Episode #25: From Retreat to Romance: Karenna & Nick’s Story of Love, Learning and Growth

Written by: Karenna Soto
The Fully Expressed Podcast
The Fully Expressed Podcast
Episode #25: From Retreat to Romance: Karenna & Nick's Story of Love, Learning and Growth

Join Karenna and her special guest, Nick Boleto, in this heartwarming episode of the “Fully Expressed Podcast by Karenna.”

As Valentine’s Day casts its romantic spell, they share their unique love story and give insights into love, relationships, and personal growth.

Together, Nick and Karenna value health, authenticity, and curiosity. They are both passionate about the inner workings of human beings and how a greater understanding of ourselves can impact ourselves, our relationships, and the world. They take individual responsibility for their happiness; they are interdependent. They’re at their best when they pursue their unique purposes and find ways to meet each other in that. Put simply, they play their games of life, but they’re on the same team!

You can read the full podcast transcript for this episode below:

Welcome to the Fully Express podcast with Karenna, I’m your podcast host, Karenna Soto.
And this is the show where we have conversations that truly invite you into living your life, fully express what it means to create, find, create relationships that feel fully expressed as well as life and business.
And so we’re constantly having different conversations and sharing different stories, information, education and tips and tricks and all the things to truly invite you into living your life as your most authentic and fullest self.
So, thank you so much for tuning in today.
Today is really fun because I got to get to be on here with a very, very special guest, my romantic partner, Nick Boleto.
Some of you guys probably know me.
I know some of the listers on here.
Maybe you guys have seen us on Instagram or social media or in our lives or through our friends and our family.
And we’re so excited for today’s episode because as it is Valentine’s Day coming up and today is Valentine’s Day, the day that you guys will be listening to this episode.
I really thought it would be really beautiful to share with you what our love story was and what we’ve been through and what we think about love and what we think about relationship.
And at the end of the episode, I’m also going to answer very specific questions that I asked.
So I asked my community, the fully expressed community that I have online as well as I asked everyone on social media, what kinds of questions would you like, Nick and I to answer?
So we’re going to save those questions to the end, Nick.
And I did not prepare for these questions at all.
If anything, we’re just going to answer them as our most authentic selves, right?
We’re just going to deliver what, whatever comes up in the moment.
So with that being said, Nick, would you like to say hello?
Hi, everyone.
I’ve been great to be here.
Do you want to tell them a little bit about yourself who you are?
My name is Nick and right now I’m working as a Wellness manager at a natural brochure, one of the biggest baddest, best natural grocery stores in the entire world.
In fact, and aside from that, I work at Holistic health coach.
I actually, by the time you guys are hearing this, I’ll probably be done my course work to be a certified holistic health practitioner.
And hopefully by the end of the year or rather my goal for the end of the year is to become a naturopathic doctor.
So I will pass my certification and then I’ll be able to do some shadowing, take my board exam and then I’ll be the least respected doctor that any of, you know, but the most important one and, yeah, that’s a little bit about what I’m up to these days.
I’ve worked in collegiate strength and conditioning.
I have a degree in exercise science.
They had a online fitness coaching business, online life coaching business.
I worked in business coaching.
I’ve done everything to try to help people be better version of themselves.
This is the path of now.
Landers on.
Yeah, the natural health world.
Yeah, I think, yeah, I mean, I feel like eventually you should come in here and tell your story because you’ve started in one place and it feels like you’re coming back to that place.
But it’s just funny how your career, your profession has just evolved.
And I think it’s such a beautiful story to tell other people and show people as an example.
And I’m so excited for you to become a naturopathic doctor.
I literally, if you don’t, if you don’t already know this about me, you know, I have been obsessed with health and bettering myself for the better part of the last five years.
And when Nick and I first started dating, I was seeing this natural pa and so funny enough, Nick did not believe in anything that I was telling him at the time.
You know, I was sharing with him the different supplements that I was taking and how it was getting tested and how they were making me better and fast forward to 2.5 years of dating and going through this his own wellness journey and health journey.
Now he’s becoming a naturopathic doctor.
So that is probably good to say that maybe something that you are not necessarily open to don’t understand can actually be a big part of your life and look at it like literally stepping into that today.
Yeah, there’s lots of I think like we talk a lot about in the personal development space.
We talk a lot about like the things that we learn and unlearn in terms of our embodiment.
But that’s true of even like back to our knowledge based things that there’s a learning and unlearning.
It’s like I had to unlearn the institution of research and science to learn like what is probably closer to the truth about our bodies.
And now here I am.
Yeah, we’ll have to do a whole episode on that because I think it’s really important.
But you know, the beautiful thing is that, you know, so when I met Nick, he was a life and business coach for entrepreneurs that were very successful entrepreneurs because he was working underneath the coach that I was working with.
So about 2.5 years ago, I was working with a my coach, business and life coach his name was Jake Kaufman.
His name is Jake Kaufman.
Not we is Jake Kaufman.
And I was working with him at the time I was in a six month container.
And when I got the opportunity to work with him, he offered me to go to a retreat as a part of me starting to work with him.
And at the time when I was, this is where I was like really, really creating community.
Like I had stepped into these newer versions of myself.
I was really craving to be around other coaches, other people that kind of just got it.
But I was looking for an in person experience because I had experienced a lot of coaching virtually.
And I was like, I really want to go to this retreat.
So when he offered me to go to the retreat, it was 2021.
So this is like just coming out of COVID where intense and especially at certain locations, we’ve had intense isolation plus, like so many of us were coaches who were working online.
So it was just like really craving unity, I think like globally but also Corona especially was calling about it.
Yeah, I remember, you know, Jake’s marketing spoke to me so deeply because it just felt like I was so alone coming out of the out of the pandemic, you know, and so burnt out.
So I was craving in person connection and that’s a marketing for you guys too.
Because at first, Jake was like marketing to like, we’re going to help coaches add five K to their bottom line and like rickets.
And then as soon as he was like, we’re gonna like, give you the space to, to like connect and go deep and all these things and like talking about the intense isolation that comes with entrepreneurship, people started signing up and it was crazy.
So like marketing lesson for those of you who are entrepreneurs, figure out what your ideal client really wants.
So there’s, there’s the life and business coach and Nick and just his coaching background.
But so that’s how I ended up at this retreat.
And this is going to lead into our love story, which I am so excited to share with you guys because I truly believe that I manifested our relationship.
I think we’re going to end up telling you how, where I was before that.
But so I get to go to this retreat.
And then Nick started, I knew of Nick through social media, obviously, he worked for Jake in some way, shape or form.
So I was like, who is this Nick Balletto guy?
Don’t know who he is.
But I was curious, I was like, really curious, but I never really did much to like, think too much into it.
And then we go on this retreat and I went into this retreat fully thinking that this is going to be an opportunity for me to get vulnerable to be seen to grow, expand.
He so many versions of me.
So I was not in the place of I want to date or I’m here to meet someone like that was nowhere on the top of my mind.
If anything right before this retreat, like I decided that I wasn’t really going to date anyone.
I was going to focus on me, which I will get into after.
But you know, so I was going to retreat, fully focused on myself, fully focused on healing the deeper parts within me and fully focusing on my business.
And so once we get to retreat, I get to meet Nick for the first time.
Wow, what was that?
It was, it was like, I was like, huh I definitely felt at the retreat like I felt old to Nick at the retreat.
But again, like I had this really stubborn part of me that was like, nah, we’re not here to today, we’re here to do business, we’re here to heal, we’re here to do these things.
So I was in my own world, Nick had a different plan.
I did.
I sure did.
I had been scouting Corona for months on social media.
I used to, I would follow all of Jake’s clients.
Now, most of Jake’s clients were my clients, but even the clients that he, he specifically worked with one on one because they were at a certain level in their business.
I would still follow them just to be able to support them.
Plus, I mean, Jake and I, we respected each other as coaches.
And so even his coaching clients, he would ask me like my perspective on certain things that would come up.
And so I just wanted to be in the know of like who he was working with.
And so I followed all of his clients as like a general rule of thumb.
So I had already been following Corina, but every time Corina’s post would come up, my heart would put her patter a little bit.
No way.
I mean, she’s just so stunning and she has a glow to her that it’s just, it’s special like other people just don’t have that to them.
So I was immediately drawn in and then of course, you actually read her content, you see the level of depth that she has to her, you see like her values that she embodies and was very attracted to it.
And so I was going into the street retreat hoping that Kara was the person that she looked like she was online, which she obviously was.
And if she passed my tests, then I was going to pursue her at the retreat.
So I came into the retreat with a very simple three step plan.
All right.
Step number one or day, number one, ignore her entirely because I’m there.
I have to be professional.
I mean, I can’t be flirting over the course of a three day retreat.
You’re also there to work.
He was the head coach at this retreat underneath Jake, right?
He was the head like leading coach underneath Jake.
So like 14 people there and I was currently coaching like five and there was also perspective clients there too.
So over the out of the 14 people who attended, I ended up coaching, I think 10 of them maybe even more.
So I had to be professional.
So j double one, ignore her.
She doesn’t exist.
Day number two is break the ice professionally.
So I like wiggled my way into conversations, try to help crea with her business and keep it mostly professional.
Now, of course, I’m gonna spit some game, but for the most part, be a pretty.
And then day number three just go all in on Kara which I did.
We spent the entire night of the, the third night talking like probably three hours.
We were just like isolated from the group and we just talked and hung out.
And at this point, I’m feeling like I just executed that plan to A t like they’re gonna be talking about me years and years from now, they’re gonna be talking about the levels of charisma and chivalry that I’ve displayed over the course of this retreat.
They’re gonna be writing books about my game.
All right, perfectly.
Exactly how it was.
That’s how I feel.
That’s how he felt.
So I’m going to backtrack just a little bit.
So what’s what I love about, what you just said is that you fell in love with me through social media and how I showed up and I just want to clarify, you know, during that time, something that I was super nervous about, especially when I was stepping into these versions of me as on Instagram, a coach like really owning these like personal deep parts of me.
I truly thought at one point that I wasn’t going to meet anyone that loved me for that.
And you just said that like that was the thing that like pulled you in in some way, shape or form.
And I still take this moment.
I’m like, you know, those fears always creep in.
And eventually once I owned that this is who I was clearly, someone else was like, felt that love for me too and loved it as much as I loved it.
But fast tracking got to the point where Nick is literally spilling his heart.
Like I am learning every childhood wound about him.
I am learning not all of them, but I am learning like the depths of Nick who he is by night three.
And at this point in my world, I’m like, I was like, not even thinking that he was hitting on me.
I love you so much, but I wasn’t because I was like, all right.
So I’ve had these vulnerable deep conversations with every single person here, there were other men at the retreat.
So we were all going there.
We were all like here see me hear me like all these things.
And so I felt like I was just holding space for its time and I was like, cool, I get to know him.
And yes, we were, we spent like three hours talking and we were just going in the depths of sharing with each other who we were, what we thought about the retreat and what our takeaways were and just all these things.
But I was clearly in a completely different headspace.
I was nowhere near like, oh this man is flirting with me.
Oh This man is interested in me like completely over my head, did not even think twice or it’s so fast track to the next day is the day that we all decide to leave.
And you know, I, I vividly remember as we were leaving did bring it up in the car.
I was like, there is something that’s drawing me to Nick, but I don’t really know, maybe it’s just this part of me that thinks this and I was like, I just wrote it off.
And so later that night as we were all coming back from the treat, I mean, post retreat, there’s just so much that comes up for you like you’re just so much happens in three days.
You’re like, what the fuck just happened in person in a lot of ways, which is why I love retreats if they’re done really well.
And also like, I was just on such a high from the retreat.
And so I was coming home and I was like catching up energetically because I was naturally just tired and also just like simply processing.
And so one way I thought about processing was like, I was looking back at all the videos that we had from the retreat and I was kind of sending all the photos and videos that I had to other people.
And I came across a video that Nick I took of Nick.
And so throughout the retreat, we did this one exercises where we are facing our fears and we jumped off a cliff to face our fears and, and facing our fear, we were going to basically jump into this version of ourselves that we really want to step into and expand to.
And it’s really remarkable how these exercises like, truly meet you and that you’re like, oh, just a simple jumping off the cliff fear type of thing.
But if you put the intention behind it, it like, really is such a representation of what’s happening in their day to day.
And so yes, I had this video of Nick.
And so I reached out to Nick at probably like 8:39 p.m. The next day I was like on Instagram because I didn’t even have his number.
And I was like, hey, I came across this video and I wanted to know if you want it like, can I send it to you?
I can’t really send it to you on Instagram.
Like what’s your number?
And I’ll send you the video.
So he texts me his number on Instagram.
I send him the video and then he continues talking to me and I go, what the fuck does he want?
I literally said that to myself because he continued the conversation.
And it was at this point in the conversation where we were like, the conversation was dead.
There wasn’t more to go.
I wasn’t really asking questions, but he still found ways to keep the conversation going.
And I’m like, dude, I got to go to bed.
It’s like 1010 30.
By this point, I’m like, I need to go to sleep.
And on the other side of the phone, Nick was having a completely different experience.
So on the other side of the thought, I, well, on the last day of the retreat, as Corina mentioned, like, there’s so much like, especially like she said, when a retreat is well done like that.
I mean, even as the one of the facilitators, I’m walking away with business lessons.
I’m walking away with personal insights, walking away with like healing new values that I want to embody and you’re set off after this three day scramble and you’re supposed to integrate all of that.
And at the time, I was living with, I had a great roommate, but I was living kind of in a rough situation.
I was not in good housing and I was thinking about integrating everything that I’d gotten out of the retreat.
And I was like, there’s no shot that I’m going to be able to integrate if I go home right now.
So between that and then also wanting to take out on a date, I was like, I can’t go home.
So I’m explaining where home a home for me at the time was Charleston, South Carolina.
So the other side of the world.
And so I’m explaining this to the chef who worked the retreat and him and I had connected really well over the course of the few days we were there.
And he’s like, dude, why don’t you just come stay with me?
And he lived in San Diego.
And I was like, and I think this is one of the ways that I’ve like grown a lot in the last few years and as far as like my risk taking, but at the time, this is like, represented a huge risk for me because I didn’t have a way home anymore, right?
Like my flight is that day that I have booked.
So I’ll have to book a new flight, which is obviously an investment.
I’m gonna get in the car with this guy that I don’t really know to go to a house.
I don’t know where it is.
And I don’t know San Diego and I just there by myself, I’ve got like my bag that I packed for three, a four day trip, you know, and I’m like, something is calling me to do this.
So I took him up on it and so we are, we sit down to dinner, he takes me out to dinner that first night that I’m in town in San Diego and we’re sitting there and I’m like, I guess that I should text Kenna.
So that’s, that’s why I’m staying in California.
And so I open Instagram to text to message Coretta and I have ad M from her and I look at the chef across the table from me and I was like, she’s already in my D MS, I’m thinking I’ve won.
And so she’s like, hey, I have this video from the retreat.
Do you want me to send it to you?
And I was like, yeah, here’s my number because she could have totally just sent it to me in dabs.
But I was like, I want you to have my phone number, baby girl.
So I give her my phone number.
She texts me.
We’re like texting back and forth.
I feel like we’re having a conversation, but evidently we were not a big conversation.
And so then I just like told her, hey, I, I stayed in San Diego.
Huge part of the reason why is because I’d really love to take you on a date, said something you’d want to do.
And she says, yes, I, when I got that message you guys, I lit up like I was plugged into a wall and electrocuted like I was like no fucking way.
The part of me that kind of meal, you know, the part of me that was pulling me towards him.
But the part of me that I was also not listening to just got so excited and I was like, there’s no fucking way I just felt like holy shit.
This is happening.
And I got so excited and I immediately voice memo, my friend Paige and I sent her this voice memo and she was the only person I told at the time and I was like, oh my God Paige.
So this just happened and I can’t even tell you all the details.
But you know, I basically thought that it wasn’t going to happen and then this happened and then I was just so excited.
I was like, I can’t believe this is happening and blah, blah, blah, and the rest is history.
So then we got the chance to, we set up a schedule of our date.
They picked me out in San Diego.
We went downtown San Diego and we went to Barsa and what are the things called?
We did, the electric scooters and like saw the sunset and it was like such a great day.
And throughout our initial time together, there was like these little small synchronicities and there was something that I learned about Nick.
I remember this very specific question I asked you.
So we know so much.
I’ve talked about this before.
But the engram and as an Indian Gram four, I was like, is he spontaneous?
Does he like to travel?
And as you guys know, I love to travel and I love to see the world and something that I’ve always said, my family and my friends, whoever knows me since I was 15 years old, I said I wanted to move to Australia.
And on our very first date, we were having conversation and getting to know each other.
And I asked him straight up, I was like, so how do you feel about traveling?
And what if I want to move?
What if I want to move to Australia?
And he immediately looked at me and he goes, if you were to look at one of my journals, I said that I want to move to Australia because Nick had been there before and he said that he wanted to live there too.
And so that happens and I was just like, what the fuck is this really happening?
Like I’m finally meeting my person in a lot of ways.
And the internal parts of me were like, is this real?
Is not not but this, I kept getting these synchronous yeses.
This is where I’m supposed to be on that.
Same day, I decided to open up to Nick about an opportunity.
I was invited to be on a love show, dating show.
It was called Oh Fuck, what was it called?
It wasn’t Love is Blind.
It was oh Married after married at first sight.
And I told him I was like, so I’ve been exploring this idea about joining the show called Married on First Sight or Married for First sight after First sight.
And I look at Nick and I’m telling him all these things because I literally was exploring this, you guys like two weeks before I met Nick and I was like, am I going to go on the show?
And I was in the show and when I thought about the show, I mean, it really was a really good fit, right?
Like in a lot of ways.
And so I’m talking to him about this on our first date and he looks at me and goes, I was like, you should do it.
Why did you say that though?
I mean, look the port, think of the marketing, OK.
Think of the brand exposure.
Yeah, it would have been crazy and it was, and it was also really aligned with like who I was coaching, what I was stepping into like really manifestation, like really manifest as your person.
So like the fact that I had manifested that opportunity, that opportunity came knocking on my door, it seemed really aligned.
It was really aligned for who I was at the time and who I had embodied.
And now I’m sitting across the table next to the potentially the man that I’m going to be with forever.
Who fucking knows?
And all these light bulbs are going off.
And yeah, I just following that date, you know, I felt like I wanted to spend every moment with him, every minute with him.
I just, I just wanted more of him.
I just felt drawn to him and instead of like I did on the retreat, like trying to pull away or ignore the pool towards him, I decided to lean into it.
And so we spent probably every, almost every day for the next two weeks because he extended his flight for two weeks.
There was a little bit of weekend in there that I went to bottle rock for the weekend, but like I was consumed with texting him and sharing information.
And so we just spent every moment together after that.
Yeah, I mean, we probably did like two or three months worth of dating in less than two weeks.
It was wild and what I loved about our relationship and it was such a beautiful way is that it started off so vulnerably, you know, and something that I truly was calling in was and I was really calling in a man that was like healthiness, masculine, but a man that I was not scared to go deep with me to share with me what’s really going on to work through the things I wanted to really get to know someone, someone that wasn’t scared of the vulnerability.
And you know, my key to manifestation, which I’ve always talked about is be, do you have?
And so in order to receive something, in order to act something, you must be the thing.
So I knew I had to show up vulnerably.
I had to show up as the person that I wanted to attract.
And that is literally what I received.
I met my person in one of the most vulnerable spaces or containers.
And then the way that I showed up in relationship, he met me in all those ways.
And there was no part of me that was going to not be me or not show up as the version that I really wanted in our relation as what I really wanted in our relationship for the cost of not being loved.
Like I was like, no, I’m going to be me.
I’m, I’m going to be the thing that I need to be in order to have him.
And then that’s what we did.
And then shortly after Vick ends up moving to California, like what two months later lives in, in a separate apartment for six months.
We move in about nine months later.
And now we’ve been together ever since and have our home.
Where were you at before we met?
What were you working on what was I working on?
Well, I went through pretty difficult breakup about six months before we left before we met.
And so I was really just kind of working on me.
I mean, I was working with a coach at the time and in our work together is my first experience doing like somatic work.
And at that time and my family is like, struggling to catch up with how I feel now.
But before I started working with her, I was like kind of on marriage, kind of on wanting a family and kids and stuff.
But I was working with this coach and through the somatic practices that we did together, I kind of landed on like the most important crowning moment of my life is the moment that I get to watch my wife walk down the aisle.
I just like, kept thinking about how that was going to be the happiest moment of my life.
And so that required a very large internal shift for me where, you know, I won, like, I really needed to care a lot more about like manifesting this divine partnership and I had to get like a lot more clear on it.
And obviously, I also needed to, to elevate level up myself.
So I was acting like a lot of tantra.
I was doing a lot of like, did like semen retention for 90 days.
I quit pornography at that time and really was just getting, I was reading, like I read attached, I think I read attached during that time I read the new Codependency at that time.
So I was like, really just diving into romantic relationships because at that time I had been a serial monogamist, but I was never really serious about wanting like divine union.
And now I had seen that, that was really kind of my, my North Star for me, but it was going to require a lot of healing first.
So that was like primarily what I was kind of up to for those, I don’t know.
Can you tell them what contra is monogamy?
I mean, I think we know, but can you just kind of explain and define those things a little bit?
I mean, Tantra is like, Tantra is so much more than a sex practice.
It’s really like, like almost like the force from Star Wars.
It’s kind of like the energy that is, that guides the universe and it’s something that we can tap into to, to create lots of different things, but it’s usually talked about in terms of sexual energy.
And so I was using it really to as like a gentle way for me to process trauma and heal normally.
Like, like most people think of trauma for like energetic orgasms or non ejaculatory orgasms for men.
I was like, basically doing like very gentle breath work in my room and like flying a little bit every single day.
That was like my solo tatra practice like it and it, it was not sexual whatsoever, but it’s, it’s really connect, is it fair to say it’s like really connecting to the sexual creative energy that we all have within us?
Yeah, I think it’s, it’s both like connecting to spirit outside of you and connecting to spirit within India.
Thank you for, for sharing that.
And you know, where I was, was also going through a lot of healing as I talked about, you know, I was, I said I wasn’t gonna date for a while.
I was going to get to know me, really love me, really own who I was and create such a deep love for myself because my pattern was always like losing myself in relationships, you know, settling for a relationship that kind of met me and they really wanted me.
But like, I genuinely didn’t choose.
And I, I told myself I was like, I’m going to choose this next partner.
Like I’m not just going to be wanted by a guy and be like, oh, I’m getting, you know, they desired me.
So I should date this guy.
You know, not to say that my past religions were like that, but there was a lot of that pattern within me.
And so I really focused on myself and you know what I truly believe when it comes to really manifesting the man, the person that you got to be, you got to be that too.
You know, you got to own that part of you and step into those versions of you that require you to find the kind of man that you’re looking for.
And, you know, the thing that I think about is like, really not settling anything less than that, you know, I think we can get caught up in like, oh, I’m getting these little, little bits and pieces, little mixes.
But I truly believe that when you find your person, they’re going to meet you in all ways.
And with that being said too, like we’ve definitely faced a lot of our own challenges in our relationship.
So one of the questions that, that we got was, was your love easy.
And I know I was going to say this at the end, but it’s kind of like really primed up right here.
Like one of the questions that we got from Instagram and from the community was, was your love easy.
And I want to say the initial lust and connection and desire and pull of polarity that we had within our relationship was easy.
It just felt like there was this energetic plug that I had to plug into and all I had to do was follow it.
But that’s truly how I felt at the beginning of our relationship.
And then as we started to get to know each other, our shit came up and, you know, i it got really challenging in some moments.
I remember to your point, like I called my mom after I got home from the retreat and was like, hey, I met your daughter in law.
So like, so it was super easy to begin with.
And then another one of our questions that we got asked is are we similar or are the opposite?
And I think like the initial draws and the ways in which we are similar made it easy.
But then we’re also like very different in some ways too.
And those things started to come out more and more as we got into our relationship, like three months, six months, et cetera.
And those provided like pretty substantial challenges, I would say, yeah, like for example, like how we’re really similar, right?
We love this work, we love growing.
We, you know, we did these like value tests and you know, one thing, some of the values that we both have very much in common are growth, curiosity, authenticity.
Like we do really align in a lot, a lot of ways, you know, like I low key, we’re both low key obsessed with becoming better versions of ourselves honestly and wanting to live a life fully expressed.
Like we both want to truly embody every part of us and express it and access every extent of the emotion.
Something that Nick taught me really early on.
And I remember this came up from one of our challenging conversations.
So one of our challenging conversations that we had early on, I vividly remember Nick was I tend to be way more positive and optimistic and, you know, I tend to see the light in a lot of things and Nick was not shy or scared of his darkness.
He was not scared of negativity if anything, he owned it.
And some of our challenges were just around those types of conversations where I vividly remember, I don’t know what it was, but I got upset because I was like, I’m so over you being negative where you’re always talking about the heavy emotions and you know what he said to me in response to our conversation that really fucking blew my mind was I want to, he said I want to feel every emotion to the extent that I need to feel it or that I want to feel it or that it wants to be felt and was mirroring back to me was that I clearly had not created the capacity to be with heavy emotions.
I did not have the space or the truest desire to hold the heaviest of the heaviest.
And Nick did not even bow down to heavy emotions.
He was like, I’m in it.
I feel it.
They’re true.
They’re real and I’m not going to ignore them.
And so as much as if it was a triggering conversation with me because I thought he was being negative when I was being positive and I was trying to stay in the light, but he was just being honest and real.
It triggered me because I was like, oh, clearly, I do not have the same capacity that you have for depth in these ways.
And you know, it was a mirror for me and I think it was also a mirror for you in some ways.
I think this is the part of relationship that we continue to work through.
Is that fair?
Yeah, I mean, I am, I am a realist and I would say like the the opposite of my realism in, in an equally positive light is that Karina operates out of faith.
So I tend to like see the world as it is right now in this moment.
And so that’s why to me like what she would describe as a really negative emotion to me is just like, that’s just how it is.
And so while I don’t shy from it, I also don’t see it as like this negative thing, the way that a lot of other people do.
But in the same, in the same perspective, I guess I struggle to act and operate out of faith versus creno.
What like could be seen as like naive positivity is really just her like believing that things are going to get better, that things are going to be ok that there’s like God that we aspire to be like, and that everything is always working out for us.
And for me it’s just like things aren’t working out right now and I think this is exactly.
So, yes, just finished.
Put a bell on what you were saying.
Like I was aspiring depth in you and I think you were inspiring faith, faith in me.
But at first very trigger for the two of us, I was like, how can you not see how the world is right now?
What do you mean things are going to get better?
And I’m over here like it’s fine, it’s OK.
We’ve got this, you know, and I think that we had another question come in as like someone said, we would love to know how you guys work and communicate through challenges and triggers.
And I think this is such a simple one, but it was like a really tough one that we continued to have to work through.
And the biggest thing that we, that I feel like we constantly practice and now that we’ve gotten better.
But in the moment whenever I get super triggered or I would feel a certain way is because my system was assuming what Nick was saying, right?
In a lot of ways, it was, it was freaking out because it’s like, well, you said this and I heard this.
So whatever I’m hearing is what I’m experiencing and the truth was that we had to truly get compassionately curious with each other as to, well, what do you mean by that, I would have never thought, you know, that Nick is such a realist in the sense of like, I’m just with what is, it’s not, I’m not saying that I like the heaviness.
I’m not saying that I love negative emotions and I’m a negative person.
I’m just with what is and I was like, oh OK, versus like the way that I perceived it was like we are a negative person and that wasn’t true.
And my positivity, you know, to him could have looked as naive and completely not real at all and not being with what is, but it truly ignited what my faith was to him.
And so that right there is such a simple, it seems really simple, but it has been one of the hardest things that we’ve struggled with in the first year, year and a half of relationship.
Now, what I’m so grateful for, for like communicating through those from a place of like love and curiosity and not just assuming and pointing fingers at one another is that now I’ve created such a deep capacity and understanding for depth and negative emotions and if anything, I fucking welcome them even more, I’m like, yeah, let’s be in the negative.
And one of the most healing things that Nick has done for me is allowed me to be dramatic to be like, no, but truly allow the parts of me that are being like, yeah, this fucking sucks.
Allow those to be here and be super unattached from them.
Not really make a story of the fact that they’re here versus when we start a relationship.
Like I created stories around things that I didn’t understand or didn’t have capacity for or didn’t even know how to articulate at the time.
And now because of your depth and your ability to be real and your ability to be factual.
It has created such a gift for me because I get to be with that shit too.
I get to be with what is and I still have my faith and I’m still unattached and I get to be with my whole human experience, but I would have never been able to step into that kind of beautiful dance with the human experience if it wasn’t for me getting triggered a fuck in my relationship.
And I’ve received the gifts of being with Karina because of like who she just is and b she does attract that things do get better.
And I’ve acquired such a stronger faith in myself and other people, the world also keep it a real like, shit sucks now.
But that doesn’t mean it can’t be for the greater good.
And this is something I talk about all the time, you know, like I was living in the extreme of positivity and optimistic and he was living in the truth and the realness that came off as quote unquote negative to me and you know, we were on both sides of the pendulum and by being in a relationship with each other and by being able to work through our different perspectives on certain situations or how we react or how we, how we be in certain things.
I truly think that we’ve been able to find that balance and that duality that has been the gift for both of us.
That answer, it’s almost been like the unlocking key to our relationship, but also the unlocking key to our own experience.
I think it’s also just a testament to the work that we put in individually when we come together.
I mean, we’ve like continued to work on ourselves and then also work on these skills in relationship because like, however, however, you respond to getting triggered somatic, it like there’s, there’s a skill component to communicating and then there’s like an embodied component to communicating.
And so we’ve been like, obviously learning the skills of communicating because this is definitely the most serious relationship either of us have been in.
So we’re navigating things, we’ve never navigated before, but we’re also like embodying new ways of being as well.
And so that allows us to continue to work through like more and more challenging situations which like we’re only going to continue to see more and more challenging situations.
We don’t even have kids yet.
I can imagine imagine, I was just thinking about two different examples that we could share maybe this would be really real for people, you know, something that I find has been triggering for me.
And it’s my own experience is that when Nick and I are having quote unquote hard conversations and he doesn’t lean in or ask me what’s wrong or ask me how I’m doing.
I’m having this entire internal experience where I am silent on the couch and going through the internal experience that I’m having is the internal dialogue looks like.
How can he not know that I’m triggered right now?
Why hasn’t he asked me how I’m doing?
But he should be the one asking me how I’m doing like this is, this is this and my body is shutting down.
I can feel this brewing sensation inside me and I’m pissed because I’m mad that he’s not realizing that I met and I’m upset that he’s not doing these things and in realizing that and identifying that I identified that really early on.
And even before I started dating Nick.
So this is something that I identified way early on.
But when it comes to actually being triggered as fuck and having to navigate it, I tend, I remember sitting on the couch and we were actually having this experience and I said, hey, you know what’s really coming up for me right now is that I’m upset that you’re not asking me how I’m doing in this moment.
And I also realize that you’re not a mind reader And so right now I am telling you that I’m mad and you know, half versions of me would have just sat on it and been like, I shouldn’t even say that out loud.
I shouldn’t even say the fact that, that I’m mad because he’s not asking me how I’m doing.
I shouldn’t, I should just go to bed and ignore it and hope that tomorrow wakes up and I will be fine.
But our level of communication looks so different that now we say those things.
And I’m like, no, like I’m genuinely upset with the fact that this is happening.
And I also take responsibility that it’s on me that I’m upset that you’re not asking me because it’s my responsibility to share how I’m feeling.
And a takeaway for Nick has always been, I mean, in those moments, you’ve learned to be like, all right, the energy’s off is everything ok?
Which for Nick is really triggering when I’m off my embodied sense, when Rena is feeling like that is to not poke the bear because like, you know, I like historically, the way that like my family resolved a lot of conflicts is we would just go to bed and we would never talk about it.
We would wake up the next day and like, we would just go about our business.
Nobody would ever say anything, but we also wouldn’t carry the resentment over.
And so, but if you poke the bear bear got scary.
So, for me, it was just like, I’m just not gonna say anything but now, like, I have so much more trust and love in myself and most, mostly my partner to poke the bear because it’s not really a bear.
It’s more of like a, like one of those cute little, like red pandas, you know, though, you know.
So I poke you little pan, what are they gonna do?
They have like these adorable little paws, they’re gonna bat me with their paws.
So I’ll poke the panda now every once in a while, which is really just an overgrown raccoon and like, they’re adorable.
We’ve seen buddy the elk, he was trying to hug that little raccoon.
So, yeah.
So I’ll now because my communication skills have grown.
Our relationship has grown and the depth of our love has gotten deeper and we feel safer as a result of that, which I think is what you’re going to say.
I want to just say, hey, what gives, yeah, what’s up?
Talk to me.
And, and you know, and that’s exactly what I wanted and, but you can see that like I’m triggered by the fact that he’s not asking me anything about how I’m doing and he’s triggered because he’s like, I don’t want to poke the bear because naturally if I poke the bear, it gets worse.
So I don’t want to, versus that’s all that I want and need and we wouldn’t have figured that out unless we talked about it, unless we were open to saying that and through the conversations of doing this over and over again, I feel like that conversation happened like a year and a half into our relationship.
So it’s not like that specific conversation happened very early on.
It was the compound effect of constantly having these kinds of conversations that have created a natural sense of trust and safety that we feel in our relationship to share whatever comes up for us.
And obviously, when someone is sharing, I also think, I think that maybe in a different episode, I’ll dive into this.
There is a special skill set on how to hold someone in that and not be, not get triggered, you know, or not feel responsible for what they’re saying.
And something that we practice so well is that now is even though we know we’re triggered, we don’t point the finger at the other person.
And if the other person is triggered, we remember that it’s not our responsibility to fix that either because we’re not, we all each take responsibility for our emotional experiences, our human experiences.
And that can we love each other through that?
Can we ask how we can support you in this oly?
But can we fix it and change it?
No, because it’s up to the individual to do the work on their own, to do that for themselves.
And that level of understanding that we’ve created in our relationship and that has compounded over time has been done amazing things for us.
Do you have anything else you want to say?
Should we answer this last rapid fire question?
We can have a little bit more time if I’m a little late.
But the thing that I wanted to share, so there’s two questions, there’s three questions that I want us to answer is what does relationship mean to us?
You want to go first?
You want me to go first?
I want you to go first.
You want me to go first?
I’m not really sure what you, what they’re looking for there.
So what relationship means to me specifically is I guess divine union.
You know, like if we’re talking about like a deep romantic relationship, what does that actually mean?
And when we’re talking about this, like to me, like divine union represents like me being me, you being you and us creating this beautiful partnership that no matter what we do we tackle life together with.
Does that make sense?
Yeah, I am.
I would say, I mean, for me, relationship is like, I really think it’s pretty much like the most important thing that you could do.
I mean, I think like getting married, having a, having kids, raising a family is like, it’s basically the greatest thing that you can do for society.
Like instilling values and love and safety and like responsibly raising Children is as just like the greatest gift that you can pay forward in the world, the greatest legacy that you can leave.
So, I mean, that’s what relationship really means to me.
It’s like it is the foundation, like, it’s really the foundation of a healthy society.
Yeah, I think, yeah, you answer that way better than I was.
I was a little distracted to you guys from something else playing in the background.
But you’re right, you know, relationship is the most important thing that we can do in this life.
And I think that’s been something that I used to put aside.
You know, I’ve always prioritized relationships, but I always prioritized business success and these other things.
And what I’ve seen, if we can be successful in relationships, we’re fucking rich in so many different ways.
There’s so much beautiful love and richness that just comes from that.
It’s like this kind of profound energetic field when you truly can love, truly be loved and put that on steroids, it’s like nothing else matters.
Everything else around you is OK.
It’s good.
You can tackle anything.
We did a another episode, another podcast interview on my friend, she’s podcast.
And one of the questions she sold us is like, how are we doing in our life right now?
And in the season of life that we’re in and something that Nick and I talked about so much and that was just how our relationship is so good that we feel like we can tackle anything.
And I really, really think that if we prioritize relationships in that way, we feel like we can tackle anything.
That’s hard.
Not even, I mean, yes, in romantic relationships, we’re going to have challenges of our own.
We’re going to have challenges together and we’re going to have challenges that life comes to us.
But that same concept.
Imagine it with friendships, imagine it with business partners.
Like when you’re really fucking good and solid because you’ve done the work to create that you can do anything, you can tackle the world, you can truly tackle the world.
Biggest thing is that it starts with you.
So the last question that we got before we wrap up here is how do you know if you found the one?
Well, I don’t personally really believe in the, the one concept, but how do you know that you found the one that you’re gonna spend your life with?
I mean, for me personally, it was such like a radical shift in my like mindset and perspective about life in general and the life that I wanted to lead.
So like I went from, as I spoke about earlier being a guy who was like marriage, whatever kids, probably not to like, I’m so totally devoted to both of those things now.
And to me, the reason that a huge part of the reason that I feel that way is because of you.
So for me, it’s like, yeah, like, so I went from like, I think we all kind of inherently feel like, like getting married and having kids is like as when we’re little kids, those are things that all pretty much every little kid aspires to do.
And so like if you meet somebody who pushes you towards something that you desired as a small child, it’s probably a good person to keep in your life.
And so for me, like that was that was it for me, it was like, I have met this person who increases my faith who makes me want to have a family who supports me, makes me want to be the best version of myself.
I mean, what does that feel like?
What was that shift though for you?
Like you went from like, I don’t want to have kids, I don’t want to get married, which is a fucking conversation that we had early on the relationship you guys, we’ll talk about that one later, two.
That’s all that you want, I think and more, but it really came for me.
Like when you supported me through like some of my artist small methods, I had never like really been held through difficult periods.
I’ve had to like go through them on my own or my previous partners had just died or they either didn’t support me through it.
They weren’t like with me in it or like we just broke up when things were hard.
This relationship was totally different.
So, I think that was what shifted it for me.
Like, the high highs of our relationship.
Yes, they’ve been amazing.
They’ve been higher than any other relationship I’ve ever been in.
But it was really the way that we navigated the lows and just like the way that I felt respected and I respected her through that.
I think that’s kind of how I knew.
Wow, thanks for saying love you.
I love you.
You know, to me, something that I’ve had, you know, you could probably hear my dog snoring behind me.
These subs like the grandfather in Willie Wonka.
And, you know, Cusco has been on this podcast before in the background if you haven’t heard it yet.
But, you know, what I wanted to say was, you know, as I, I think my love for you, we talked about this the other night.
Like I think a little bit, I feel like this compound effect has happened in our relationship where it’s like a little bit more, a little bit more to like, I always knew from the beginning that he could be the one that I want to do life with.
And now it’s just like I could not see myself not doing life with him, but something that has really created a lot of rust that Nick is choosing me to be the one because something that I’ve struggled with and maybe other people struggled with is like, well, if I’m choosing this person, is this person fully choosing me?
Like, do they love me the same amount that I love them?
Like, are they in love with me to the same extent?
And yes, that could be parts of me that are trying to keep me safe and maybe potentially self sabotage a little bit.
But something that we’ve actively worked through on our own in different ways, and I did this before the relationship and Nick did this in the relationship during our relationship is I got very clear on if I continue to evolve as a human being and grow and listen to these parts of me that pull me in different directions.
And if I continue to feel met in my relationship, no matter how much I evolve, I will continue to choose us.
And I’m also ok with, if I change and evolve to a point that we no longer meet each other’s needs that we’re no longer meant to be together in that way, in that shape and being ok with that has unlocked this crazy amount of being able to fall into more love because I know that I’m actively choosing this person for me.
Not because I have to, not because not because we’ve been together for such a long time and eventually it’s not going to be just because I have kids or it’s not just because we’ve created a life together, like I’m choosing this person because every single day I love him more and more or I’m choosing this person every single day because every moment I keep growing more and more with him and there’s something within me that continues to want more of him.
But being ok with like if the relationship changes or if the relationship decides to transform in another way, that’s ok too.
I would highly recommend doing, doing that.
They have not done that already, work out whatever it is within yourself.
Like, for me, I, I felt like I wouldn’t trust myself to actually leave the relationship if the relationship was over.
So I had to like, build that trust within myself.
And now I’m at the point where I’m like, well, if this, if this is over between us, like I, I trust that all actually ended, you know, and it’s so funny when you create this, like, deep level of trust within yourself that you’re actively choosing this because you want it and all parts of you, the parts of you that whatever they’re all on board, it’s like it creates such a level of ability, such a love between two people that I didn’t even know was possible.
And this is something that I’ve been so great that we’re so grateful that we’ve been able to experience just within two years, 2.5 years of really dating.
And I don’t even know what’s gonna happen when we get married.
I don’t even know the more that we evolve and grow.
And I’m so here for all of it.
But I do hope that for anyone that’s listening is that you get some inspiration from our story and that you know that the level of love that you are actively creating, right?
Because we are constantly working at this thing.
We constantly come up and show up for this relationship and this love as someone that we want to be like we’re doing it so that we can meet each other at the end of the day.
Like we want to win.
Like when we tackle hard things in life, we ain’t pointing the finger and saying you fucking fix this or I leave like none of that shit is so much more about like, all right, how can we do this together?
How are we a team in this?
How can we bring ourselves to do this for each other, for one another, for ourselves?
There’s this level of deep respect that we have for each other.
And I do know that that is available to every single freaking human out there.
And I also know that it is so available to work to because I know there’s a lot of listeners to that have been married for years.
I truly believe that you can work through it all.
You know, if you really, really dedicate to working through it and a part of that is just also you working through your part of it too.
Anything else that you feel called to say or share?
No man.
Thank you for coming on the podcast.
Thanks for having me.
If you want to connect with Nick or see what he’s up to learn a little bit more about us.
I tend to share more about us on Instagram so you can see us that I am kind of soto on Instagram.
Nick is going to be launching his business here soon, which we’re really excited about.
But you know, at the end of the day, we’re just two original people continuing on this path to better ourselves.
And in return, it ends up bettering our relationship.
And because we work on ourselves because we love ourselves because we put ourselves first in a lot of ways to live a life fully expressed.
It has created such a beautiful expression of love that in our relationship.
All right, love you guys.
Peace out.

Episode Highlights:

  • The beginning of Karenna and Nick’s love story.
  • The role of personal growth in their relationship.
  • Challenges faced and overcome as a couple.
  • Insights into maintaining a healthy, evolving relationship.
  • The impact of vulnerability and open communication.

About Karenna & Nick:

Karenna Soto | Professional Speaker, Podcast Host of The Fully Expressed Podcast, and Trauma-informed Somatic Practitioner

Karenna is an expert in communication, creating healthy professional and personal relationships, and managing and overcoming anxiety with a knack for navigating difficult conversations both in personal and professional atmospheres. She is here to invite you into your fullest authentic expression and personal evolution.

Nick Boleto | Holistic Health Practitioner, Naturopathic Doctor (coming soon) 

Nick is an expert in strength & conditioning, nutrition, and life coaching, focusing on metabolism and mental health. His approach blends the wisdom of Ray Peat, the intensity of Mike Mentzer, and the neuroscience insights of Andrew Huberman. Beyond his extensive knowledge, he’s known for his emotionally intelligent coaching style and growth mindset. Intellectually curious and endlessly enthusiastic, Nick brings a unique blend of professionalism and humor to every interaction.


Connect with Karenna & Nick:

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Contact Karenna: hello@karennasoto.com 

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Table of Contents

Karenna Soto

I’m an expert in communication, creating healthy professional and personal relaitonships, and in managing and overcoming anxiety with a knack for navigating difficult conversations both in personal and professional atmospheres. I am here to invite you into your fullest authentic expression and personal evolution.

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More About Karenna

I know how debilitating it can feel to be stuck on the perpetual hamster wheel of a life that you don’t enjoy living. Sure, externally you’ve got it all together, but internally, it likely feels like you’re questioning E V E R Y T H I N G.

Can you relate?

It was when I felt disconnect with what I was doing, and with how I was showing up in my life that I realized the answers lied in how I was doing what I was doing that I decided I no longer wanted to keep living within the box of what I was told to be and decided to boldly express myself and stand for what truly mattered to me.

I have seen the power of fully expressing myself in my personal and professional life. Now I want to bring it to the masses, which is why I’ve created this podcast.

This podcast is my invitation to all people struggling to be fully expressed in life, relationships, and business. It’s for those who are wanting to feel A L I V E, connected, and in love with their life, relationships, and business.

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