How to Be Human

Anna Toonk

How to Be Human is a guide to exploring the common and often confusing themes of humanness including spirituality, connection, wellness, self-acceptance, and more. Host, Anna Toonk, uses humor, honesty, and intuition to discuss the unanswerable questions we all share. Join Anna as she searches for clarity in the most human way possible; together.

49.  Nina's Last Episode
Nov 1 2022
49. Nina's Last Episode
Anna and Nina have an important update for the show and discuss what it’s been like to get clarity about their priorities, especially when it comes to their careers. For Nina, she wants to be more present with her one-on-one clients, classes, and family, so she’s taking a step back from the podcast. Anna is going to continue as a solo host and is playing around with some ideas for the next iteration of How to Be Human, so stay tuned. Though it’s a bittersweet end of an era, Nina explains how she came to the conclusion that she can no longer show up for the HTBH community in the way that she wants to. She and Anna talk about what it’s like to grow out of decisions and reframe the idea of quitting. They also touch on how they communicated about Nina’s departure from the show and the peace that comes from accepting things for what they are instead of personalizing other people’s actions. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, or on your favorite podcast platformTopics Covered:Finding alignment with your intentions and actions Allowing yourself to explore and expand The consequences of ignoring the energetics of a situation Practicing neutrality instead of trying to control, deny, or avoid feelingsUnapologetically owning your happiness Ideas for the future of this show Get in Touch:How to Be HumanHow to Be Human InstagramAnna's InstagramNina's InstagramBook a session with AnnaBook a session with Nina
48. Lifestyles + Habits
Oct 25 2022
48. Lifestyles + Habits
Your habits create your life and determine your lifestyle. On today’s episode, Anna and Nina discuss why it’s crucial to cultivate habits that serve you and help you reach your goals. They dig into the science behind habits, how to figure out what type of structure works best for you, and the framework for creating positive habits. Where in your life have you enforced arbitrary rules for yourself that aren’t actually in alignment with how you want to live?  In order to create new habits, we have to first understand what our current patterns are and where they come from. From there, we can start to explore what we want to accomplish during the day from a happiness standpoint instead of looking at everything through the lens of productivity. Anna and Nina talk about how they’ve learned to work with their natural lifestyle rhythms and create habits around that. They touch on how their morning and nighttime routines have changed since tuning out what society deems as acceptable and plugging into what helps them thrive. Plus, they talk about ways to effectively break habits and replace them with new ones. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, or on your favorite podcast platformTopics Covered:Giving yourself permission to live the lifestyle that you desire The four parts of a habit loop What intuitive eating is and the benefits of practicing it Examples of building habits slowly and sustainably The profound effect of saying your goals and affirmations out loud Giving yourself positive reinforcement when you create new habit channels Resources Mentioned:Atomic Habits by James Clear The Science of Habit The Four Tendencies Quiz Get in Touch:How to Be HumanHow to Be Human InstagramAnna's InstagramNina's InstagramBook a session with Anna
47. Anna + Nina Check in
Oct 18 2022
47. Anna + Nina Check in
Anna and Nina are taking time to unpack some things that they’ve been working through, particularly in their friendships and careers. They discuss their recent experiences of feeling left out and reflect on relationships that fell apart when they asked the other person to take responsibility for careless behavior. Nina has been feeling empowered in her sense of self and ability to let go of people who aren’t in alignment anymore, even if they’ve been in her life for a while. Anna admits that she has a harder time getting to that place and has been confronting her fear of loss and emotional hoarding since she got back from her month abroad. Both Anna and Nina are experiencing a sense of restlessness in their careers, and Anna announces that she’s going to be retiring from one-on-ones and readings in 2023. They talk about burnout in the Tarot industry and how they’re trying to find solutions that work for their businesses. Nina has also been focusing on creating an offering that blends her practical and mystical sides in an authentic and not-cheesy way. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, or on your favorite podcast platformTopics Covered:Conditional relationships and feeling discarded Why you don’t have to be digestible to be interesting Being aware of where you’re settling and selling yourself short The importance of validation in friendships Finding clarity around the next chapter of your career  Resources Mentioned:Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark  Get in Touch:How to Be Human InstagramAnna's InstagramNina's InstagramBook a session with AnnaBook a session with Nina
46. Identity
Oct 11 2022
46. Identity
Who am I? What am I? What is my purpose? These are the kinds of questions that Nina and Anna’s clients often come to them with. So many of us get caught up in our own conditioning and other people’s identities that it becomes difficult to decipher who we really are. On today’s episode, Anna and Nina discuss their thoughts and experiences with personal and social identity. One of the greatest factors that muddles our relationship with identity is social media. Nina notes that there’s a huge business of selling an image and use of façade marketing, especially in the world of fitness influencers. Anna and Nina talk about the importance of allowing yourself to experiment and honor what feels good without getting caught up in the ego or ideas of who you should be. They also touch on the consequences of having a lack of coherent sense of identity. It usually results in a lack of compassion and acceptance of others, which creates an environment where people are afraid to affirm themselves and live freely. Anna and Nina round out their conversation by describing what they identify as and how that shapes their everyday lives. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, or on your favorite podcast platformTopics Covered:The struggles of working with different identities as a Tarot reader The obsession with being a social media star and selling an imageGetting more comfortable with calling out people who create unsafe and exclusive environments The problem with choosing your identity instead of internalizing your own valuesDiscovering one’s personal potential Resources Mentioned:Y Studios - What Factors Really Influence Identity? The New Yorker - How Social Media Shapes Our Identity By Nausicaa Renner Psychology Today - Basics of Identity  Sounds Like a Cult Podcast Rachel Cargle Ericka Hart Get in Touch:How to Be Human
45. Art & Creativity
Oct 4 2022
45. Art & Creativity
The spectrum of art and creativity reaches every corner of our lives. The music that we listen to, the shows that we watch, and the way we decorate our spaces are all forms of artistic expression. So, why is there so much pressure to abandon your creative side and return to ‘the real world’? There’s often an immense push to grow out of creativity in order to make money. Anna and Nina challenge the idea that if you choose a creative career or lifestyle that you're destined to struggle financially. Nina explores how this concept has shown up in her marriage, as Huê is a working artist. She emphasizes how important it is to honor what’s going to help you show up as a full person. Anna and Nina also dig into their experiences with fine art. They talk about the expectation that exists to feel or react a certain way to fine art. They also talk about gatekeeping in the industry and where that might come from. Plus, they touch on why it’s important to protect the sacredness of sharing your art and emotions with others, especially online. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, or on your favorite podcast platformTopics Covered:The relationship between art, creativity, and TarotDiscovering healthy ways to access and express emotions Understanding that everything you create doesn’t have to be monetized and marketed Allowing yourself to be a beginner The discipline, vulnerability, and work ethic that’s required of artists Recognizing that once you share your work with the world, it isn't just yours anymoreGet in Touch:How to Be HumanHow to Be Human InstagramAnna's InstagramNina's InstagramBook a session with AnnaBook a session with Nina
44. Autumn Fourkiller
Sep 27 2022
44. Autumn Fourkiller
Most children dream of being an astronaut or a princess when they grow up, but Autumn Fourkiller wanted to be a brain in a glass jar. Two decades later, the Indigenous writer doesn’t feel too far off from that career trajectory, but instead of floating on display, she showcases her experiences and thoughts in her newsletter, short stories, and upcoming novel. Anna and Nina sit down with Autumn to discuss dream interpretation, ritual ceremony, and processing grief through writing. Autumn illustrates how her Southern Baptist upbringing initially informed her spiritual journey and how her relationship with death has changed throughout her life. She opens up the dynamic she had with her estranged father and what it’s like to live and work from his house now that he’s passed away. Anna, Nina, and Autumn touch on the role of identity-defining relationships, particularly through the lens of teenage love and intimacy. They also dig into what cultural appreciation and knowledge looks like and compare that to harmful cultural appropriation. At the end of their conversation, Anna pulls a card for Autumn and they talk about what’s in her best interest right now. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, or on your favorite podcast platformTopics Covered:Autumn’s experience with storytelling and dream interpretation throughout her life What it’s like to identify with parts of your parents, especially after they’ve died Trusting the lessons that life teaches you Non-performative embodiment practices Discovering what you want to do with your magic Resources Mentioned:Life and Death in Strawberry LandConnect with Autumn: Autumn's WebsiteAutumn's InstagramGet in Touch:How to Be HumanHow to Be Human InstagramAnna's InstagramNina's InstagramBook a session with Anna
43. Attachment
Sep 20 2022
43. Attachment
Perhaps the only silver lining of learning about your attachment style is realizing that it can be healed and repaired, or at least that’s how Anna sees it. On today’s episode, Nina and Anna unpack their results from the Attachment Style Quiz and discuss the current research behind how attachment styles are formed. They reflect on familial and biological factors that they believe have influenced their attachment styles and the work that they continue to do to become more secure individuals. There are four main attachment styles: anxious, avoidant, disorganized, and secure. They start to develop in utero, are put into place by 18 months old, and firmly developed by the age of four. Anna explores how her anxious attachment most likely came from experiencing emotional neglect as a child and not getting the comfort that she needed. She illustrates how this has affected her as an adult and how she’s working on cultivating safe connections. On the other end of the spectrum, Nina’s test result revealed that she has secure attachment. She admits that if she had answered the questions 10 years earlier, the results might’ve been different, but she’s learned to openly express her emotions and depend on her husband. She shares her perspective on attachment styles as a mother and ways that she sees it showing up in her four-year-old son. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, or on your favorite podcast platformTopics Covered:Psychologist John Bowlby‘s work on attachment theoryHow your early relationship with your caregivers influences how you build relationships as an adultLooking at the relationship between intergenerational trauma and attachment stylesWhen the workload of motherhood starts to overshadow the emotional and physical needs of a child The body and intuition component of attachment styles Resources Mentioned:Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find - and Keep - Love by Amir Levine and Rachel HellerAdult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents by Lindsay C. Gibson  Get in...
42. Blame
Sep 13 2022
42. Blame
Nobody likes to be blamed for anything, yet so many of us are quick to dump responsibility on someone else or shift away from accountability. It makes it hard to learn from mistakes and see opportunities for empathy. So if no one likes being on the receiving end, why do we do it? Anna and Nina explore why people resort to blame and how it often comes from being scolded for errors or misunderstandings. In their experience, the constant reach for perfection can cloud your judgment and make you second guess your intuition. Anna and Nina discuss how the blame cycle showed up in their professional lives and the lessons they learned from working in environments where blaming was the norm.Nina digs into how her relationship with blame has changed a lot over the years and how she’s learned how to flip the narrative and take ownership over her life. A lot of that is due to practicing sitting in discomfort and embracing emotions head-on. Anna and Nina also share examples from their personal lives where they’ve been blamed or done the blaming, and what they’ve taken away from those situations. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, or on your favorite podcast platformTopics Covered:The relationship between shame and blame Where compassion ends and accountability begins Developing coping skills and upholding professional boundaries The difference between confidence and experience Finding ways to tolerate and move through discomfort Resources Mentioned:Dr. Brené Brown on Blame Get in Touch:How to Be HumanHow to Be Human InstagramAnna's InstagramNina's InstagramBook a session with AnnaBook a session with Nina
41. Anger
Sep 6 2022
41. Anger
Anger is often seen as a volatile, intense reaction, but it’s crucial to let yourself feel the full range of emotions. Unfortunately, women are held to a different standard when it comes to expressing anger and are often made to feel like their experience is invalid. On today’s episode, Anna and Nina discuss their relationship with anger and how they work to channel that energy into a positive, actionable behavior. As a collective, we’ve become so desensitized to men’s anger and have thousands of ways to deflect women’s anger. Even when a woman feels impassioned about something, she’s labeled as ‘dramatic’ (or worse), and told to just chill. Nina notes that if a woman expresses her anger in a professional environment, she’ll be put in a dangerous situation. As a result, women usually mask their emotions until something tips them over the edge. So when does anger become a problem? Anna and Nina chat about how they practice sitting with anger and finding ways to process their emotions. They also touch on the possibility of anger as a secondary emotion一it makes feel like we're doing something, but it can sometimes hold us back from addressing what we’re actually feeling. Listen in to hear Anna and Nina’s conversation about embracing anger and finding the lessons in it.  Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, or on your favorite podcast platformTopics Covered:What it feels like to be gaslit about your anger Growing up with parents who had a temper Rethinking frustration, irritation, and annoyance as unprocessed rageThe biological response behind anger Deciphering collective versus personal anger Validating and moving through your emotions Resources Mentioned:@notquitebeyonceBreaking Free from Good-Girl Conditioning with Robin Clark on Beyond Beauty Project: The Podcast  Get in Touch:How to Be HumanHow to Be Human InstagramAnna's InstagramNina's InstagramBook a...
40. Hope and Purpose
Aug 30 2022
40. Hope and Purpose
Anna and Nina have realized that they tend to attract clients that want answers about their purpose in life, or are looking to generate hope around things that feel impossibly hard. So many of us go about seeking purpose backwards and struggle with feeling like we need to be good enough for our destiny, rather than accepting that purpose is neutral and exists in many containers. Anna and Nina discuss the expansiveness of purpose and how to look within in order to embody it. Nina also shares her message to any parents out there who struggle with finding purpose in their parenting and touches on the damaging nature of perfectionism, especially when it comes to raising children. Part of tapping into your purpose requires a sense of hope, but also a stripped down version of your expectations and an honest look at reality. Anna and Nina chat about how hope can sometimes feel like a delusion, but it’s important to not overindulge in your own angst and get bogged down by negativity. They bring up how they work on hopefulness with clients who are struggling with particularly tender difficulties, including infertility and heartbreak. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, or on your favorite podcast platformTopics Covered:Why it’s important to remove all of the things that make us doubt our innate purpose The misconception that purpose is a single thing A reflection exercise for anyone who feels like they don’t know where to start looking for their purpose Having the courage to take action and learn from failure  What it feels like to be out of sync with your desireProducing genuine hope and belief, not toxic positivity Resources Mentioned:The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love by Sonya Renee Taylor  Get in Touch:How to Be HumanHow to Be Human InstagramAnna's InstagramNina's InstagramBook a session with AnnaBook a session with Nina
39. Jealousy and Competition
Aug 23 2022
39. Jealousy and Competition
We know that if we want to go far, we need to go together, and yet many of us struggle with feelings of jealousy, rivalry, and competition. Anna has a relatively healthy relationship with jealousy in that she can admit when she feels it, but she doesn't personalize it. Same goes for when other people are jealous of her一she’s become more aware of it, but simultaneously more open to understanding where their emotions stem from. When it comes to competition, though, Anna has noticed that she can lead herself astray because she was so focused on winning. Nina has a pretty similar experience with jealousy and competition. When those feelings come up, she tries to dig deeper on what she actually wants and how she can make it happen in her life. She and Anna agree that social media has completely changed the nature of competition. All of the sudden, we’re up against people who we don’t know, and so much of our brain space is consumed by people who don’t even know we exist. Listen in to hear Anna and Nina’s conversation unpacking the spectrum of jealousy and competition. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, or on your favorite podcast platformTopics Covered:How Anna and Nina work through feelings of jealousy and competition Learning to define and measure success for yourself The toxic nature of gossiping and shit-talking Confronting the fear of being perceived as too much, but also not enough The lack of celebration for uniquenessRecognizing when your desire to win takes over your current peace and happiness Get in Touch:How to Be HumanHow to Be Human InstagramAnna's InstagramNina's InstagramBook a session with AnnaBook a session with Nina
38. Learning Lessons
Aug 16 2022
38. Learning Lessons
Applying life lessons sounds so clear and easy, but actually embodying what you know and putting it into practice can be challenging. On today’s episode, Anna and Nina talk about some of the major things that they’ve had to learn the hard way, and what sort of lessons they’re currently working through. One of the most transformative lessons that Anna has learned is that she doesn't have to take everything so personally一sometimes things just happen. She’s also become a fan of approaching self-care with the 80/20 mindset and has realized the importance of keeping her tools and routines updated. Nina shares how she applies the lesson of not taking on other people’s emotions, especially in heated situations. She’s learned that when you match someone's energy, then you become it. When it comes to motherhood, she’s been demonstrating to her son that it's okay to take breaks and honor what your body is telling you. Anna and Nina discuss moments of young naivatee, including Anna realizing that you can be open to connecting with new people, but also have consideration for their feelings and vulnerability. Nina looks back on her trip to Tanzania and how that opened her eyes to ways that we make assumptions about other cultures, and also how much you can understand someone who has a very different lived experience than you. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, or on your favorite podcast platformTopics Covered:Effectively managing your emotions through self-regulation Learning to treat yourself kindly and softly when you need it Finding the happy medium between not abandoning yourself, but also allowing yourself flexibility Dismantling the illusion of security that back-or-white thinking provides Working to address your internal biases Get in Touch:How to Be HumanHow to Be Human InstagramAnna's InstagramNina's InstagramBook a session with AnnaBook a session with Nina
37. Tarot
Aug 9 2022
37. Tarot
On today’s episode, Anna and Nina do a deep dive on the origins of Tarot, explain their approach to reading, and address some of the common misconceptions about the practice. Traditionally, Tarot is a pack of 78 cards with five suits, but there have been endless variations since the original Italian Visconti-Sforza deck debuted around the year 1450. At its core, Tarot is used as a way to gain insight into one's life and tap into the past, present, and future. But, as Anna and Nina discuss in the episode, some practitioners deviate from that and engage in harmful or manipulative tactics. Anna and Nina share how they were first introduced to Tarot and what inspired them to pursue it further. They break down some of the key processes involved with reading, including keeping objectivity in check and honoring humility. They also touch on what Tarot has taught them about themselves, humanity, and the freedom of interpretation. Listen to hear more about Anna and Nina’s approach and experience with Tarot. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, or on your favorite podcast platformTopics Covered:A brief overview of the history of Tarot card reading How Tarot challenges the binary Anna and Nina’s perspectives on the role of Spirit in Tarot reading Mainstream fear and apprehension surrounding Tarot What concerns Anna and Nina about certain modern psychic trainings Success stories and challenges from client sessions The importance of defining and protecting your boundaries as a Tarot reader Advice for people who are thinking about getting a reading done or want to buy their first Tarot deck Resources Mentioned:Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Book of Tarot by Rachel Pollack Aeclectic TarotNamaste BookshopGet in Touch:How to Be HumanHow to Be Human InstagramAnna's InstagramNina's InstagramBook a session with...
36. Love Languages
Aug 2 2022
36. Love Languages
Expressing and receiving love is something that seems universal, but communication styles, especially when it comes to romantic relationships, are highly individualized and nuanced. On today’s episode, Nina and Anna use Dr. Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages as a jumping off point to reflect on their current and previous partnerships and discuss how their perspectives on love and marriage have changed throughout the years. From Anna’s POV, Nina’s marriage seems effortless and intuitive. Nina describes how she and Huê have non-negotiables that they don’t need to talk about, but there have definitely been changes in their relationship after having a child. She illustrates her marriage as two vines that sometimes grow apart, but always grow together, which is something that Nina wants and isn’t willing to give up on. They emphasize how important it is to let go of the patriarchal message that a successful partnership requires major compromise, even at the cost of your identity. For so many people looking for love, it's hard to imagine something different than what they’ve always experienced. Anna expresses her desire for a partner who has a strong sense of self, but finds that hetero men are so often threatened by her strength and independence. Nina encourages her to hold out for someone who not only accepts Anna for who she fully is, but also lifts her up and enriches her life. Join Anna and Nina as they unpack how their love language styles have played a role in their approach to love, partnership, and marriage. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, or on your favorite podcast platformTopics Covered:Nina and Anna’s thoughts on the concept of love languages and what their experience was like taking the quiz The importance of taking responsibility for letting your partner know what you need and want How Nina’s husband has demonstrated gentleness, sensitivity, and loveAnna’s reflections on things that are holding her back from seeking and receiving love right now Examining internalized patriarchal and misogynist belief systems about marriage Resources Mentioned:Five Love Language Quiz  Heartburn by Nora EphronGet in Touch:How to Be HumanHow to Be Human Instagram