The Rooted Woman Project
The Rooted Woman Project is dedicated to gathering the ancient and modern wisdom being shared by the women who nourish the world. The intention of this project is to help highlight and amplify these women and these resources so as we walk our own healing journey, we can return here and be reminded of the support that’s being offered to us.
To help me kick off this project, I’ve asked Britt Barret to be “Rooted Woman #1”. I’ve known Britt since around 2010 when we met working in the corporate industry. My sense of her was immediately one of warmth, kindness, and confidence. I was first struck by her outside beauty and would soon realize that same beauty lived inside. We’ve orbited around each other over the years paying witness to each other’s lives through social media. There was always something about her that made me desire to work more closely together again, and when I created this project, I knew it was the right time.
I’ve asked Britt to share some things about her own personal healing journey as well as how she’s currently working to heal and empower others. I hope you enjoy!
Tanicia: Britt, welcome and thank you so much for being here!
Britt: Thank you so much for having me.
Tanicia: To start us off, I’d love for you to share a bit about yourself and how your own healing journey started.
Britt: Yeah, absolutely. So, when I was 21, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, which is a disease of the large intestine. Western doctors told me that there was no cure. They said, there were some medications they could give me for the symptoms, but in terms of this disease, I would really have it the rest of my life, and technically, I still do. So I started looking into alternative medicine. I even went to Bali by myself when I was 22 to try and find the woman from Eat, Pray Love. And I did. I actually met her and I went to her healing sanctuary which was more like a hole in the wall, you know, like a doctor’s office, sort of. She was exactly how she was described to be in the book. But she did say, like, right away when she first met me, “Oh, you have a fire in your belly.” She said there was a lot of unprocessed trauma, and that I had some major stuff happening in my gut. But that kicked off my whole healing journey.
Tanicia: Wow! What an amazing experience to go to Bali and meet her! I loved that book. And even more amazing to do something like that at 22. So, you have this amazing experience, and then come back home. What happens next?
Britt: After I got home I ended up moving back home with my parents and kind of hit rock bottom. I was really sick, going to the bathroom 10 times a day. I was super depressed. I was taking 17 pills a day because you had to take 12 of these huge pills for ulcerative colitis. And then I had to take antidepressant medication and sleep medication. It was really intense. I would go to these talks at this bookshop near my parent’s house just to have something to do and to be around people who were in the healing world There were these free talks at this bookshop called East West Bookshop and this woman, Acharya Shunya was giving a lecture about Ayurveda. So, I kind of just stumbled into this lecture and just her presence was so magnetic and she was so dropped into herself and so knowledgeable and found myself hanging on her every word. I was like, everything that this woman says is making perfect sense to me. I need to learn every single thing I can about Ayurveda. So it felt like I got bit by the Ayurveda bug. I bought a book about it that night, and read the entire thing in one night. The next day I signed up for a weekend workshop with her. I ended up doing a year-long self-healing program with her. I then studied with her for two more years to become an Ayurvedic practitioner. By the end of my first year, I was totally healed from my colitis, I had no symptoms, and I was off all my medications, and I really changed my life around.
Tanicia: Wow, that does sound really intense. It sounds like a complete lifestyle change.
Britt: It was! It took a lot of discipline, everyone’s like, what did you do? Well, I changed pretty much everything. I stopped drinking, I started cooking all of my meals, I started waking up and meditating every morning, I was so determined to heal, and I wanted to get it right. And I didn’t want to do anything that would disrupt the healing process. And because I was in school, I was able to be super disciplined. And then, you know, because that snowball was already rolling, I started looking deeper into my healing process.
Tanicia: So at what point did you go from, I want to heal myself to I want to share this with people?
Britt: So I actually don’t feel like it’s ever been like a question for me of should I share this. Every time I get excited about something, it’s almost a compulsion to want to share it because it’s so awesome. Like when I learned about Ayurvedic cooking, I wanted to go teach all my friends what mustard seeds do and how cumin seeds prevent gas. And it wasn’t like, Oh, I want to be a healer and I want to go fix people. It was like, this stuff works. And I’m gonna I want to show you how to do it because it actually works
Tanicia: I feel like that sentiment is at the heart of what true healers feel, just a desire to support others and share the things that have supported them. One modality I’ve seen you sharing a lot lately is Breathwork. What exactly does breathwork do?
Britt: Basically, as we breathe in this particular pattern, we’re taking more oxygen into our system, and this creates physiological changes in our body, so our blood becomes more alkaline. And then this changes which areas of our brain activate or deactivate. So the part of our brain that gets shut off during breathwork is called the dmn or default mode network. This is the front part of your brain, which includes the frontal cortex that’s responsible for the idea of self or ego. So basically, as you’re breathing, you’re breathing yourself out of your ego. So when you’re out of your ego, your mind is able to quiet down, and it creates space to connect with your inner voice and deeper wisdom. And so it kind of helps us to see our self-talk more clearly, it helps us to see our patterns more clearly. Sometimes we have, visions that come to us, it’s kind of like, in a sense, it’s almost like a hallucinogenic experience, but without ingesting any substances. Right, and it changes the way we see ourselves. It changes our perspective.
Tanicia: This is so fascinating. It really reminds me of the meditation practice that I do. While we don’t use breathwork specifically, you’re going into this really deep unconscious space where you’re able to disconnect from the human body experience, and you connect with more of the soul expression. And, that really deep connection that you have to everything.
Britt: Exactly. SO now you have a perspective shift and then you bring in the self-compassion piece. The other part of the healing that’s really magical is you can feel this buzzing or tingling or vibration. And, honestly, the closest way that I can describe it is, like, as close as you can get to Source. You can feel God pulsing through your veins, and I’m not a religious person, but you can feel the essence of love, the essence of healing energy, in your own body.
Tanicia: Yes! I love those types of experiences when you can literally feel the effects in your body. What triggers have you seen breathwork work really well for and do you think it makes for a good general practice?
Britt: I think it’s a great general practice. But I think specifically, most people come to me with digestive issues. Or, childhood trauma that they want to release that they may have heard from other folks that I’ve worked with, how impactful it can be, in addition to doing therapy and other kinds of healing, Breathwork as an add on to other modalities helps all of those other things that you’re doing, become more effective, and powerful.
Personally, I’ve been doing a lot of work around healing my relationship with my body. Not just body image, which has been there since I can remember- even at age 8 and being uncomfortable in a two-piece bathing suit. So there’s definitely a lot of healing work I’m doing around that in the process of aging and basically, everything revolving around physical appearance, but also my relationship to my body in terms of listening to what it’s trying to tell me, like, listening to my needs, and not overriding them. If you have to pee, pee. If you are feeling thirsty, notice that you’re thirsty and drinking water. How much does your body want to eat? Are you under-eating? Because you don’t want to gain weight? Or are you overeating because you’re not being mindful of when you’re actually getting the full signals from your body? And so because of this, I’m now attracting a lot of folks who are doing a lot more work around their body.
Tanicia: As women, that work is so so important. We are programmed with so many beliefs around how our worth is interwoven with our physical appearance. And society really glorifies and objectifies the female body. It can be so easy to get lost in that.
Britt: Yes! The other thing I love about it is there’s room to bring your emotions to the front. In a sense, it’s like, well, you’re supposed to rise up above your emotions. Don’t take them too seriously. I think that that was what was missing from my Vedic training was as someone who’s super emotional, has always been really hypersensitive to my surroundings, and also emotionally sensitive. This is a concentrated practice where you get one hour just feel all the things and let them out. It’s not like you’re just going over the pattern and then you forgive yourself and then you’re like, now what. You actually can let it out of your body.
Tanicia: I think that’s a really interesting point because, have you heard of the book, The Language of Emotions? (No) It’s pretty amazing. It’s a book about what you were saying, that in traditional society, our emotions, all have a value placed on them. So being joyful or being happy or being fun, those are all the “good” ones. And sadness is okay, as long as it’s for a certain period of time, then it becomes not okay. Anger is not okay, etc. She goes on to say how all of our emotions are wisdom carriers. They all hold a message. And she’s a very sensitive empathic person. And she was saying how being an empathic person can be a trauma response, because it’s a learned behavior, of realizing from a very young age that you have to be mindful and aware of everybody else’s needs and energy in order to feel safe.
Britt: Actually, my sister just sent me a quote from Brenee Brown, it’s something like “I actually feel really jealous of the people that seemed to not give a fuck.” Because, it’s like, you’re angry that they don’t give a fuck. Someone who is just so big in terms of the way they’re expressing themselves, and they don’t have awareness of the people around them and how they could be affecting them. And so there’s a part of me that’s like, angry, but it’s actually a part that’s jealous, like, I wish that I could do that. And so it’s a similar thing to what you’re saying around having hypervigilance, to be so tuned in to everyone’s experience around you that you forget that you’re having one yourself.
Tanicia: I love that. There is SO much to unravel with that.
Britt: So much. AND we’re also dealing with ancestral trauma. All of us. Science shows that Ancestral Trauma follows us for three generations. It’s literally in our DNA. Whatever your great grandparents were going through, whether it’s a flood or a famine, or, they immigrated, and we’re broke for a whole generation or, it doesn’t go away.
I was engaged to a really amazing person, but we just weren’t a good fit. And we ended up splitting up. It was a mutual decision. And I did a breathwork session soon after, and I felt really, vividly, I could feel all of my ancestors, like my women ancestors around me. And I felt them put war paint on my cheeks right here. They told me, this is your path. You are on the right path. You are a healing warrior. You’re doing a good job. It was so clear. I could feel them lined up on either side of me. That’s my mom’s side and my dad’s side, all the female ancestors.
Tanicia: Ancestral healing is so alive for me at the moment as is my relationship with my body. I would love to have you come back for a Rooted Community event and lead us through a group breathwork session.
Britt: That would be really cool. I would love to.
Tanicia: And with that, I want to thank Britt for joining us today and sharing so much of her work and personal story with us.
If you have any questions for Britt, please visit her website, HERE.
Britt has also so graciously offered anyone reading this interview $25 off your first breathwork session with her. Just use the code ROOTED at checkout.