Thriving After sexual abuse ~ What do you do when one of the people you should be able to trust more than anyone else in the world betrays that trust? How can you transform your pain into something that can positively shape your life when everyone around you tells you to sweep it under the rug? Today, Marian Bacol Uba shares her personal story of abuse, attempted suicide, and how a near death experience helped her realize that she was holding back her pain for too long. She shares her secrets to coping with trauma and transforming it into triumph. She explains how each of us are more powerful than we could ever imagine and how to tap into that power.

#5: Thriving After Sexual Abuse with Marian Bacol Uba

What do you do when one of the people you should be able to trust more than anyone else in the world betrays that trust?

How can you transform your pain into something that can positively shape your life when everyone around you tells you to sweep it under the rug?

Today, Marian Bacol-Uba shares her personal story of abuse, attempted suicide, and how a near death experience helped her realize that she was holding back her pain for too long.

She shares her secrets to coping with trauma and transforming it into triumph. She explains how each of us are more powerful than we could ever imagine and how to tap into that power.


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Dina Cataldo: You've heard the headlines lately. Another famous person who seemingly has it all, takes their own life. And the MeToo movement, where women who've suffered abuse speak out to help other women find their voice and bring awareness to abuses suffered daily.

Dina Cataldo: This episode touches on both subjects with a woman who's lived through her own battles with abuse and attempted suicide, and came out of it a thriver. Before I tell you more about our guest, I want to tell you about the free journal prompts and mantras quick sheet I created, especially for this episode. Our guest and I had a conversation about ways to cope with trauma, and one of them has to do with journaling, and using mantras. So, I created this quick sheet to work through some of the things that we talked about. And you can download it at In fact, you can get everything that we talk about, all the links to the people and the books that we talk about in this episode at Now, onto our guest.

Dina Cataldo: Marian Bacol Uba is a transformational coach and wholistic health and wellness expert. She empowers women to transform trauma into triumphs and create a thriving body, mind, and soul. Marian is an advocate for sexual abuse awareness and entrepreneurship for women of color. She's appeared on and written for numerous television shows and online publications. She's also the host of Thriver Lifestyle Podcast on Mondays with Marian on YouTube. I think you're going to love her and appreciate her openness on abuse and attempted suicide. Let's dive into our conversation now.

Dina Cataldo: Before we start diving into your story, I'd like you to introduce people to who you are right now.

Marian Bacol Uba: Sure. My name is Marian Bacol Uba. And I'm a transformation coach, a speaker, an author, and also a podcaster.

Dina Cataldo: Tell us a little bit about your podcast.

Marian Bacol Uba: Sure. My podcast stemmed from my book called Survivor to Thriver, that I'm currently working on, and hopefully it'll be launched by the end of this year. And Survivor to Thriver is a memoir/self-help, personal development book. And it's really my journey and my story of overcoming childhood sexual abuse and incest, and the PTSD I suffered, and the depression, anxiety, and really the denial and my struggles with living a double life until the point where four years, over four years ago, I OD'd and that was really my big wake up call. Because I had an out-of-body near-death experience that really, really shook me and woke me up. That's really what I wanted to focus on in my work coaching women and what I speak about. It's really the thriver part, like what we can do now to heal. And what we can do to really change our lives for the better, and thrive.

Dina Cataldo: I love that. So, can you tell us a little bit of your backstory? How did you grow up? Where did you grow up? What kind of culture did you grow up in?

Marian Bacol Uba: I'm Filipino American. But, I actually was born in the Philippines. And I moved here right before my fifth birthday. Before, I actually was raised by my aunt and my grandmother in the Philippines, and I didn't know my parents. I actually didn't meet them until I was five. Or, I don't remember ever meeting them until I was five. When my grandmother brought me here, here meaning LA. I grew up in LA, not here. I live in Miami now. But, here in the US.

Marian Bacol Uba: And so that was a really huge change for me. I think that was my first really traumatic experience when you think of things that really change you, was I came from such a loving family with my grandmother and my aunt and this sense of community when I was in the Philippines. We lived in a big house, and I had my cousins, and my aunts, and it was all filled with love. And then, I moved to the US to these strangers that I barely knew, and they were very cold, and I didn't know them. I was just basically thrown into … I didn't know the language before. I actually learned how to speak English, and read, watching cartoons. Really loved … and in reading books. And I just started really loving reading, and so that's how I learned English.

Marian Bacol Uba: Looking back, I see now how the love that I received when I was from one to … from when I was a baby to five, is what sustained me when I was going through my trauma. Even from the beginning they were very cold and strict. My mother was always working, she wasn't really what you would consider a warm, nurturing mother. She was very tiger mom, to the sense where she was very strict, I had to … which was great, she drove me to be very studious, and I always did well and excelled in school because of her. She was very, “You have to educate yourself because they can take the clothes off your back, but they can't take what's in your head.” So that really stuck with me, it was very do well in school, do this, be disciplined, and she worked a lot.

Marian Bacol Uba: So, I was home alone a lot, either with my father, or just really home alone in general because at that time they couldn't afford babysitters so much. And so, I was home a lot babysitting my sister since I was, I don't know, like six, seven. So, I grew up very fast. I don't really remember much of a childhood for me. I feel now like I've finally grown up to where I think my mentality was since the beginning. And since I grew up so fast with everything that I had been through, I feel now being in my 30s, I'm finally catching up to where my mind used to be. I never really felt like a child. And I think that's just what I overcame, and what I went through. I detached a lot, or I was just really focused on school or on other things.

Marian Bacol Uba: Kind of really, my parents were strict. So, when my dad thought of discipline, it was discipline by the belt. I couldn't really do much, it was very regimented. I wasn't allowed to watch TV. And in hindsight, there were certain parts where, yes the discipline was the reason why I'm so … disciplined in my life and I achieved so much. But, at the same time, there was no balance of getting that love and affection from my parents.

Marian Bacol Uba: And because my mom was really never there, it started about 10, my dad started sexually abusing me. In the beginning I didn't know that it was wrong. And all the things he kept telling me, which I've had to undo during my healing process, was he used to tell me that he loved me and this is him loving me. This is, it's things that I wanted. It really started with I was 10, I got my period, and he said, I have to examine you because this is what … you know, I need to make sure everything's correct, doctors do this. I'm doing this 'cause this is normal. And that's really how it started.

Marian Bacol Uba: So, a lot of things that he said, I mean, it seemed … This is a father figure, so you trust him. You have this trust, and you don't know any better. You're a child, you have no definition of what is right or wrong just yet, so you trust that this person who is your father and is supposed to protect you and love you is telling you the right things.

Dina Cataldo: And was there ever a point when you realized, “Hey, this isn't right?”

Marian Bacol Uba: I think around, when I was about 13, 14. And that's really where I had a huge shift in my life around that age, too. Because I think that's when I started realizing that, that wasn't normal. Like that wasn't right, I felt it, but I didn't know what to do. I actually tried telling my mom when I was 14, and she didn't believe me.

Marian Bacol Uba: It took me a long time. I started feeling like this was wrong, and it took me so much courage to tell her, and she didn't believe me.

Dina Cataldo: What did she say to you?

Marian Bacol Uba: She said that, she actually … her and my dad convinced me that I was lying. Yeah. They said I was being malicious, 'cause he was saying, “What! I'm not doing that. I'm care for you, you're being so … You're being like these American kids, who someone shows you affection and you take that the wrong way, where we just love you.” And they really twisted it, and I actually had to say sorry for lying. And I remember … I remember that was one of the episodes where I actually tried to commit suicide, and I popped a lot of pills 'cause I was like, “Well, if no one's going to believe me.”

Marian Bacol Uba: For a long time I felt like I was literally in hell, like in prison, and so I actually tried to commit suicide and downed a bottle of Tylenol or something. And my half-brother caught me and he forced me to fill everything up, and I went to really deep depression. It was also when I was 13 that I started drinking heavily and doing drugs. Even though I did well in school, I had such a double-life. I was still a straight A student, and … what people thought … I was in volleyball, I was part of the church choir, I was class president, and then every chance I got, I actually snuck out and I started doing ecstasy and weed and drinking, because for me that was my escape from reality. That was the only time I felt I could not have flashbacks or memories, so-

Dina Cataldo: How did you keep up with all of that? How did you manage to balance this double-life? It sounds like both were incredibly time consuming and energy consuming.

Marian Bacol Uba: I just, I didn't want to get in trouble. I felt like I always heard my parents, especially my mom, telling me that school was everything. I needed to be educated, I needed to do this. And I also, I think in the back of my head, realized that that was also my ticket out, 'cause everyone had told me, “Once you go to college.” I had my eyes on prime college, eyes on the prize for college. ‘Cause for me, college was my escape. I didn't know how, I just knew that if I went to college, I'd be able to move out.

Marian Bacol Uba: And so, I had other people when I was going through high school that got pregnant, and some went to jail, or some just stayed home and I realized, I don't want that. ‘Cause then I'll be dependent on my parents, and so I knew that college was my way out. So, fully concentrated on doing well in school.

Dina Cataldo: Wow.

Marian Bacol Uba: Yeah. And also because school, for me, was my outlet. School was the only place … You know, everyone looks forward to weekends, everyone wants to go home. School was the only place. My parents were really strict. I wasn't allowed to go out, that's why I had to sneak out. But school was the only time that they would allow me to be out because I had to do something for school. So they always supported school. If I said I had to go to a birthday or go somewhere, they were against it. But, if I said, “Hey, you know we have rehearsals for choir, or I have practice for mock trial, or do this,” they would say yes.

Marian Bacol Uba: So, I did everything I could to be involved in everything in school because that was the only reason for me to not be home.

Dina Cataldo: Did you ever feel like you had anybody you could confide in?

Marian Bacol Uba: No. Because I thought that my mom would be the one to possibly. I thought, if anyone would be able to help me or save me, it'd be my mother, and that didn't happen. So, I just turned to the only way I knew how to cope. And I think, even maybe if there was a part of her that would have believed that, in an Asian culture, it's very like we don't have problems, that doesn't exist. If there's a problem, sweep it under the rug, never talk about it ever again. You know, you have to keep pretenses up, nothing is wrong. I even, I remember mentioning before, that I'm depressed, and she's like, “That's impossible. You're too young to be depressed.” And she's like, “You have nothing to be depressed about. And you just need to focus on school.”

Marian Bacol Uba: In hindsight, a lot of what I … Now that I know what I know, there were so many ways that I lashed out. I ended up in the hospital because I had eating problems, I had ulcers when I was a kid. Just things that would be red flags to people who would understand and know. I was a cutter. All these things, but yet no one really caught on the signs, and she just refused to see it. It's also, in my culture, it's like that denial. I think she's just always been in denial.

Marian Bacol Uba: Even until now, I actually have had a strange relationship with my mom since I went public with all of it, and she just feels that that was such a long time ago, you should just have gotten over that.

Dina Cataldo: Oh, so she believes you now. She just wants you to be over it?

Marian Bacol Uba: Yeah. And I don't know if she fully believes the magnitude of what happened because she's like, “Well, your dad said he's sorry. And, let's just forget about this. This is … Why are you making such a big deal out of something that happened such a long time ago?”

Dina Cataldo: Oh, wow.

Marian Bacol Uba: You know. That's why I've distanced myself from that. Just because I can't change how she thinks, and she's in this reality that's not my reality.

Dina Cataldo: Well, talking about changing how you think. You went through a big transformation. I know you did go to college, and you did continue your education, and you're successful. So, can you tell us that transition into college and beyond?

Marian Bacol Uba: Yeah. So college, I was really happy because I finally was able to move out. But I was still in denial. I think a big part of me thought that okay, that was over. I'm not out in the streets. I'm not homeless or an addict, I'm fine. I really was in denial that I went through something traumatic. And I was like that for a long time. Even though when I would get triggered, and I'd have … I had anxiety and depression for a long time. But every time it would get triggered, I would just drink or do drugs to forget about it. That was my coping mechanism. Every time I started feeling anxious, or … ‘Cause I still had to pretend that everything was okay. So, on holidays and things I had to go home, and I would see my father. And I had to pretend that everything was fine. So, I remember being always so anxious, and I would drink or do something to calm my nerves because I didn't want to be near him, but I knew I had to. And that was my coping mechanism, 'cause that's all I knew.

Marian Bacol Uba: I was always told before that, “Why are you complaining?” Or, “Why are you sad?” Or, “Why is the reason why you're depressed? You have a good job, you have a career. You have friends. You have people are talking about all this. You're actually being ungrateful.” And I tried opening up again to my mom, and other people, like more relatives, they said I was being ungrateful 'cause I had a good job, I went to college, I had nothing to complain about.

Marian Bacol Uba: It's just … So, I believed it. So, I just went and I was like, “Okay. You're right. I have nothing to complain about. There's nothing wrong. I'm so lucky compared to all these other people who don't have anything.” And so, that was … I just didn't seek help. So, I self-medicated.

Dina Cataldo: You know, you had to go back on holidays. And my understanding is, is that at some point, your father stopped the abuse. How did he stop? What was the mechanism for him to stop? Did you say something? What happened?

Marian Bacol Uba: I graduated and I left home.

Dina Cataldo: And then he just never tried anything again?

Marian Bacol Uba: No. He was … He was always very grossly touchy, and I always just would cringe, but I felt like after, in college, I had a little bit more, I guess, confidence to not put myself in that situation. Because every time he abused me, I was always in my room. I was living there, I was in my room, and I was helpless. When I was in college, I barely slept over at my parent's house. I just went to go and then I went back. I didn't really … we didn't have a lot of alone time, where I was forced to be alone. ‘Cause I had a car, I could have left. So, the power thing wasn't as there anymore. Because I was powerless when I was under 18, I'm still living under their roof.

Dina Cataldo: Wow.

Marian Bacol Uba: Yeah.

Dina Cataldo: So, you were using alcohol and drugs to numb out during college. Were you able to keep up your grades, and still keep up this double life? What was going on?

Marian Bacol Uba: Yeah. I was very involved in college in student activities. I studied abroad twice. I got scholarships. I was also, I got on Dean's list a few times. For me, I had just gotten so used to living this double life, that I thought that was normal. I thought, “Well, this is what people do.” So, even when I transitioned, I graduated, and I worked, and I climbed up the corporate ladder, I just-

Marian Bacol Uba: … did, and I worked, and I climbed up the corporate ladder. I thought, “Okay, as long as on the outside everything's okay, this is how I'm coping.” I actually started justifying it, like, “This is good. I need to drink, and do this, because this is what keeps the outside appearances that look fine.” I thought, “This is how people deal with things.”

Dina Cataldo: Just being social.

Marian Bacol Uba: Yeah. For me, it wasn't always to really do it for fun. Like, here I'll have a glass of wine occasionally, but I'll stop at one. Before, I would literally drink to blackout so that I wouldn't sink. My mind wouldn't go to those places.

Dina Cataldo: Did any of your friends recognize that there were some things going on that maybe your second life, the party lifestyle, maybe that was a sign that there was something going on more than you were telling them?

Marian Bacol Uba: I was with a round of people who also partied a lot. I was in that environment where they probably were running from their own demons, as well, and we just all kind of these broken people who are coping using drugs, and alcohol, and partying. They were all also professional, and then the times that we had, we just got together, and would rage. For me, that was the norm. I thought, like, “Okay. I'm doing well in school, and career, all this.” I would go through my states of depression. In my head, I'd be like, “Well, this is what life is. This is normal. This is what other people do, right?”

Dina Cataldo: What made you think one day that, “Hey, this isn't normal?”

Marian Bacol Uba: I didn't until I overdosed, in 2014. This was a time in my life that was extra … I launched my own consulting business for marketing. My business was new, and I was commuting a lot, and I had to move home for a year and a half. I think that's what triggered me. Again, I had never, for my whole … Like, after I graduated, I had supported myself. I had done all this. But because of starting that old business that I had, I was strapped with money, so I had to move back home until I rebuild, and make ends meet. I had to be back in that after years and years of not living at home, back in the room where everything happened. I think that also led to a lot of anxiety, and the PTSD struck again.

Marian Bacol Uba: I had gone from this amazing corporate career, to doing my own thing, which I didn't know what I was doing. For me, I felt like I was failing, because I had made this really good money before. I had all these accolades, and then for me to do this business and it wasn't running as well as I'd like it to. In hindsight, I did not know what I was doing. I had no plan.

Marian Bacol Uba: Then, also, at that same time, that year, my niece and nephew, which were both under the age of one, passed away within a week from each other. So it was just things just [inaudible 00:18:48] over and over and I got to the point where I went to a friends party, a friends house. I was already having suicidal thoughts. I was already severely … and I was, “You know what?” I was always that person that kept pushing myself. Pushing, pushing, even I had friends who were, “Okay, that's enough. You don't need to drink this whole … you don't need to take anymore pills. You don't need to do all this.” I think at that point I was ready. I remember thinking, “If I die, I'm okay because then I just want this all to be over,” and that was it.

Marian Bacol Uba: And that day, that's what happened. Where I OD'd, and I had an out-of-body near death experience, where I was literally like hovering over my body. I saw myself go into convulsions and I saw … I basically, God, the Universe, whatever, Source showed me what would've happened. So I saw them call 911, put me in a body bag. I went to my funeral. I saw everything. I saw what would've happened if I went in that direction because God gave me a choice. “You can stay here in this feeling of absolute bliss.” When I say the feeling of like being home and being connected and just this absolute happiness or going back. I had a choice. He told me that, “It's fine. Whatever you choose, you'll be loved. You don't have to go back,” but I knew that I wasn't done with whatever I needed to do in this lifetime. And I chose to come back, and I went back into that space and time, like right before they called the ambulance.

Marian Bacol Uba: So that was a huge wake up call.

Dina Cataldo: Well I think we need to talk a little bit more about this, especially because there have been some really high profile suicides in the news lately with people who on the outside, what we get to see seem to have everything and we don't ever know, this just goes to show, we don't ever know what's going on in someone's head. And we don't ever know what someone is feeling. I've heard some incredible judgment of people and people saying, “They are so selfish for having done this,” those kinds of things that come out, and its to me, I can empathize if someone feels like they are at rock bottom, that there's nowhere to turn, and this is the ultimate relief, and have nowhere to go, have absolutely no idea what they could do to make themselves feel better.

Marian Bacol Uba: I'm glad you bring this up, because when people say that it's actually quite the opposite. I wanted to unburden people from me. I was actually thinking the opposite. I didn't think of it as selfish. When I was at that point, and the times where I've been suicidal, it's because I don't want to burden people. I felt my presence was burdening people. I didn't want people to worry about me. I wanted them to move on. I didn't want them to waste energy on helping or fix me. For me, actually me dying would've been the problem to solve it all. I was actually thinking, “Well I'm not here then they won't have to worry about me, take care of me, do all this. They can just go on with their lives. That's really the thoughts that was going in my head.

Dina Cataldo: Who do you mean they? Do you mean your family? Friends?

Marian Bacol Uba: My family, my friends, because at that time I did have some friends ask me, “Somethings wrong,” because I would go into longer ruts of not getting out of bed. Of not doing anything or being unproductive. It was starting to really, really catch up, and I couldn't bounce back as quickly. I just felt like I was so tired and I don't want people to worry about me. I don't want … I just want this to be over so that people can move on with their lives, and not think about, not waste their energy on me. That's quite the opposite.

Dina Cataldo: Oh, so after this overdose, was there an instant realization? Did it take some time to figure out what was going on? Tell me what happened.

Marian Bacol Uba: It definitely took some time to process, because the information that was given to me, like seeing, I still couldn't believe that … I knew that it, but it was also so surreal. And I knew that I had to do something I just didn't know what. I bought a one-way ticket to move from LA to Miami, because all I knew is that if I stayed in LA I would've gone back to into that same cycle. It was so comfortable because I knew people. I would've gone back to the same partying, back to my old ways. So I knew I had to do something to disrupt that. It was my intuition. I just chose to trust it. For some reason, inside of me, I knew I had to do it.

Dina Cataldo: Who told you Miami?

Marian Bacol Uba: Because I went there a few months prior to visit a friend. I was with girlfriends who visited a friend and I just felt this energy here in Miami. Being near the water and for me water is so calming and so … there's healing power [inaudible 00:23:39] water. My balcony overlooks water, and I can never be ungrateful. Every day, even though something happens or I feel whatever, I look out and I just feel instantly calm, energized, all of the above. It just felt right. I don't know what it is and I decided to trust it.

Dina Cataldo: When you got to Miami what happened. Did anything change in your life?

Marian Bacol Uba: Yes and no, because I really didn't have a plan. I came here with barely any savings. I barely knew anyone. I didn't have a plan. I didn't have a job, but I knew that I had enough experience and skill set where I'd figure it out, because I knew I was also so used to surviving. I knew that I would survive no matter what. I think in the back of my head I have always had this fire fuel that drove me to prove people wrong or to prove my parents. To prove to myself that I didn't need anyone. That I was very hardened as well.

Marian Bacol Uba: I think as a survivor there's two ways you can go about it, right? Some people go into complete victim mode where they're completely helpless, and they don't want to do anything or they can't do anything or they feel like the whole world … Or the opposite, you're in survivor mode, but you close yourself to every things else. And it's you against the world. And and that was me. It was me against the world and no matter what happened you know what? If everyone, I could prove you wrong. So that really was what fueled me because I knew that even if I … and I actually did. I had to bartend and serve tables again. And I was, “As long as I don't have to, and I'm away from that and I can … I already knew. I just knew I had to start. And it was difficult. It was humbling. I look back and it was so necessary, because I had to breakdown in order for me to build myself back up to this transformation.

Dina Cataldo: Isn't that interesting how that happens is that you really just have to start from almost square-one.

Marian Bacol Uba: It was beyond square-one, I was under here. I was in a pit, and I literally had to crawl my way out of it. That's what it felt like. And emerge completely different.

Dina Cataldo: At what point did you feel you were … because when it's you against the world, and you are not in a position where you feel like you need to ask for help or that you should ask for help, because you've been taught your whole life, “Hey look, I've got to depend on me, because I can't trust anybody else. No one's going to believe what I have to say.” What do you do and how do you get past that, because that takes a lot of energy?

Marian Bacol Uba: I started meditating. Meditation is really what I believe saved my life and changed my life, because for all of my life I have lived through outside sources to fill this void. To give me answers whether it's work or drinking or drugs or people or whatever it was. I was always looking out for outside sources. And mediation was the first time I went inward, and I went to me. When I say meditation saved my life, when I started meditating I started having my dreams, things activated inside me. I had crazy visions. It was nuts and to the point where I went to the past to heal my inner child. So many crazy things happened to me, in a good way, but really crazy things.

Dina Cataldo: Yeah, well I kind of want to bring meditation a little down to earth because the people I hang out with I got to say if you start staying visions and things like that they're going to say, “Oh, yeah, I'm never doing meditation now.” I want to bring this, make this really accessible to people, who even if you don't feel like that's going to happen because you have some notions of what meditation might be, that it is a quieting of yourself. How did you get into meditation?

Marian Bacol Uba: I had tried meditation years ago when I was working in corporate, and I went at it a very aggressive way. I was an over-achiever. I was, “Okay, people are saying meditations great. All right, I'm going to sit down, 10 minutes. I'm going to do it. It's going to be good. I'm always good at stuff. And I tried sitting down and my mind went louder. And it was just that one minute seemed like it was 10 hours. So I thought, “It's not for me. This is for hippies out there. This is not for me. I don't believe in meditation.” When I moved to Miami I actually in the first year I was here I still couldn't let go of bad habits because I didn't know how to cope. I actually ended up in the ER for a panic attack.

Marian Bacol Uba: Then I realized that at the same time I also started reading different books so as I was trying to figure things out I was, “Okay, there's all these people who've gone through hardships and have seemed to overcome it. What are they doing?” So I started reading Wayne Dyer, I started reading Eckhart Tolle. I started reading Abby Bernstein. Marianne William and all these spiritual people, and all these other people who had gone through trauma, and I saw the pattern was meditation. Or people had talked about meditation. I was, “Let me give this a shot. Let me go about it a different way.” And this is actually how I teach my clients, instead of jumping and going straight to 10 minutes … when I say it was a very humbling experience I was like I couldn't do it before, and I had to crawl before I could walk, I started with one minute.

Marian Bacol Uba: And one minute turned to two, turned to three, turned to four and it literally was just me breathing, focusing on my breath, and then guided meditations, and listening to that. I thought to myself, “you know what? I owe it this to myself. What's one minute? What's one minute?” And I figured, I tried everything else and that didn't work, and it nearly killed me. Let me try this out. And just day by day I started, and I built that up without any expectations like I had before that I was going to kil this 10 minutes, and I was going to be such a pro. I was cocky.

Marian Bacol Uba: And I was so humbled and I was, “Just let me do one minute,” that grew. And I think before the visions, because I know there's people here, I didn't always have that. It was really the first time that I was able to sit with myself, because I always had a probably sitting with myself, and because I meditated I was able to sit with myself and actually separate myself from the crazy thoughts. That was the first time I felt that happening, because I always associated me with my thoughts. I thought I was my thoughts.

Dina Cataldo: Right, and we are not our thoughts.

Marian Bacol Uba: We are not.

Dina Cataldo: That's like crazy town right? Are we really this crazy town thing that's happening up here in your thoughts? No.

Marian Bacol Uba: I also read Untethered Soul, it was at the same time I was reading, and it really changed how I started thinking, and I started applying basically, “Okay, they seem to be doing well. Let me listen and actually apply what they're doing.” I took the role of a student sponge, and I just soaked in everything.

Dina Cataldo: You're the second person in the last week who mentioned Untethered Soul to me. I guess I need to read that now.

Marian Bacol Uba: Yes. It was a really good book.

Dina Cataldo: Yeah, everything that we're talking about I'm going to link to it in the show notes so that we know who we're talking about. There was something I was reading right before I got on this interview with you. It really resonated with me, and with what I knew of your story. And it was that our physical world is a result of the thoughts, feelings and actions that we take. The ability, what you're saying, to quiet our mind just enough to see that we are not our thoughts, and that I we just make this subtle shift in our thoughts our physical world is going to change. We can't even help it. It's just so tiny. It's that two millimeters. It's that tiniest shift that takes you along your journey. Was that your experience?

Marian Bacol Uba: Yeah, I think one of the books that really changed … that made things so differently, that was so amazing to me was Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now. Really made me realize that most people are living in the past or in future and I had realized with all these flashbacks with the PTSD I was living in the past. I was constantly recreating all the trauma. Everything that was happening to me over and over and over, replaying it in my head and still thinking that I was there, whereas the Power of Now is that we're here at this very …

Marian Bacol Uba: The power of now is that we're here at this very present moment, are you safe, are you okay? If you're reading this book you are in the now, you're not being hurt. For me that was so mind blowing. Oh my God you're right. And in the book he mentions when you realize that you are not in the now you are in the now. And so, I started asking that question more times in my day and I'd realize when you start asking that you just bring more awareness to this present moment and you don't think about what happened. And I just started practicing these small little things.

Dina Cataldo: There's something that I read last night, it's something that I've been focusing on today and refocusing my attention. Any time I feel like a little anxiety or I have some worry about whatever it is, I just remind myself, “This is a reflection of my old thoughts, things are going to improve soon.” And I feel that little bit of peace right in the middle of your heart.

Marian Bacol Uba: Your shift.

Dina Cataldo: Exactly.

Marian Bacol Uba: Yeah.

Dina Cataldo: It's just creating that tiniest little shift that releases any tension, it's so strange. And I mean it's taken me years to get to this point where I can even attempt this and not feel silly.

Marian Bacol Uba: Yep.

Dina Cataldo: It took a lot of digging in to realize that there were these ships that I needed to make.

Marian Bacol Uba: Yeah. But it's beautiful and once you start realizing how much power you have it starts becoming like, “Oh my gosh.” You unlock this potential that was always there to make these shifts. And it's really just bringing awareness and knowing that you have the ultimate power and control over the direction of where your thoughts are, thoughts and our language. I started realizing, I started journal writing, I started getting anxious or things started getting triggered, instead of doing something like an old coping mechanism when that started coming up was, “Okay, I gotta drink something so I calm down.” I started writing it, writing all my thoughts and all the things, and I read it. I'm like, “That is so crazy.” We have to release the energy or else it swims and festers in our head and becomes amplified, but if we pour it out … and I started seeing patterns, “Oh okay this is triggering me.” That I never saw before.

Dina Cataldo: Right. Sometimes it's not the writing sometimes it's going back and reading what you wrote even like a month later. “Hey I'm repeating this same behavior what's up with that?”

Marian Bacol Uba: Yeah. Things that I never realize I started realizing that they were patterns or maybe there were certain people. Every time I would talk to my mom before I would get these feelings of anxiety and I'd always want to have a drink. And I started realizing, “Oh my God, these are my triggers.” The beauty is that now I have foundational basics, I call them thriver basics, that I know how to cope in healthy ways now, which as before it was very toxic ways. Now, the same feelings come up but I recognize them and I know how to shift. So when those thoughts come, that's not me, that's not true, and what do I say? It just becomes a habit.

Dina Cataldo: So what are those thriver mechanisms? What are those new coping mechanisms that you use when these kind of anxious feelings or worried feelings come up?

Marian Bacol Uba: One is to go back to your breath because when people get anxious, or angry, or mad their breath starts quickening and it's not steady, you just have to remember to breathe. We forget to breath, we take our breathe for granted. It's so simple yet people don't use it, it's really the simplest things, the foundations that I can go back to. And then meditation is one of my basics now that I go to all the time for anything. I meditated daily. Someone pisses me off or cuts me off, instead of reacting I breathe and it really does help. And then I meditate and I'm just like, “Okay, I don't need to waste my energy on that.”

Dina Cataldo: One of the things that's helped me with my road rage is …

Marian Bacol Uba: Yeah, road rage exactly.

Dina Cataldo: You know cut me off or whatever I say, “Oh, well I hope he has a good day or I hope he's all right.” I try to give them the benefit of the doubt. [inaudible 00:36:02]

Marian Bacol Uba: Another thing is journal writing, for me that's one of a basic foundational thing for me. And then another one is as simple as it is to be out in nature. Now, because I'm so close to the beach I go to the beach or a park and there's trees here, just all those things. I take a lot of time for myself.

Dina Cataldo: Do you use any prompts for your journaling? Like there might be somebody who's listening who's like, “What the heck do I talk about?”

Marian Bacol Uba: I do, and there's times where I do something called intuitive writing when I have questions or I want clarity for myself. And intuitive writing is when you do prompts at night, you read it, you internalize it, you sleep on it. I actually sleep right next to my journal cause it's also my dream journal so when I have dreams and I write down things I remember. Right when you wake up, before you do anything look at that question or those statements and just answer it without even thinking, because we have to do it before our logical mind starts getting in the way and really preventing us, but just write, and write, and write, and you'll be surprised at the things that just flow out of you.

Dina Cataldo: Give us a couple of examples.

Marian Bacol Uba: Yeah, for example, what is the most important step I need to do today to move me forward in my purpose? A lot of times we want to do 10 things, I just need to do one. What's the one thing that I need to really focus on today? Another one is a mantra. What mantra do I need to use this week? What should I focus on? And it's really just going back to the basics, instead of doing so many things I think the reason why we get so caught up with confusion is cause we want to do so much.

Dina Cataldo: Well let's break down what a mantra is.

Marian Bacol Uba: So a mantra is a statement or saying, it's similar to affirmations as well that you say with intention. Certain mantras … And I use this interchangeably, my mantra for the day or my affirmation and intention for the week that I want to focus on. For example, I'll do one of my mantras recently it's my great work is supported. And so, I actually got this recently from Gabby Bernstein is, my great work is supported because one of the limiting beliefs that I feel sometimes a lot of people who are doing spiritual work or healing work, we want to give so much yet sometimes we feel we don't want to be paid for it or we still have this feeling of feeling guilty for possibly making a lot of money doing this kind of work. And so, knowing that it's all energy, and if I'm here to help and impact other people that's the energy exchange and I shouldn't feel guilty or bad about it.

Dina Cataldo: One mantra that I try to remind myself of when my thoughts kind of go spinning either in a negative way or I start repeating stories in my head, our brains want to do sometimes. I'll say, “I am not my thoughts. I am the thinker of my thoughts therefore, I can think about something else.”

Marian Bacol Uba: Yeah.

Dina Cataldo: Shift my focus.

Marian Bacol Uba: Yeah. Another one that I've done before that I still use a lot is, I'm a powerful creator of my own reality. And that's a mantra and that's something I think over, and over, and over that I'm. You get empowered. There's power in words. So instead of saying things like, “I can't do this, I can't …” nope. I am a powerful creator of my reality. And so, it gives me clarity to, “Okay, what am I going to do now that I'm going to put down the steps to creating the reality that I want?”

Dina Cataldo: I love that and that can work in so many different areas of our lives because let's say for example, a lot of us, myself included are self-conscious about our looks. And so, one thing that can help us get past that and grow to love ourselves even more is to actually look in the mirror and say one of these mantras. “I am beautiful, I am power.” Whatever it is that you feel resonates with you, that feels good … may not feel good to say it first, it may actually sound kind of weird when you start saying it.

Marian Bacol Uba: Yeah.

Dina Cataldo: The more you say it the more your subconscious starts to pick up on it, which is why these mantras can be so powerful.

Marian Bacol Uba: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Another thing I also say over and over is, I am my best friend, my lover, my confident, and my biggest cheerleader. We are our longest relationship. I talk about self love a lot because we have so much love that we want to give everyone else, but we don't have enough to give ourselves. But we have to be our own best friend, our own lover, we have to date ourselves, we have to treat ourselves how we would treat other people that we love.

Dina Cataldo: Oh yeah. Oh yeah, that's important.

Marian Bacol Uba: Yeah.

Dina Cataldo: There's one question I did want to ask you.

Marian Bacol Uba: Yeah.

Dina Cataldo: As you did grow up with a father who abused you, it can't help but show up in relationships. What has your experience been before learning what your triggers were and learning what you had to through meditation with relationships?

Marian Bacol Uba: It taught me a lot, because before I used to be … Well my definition, I had a very skewed definition of what love was. I wasn't taught, I thought, “Okay, the people that you love the most you can't trust them because they're always going to do something to hurt you.” So I had trust issues with men.

Marian Bacol Uba: Looking back I actually talked to my ex ex-boyfriend about this because we're still … luckily we're friends, we had a long falling out but when I came out with my story I actually went back and I apologized to him. And I said, “I am so sorry that the things that I said and did, I was so unaware.” I used to be extremely angry, jealous, needy, all the things that he was always so giving and loving to me but I always thought there was a hidden agenda. I never trusted it.

Marian Bacol Uba: I always thought that whole, “You're being too good to be true. No one wants to be this nice, what do you want from me?” And I used to approach it with that. It would be good and then I'd star self-sabotaging. It's too good to be true, he's gonna want something. I need to hurt him before he hurts me.

Dina Cataldo: I'm curious because you bring up apologizing, going back and apologizing to people that you may have hurt. Did the 12 step program in any way play a part in your recovery and like learning about what you wanted to be doing?

Marian Bacol Uba: No, I never went to do like a 12 step recovery. I went to Tony Robbins Date with Destiny where we wrote letters to ourselves and to other people. I actually decided to send some of these letters. I knew that it came to a point where I was like, “You know what, maybe this is what I need to release myself.” The thing with forgiveness, a lot of times the forgiveness isn't for other people it's for you. It really is to help you release that energy. I have forgiven my father and my mother. I don't have to be cordial with them but I've released that anger. I actually don't think about my father at all. And when I do, pray for him and for my mom. Because for me that anger and that resentment and all those heavy energies they were just hurting me. The forgiveness was really to let go of that energy for my own well-being.

Dina Cataldo: Wow. Is there anything that you wanted to close? Like any loops that we might have opened up during our conversation, anything you felt like you needed to address that we haven't?

Marian Bacol Uba: I think if there's anyone listening who's gone through something similar, any other form of trauma or abuse, just first of all one, know that you're not alone. I think that's one of the things I thought for my whole life I was the only one going through this, no one else would understand me, no one was going to believe me cause I had tried it before and no one did. But realize that you are not alone. Actually it's so common, that's the sad part, it's so common but no one talks about it. So know that you're not alone, so that's one.

Marian Bacol Uba: Second is that you always have a choice. You can choose to continue down this road of unhappiness or depression whatever or you can chose to do something to change your mindset and to change the way that your reality will become. It's not going to be easy but it takes time because it's a lifestyle change. Being used to living our life a certain way and then we can't expect that, “Oh, I started meditating for 10 days my life's going to change.” It's also gradual, so and just to start small just that one small thing, that one minute, that one step, just that one thing. It doesn't have to be grand and you just make it a daily habit, that's it. And before you know it years will pass by.

Marian Bacol Uba: I look back and I'm just like in awe, in gratitude that I've even come this far. I'm filled with gratitude every time I wake up because I'm like, “I cannot believe I'm where I am.” And when I was going through it I didn't even think I would be here and what would have opened up for me. So, for anyone who's been suicidal into that form of depression, whatever it is just know that it's those small little steps toward the right direction that'll help you.

Dina Cataldo: Thank you.

Marian Bacol Uba: Yeah.

Dina Cataldo: I think the cat in your apartment needs some meditation.

Marian Bacol Uba: I'm sorry it's … I was hoping you wouldn't hear him [crosstalk 00:44:51].

Dina Cataldo: He wants attention from you.

Marian Bacol Uba: Yeah.

Dina Cataldo: Tell us Marian where our listeners can find you and learn more about you.

Marian Bacol Uba: Yeah, so they can go on my website, that's M-A-R-I-A-N-B-A-C-O-L-U-B-A. And I'm very active on Instagram @MBacolUba. I have a podcast called Thriver Lifestyle Podcast, but just hope onto my Instagram and all the information is all out there. I post I Do stories, I'm very active on it.

Dina Cataldo: Oh that's great. And I'll be sure to post all of these links on the show notes so definitely go there, check them out. Thank you so much.

Marian Bacol Uba: Thank you for having me.

Dina Cataldo: Wow, wasn't Marian amazing? She truly transformed her life. I can't help but feel admiration for her and her willingness to share her story. A couple things I want to mention first, if you haven't joined the Facebook group yet go there now, that's where the discussion begins. Second, if you want to grab the journal prompts and mantras that we talked about here in this episode, and if you want to find any of the links to any of the books, any of the people that we mentioned in this episode go to Thank you so much for your time today, I will talk to you next week. Bye for now.

Dina Cataldo: Thanks for listening to Soul Roadmap. If you have a moment I'd appreciate it if you'd leave an honest review on iTunes. I read every single review so let me know what you want to hear more or less of and I'll talk to you next week.

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