What Message Do You Think Every Woman Should Hear?

With Cassandra Carlopio

Introduce yourself! Who are you?
Hi! I’m Cassandra aka Cass.  I’m a ocean-loving, matcha-drinking, sleep & nap-appreciating  movement-exploring, curious teacher and life-time student.  I’m trained as a psychologist and yoga nidra practitioner, and while I’m not exploring my own inner world and the world around me, I help people learn to work with their nervous systems and access a deep state of relaxation, release stress and sleep well.
What is one thing no one really knows about you?
I’m classically trained as a singer.  I came home at 13 and announced to my parents that I wanted to be a singer.  They looked at me skeptically, as it was not something I had particular natural talent for, but supported me with incredible voice teachers, and by the time I was 18, I had cultivated a pleasing singing voice, much to the surprise and joy of everyone around me. 
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I have been given a version of this advice over and over again: don’t be feeling’s driven, be value’s driven.  This took me a while to understand, and I am sure I will be working with it for many years to come. Basically, how I am taking this on at the moment, is to not make decisions or behave based on how I feel, as that can change moment to moment, and I never feel like doing the things that stretch me or scare me or challenge me.  But rather, let my values guide my decisions and behavior – my value of compassion, curiosity, commitment to stretching and growing myself – rather than how I feel in any moment.  In a practical sense, I don’t always feel like going to the gym or meditating, but I do it anyway, even if I don’t feel like it, because these activities are lined up with my value of growing, stretching myself and help me be the best version of myself.
What would you say to 16 year old you?
I don’t know if my 16 year old self would believe this, but this is what I would tell her: You do not need to be liked by anyone except yourself.  High school doesn’t last forever, and the people you long to be liked by, will not be a part of your life in a few years, but you are your own most important and constant relationship.  What is so much more important is that you actually like yourself.  
What message do you think every woman should hear?
You are more than enough, you always have been and always will be.  There are no preconditions to your worthiness. Just by existing, breathing, being, you are enough.  There is nothing to prove to anyone.  Anything that you ‘do’ is just extra.  Remember that just because we live in a world that (for better for worse) places value on productivity, we don’t need to subscribe to that belief. In fact, there are multi-billion dollar industries that benefit from women not knowing their inherent worth, and looking for it in clothing, weight, image, success.  So knowing your worth is a powerful act of resistance.  
 And do not listen to thoughts that come from a tired brain. When we are tired, we don’t think clearly or see things clearly.  So let yourself rest when you are tired.  Rest is an ancient remedy, that we seem to have forgotten about today.  If you are tired, lay down for 10 minutes.  If you are confused or overwhelmed, close your eyes.  If things aren’t working out the way you want them to, go to bed early, and the world will look different after a good nights sleep.  The quality of your waking life is directly related to the quality of your sleep.
What is your favorite thing about where you live?
While living in busy Santa Monica, CA is difficult for someone who is super sensitive, I absolutely love the weather, the outdoor lifestyle, the amount of juice bars and yoga studios, and the ability to do day trips to so many magical places – Joshua Tree, Mt Whitney, Ojai etc.
What do you love most about yourself?
I am relentlessly curious and committed to learning more about myself, those around me, and life.  And I love that I have the ability and desire to understand and find compassion for people who are “acting badly”, as I truly believe that ‘hurt people hurt’.  
What is the biggest thing you’ve learned along the way?
That stress, circumstances, thoughts and emotions, actually come and go, and that there is a part of all of us, that is completely unaffected by those things.  Just like the sky is unaffected by the weather, no matter how tumultuous the weather is, there is a part of all of us that is always free, always whole, and completely unaffected by circumstances, thoughts, other people, emotions, stress.  And that once we can connect to the part that is already free, its much easier to deal with the thoughts, circumstances stress etc.
Why do you love to travel?
Travel always expands me, takes me out of my ordinary routine, allows for completely new experiences and new perspectives.  I love learning about other cultures, other environments, and come home filled up and inspired.
How do you manage your work-life balance?
Yoga nidra is the secret to my work-life balance.  I am so grateful for my practice of yoga nidra.  Yoga nidra is the most potent, deep relaxation, that helps fill me up in as little as five minutes.  Without it, I would be a frazzled, unproductive space-cadet, who was tired and depleted all the time.
Also, I make sure that I bring a sense of relaxation and mindfulness to my work.  So at the end of the day I am not drained by what I do, but am filled up.  It helps that the majority of my work is guiding people through deep states of relaxation, but there is also a lot of computer work and answering emails.  So I keep my desk filled with beautiful things (crystals mainly) and take time to breathe, move my body, and bring a sense of calm into my work.
What is your favorite meal?
Honestly, at the moment I am loving a cauliflower rice dish, that I make with garlic, sheeps-milk feta cheese, sautéed greens, pesto and butter. It is deeeelish. 
What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
Some form of movement, breath or meditation practice.  Depending on how I am feeling, I will take time out of my day or morning to dance, do some deep breathing, or meditation practice.

More About Cassandra

Cassandra Carlopio, a licensed Psychologist in Australia, has been teaching mindfulness meditation and yoga nidra in Southern California for the past four years. Cassandra focuses on all things sleep and relaxation-related, and thousands of people fall asleep to her guided meditations on YouTube, Spotify and various meditation apps each night. 
Cassandra has worked with Major League Soccer and the National Hockey League, and works with clients from across the United States and internationally, via online video conferencing, with an expertise in helping people shift their association with sleep, and unwind the nervous system so people can access a deep and restful sleep with ease.  Cassandra is a collaborative partner at The Breathe Institute, a internationally-recognized leader in functional sleep medicine. Cassandra teaches meditation classes across Southern California, runs corporate events, contributes meditations for apps Aura and Insight Timer, and writes articles for online magazines.

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