From A Dark Place To Whole Heart Wisdom – Carrie Schafer | Ep. 77




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This week on the podcast, we have a really great, but really intense episode with Carrie Schafer. Carrie has played trumpet with the St. Louis and Houston symphonies, and currently resides in Houston. In addition to freelancing, she has started a coaching business to help others live a more rich and full life, something she feels incredibly qualified to do based on her own journey overcoming her struggles with addiction. Here are a few takeaways from her episode:

The Performer Side Of You Isn’t All That Matters

In our interview, Carrie talked about while the side of her that was a high functioning performer was succeeding and thriving, other parts of her life were left neglected. At the end of a day of rehearsals, she would feel accomplished from all the playing she had done, but would be left with a sense of being lost once she got home. Because she wasn’t cultivating the different parts of her life, she wasn’t able to lead a full and joyful life.

This a common trap that MANY high level performers can fall into. Beginning with a belief that the only value they provide to the world is through their craft, our craft begins to define us. We’re not longer a whole person; we’re not longer full and complex. Personally, it took a great deal of adversity and suffering to even begin having this conversation with myself, let alone begin to heal from this toxic mindset.

If It’s Not Alcohol, It Might Be Something Else

Alcoholism is only one method of coping with the pressures of feeling empty and trying to continue moving forward. Just because someone doesn’t struggle with excessive alcohol consumption doesn’t mean they don’t struggle with the same issues and choose a different vice to focus on. Perfectionism, people pleasing, other drugs, gambling, over exercise, food addition – these are all things that can take the place and still be just as destructive toward the persons mental health.

Own Your Story

Stories of suffering, adversity, and redemption are so interesting to me. Losing tenure with the Indianapolis Symphony seems like it should be a negative mark on my permanent record. However, I am thankful for the path that particular event took me on. I am thankful for the things I am doing, the life that I have, the things I have come to understand – and none of it would have been possible without losing tenure. What most people would consider to be a negative is actually an incredible positive in my life.

Carrie acknowledged that much of what she thinks about herself and her life are influenced by her struggles with alcoholism. Instead of defining her in a negative way, she is choosing to own her story, and to try to use it to encourage others who are struggling. To me, it’s such a powerful way to view suffering in all of our lives. How can we use what we have overcome to help encourage others to stay strong and that it is worth it to fight the good fight.

Here are a few links to check out:

Carrie’s website –

Whole Heart Wisdom on Facebook –

Whole Heart Wisdom on Instagram –

I hope you enjoyed Carrie’s episode. I know it’s a heavy topic, but I’m so thankful she was willing to be vulnerable and share her story. If you wouldn’t mind leaving a rating and a review on iTunes, I would really appreciate it. Don’t forget to share on social media so others can find the episode and enjoy it too! Thanks so much for listening. Remember: stay strong, be kind to yourself, and never stop growing.

Until next time,


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