S3 E7 TRNSCPT Continuity of Parts

TR S3 E7 Continuity of Parts

[00:00:00] Elisabeth: We did an episode last season that really got everyone’s attention and it was Your Nervous System and Relationships with Dr. Joli Hamilton. Really, that’s a lot of the reason why this entire season is devoted to taking a deep dive into exploring nervous system health in the context of relationship. 

There was one moment in there when we were talking about relationships, where I was saying it’s next level neuro somatic healing to be able to regulate and calm your nervous system in relationship and intimacy. That that is just this next frontier for myself about how to create resilience and change in my nervous system is through the context of relationship. We also talked about relationship to parts of ourselves, which I think is so fascinating and we’re gonna go much deeper into that today.

[00:00:55] Jennifer: One of the key points that you, I think, mentioned last time  is that there’s no way to avoid dysregulation in relationships, and that includes relationships to parts of ourselves. We have to be vulnerable with those parts of ourselves. We are intimate with the relationship to ourselves, to the parts of ourselves and to our bodies.

[00:01:16] So how do we begin to cultivate a trusting relationship to ‘other parts’ of ourselves that are showing up at times when it doesn’t really feel very convenient.

I have a great example of this, a couple of days ago I could not stop playing solitaire. It was so random. I found this deck of cards when I was cleaning my closet out and I was like, huh. Then I spent hours playing cards with myself. I sat outside. I sat inside. I had to really step back for a minute and catch myself because it felt dysregulated. I couldn’t stop. I could not disengage from this card game. 

[00:01:59] When I stopped to check myself, I really had to ask myself- ‘Who is showing up right now?’ Dropping into the body- who is showing up right now. I came to understand, because it aligns with the playing of cards by myself, it would be the parts of me that are eight to 12 years old. And I had to ask them, ‘What’s happening? Why are you scared?’ Because this is Freezing that I’m feeling in my life now. The playing cards is the numbing out, but that’s not me as my highest consciousness right now at 46. Their answer was fear. This next evolution of myself is very scary for them. The level of Voice and visibility that I’m being called into is a big experience for them. 

[00:02:53] Elisabeth: Man, that’s so powerful. How do you bring some of your nervous system regulation practices and healing practices into that relationship with that part of yourself to help them to feel safe and seen? And then be able to move forward.

[00:03:08] Jennifer The tools I used were somatic. Yes/No’s, sensory stimulus, you know I’m a huge fan, some Vagus through the tongue and some respiration helped me to stay in the conversation with them and connected to and in my body, present and embodied. I was also like, you know what?, I’m going to indulge you. We’re going to play cards. I’m going to give you some time, create some space for play and safety. I went through the day and the following morning, I sat intentionally with them again, but in meditation- that was the integrating of them. And it was awesome. It was big. And I’m thankful for the connection that I have to my body. And to these NSI tools for awareness, for bringing me back. 

[00:03:51] Jennifer: Welcome 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, a Neuros Somatic Women’s Embodiment Guide, supporting that work with integration and preparation of the nervous system through psychedelic healing.

[00:04:09] Elisabeth: And I’m Elisabeth Kristof, founder of Brain-Based Wellness and the Neuro Somatic Intelligence Coaching Certification. If you’re a coach, a therapist or a practitioner, you may know that you don’t want to go back and revisit trauma over and over and over again in the name of healing. You see that going there doesn’t always actually help your clients move past it.

[00:04:29] Maybe you feel what it does to your own nervous system. You experience the burnout that it creates, too much stress for too long, and you know that it’s just not as simple as saying ‘it’s in the past, let it go’, because the body is holding it. And so the past continues to shape the present in reactions in outputs that we experience and in responses.

[00:04:47] Trauma resolution is more than talking about the past and deeper than cognitively deciding to forward. Trauma lives in the now, in the body and the nervous system and affects the present moment until we find a way to rehabilitate the system. If you wanna learn more about how to do that, get some practical, actionable tools and a framework; we are now enrolling in the next cohort of Neuro Somatic Intelligence Certification. You can go to neurosomaticintelligence.com to learn more. The link is in the show notes.

[00:05:15] Jennifer: Please enjoy this conversation and exploration of Relationship to Parts of Self with Dr. Joli Hamilton.

[00:05:23] Jennifer: One of the things you said, Joli, it actually was the intro quote to our last conversation was, ‘You’re not just having your relationship, you’re having all of the relationships that you had modeled for you. They’re all at work and all of those dynamics are playing out in the micro stories that are playing in your mind intellectually. They’re also playing out at the level of the nervous system’. I love that quote as it relates to the mirror that is reflected back to me as to how I behave in relationships. That is the way that I would behave to my internal relationships.

[00:06:04] Joli: Yeah and it drives home the concept that we are multiple, we exist in a state of multiplicity. If you really grasp that, if we really stay with that concept and we recognize that we had all of these models, whatever we got when we were young, and they took up residence and they formed these very real internal figures. They’re real. Now I need to relate to my outside people and to my inside people. And I gotta figure out how to do that in a way that lets me enjoy relating. Sometimes when I talk about this, people are just like, ‘could I not? What if I just didn’t? That sounds like a lot of work’. But the thing is, they’re all there anyway.

[00:06:55] So how well does it work to ignore the people in your life that you don’t want? It doesn’t. I can ignore my teenagers all I want. They’re still there. They’re upstairs.

[00:07:07] Jennifer: They’re probably gonna get louder.

[00:07:09] Joli: They’re gonna get louder, right? So my internal figures, if I’m just willing to relate to them as fully autonomous aspects of self and allow that to be real and true without viewing myself as splintered or fragmented or broken, there’s a deep honoring there of myself. So we could talk about the deep honoring of my capital S Self, but also of each of these autonomous figures. Each of us have inside these Frozen, Elisabeth I’ve heard you talk about this so many times, these Frozen parts that get stuck in time.

[00:07:57] Then they exist there. How I work with those parts of me is to stop calling them parts all the time. I remind myself that they’re real and they’re whole and they may be Frozen. They might be Frozen at age 7, but I can honor them in their wholeness too, which for me feels very gentle and affirming to them and doesn’t “other” myself for myself.

[00:08:22] That’s that splintering and fragmenting that can happen. But it also requires me to really be present to the fact that I am not simple, and it’s probably never going to be simple, that’s not always comfortable.

[00:08:39] Elisabeth: Yeah. Jennifer and I were just recording on presence as well and coming up against the same thing. So many people are saying, ‘Uh, why do I want to do this again? Why do I want to come into my body and feel all of these sensations, the good and the bad, all the joy and the pain, the grief and the connection’. It seems like a lot of work sometimes and the truth is, just like you were saying, it’s already there.

[00:09:10] It’s already happening inside of you, whether or not you feel it or recognize it, it is. So when we are present, we’re able to feel how much we are activated by certain things or what really does impact our nervous system- even if we haven’t been feeling it because we’ve been disconnected from our body or dissociated. That doesn’t mean that it’s not happening inside of us and that it’s not something that we like.

[00:09:40] We do need to address it. We need to be able to feel it and to respond accurately and appropriately to that so that we can start to create some change and some re-regulation and to move those emotions through. And just exactly like what you were saying with the parts of ourselves, these different perspectives, these different lenses, they do exist inside of us even if we don’t address it, they are still there.

[00:10:08] Joli: Right. We could get real clear, and I think most people- okay, anybody present willing to just take a breath with the fact that if I do not acknowledge that these parts- I call them my inner counsel- if I don’t acknowledge the members of my inner counsel, even the ones I do not like, even the ones that feel like too much or not enough, then I, in the immortal words of Carl Jung, will project them to the outside and see them as attackers on me. That was a paraphrase, not his direct quote. I will project that energy out and I’ll only witness it outside. I will often project it onto the people I love and care about the most, and I will see that quality reflected back to me in a way that becomes manageable because now it’s happening to me from the outside.

[00:10:56] So I can point my fingers out. I can say, ‘you stop that.’ And the real trouble here when we’re talking about projection is that the person that we’re projecting onto, they have a seed of this thing, of this quality. It wouldn’t stick otherwise. So if I’m projecting out my own sex negativity, maybe I have a real internal prude, like a real Victorian lady, and I project that out.

[00:11:26] I may find a great projection screen for that out in the world in the form of my partner. Now my partner may also have their own shame. In fact, I can use myself for this. My partner has some sexual shame. He talks about it on our own podcast all the time. So it would be easy for that projection to stick to him. But then all the energy I give to it is coming right back at me. So like you said, Jennifer, the mirror I get there is so bright and shiny. It can be blinding. It’s so much easier to say, ‘I’m gonna point my fingers at you and say you stop it. So I feel different. Stop what you’re doing. This is all you. I see what you’re doing.’ 

It’s also disempowering because when I’m working with my inner figures, I get to start working with him. I don’t have to wait for my partner, my husband, to do his shame work. I can actually start with my stuff. I can reclaim that projection. He’ll still have to do his work on his shame, but I can reclaim my inner prude and I can say, ‘woo, what have you got for me? What’s going on here? How do I get to know you?’ 

Now I come into conversation, literal conversation, I literally converse with these aspects of self. As I come into conversation with them, as I play with ’em, there is a level of healing that is available to me without waiting for anyone.

[00:12:53] Jennifer: I’ve done so much work around trying to connect to these parts of myself as well, or my inner counsel. I don’t even know what they would be- my inner stadium of children, my choir of children. Also adult parts of me that have been cut off. I think too, even based on our last conversation, the NSI is what really allows us to cut the noise and cut the shit and get back to our own regulation to even ask the questions. Or even to say, ‘Hey, I recognize what’s inside of me now, what I’m projecting, what’s being reflected back at me’. 

Then knowing that there is an autonomous part inside of me that is really active right now, that’s coming forward and I have the tools to just calm down and check in and continue to regulate, continue to do the emotional work that this is calling me to. Because who’s back there Frozen that’s showing up right now, she’s got some things to say, she’s been feeling some things. If you’ve been Frozen for decades or, just like we were saying a minute ago, something that you try to quiet down and push down, it only gets louder in other subconscious ways. So until you really recognize the autonomous parts, I have found profound breakthroughs in my life coming back into myself and when I hear people say, ‘why would I wanna do that?’ I’m like, look, I know it’s hard. I know it’s tough, it’s dark, it’s messy. But, man on the other side is glory, really.

[00:14:38] Joli: It is. My love for NSI comes from the fact that I’ve been doing this psychological work for decades and took it really seriously. I wanted to be able to work with my complexes, to be able to work with my parts, to be able to navigate this year totally spot on the stadium full of the multitudes.

[00:15:02] I had been using all the tools I was given and those tools work. But I was struggling because I would get to a state where I was so dysregulated, and I didn’t really use that word even though I did know it, but I didn’t use the word because I thought of it as something that was happening only when I was at the Nth level.

[00:15:25] I didn’t notice all the very subtle stages of dysregulation. So I didn’t really use any tools to help me stay present to all of this psychological work that I wanted to be doing. So what would happen is I would go through periods of my life- sometimes hours, sometimes days, sometimes even weeks, where I would feel generally regulated enough to do deep work and I could be getting those parts to talk to each other.

[00:15:50] I could be doing whatever it was, whatever modality I was working in at the time. I could do that. And then there’ll be other times when I was so dysregulated that that was not possible. And I would use all kinds of words to make it clear to my partner, to my therapist, to my coaches, to my colleagues and my classmates that something external to me was happening.

[00:16:15] That meant I couldn’t do the work right now. And NSI just gave me the language and the framework, and most importantly for me, efficient tools. Because if the tools weren’t efficient, I can be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t use them. I know I would not have gotten a start if I hadn’t been able to get a result from something super, super simple that could take me 30 seconds to just get that first taste.

[00:16:38] Once I did, all of a sudden I had many more hours of any given week to actually be with the other work. So for me, this isn’t a replacement, this is a yes-and to whatever other modalities are singing for you right now, whatever it is. And that’s what I see with my clients too. It’s not that they do NSI and all their problems disappear.

[00:17:02] It’s that they are available to do all the other things that need to happen. And sometimes that’s your relationship work, sometimes that’s your attachment wound work-  we could go through a list. But the way it made me available made me so damn hopeful. I was beside myself because I expected it to be useful, but I didn’t expect it to be… Well, I mean, I had a breakdown today, but here I am.

[00:17:31] I feel great. I’m relaxed, I feel comfortable, but I had a total, like a collapse. My email list did a thing and I felt my nervous system just drop out from under me. And I literally reached for my tools and I used them and yeah, about five minutes. Same thing happens in my relationships every day and it happens with my clients.

[00:17:54] So I think that there’s nothing else I’ve seen that’s this fast. So I’m a real fan of efficiency. I can’t say enough about it.

[00:18:07] Elisabeth: Yeah, totally. I know the type of ‘parts work’ that I’m most familiar with is Richard Schwartz and Inner Family Systems and dialoguing with the parts of yourself, like having conversation, asking ’em what they need and looking at the protector and going back. I’ve found a lot healing and benefit from that.

[00:18:27] And there is a component of that that is also very, very activating to my nervous system and as someone with complex trauma like will sometimes push me into a pretty hefty emotional flashback or state of dysregulation where I really need something that just works directly with my nervous system to make it possible to be with that protector part, be with that inner child part, allow myself the space to feel safe letting that ‘other part’ of me have a voice and express what’s going on inside of them because it just has felt so unsafe for a long time to allow that part to express itself. Yeah, there’s so much benefit in in parts work. Both/And, just like you were saying, Joli, it’s both/and- like doing taps and going back in.

[00:19:30] Then also having the tools to work and communicate directly with the nervous system to create that sense of safety around it so that there’s a real direct path to ‘this is, okay, I can do this, I can move through this and I can come back from this place. I can come back from sitting with this part of myself.’ And not get lost in that emotional landscape or that state of dysregulation that I might associate with that.

[00:19:59] Joli: Right. When I think about my experience of dialoguing, especially with parts that are connected to my sexuality or connected to my experience of being sexualized even peripheral, that’s a place where this comes up for me. I always wanted to be in dialogue with those aspects of myself.

[00:20:21] I did, I really did, but some of them were abused, some of them were raped, some of them were harmed. They were, this happened to them. And without applying tools directly to the nervous system. What has happened for me is I’ve had to be in this- it’s like trying to climb up an ice wall with just clamps and picks. You’re just trying so hard.

[00:20:49] It’s so effortful. So I needed tools that would help me stay with those parts, especially because- I almost want a bigger word than dysregulation. I was dysregulated, but it was like trying to also face the dysregulation of our society as a whole, which also has both sexualized me and demonized me for my sexuality, has harmed me and has also expected me to be this juicy, delicious sexual being who wants to be consumed.

[00:21:18] So it’s also holding the collective unconscious at the same time. Of course, my nervous system needed support. That’s exactly what I think of.- it’s scaffolding. It’s so, so important. And even now, right in this moment, I’m like, yep, I can see how even just talking about it can bring me close to that edge.

[00:21:40] Just saying the words, I can now tune in enough. It’s been a NSI that’s been most effective at teaching me how to recognize that right now there’s a little something behind my sternum. There’s a little tightness here. I’ve done focusing. I’ve done other things, but this one’s been effective because I know that there’s something to do about it.

[00:22:00] It’s not just ‘sit with the sensation’. There’s ‘sit with the sensation long enough to identify it, now do this.’ Awesome. Wonderful. Very different thing than say focusing, which will have you in the sensations. I love it, but doesn’t necessarily help you do anything with the sensations.

[00:22:19] Jennifer: I started to feel it too as soon as you started talking about sexualization and society and the pressures that we feel. Then also wanting to be that juicy, feminine desired sex goddess. I also want that in my life. And there’s parts of the choir that are singing a very different song and are very scared of that.

[00:22:41] Elisabeth and I have been focusing this season on Complex Trauma is an attachment wound. I think dissociation is the self attachment wound and that’s why dissociation is so traumatizing. And how becoming present in the body is and becoming embodied has been such a journey.

[00:23:01] You talked a moment ago about having the time and space in your life to cultivate practices, to be with yourself, to make the time to touch my body, to map it, to be sensory with it, to know what sensations it likes, what it what it doesn’t like. There were parts of my body that were really hard to come home to.

[00:23:25] You know, when I think of the parts of me that I had been so cruel to because they didn’t perform the way that I wanted them to- they didn’t uphold society’s standards as to what I was supposed to look like. I could never get there. And I was just so hard on myself.

[00:23:44] It was when I started processing that and really working on, like I said, it really started with some sensory and some body mapping that I could touch my body. It started with other safety practices. I think developing presence and embodiment also lives on a spectrum because then that moves into, ‘okay, I can touch my body. I can feel safe in my body.’ Okay, now I can pleasure my body and learn ‘how do I like to be touched? What does turn me on? What is stimulating?’ I can learn that about myself with myself. If any shame comes up, if any grief, any rage comes up, then I also have the practices to hold that space for myself.

[00:24:30] And it has been, I don’t know what the words are. I don’t know that there are words for what I’m trying to describe- the coming home to.

[00:24:40] Joli: The coming home. Can we just be with the double entendre there, ‘the coming home?’ (laughing) Come on, let’s just bathe in the deliciousness of that for a moment. So for me, it did actually start with pleasure mapping. I’ve been masturbating since I was seven or eight years old at least.

[00:25:05] That’s clear memories. There’s a big difference between that and knowing exactly how to get myself off. And really understanding how to be with all the emotions that come up. If I stroke this way versus that way, if I use this object versus that object, if I allow a person to even be in the room witnessing, or if I allow a person to touch me in a certain way- that work has to unfold over time. I don’t think we can rush it.

[00:25:35] And we do, we need tools as we go. Here I am, oh my God, so far into my sexual healing journey. What kind of a cheesy phrase to say, but here I am decades into it and I still find myself coming across new parts of, ‘oh, that’s where that pain is stored’. I don’t mind using myself as an example because I think that it’s so real when we talk about our personal stuff. For me, my nipples are attached to really intense sensation.

[00:26:16] Whether that sensation is pain or pleasure has nothing to do with the objective, pressure, texture, tone, and speed that is applied. Which is very confusing because we tend to think about bodies as being these computers. We’re told to think of them as these machines, these computers, that we can just press this button and it’ll always work the same way. That is not how our bodies work, but especially when we get into the stuff that touches on our pleasure and our sexuality. It totally matters the context I’m in and my nervous system state before I started. But then also what opens up while I’m in there? What am I fantasizing about?

[00:26:59] So even if no one else is in the room, what am I fantasizing about? What is literally acting upon me from the inside? Which of those figures is loud and present? I have a relationship to several inner figures who truly love orgasm and are rageful is the best word I could think of. They are rageful about it and it’s horrifying to them that I’m getting off.

[00:27:30] So they punish me from the inside out and the being with that complexity. Here I am, I teach this stuff. I’m in it all the time. That’s just how it is and letting myself be with it is really assisted by saying, ‘okay, so when I’m done with this- and I go through this experience on purpose because I want to- because I want to know these parts, because I wanna know myself.

[00:27:53] I also will be able to come back to my day-to-day, moment to moment self. I’ll be able to regulate myself and return with the gold, with the treasure, with the Boone. There’s my journey through that experience and some of it was probably dark and shadowy, and now I have more of myself, I have returned another little piece. I think of it as like tiny little gold nuggets just bringing them back, bringing them back. It’s effortful, but it’s worth it.

[00:28:26] Elisabeth: Yeah, I think it is a really beautiful practice and it is worth it. And it is so interesting to me, as you were talking I was reflecting, there are multiple places in my life right now where I’m trying to deepen my relationship, both with partner and with self. I’m seeing what my window of tolerance, my minimum effective dose, really is.

[00:28:52] Now that I have the capacity to feel what’s going on inside of me, and as I do these pleasure practices, work in intimacy, work in vulnerability and emotional expression around another person, with another person, in all kinds of different relationships. I have a pretty low threshold for starting to get activated. I’m able to feel that now in my life and know, ‘okay, there’s space for me to work with my nervous system in all of this’ because- just like you said- I do want that. I want to be able to explore and move into that and dialogue with all these different parts of myself. But it also is very different having a real understanding of the nervous system and being able to feel into what’s happening in my body and look at all of it from a Neuro Somatic perspective into- how do I calibrate this and dose appropriately and really re-pattern some of this stuff.

[00:29:57] Having Neuro Somatic Intelligence means that we understand that everything we do impacts our nervous system, including our relationships. If we want to experience deeper, more meaningful connections to ourselves and others and show up differently in any area of life, including emotionally; we have to know how to work with our nervous systems. Neuro Somatic Intelligence training brings together evidence-based psychology and neuroscience to objectively measure and transform the integration and interpretation of sensory input. That influences mood, mindset, emotions, reactivity, and biases. 

If you’re a coach, a therapist, a practitioner, and you want to bring nervous system work into your own framework for client transformation that brings lasting change at the level of the nervous system. Join us at neurosomaticintelligence.com to learn more about our upcoming training this fall. You can get an ICF accredited course that brings transformation from the level of the nervous system to all of your clients

[00:31:00] Joli: Yeah, I think it’s important to talk about the dosage. What is the minimum effective dose that you can handle of pleasure? Cuz a lot of us assume that there is not, like, no, just more pleasure is better. Or you might have a partner who imagines that that’s true. In fact a really common fantasy that people have is providing unwanted pleasure to someone.

[00:31:29] So things get really complicated when we’re talking about pleasure land, right? That is a really common fantasy to force an orgasm or to force many of them. Now we’re talking about- on top of my own internal stuff, I’m dealing with another person’s stuff and how their relationship to pleasure, pain, and want and not want dysregulation regulation.

[00:31:55] So of course all of this takes time and knowing ourselves well enough to know. I love that you were willing to say, I have a really low threshold for getting activated. Great. Awesome. That is such good information to have for yourself, to have for your partners to also be able to say out loud. It doesn’t have to be more, more, more is better, but also just to know.

[00:32:19] One of the things I say all the time when I’m trying to explain to people the window of tolerance, which you talk about all the time, but what I say- we’re not looking for that flat line. And the way I know that is to have an orgasm, I have to pass out of the window of tolerance for a period of time. I don’t personally want to give up my orgasms, so I’m going to need to know how to then return.

[00:32:43] Just being able to know that, in fact, that’s a process. That’s a process you can actively participate in. It’s not just, ‘okay, I have to wait until I feel “normal”. Instead I can actually take steps to bring myself back down into that window of tolerance after a big pleasureful experience.

[00:33:07] Jennifer: Dr. Joli, do you work or find that in your practices with couples and with women, is there a population of women or demographic of women that are not experiencing orgasms at all and have you seen that working with any NSI tools has that helped to support that- I don’t know what the word is- sensation. Enjoyment. 

[00:33:37] Joli: Finding their pleasure. I think, yes. So first off, yes, we know the data is very clear that not all people are experiencing orgasms. And let’s talk about vulva owners for a second. People who have clitoris are- even the numbers are not great. It is not abnormal to not know how to orgasm.

[00:34:04] Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone knew how to provide themselves with an orgasmic experience? Not everyone does. Not everyone has had success moving through that process. Some people missed it early on and then they’re struggling cuz they also now have this psychological layer of-that doesn’t happen for me, I don’t get that. 

Some people have only ever experienced them as, or maybe they were conditioned to only see them as, gifts given to them by someone else. Hello, purity culture. Welcome to the conversation. Your orgasm is a gift from you to you. Thanks. All the time. But if you are conditioned that way or if you have a physiological reason why- or if you simply have not had the window of tolerance that’s able to allow you to pass out of that, if your protective response is shut down and Freeze, then you might stop yourself from experiencing orgasm. 

Now there are lots and lots of things that could be going on, so I don’t wanna write out the physiological at all. However, it is so common that when people in my world learn to take ownership of their nervous system, that is just as important as taking ownership of their orgasm, taking ownership of their clitoris, taking ownership and joy and celebration in their vulva. This is how we really get the whole picture into alignment, right? It can’t be either or. We can’t only go for the clit. I mean, I could take a really old school approach and be like, okay, so use a vibrator on your clit, get an orgasm. Okay you might, you might not, but even if you do, you might also have fantasies that happen while that’s going on.

[00:35:48] You might not like those or you might feel pleasure and then feel confusion, or you might feel shame. It’s so much more important that we know how to experience this from a place of regulation that then passes into joy and pleasure, inhalation and freedom and liberation within the body.

[00:36:10] Some people experience their orgasms as like projections out of the body, but being able to experience that fully and then to also be able to integrate- I think of it as metabolizing my pleasure. I wanna be able afterwards to breathe it in, I literally wanna eat that in.

[00:36:27] I wanna take it in because it’s mine. It doesn’t belong to anyone else. And in order to do that, yeah, we need tools. So what I see is that NSI is really effective in the sexual experiences because you can literally do it while you’re masturbating or while you’re having sex. I can’t meditate while, I mean I can have sexual practices that involve a meditation-like state, but I can’t sit on the mat for 45 minutes while having sex.

[00:37:02] I can do a near-far drill using the tip of my partner’s ear and the bookshelf behind him while I’m having sex, and it produces a response. That’s nothing short of a magic trick, so thank you very much. I really, really appreciate that. It has cut the number of my own personal dissociations at least in half.

[00:37:27] So I happen to be a numbers person, so I like to pay attention. For a while I was actually tracking it and I stopped dissociating during sex. I had a whole month even where it didn’t happen at all. That was miraculous for me with all the sexual trauma I have. I had no idea that was even possible. So yeah, before, during and after, baby.

[00:37:52] Elisabeth: That’s amazing. I love that. As you were talking, I was thinking when it comes to orgasms, O=1, just like when we talk about when it comes to the nervous system N=1. Everybody’s different and the experience is different. Our dosage is different. How we can integrate it is different based on our own unique experiences.

[00:38:10] When you understand the nervous system you can bring that idea into it. And it also lets you go through the whole thing with so much more compassion and curiosity and exploration. That framework alleviates the shame and the other big things that can come along with pleasure and sensations sometimes.

[00:38:33] And then, I love that you were talking about using the drills to come out of dissociation during sex. I just had a coaching call and we were talking about it’s like ninja level NSI work. When in those moments that are triggering and activating, you can actually use your tools. 

In the beginning it’s just about developing that minimum effective dose practice and then weaving it in through the day when you’re already calm so that you build more capacity. When in real life you actually have the training and the practice of using Neuro Somatic tools so that in those moments of things that would cause a response, you can use your high payoff tools, you can use your rescue tools and create a new experience instead of the dysregulation. Then we’re re-patterning that, we’re changing that the more we do it, the more we create that change. That’s ninja level NSI work right there. 

[00:39:30] If you’re a coach, a therapist, a practitioner, you can see a beautiful example here with Joli of how she was able to take Neuro Somatic tools and weave it into her practice to create real, actionable, transformative change for her clients from the level of the nervous system in the brain.

If you’re interested in learning this framework and getting these tools for yourself to bring into your practice to put you at the front edge of your field, then join us at neurosomaticintelligence.com. We are enrolling for the fall cohort now. You can find the link to sign up for an email list or a discovery call with me through the link in the show notes.

[00:40:15] Joli: It’s so juicy too, because you take your, what is possibly- my clients at least- express this as being one of their greatest fears and pains. They don’t want to be in a sexual experience with themselves- because solo sex is real sex- or with partners, they don’t wanna be dissociating.

[00:40:41] They want to be present to it. They wanted to have pleasure. That was the whole thing. That was the whole reason they started that particular episode of sexual interaction. But dissociation during sex is so normal. It’s so normalized. It’s so typical. It just happens. And I had actually just written it off. I didn’t know that I would ever not to do that. I thought that was part of how I had sex. So I had taken to training my partners- so I’m non monogamous so I often have more than one partner at a time, even,- so I would had taken to taking the effort to teach them how I wanted it handled because now you want dissociation handled during sex is gonna be different than how I do teaching them.

[00:41:25] Okay, what do we do? And that’s great. But it still didn’t actually change my experience. I was still feeling this intense loss because I literally couldn’t stay present to the joy and pleasure often at the most delicious moments possible. Sometimes I would lose time, I would lose whole events and my partners would have to tell me about them afterwards- which also calls into question how we actually consent.

[00:41:54] Wow, there’s a whole conversation we could have about consent! This work has let me begin staying present during things I just did not think I ever could. And I’m noticing it with more clients- if they do- exactly the pattern you were talking about, Elisabeth- start with that. Okay, what is the dosage? What are the tools that work for me? And they eventually introduce this into their masturbation, into their sex. We can have back our sexual selfhood. We can have it back. 

[00:42:31] Jennifer Absolutely. I have claimed it. I am one of these people. I’m coming back. I’m about to open that door for that next conversation, I think. I also wanna speak to- I was someone who was masturbating really early on and I did not know what was happening, but it was very shameful.

[00:42:56] I knew it was bad. No one was talking to me about sex even when it came to the ages. And so there are parts of the choir that really do feel, I think, shameful and pleasure. I noticed it actually the past couple of days, I kept wanting to masturbate. I kept wanting to pleasure and I just kept denying myself and denying myself. What I had to do was sit with myself. And I was like, what is going on here? Like, who? What’s happening? Why am I in this denial? It’s interesting to be in the denial at the same time as an expansion in my life. It’s like things are going really, really good and instead of using the pleasure to put out the joy and big life that I want and to support all of that magic going into the air and into the ethers, I was really denying myself.

[00:43:49] I still wanna open the door though, so I’m gonna say one more thing. When I hear you talking about dissociation and sex, I also hear sexual fawning coming up in my brain. And how sexual fawning is just so dangerous to a body that is dissociated that might not be consenting, has completely checked out, or is maybe doing it to make their partner happy or to stay alive in some way. And so, that’s it.

[00:44:26] Joli: Yeah. Okay. I’m glad you did open that door. I’m gonna pop back and forth. So you almost asked the perfect question of yourself in that moment where you are denying yourself pleasure. The first question I would ask you is- who in you is denying you pleasure? Who? So turn to the choir and make a cup of tea, light a candle and say, ‘so who are you? Come on, we’re gonna talk. It’s fine.’ Have a chat. I will literally pour them a cup of tea themselves. Let’s have a chat here. Because you deserve a voice in the choir. You deserve that and you have wisdom for me. They’re not trying to interfere. They’re trying to protect you. So we want their wisdom. So we don’t actually want- this is where I get a little bit tricky around IFS which I think it’s a great process- but often people over label all of these parts. They’re like, ‘no, that’s an exile, that’s a manager, that’s a protector.’ And then they start judging those parts by their roles, not who they are.

[00:45:29] I’m an archetypalist, I stay with the image. So let’s stay with the image. Invite the who to the party, have that conversation with them, leave them whole and ask them for their wisdom. Close that conversation and see if in fact your pleasure has returned, because it may have. 

That said- the question you had about sexual fawning. Okay. I think we should take a two-pronged approach. One is that you can dissociate and not be sexually fawning, and you can be sexually fawning and not dissociate it. So let’s make sure that we clarify that they’re not the same thing. And it is absolutely possible, the Venn diagram of them overlapping is gonna create this familiar scenario, for many people where for many people they are now performing sex. And they’re not present. So if you’re just in fawning, then you’re performative. I don’t like that for anyone. But honestly, you get to play that way if you want. Like sometimes that’s fun and sometimes you want to. I’ve gone to play parties where I’m like, I don’t even know whether I’m into this, but somehow I’m just gonna go for it.

[00:46:39] What the heck? Okay, performative sex. You are grown up. You get to decide, go for it. Fuck around and find out. Quite literally. But if you’re dissociating, then now you’re not actually choosing. And that can, like we said, we can lose time, we can lose our voice. We may not actually be, can I consent?

[00:46:58] It really does call into question, can I consent if I’m dissociated? And now our partners are also faced with a very real fear of- they need to now check whether we are still there because they had consent. But consent has to be ongoing. Oh, that’s complicated. Yeah, that’s a wasp’s nest.

[00:47:20] We can get into it in another conversation. But in the center, in the vesica Pisces, the center of a Venn diagram, is that beautiful fish shape and where they overlap I am both not present and somehow performing. So I wanna ask a couple of questions. When I’m in a regulated state I would wanna invite myself to have a conversation with the “who” in me who is performing. I wanna know them. I wanna give them a name. I wanna know how old they are. I wanna know what they wear. I wanna know how they carry themselves, what is their deal. I wanna get to know that part that’s super performative. And I also want to try to get to know this part that is like, yeah, we’re gonna check out while she’s playing.

[00:48:05] I am not gonna stick around for it. I’m gonna numb. I’m gonna go away. I will not be here. That part is often incredibly difficult to get to know because that’s their job is to hide. They’re great at it. I like to use mythological figures to get to know those parts. So I will turn to whatever my favorite mythology or stories or characters I can see outside of myself and say, where have I ever seen this person before?

[00:48:33] Maybe I don’t know this piece of me yet. Have I ever seen it in a story? Have I ever seen it? Where do I see that reflected? And just start the ‘who’ conversation again. Because if I’m in this performative and not present space; one, I’m not really having sex with my partner- I’m performing a service, playing a game, but I’m also not there.

[00:48:57] You deserve better. You just do. You deserve better. And I could also write a story for myself that disempowers me completely from my sexual selfhood. And that could become all that I do. I just am now constantly in a cycle of sexual fawning and just staying with this idea that if I perform well enough and I don’t feel it, then this will all be okay. None of that is okay. You can have better.

[00:49:35] Elisabeth: Yeah, I believe that is so true. It also brings to mind this idea of neuroplasticity especially when we’re talking about dissociation. It’s such a protective physiological response, hardwired from an early age. You deserve better. Because you go there, it doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with you or that you’re broken just because you dissociate. It was an adaptive protective response at some point, and it is completely possible to gradually- and with minimum effective dose- to bring yourself back into that place where you can feel sensations and also feel safety with those sensations.

[00:50:23] Big picture when we think about parts work from a Neuro Somatic perspective. Parts work is really just a collection of neurotags that are working together. When you’re in that protective Part, that dissociative Part, it’s those neurotags. It’s a bunch of different neurotags that are activated, creating a protective lens. The Parts that are trying to come together in a state of hypervigilance to keep you safe. So it might be a verbal neurotag, it might be an auditory neurotag, it might be a felt sense neurotag. All of these things get activated with sensations with the experience. Dissociation might be the well worn output of that particular activation of tags. So it’s completely possible to re-pattern that response gradually with new stimulus.

[00:51:20] Joli: Thank God

[00:51:21] Jennifer: Hallelujah. That’s right.

[00:51:24] Joli: So glad. We’ll get the whole choir singing. I love it.

[00:51:27] Jennifer: Get that vagus nerve attached to the cervix again! Reconnected to the cervix.

[00:51:32] Joli: Exactly. Whenever Melanie said- ooooh, it innervates the cervix. Okay, so I learned how to have cervical orgasm. Okay, tell me how cervical orgasms aren’t then stimulating the vagus nerve. And so if you actually need down regulation, that might not be the kind of orgasm you specifically want to stimulate.

[00:51:54] And if you need up-regulation, it might be. So now we’re into really complicated questions about- do you know how to tell the difference between your orgasms? Do you know how to stimulate different orgasms? And not everybody has access to all these different kinds and that’s fine too. But if you do, if your cervix pulses, if you can feel your uterus pulsing during your orgasm and you can actually feel… Yeah, then you are getting this cervical response and you will stimulate your vagus nerve. Pretty exciting.

[00:52:23] Jennifer: Literally exciting.

[00:52:23] Joli: Literally, it makes me wanna eat cake. It just does, just the thought of… I don’t know why, but it made me wanna throw a party for it. Yeah. I wanna throw a whole party for it.

[00:52:37] Elisabeth: Amazing. It’s so good to talk to you. We love having you on here so much. I had no idea where this conversation was gonna go, and it’s been so great.

[00:52:46] Joli: Talking to me, nobody ever knows where it’s gonna go.

[00:52:50] Elisabeth: I’m here for it. I’m here for it.

[00:52:53] Joli: Well, thank you so much for having me.

[00:52:55] Joli: It’s a total joy. Thank you. If you’re listening and you’re like, ‘okay, I kind of want to explore this whole concept of how do I know my sexual self?’ Not just talk about my orgasm, your orgasm’s important, but there’s also this whole sexual self to know.

[00:53:16] The stuff that’s in your shadow is a great place to start. So I have a masterclass. It is a paid product, it’s a low price product though, for getting deep into your sexual shadow. Yours is not mine and mine is not yours. And that’s great. So I’m gonna walk you through what sexual shadow is and then through seven prompts to help you. It’s exactly what I walk my clients through to figure out where your turn-ons are. This would be great work. I use it in my practice with people to say, ‘okay, so if you explore this particular aspect of your shadow, of the stuff that you haven’t yet integrated, and you regulate, are you able then to blend these together and get into a regulated state where now this isn’t actually shadow material so much as it is juicy, yummy, maybe a little bit kinky material for you. Totally different for everyone.’ You can find that at www.sexualshadowmasterclass.com.

[00:54:08] Jennifer: Awesome. I love that because a lot of times in my pleasure practice, it’s not about orgasm, it’s about touching myself in a pleasurable way.

[00:54:17] Joli: Here, here. Everybody can have that as homework, everybody. 

[00:54:22] Jennifer Thanks Joli.

[00:54:23] Joli: Thank you so much for having me. Bye.

[00:54:26] Elisabeth: Thank you Joli. I’ll see you soon.

S3 E7

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