Yet emotionally think of how often we neglect that. And I love how you shared with your kids that really is any kind of injury or wound… the heart is hurt, the soul is hurt. And that deserves care. Something else I mention in the talk, and I really believe this, is that we can be here to care for each other as well. Not every wound necessarily needs to be taken to a professional, although many do, I wanna be clear about that, but the connections that we make as people, whether it being a faith communities self-help or 12 step type of community, just as an example… Meditation community, there are so many great examples I’ve seen where people can be there to support each other… and what do we get there? Often, healing, validation, support… that can help those wounds heal. So that they don’t fester.

TAJCI
Yes… to me, it’s on every day level, people… even strangers… one of my biggest challenges in America, as a different culture from Croatia, is that here I hear… but there was a lot in Croatia about that too… “Don’t cry”

JAMIE
Oh yea…

TAJCI
Don’t cry

JAMIE
Nemoj plakati…

TAJCI
Nemoj plakati… I often say, just please, cry…

JAMIE
Yes…

TAJCI
Offer your shoulder and have someone cry… be there for someone who wants to cry. And cry yourself.

JAMIE
We’re on the same wavelength there.

TAJCI
What is your biggest joy in the work that you do?

JAMIE
Wow! The one biggest… I don’t know… dancing, singing… and whether it’s… it doesn’t’ have to be actual dancing or singing… but seeing somebody’s soul start to sing, seeing somebody’s soul start to dance… I can see that both when I teach and when I work with people… I can see that in my family and friends connections often and I just love seeing people come to life. I think that’s something that would resonate with you.

But I find that, in order for that to happen, a lot of tears often need to be shed to take you there. And I think that that’s beautiful.

TAJCI
Yes! Tears really just unlock a lot of…

JAMIE
Even as you’re doing that… it’s a river… it takes us to that journey where we need to go for healing.

TAJCI
Yes… so tell me about the motion… see it’s my dancing…

JAMIE
Beautiful! It’s what it’s about. Responding to the needs of the body. It’s a big thing I teach in Dancing Mindfulness.

TAJCI
Tell us about that

JAMIE
Dancing Mindfulness has just been a long process of combining a lot of my passions and loves. Trauma work, using expressive arts for healing, meditation, community gathering. And it’s a practice that I started teaching probably 2011-2012 is when I was really developing it. And, I’m trying to think how to make this concise as possible, because to me Dancing Mindfulness is something we all do inherently. Because mindfulness is the art of being in the moment without judgment. And I often say the first time that I practiced this dancing mindfulness was when I was doing those Kolos…was when I was in my parent’s basement as a five year old putting on Mickey Mouse records and just responding to the needs of the body. That it’s nothing to do with choreographed steps, or having to look a certain way. It’s just moving the body with the sense of joy and freedom. And challenging people now to see that as legitimate form of meditation. That this is the way to connect and center and pray. In one way, the word isn’t radically original, cause a lot of… I mean, people have been doing this since the dawn of time… One thing I’ve been trying to do with it is create safe community spaces for it. That are trauma informed, so you are not going to be judged for how you move… we try to make the classes as safe as possible. And now with the book, it’s really inspiring people to develop a personal meditation practice that uses dance.

TAJCI
Oh, beautiful! Beautiful! Because mindfulness… there is also… be mindful of your thoughts, we are talking so much, thankfully more about mindfulness in your every day life… so it’s taking your awareness away from the judgment, away from the external, right? And being mindful of what does your body want to express… is that…

JAMIE
Very much so… Being mindful of what your body wants to express, using is as a vehicle for your present moment experience, and here is what I see is slightly different than some of the other dance forms that are out there. It’s not about using dance to escape. It’s about using dance to become more present and embodied and hospitable to your experience in the moment, whatever that may be.

TAJCI
Wow… and we are going to show a little segment to visually show our viewers what it looks like. And how can they find you? How can they do it? When the book comes out?

JAMIE
Sure! The easiest website home is, if you remember the phrase ‘dancing mindfulness’ dancingMindfulness.com is the website. If you’re on Facebook or social media, dancing mindfulness is the Facebook page. It’s @dancingmindful on Twitter.  And either, or any, I should say, of those platforms will connect you with classes, with teacher, rather facilitator for the trainings we do, information about the book, and then video that we also did. So there is something in it where you can connect with us if you’re feeling called.

TAJCI
We are going to watch the segment and give you a little bit of taste of Dr. Jamie Marich’s Dancing Mindfulness coming to you from Creative Lounge at the “O” Gallery in Nashville, TN.

(music)

JAMIE
If you are here for the end of my set, you heard a little bit of my background on my shtick with all of this, which is basically, we’re gonna have a free dance. We’re gonna start with just a little bit of music that excites, some invitation to move.


 

TAJCI
Visit us at wakingupinamerica.net to find links to Jamie’s work, connect with her and check out other episodes with more amazing guests we feature here. Thank you so much for watching and we’ll see you next time!