We had the good fortune of connecting with Lotara James and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lotara, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Everything I’ve accomplished in my life involved some amount of risk to achieve. Taking risks can bring up feelings of vulnerability, insecurity as well as the exhilaration of feeling like I’m on the right path; I have a clear vision of my goal even if I don’t know exactly how I’ll get there, and I can anticipate and hold that vision with joy.
In my experience, if I’m drawn in a particular direction there is usually something valuable to learn on that path. Ideally the goal, once achieved, still resonates with what drew me to it in the first place. If it doesn’t, I can usually see the value of what I learned along the way. I think we are trained to believe achieving a specific goal is the important part, but often the real reward is how much I grow in the process of working towards a goal.
This attitude or perspective has come out of needing and wanting to see the value in things that didn’t necessarily “work out” in my life, or didn’t work out the way I thought they would. I always feel empowered when I can appreciate how those experiences build character and help me grow spiritually.
I am passionate about people being well, amazed by the body’s capacity to heal itself, and continually impressed by the brilliance of the BodyTalk System. These big feelings have helped me overcome shyness and fear of public speaking and have given me the courage to say yes to opportunities to share my passion for BodyTalk in a variety of public forums. Saying yes to new things is sometimes the hardest part, but I know if I do, I WILL show up and do my best. Even if the information I present and the parts of my story that I share only resonate with one person, it’s worth it. I know how hard it can be to be suffering mentally, emotionally, or physically and not be able to find help or answers in the places we are taught to look.
People often find BodyTalk when they have exhausted other methods of healing, and there is a risk involved in exploring something you’ve never heard of. Some people come to me really desperate, so I always bring gentleness to my work. Pain and illness can be isolating and emotionally overwhelming so I want to be a soft place for people to land. The body-mind needs to be able to relax and to rest in order to heal, and if nothing else, a BodyTalk session can help people relax.
If I were to stop doing BodyTalk today, all the learning that got me here was worth it. That’s the best feeling to have at the end of any relationship or project – to know that I acted in integrity, that I practiced being the best human I can be and that I grew by working through whatever’s in the way of me sharing my passion, my light, my wisdom and my voice.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
A few years into practicing BodyTalk my business name “We Heal We” emerged. I wanted my brand to communicate something simple about the possibilities for healing, both for the individual and the collective. In a circle of inclusion that’s free of hierarchy and everyone has a voice there is potential for meaningful connection, healing and positive transformation.
BodyTalk is a non-invasive way to help people be healthy by using the wisdom inherent in the human body as well as drawing on the wisdom of the human collective. It’s both exciting and somewhat revolutionary to approach healing from the perspective of Quantum Physics and the understanding that the body is a dynamic system arising in consciousness and it’s made of light and energy.
We’re in a special time where people are re-visioning healthcare because so many aspects of the system have failed. People are talking more about how we can’t be well in a sick society. Poverty, homelessness, racism, these are all societal issues where a healthcare provider may be able to help someone feel & function better in the short term, but the impact of living in a dysfunctional society tends to overshadow the benefit of the assistance they receive from healthcare alone.
Modern medicine is catching up to ancient Indigenous wisdom and starting to recognize the impact one’s environment has on a person’s health. People exist as part of a larger whole which includes land, community and culture, and if a person or people are separated from any of those, they can lose their wholeness and vitality.
In BodyTalk we look at these dynamic systems and understand that people are affected by not only what happens inside the body, but also outside the body. How do we improve communication between the physical and energetic aspects of the body to help humans adapt to inevitable change, regain what’s been lost, and restore balance within the systems of the bodymind? We carry so much in these bodies, often things that don’t even belong to us. When I found BodyTalk I was amazed at the amount of physical relief I felt when guided in a session to observe the stories my body wanted to release.
Growing up as one of very few Black kids in a conservative southern California beach town, I learned to retreat from people as a means of self-protection. In my 30’s I started the journey of recovering from PTSD and, much to my dismay at the time, I discovered that even though my self-knowledge and self-awareness was incredibly useful, I actually needed other people in order to feel better!
My early life trauma and programming taught me things that kept me small and as hard as I tried to think and act my way into a different reality, I still couldn’t change some fundamentally flawed beliefs I had about myself. I needed other people to help me see how my perception of myself and my beliefs about relationships and my place in the world weren’t based on healthy dynamics. In some ways I didn’t know how to identify and respond to racism because white supremacy was the water I lived in, and therefore I had internalized being bad, wrong, unworthy, and less than. It took other people to help me unlearn all that and the world was a whole lot brighter once I broke through those illusions.
BodyTalk sessions were vital in helping me to identify and disengage the false beliefs, process the stored energy and emotion and release the trauma from my whole being. These sessions created space and the possibility for me to have a different life, a lighter perspective and a greater feeling of wholeness. I also got to experience more joy and authentic connection, both with myself and with others.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I had never tried Salvadoran food before living in LA, so a few Salvadoran meals during the week would be recommended, especially the breakfast (which I always had for dinner) with eggs, asada, chorizo, beans & rice, sour cream and maduro and then another Salvadoran meal of just papusas! Chico’s in Highland Park and Los Primos in Pasadena both have delicious vegetarian burritos. My favorite local coffee is the house brew from Antigua Roasters in Cypress Park.
Zuma beach in Malibu is always fun for a swim and the water is clean (sometimes a hard thing to find in Los Angeles). Playa Del Rey is also a fun beach and there are beach volleyball courts.
I love roller skating and it’s super fun to skate (and people watch!) along the promenade in Santa Monica & Venice. King King used to be my favorite place to dance but they shut down a few years ago, so I’d be sure to find a good DJ lineup for some nightlife fun.
The Korean spa is always a favorite! I used to frequent WiSpa and it’s definitely an experience, especially if you’ve never been. It’s great to spend the afternoon and evening there in the different saunas and hot and cold plunge, and then pass out hard once you get home.
One of my favorite things to do in the city, and one big way I stay grounded and balanced is to sit or lie on the grass at the base of a tree. It’s the fastest free therapy I know of and has profound healing effects (look up “earthing”). So the three places I love to go for some nature time are Sycamore Grove Park in Highland Park, the grassy lawn by KidsSpace at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena and Mineral Wells in Griffith Park. If you are interested in a more personal nature respite, there are private gardens you can book through Healing Gardens for a few hours or attend a hosted event.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Many people have supported me along the way! My first BodyTalk teacher Suryo Gardner was my soft place to land. I not only learned the foundations of BodyTalk from her, but she played a huge role in my healing. Gabor Mate’s work is always an inspiration to me. It helps me understand my own healing and informs my work. My family and my partner have been so sweet and supportive. They tell anyone with an ailment about me and BodyTalk. It’s always funny to hear their stories of trying to explain BodyTalk, it usually ends with, “You’ll have to let Lotara explain it to you.”