Jennifer Wallace 00:04
I went through, you know, decades of dysregulation, and that can show up sometimes, or that little girl inside of me that scared, that doesn’t feel worthy of receiving love time, energy, money, whatever that is. She shows up, and I can’t let her show up to drive my day. So I will even use visualization as like, what’s the stay gonna look like? How do I want it to be, I’m the creator of my life, and I take full responsibility for how I move into the world.
Kristin Taylor 00:48
Hello, and welcome to How I Made It Through. My name is Kristin Taylor, and I’m an executive coach. This podcast is based on the immortal words of Robert Frost who said, the best way out, is always through. Through this platform, I get the honor of sharing remarkable stories of courage in the face of challenge stories that encourage us to step into our lives, even and especially into the heart places, allowing whatever it is that we are facing to shape and transform us mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. My hope is that the people I introduce you to, will provide a much needed sense of inspiration, deepening your trust in yourself that whatever you’re facing, you two will find your way through. May you see yourself in their stories, and may their wisdom how to light your way. In today’s episode, you will meet Jennifer Wallace. Jennifer is a neuro somatic intelligence coach for brain based wellness, as well as a trauma informed psychedelic integration coach. Her podcast, trauma rewired is an extension of her belief that healing behavior change, and then the life you desire are entirely possible through the foundation of a safe nervous system. Jennifer shares how for her a diagnosis of breast cancer served as the portal to her awakening and healing. She candidly shares how she came to understand the dangerous role that stress and trauma played in her life over the years, and how she not only learned the tools to become more regulated herself, but how she has made her life’s work to share this vital information and practices with others. In our conversation, Jennifer shares her belief that we are spirits in human form. We are spirits who take on a 3d human body for which the nervous system serves as the operating system. She explains how this operating system controls every single one of our life experiences from respiration and digestion, all the way to our ability to experience joy and connection with others. With this framework in mind, she teaches her clients easy and simple daily practices, drills that can help us finally feel regulated, to feel balanced, and most essentially, to feel safe. It is only when we experience safety in our nervous systems that we can ideally perform from a place of fullness to all of who we are. Hello, Jennifer, welcome to How I Made It Through.
Jennifer Wallace 03:37
Hi, Kristin, thank you so much for having me. I’m really looking forward to our conversation today.
Kristin Taylor 03:43
I am too I am too I want to share with the audience that you and I have already met. And so we come to this compensation conversation with some intentionality. And I would like to start by reading how you describe yourself what you do, because I feel like that’s such a great way of getting the conversation started. So I’ll go ahead and read that and then I’ll frame up the conversation and then we’ll just see where it takes us.
Jennifer Wallace 04:11
Kristin Taylor 04:12
Okay. So this is in your words, it says “Jennifer is the intersection where the mind, body and soul meet to heal, balance and thrive. She is a neuro somatic intelligence coach for brain based wellness, and is a trauma informed psychedelic integration coach. Her podcast, trauma rewired is an extension of her belief that healing, behavior change and then life you desire are possible through the foundation of a safe nervous system.” So first of all, wow, that’s amazingly cool. And I know that when people do that kind of work at that kind of depth. They don’t just land They’re like, I’m going to be a banker. I’m going to be a chef. I’m going to be a pilot. Right? There’s a lot that happened in your life. They got you there. Can you share a little bit about your story and how you landed there just to get us started?
Jennifer Wallace 05:17
Sure, yeah, I, I used to lead a completely different life than I do. Now. I was severely dysregulated. Growing up, although I didn’t really understand the reasons why until a few years ago, when I really started a healing journey. In 2009, I was traveling through Turkey and was kidnapped and delivered actually to a sex trafficking house. And that furthered my dysregulation, I was really showing up. In my life, oscillating between what I now know is like a fight, flight freeze response, just really living that way. And having big protective outputs, like anxiety, depression, binge eating was a really great tool for me, food, really, I believe, saves my life. And then in 2014, all of that dysregulation eventually led to breast cancer. I was stage three diagnosed then at 37. Both of those stories are on trauma rewired for anyone who wants to hear them more in depth, they’re great, great stories, actually. And as you can see, I’m sitting here and fine. But breast cancer was really the portal to my awakening. And through my healing journey through nervous system work and working with plant medicine, I uncovered that I have early childhood sexual trauma. And that is really what was leading all of that dysregulation when I was growing up. And I think eventually also was a huge catalyst for cancer to manifest in my body. As we know, chronic stress is really dangerous when it lives in the body for too long. And I just, I really dove into healing my body and my mind and after the breast cancer.
Kristin Taylor 07:07
That’s so interesting. I thank you for sharing all that you have. And I think so many people, when you think about the race rates of breast cancer and how many people are living with autoimmunity and chronic stress and illness myself being someone who has been living with that for years, it just really speaks to me personally. When I speak with other people who are very dysregulated, very sick, some of whom are facing things like cancer, they go to their primary care doctor, they get some blood work done, and they say other than the cancer, you’re fine, there are no issues. Or they’re saying, and I have this come up all the time with clients just tired all the time. I feel sad all the time, or I feel checked out all the time, or I’m anxious all the time. They go to their primary care doctors, they get bloodwork and they are told repeatedly, you’re fine. And they end up feeling kind of crazy. Well, I know that I am not fine. How did you even know where to begin?
Jennifer Wallace 08:02
To be honest with you, when I got breast cancer. I mean, I was pretty surprised by that. I thought I led a fairly healthy lifestyle. I mean, apart from the anxiety and depression, like the things I mentioned earlier, I was a yoga practitioner and teacher, I was drinking green drinks. And then but on the other flip side of that I was drinking massive amounts of alcohol as part of also a coping mechanism. And I don’t have any addictions necessarily, I have had dependencies on those things in the past. But when I got breast cancer, I had her two positive breast cancer and her two positive is a protein gene that lives in our hearts and all of our hearts, men’s and women’s, and mine went mute and out of a toxic environment. And so at first it was like, okay, remove the deodorant, the shampoo, the Bath and Body Works, the you know, everything that didn’t seem real and natural. And that was the first part of my journey. And I changed. Basically, if I was not living that way, before I incorporated it into my life, I had a deep prayer and meditation practice. That actually stems from my experience of being taken in Turkey where I experienced divine intervention is what sort of led me into my spiritual path. And so by the time I got cancer, I really relied on a heavy spiritual practice as well. And I really regained a lot of connection on that path. And, you know, I have very big stories, right for the listeners out there and like you’ve got your own stories and anyone listening, we all have our own stories. And it’s not that my trauma is any bigger than anybody else’s. So we understand now that trauma is not the event, but it’s how trauma lives and expresses in the body. And I think that in general that can be a really abstract concept for people to really grasp. But trauma that lives in your body it presents in your life, and it affects how you show up in your life. It drives you into behaviors into emotional experiences into relationship patterns, because it’s your body’s subconscious mind. It’s your body and your subconscious mind reacting in this learned protective response over and over again, right. And that’s that chronic underlying stress when you are in a fight flight freeze response, you have a cascade of hormones that is constantly pumping through your body. And so some of our traumas that live in our bodies have been there for decades, potentially, maybe you don’t even remember the trauma, but your body is still responding to it over and over again. And because our brains are so smart, and every time we think about something that is either a good or a bad experience, we are able to recreate those emotional sensations in our body to re experience but a lot of times, we are re traumatizing ourselves, when we are reliving and re experiencing. And so for my own journey, what I’ve learned to do with applied neurology and reprogramming the work that we do at brain based wellness, is to really learn what my triggers are, and creating new reactions inside my body when I am triggered, right? It’s just a new level of altitude and awareness that exists in my life now,
Kristin Taylor 11:27
Man, oh, man, what you were saying speaks to me so deeply, I feel like you’re telling my story. You’re telling my story with a level of wisdom and experience that I wish I had met you 20 years ago. Because then I would go to a therapist and almost felt like it was very traumatizing telling my story again. And I’m like, all of these symptoms are not getting better. Yeah, when you’re in the midst, so you have this wake up call with the cancer with the breast cancer. You’ve already had the spiritual practice, you had divine intervention with the abduction in Turkey. For people who feel like I don’t know where to go, you are one of the people that they can go to. How did you even begin this process of learning to discovery to get you to where you are today? I hear meditation, I hear spiritual relationship, I hear yoga, you’re getting cancer treatments, they’re getting cancer treatments. What are they Google what phone calls they make? How do we even know where to go?
Jennifer Wallace 12:28
Well, I think it all begins within internal felt sense of almost not accepting what what your doctors are saying to you. Like, when I went to say my oncologist, you know, and I was like, I’m gonna change this in my diet. And I’m doing this and that, and I’ve got this acupuncturist, and I’m working with this holistic Foundation, they did not want to hear any of that, that was up to me, and really my beliefs of what I thought was true. And I deeply believe that our bodies are incredibly resilient, and are self healing machines if we have the right tools. And if we have the right mindset, and I was told, I went to say, when I found this tumor, it was October, and I went to five different doctors for a specialist, an oncologist just waiting for someone to tell me something that I related to. And no one was being very honest with me until I got to that fifth doctor, and he said, I, you know, I wanted to do everything natural. And he looked at me and he said, I love your plan. And I wish I could support you in that. But you will be dead by January if you do not do this treatment. And so I of course sign up, I had a port the following week and was in treatment within a couple of weeks from that. And I believe in balance, I, I believe in my own sovereignty, it’s my responsibility, my body, how it heals, how it moves is up to me. And the doctor can tell me, whatever, I’m just going to take that kind of with a go through a filtering system, and then decide what do I need to balance this treatment with in an Eastern way. And so I worked I did a lot of other supportive things for my body as it was going through treatment. You know, I wanted to give every organ support because it’s not like this. These toxins and poisons that are actually medicine are going into the body and saying, Okay, we’re just going to target this cancer cell. We’re not going to touch your liver or your kidneys or your heart. And that’s just not true. Chemo is cardiotoxic when it enters your body and so you have to support every function of your body. I find that that’s really important and I think I think when you are diagnosed with anything, any chronic illness or dis ease in the body, what you believe is possible, the spiritual support that you have if you are a believer in God Source Creator, the Buddha, whatever that is, believe in it, and accept help and support because the people that love you, and I know that you’ll identify with this as sometimes as women, especially hard driving women that are used to doing everything and showing up for everybody, and all the ways I’m filling our cups last, yes, it’s really challenging to ask for support. But it’s really fundamental. And a healing journey, I think, is to have community.
Kristin Taylor 15:31
While you’re so well spoken, you explained that so powerfully, can you break down what that looks like for you? So again, what I’m asking, and what I’m hearing is, whatever you believe, believe it. This mindset matters, that this medicine of chemotherapy is also really toxic. It’s not just completely targeted. And this mind body relationship matters so much. So give us an example, if you would, of what that looks like for you. Is it prayer? Is it meditation? Is it visualization? What are some of the tools that you use in your own healing?
Jennifer Wallace 16:06
When I had the tumor, the first thing that I did before I saw any doctors, and I had never done this before, but I intuitively went into a psilocybin journey. It was the first ceremony that I ever held for myself, and I drink this plant medicine and with the idea and intention that I would meet the cancer in my body. And that’s exactly what happened. I sat with that tumor, I recognized it, I spoke with it, and I met it where it was, and just honored the fact that there was something in my body that was trying to kill me. And I was not going to let that happen. I thanked it. Because there’s lessons in everything we always need to I think it’s really important to find the lessons, as we’re moving through journeys, of anything that’s going on in our lives into, to ask with curiosity, and to not judge yourself for where you are in the moment. Because judgment is such a low energy to it, you know, when you have an open an open mindset to meet what you’re dealing with, then you can ask your body what it needs from you, your body has ancient wisdom and divine intelligence that moves through it, it does have the answers. And so after that experience, and that journey, I really began to dive into prayer into meditation and into visualization for that part of my life. And that has never changed. When I am sitting down, I have an altar that I sit with every morning, I I pray to what I believe in who I believe in. And so I always say for me when I pray, that is me talking to God talking to source to my Creator. And then when I meditate, I get that communication back from source. And I love visualization not only in a healing practice, but in what I want. From my day I was sitting here just before we hit record, and shut my eyes for a moment because I want my guides to connect with your guides, I want you know, I want to welcome your energy into my space, and I want to be part of yours because although we are not in the same room, I believe that our consciousness is able to connect. And it I just want a smooth, nice, easy, flowing divine conversation with you that so I I’m kind of always using these practices, applied neurology is a daily practice for me, I regulate my nervous system as a lifestyle. I am someone who has been through a lot. And I didn’t discover nervous system healing. So I was about almost 40 I’m 45 now. And so I went through, you know, decades of dysregulation, and that can show up sometimes or that little girl inside of me that scared that doesn’t feel worthy of receiving love time, energy, money, whatever that is. She shows up, and I can’t let her show up to drive my day. So I will even use visualization as like, what sustained gonna look like how do I want it to be I’m the creator of my life, and I take full responsibility for how I move into the world.
Kristin Taylor 19:33
Jennifer, what you just said, touches me very deeply. Again, I feel like it’s marrying so much of my own experience as well as my own insights and even some of my own practices. And I want to slow this down and I want to unpack it so that people have as many takeaways in a concrete way as possible. I have so many things I want to say I’m like, Which part do I jump into, because you shared so much. One is the divine wisdom of the body. And I often think of, even when it is so painful on a spiritual level, I feel like my soul and the support of my guides have put particular challenges in my life. And they’re happening for me, not to me, because I’m here to learn, and part of my learning is healing. And that’s what I see resonant and reflected in you. So, know that. I want to return to that, as that makes sense in our conversation, but what I’m also really hearing is around this plant journey. Can you say a little bit more about why you chose that? Why you work with that? Why you work with psychedelics, so that people, I think there may be some people are like, whoa, okay, now we’re getting outer edges, I’d love to be able to demystify that a bit.
Jennifer Wallace 20:57
Sure. We are very closely related to plants. We have receptors that live in our bodies, that plants have different plant medicines have just like opioids have receptors that live in our bodies that we they attach to. And when you work with a plant medicine, I believe, getting back to that higher divine wisdom and knowledge that lives within us, plants are keys, and they unlock doors within us, which is why you know, if we go into ceremony together, your experience is going to be completely different from mine because you have a different life experience. And I discovered that I had early childhood sexual trauma in an Ayahuasca journey, the very first time I ever journeyed with Ayahuasca. And it’s just was, it was what I needed as a remembrance was that that plant medicine was a tool, it was just a key to unlock a door that had been locked and hidden for so long in my body, and I had buried it and not only had I buried it but with it was buried my essence self, the innocence of me that that spirit and, and youth and joyful person that, you know, that very young person that didn’t know that nothing was, you know, everything’s possible in the world, all of that got shut down. And through plant medicine, I was able to re experience the trauma with a different outcome. When you go into plant medicine journeys, you may have what seems like, you know, you hear about like bad trips, I don’t really believe in that necessarily, I’ve never witnessed it and any of the journeys that I’ve either guided or been a part of, or even in my own experiences, sometimes things get a little challenging. But if you meet that challenge, with gratitude and an open heart, it will bust you wide open and really often reframe your experience so that you can re shape the DNA that is attached to that trauma.
Kristin Taylor 23:11
Wow, okay, so can you thank you for sharing in that way that you just did? What is Ayahuasca?
Jennifer Wallace 23:17
Ayahuasca is the vine of the soul is what they say. And it’s ancient Amazonian plant medicine. And it’s two parts. It’s the Iosco vine mixed with DMT and DMT, you can do on its own through something either synthetic DMT, or something called buffo. And that’s the frog. The Sonoran Desert frog. And so I Alaska for me was, it was just the next level, I really felt called to work with it. After I sat with psilocybin so many times, I just felt like that was the next, the kind of next level and next step for me, and I felt like I needed a bigger wisdom, if you will, in a plant, they call that grandmother medicine. And I worked with Shipibo Indians, Shipibo people, which is it’s their ancient culture, in practice, I went through a beautiful resort. And I just want to say to, before we go any further on this, not any method of healing that calls to you. I think you should go and do that, you know, not I don’t think healing, any healing modality is a blanket for anybody to step into and think, Okay, I’m going to show you did that I’m going to go do that. If it calls to you do it, but not everything is for everybody. I love that. Right. And so plant medicine can be pretty scary. can be very intimidating, actually. Because if you have never been under the influence of a plant medicine, and you don’t understand the way that that can maybe shape. Maybe it’s hallucinogenic, right, maybe it’s a somatic experience in the body. It meets every Your body at different places. And I just, I just feel called to tell people that, you know, just wait for that to call to you do your research, find a center. Whenever you’re doing any trauma work, make sure that who you’re working with is trauma informed, because those people can re traumatize you absolutely can be re traumatized in a plant medicine experience if you you’re held in the wrong container.
Kristin Taylor 25:21
Absolutely. Absolutely. appreciate you saying that. What is psilocybin?
Jennifer Wallace 25:26
Psilocybin is mushrooms, magic mushrooms.
Kristin Taylor 25:29
Magic mushrooms. Okay. Yeah, the ones that I took in high school. Yeah, was a very different experience. I say that as joking about myself that talk about not really knowing what I’m doing and being completely dysregulated.
Jennifer Wallace 25:44
Well, it was interesting for me, that’s that when I went into that intuitive ceremony, when I got diagnosed, I did not know what I was doing. I had only used psilocybin recreationally. I knew I had a great relationship with it, I would do it a few times a year just to kind of dust the cobwebs off and reconnect. But I had never led a ceremony. And so that was just really intuitive. And I it changed my life.
Kristin Taylor 26:13
It changed your life. I mean, you’re hearing that it’s like breaking circuitry of trauma and breaking you open. And then I’m hearing you say that it was this practice of prayer, and meditation and visualization. You also mentioned applied neurology. Can you share with our listeners what that is?
Jennifer Wallace 26:31
You know, I believe that we are spirits in human form, right, we are spirits that take on a 3D human body. And the foundational aspect of this body, the operating system is a nervous system. And that nervous system is controlling all of our life experience, whether we’re able to connect with people to stay present, whether we feel panic and anxiety, if we have emotional reactivity, it controls our digestion or respiration, we are constantly taking in information that is getting filtered. And we take in information through our visual system through our vestibular system, there’s there’s many other input systems, and then the brain processes all of these inputs, and then you get an output. And so it’s driving our felt sense in the world, it drives our behavior, our behavior patterns. And so I think without the understanding and knowledge of how to work with your nervous system, it gets really difficult to create change in your life and to have emotional resilience and, and boundaries. Right I before I was living with a super leaky boundaries. And so once I started training my nervous system through functional, we say either functional or applied neurology. It was, which are easy tools, they take minutes out of the day, I have a deep understanding of where my deficits live in those input systems. And so they’re just respiration training, vagus nerve training vagus nerve is a huge buzzword right now in the trauma world. And so I train these systems every morning, and at different times throughout the day, before we recorded, I was sitting here with my Z vibe, doing some jaw work working with my accessory nerve, because I’m here to use my voice. And I want to feel comfortable with that. So when you use applied neurology, and that way, I’m not necessarily working with a deficit in my nervous system, I’m using a high performance tool that my nervous system feels safe with, so that I can expand into the world. So before we were hitting control, before we hit record on this conversation, I was doing some small drills, I was using an object that has a light vibration to it. And I was working with my accessory nerve and my hypoglossal nerve. And that’s because I’m using my voice. So I wanted to use highperformance drills, something that my nervous system feels very safe with so that my performance level goes up, in this case by performance level is communication. But I might use drills when I go to the gym and I’m training so I can get better rotations, stronger movement. Just when the brain feels safe. The body has more more capability for setting boundaries, having conversations, my emotional resilience. I’m a Pilates instructor. So I do drills with my classes every morning so that they feel safe in their bodies so their bodies feel safe for just bigger movement. Stronger movement.
Kristin Taylor 29:48
Yeah, that’s so interesting. I love this idea of our body as an operating system. I just want to underscore that that we are spiritual beings in human form and it takes a lot of responsibility to understand How to be in harmony and operate our system. And all these inputs I relate. So Well, would you be open to teaching even one or two ways? Some of these drills that people can walk away going, Okay, well, this is one input system, whether it’s visual or kinesthetic, or whatever it is something that you can share with us.
Jennifer Wallace 30:21
Sure, I think a very, we use respiration training as a foundation for safety in our nervous system. And I think one of the easiest tools is straw breathing, which you would do in encounter three through your nose, pause at the top, and then exhale through pursed lips, like you’re breathing out of a straw for a larger count, like maybe six. And so if you do that, for six rounds, takes about a minute, it’s really easy to do. And it should change the way that you feel inside that internal landscape that we talked about, it should really help turn on that parasympathetic nervous system that rest and digest. The thing about doing nervous system work is that all of us have very unique nervous systems. my nervous system is different from your nervous system, different from the listeners nervous system. And so the drills that might be a high reward payoff for me might not necessarily be a high reward payoff for you. And some of the work that we do some of the biggest work that we do a brain based wellness is empowering you to be the master of your nervous system.
Kristin Taylor 31:32
Yeah, that’s my go to straw breathing ratio. Breathing. Yeah, that is my go to it’s so helpful.
Jennifer Wallace 31:38
Breathing is great. Box breathing is another great tool.
Kristin Taylor 31:42
Can you can you explain box breathing, box breathing?
Jennifer Wallace 31:46
I like a count of four, you breathe in for four paws for four, exhale for four and then pause for four at the bottom. And I do also do about six of those when I’m doing breathe work.
Kristin Taylor 31:58
Yeah, to your point that everyone’s nervous system is so very different. And that we ultimately have to take responsibility for understanding our own operating systems, in order to regulate to heal, to find safety, share a little bit more. And again, I want to encourage people to go to trauma rewired, you have so many stories. And your story is a very compelling, very deeply upsetting one when you shared with me about the abduction in Turkey. But I think knowing you to the extent that I do now that it’s not just about the story, it’s really about the recovery, and finding yourself. Will you tell me a little bit more about your healing journey and what you currently do it? Would you call yourself a clinician or a coach? I knew I said that at the beginning, but I want to use the right verbage.
Jennifer Wallace 32:48
Yes, I am a neuro somatic intelligence coach, neuro somatic, that’s how I am certified. Okay. And for other coaches who might be listening to this right now or even you brain based wellness is the work of Elizabeth Kristoff. And in a few months, actually, maybe around the time that this podcast is airing, there will be training offered through brain based wellness, Elizabeth is pairing up with Matt Bush, who is one of the founders of the applied neurology that we use through healing. And Melanie Weller, who is a vagus nerve expert, as well as uses mythology in the body with anatomy. And so through that work, it’s about understanding the neurology of trauma, how it lives in the body, how we can find it, what we can do to heal it, how we can change the internal landscape so that the external landscape your experience in the world also changes. But somatic means of the body. So we use EFT, Emotional Freedom tapping with that, and we process that residual clogged drain of emotion basically, is how I refer to it because as trauma gets stored in the body, and you’re left with these emotional memories that live in there, you know, the body is a highly intellectual memory system. And it it understands, you know, you get that that idea sometimes you walk into a room, you get that feeling like oh, this does not feel good. You know, that’s your interoceptive system. That’s your intuition. Yes, your spiritual bodies, your emotional body, your physical body. All this is deeply deeply a mesh, there is no separation, right?
Kristin Taylor 34:32
I’m so loving that you say that? Yes.
Jennifer Wallace 34:35
Yeah and your body is your body is vibing. At the present moment, it’s always picking up all the different cues and signals but if you are neglecting the intricacies of our physiology or our physiology, your mood, your finances, intimacy, productivity, whatever it is, and anything that’s important to you, all of that is going to be dictated by your body. That’s why your nerves assistance.
Kristin Taylor 35:00
That is right. That is right. So when I think about this, and I really appreciate that you use the word interoception. When I think about people, children in particular, and all of us were once children, we were highly adaptive to trauma, given the families of origin, given the circumstances, the cultural but happy that we grew up in. And part of that adaptation in order to survive, was to shut down. So interoception to slow it down. And I’m sure you can speak to this more comprehensively or intelligently and from an more informed way than I. But interoception is the internal felt sense of being inside the body, it is that relationship to be in human form. And it really correlates to different parts of the brain, it’s really helps us when we can be embodied, to connect to our feelings, our sensations, thus, improving our ability to connect with others have empathy, right? So when, however, there’s been a history of trauma, the adaptation is to block that. So it may not even the neglect is I survived. I only know I blocked it, I will often ask clients that I’m working with if they’re having an emotion, where do you feel that? And if they have a history of trauma, often I will get a blank stare of like, I don’t even understand that question. I don’t even know where to start new mean, where do I feel that? And they’ll say, I feel it, I guess I’m crying, I feel tears. Right? Or I feel nothing. How do you work?
Jennifer Wallace 36:36
I experienced that too, with my own clients.
Kristin Taylor 36:39
Yeah. What do you do with that?
Jennifer Wallace 36:41
Well, your interoception, your interoceptive system. Like you said, it’s your it’s your ability to hear the signals that our body is sending us. And when we our brains only job is to keep us alive all day, every day. That is it. It runs on patterns and predictability of those patterns, drives your behaviors. It is the belief system, the limiting belief system often. And so when we’re little people, and we are dependent on our primary caregivers for our survival, but our primary caregivers are dysregulated, or we have the perceived feeling of neglect and abandonment, we will shut down and do what we need to ensure our own survival. And that often means some probably dissociation on our parts. Maybe as you grew up that you were told You’re too sensitive, you’re too much. So then you think okay, well, now my emotions are too much, I will just shut these down and be who the person my primary caregiver is so that I can get my needs met. And then we grow up as adults. And we enter these toxic relationships. And we have poor attachment styles. Maybe you’re not used to even expressing your emotion. And so if you like for me, I spent years of my life dissociated. I mean just years of my life I cannot even remember and from from a spiritual aspect or a trauma aspect. It’s hard to connect and understand how worthy and how magic you are when you are offline. Yes. And the vagus nerve is really great for bringing you back online because it’s a superhighway, that is it leaves your brainstem and then it goes and permeates every part of your body it touches every organ. And so that superhighway if you can imagine that it has 10 lanes to it. Eight of those lanes are delivering information up to your brain and only two lanes are delivering the brain information down back into the organs, right? So when you’re dissociated that vagus nerve is probably completely offline and once again getting back to not everybody is living in the same nervous system and vagus nerve work is such a huge buzzword. Some people don’t need vagus nerve work and need something else. So, you know, it’s just interesting to understand your nervous system as being unique but that vagus nerve apart from it being a superhighway it has many many different roles with your your blood pressure, your heart rate, and, and your interoceptive ability. And so, you know, it’s a key player in your parasympathetic nervous system response app that rest and digest system, it calms you down, calm and respond. And it’s really impactful. But with chronic stress over time, like the cut type of stress that we were talking about when you have early childhood trauma or any trauma. That vagus nerve will get damaged with the hormones that are pumping out like that cortisol and that adrenaline. Cortisol is not a bad thing, but it’s bad. When you are pumping it all the time, and you know, it can be very damaging.
Kristin Taylor 40:05
Yes, yes, I’m really connecting to what you’re saying. And I have so many questions. So I’m going to try to limit them. I swear, I could talk to you for hours, like I don’t know where you live, but we need to, like, go out a long, long walk and talk. So I see an intuitive coach, and he said something that was really, really powerful to me, because I was lamenting some of my symptoms that again, are these Wake Up Calls to, to being out of balance and saying things, you need to pay attention to some things. And I was lamenting the cortisol and the adrenaline and the auto immunity. And he said, You know, there’s nothing wrong with adrenaline and cortisol, they’re really quite important and quite wise, and what would it be like to shift to thanking them? And I said, Okay, I guess I need to thank my disease, and is a no, no, no, don’t even say, disease. It’s your body. It’s your body. And it’s doing what it’s supposed to do. And it’s doing it quite well. And now it’s time to pay attention and to practice different things, which it sounds you do a lot. What I’m also really appreciating Jennifer is often people talk about the importance of positive thinking, and just mindset and positive thinking. And it just really worries me when I hear that having been someone who is a survivor of trauma, and it’s like I can positive thing all day long. But when my body’s alarm systems are going off, like there’s a five along fire. It’s really frustrating. Right? And it doesn’t feel like it’s actually doing the healing work. And it’s not honoring this Mind, Body Spirit. Connection, not separate parts of me, but the totality of me. So I’m really appreciating all that you’re saying to shed light on that. Can you share one and I know deep breathing is a way of toning the vagus nerve. But do you have any other vagus nerve toning exercises that someone could walk away from this meeting? Nervous?
Jennifer Wallace 42:04
Yes, I do. And I want to, I want to say something to and speak to what you just said, because, you know, we’ve been through things and our bodies are doing the best that they can to keep us alive. Like it’s just what it is. And that’s what getting back to the awareness and the and the curiosity. You know, it’s it’s not to look at your body with judgment, oh, I got cancer all I got auto immune. It’s like, why did this happen? And what can I do to to help that now? Yeah, what I recommend people start with because the vagus nerve innervates in your mouth as well. And so if you shut your lips, do this with a closed mouth, relax the jaw, and begin doing tongue circles around your mouth. And what I like to do too, is there’s always, when we’re working in applied neurology, this idea of assessing and reassessing, right, because when change happens at the level of the nervous system, it happens lightning fast, we know if we do a drill immediately, if that was a positive or a negative drill, and so saliva in your mouth, that’s a good sign that you are in a rest and digest place in your nervous system. And so if you shut your mouth, loosen up your jaw, and then just begin doing tongue circles around your mouth, like just touch every tooth, go back into the gums as far as you can, as far back as you can, I say, start with three either way, and then see how you feel. See what’s the internal felt sense inside. But also, you can check your rotation. As I was saying before, when the body feels safe, you will get larger rotation, right, when you’re in fight or flight, you go forward, the body doesn’t need for you to turn around and get big movement, you are meant to go fight all that. Getting back to this as my thought getting back to the adrenaline cortisol, like say you’re going for weight training, you want a little bit more of that fight system, right? We want the brain to send more tension to the muscles more blood there because we’re about to use them to, to for power. And so that rest and digest system like we don’t need to be in parasympathetic state when we’re going to do something like that, right? We want to feel safe with it. But we don’t want to rest right? So a good easy way to test your range of motion with rotation is to sit up nice and tall. And just keeping the chin nice and even to just check your rotation. How what does my neck feel like when it rotates either way, and we don’t want to press it. It’s just once again, with curiosity, see what it looks like use your eyes to lead the movement. See what it looks like on either side. Do your tongue circles and then see if you get more rotation and your neck if you get less rotation, that might not be a good drill for you, it’s tends to tongue circles tend to be a pretty good one for most people. But once again, you may have to play with, well, maybe I need to do one tongue circle, maybe I need five tongue circles, maybe I need to speed it up, maybe I need to slow it down. So all of that is unique to you.
Kristin Taylor 45:21
Yeah, I really appreciate how it’s not prescriptive. And what it requires of you, when you are practicing these things, trying these things out is just to pay attention. And even the act of paying attention increases interoception, increases awareness increases mindfulness, that sort of task positive network of I’m just going to tune into this one thing, which in and of itself is valuable. This is really fantastic.
Jennifer Wallace 45:46
1005 awareness is another skill that you cultivate over time. You know, the more you practice anything the the better you get at it, right? What you what you do, you get better at, and you can get great at going into pain. If you get great at pushing through pain, you will just better at moving through pain, you are just you’re just carving out that neural pathway even better, if you are great at going into anxiety, you’re gonna go into anxiety really easy, because that’s a really well worn pathway. If you want to be a pianist, and you practice the piano every day, you’re gonna get better at practicing the piano. So what you do you get better at Yeah, whatever that is good or bad. The brain doesn’t be like, Oh, I better not go into anxiety because that’s not good for me. That anxiety is keeping you alive.
Kristin Taylor 46:34
Right, right. Yeah, I’ve become like an aficionado and anxiety repeated, but I could feel it. I’m like my two girls. Slippery slope right into anxiety. Just a quick little thought. Just send me there.
Jennifer Wallace 46:48
All right, so try those tongue circles.
Kristin Taylor 46:51
I you know, the audience can’t see me. But you’re talking everything you’re saying. I’m all the tongue is doing everything. Yeah, I love it. I love it. Yeah. And with the, because I do teach my clients also about you know, moving the head back and forth. And then I teach them the basic, I’m sure that you’re aware of the basic that is a shoulder injury. Another another issue, frozen shoulder, more on on, expressed anger. It is now trapped in my shoulder. So I am definitely on my journey of healing and what you are saying just I hope it speaks to people in the way that it’s speaking to me and I can’t imagine that that it wouldn’t. As we go into segwaying into the last part of our interview today. I’d love to hear more about some of the whether it’s foundations or principles like if someone is like, explain what you do. Is there anything that you have yet to share that feels important to give a well rounded idea of of your practice with your clients?
Jennifer Wallace 47:55
Well, actually, you just brought up anger in the body. And I think anger and emotional work is really very important. I brought up that kind of clogged drain analogy. And I do believe that when we have held emotion in the body, and sometimes we don’t know what that is, right? There’s these quote negative emotions like grief, anger, rage, it’s like, you know, as humans, we are meant to express and feel this full spectrum of emotion. And when you are repressing anger, or rage or sadness or grief, are you really experiencing happiness and joy and and connection? And so that anger or whatever it is that is living in your body? It is clogging the vitality from moving through your body and what is available when that when that’s unclogged. When that is free. What can you create? Who are you really because that essence self that gets buried when you have trauma, when you are not showing up as who you are as as divine intelligence and source energy. It just all gets buried away and through EFT Emotional Freedom tapping, we can move that energy out of the body. That’s what emotion is. It’s just energy in motion. And unlike our animal counterparts, right, who are out there in the world getting faced with their mortality, every time they step out into the plains out of the bush, wherever they are even my cat out there hunting. You know, she is probably faced with her mortality every second and does not have PTSD. She goes out there every day. Right? Those animals get right back out there. Those gazelles they’re not scared of that tiger that they just got away from because they shake it off. They have ways to process their experiences, right? They complete their stress response cycle that fight that flight that freeze. They get up they shake it off and as humans we are not really taught that. How many of us If we’re angry at some point, and we’re told, Oh, it’s okay, don’t let them see you like that you’ve got it, everything’s fine. And or maybe go to your room. Right? This emotion is not acceptable. Yes, that’s right. And so you’re just shut down. And one of the things I work with with my clients is once we can get through to expressing those emotions and doing anger work, there is so much freedom in anger work. And I tell them, like when you get triggered, you know, if I’m at the grocery store, and you know, I’m someone who has sexual trauma, and I can get triggered really easily into threat by just the way that a man looks at me, right? Sometimes a man will look at you and you’re like, wow, he thinks I’m pretty, that’s really nice. He’s seems quite passive, I’m not scared. And then another man will look at you a completely different way. Or maybe you see that he’s on a different aisle, as you now maybe it feels like he’s following you. A threat response starts to move in and through my body, and I start to get into these fight or flight and fight will really come out with me sometimes when I feel threatened by another person. And I will immediately go out into my car, I’ll start tapping through it, what is going on in my body? What am I experiencing? And I might stand there as I might sit in my car and scream and beat my steering wheel and try to process that out immediately. Or else that response is probably going to throw me into a binge so that I can settle my nervous system. Food is a brilliant way. Yeah. For regulation.
Kristin Taylor 51:28
Yes, yes. Yes. Got it. So interesting that you bring this up, you know, the synchronicity of life, at least I’ll say, for myself, I’ve been doing so much in terms of exploring anger, again, because of this really painful condition with my shoulder. But it has woken me up to the fact that I have had this unprocessed energy locked in. And so the idea of either the EFT the emotional freedom tapping technique, or going into the car, I mean, I think, you know, there’s a sense of, Well, if I’m being mindful, I’m sort of in the Zen relaxed state. And that’s where I need to be forever, rather than this whole spectrum of emotion. And maybe it requires screaming or banging your steering wheel, but that is just moving the energy. And we are entitled to access and express our anger, which is a big shift
Jennifer Wallace 52:14
100% 100%. And it’s important if anger and rage is sacred emotion, there’s so if you’re experiencing overwhelm, overwhelm typically has an undercurrent of anger associated to it.
Kristin Taylor 52:30
I love that. So true. So very, very true. All right. Well, as we segue out, I am deeply appreciative of not only that you share this from a place, I mean, it could have sounded very academic and dry. And like, here are some lessons on regulating your nervous system. But the immediacy with which you connect it to your own experience, I think has made it very accessible and meaningful. So I’m just in a place of their appreciation for what you bring and how you do it. How do people connect with you, if they want to work with you, they want to learn more, what do they do to connect with you,
Jennifer Wallace 53:06
in the shownotes, you will have a link to my linktree and through linktree you will find a free link to a consultation, you’ll find access to the podcast Season One of the podcasts was about exploring all different types of modalities of healing, which I completely support and believe in and engage in my own practices with but I believe and you know, do all of those things, but train your nervous system, I think is the most important thing that anyone can be doing. And on trauma rewired on the second season, we’re really breaking the nervous system down in really short, easy, digestible episodes. So hopefully you can hear our own experiences mixed with our healing and what the nervous system is. It is a it is a podcast rooted in science, but it’s also completely relatable. Yeah. And so on my linktree, you’ll find a link to your listening, your favorite listening platform, and my website and a free neuro training series as well through brain based wellness man toolkit, you can see if the work is good for you.
Kristin Taylor 54:09
Yeah, well, I you definitely got you adopted me as a listener for sure. And I’m hopeful there will be many more because this is vital. This is absolutely vital. There’s so much trauma going on. And it feels like there’s this raising of consciousness that you can’t just think your way out of it. But we are embodied and I love the spiritual approach you take so.
Jennifer Wallace 54:27
Well, you know, apart from whether you have whatever your traumatic experiences are, or are not we live in a world that is completely dysregulated there’s a lot of fear out there. There’s a lot of war internally and externally. And you know, if you don’t agree with the oppressive systems, you have to break the internal systems of oppression first before that moves out into the world and you do that through your nervous system by showing up differently by by feeling radically empowered by having self Love and self worth and compassion, which is not what the system wants you to have you. You’re at war all the time out there in the world.
Kristin Taylor 55:09
Exactly. Your your message is so powerful and so right on. Thank you so much, Jennifer, this was amazing.
Jennifer Wallace 55:18
Oh, thank you so much. Thank you for creating this safe space for me to share and for the energy that you bring to this podcast and the just supportive container for me, I really appreciate it.
Kristin Taylor 55:29
My pleasure. My pleasure here. Amazing. Thank you, you are amazing as well.
Jennifer Wallace 55:34
So thank you.
Kristin Taylor 55:38
Today’s episode was especially meaningful to me. As someone who has spent far too many years feeling anxiety, panic, and overall nervous system dysregulation. That without having the insight, or words to explain my inner experience of just been alive. It is a profound gift to learn to be inspired by someone who has all this time and training to provide a route forward for me and for others for all of us. It’s not just reframing our thoughts, or having a mindset of positivity. Although those are both so important. It is really the necessity to rewire our brain and body. It is so critical to experience liberation from suffering. My hope is that for those of you who also suffer from chronic nervous system dysregulation, that you too felt your own experience reflected in your insight and wisdom, and you to walk away from today’s episode with greater hope in your own capacity to heal. Our theme song and sound engineering was provided by Shane Suffriti. You can listen to more of Shane’s music atwww.shanesuffriti.com. If you have a story about making it through something that forever changed you or want to tell us what you think about our podcast, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you enjoyed today’s episode, we humbly ask that you share it with others. Thank you for listening. We’ll see you next time on How I Made It Through.
EIQ Media, LLC 57:18
How I Made It Through is produced and distributed by EIQ media LLC. Elevate your emotional IQ with podcasts and content focused on overcoming adversity, leadership, mental health, entrepreneurship, spiritually transformative experiences and more.