139. Are You a Fiction Writer of Your Own Story? with Lana McAra

Family trauma and drama flow through generations and can take on a form of fiction around “family unity,” “handed down traditions,” and “that’s the way it is” that sweep the suffering under the rug. But two things can happen.

Either you’ll find yourself in pain from stepping on the lumps of dirt under the rug, or the rug will slip and slide due to the dirt making it less sticky to the floor – either way, you could fall when you least expect it.

This need to create narratives could be part of why Lana McAra became a published fiction author, a coach and mentor to fiction writers, and host of an acclaimed podcast that delves deep into the ins and outs of fiction novel writing.

Lana was raised in a conservative environment as the oldest of five children of a hospital handyman and a housewife. They lived in Amish country and belonged to a Mennonite community. Rustic, yes – however everything looked fine.

But Fine is a 4-Letter Word – and the contradictions were just beginning.

Her father seemed to be a pillar of integrity who upheld traditional values, while her mother was a rebel who didn’t wear her bonnet or stockings and therefore “scandalized” the entire family. Eventually, her mother filed for divorce, her father moved to the opposite side of the country, and not even two weeks after the divorce, her mother married a volatile and abusive man.

As de facto parent to her four younger siblings, Lana created the narrative that their father, who had become a successful tradesman in his new life, was the example they should follow – even though he had completely abandoned them.

So much for moral rectitude from both parents, huh?

Lana went to college with the intention of breaking free and blazing her own trail… only to almost immediately meet, and soon marry, a man who had the same hypocritical character and controlling manner her father did.

Lana and her husband became missionaries, traveling to different countries like Grenada where her husband’s efforts to control her didn’t fly with the culture. It was a culture shock to come back to the United States and learn it all again.

In the meantime, just as she had been the sole caretaker as a teenager for her four siblings, she now became this for her seven children, all while pursuing her lifelong passion for fiction novel writing.

After 30 years, Lana and her husband divorced. Her family relationships unraveled as she formed short-term reunion bonds with her parents before they died. Then she became estranged from her siblings. All of this led to a nervous breakdown.

The fiction stories she had written all fell apart – but then she met someone at a conference who led her toward literally tapping the depths of her trauma.

You’re about to meet Lana and discover the very real new story she is penning!

Lana’s hype song is “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim” by Jim Croce.

Resources:

Invitation from Lori:

Now if, like Lana, you find yourself discovering that the life you think is real has turned out to be a fiction, the 5 Easy Ways to Start Living The Sabbatical Life guide can reveal a truth that guide you down a new path.

Once you read it, you’ll

✅ Discover a counter-intuitive approach to making intentional changes in mindset and lifestyle.

✅ Learn how to own your feelings and your struggles so you can address them.

✅ Find out how to face fears, step out of your comfort zone, and rewire your beliefs.

It’s only 7 pages, so it won’t take you long to get through. Using what you discover, you may well find it creates the storyline for the next chapter of your life novel.

When you’re ready to say F*ck Being Fine, this guide is the place to start. It’s time to reach out and feel the power of your destiny.

Go to https://zenrabbit.com right now to download it for free.

Now let’s meet Lana. She’s hard at work behind her laptop, probably constructing another international best-seller. Why is she tapping her arm with two fingers?

Transcript

Lori: Hello and welcome to Fine is a 4-Letter Word. My guest today is Lana McAra. Welcome to the show, Lana.

Lana: Thank you so much, Lori. I am excited to be with you today.

Lori: Yeah. I was just so intrigued by your story when we did our pre-show conversation. I thought, "Yeah, people need to hear this story." And not just because it is—I don't know if dramatic is the right word, or a little bit sensational—but you have important information to share with people.

Lana: Yes.

Lori: So let's jump in, and let me ask you the first question of what were the values and beliefs that you were raised with that contributed to who you became?

Lana: That is such a good question. I think that's the first time anybody's ever asked me that. I grew up in the Amish community, in the country, in western Delaware. My family of origin, greater family, was actually a transplant from Ohio Amish. And the reason I say that is because there's different brands of Amish. Most people don't know that. There's the Pennsylvania Amish and the Ohio Amish and the Kentucky Amish, and so forth. And we were the Delaware Amish, but the Delaware is a transplant of Ohio.

So I was brought up in a very conservative, rigid family system. Now that meant dad is the wage earner. He's the boss. He tells what goes on in the house. Mom cooks dinner and takes care of the kids. That kind of thing. So I had that in my formative years, but my mother was a rebel. She never obeyed the rules. She was always doing outrageous things, and my dad was scandalized. His family was scandalized. And I was just a little girl. I didn't really understand what it meant that my mother didn't wear her bonnet when she went to the store. I mean, that was just normal.

Lori: I was going to ask, what are the scandalizing things she did? My gosh. Didn't wear a bonnet.

Lana: Yeah, didn't wear a bonnet. She did not wear black stockings. She went without stockings, bare-legged, and that was scandalous. But she always said, "We're so poor, I can't buy stockings to go to the store. I have to have them to go to church." And it was true. I was raised very poor. I didn't really know that I was poor because my mother cooked from scratch. She made all my clothes. I didn't know what went into getting the material and the fabric for my coats and so forth. But it was a thing, right? So I was in that dynamic of very conservative but at the same time, rule-breaking.

Lori: Interesting, yes.

Lana: Yeah. So I grew up with—

Lori: Okay. And so then…

Lana: —all the homemaking skills from a child—cooking, cleaning, taking care of children. I was the oldest child, so I was always caregiving for the younger children. So I was taught to be a mother from the time I was six years old. I was sweeping the floor at six. Washing dishes by hand at six. At six years old, when I started school, I went to work.

Lori: How many younger siblings do you have?

Lana: Four. Yeah, I was the oldest of five. So three of them were quite a bit younger. My brother was only two years younger, but then there was a big gap. And the three younger ones looked at me as mother, like mother number two.

Lori: What did your father do?

Lana: He was a handyman in those days. He worked for a hospital, repairing equipment and making sure everything was running, and managing plumbing and all that. So he was kind of a guy that did almost everything. And, actually, after my parents divorced when I was 13—another scandalous thing that happened—

Lori: I was just going to—wait a minute. They got divorced?

Lana: My mother filed for divorce. Yeah, she kicked him out, filed for divorce. She was like, "I don't care. I'm done with this." You know?

Lori: Did she stay in the community then, or did she leave the Amish community?

Lana: We were in a Mennonite church at that time, and they kicked us completely out. We were out. Now, family didn't shun us like they would have sometimes. But, yeah, we were totally out of the church, for sure. But when the divorce happened, my father went back to trade school, and he became a licensed electrician. And then he went back and got all five trades—electrician, plumbing, mechanical. He did all of it. He was a very smart, very accomplished guy.

And so the divorce was actually good for him. It got him out of the working-at-the-hospital-as-a-handyman job, and he had his own business and so forth. So I always loved and respected my father. My father was a very stable person in my world at that time. Later, I found out that was a childish imagination. That really wasn't quite as true as I thought, but it did help me get through my challenging teenage years.

Lori: And then how did those beliefs and those values and those stories that you created help you or hinder you as you became an adult?

Lana: Well, I was looking for stability because my mother married a very volatile man, immediately. As soon as the divorce was final, two weeks later, she married this guy. And he was a violent, mentally ill, criminal type. He was always running scams, beating Mother, beating the children. He was a scary guy. And during those years, I was always holding on to the fact—and I would actually tell my siblings, because here I am in the mom role—"Our father's not like this. Our father has a job. He's honest, he pays his bills, and he doesn't hit people." And I just kept telling them that and telling them that because my younger siblings were pretty young. My youngest sister was five years old when this happened.

Lori: And now, you didn't have any contact with your father?

Lana: No, he moved across the country. I didn't have any relationship with my father for 30 years. He just abandoned us. He abandoned us. Well, looking back now, my mother was a screaming demon. She was terrible, and he was protecting himself, right? But he had five children, which he questioned our parentage. He was always saying—

Lori: I was going to say if she got married two weeks after, like, she didn't know him before?

Lana: Oh, yeah. He was always saying, "I'm not sure which of these kids are really mine." And he had a valid question there. Later on we found out more. But even at that, you're a man. You're in a family with five children. They call you dad. You sit at dinner with them every night. You hold them when they're infants and help them ride a bike. And you're going to just turn away and walk away from those kids and say, "I don't know which ones are mine." I can't understand that as a parent now. I'm the mother. I know who those kids belong to.

Lori: Right.

Lana: But if I had been in a situation, why would I do that? That's a child. That is a human being with a future. Yeah.

Lori: Yeah. Well, I always go back to, then, what was his childhood like? And, like you said, he felt like he had to protect himself from her craziness. And so people do things that we don't necessarily understand but make perfect sense to them.

Lana: Yes, yes. And my father had mental health concerns. And I think, looking back now, because I had a short-term relationship with my father in his older years when he was in his 70s. And what I realized at that point was that he had either Asperger's or some other situation where he was extremely smart but very socially incapable of forming attachments. And so, for him, he didn't have the attachment to the children that I have to my children because it wasn't—

Lori: That one would expect somebody to have to their own children?

Lana: Exactly.

Lori: Yeah. And this is where it comes back to, okay, what else is going on in that person's life?

Lana: Exactly, yes. I was 13 when they divorced, so I was just a kid. I had no idea about anything like that. And this was in the '70s. People didn't know about mental health things like they do now, so my mother did have challenges with him. No doubt, she did. She was the biggest challenge, though, by far.

Lori: Yeah. And to your point, you mentioned something that is important to pull out. And that is, you were a kid, and so you didn't know all of this other stuff. You were making up a story in your head that made sense to you that would protect you about the situation. And then we carry these stories and these beliefs into adulthood. And the results we see in our life come from those beliefs that we have that we don't necessarily know how they got instilled in us, but we keep telling ourselves that story.

Last night I did an in-person presentation, and I was saying that beliefs are simply thoughts that we keep thinking over and over again. It's a story we keep telling ourselves, right?

Lana: Yes, absolutely. That was a protection story that I had. And it came up naturally. I think, in my spiritual walk, I would say my guides were whispering in my ear to help me through that crazy time.

Lori: Right.

Lana: Because I did emerge a stable, grounded individual. I created my life intentionally. I didn't always make the best decisions, but I was not off the charts like my mother was. My mother was extremely unstable, emotionally, and her decisions were life-threatening. Yeah.

Lori: Yeah. So let's talk about some of those decisions that you made because there's more to the story.

Lana: Yeah.

Lori: Share what became of that.

Lana: When I was in therapy after the divorce—

Lori: You said you were looking for stability.

Lana: Yes, yes.

Lori: So let's go in from that angle.

Lana: After my divorce, I went into therapy for two years, and my therapist said to me about, I don't know, six months in, "Every time you come in, it's more. It's more and more and more." So what I did was—and I met this guy the first week of college. First of all, I just determined I was going to college. My mother and my stepfather were against me going. They wanted me to stay home, go to community college, live at home so I could keep working and caregiving for them. There you go.

Lori: Right. That makes sense.

Lana: Yes. But I was determined I was going to college. I was really going to college, not just go to community college. And so I did get a scholarship. I made all the applications. I did it all myself, and I worked a job to pay my way. And I met this guy the first week of school. Now, he was very stable, and looking back now—I was married to him for 30 years—he was rigid. He was emotionless. He was extremely demanding, and he was a covert narcissist. Covert narcissism doesn't present as pride and domination. It presents as downtrodden, "doing the best I can. Don't harass me because I'm overwhelmed constantly. Nobody understands my value. My boss is disrespecting me and so forth. And so, don't add to my woes, little wifey woman, by giving me your problems. I can't handle them right now."

So he basically pushed me away from him, and I had to manage all the household finances on my own, the children and all the medical things that go with having seven—seven—children. I was the one who took them to the doctor. I was the one who made the decisions. I found insurances. I was the one who paid the bills. I made the decisions about car insurance, health insurance, house insurance, all those things. If there was ever an issue in any area of our lives, it was on me. If the car broke down, that was on me to find somebody to replace it, get a tow truck, do whatever it took to make that happen because he's over here overwhelmed. And if I would rely on him, it will never happen.

Lori: And didn't you take on that role because it was what you had always done in your life? Like, you were the stable one raising your siblings. You were the one who was doing everything already, so that just felt, probably, comfortable to you.

Lana: I was totally good with it at the beginning. I was totally good with it. That was what I had done all along. And it wasn't until later when I got to be, say, mid-40s, that my health was breaking down. I had too much. Even at the end of my 30s, I was already starting to feel the physical effects of this over-work, overburdened thing.

We were traveling. My ex-husband is a pastor, and we were missionaries overseas for 14 years. So that meant we had to pack a container of our household goods, ship overseas, get it through customs, bring it to the house. And so that whole packing thing, that involves boxes that are numbered. And you make a bill of lading and catalog everything in each box. That has to be typed and organized and sent with the container so that when it arrives, the person at the dock is looking at the contents of this. That was 100% on me, along with raising seven children, taking care of all the household stuff, and the medical stuff. And we did it twice. He did go to the dock. He did clear it through customs because, as a woman in a Third World country, they won't talk to me.

Lori: Right. So he was forced to have to do something. Yeah.

Lana: It would be very humiliating for him to send his wife to the dock to get the container. The men would be looking at him like, "What is wrong with him? Is he mentally ill?" You know?

Lori: Right, right, right. "Who wears the pants?"

Lana: Exactly. So when we were overseas, he had to step up more because the culture wouldn't tolerate me being the one in those roles. So that was kind of good for me. I was happy about that when we were over there. And we were over there from 1987 until 2001, 14 years. And it was very difficult.

Lori: Where was overseas?

Lana: We were in the Caribbean, on the island of Grenada, where Reagan sent the troops for an intervention in 1983 or 1984, something like that. We went in '87, four years later as missionaries, and we lived in the bush. We lived back in a village in the jungle for all those years. And I had the time of life there. It took us away from all the constraints of being in the U.S. We think we have a free country here. Well, think again, people. Back there, they didn't care how we schooled our kids. They didn't care what we did. We were totally free to do whatever we wanted. People were riding in the back of pickup trucks. I'm talking about 20 people packed into the back of a pickup truck and going down the road at 70 miles an hour on these hairpin turns up the mountain. They thought nothing of it. We would have been arrested if we did that here.

So, yeah, when I got back, it was really difficult to remember all the rules and school the children to obey various things that we see as normal here. We are extremely controlled in this environment in the United States. We don't realize how much. And now, 20 years later, I'm used to it. I just take it as part of life here.

Lori: Right. Well, you've been re-socialized back into our society.

Lana: Yes, exactly.

Lori: Yeah. So you were in Grenada and where else?

Lana: We went two different times where we would ship containers. We were still—

Lori: Oh, same place but two different times?

Lana: Right, exactly.

Lori: Got you. Okay. Yeah. So, married to a pastor, there are additional expectations on you.

Lana: Oh, yeah. Not only were there his expectations, there were church expectations. And, of course, he's monitoring the church expectations very, very strictly. We went to church three times a week: twice on Sunday, once in the middle of the week, either Wednesday or Thursday night, one or the other. And I taught Sunday school. I taught the women. I was homeschooling my children back in the jungle. And every time I left for church, he would look me over to make sure I passed muster. He would say things to me like, "Are you going to put a sweater on over that?" Because if I had a sleeveless dress on, he didn't want my arms showing. That wasn't even a rule—

Lori: That would be scandalous.

Lana: Yeah, exactly. The scandalous piece of our lives, shoulders showing. So it was humiliating for me. Like, I've been married to you now for 20 years. You think I don't know how you want me to dress? And besides that, you want me to dress this way. I don't have the freedom to make up my own wardrobe and feel free to do what I want. Which, you know, I wasn't my mother. I was a very traditional person.

Lori: Although I sometimes would think that because of having that side of you, having her genes, that you would have somewhat rebelled and said, "Hey, you can't tell me what to do."

Lana: Oh, yeah. That didn't show up right away. I'm trying to think. It was in 1991, I had a break with my mother. So I got married in 1979. So 1991, about 12 years—yeah, it was about 12 years in because my youngest son was a baby, an infant—my mother had an attack on our family. She launched an attack on our family. She became very malicious as she grew older. And, of course, my stepfather with her. And we had the kids enrolled in school because we were in the States at that time. We had to go back and report our mission work every so many years, and so we were in for that.

And we did have the kids enrolled in school, but we were traveling a lot because one of the things my ex wanted was to parade all seven kids into this church when we were reporting. And they would sing or something, and he had taught them how to stand at our display table and talk to people and answer questions about Grenada and stuff like that. And so our kids were part of the sell job, right? And so we would bring books and travel together.

Lori: I'm getting visions of The Sound of Music.

Lana: Yes, yes. Very similar. Yes. And he loved that movie, by the way. He absolutely loved that movie. Loves. Still living. So, yeah, it was like that if you've seen The Sound of Music. Stairstep kids. They marched in, they sang, whatever.

So we had been traveling to these churches, and it was all school-approved. And we were bringing work and all that. And one day, I had a knock on the door. And it was a truant officer from the county with a report that our kids were not in school, and there was a social worker with him. And everything was fine. The school vouched for us. They had no problem. We never were in danger of anything. Our bases were covered.

But at the same time, I'm like, "Okay, that's it. I'm done with her. I cannot have my kids around her in any way, shape, or form, and I'm done."

Lori: Is she the one who sent the truant officer?

Lana: Her and my stepfather. I never got the details of it, but it was them behind that whole situation. Yeah, that was verified. My children heard things said. My brother came over and told me the day that they were—

Lori: And I imagine that would have been embarrassing for your husband as well.

Lana: It was embarrassing for him. It was terrifying for me, to think someone would take my children because of these allegations that were so groundless. I mean, I was mom of the year.

Lori: Right. You were doing everything humanly and beyond humanly possible—

Lana: Absolutely, yeah.

Lori: —to provide for your family. Yeah.

Lana: Yeah. I'm cooking from scratch. I'm watching all their diets. I'm taking them to the doctor and making sure they have their vitamins. And I've got school lessons. We're doing school lessons, and I'm watching their grades. You name it, I was on it.

And so, anyway, the accusation was totally unfounded, but it was part of their malicious thing that they had going on. And it wasn't just me. My sisters and so forth we're all under attack from those people. They were just awful, awful, terrible people. So I broke with my family.

Well, we went back to Grenada. We stayed there for five years. I had no contact with my mother. I had no contact with my siblings. I broke with everybody because my siblings were still enmeshed with her. I knew if I told them anything about my life, they would go write to her and tell her, and then it would start the cycle over. I needed a clean break from that situation.

Lori: This was about setting boundaries for you.

Lana: Yes, absolutely. I had to set firm boundaries, like a brick wall.

Lori: Yeah, even when it involves, or especially when it involves family.

Lana: Yes.

Lori: And how difficult was that?

Lana: It was hard. I love my siblings.

Lori: Yeah, with your siblings. Exactly.

Lana: I raised those kids.

Lori: It was probably easier to do with your mom, but not so much with your siblings.

Lana: Yeah, yeah. I raised those kids. I knew what a trial and trauma she was to them. She was hurting them, too. But I had to protect my family. I had to put my kids first before anyone in the world, and I did. So that's how that all came out.

Lori: Yeah. You mentioned a little bit earlier about the physical problems that were caused by the stress. Tell me about how that manifested and then what it forced you to do. Because it forced you to face some things that maybe you didn't want to face, and make some decisions—

Lana: Yes, yes, absolutely—

Lori: —that people around you wouldn't have seen coming.

Lana: Right. I had back issues from the time I was 26. My back was in terrible pain. I was carrying too much, doing too much, working too hard, wearing myself out.

Lori: Yeah.

Lana: And so 10 years of serious back pain, constant pain. That was one piece of it. Then I ended up with surgery. Then it ended up with a second surgery, major abdominal surgery. And on and on. My thyroid started to quit. I had hypothyroidism that was untreated for about five years. I was gaining weight. I was miserable and depressed.

And then when the kids got older, instead of the workload getting less, the workload got more. And that was because when they were at home, I had chores and everybody did chores. But now I have four young adult men, my sons, in the house. And they're working. They're going to college. They've got girlfriends, and they're playing sports. And all these outside-of-the-house things that they're doing, and I had 100% of the work on me. So now I have four men—plus my husband, five. And that wasn't enough. My brother-in-law moved in because he had a mental breakdown. So he asked me if he could come and live with us, and I said yes. So I had him.

Lori: Did you know that the physical symptoms were caused by all of this, the burdens that you were carrying?

Lana: No.

Lori: You didn't realize it at the time?

Lana: I was close to that. I was not seeing that as what was happening. Now, I know. But then, I just thought, "I need to check and see if I need another vitamin. I need to take more vitamins."

Lori: Yeah, okay.

Lana: That was basically it.

Lori: What was the last straw that you said, "I can't go on this way anymore"?

Lana: I was so exhausted, I could hardly crawl out of bed. I was working from 7:00 in the morning until 11:00 at night, and I'd fall into bed exhausted. I would get up and do it again and again and again. And by this time, my brother-in-law had been living with us for 15 months. I had been taking care of him like a child—carrying him to the doctor or taking care of his paperwork, all that stuff, because he was a veteran. And he had a breakdown because of being over in Iraq, and I felt bad for him. Of course, I'm feeling bad for everybody. I felt bad for everyone except for myself.

Lori: Except for yourself, exactly.

Lana: So I got a call from a friend. I actually called her, but we talked. It was a friend I hadn't talked to in 20 years. And I gave her a little, like, five-minute rundown of what was happening in my life, and she said to me, "I've known ever since we got on the call something's wrong." She didn't talk to me in all that time, and she said, "You're about to have a breakdown. This is too much for you. Your husband is dead wrong," she said. "You need to get out of that house. They're going to take you down." And when she said it, I knew that she was telling me the truth. I felt like I was getting a message from God that day. Yeah.

Lori: I just had that same thought. As you were saying what she said to you, I'm thinking, "The universe, God's talking to you through her." And then you just said that.

Lana: I talked to her later. It wasn't right away because I went through some serious trauma leaving. But, I don't know, two years later, I talked to her, and she did not remember that conversation. It was that important and she was that tough-love on me, and she didn't remember.

Lori: Yeah. But sometimes when people—this has been my experience—are channeling messages like that—and I'll just say channeling a message—it's coming through them, but they're not really aware of what they're saying because it's not them. And that, to me, that she doesn't remember is more proof of that's what happened.

Lana: I was shocked. I was shocked that she didn't remember because that was—

Lori: Because it was so impactful for you.

Lana: Yes, and it was important. And it was unusual because she was very deep in the church. She was an extremely conservative Christian woman, and she was telling me to leave my pastor husband. I got off the phone like, "Whoa, that woman would never say that." And then she didn't remember.

Lori: Wow. Okay, so you did end up leaving?

Lana: Yes, I did.

Lori: Yeah. And how did you heal yourself from all of this trauma and the burdens that you had taken on? Because, again, going back to—those are deeply ingrained beliefs and stories you told yourself about who you were.

Lana: Oh, yeah.

Lori: And now you need to rewire your brain to become somebody else, to become a better version of yourself.

Lana: Yes, it was a process. It was definitely a process. I started out by going to my sister, who is a counselor. She's a licensed therapist, and she found me someone to see. And so I went to this person for a few sessions. I didn't like the woman. She was way too restricted for me. I needed somebody with a broader perspective because I was so locked in. I was locked down not only ideologically with a conservative viewpoint, but I was also locked down emotionally. Mentally, I was just in a little, tiny box. So, one thing at a time.

And it was so amazing the way it happened because here I am, a pastor's wife for 30 years. I'm scared of my own shadow. I'm afraid the devil's behind every bush. I am so terrified of everything. And terrified of earning a living, terrified of being alone. All of it. And I had a friend that—this was before I left him. I met someone at a networking event. It was actually at a training event because I was doing Internet marketing. That was my side job, Internet marketing.

Lori: Oh, wow.

Lana: Yeah. So I went to an Internet marketing event, and this lady sat next to me. And she was this petite, cute little lady. Very quiet and non-scary, right? And she said to me, "I'm taking a certification, and I need to practice on someone to get hours. Would you mind if I practice on you?" Well, that was the perfect question for me because I was like, "Oh, yes. I'll help you out. I want to help you out." And I said, "What is it?" She said, "Oh, it's called tapping. It's EFT tapping." I said, "Well, what's that?" She said, "Well, you just tap your fingers here and here and on your chest. And you tap, and you say these things. And I'll help you. That's what I'm doing. I'm teaching people to do that, and I'm doing it with them."

I said, "Oh, that doesn't sound scary at all. Sure, I'll do it." And so after the event, she and I would Skype. And I was scared that my husband would walk in the room when I'm on the computer doing this. I just knew he wouldn't approve of it. So I told her, "I don't want your face and your voice on the screen, so let's do it through the texting part of Skype, the messaging part." And so she would type in "tap here and say this," and I would tap and say this. And, of course, I'm saying it under my breath because I don't want him to hear me.

And within the first session, within 5-10 minutes, I am sobbing. It went right into childhood trauma. I was astounded at the depth of the work that was happening. I worked with her for two years. Eventually, I started paying her instead of being her practice person. And I think working with her with the tapping helped me when I had to make that transition and leave my family. I was able to get through it because I was working with her. And we worked together for a long time. So that was a key moment in my transition.

And then I met someone else at another business event, because then I went into Internet marketing after I left him. I couldn't earn a living. I had no job resume for 30 years.

Lori: Right.

Lana: I was 52 years old, no job resumé. What am I going to do? I found out the only way I could earn a living is become an entrepreneur. Well, you know, I'm Ms. Can-do Girl.

Lori: Which is fantastic!

Lana: Yeah, I'm Ms. Can-do. I can do anything. And I'm not afraid to work. Right?

Lori: Yes.

Lana: So that's what I did. I started that. And I was at a networking event, and this woman came up to me. It was another one of those God moments. She had this big, fluffy hair, and she was a matronly-looking kind of woman, 50 years old or so. And she put her hands on my table, because I had a table there. And she leaned forward and she stared in my eyes, and she said, "You and I are going to do great things together." And I went, "What? Who are you?"

Lori: You're like, "Who are you?"

Lana: Are you a crazy person, you know?

Lori: Yes, because my antennas are up for crazy people.

Lana: The crazy is coming out, right? I know about crazy.

Lori: I recognize crazy.

Lana: Yeah, yeah. She said, "I'm an ICU nurse and I have learned The Emotion Code, and I'm going to do a session on you free, a free session on you." I said, "What's The Emotion Code?" She said, "Well, it's emotions that are locked in the body." And I said, "Well, what do you do for it?" She said, "It's magnets. You run magnets over the center of your body." And I thought, "Well, magnets isn't scary. I can do that." I said, "Do I have to come to your office?" She said, "No. We'll do it on the phone." I was like, wait a minute. How's she going to run magnets over me? We're on the phone. I didn't know, but I went with it. I went with it. I knew I was supposed to do that. So I did.

Again, five minutes in, I'm sobbing. She brought up the fact that I was molested when I was six. It was a memory I had not brought up for many years. And it was a family member. It wasn't my father or anybody like that. It was an older family member. And that forgotten memory, that pushed away and locked up memory, came through. And, again, I worked with her for several years. She was the most amazing person, breaking through the heart walls and the hidden stuff in my body and all the pain I had been having and all of the different things. Because if you get the book, The Emotion Code, by Dr. Bradley Nelson, it actually has a chart of which emotions affect which organs. And Louise Hay talks about this, too. But the chart's in there. And also, muscle testing.

So I got the book. I learned muscle testing from that book. And that's when my healing journey escalated. It just went on high drive from that point on because once I learned muscle testing, I could test different modalities. Is this something that would help me?

Lori: Yeah.

Lana: Muscle test? Yes. Okay, I'll do that one.

Lori: Right.

Lana: And then I would go to the next one and the next one. Yeah.

Lori: I use muscle testing. My friend Jen, who is a past podcast guest, Jen Beck, taught me about muscle testing yourself because I knew how other people could do muscle testing on you, but she taught me about using it for myself. And I use it now for taking supplements and things like that. Like, is this right and appropriate for my body today. Because you can change. You could be taking something that served you a month ago, but now you don't need it.

Lana: Oh, that's so interesting because I do exactly that every morning. I have my supplements in a line on a shelf, and I go down the shelf. This one, this one, this one. Every single morning, that was what my morning supplement regimen is. That's very cool.

Lori: I love it. Yeah, so cool. We could spend the next four hours talking. I've so enjoyed this conversation. And I have two last questions for you. One, I don't know, were you allowed or did you enjoy music during your childhood and while you were married? It sounds like it was so rigid. Was music a part of that, outside of church music?

Lana: Right. My mother was a big-time country western fan, and she always had the radio going. And she listened to some popular music, too. So she always had the radio going. So those old songs, I know them all. And when they come on somewhere, I recognize them, which is why I chose the song I have today.

Lori: Yeah, what is the song? What is your hype song?

Lana: It is "You Don't Mess Around With Jim."

Lori: Right.

Lana: J-I-M, yeah.

Lori: Which should perhaps be changed to "You Don't Mess Around With Me."

Lana: Yeah. The chorus of that is, "You don't tug on Superman's cape. You don't spit into the wind. You don't pull the mask off the Lone Ranger. And you don't mess around with Jim." So it's a story. It's a ballad about these bullies and how Jim came in and cleaned house with those bullies. And when that comes on, I start dancing. Now, I take dance lessons. I love music. I've got music on in my house all the time. It's part of my freedom because that wasn't happening in the pastor's house. But you know what? You come at me enough, and I'll bear it 30 effing years. But no more.

And I've been through the dating world. I had a stalker at one time. Different things have happened to me since. But this person right here is a very strong, resilient human being. I wouldn't be here if I wasn't, and I'm not taking anything off anybody anymore. Now, that's not to say that I'm mean. I love people. I want to help people.

Lori: Right.

Lana: I do as much as I can for people when I can. But the person with that energy—that bully energy, that forcing, disrespectful, demeaning energy—no, not anymore. Yeah.

Lori: It's about having your own boundaries and standing up for yourself.

Lana: Exactly.

Lori: That's what it is. Yeah. It's not about not being a kind person. It's about being so kind that you take care of yourself.

Lana: Yes, and I'm aware that I overgive. So when I start to feel pressed on or I start to feel like I'm getting over-extended, I pull it back. I pull it back. I set a boundary on myself.

Lori: Yeah. And now you recognize how to do that.

Lana: Yes.

Lori: Wow. This has been such a good conversation. If someone wants to reach out to you and connect with you, where's the best place for them to do that?

Lana: Instagram. My name on Instagram is Lana McAra2. Yeah. If you're not on Instagram, then my website is lanamcara.com. But people message me on Instagram. You don't have to know me to message me on Instagram. Welcome. You're welcome to message me. I love it when people reach out.

Lori: Awesome. I will put links to both of those places in the show notes—

Lana: Awesome.

Lori: —so it can be easy for people to find. Lana, thank you so much for joining me today on Fine is a 4-Letter Word.

Lana: Thank you.

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