S3 E41

It’s no secret that wellness programs like Neuro Somatic Intelligence coaching often lack accessibility in marginalized communities, where populations most in need of such services are usually underserved and underprivileged. Unfortunately, these programs are often not tailored to meet the specific needs of these communities. Hence, there’s a pressing need to rethink our approach and become more innovative in how we deliver them.

Today, we’re joined by Martin Simms, one of our NSI coaches, who has exemplified this innovative approach. Martin has pioneered a sports-based youth development program called D.O.P.E., which utilizes sports and movement to support youth and adolescents in underserved communities, helping them overcome trauma and fostering life skills they might otherwise lack access to.

In this episode, Martin shares his personal journey with Neuro Somatic Intelligence coaching, detailing how it transformed his life. He discusses overcoming his own dissociative behaviors and the profound impact it had on his relationships, both with his wife and in raising his son. Additionally, Martin delves into the creative and effective methods employed in his program, illustrating how they’ve positively impacted lives within his community.

Tune in to discover how Martin is actively bridging the wellness gap between communities and much more!

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • ●  How dissociation showed up in Martin’s life
  • ●  Creative reflexive responses through neurowork
  • ●  Understanding the worldview of today’s youth
  • ●  How sports is the ultimate Neuro Somatic Intelligence experience
  • ●  How cultural relatability with coaches is crucial to create safe healing spaces
  • ●  Leveraging emotional contagion in sports to teach Neuro Somatic Intelligence
  • ●  The power in creating language around emotion
  • ●  How authenticity attracts aligned people and experiences  

Connect with Martin Simms: https://thedopestcoach.com/

Listen to more episodes of Trauma Rewired HERE

TRANSCRIPT:

Martin: And you start to understand those causes and effects and being in coaches. I just want coaches to understand their impact on both sides, right? Like if you in the ignorant, unconscious, just don’t know what you’re doing to the nervous system of your athletes. And I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that I was doing that to the refs. I didn’t know this is what I was radiating at the time. And then until I came down and came conscious of it and then did the inner work.  The inner work took an off season. It wasn’t the next game. You know what I mean? 

Martin: It’s an interesting space when you talk about volunteer sports, because the person that’s out there is still out there, right? They’re still there for these kids and that’s a noble thing, but they could also be doing more harm than good if they aren’t conscious about who they’re dealing with and what some people may have gone through,

Jennifer: Hello, welcome back to Trauma Rewired, the podcast that teaches you about your nervous system, how trauma lives in the body and what you can do to heal. I’m your co-host. Jennifer Wallace. I am a Neuro Somatic Psychedelic and Preparation Guide, and I’m also part of the education staff at the Neuro Somatic Intelligence Coaching Program.

Elisabeth: And I’m your co-host, Elisabeth Kristof, founder of brainbase.com, an online community where we train for nervous system health, resilience, and emotional expression. And I am the founder of the Neuro Somatic Intelligence Coaching Certification. Today it’s really exciting. We’re joined by another one of our NSI practitioners, Martin Sims. We’re talking a lot about how to get these tools into communities and to work with adolescents, youth, through using sports and movement as a way to make this neuro work more accessible. We go through a lot in this conversation, but it’s all around- how do we start to navigate bringing neuro work to more people in ways that are more accessible, more digestible, and then more impactful for the collective.

Jennifer: There are demographics and populations that have red lines in the wellness industry and that don’t have access to various fitness, lots of wellness. The world of neuro can be exclusive, and it shouldn’t be. The world of neuro should be inclusive and accessible for everybody because everybody has a nervous system. It’s so important that we develop ways that we can bring this work into these communities that might not have the financial resources to find us. And not only the financial resources, but have a person that looks like them to deliver the information in a way that is receptive. 

Elisabeth: Yeah, where they can see themselves and resonate and also in working with kids, you know, how do we start to make this something that they have any interest in and start to help them find these tools and reach them in a way that really makes nervous system health and understanding possible at a younger age.

Jennifer: And it was fun to explore sports and mental health. That’s not a conversation we’ve had on here before.

Elisabeth: It was really neat. It was interesting for me because that is how I got into neuro. I come from a movement background and movement is a beautiful segue into Neuro and somatic expression. And brain health is deeply linked with our movement abilities and sports are a somatic activity. So, it was a really fun and interesting conversation to explore all of this.

Jennifer: Yeah. Y’all enjoy this exploration with Martin Sims. Thank you so much. 

Jennifer: And if you’re interested in learning more about Neuro Somatic Intelligence and being certified and bringing this into the populations that you serve, then join us. Please go to neurosomaticintelligence.com. The link will be in the show notes. You can join us in the next cohort.

Elisabeth : Welcome to Trauma Rewired. You guys, we are so excited for this conversation today. We’re joined by Martin Sims, who’s a Neuro Somatic Intelligence Certified Practitioner, and he is a Director of Performance Enhancement or DOPE.

Elisabeth: We’re really excited to have you here. We’re going to dive into some big topics, some personal topics, explore all the things about why nervous system work is important individually and collectively. Talk about mental health spaces and creating safe places within education spaces for mental health and just learn a little bit more about your journey. So welcome. We’re really excited to have you here.

[00:05:08] Martin: No, thank you. Thank you for having me, of course.

Jennifer: Just now right before we started recording, we were talking about having cabin fever and how it’s easier to be outside than it is to be inside. I think that’s the macro of the micro of some of the stuff that we’re talking about today because in one of our previous conversations, we really talked a lot about dissociation.

Jennifer: And dissociation has that property of like, it’s just easier to be outside of the self than inside of the self. I know from speaking with you, that learning about your own dissociation was a big portal for you to come into this work into the neuro work that you do nervous system health and somatic. So, would you mind just sharing some of that with our audience and your personal journey? 

Martin: I feel like this dissociation was brought to me in a way where maybe I probably didn’t want to hear it at the time. My therapist is one who introduced the term disassociation to me. She did explain it in a way where it’s an automatic function of the brain. And some of your past traumas that we had already spoken about in past conversations could be contributing to some of what we call dissociative behaviors now. That conversation just didn’t really sit well with me because as we were having these conversations, with me and my wife, the disassociation didn’t seem to be a positive thing. The things that were coming about me being dissociative are causing issues in my relationship, preparing to have a baby. 

Marin: Disassociationism is a topic and it’s frustrating me because I don’t understand in the moment how something that could be automatically triggering me out of space, so to speak, in a situation that overwhelms me. But somehow I’m responsible for automatic reaction that I don’t know how to control. And by function of disassociation, it makes me not able to engage with it as a way to, how do I combat that? I think that was a very big conundrum for me in those therapy sessions early on. Her recommendation of the book, The Boy That Was Raised as a Dog by Dr. Perry made me see this disassociation in a way where I could understand it and actually do something about it because those outcomes weren’t favorable.

Martin: So everything before that is, to me illusion of a personality. So where I feel like I’m just nonchalant about things and this is how I’m responding because I don’t have the language or the understanding of these nervous system functions or these trauma responses or triggers or things of that nature. Then I’m responding as if it’s my zodiac sign or as if it’s something that I’ve been conditioned to do. And it is a conditioning. I think the whole thing is about the awareness of how the body functions and how the nervous system functions, how the brain functions. Once you start learning about disassociation, then you also learn about the arousal responses, which aren’t as dissociative and yeah, I’m dissociative in certain ways, but depending on the topic or the subject, then it’s not so dissociative.

Martin: That response is far more either, aggressive or, completely opposite given the circumstances and whatever that particular trigger may be. So, it starts with disassociation, but really what disassociation becomes is a trauma response and you start learning what those are. And then, for me, it just helped me understand the power of regulation and the power of being calm and being present. To me, I think that’s the key. I think that like the furthest I could stay away from this regulation or how I can do that in a healthy way because I think people do self medicate. I think people understand how to, uh, ease their dysregulation in very convenient ways because they have no understanding of, you know, we just need the relief.

Elisabeth: So well said. It’s really well said. I think that what you were talking about, just having those first moments of understanding, like understanding the operating system, understanding the reflexive responses, it just completely shifts the way that we look at ourselves and our behavior.

Elisabeth: We talk so much on here about like, there really aren’t personalities. There are just like frequently occurring reactions and those can come in all different types. Like you said, whatever is the most adaptive protective response for your brain and your nervous system at that time. Then it is really wonderful when it can lead us to that place of: okay, now I understand this. What can I start to do about it? Because like you were saying, it’s not cognitive. So it can be really frustrating in those moments of therapy and understanding like, this is what’s happening. This is what’s going on. But now how do I start to have some agency in creating a different response in working with my nervous system? That’s a whole nother level of neuro work, of understanding yourself. 

Marin: I think you guys did such a great job of illustrating that in the course. Where the awareness itself could bring about shame responses and guilt responses. So sometimes the awareness itself could actually cause you to go backwards before you go forward and that also has its own layer of shame or guilt to it.

Marin: When they say it’s a journey, I think people think that when they start at the starting line, when they take their 1st step. That they are just going to keep moving forward. Sometimes it knocks you back before you got started. Even before you recognize what was going on. I feel like you are further behind than you were when you started.

Martin: I know I went through some of those. Like when you feel like you cognitively know something, you know, I’m saying. As I’ve been going through learning these things, I’m like, oh, that makes sense. The brain does this and that’s in the limbic system. I know why I’m responding like this. And then the moment comes, there’s nothing I can do about the information that I just got, no matter what, how profound it was. Who said it, how eloquently they said it and how deeply impactful it was to my psyche. In the moment, all of that was overwritten. Here I go again, and then there’s another layer of shame, right? So, shame becomes this plaque, so to speak, in the healing process because of the realization that you come across that, and why didn’t I know this before? Then you start retroactively looking at responses that you had when someone did this, or this thing triggered you, and wow, that was a trigger.

Martin: Didn’t even know that, you know. I guess as you go through enough environments, you get to really, really see, you know what I mean? You get to see it because you feel it everywhere you go. So that’s what the work is, I think. I never said it is plaque, but I think you just got to brush your teeth every day. You got to floss, you got to make sure, you have to fight against the negative effects of some of the things that we’ve gone through. I hate to say fight, but I think it is that deep because left unchecked, it’ll kill you.

Elisabeth: I love talking about neuro work. It’s a practice like flossing your teeth and continuing to build that practice and repatterning our responses gradually over time with this intentional training. But I think a bigger topic that just came up now that I really want us to explore is, first of all, the importance of getting these tools into many communities. Like you were saying, especially in certain communities where you are conditioned, these reflexive responses of suppression and not being able to discharge the natural stress response for self regulation because it’s not safe. All the ways that our, our environment, our society, the structural institutions have different impacts on different populations. That a lot of this work is not accessible to those communities. And I want us to explore that. How can we expand the reach of the neuro work and bring some of this into more spaces?

Martin: Yeah, absolutely. I think, first and foremost, the need is astronomical for this type of work in communities which means then there has to be education in that space. There has to be educators and it has to be, to be quite honest with you at this point, it’s gotta be cool enough for people to wanna pay attention to long enough to get the effects of what it could be.

Martin: So I don’t know what that means, like you gotta make tik toks about it. If we talk about neuro development. The new generation, their brains are built in a smartphone environment. Their brains are literally wired in a different way. They process things differently. Their neural development had a different environment to grow in. So it responds differently. Technology went so fast so quickly, right? I just look at the youth. Number one, like, we have to learn them like, we learned the new program. Like, we learned the new technology. You know what I mean? They didn’t grow up on Windows 95 and crashing and buffering. And the long thing when you got to get on the internet and things of that nature. Or the internet getting knocked off because somebody calls your phone.

Martin: They don’t have those experiences. So, I think sometimes us, as the older generation, we kind of dismiss their experiences because we see it and we are part of it, but it’s really their lifestyle and it’s their landscape. So I think there has to be-when I say education, but there also has to be some parallels that are there because the power differentials also cause the brain to shut down. 

Martin: When you get into a critical race theory, they turned it into such a political thing that they just removed all the history books from the shelves and removed it from the schools and criminalized teachers for teaching it. And you know what I mean? So there’s a lot of systematic things that go into this to where, like, how can we be educated? How can we even learn about this from a perspective that we can digest, that we can actually be able to take the information and embody because if we are deprived of the information.

Martin: Some of this other information, we have to have people that are representative in these spaces that can speak both languages. It’s a translation at this point. You know what I’m saying? To bring it into our spaces, if it hasn’t been designed to get in our spaces in the first place, so, do I feel like I stumbled upon it? No, I feel like it was a calling for me and it felt very magnetic. I couldn’t have missed it if I tried. It’s like that for me, because I feel like I’ve always been able to speak both languages. I’m able to go into a Neuro Somatic Intelligence course and understand the concepts and understand the dynamics that’s going on there.

Martin: But maybe I’m not there and understand it with that level of understanding if my dad doesn’t have a brain surgery, because he had a tumor or my wife didn’t have a brain surgery as well. So, like, I’m way more attuned to brain science than most people are because of the near tragedies that I’m aware of and the ones that I’ve had to live through through other people 

Martin: So, I feel like it’s just a calling for me to be able to at least. Be an example, like, hey look, if we get this information into the right people’s hands and the right environments and support them in that type of way then this can get into it. Then it spreads, you know what I mean? Like, it turns into: Oh, wow. That works for me when Coach Martin told me about this technique to deal with this particular kid. Now he’s having the best season ever. Now he listens. Now, I still got to get on him a couple of times, but it’s not the same as it was before because you gave him a key to unlock this kid’s potential and that works for multiple kids.

Martin: Then you start to see now, then that Coach becomes a little bit more curious and then the parent becomes a little bit more curious. Like, what did you just do? You know what I mean? Then we can see these things because they get, they got to go through the fire in sports and you have to test your resilience. You have to test your emotional makeup. that’s the environment where you can really literally build the resilience needed in a simulated way, but it’s intense. Like you have to embody the experience in sports. Some of the most successful people in the world, and even people in this space in some psychology spaces, sports absolutely help pattern the resilience in a lot of people, you know what I mean? And exercise. I don’t want to leave that out, but competitive sports as well and team sports and all the things that it requires for you to get a handle of your nervous system to finish the game. Like you learn how to do those things. Sometimes the game can be so, so important.

Martin: That you can will yourself to learning or in the moment doing exactly what you need to do with your nervous system, even though you had no NSI training whatsoever, but the moment was big enough for you to get to the point where I’m going to block all of those things out and just focus on what I’m doing right now.

Martin: That’d be the most healthy thing that you could do in a moment, because it then gives you the power to understand that you do have some control over this. You can take what you just did here on this basketball court and that can show up in the house when something’s not going your way and you still want to wield a better outcome for it and you have the power to do that.

Martin: So I think it’s empowering, and not in the cliche way of saying we want to empower people. I mean, like, literally, you get your power back because you’re not dictated by unknown responses and reactions. And you don’t know how to get yourself out of them because there’s such heavy responses and patterns.

Elisabeth: I think there’s some really important concepts there. Like one of a couple ways to reach out to more people, talking about having this work come, especially to youth through a sports avenue, which is, I know a lot of what you do. Also thinking about ways that we can work within the new structures of technology in the world to reach youth where they’re at.

Elisabeth: Then I think also, too, you brought up a really good point about the disparity in representation of people in these mental health education courses. And that there does need to be people who are getting the education that can resonate, that can be heard by these kids because they have a shared life experience. And in order for this work to get out and reach more people, there also has to be a component of addressing the fact that there are not a lot of black and brown people in the mental health education courses. And what that experience is like, then it’s a heavy lift for your nervous system to come into that space and absorb all the information. It may not necessarily feel inherently safe. In fact, it probably doesn’t. And so there’s like so many dynamics there that I think are really important to look at.

Martin: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve been in quite a few spaces where I have felt just alone. You know what I mean? Sometimes it can be intellectually alone, culturally alone, just historically alone. Things that I may have been through don’t feel like, you know, we don’t share the same traumas type, you know. There’s some bonding and shared trauma, you know, they call it trauma bonding. It’s kind of a negative connotation, but some of the best relationships and things have come out of trauma bonds. Just having someone that has a shared experience that can relate to you and understanding how huge relatability plays into the healing process.There’s been all kinds of studies on the power of relationships to help people get through difficult times, whether it be illnesses or disasters or anything. Just the power of relationships and then the power of community.

Martin: So when we better relate to each other whatever it is that creates an environment more conducive to healing then when we don’t relate and when we can’t really see eye to eye. So when I enter into a space there needs to be someone else that makes me just be like, okay, cool he over there.

Martin: If that person is over there, then it’s going to make me twice as likely to continue trying as it would be if I was there by myself. Now, I have dealt with this from a virtual perspective, but it also feels very similar in person. If you go somewhere and you just feel alone there, right? It’s a different experience. Now, if you are more outgoing and just get a chance to spark up a conversation with anybody it might not be the same for that type of person. But for myself, if I went somewhere and nobody sparked the conversation with me, I could go the whole weekend having those conversations I need to have myself in my head. I don’t necessarily have to have the interaction or the community from community that I don’t feel like I connect with. Then that in turn leads me to that was a cool topic that I probably may have had something to contribute, but I’ll refrain.

Martin: I also feel that I do have a lot to offer if I were able to speak. If there was a time where, like, I felt comfortable enough to open my mouth in this space and speak candidly about my experiences, because I know somebody in the room will feel me. But if I don’t have these conversations prior, if I haven’t built a connection the first time, we in a mausoleum about to get killed.

Martin: Bombarded with some information and they’re going to tell us about all the things about my nervousness. I don’t know who these people are. I’m in here with 45 other names on the thing and I’m like, okay, half of them got their cameras off. Who’s watching me? You know what I mean? I can speak to it now because I’m not in the environment, but I know how it feels at times. And to be honest, I never got on a zoom call before the pandemic, not really. Not before the pandemic, I was outside. I love being outside to go back to that. So I love talking to people. I love getting it, you know, when I’m doing what I’m doing. I can go to the places that I want to go and interact in those places and I’m good, but if I got to go to a place that I’m just here to get the information from and I don’t feel like anybody in here has the same background that I am.You know what I mean?

Jennifer: I’m so glad that you shared that experience and unpacked it in such a deeper way than I’d really ever heard before. I want to get back for just a moment. I’m curious. I wanted to talk about sports and the emotional processing that goes along with sports. Even people who watch sports, they don’t even have to be players in the game. They are out there. They are screaming. They are crying. They’re moving their bodies. They are feeling it. And so can you speak to some of the emotional resolution that you felt also in those spaces?

Martin Yeah. Emotional contagion, that’s a word. I never heard of it before Dr. Perry said it, but the power of emotions can be contagious. And I just think you see a lot of it in sports because thesis versus anti thesis. You got the whole conflict situation going on. You got the tribal. as far as the team is concerned. Then you have the internal desires that you may have in context of you as an individual and then you as a team. And so they play into each other. They can conflict with each other.

Martin: There’s so many things that go into a game by itself for them. What are our goals for the season, so to speak? And then how that comes together over time is just, it’s a very, I think intimate process for every single team. And every single team has aspirations to be winners. But we know there’s only one winner at the end of the season or things of that nature.

Martin: So you have to have so much other intricate, interesting reward from it because winning couldn’t only be it. We spoke in a previous conversation about identity, right? Like, some of these kids ain’t never Seen in none of the houses, in their homes, but in some kind of way in sports, you can get the spotlight for a little bit of time when you have the ball in your hands. So some kids are being ball hogs, because sometimes their identity is attached to the ability to do something with this basketball because nothing else they ever did got quite this much attention. That probably doesn’t feel great for them, you know, but at least this is something that they do get attention for.

Martin: That’s something I also feel is prevalent in our communities, where parents aren’t paying as much attention to the kids. You know, it could be socioeconomic reasons. It could literally just be technology or the nervous system reasons where, like, parents just don’t have enough wherewithal to not have to check out right now. There could be multiple kids in the house. I have three siblings and my granddad was in the house. My mom’s taking care of all of us. That’s 5, 6 people on top of whatever her personal needs were, which I don’t feel like at any point did she even considered.

Martin: So the level of stress that she had to go through in the household, raising all of us. I think me and my older sister would be knuckleheads. My younger sister did really good. But the rest of us kind of bounced around until we figured it out as adults. You know what I mean? Like what one person is going to be able to really manage all the needs of all the people in the house and their own needs. If they’re fragmented themselves, then how can they be whole for anybody else in the house and can’t blame her. So you know, that there’s deeper reasonings involved.

So the way I see the emotions of sports, all that goes into that. So I just left the house that I just described and I got to go play a game right now. This might be the best thing I can do. Otherwise I’m just gonna have to sit in the house and deal with my mom’s emotional either disconnect or over aggressiveness cause it was just a bad day or whatever that could be. So the game is probably a relief in the first place to be at. So now I’m playing a game, something I love, and now I’m distracted from all of those things and I got the next 40 minutes to just play this game and I’ll put my all into this.

Martin: And if I have to foul someone, that’s some type of somatic exertion and that comes out of the game as long as it’s like stealing the sportsmanship context. This is an outlet for a lot of people, you know what I mean? Even if nothing else comes from it except the fact that what would have happened if they stayed dysregulated if they didn’t have this place to go, this outlet for them to see.

Martin: And it’s not just sports. People got music. They got art. It’s a lot of different things. But I just don’t think those things really, really are like sports. We just saw the Super Bowl. You know, how much attention goes into sports, how much investment is into sports. I don’t have a gripe about it, but I do get to see these things in context because I do know the statistics and I do know the numbers and I do know how many kids were inspired enough to pursue their dreams, whether it’s in football or what was going on during the halftime show? It could be a dancer. It could be a singer. It could be anybody that just gets engulfed and enamored in the promise of sport. Right. It got some dark spaces like everything else, but a beautiful, inspiring performance helps us all see ourselves in the sports figure. Like they can do that, I can do this. And that’s powerful. That’s representation right then and there.

Martin: So many different things that are involved in the sports world that I think just can be leveraged in a way. Right? I think it should be. I think athletes should talk about their therapy. I think it should be a place where when you say, how do you get these things into the places? Well, get an athlete to talk about it.

Jennifer: I had a memory come up in the middle of this, which I had not thought about in so long. So my junior year of high school, I did the powder puff football for some whatever reason. I don’t even know what, but. You might not know this, Martin, but anyone else would know, I have a strong Fight response. That is the well worn, that is my well worn F. It’s either Freeze or Fight. That’s all I’ve got. And I got called for unnecessary roughness on the Powder Puff. I just remembered that today, you guys. (laughing)

Elisbeth: I believe it.

Martin: That would start a whole… That’s funny. How many basketball ticks I got when I first started coaching based on childhood sports that I used to play? I used to play soccer way before I played basketball. I didn’t play basketball until I got to high school. I played soccer and I played on an all-black soccer team in Jackson, Mississippi. There are no other all-black soccer teams, so everybody else was white teams. We were really good and we used to get cheated a lot just because they never used to come play us where we were. I just knew how to…  I learned how to win very early on when the cards are really stacked against you like that. My mindset was like, they’re gonna stack the cards. We have to win anyway. That was noble when I was a player, but when I became a coach and had 13,14 year olds. Those memories of being cheated as a 10 year old 11 year old came out and now I’m in a different space.

Martin: I’m the protective person of my players. And I also simultaneously protecting my little bitty self that if I was bigger what I would have done when they were doing me. I got so many texts like this used to just come out like the technical fouls like refs are like literally like teeing me up left and right. And at some point I resolved that. Then I never had a problem with the refs again. I literally had to recognize that this is not what’s actually taking place right now with my players. This is what I’ve been feeling since I was 8 years old, 7 years old, playing competitive soccer expecting to be cheated, seeing it when it happens.

Martin: I know it when I see it. So I am hyper vigilant of it and now I’m over protective of it in front of my players. Guess what the effect of that was? My players also used to get a lot of techs too. Some of them used to get ejected out of the game. So they go to emotional contagion situations as well. So it’s like, okay, until I was able to understand and manage my own emotional contagion, then I couldn’t expect that out of my players either.

Martin: So, because they became reactive as I was becoming reactive, I had to change. When I changed it, they changed it. So from one year to the next, I went from, I can’t tell you how many technicals I had, but I got them down to three in the following year. I want to say that was probably a 20 tech difference. Probably did have 20. So that was it. But that’s where the improvement as self improves, not only self, but also those around you as well.

Martin: And you start to understand those causes and effects. Being in coaches. I just want coaches to understand their impact on both sides, right? Like if you in the ignorant, unconscious, just don’t know what you’re doing to the nervous system of your athletes. And I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that I was doing that to the refs. I didn’t know this is what I was radiating at the time. Until I came down and became conscious of it and then did the inner work. The inner work took an off season. It wasn’t the next game. You know what I mean? It took me for it to be away from the basketball park to deal with those realities and just make it a decision that I’m going to be better than that next year.

Martin: You know what I mean? I can see myself. I don’t like what I see. And it’s an interesting space when you talk about volunteer sports, because the person that’s out there is still out there, right? They’re still there for these kids and that’s a noble thing. But they could also be doing more harm than good if they aren’t conscious about who they’re dealing with and what some people may have gone through. None of my coaches would have known what I had been through. I didn’t have enough language to tell them about it, but I wish that they had wherewithal to kind of see certain things.

So I think that’s where my inner drive comes from is if I can become one of those understanding people, the people who can’t express exactly what their ailment is, exactly what’s going on, because I recognize how huge that language piece was for me. I wasn’t like that. I wasn’t articulate. I wasn’t able to articulate what I was going through my emotions and my feelings and my responses. So then, because I didn’t have a language myself to understand it, I didn’t have a language to explain it to anybody else. So anybody’s interpretation was what it was. And whoever had the biggest power differential, their interpretation pretty much dictates how other people see it.

Martin: They can kind of create a. A cage, a stigma, so to speak. You kind of got to fight whatever that may be. But I’ve learned how to navigate it and overcome it and just want to teach that to other people. 

Elisabeth: I think it’s such a  creative and powerful way to think about leveraging sports and art and musicians and creatives and all these other ways of expression that we have that can reach more people. That the youth can hear this information and these ideas differently.

Elisabeth: And I love that you’re like weaving in the neuroeducation to your programs with youth. I think it’s another reason why it’s just really important to have so many different practitioners in so many different avenues, bringing these concepts and these ideas out into the world, because it reaches people differently. People have different ideas about how to bring nervous system health and nervous system literacy into organizations, into programs. So, yeah, I think it’s just really critical to keep expanding who is, is getting this education.

One of the things that you talked about, you sent me an article that you wrote recently. You talked about this idea of AAA: attract, assess and amplify as a way to bring more practitioners in. Would you talk about that a little bit?

Martin: Yeah, I think in order to attract, I think, honestly maybe that was the segue as well with the athletes. Like, you get athletes, you get people that are already being Seen for whatever their craft or creativity is and then help them, right? Maybe they don’t become practitioners or facilitators, but how can they incorporate what we’re doing into what they’re doing?

Martin: Use them to really broadcast. You know, it could be in the form of testimonials. It could be through the form of actual demonstrations, workshops, whatever it may be. Then you have real live people that represent different people, different populations that represent different things.

Martin: And if it works for them in a real life way, I think one of the reasons why some endorsements don’t do as well, because we know it’s just a paid ad. They were just paid to say it. It feels very forced, very scripted and we like authenticity. So like, I think you really make it an authentic thing. Like this is an authentic interaction. It wasn’t built on how many views I’m gonna get. It’s like this is a person that I feel like aligns with what we’re doing over here.

Martin: Then the thing was built off alignment and you just get different people who can align with different people. Then you would start attracting more authentic relationships with your audiences and the people that you want to get this information. Because the kids are being influenced by the screens. I’m talking about it because I know it works for me. Not only in my own plane, but it worked for me in my coaching. It worked for me in my relationships. It worked for me in the house.

It worked for me with my baby. Oh my God. Like he is a brilliant kid, but I know his brain developed at the optimal rate because I knew about these things. I knew what to do to nurture, not to traumatize, not to cause him certain attachment issues and things of that nature because I was aware. I just wasn’t that aware before. She was pregnant, but as I went through therapy during the pregnancy and started to become aware of all these things by the time the baby was born, I had a pretty good baseline and foundation of what I should be doing just for his nervous system regulation fresh out of the womb.

Martin: He doesn’t have the fragments or the gaps or the developed these attachment things. He probably got the opposite now, Maybe we’ve created a monster at this point because he demands hugs. But it’s like that though, so he’s cognitively conscious enough to verbally ask for these things now where I don’t feel like I ever should have asked for anything like that in my time.

Martin: Like, my 3 year old told me he wasn’t mad at me. He was frustrated. This is out of his mouth, but these are the conversations that his mother and I have and we have with him. Because we’re aware of these things and saying- okay, being able to name our feelings is a huge regulator in and of itself.

Martin: Automatic responses aren’t being learned through studying books. They’re being embedded through events. So, I mean, I could be intentional about that with my son and embed positive things like that into him as well. I know you can do it through exercise. I understand the power of repetition and rhythm and things of that nature. So he kind of got an advantage now, you know what I mean? And that’s a great thing. That’s what we want. The purpose of it is it’s like, okay, we didn’t do it as well during this generation. Let’s see how much better you guys could do it for the next generation with the tool that we got too late. What if you get them on time or early? What does that look like? That’s astronomical. Like that’s something that we can’t really fathom completely.

Martin: What if we all grew up with nervous system regulation and we knew about this, learned about this in school, like they took certain classes out like trigonometry and really taught us NSI, right? I don’t think the level of difficulty is that much different, right? You know what I’m saying? If this was a topic that was just taught to people like, hey, look, you’re having a Freeze response during this test. They just say, oh, you’re nervous and they’re the bad test taker, and then you’re labeled. They’re like, oh, he just can’t take the test. Look, me, I never had a problem with the test. But I know other people who did. people who literally before a test, their hands are sweating.  Everybody has different triggers and things that send them into an anxiety, anxious state or depressed state or state of arousal or disassociation.

Jennifer: I was one of those bad test takers and that stayed with me up until I was 40, 42, 43 when I really wanted to learn things. There are particular labels that get put on us as young people that we just start to digest and believe, and then that becomes part of our limiting belief system. And then that lives in my nervous system. It’s like, there’s already so many other things that live here. How could I be good at school if I wasn’t present in my mind and body? When it came to take the test, I was just like memorizing everything, cause I was a bad test taker.

Jennifer: God. It went to so many terrible places for me and the education system. Goodness, so many things that you spoke to there that I kind of got so into listening to you raise your child that, like, I literally felt like my whole heart was opening up and just so grateful for you being in this work. And for any parents who are out there, people who are around young nervous systems, that are taking on this higher level of responsibility of understanding what’s happening and supporting young people instead of some of the experiences that we talk about on the podcast all the time.

Martin: I appreciate that. He leaves me speechless no matter how many times I can explain what I think and I feel and I see in his growth because I know I called it into existence because the immediate thought of having a child at that moment, I recognized that I needed to be better.

Martin: I know my parents love me. That is an absolute fact. And I know they did the best that they could, but I also know that there were quite a few things that I’ve had to take on myself and heal myself from and deal with myself, regardless of that the love that they have for me. So then these are behaviors or responses that they had to me that I had to learn how to deal with myself,

I feel like a lot of those things my parents were unconscious of as well as maybe not is able to change, not as malleable at the time, and maybe not being able to hear. And me also not being able to verbalize what exactly I’m experiencing, but I didn’t want that to be the case for me. I didn’t want to be unconscious. Like, if I become conscious of whatever it is and I’m dealing with, then I trust myself and my intentions to do what I can with that level of consciousness and improve. If not, like completely change the outcome. I had no idea what turned into what it turned into. I literally was, Just trying to help myself become a better person so I could rise to the occasion of raising a little boy in this world and this environment. Yeah, like probably one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. 

Martin: And so I think just having all the tools that you need is a good, a good way to go about it. And I think that’s just the goal. That’s what it’s been for me. And it’s been a definite journey. I won’t say I’m enjoying every minute of it because I’m not. Some parts are not the most enjoyable, but the outcomes are definitely like more than I could ever imagine. So I’m grateful to be here. I do feel like I have an assignment that I should be doing. And if I don’t do it, I’ll have to answer to someone and I don’t want to answer to him just yet. So I’m gonna keep doing what I’m doing.

Elisabeth: We’re really grateful for you being here. And so many powerful topics that I think are going to resonate for a lot of people. Where can people find you to connect more and learn about your work?

Martin: Yeah, the best place right now is thedopestcoach.com. And of course DOPE is the acronym that I use to describe the neuro sequential model and how the brain and the nervous system develops, organizes, processes and engages in a sequential manner. There’s this natural sequence. If we follow them, it’s real DOPE system. So that’s what the whole DOPE thing is about, the acronym just kind of breaks down those processes. We can go into them individually, in various different ways that we explain the brain and nervous system. Then we treat those pillars as how we go about helping people correct, process their emotions, kind of help them deal with their anxiety.

Martin: I also tap into their performance. So their performance states, the flow states, and things of that nature. So the dopestcoach.com is where you can find me. Coaches, athletes, parents- I got some great things coming up. They’ll be out March 1st, hopefully. The DOPE Coach Accelerator and Adult Athlete Accelerated that’s going to be a 30 day course where we can just go in deep dive into brain and nervous system regulation and how that can apply to sports and how it can help you improve performance in sport and connection with your locker room. 

Elisabeth: I love that. Thank you so much.

Elisabeth: It’s one of my favorite things to look at all the different applications of this framework and these tools and all these different spheres, right? We have people that are working with leadership coaches and organizations and people that are working in relationship therapy and people that are working in sex therapy and Martin bringing it into the world of youth and athletic sports programs.

Elisabeth: It’s so neat to see how people adapt this work and bring it into so many different facets. It’s really inspiring and exciting for me to think about. Then we can all share, also, that experience of the Fight response and the trauma activation and looking at all of these things from that lens as we talk about all these different subjects.

Jennifer: And understanding too, another thing that we talk a lot about in this conversation is language. And having the language to communicate what we’re feeling, The language of the nervous system to understand the body that’s in front of us. And to support these young people. Both of us believe so much in supporting young people. I love when any practitioner comes through, but I really feel special when someone comes through and works with young people.

Elisabeth: Me too. 

Elisabeth: If you are a coach, a therapist, or a practitioner, and you’re interested in learning more about bringing this framework and these tools into the work that you do, then check it out at neurosomaticintelligence.com. You can book a discovery call and we’d love to talk about having you in the next cohort.