Updated: Jul 21
In this episode, you will learn 10 FACTS about Sabine, how she survived a nearly fatal accident after falling 20 meters and 3 weeks in a coma, and how this accident changed her! We also talk about the main causes of body image issues, how they come up and how she overcomes them. And we discuss what aging means to her and to her body.
You can READ the interview transcript HERE
10 Facts About Sabine
(at the time of the project)
1. 51 years old.
2. Sabine was born in Switzerland. She speaks 2 languages – English and Swiss German but knows 4 languages. The other two are French and her local language spoken in Graubunden.
3. After school, she lived in England for a year. She went on an exchange and did some art and English there.
4. Then Sabine worked for six years as a teacher in Switzerland.
5. That time, she met her now ex-husband, he was from Australia, but he traveled through Europe. And he spent a snow season in Switzerland with Sabine. And that's when she decided to come to Australia. That was in 2001.
6. Sabine and her then husband lived in South Australia first. They wanted to travel around Australia and when they were traveling along the east coast, Sabine fell pregnant with twins. So they ended up staying in Bawley, which is near Batemans Bay on the South Coast of New South Wales.
7. Sabine is a mother of twins, a boy and a girl. At the end of the year they will be 16.
8. After Sabine’s kids were a little bit older, she started teaching at the local high school. She’s been working for over a decade with youth who are trauma affected, so in special need. Sabine really enjoys working with young people.
9. Sabine is really passionate about rock climbing. When she was 46, she had an accident and fell 20 meters. Sabine nearly died and was in a coma for two to three weeks.
10. In 2023 Sabine got a year off from work and Uni where she studied psychology and used it to start off this year to become a yoga teacher. She’s been doing yoga for over 20 years regularly. Now she specializes in people who have got Complex PTSD or complex trauma. Her business name is Shamatha yoga. IG: @shamatha_yoga
Hi, you're listening to the My Body, My Story podcast.
I was very close to dying. And I was in hospital for about 4 and a half months. And I had to learn to walk again and everything. And that has changed everything from me what aging means and now it's a, I experienced it as an immense privilege.
This is the 45 over 45 chapter where we celebrate Rule Breakers and role models, the women who inspire us to live life our way and to show their sensuality beauty, soul, and true essence. Here we talk about what it's like to be 45 Plus, adjusting to the changes that come with time, and we listened to the stories about participants. If you have an interesting story, we'd love for you to participate. You can email us at email@example.com That's Aleksandra spelled with a K S. Or visit our website aleksandrawalker.com
Hello, everyone and welcome to The My Body My Story projects, and today with us in the studio Sabine. And while she's sitting in the makeup chair and Nicole is doing makeup for her. I'll be asking her a few questions. Hello, Sabine. Welcome to the studio.
Let's start and tell us 10 facts about yourself.
So I was born in Switzerland. And I've with my parents and I've got one older brother. And then after school, I lived in England for a year I went on an exchange and did some art and English there. Then I went on to become a teacher and worked for six years as a teacher in Switzerland. And in that time, I met my now ex-husband, he was from Australia, but he travelled through Europe. And he spent a snow season in Switzerland with me. And that's when we sort of fell in love. And I then decided to come to Australia. That was in 2001. Wow. Yeah. So quite a while ago and we live in South Australia. First is Tim and I and two dogs. Then we wanted to travel around Australia. And we started with the West Coast pact troop carrier in the caravan and surfed along the west coast. And then it was my father's 70th birthday. And we went back to Switzerland for a bit. And when we got back we wanted to do the East Coast. And when we were travelling along the east coast, we were sort of between Melbourne and Sydney. We visited a friend of my ex-husbands and we stayed there for a bit looked after his house. And then I fell pregnant with twins. And because I had a few complications in the pregnancy, nothing serious. But just sort of with twins, you're a bit more careful. We stayed and yeah, then I gave birth to my beautiful twins. They're now nearly 16 and the end of the year there will be 16 A boy and a girl. And so we ended up staying in in Bawley, which is near Batemans Bay on the south coast of New South Wales. And after my kids were a little bit older, I started teaching at the local high school. And I've been working for over a decade with youth who are trauma affected. So in special need. And I really, really enjoy working with the young people. They sort of show me a lot about resilience and just the how they still have a humour or the the courage to to keep going even though sometimes it seems that they will is quite challenging. And because I sort of felt that I really owe the school system maybe doesn't know enough how to really support these young people who may have a bit different need. I started studying psychology about three years ago, and I finished my grad tipping psychology last year. And this year 2023 I've actually got a year off from work and uni because I thought I needed a bit of a break and I'm in I've been doing yoga for over 20 years regularly. And I used to start off this year to become a yoga teacher.
Oh so versatile
Trying to be yeah Also the other thing is that I'm on really passionate as rock climber. So I've climb rocks a lot, but because I'm getting like I'm 51 now, getting a bit older. I think yoga is really good for me sort of it's it's a really nice sort of way to still be fit. But sort of body mind connection and helps me with, with regulating myself keeps me mobile flexible. And yeah, I love it.
Seems like your kids decided for you the place you live now.
Exactly. Yeah, let's just say we want to be here. And it's an all it's a really beautiful spot for kids to grow up rallied safe.
And so you stayed in the same like this spot you visited, your ex-husband’s friends, the same place?
No, he sold that and we bought a house. I mean, I'm in the same location. Exactly. Yeah. But um, I'm still in the house where my children were born. I mean, they were born at the hospital, but in the same house. And um, yeah, I love it. And there are quite a few families with kids, my kids age, and they go to school together, and they could just meet each other, go to the beach, go for a bike ride. And it's just, it's really, really safe. That's what I like.
Yeah, I know, you mentioned it earlier. But still, I want to ask in the interview, like you said, You're from Switzerland. Probably you speak more than one language.
Well, my French used to be better than my English when I came here, but I have only spoken English and Swiss German since I've lived in Australia, more or less. So the passive vocabulary would probably still be okay. But I'm very rusty with my French.
Basically, three languages.
Yeah, for the fourth one.. I don't even know what's that called in English to be honest. It's quite close to Latin, Italian, Latin. And yeah, and I'll speak I only speak Swiss German to my children.
But is it like a Swiss language?
Yeah, it's in the southeastern part of, of Switzerland. Nice. Who wouldn't doubles. In Graubunden? We call it the state of Graubun, where they speak it. bother them. I think it's dying out a little.
It's interesting. Can you say anything on this?
I can't say anything. We used to learn children's songs, but I can't remember them.
I never heard or maybe I did, but I never knew it was the language. Okay, perfect. So you mentioned about ageing. And so I have before moving to that part. So you mentioned you have you teaching yoga? And is it kind of private lessons?
My business name is Shamatha yoga, which I do community classes. I do sort of specialise in yin yoga, very slow yoga, and I'm also a mindfulness teacher. So I combined that a bit. So those are classes I'm, I've started my there's a trauma informed yoga facilitator training. And I've started that and I think we, that very specialised sort of target group of people who have got Complex PTSD or complex trauma. I'd probably prefer doing one on one sessions, once I've got that training, or at least until the customer and I we know each other, and we've sort of established a bit of a relationship of trust. And so I'm quite excited to do that. Because I was diagnosed with PTSD in 2019, after a near fatal accident.
And what is that? What does it mean?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. And I felt that even though I can't cognitively remember what happened, my body doesn't my body sometimes reacts emotional memory. Yeah, exactly. And then that's also part. Part of the reason why I really wanted to delve into yoga a bit deeper on or sometimes in our classrooms. With my kids at school, I use a bit of yoga and I was quite in. astonished how much of a difference it makes like we've been working with one girl and sometimes she comes in in the mornings. Very, very dysregulated, unsettled, we can't really do anything with her. And we do just 1015 minutes of yoga, and she's calm, and she's like a different person. And yeah, that's sort of all my experience, my work background, the science behind it all have sort of really awakened am interested in how the body and mind are connected, and how yoga can really help people sort of reconnect with their bodies
You kind of combine psychology and yoga together. And for people with post traumatic disorder, you can help them to kind of settle a bit, or more or a lot. So do you do online lessons?
Maybe everybody's going online and maybe I will one day, I'm very much a face to face person. I like the organic interaction or the seeing people being with them in the side
people need to be living near you,
I'm not saying no if someone really wanted to
you have a website, Instagram? Can you say it again? What's that? Shamatha yoga?
That's S H A M A T H A. It's called it's mindfulness yoga. Other translation
Ill put the link. Yeah. Perfect. Great. So let's move to the ageing questions. And what does ageing means to you?
All have to, is it okay? If I give a long answer? It's really changed. I used to define myself a lot. With my three my appearance, my I have always been quite fit and strong. And then, when I was 46, I had another accident, where I nearly died. I was in a coma for two to three weeks. Or climbing accident, I fell 20 metres. And yeah, I was I was very close to dying. And I was in hospital for about 444 and a half months. And I had to learn to walk again and everything. And that has changed everything for me. What it means and now it's, it's I experienced it as an immense privilege to be able to, to grow old, and not everybody leaves to house you can do that. And with no children, I even sometimes now, when we sit at the dinner table and eat dinner, I just it comes over me that sense of gratitude. I'm still here and I can still see them grow up. So the act before I was like, oh, no, I've got grey hair, or now I've got a few wrinkles, skin is starting to not be as as tight especially after having twins, I was huge. And now it's it's actually been an opportunity. That challenge of recovering from the accident has was sort of an opportunity in disguise for me to reconnect to my body in a kind of way sort of not be that self critical or have those standards that we're especially as women we're just bombarded with through media or social media, that ageing they deem that demonising ageing for women. And that was sort of part of why I asked if I could be part of this project, because I think really, ageing can be something extremely positive. And I think yes, I do struggle because I've been such an active person. I do struggle sometimes not being able to do the things I used to do physically but the UPS by far outweigh the downs like I've got a better relationship within myself. I not in a arrogant way. But I think hopefully everybody becomes a bit wiser with time a bit more life experience. I'm more grounded, I know more what I want and what is good for me. So all those positive so ageing can bring is those things I've never really meant mentioned. When it comes to women and ageing. It's all we don't look like we're 20 anymore. And that's all that then media seems to care about. And let's start a revolution
that's what we're trying to little parts of Is the revolution? Yeah. So because you already touched the subject to just want to expand on that. And you mentioned some, but what do you think are the main causes of the body image issues?
Look, I don't know the statistics, but I do think media how women are portrayed in social and on social media and media. If you look at most, if you take a woman's magazine, most ads in there about how you should look younger, anything, and it's everybody's choice, do whatever you want to, but I find it quite frightening that women in their 20s now have Botox. And I think it's, in a way, I find it sad that we sort of just focus on what the body looks like, and not what we can bring to humanity to I couldn't have I think I'm a better mother now than I when if I had children when I was 20. I still women who are 20 do a great job, and they can be fantastic. Mothers, often myself think I have a bit more wisdom. And yeah, it's just that I think media and social media maybe is domain, just a society, the societal expectations that we should always look young.
But what about, I'm just wondering, what do you think about this movement? Positive body? Positive body movements? Do you know what's what?
Can you tell me a little bit more?
It's like, when you accepting your body, whatever. Like they start bringing out full figure materials and you know, also accepting, accepting your body whatever shape you are like, what do you think about that? Because it's good. It's, it's a for me, it's kind of a tricky, tricky question. Yeah. Because I already mentioned that in some other podcasts and just asking, given statistics from the women, what they think about it. And for me, sometimes I like the idea. But don't you think that some of us can hide behind this concept? Just to let yourself go?
Ah, that's a good question. I've actually haven't. thought about it from that perspective.
Because it's also pushed by media. So my question is, why it's it pushed so much. And what are the negative side of that? Everything has two sides, right? Yeah. Yeah.
And so you think it could be for some women, it could be okay, to you can lead. And what would the bad things be or of letting yourself go as you say, would that be the health? Yeah, I think so. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Look, possibly. Yeah, I think, I think promoting a healthy lifestyle.
I like this concept. More. Yeah. Yeah,
I do, too. I do too. That, um, but we do come in different shapes.
Exactly. So this is a very it's a very kind of thin edge. And what's the expression? Like, if not a stable ground? Yeah. So you can turn it both ways. Either way. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, I'm for the moderation. And I think that the main, the main factor you should consider local, anyone should consider is your health. Yeah. You know, because at the end of the day, what I figured out like we all ruled by two things, by fear and by desire for pleasure. If you think you know, it's, you can bring everything to these two things. Like, you know, why we start suddenly appreciating like, once we face those life threatening accidents or life threatening experience, that's the usually awakening for us. You know, like, suddenly we start thinking that there's nothing more valuable than our health or our life. So it's like a fear of dying. Yeah, or, okay, so that's kind of a bit of a deeper look. into the subject, or we all want to get pleasure and we want to indulge ourselves we want to eat food, any food without thinking how damaging it can be or it's same same with drugs, smoke, whatever. All the pleasures are some, like not all but a lot of them are to do with the health deteriorating consequences. So that's why I'm just thinking that any concept that pushed by media like you should ask yourself like, what's the main reason like you know the goal yet? Yes, the goal like I think that the main factor should be I'm am I healthy?
Am I yeah, I'll definitely I agree with that.
I feeling positive energised. Like, if you feel happy with your yes, we are we are have different shapes, like some person is fuller than the other one. But when it goes over the top where you put on weight and you feel really bad, you cannot move
on. Oh, yeah, definitely don't have a blood pressure.
But if you your body could talk, what do you think it would ask you tell you,
if my body could talk? I think I hope now, it would thank me, because I've learned to slow down, I've learned to listen to my body, I've learned to take wrists when, when my body needs to rest. I never, I never took a rest I use are treated my body pretty poorly before just was sort of performance driven. And pushing to the pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing and just treated my body like a commodity. And then, when I was when I came back from hospital, after the accident, I actually almost sort of as a routine. When I went to bed at night, I apologise to my body, to what I put it through over the years. And I also think did that it's what he does every day for me still functioning. And yes, I'm hopefully my body would thank me as well, that I'm learning to listen to it. And it's not. I think it's a lot of people. Or again, that come sort of from the yoga background or the psychological background, find it and find it quite difficult to to sense what's actually happening in their bodies at this moment, and learning to sort of tune in the different physical sensations in the different situations was, for me, really important and really eye opening as well. Because as I said, often the body reacted without me knowing what's going on or realising what was going on. And I I really enjoy being more in tune with my body and sort of feeling. What's happening, it sort of has given me sort of the opportunity to live a bit more authentically. Yeah.
So what was your biggest lesson from that accident?
gratitude, gratitude to be alive? I think, really did. And as you sort of said, I don't sweat the little things anymore that much for me, health and family are the two. I mean, a lot of people say that's the most important thing are the most important things, but it has sort of really increased, like I've gained a new understanding of what health means and having family or being able to be there for for your children. What that means.
You're only facing the threat of losing any of that we just realise the real value.
Absolutely. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
So if you could go back any age? Yes. What age it would be. Why, and what advice would you give yourself at this age?
Yeah, funny. Like when I read the question, I read all the questions in advance. For a lot for a few days. I thought, I don't want to go back to any time but then I sort of picked to the first one is sort of maybe when I'm back to when I was a four or five year old child, just to sort of See, again, how a child sees the world. Sort of with a curious curiosity and that ability to wonder and
yes and unconditionally. Yeah,
exactly. And the other one then was, maybe just to before my accident, to sort of see how much I've changed as a person, and how my body feels, then compared to now because my body now I know it's changed a lot, but it's become the new more norm. So I will probably just not for long, just sort of go and quickly, maybe half a half an hour to see what it was like, but um, I'm not someone who would like to go back in time. I'm very happy where I am.
But what would you say to this four year old girl?
Stay curious. In Yeah, I reckon and everything will, will turn out okay, maybe not how we planned it or how we wanted sometimes, but it will be okay. And the other thing that maybe came more with me and puberty, where I sort of started to have self that and then maybe you're enough to sort of to instil into younger people that they're okay. They're enough as they are.
It's, it's a such an simple phrase, but, you know, it's, it's so hard to get it under your skin like to understand it fully. You know, what does it mean that you are enough? Yeah, like when you, you have to go through certain live events, again, to start filling it. That's very interesting. phenomenal for me like, yeah, yeah, well, you can say whatever you want to your kids and thinking, Oh my God, they're young, this full of live and you know, it's so sad that they think that they are not looking perfect or something feeling perfect. You want to tell them this, but just remember yourself at this age. Yeah. So we were what our Mum would say. Yeah, so how do you think the negative body image can affect relationships? Like because that's the one of the important sights, I think the relationships is a very important part of our life. But when you have your negative body image, do you think it's effects? Or
100%? I think, How can you love someone else if you don't love yourself, in a way, and if you don't love your body? And that's what I mean, look, we can be quite open. You know, like, I think for instance, off, even though there are parts of my body that sag, I definitely have better sex now than when I had 20. And that's because I'll have a better relationship to my body with my body. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And I think if, if people have really struggled with that body image, they're almost like in a prison. And I think it's really difficult then to, to send love outwards, if you don't have any love inwards. So, for me, that was the, my, my relationships have changed. The men that I'm attracted to have changed in a positive way, since I haven't. And it's an ongoing process. But the more positive my relationship is, with myself and with my body, the more positive are the relationships I have with people around me. And yeah, so in whatever way people can try to befriend their bodies.
Yeah, yeah. So you attract obviously, whatever it is I this vibration you show to the other people or like you just choose make different choices of people whom you're it's not only the partners, but you know, friends
Absolutely, were Yeah, yeah. Totally. Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. And if you know, your worth, you stay where your worth is recognised. And I know for myself that I stayed in places where my worth wasn't recognised. Yeah. 100%. Yeah.
And it just you need to really value yourself to understand that and just to leave the place or the person and say, okay, like, where we go separate ways. Yeah,
yeah. And look, just picking up from before. Always when I was a teenager, I had a group of girlfriends that were really important to me that time have that social network. But I grew up with a few really strong women around me. And the guidance that I got from them would not have been potluck, the the friends my age who gave me different support. But I was so lucky to have wiser older women who could guide me or were there for me in challenging times. And I think that aspect again, as we said before, of what ageing means is not promoted, like, all the people can be such such good SPIRATION durations. I mean, I'd like for instance, in the in the abdomen, the elders are, it's way more open, it's a respected person, we can guide your mentor you and in our culture, it's a bit bit disappeared that knowledge, which is it's really sad. And I always liked also going to my gramme mothers. When I was younger, it just it's nice to have sort of that intergenerational interaction, and you can gain something from any everyone, everyone and it keeps. I think now when I'm with really young children or working with them, adolescents, it keeps me young, at heart, in my mind, I think so again, as well, differently.
You know, it's like, every woman has to look at it. Our age is kind of a middle age where we can have our mentors and be mentors ourselves. It's like reminds me the movie prime with Meryl Streep, where she's a psychologist, and she's her one of her client, apparently girlfriend, older girlfriend of her son, and when she finds it out, she goes to her psychologist. And it's such a beautiful movie. It's called prime after Meryl Streep and yeah, Uma Thurman all
I love both of those actresses.
Yeah, so okay, like a really great movie. And I like this scene when the Meryl Streep psychologist goes her to do her own so it's like it's in the in the psychology world say like every Shireen has their own Shireen. So when you have if you have requests, I'm sure from time to time we still failed insecure or somebody related insecurities. So how do you overcome that and has it change with age?
Yes, so I do definitely have challenges some days more than others. Because I do mindfulness regularly I if I feel that I'm having a bad day in relation to myself or to my body or whatever or ageing then I if I have the time and this year I have I sort of sit and acknowledge the sentiments without wanting to try to change from necessarily but it's not okay. Today I feel like that and I tried to accept it and sometimes by just giving those sentiments or feelings a bit of room they become less intense. The other thing is I know now that it will change again it will pass with ebb and flow let life has an ebb and flow and then I really I put guide my focus on to all the positives that I have I have about my body like my biggest body issues probably were the changes that came through childbirth different breasts different Tommy and then I think of my children and I think I was able What a miracle I was able to grow to children to nurture to two human beings that are now awesome teenagers. And again, so I've tried to bring my focus back on these things and I think well, a bit of sadness Tommy stomach skin, in contrast to having two beautiful children login it's a no brainer. Yeah, so like that, but um, I'm not saying it's easy every day. Some days as I said, it's just harder and that's okay.
What did you do when you were young? You obviously you didn't do so much so much mine.
I didn't like my body. I didn't like my I didn't like myself very much. Until
If you had insecurities of what to do diet killing yourself in the gym?
the second one Yeah, excessive chin. Yeah, not. Dieting was never. I love food. I love I love good foods. I'm not. I don't eat fast food. I like Swiss stock chocolate. That's my weak point. But I if I eat it, I try to Okay, make the decision of the solitary Swiss cheese, Swiss cheese as well. But I don't like lollies that much. So. So I could never like I have friends who died and how can they and somehow I used to, I was lucky I always used to have a really fast metabolism. I've noticed I've just gone through menopause, that it's slowed down immensely. And my body shape has changed but exercise active, active, active, active, active. And it was yes, it wasn't always healthy. But it still it wasn't the unhealthiest method that I used, like, I always felt better after going for a run or a bike ride. And then I ate without guilt. Because we often I think a lot of women eat with with guilt, which is horrible. And now I try to if I try to not impulse, do impulsive eating. So if I have an urge for something that's not healthier, try and see fruit with it for half an hour and didn't have still if I still wanted to say okay, Sabine, we're going to make a decision. I'm going to have it if I'm going to have it. I'm going to have it and enjoy and enjoy it. fully enjoy it. So that by then, yeah, I've have more. Yeah. Yeah.
Are you saying that when you were younger, it was more kind of a physical solution, and now is more psychological?
Yeah. I think work with yourself.
Yeah. Yeah. Big sigh my last question, and I love it, because we have such so many different answers to that. And some some, some of them are similar. Yep. What's your favourite quote or saying about being a woman?
Yeah, I've thought about that as well. It's actually a story. It's an I think an American Mexican psychologist Clarissa, and she wrote that book we're running with, or you know it. Awesome. And Globa is my favourite story. So when she when this old woman is seen in the in the mountains, who collects bones, especially wolf bones, and she puts them together until she's got a skeleton, and Benji, and each bone represents something that women lose throughout their lives or assertiveness, where they suddenly become submissive, their curiosity, their independence, and she puts that skeleton together. And when that skeleton is complete, she starts singing but from really from deep down inside of her, and the more she sings, suddenly that skeleton develops organs skin for and then it suddenly gets up runs away as a wolf. And in the horizon, you can see how that wolf turns into an a woman, a wild three woman. And for me, that's it's such an old I've got two big tattoos on my legs that represent that I that stay whilst they Independence Day free. And I think I don't know how you like you've got the Italian background, you've got Eastern European, I've got European background, my personal experiences growing up in Switzerland, women are stronger, more independent, more assertive than here. And that's just my anecdotal my personal experience, but I thought, I'm so glad I grew up there and had such strong women around me to grow up. And I'm hoping to be able to pass that on to my daughter.
So yeah, beautiful.
Thank you Sabine. Thank you very much for sharing your story and wise words, and I hope you will enjoy the rest of your day. And this experience.
If you have an interesting story, we'd love for you to participate. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org That's Aleksandra spelled with a K S. Or visit our website aleksandrawalker.com
This is the 45 over 45 chapter of MY BODY MY STORY podcast, where we celebrate rule breakers and role models - the women who inspire us to live life our way and to show their SENSUALITY, BEAUTY, SOUL, and TRUE ESSENCE.
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