Spring/Summer 2021 | A conversation with Holly Gottlieb
Holly talks about her journey from a good life in London, to the loss of her best friend, which takes her on a deep journey of self-discovery and healing, She also shares how it is now her mission to help those that are suffering with depression, anxiety, panic attacks and stuckness.
Watch the episode here:
Listen to the episode here:
A conversation with Holly Gottlieb
Today’s Exclusive Guest.
Who is Holly Gottlieb?
Holly Gottlieb, having followed the traditional circuit of a good school, university, and then professional life in London, had the opportunity to move out to Los Angeles in her mid-twenties to help set up the US arm of her London headhunting firm. Three years of living the Venice lifestyle and helping recruit and build a community around the hyper-growth Silicon Beach tech scene, came to an abrupt end in 2019, when her business partner, Tom, who had been suffering from anxiety and panic attacks, walked into the Santa Monica Ocean and drowned. This spiraled Holly into a deep journey of self- discovery and healing, which has spanned the last two years.
She started channeling energy and receiving messages that were far beyond everything she had learned up until that point. Experiencing a dark night of the soul led Holly to meditation. As a 30th birthday gift to herself in February 2020, she decided to gift a year of intentional healing to herself. Understanding that unless she learned the inner workings of her own mind, the ego would always keep her prisoner. In the summer of 2020, she gave away all her possessions, ended the lease on a beautiful Venice apartment, and embraced the nomad life; getting on the road with her guitars and heading straight into the unknown.
In the last nine months, she has traveled across the US and had more mind-blowing experiences than the rest of the other 30 years combined. She has been writing and performing music throughout it all and channeling messages from source to the collective. After 18 months, Holly has recently returned to Venice with the intention of putting all of her experience to good use. She is now bringing together in person, both the people and businesses who are paving the way for the integration of higher consciousness into our physical experience. She’s a musician, energy healer, and community builder with all aspects of this centering around how we find connections with ourselves, each other, and Gaia.
Holly Gottlieb’s story
Up until the last couple of years, I felt like I was always in the right place at the right time and led what felt like a very normal life. I went to a good school, a good university, ended up in London as a recruitment consultant. I wasn’t thrilled about it and did the whole party hard thing in London for a few years. I was 26 and it wasn’t feeling right, so I quit that job. I got the opportunity to, instead of leaving the company, move out with the company to LA with my business partner, Tom, who is a big, big part in the story. We moved out to Venice in Los Angeles and I thought LA was going to be all fast cars, thinking I’d hate it. I loved it and fell in love with LA. You can’t really describe that lifestyle until you’re in it because it’s magical in many ways. I did the corporate life, socializing, and did all the things I was supposed to. I built a recruitment business that involved networking with all the startups, CEOs, and investors in LA.
It always took me a while to understand my dynamic with Tom. He was why I got the job in London and I spent nearly six years every day working with him. I was kind of his Robin while he was the Batman, going and doing the big sale stuff and I was his sidekick. It was when I was a young sprog in London and we moved out here together. He was my best friend, who was suffering from anxiety and depression. In May of 2019, he walked into Santa Monica Ocean and drowned. That was the catalyst for everything.
It’s been nearly two years and I have no issue talking about all that stuff but it catapulted me into a deep journey of self-discovery and healing. In the following six months, I was taken to my knees where I had a huge spiritual awakening and kind of got ripped open by the pain, as people would talk about. I had no choice, but to look out, start understanding who I was and start healing, all the emotional, physical, spiritual things that I had gone through. This whole world was just so foreign to me up until two years ago. So it’s been a couple of years of doing fast-track healing and looking at everything and diving head into it.
Could I have done more for Tom?
This was a key part in my experience or connection with the divine. I was experiencing things around this time that I couldn’t explain. I never associated with or understood faith, religion, spirit or God in any sense before this, but I now call myself a person of faith. With Tom specifically, I had a dream about it a couple of weeks before. We were very, very close and he actually left the business and took a role as the MD for Mr.& Mrs. Smith, which is a bougie travel brand and he got the gig. We had these six months where we actually broke up in October when he left the business and we had this really traumatic thing. I couldn’t stop crying for three days and I didn’t understand why I couldn’t stop crying since Tommy was just going to a job down the road and I would see him all the time.
He was everything to me where it was the most attachment that you can have to a person. On a soul level, I knew it was kind of a pre-separation. I actually have voice notes from that time when we had this very intense, emotional charge breakup which I realized then, was actually the six months further down the line. That period of time, I saw him and he was really going through it. I had a dream about him doing this, but it was kind of symbolic, and afterward, it made a lot of sense. I actually saw him a couple of days before what happened.
I went on a big road trip around Arizona where I was starting to experience life; magical synchronicities were happening and I felt in the right place at the right time. When I got back to LA on a Sunday, I knew I had to see Tom. We were drifting and I didn’t hear from him as much. I understand the process of what was going on and he was going through his dark night of the soul. I believe he was experiencing things that he didn’t understand and didn’t necessarily, have the people in his life, the resources or the information to understand that he wasn’t losing his mind. When you go through this dark place spiritually or emotionally, there is a lot of questions about what is going on.
On the Monday I went round, he was outside his house and he just gave me the biggest hug. He said that he wasn’t okay and I told him I was aware. I didn’t have an idea or understanding about soul connection and at this point, I just knew he was my best friend. We went for a long drive at the PCH, and we spoke about all kinds of souls and minds. We were so interested in the mind and he never really got to the soul or divine aspect. It was always like mind, purpose, and drive. We had a great chat and sunset drive; it was perfect. It couldn’t be a better goodbye. Then when I dropped him off, I told him to learn how to love himself more because that’s what I thought is what it’s all about and he agreed with me. I had got a good hug and I knew I’m on this planet to get Tom through this. It could take weeks or months, but this is why. That was kind of one of the first times I just knew this is why I’m here.
I spoke to him on that Wednesday. We were going to do yoga and we ended up not, but something wasn’t quite right. Then on Thursday morning, I got the call and I happened to be one block from the hospital. I was in yoga when it actually happened and I felt really sick in my body during that yoga class, but I couldn’t make sense of it and I understand now. There’s obviously so much going on and you’re experiencing so many emotions and then that feeling of this is my job and why I was here. I was here to get Tom through this and this can’t be right. A lot of it is a whirlwind but it’s that kind of feeling of there’s nothing that I could have done. I realized Tom gave me that gift of life and this is what I could do. What he was going through is what so many people are going through, which is; trauma, anxiety, experiencing life in a way, which we’re not meant to be doing. We are meant to be living in purpose and healing ourselves.
I found myself in a similar spot as him six months after that. It took me to the breaking point and whereas he went one way, I chose to start the healing journey. For whatever reason, that’s the path I went down. I now understand that everything happens in the most perfect way for me to be able to share that experience, understand what happened with him, understand the tools that, we’ve discussed, all around the healing and in all capacity. It’s understanding the power of that because it was quite literally a case of pulling myself out of that. No one else could have done that; I had to do that myself.
The Healing process
I found myself in California, which is a very foreign thing to me; I started smoking weed here. I wasn’t a drinker but it’s very normal here. I found that that became a coping mechanism to cope with the pain. Alongside that, I started tapping into psychedelics and I had substances very readily available to me. They not only took the pain away, but when I was using, I was also experiencing energy. I was sitting in my garden at my one bed in Venice, looking at this tree and I started understanding things, I would start speaking to a source and I would start knowing things. So I had something which not only took away the pain but also felt like a powerful drug. It then became a habit I was using as a crutch to cope.
That was a 6 months experience with all this pain. It felt like life was suddenly accelerating; I was having all these experiences and if anyone has used medicine of that sort to have journeys and experience another world, it’s very real. I’m sitting in the garden inside, suddenly have a hummingbird that hovers a feet foot from my face and I’m talking to it. I’m very comfortable talking about how crazy this stuff is because you start having experiences and talking to nature and things that you can’t explain beyond the rational mind. You just can’t, unless you’ve experienced it.
It got to that point where I thought I thought I had lost my mind in January 2020 and I became aware of the fact that I was using drugs as a way to cope, which wasn’t something that I was aware of before. It was around the same time that I found a book called Untethered Soul by Mickey Singer, which is actually a book that Tom gave me and I read it. I remember him giving it to me saying I’d love this book and I found it on my bedside table on the exact day that I needed to read it which I did. It started talking about the mind and getting still; when your mind has thought and through that, I started getting still. It introduced me to meditation and I knew that I had to stop and cut off the drugs.
So I started that process of building my life and there were some other things I was listening to at the time, that just made me go still. I realized I had to get a grip on this. There’s a spinning machine that’s just going to keep going around and that is the trick. It then became a process of meditating and just sitting and getting quiet every day as many times I could and being very intentional about my thoughts. Around the same time, I also knew that I couldn’t go back to that job. I had to face up losing my income and getting kicked out of the US because my visa was tied to it. I wanted to stay in the US because it was my home but if I couldn’t get back to this company and all of it came to a halt and I was just at a breaking point.
Meditation, just getting still and then finding some peace in there, like a flicker of something feeling good in that it became a way of starting to become aware of my thoughts. I was also realizing that I had thoughts then starting to realize what those thoughts were; they were all self-limiting and bad talk about myself. It just became a process of addressing all of my thoughts and patterns in behaviors, but it really started from that. I think that is the biggest point when people asked me, how one starts that process. The critical point is getting to the realization that you have thoughts, and then you start understanding what these are. That was the starting point, then a lot of experiences and understanding and energetic realms.
I’m grateful for having had a breaking point because I know people that are looking for that breaking point and essentially you do need to be on your knees. Later on, I got into a 12 step program looking at addictions and actually, the addiction in all is not just substance, but actually realizing it’s my thoughts that were addictive. You realize that the people in these rooms, have had those breaking points where you to ask for help or suddenly make that choice is the most divine act that you can do.
I remember being on all fours on the PCH; I’d gone for a drive and I was just heaving sobs on a road up in random Malibu somewhere. I didn’t know how I was going to get through it and I just turned it over to something else and something got me through it. That’s where the origin of my faith started since something got me through this and it wasn’t me because I was completely broken. So many people I’ve spoken to are looking for that change, but suffering is, is a great catalyst for that. I feel lucky to have had that pain, presently.
Mindset for dark times
When I was facing losing my job, getting kicked out of the country, losing everything that I loved, I pushed everyone away. I got detached from every aspect of life that I knew and when I started facing these fears, the question I kept asking myself, again and again, was what the worst thing that could happen was. I considered going home to my parents in the UK and figure it out. We are so paralyzed in fear of the unknown; we never want to quit the job, we don’t do the thing, we don’t break up with that person. What I found is that every time I did something scary, it’s liberated me from something I was carrying. I’ve developed my GPS, which is something scary comes up, something I don’t want to do something that makes me uncomfortable, that is the direction I had now. This is because this is me living in faith. I started loving my body for the first time. Up until this point, I was 30 and I‘d never really loved. I’d had all the body image, self-worth stuff that we all carry and I didn’t realize I could really love myself this much.
It’s really actually cool understanding it from Tom’s perspective because I understand the societal pressures as a man, as a 34 year old gorgeous, attractive world at his feet man, to have the expectations of society and then the social expectations of women. We are both suffering in our own ways and we’re carrying a lot of weight and we don’t even realize it, all put on us by other people. I started getting to this point that I didn’t spend a second speaking to anyone I didn’t want speak to, I just toasted the reclaimed everything back. All I was doing was following what feels good in that moment and had people understand, maybe not on those terms that they thought maybe I didn’t want to speak to them because I was going through it.
That kind of break apart was in January, 2020 and then I was in very insular for a couple of months up until COVID hit. In the first month of COVID, I had an emergency hernia surgery, which was two weeks into COVID starting. It was a very scary experience when my family couldn’t come to the country and lost a lot of people. I had some friends that ditched me because I realized I had to serve a lesson in some way. At the time though, it felt like I was being abandoned. I had six months and I started playing music.
One of the things with Tom is that I played him a song about a month before he passed when he came over to my house. I played guitar and sang for myself and never for anyone else. I played him this song called Masterpiece by Big Thief. He was really suffering at the time, we went for lunch and I told him to come around to my house. He did and I tucked him under a blanket in my deck. When he was showering, he had a snooze and when it came back, asked to play him something. I played it in the garden and was very nervous with my voice was shaking. The lyrics to that song, which didn’t resonate at the time, were about this best friend who was asking his friend to help, and the lyrics in the last verse were, “I won’t give you to the tide. I’ll even walk you in my stride.” So when he died, I knew I had to sing that at his Memorial.
So we did a Memorial for him in Venice, at a friend’s house three months after he died in August. I got back off of that because I was scared of playing. I was going through this entire trauma, but I had to perform in front of a hundred people; so that got me through it. I played and sang the song, which was very emotional because the lyrics were very pertinent and I really went into the zone. When I opened my eyes, I realized I’m here to make music and over the last few months I started saying, I’m a musician.
I was heavy into the psychedelics, so I started having these visions of me on stage in front of a hundred thousand people and I was channeling energy. This is when I realized I had lost my mind because I doubted the whole vision. Over the last year or so, I realized that that’s actually what I get to do in this lifetime. So in terms of that trauma, I now believe we have infinite potential within us. I truly believe and understand that we have this thing inside of us, this dream that is so beyond everything that we’ve ever been told that we can do. I never thought I called myself a musician and now I do and I’m in that process of making it happen. I believe it’s a gift that’s been given to me. It’s deep bruises in there and it’s happening. Every day that unfolds is just, leading me along this path of this direction of getting to this point. I don’t have an attachment or expectation of what that needs to look like, but it’s like, it’s pulling me to that point.
The music came to me through Tom basically. I started playing music on Instagram live when COVID started since everyone was trying to connect with each other. All my family and friends were back home and I started doing twelve o’clock this here and 8 p.m. there. I’d sing a song every day and that would be my setup for the first couple of months. In June I hadn’t figured out the money. My apartment in LA was ridiculously expensive and everything in my soul was saying, I can’t get back to that corporate world. I leased a new Subaru, gave away all my possessions, gave up my apartment, and had no idea where I was going to go.
One of my friends was going to Idaho for a week and I decided to go in that direction where I actually met someone, got my car and I started driving. I spent three or four months in around Wyoming, Idaho, Montana. One of my dear friends, Sandy, a couple of days in Idaho into this journey where she was, had gone to school with my dearest friend, Kate, 20 years ago. We met in the most random place and she was the one I traveled with a lot of the summer and had the biggest adventure.
Current state of mind and condition
In the last 18 months, I’ve been running away from all job corporate. I couldn’t do that as my soul is calling for life in a different way and experienced that. The last nine months, I’ve done 30,000 miles on the road, done all the scary things, looked at all my emotions or traumas and I just can’t condense it. I had a good and a really good time. February last year, when I was turning 30, is when I basically made a commitment to myself, gifting my 30th year to myself, to purely heal and look at all this stuff in my head. Some were then spent in LA and most of it was spent on the road.
In February of this year, I made an album for myself, put it on YouTube, and sung about all the songs that I had done and written in the last year. I thought it was time to actually do some good with it. I had to spend that period of time purely on myself, not listen to anyone else just doing what felt good to me. I knew in my soul that I kept having this vision of this music and I had a story to share. I knew that I was able to talk about processing healings and emotions and feelings that people resonated with me. I was also doing tarot readings for people. I knew that I had a gift of being able to talk about the stuff that matters.
I came back to LA and having built this community of Silicon peach startup investors thing, for those three years with Tom, we used to host gigs in his back garden and people would come. It was like we had 150 CEOs and investors and everyone just loved it; it was just soul connection. There was a business aim because it is recruitment, but it was just all about connecting people. Tom and I are the same person, we just connected people and loved interesting conversations. Essentially, that’s what I’m doing now; I’m really good at bringing people together. I know that the music fits into this in some way and that my interests and passions have just completely blown open. I know that the money, the visa, the place to live, the band and all the stuff that I want is going to fit into my life somehow.
I’ve been back two weeks and have had many conversations with people that are just looking for more meaning in their lives. I feel the entire world has been forced on this healing journey, whether they necessarily know it’s healing in those words, but it’s definitely finding more meaning and purpose in their life. I have been connected with many people and what I’m interested in is, is bringing this world into the masses. I get to translate the tools and you can talk about it in a therapeutic type of way, like how I got myself out of my dark place and I feel like the world more than ever needs that.
I recognize that some of the stuff, especially with energetic channeling and talking about divine experiences, you can’t really explain, I’m pretty aware that I sound crazy to a lot of people. It’s now that I recognize that where Tom was, he didn’t have any reference. We were going through the same thing, waking up to our purpose, to our being bigger than everything that we’d known. If I can share that there is something else out there in a way for people to realize that there might be something beyond what they’ve known. It is not only to let them know that there is someone else who’s experiencing it but there are actually tools that can get you out of whatever suffering it is. Everyone that I know, especially in London and wherever is suffering from depression, anxiety, panic attacks, or stuckness in some way. I know all this stuff that can help and it’s more normalizing this waking up healing journey and the power of it. It isn’t just some crazy thing, but it is actually what we came on this planet to do.
I know, some people think that just like it’s happening to them and then they can’t change anything. One of the reasons I quit my job in London was realizing that I was single, not happy in my job, and not happy in life. So the only thing I had any control, it was quitting my job, which I did. Realizing now that I am the creator of everything in my life, and you have to go through a period of understanding yourself and unpacking all that stuff. It is creating everything that you want in your life, whether it’s relationship, job, dream like I’m creating that role of getting to be a musician. I am a musician and I get to create that. I know that all the logistics, I have the energetic understanding now that the science behind it and things that I’ve never been taught.
I now understand the power of just being me and what that does. Everyone is crazy and has this insane thing in them, which they’re too afraid to talk about. Everyone though has this dream which is so repressed from, “I can’t do that. I can’t be that because what people think,” My role and I am very grateful for this, is that the more out there I am, gives other people permission to be out there too. I believe we always hear what we’re supposed to in any conversation or any interaction any day. There is divine intelligence working out and it’s happening in the world. The world’s waking up to these things. There’s a different tool in, for a different person and it’s still talking about the same thing, but there’s different ways you can come into this world.
Resources for Holly Gottlieb:
Harmonyum LA Links: