APiD Ep. 038 | Natalie's Story
Updated: Jul 22
Unconventional Answers to Life's 3 Big Questions
How do you answer life’s 3 big questions--first posed on this podcast in episode 018 by coroner Rob Ryg: Where did we come from, what’s this life for, and what happens next?
My guest in this episode, Natalie Niksa, reveals her answers to the Big Three. And in doing so, she challenges all of us to consider our own answers to those questions. Natalie’s answers are far from conventional, and therein lies some of the gold in this episode.
When we take time to view the world through someone else’s eyes, we invite their perspective to challenge and change our own.
And that, my friends, is a good thing.
There’s way more to Natalie’s story than we could ever hope to cover in one episode. And it is a WILD story. But we touched down in some of the more significant chapters of her story to see what they meant to Natalie and what they could mean to us as we continue to write our own stories. You will see the theme of Death and Rebirth appear and reappear throughout.
Natalie, her husband, Jon, and their son, Smith, live in Napa, CA, where Natalie and Jon own La Saison--at face value a world-class catering and food provisions company that they started in 2007. But when you look just a little deeper, you find that La Saison is really more like a vehicle through which Natalie and Jon bring their own brand of beauty into the world to enrich others and fulfill their unique purposes.
In other words, it’s about way more than the food.
And a more recent addition to their menu is personal life guidance via the framework of Human Design, facilitated by Natalie. I’ll provide contact info in the full shownotes for this episode for those of you who want to connect with Natalie and learn more about La Saison.
BTW, La Saison means “the season”--to live in the present and allow life to unfold, instead of resisting it. And you’ll see this orientation to life bubble up everywhere in my conversation with Natalie.
Close Encounters with Mortality
The entry point into our conversation was a discussion of two encounters Natalie had with Mortality, separated by 16 years. First, at just seven months old, Natalie stopped breathing and turned blue due to (of all things) an ear infection. Her dad, then in medical residency, scooped her up and ran across the street to the hospital, administering mouth-to-mouth the whole way.
Then, at 17, Natalie was literally run over by a truck on a bike ride with her brother. Her “whole right side was broken,” and she had major head injuries. Remarkably, on this occasion, too, her dad was first on the scene to assess the situation and begin treatment.
Connecting Dots in Hindsight
Natalie finds meaning in those two encounters with Mortality through the lens of hindsight. “I was always one foot in and one foot out,” Natalie says--unsure on some deep level if she could handle “humanness.” But her encounter with Mortality at 17 came after a fundamentally transformative moment on an expedition in the snowy mountains of Colorado. On that expedition, in one magical moment of stillness, Natalie became aware that “this is all temporary.” When she returned home, she began to slip into her old pre-epiphany ways. The run-in with the truck shook her out of that, though, and two months without the ability to walk literally stopped her in her tracks and allowed the changes she experienced in Colorado to become more fully integrated within her.
From that near-death experience onward, Natalie has been all-in.
Some Key Takeaways from Natalie’s Story
Each of us is a unique puzzle piece in the huge jigsaw puzzle of humanity.
Self-discovery is perhaps the most important job each of us has because each of us has a specific spot to fill in the puzzle of humanity and a specific role to play. Commit to a lifelong practice of self-discovery.
When you're on the path that you're meant to be on, magical things happen. We tend to get off-course when we are seeing the dangling carrot or shiny object of someone else's life that's not our own path. Our own path will always keep us feeling complete.
To hear our inner voice--the voice that whispers the truth of our existence to us and sets us on our unique path--we have to “create time and space to be with ourselves.”
Until we're in a position of really being able to take care of ourselves, we really are not ready to be in service to others.
There’s so much meat on the bone of this episode. Tune in to the full episode for the full impact.
What About You?
Our unique stories and our unique purposes in the world are inseparable. Natalie’s story is another demonstration of that truth.
How well do you know your own story?
I mean, really KNOW your story, like you know your best friend, your spouse, or your significant other? You may be able to identify the dots on your timeline, but some of those dots from the past are wreaking havoc in your present and blocking you from the future you could have because you don’t yet know them intimately. And often, it’s because they feel like enemies to be held at arm’s length rather than friends to be embraced. Until we embrace them, they will remain enemies indeed--standing defiantly if not secretly between us and our full potential.
Natalie’s story landed differently for each one of you listening. That’s awesome. It’s part of the mystery of stories--that one story can affect so many people so differently and in just the way each person needed. And, I hope this episode has also affected each of you in one shared way:
I hope Natalie’s story has encouraged you to become even more intimately acquainted with your own Story so that, like Natalie, you can fulfill even more of your potential in the world--for your own enjoyment and the world’s benefit.
Natalie reminded me of this quote from Carl Jung in the days leading up to our recorded conversation, and it’s a perfect bow to tie on this episode:
"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate."
I Can Help
We won’t fully understand our story without the compassionate, curious support of other people. They see our Story and us within it in ways that we simply can’t. I can be a compassionate, curious partner for you, helping you to become more intimately acquainted with your amazing story so it can inhibit you less and empower you even more moving forward. What are you capable of when you’re more completely you?? That’s very much worth finding out.
Remember, you ARE going to die. But you’re not dead yet. So get after it!
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