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Untying The Knot with Mark Tanaka

I am so happy to introduce you to Mark Tanaka, a teacher, and coach that specializes in helping people with nervous system regulation, somatic attachment/developmental trauma repair, and inner child work.

Mark is a beloved friend and colleague whom I met during a 2-year shamanic energy bodywork training. He has a background in teaching Qi Gong and Yoga, which he applies to his somatic attachment and development trauma repair practices.

Through his process of helping people unwind the physical body, he discovered that relationship trauma patterns left an imprint. This made him dive deeper into techniques that can help create more security and safety in relationships of all kinds. 

In this episode, Mark guides a beautiful exercise on how to return to and regulate yourself when confronted with a hard conversation. I highly recommend you try it out.

His work can be found at

Show Notes

So my guest this week on Laid Open podcast is Mark Tanaka. And this is a human that I adore. I met him in a shamanic energy body working training. That was a two year training. And so we get the opportunity to know each other quite well. And he was my go to support person during that training and he taught Qigong, which I really enjoy and feels beneficial and you’ll get to hear more about that Mark has 25 years of experience in eastern practices, spirituality and healing in the past 10 years he’s brought focus to nervous system regulation work with a special emphasis on attachment trauma and repair work. Mark has been teaching workshops on nervous system regulation self regulation, co regulation and attachment and healing the pair online and in Santa Cruz. Welcome, I’m, I’m thrilled to have you here. I really am. I love I love seeing you. And it’s been way too long.

It has been. I know, there’s been a lot I’m actually super curious to hear where you’re at. I’ve been noticing your podcast, and that you’ve been really growing, you know, in your work and sharing your work and your vision. Yeah, I’m super excited to be here in chat. I can remember I think probably one of the last times and the last time was maybe a birthday game night or something, but was taking a walk in Santa Cruz. And both of us had thought about online courses in creation and stuff. And I was like, alright, Mark, you gotta get out there. And you’re like, Oh, no. And then boom, you’re you’re so you’re, you were such a great resource during the beginning part of COVID with your, with your Qigong practices on YouTube and Facebook Live. And I was always ushering my clients in your direction. Thanks. So thanks for that.

Yeah. Oh, my pleasure. I mean, I COVID was a very interesting opportunity. Right, because it just forced us to do a lot of things for me, it forced me to go online, way more than I was wanting to, or ready for and now completely online. And I’m actually enjoying a lot of aspects of it, and some of the freedom that it brings. So it’s been a great opportunity in kind of a introduction to a medium.

And so did all of the I know you were teaching at certain yoga studios did all of that close. And is that still closed? Or?

Well, I’m still affiliated with one of my yoga centers in Los Gatos, California. That’s right in Silicon Valley. And I teach two classes for them, but all align currently, I’ve kind of just stayed online. Yeah.

And, and so I don’t want to take, I don’t want to assume that listeners know even what she going in. So I’m going to ask you to break down a lot of these terms that you and I are familiar with, but I want everyone to understand and so what is Qigong, what are the benefits? And how did you discover the power of it?

Qi Gong considered to be Chinese yoga, in a way, get a sense that it’s a self cultivation practice, like yoga, you work with the body, you work with the breathing, that is meditation and visualization practices involved. It’s used for health purposes. It’s used for martial arts. And it’s also used to spiritual practice too. And so the Chi means lifeforce and Gong means to cultivate. So it’s the cultivation of lifeforce energy. In the beginning stages. Again, you’re taught to work with the body and you’re taught to work with the breath. But as you become a little more advanced, more sensitive, you’re looking to develop an ability to feel the lifeforce energy, and learning how to cultivate it, channel it through your body store the energy and just be able to modulate the energy in the body for a variety different purposes. These days, I’m really focusing on how it impacts our nervous system. Because I’m finding more and more that people are having issues with their nervous system stress dysregulation. And as we become collectively more aware of polyvagal theory, just the whole process of getting too much in fight or flight or shutting down, right, all these patterns that show up in the body, on an unconscious level. So I find myself really During the practice to help people develop the skill, where they can modulate their nervous system more freely and develop more freedom. I have lots of different things that I want to focus on with you. But I would love to just as things arise if you could go a little bit more into polyvagal theory.

Yeah, so polyvagal theory popularized, and a lot of great research has been done by Steven Porges. If you ever get a chance to listen to him online, for any of his talks, I would highly recommend it, he’s very pleasant to listen to. He’s very knowledgeable, and he’s very personable. But he breaks down the various sort of phases or aspects of the nervous system really well. And typically, traditionally, we look at the nervous system from the perspective of sympathetic, and parasympathetic, right autonomic nervous system, so you’re either in fight or flight sympathetic, or activation, right? excitement, joy, sympathetic, or parasympathetic, which is like calm, peaceful state, relaxed, you’re restoring and digesting. And when we get into polyvagal theory, we’re breaking that somewhat binary seeming like seemingly binary, nervous system mode into more of an intricate, I look at it as a three mode system more so. So there’s the fight or flight sympathetic. And then there’s also the dorsal which is a form of parasympathetic. But it’s more than the mode of where you shut down, you close off it, I look at it as a circuit breaker of a nervous system. So when you get to stress and to activated, the body naturally shuts down itself, to preserve itself, right. That’s another thing the body does to moderate pain. So if you’re going through intense injury, or like emotional stress and injury, you might also close up so typically, you see this a lot in people when they’re in arguments or fight, one person might close off, collapse, come quiet, immune, turn away, disconnect, or even get really this is amazing, right? When working with a couple you can come in totally Energize. As soon as they get triggered, they look like someone slipped them a sleeping pill like their eyes. Yeah, really heavy and lifted, or their face starts to go slack. So if you see this with your partner, if you’re actually looking at them, versus lecturing them, and just not looking at them, and berating them, you’ll see the fatigue, and you’ll see this nervous system start to become more and more dissociated.

Yeah, that’s it totally, you know, I have a history of going into that mode, too. So understanding that’s been really helpful. Yeah, I can really watch it and work with it, and also understand the antidotes of how I can bring myself out of it when I need to. Beautiful, yeah, and then the third phase that is really important that polyvagal theory covers is the ventral system, right, which is the part of the system where it’s about connection. So I look at also as the attachment orientation of the nervous system, meaning how the nervous system is actually cued towards relating, and connecting with other beings. So it’s the part of us through the inner ear through the facial muscles, maybe register, other people’s facial expressions, vocal tone, to pick up on other people’s moods, we do mirroring with each other. And when we’re in the ventral state, we’re able to take in that relational information, we’re able to empathize with the person where there’s impetus to connect, understand, right. And it also, from there, we can use that to find connection and ease fulness and CO regulation. And that’s what we’re seeking, right? But when we get shut down, or we’re in high, sympathetic, or fight or flight, then usually that part shuts down as well. Right? Because it’s usually often we go from one mode to the other, right? So when we’re fighting, we’re angry, for example, we’re arguing with someone, then usually it becomes about them, there’s the enemy, so you have to defend yourself from them. Right? So you disconnect, you lose your empathy. In some ways, you stopped caring about them. So you couldn’t say really harsh or mean things to them. Right? And all that is, to some degree predicated by the mode of the nervous system that we’re in.

Mm hmm. Totally. Yeah, I want to get more into this later. But when someone gets stuck in, in a dorsal state, or someone gets stuck in a place of, you know, their amygdala so activated that they only see their partner as their enemy, and they really forget the last 20 years of companionship and allied ship, and they’re like, and then they just, they’re excuses why I’m stuck in this but people can be can be in a shutdown state for months and months.

Yeah, but that’s a big one. Actually. My girlfriend, my partner has been a major ally in the sense that she’s really helped me see that and how I can come out of it and I need to utilize my intention, my will and my skills to do so more often because left to our own devices, sometimes, like you said, we can be stuck in that state for a really long time. And that can be extremely detrimental for your relationships. Right. And to some degree without training, it is now involuntary, right? You don’t know how to come out of it. It’s such an involuntary mechanism that you go into, and you do get stuck there.

Mm hmm. Absolutely. I want to cover a little bit of other stuff first, but I want to absolutely come back to this because I think it’s essential for listeners. And near the end of our time together, I’ll ask if you’re willing to guide us through practice. Perhaps this is the focus, because I think every everyone, myself included, everyone could benefit from having more choice as to how to get out of a state that is so automatic that our system is just going I’m trying to protect you. You’re you’re feeling unsafe here. You’re feeling too vulnerable. Right? You know? Yeah. And disconnection is the is the is the way if that’s what preserved you as a child.

Right, right. Right. 100%. Yeah, yeah.

So I’m curious to hear a little bit more about you personally, in terms of what compelled you to find this path. Right. So there’s, there’s like, oh, yeah, I came into yoga, because my back hurt. So what what was it that had you find a healing path and then stick to it enough that you were like, this is something that I really want to make my life’s work?

That’s a great question. At the Think back pretty far, right, like 20 years ago. But initially, I think it was a combination of obviously suffering, right? being awkward, insecure, I think chronically kind of depressive, also to some degree, teenager, right? And youth finding spiritual practices, and then also getting really fascinated by spirituality, kind of, you know, the magical pneus of it, in a sense, if that makes sense, right? I was reading a lot of books that were talking about the yogi’s in India, and, you know, these mystical beings and whatnot, I got really fascinated by that, which created a certain kind of motivation obsession. with ALS at UC Santa Cruz, and I started taking psychedelics, I started reading New Age books, spiritual books, started doing yoga, they had a holistic health program up there, like Tai Chi Gong and pressure point, therapy and things like that. So I started studying Meridian channels and energy. And actually, I grew up with a lot of these concepts to some degree, because I’m Japanese. And I grew up on anime and manga. Some of it was actually really familiar. And but that was always fantasy. And I knew that as a kid. And when I encountered some of this stuff in real life, a lot of it actually became real. And I started having some pretty interesting profound experiences on psychedelics, as well to sort of corroborate some of the experiences I was having when I was meditating, doing yoga as well. And that got me very fascinated and motivated, I started having a series of mystical experiences too. And in that process, it appeared, in my experience in my perception, like I was being guided and shown something. And part of that was my purpose. And, and one of the things that came through that process was like, Oh, I’m supposed to be doing transformational work and healing work, and finding a way to introduce this into the public, and help people in their healing process and transformation, and also in their awakening process. So I became really entrenched in that study myself, I began to see different benefits from it. In terms of improvement in my mental state, my physical state, my emotional state, my sense of aliveness in those areas. So, you know, that’s kind of the beginning. And over the years, obviously, I dabbled in a lot of different things from or biology to nutrition to, you know, yoga, meditation, Buddhism, various forms of Hinduism, and philosophy. The energy school we met at Western, you know, energetics, core energetics. Cymatics, and then eventually, well, this is something I realized pretty early on, but it kind of bled into the future into the now which was, oh, early on, I noticed a lot of the blocked energy in my body that I was releasing to these eastern practices. Were also releasing a lot of psychosomatic material, right, early childhood trauma, some things that maybe even seem like past life trauma or an intergenerational trauma, emotional blockage points, right, a lot of intense emotion was arising. So I started to recognize that there was a lot of stored material in the body mind that was being reconfigured and released and early on, I read the book by Barbara and Brennan hands a light that really broke down the different developmental so this is like okay, what happens to you in childhood in different phases of development. You know, you have different needs in these developmental phases and depending on how they’re met or unmet, can create ruptures in your psyche and coping mechanisms to protect yourself from it. That then turn into these deeply ingrained patterns in your body, in your energy body and also in your emotional and mental body. So I became really fascinated With that, and how to undo that, right that knot. And particularly in the last 10 years, I started to focus more on the relational and attachment developmental. So this is all the stuff that happens primarily through your relationship to your primary caregiver, but also in your social milieu, in your developmental phases, and how that informs your body mind, like, and then how to undo some of that wounding pattern became kind of an obsession. Because I, I saw that for most people, when you do yoga or meditation, that’s kind of where you end up at some point is that unprocessed trauma. And I was like, I need to figure out ways to deal with this stuff and myself and also help other people through this process, because it’s where a lot of us are getting stuck.

Right? What what’s what’s so interesting and important about that piece is I feel like there are certain people who cut who find yoga or physical practice. And and maybe then they find spirituality. It’s like there’s there’s there’s different threads, right? There’s the physical body, there’s spirituality, there’s, there’s psychology and trauma. And you you end up hitting a wall or you hit something that you go, Oh, wait, this is the piece that I then have to unravel, while somebody else who maybe is purely psychologically minded, they’ll hit that place where they’re like, we can’t go further unless we go into the body. Yeah, right. And then they have to go through the body. And and then they process things. So it’s like, there’s all these layers. And really, you want to, as you said, undo the knots. Yeah, you need to look at all the pieces and approach it from a holistic place rather than just like a one dimensional.

Totally, I think a lot of us, you know, you’ve been doing this work for a long time. Yeah. Was there a point for you, where you kind of realized that, that puzzle layer perspective, or?

Yeah, I mean, you know, I started, I started going to psychotherapy at 14, and I had 10 years of psychotherapy. And I dabbled in, in yoga and things like that. But it was pretty disembodied until I started doing somatic work in my early, early 20s. And I simultaneously was I was dealing with physical limitations, like had an injury, and tendinosis lost the use of my hands. And so I started doing having a very regular yoga practice, and which that brought me into my body, right. And that led to dance. And then it was like, that just became the focus of my of my life really. And, and then simultaneously, I was doing somatic healing, self healing through the body through martial arts based practices, as well as body work, right. And then along with that, I started a regular meditation practice. And so that you know, so then you just really see you’re like, oh, my gosh, I was doing all this, I had really great insight, but it wasn’t touching my nervous system. And when there’s that kind of trauma, which I had all of this anxiety that basically ran me from the age of probably 10, to 24, then, you know, I really saw how that shifted, and how my experience internally and my perception of the world and everything really shifted through meditation, and through the somatic practices that was like, Oh, I can actually feel safe in the world and not be terrified of men. That’s remarkable.

Right? What type of meditation were you doing around that time to integrate?

Yeah, what was interesting, I was initially introduced to meditation through the Strozzi Institute as part of my Cymatics training, okay. And it was very non secular, right, it was really primarily focused around paying attention to your thoughts, labeling my thoughts, noticing what was happening in my physical body. So it’s very passionate type approach, although it wasn’t called that because it was, it was me work, you know, I worked at a sex toy store, you know, selling like dildos. And everyone else was like corporate America coaches, business coaches, you know, it’s awesome. And, and so it was not that we’re trying to preach any kind of Buddhism or anything. But from there, I think I found I found energy medicine because again, all these healing crises would happen for me and then it would I would just up level spiritually. So then I found a different kind of energy medicine, chakra based meditation. heart centered, a Sufi based meditation.

Yeah, for most of us, I think we were like piecing together the whole experience, right? We realized we needed all these components and that there was so much value in a lot of different methods and traditions, and you kind of walk into the supermarket of different practices, and you start picking things off the shelf that put together your meal, in a sense.

Well, and I craved in one way, I really was envious of friends who were like Zen. Zen is my path. You know, and that was it. I’m like, God, that’s awesome. That’s simple. It’s straightforward. You have like these rules and regulations, and boom, and for me, it was more like, what is going to help? This particular piece of my, why is my body doing what it’s doing? And how can I understand it? And what’s the tool? And you know, and then suddenly I’m meeting nearby Debbie, who’s a light worker, and I’m like, What is a light worker? All I know is I had a spontaneous healing. Okay, I guess that’s my next, you know, meal from Costco or whatever. Yeah. No, no. Yeah. I love that you, you dove in, and you followed your curiosity. And it’s brought you to this work, which we were both introduced to at. So luminous awareness Institute is where I met Mark. And that was the the energy body work training. And there was a guest who came in, and who taught the stick work, which is the attachment or cummings Yeah, you’re coming of arm attachment, adult attachment, repair nothing. Yeah, then this is the work that you have really taken on. And you’ve, you’ve studied with him.

So I’m definitely influenced by him. I, you know, a lot of the times, I’m very experimental. So I’ll take pieces from different practitioners, teachers, I was also getting a lot of internal family systems or ifs work by Dick Schwartz done by one of my therapists. So I, by receiving it, I kind of learned it, of course of yours. So I kind of tend to do that. And then I started experimenting with it myself and meditation and also with clients as well. And same thing with Peter, I took some of the principles he was talking about. And it was very helpful to work with him, because he has about, I don’t know, 25 years or 30 years experience. So I was able to ask him a lot of questions and verify some things, you know, that you only understand over time, because a lot of these things, especially like attachment, healing, I think is more of a long term process. Right. It’s not like a one and done type of situation. So it was helpful to study with someone who had years of experience under their belt and be able to ask specific questions around the work. So he heavily influenced my work, I’m working on wine. So I don’t really work with a stick, but I work with the same principles of how to connect with the person I’m working with, and how to bring some of what was missing in the relational connection, attachment context, particularly into those places that experienced that rupture or disconnect, right, paying close attention to the body experience in the nervous system regulation, which was sort of the heart and soul core of the principles behind Peters work.

Yeah, I was, I was really curious, if you, if you were seeing people in person doing the stick work, because you know, that I, I am doing this work. And, and I also bring some of it and I love I mean, parts work is essential. So there’s just for anybody out there listening. There’s ifs, which is more of a psychological framework, or it’s coming from psychology, but then from a spiritual place there’s, there’s feeding your demons, in a big mind is more Zen Zen approach to hurts work. And I highly recommend whatever path you’re on whatever resonates for you to really investigate this because, you know, a lack of self acceptance is so core to so much of our suffering, and disowning parts of ourselves that we think are wrong or bad or shouldn’t exist, and reintegrating them, allows us to also not just be holding ourselves, but to be able to have more compassion, and empathy and not be as dysregulated by other people’s parts.

Yeah, 100%. And with parts right of the cup, two things that I really like to share with people is one, I like the concept of no parts are bad. Like, There literally is not a part of you that is evil or bad or wrong, that most of the things that we judge that we don’t like about ourselves, are usually a coping mechanisms that give us trouble. These are younger parts of us that were really doing their best to help us survive. Like when we shut down, like when we people please like the part of us that makes us engage in addictive behaviors. These are all attempts to feel okay and feel safer and somehow survived a situation that felt untenable. So then, actually, what often is needed is that we need to become aware that of that part of us, instead of letting that part run us and build a compassionate relationship with that part where we understand why they’re doing what they’re doing, and actually help them right from our adult self. And when you do that is profound changes happen.

Right, sorry. Yeah. So one of the things I’ve referred to repeatedly is the stick work and so if you’re like What are straight talking about? This is about an actually work. How about do you want to explain it a little bit?

Sure. Simply put, the body stores memories of feeling disconnected in different places in development, connection is an essential human nutrient for development, and the proper development of our body, our nervous system and our personality, actually to self image, everything. So when we lack that connectedness and different phases in our development, which is not just a mental experience, the felt sense experience of connectedness, right, which then allows our nervous system to calm down and release and enter that we call the ventral state we were talking about earlier, which is actually the state through which we’re able to integrate experiences deal with challenges and recover. And when we don’t have access to that, we get in a sense stuck in different places in our development, our nervous system stops developing its intelligence, or personality develops certain types of you call them to sort of distortions or deficiencies, right. So the stick work is attempting to do, working directly through the body is to transmit a sense and felt sense of connectedness. And it’s a really interesting mechanism. And apparently, Peter just discovered it on accident, based on him following his instincts. One day, he was in a clinic, and he pulled out the stick, and he handed it to his client had the client hold the other end. And by this magical mechanism, the somatic mechanism of the pull on the stick, the other person was able to start to experience a more visceral sense of connectedness while he was going through something painful in their experience. Yeah. And that had a profound effect and the integration and the release, and the regulation, right, the relaxation of his nervous system in that particular piece of trauma.

Yeah, yeah, I’ve used different things. And you know, I think in a way, traditional psychotherapy does not encourage touch. Right, right. And so we’ll, well, well, it’s set up very rigidly because it’s trying to prevent Boundary Crossings, a lot of people have not done their work and they don’t have boundaries, and they don’t have embodied boundaries. And so if you open that door, then it can get very gray and mushy and messy. 100%. And, you know, even they were there was a man who is a psychotherapist, a licensed psychotherapist, who I met when I was training at the Strozzi Institute and doing body, you know, I was a somatic coach before a psychotherapist. And when I was looking for a supervisor, he’s like, he’d even been in my trauma, like, I’d been in these trauma trainings with Stacy Haynes. And so he knew the legitimacy of the body work and all of this stuff. And he was like, I’m sorry, I, like I’m, I can’t be your supervisor, because I’m not willing to risk. Like he basically, you know, he doesn’t he didn’t bring a lot of touch into his work. He was just, he was nervous, you know, you don’t know how litigious a client is, and what a client takes in, even if there’s not something you necessarily did, what they’re going to twist into something. So some people just, they follow the they toe the line. And so as a somatic therapist, I already brought touch into my work with my clients. And so I think that, you know, but Peter, it makes sense to me that instead of reaching out to him, right, instead of touching me to touching his body, or taking his hand or something, yeah, I will do I do with my clients, there was there was something to tether to create a tether between two pieces. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so during COVID I started seeing clients in my garden, and there was one person in particular who really, you know, very young traumatized states would would would show up and needed that, that literal tethering, I would bring, I would use a yoga strap on ice or, or I would use my Jo which is wooden staff used in Aikido right like Houston to practice. So I had my Joe and or I’ve even used a water bottle historically, like literally if it felt like physical contact might be too much for this person system. Right? And more in even lately, even though I do do bodywork, I’ve used it as like a precursor to bodywork. Like introducing someone system that might be like some adult part of them is like, let’s do it. I want this experience. I want to unravel the blah, blah, blah. And then the younger part is going live and scared. I am afraid of the shame or the feelings that will show up. And using my Joe, it’s it’s so beautiful. It’s so many surprising things can arise. In this, this client had the stick in between us and started rolling it around his pan. And, and he was accessing a really playful, curious part of himself. Nice. And it was fun for me as someone who has never had that impulse on the other side of the stick by it to roll it around. I loved I was like, Oh, this is so generative. This is creative part of him that’s that’s willing to come out.

That’s great. I love that. Yeah, it opens up room for this. We’re creative relational, right? It just adds another layer of relating. And I think that’s helpful. I love what you mentioned. Because I think this is one thing Peter emphasized too, where a lot of people, it direct touch can be too much. Right, especially immediately. And so having some sort of transitional object where there’s a little bit more of a visceral connection of feeling of contact through the body sense, is that direct touch can be a really helpful transition. Yeah, getting into more intimate touch, right. And this

relates to attachment. Because there are people who, when we they can have ambivalent attachment, right, where it’s like, I really want this, but I’m afraid of it. And I’m afraid of needing more of it once I get it. Yeah. And I also am just overly stimulated by it.

Yeah, yeah. I’m like that, too. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

And how have you when you’re working? So you’re, you’re not seeing people in person? You’re mostly working online? Yeah. And I know from you that you’re a beautiful tracker, you know, like, you’re not just I think tracking with your, with your mind, but you’re tracking with your body and your so can you speak more to that? How are you? How are you working with people?

Yeah, so when you say tracking, what we’re talking about here, just for listeners is, in a sense, a form of mirroring, great, I think all human beings have the capacity scale of mirroring, which is to be able to pick up on the cues, the subtle cues in other person, it’s part of our ventral system as part of our empathic skills that we naturally have. And then when you put that on steroids, in a sense, and train it, it becomes what we call tracking, where you’re perhaps able to pick up on subtle cues that maybe an average person may not pay attention to or notice. And we also go into the realm of people who fall into the category of what we call empaths and sensitives. Or psychics even, right, there’s a range there. But we can pick up on information that again, may be difficult for the average person to pick up, like he might be able to feel the emotion in acute detail that the other person is experiencing. Right. And part of this, for me also comes from experience, I’ve sat with probably 1000 people for 1000s of hours, right? So after a while it you start to be able to make sense of the subtle sensations and feelings that you’re picking up on the person. And you know, what’s going on in terms of the nervous system? Or the with the the emotional experience or the attachment experience? Right? Like, are they feeling connected? Are they feeling scared? Are they feeling confused? Are they dissociating all those subtle kind of shoes of felt sense neuromodulation nervous system, modulation become something you can actually make sense of, and then from there help the person by knowing that experience because often, the client doesn’t understand what’s going on. So sometimes they do. So you don’t, all you need to do is just point out something and they’ll notice it because it’s just underneath their awareness. Other times they feel overwhelmed by it, they don’t really know what to make of it, because they’d never had enough reflection space holding to be able to make sense of their experience. So you might facilitate that process or even define it for them. And in terms of how I develop that it’s combination, I think, number one, I think, constitutionally sensitive to begin with, and then also doing a lot of the meditation, and yogic practices, the channel clearing practices, have opened up my nervous system in my body, so that I’m able to pick up on those subtle impulses. For example, when you do Qigong, you are slowing down your nervous system quite a bit. You’re increasing proprioception and interoception, right, the ability to feel your body more clearly, and also feel the signals inside your body interoception more clearly, and meditation that listens to especially if you do more body based somatic meditations. So years and years of doing that, and as well as cleaning up my own nervous system and body. So I’m not in a triggered state perpetually, if you’re in a ventral neutral state, and you’re able to maintain that you’re able to pick up on subtle cues in the other person versus being overwhelmed by your own reactivity to what’s happening in your environment. And the last thing I would say is being able to tap into sort of transpersonal states of awareness, right? Well, we might call awareness states, you know, self or the big ass or big mind, states where you’re in the fundamental level of your consciousness, which is not the mind, thinking mind, but the subtle awareness presence, to best describe it when you can hang out there. I really believe that that is an aspect of us that truly has access to what I would consider the quantum level. So nonlocality, beyond time and space, so you can pick up on information that’s not normally accessible for the gross level human mind. Sounds kind of mystical, but it’s not as crazy as you think it is. Ultimately, one of the things I appreciate about you is you have a lot of skill with articulating things, right like just saying things very clear. lately and I think that you, you explain that very well that last part. So I get information in a variety of ways. I get images, I feel things in my body, I also hear things and people may dismiss them or may not say them and amazed how much information you have access to. Right along the lines coming back to Qigong a bit, so certain Taoist or Qigong practices, sexual practices. I’m curious if that’s something that that you have explored and can speak to.

Yeah, it’s something I spent more time earlier in my explorations because I was doing a bunch of Taoist Nagel Gordon terminal practices. So you know, I did if you if any of your listeners have dabbled into Taoism and Taoist practices, they probably heard of things like working with the Lord onto circulating that lifeforce to the microcosmic orbit, and then learning how to channel the energy up and things like that to the center channel. So a lot of just more subtle control over ejaculation and orgasm being to prolong pressure, also, to be able to channel pleasure differently through the body, because a lot of times when men orgasm, they just express all the energy out. But it also taught me how to have more internal orgasms in my body and kind of move that pleasure through my body, things like that. So I didn’t go super deep with it. But I definitely learned some of the basics.

Yeah, it’s what it’s what some listeners would know as as full body orgasm. Right? So here, if you’re wanting to go and Google that, yeah, yeah, there you go. There you go. Oh, I also I also asked my, my, my guests this question, because, you know, people are listening to this podcast, I think, to understand what enhances and what inhibits sexual freedom.

Oh, god, yeah, we can get into that.

While I’m happy to talk to somebody about how to give a good blow job, I’m much more interested in how to live have a whole vibrant existence and all of these practices that I’m wanting to bring all the resources to my listeners, and, and so what is sexual freedom to you? How do you think of that,

I mean, the first thing I think I’ll cover, it’s a vulnerable share, because it’s very personal information. But something that was a huge eye opener for me, was at some point, I had a friend whose partner was studying more like, sort of sexual bodywork. And this and it was, you know, I didn’t have sex with the person, but there was some touching and some some guiding involved and body awareness and things like that. And in that process, one of the things I realized that I had no idea of this is like years into being, you know, sexually active, right, like, I think it was in my early 30s. Through that experience, in that session, I had a recognition that this may sound strange, because I’m a male, but you know, how I’ve been a people pleaser, my whole life. And this is a, this is an attachment trauma for me, right? Having to take care of my mom psychologically, emotionally, from the loss of my father, etc, etc. I then realized that in pretty much all my sexual relationships, I was obsessed with performance, I was obsessed, obsessed with providing pleasure for my partner, and I didn’t know how to experience pleasure in my own body. So I literally was cut off from pleasure from my waist down. And I would have all this sort of confusion, shame, numbness that I was experiencing, that I didn’t really wasn’t in touch with, actually. Right. So for me, this is after years of doing the energy practices, and this is again, where the attachment work to me really ties in with everything, including sexual pleasure, because when we have unresolved emotional trauma, when we have unresolved attachment trauma, it really, in my opinion, impacts the way we can experience connection and pleasure, because to me, sexual sexuality and pleasure is such an intimate, very vulnerable thing for me, so I’m not super sexually active, I don’t have tons of partners. Historically, I’m tend to be more monogamous. And that’s just how I’m kind of made, I’m open to that changing but so far, that’s been my my tendency. So connection and safety trust, things like that are super important. And as long as I was running that people pleasing pattern, I couldn’t quite give myself permission to just receive pleasure and to indulge in my own experience and my need, because fundamentally when we’ve been thwarted in our need developmentally meaning our need was judged shame just not met, neglected. We start to develop a relationship internally in ourselves in relationship to our need, where that need becomes too threatening to have right right because to have need to crave to want, then leads in your experience over and over again. My experience to rejection, right and for it not being met, and then I had to deal with the pain of that. And at some point in my development, I just started to cut off from that, because it was so predictable, I would have a need, it’s not going to get met. And then I realized, I look back, I’m like, Oh, my God, all these people I wanted sexually, I wanted, you know, romantically. The people that I wanted the most, I’ve always run away from because I couldn’t handle the pain and the shame and the rejection that came with feeling the need that was packed in there with my need, right? In my body.

A disappointment is one of the things that people just have so little tolerance and capacity to be with, it’s so painful and and if you’ve learned early that a need isn’t going to be met, why would you set yourself up and then want it and say, Okay, I’m going to reject that before. Before it. I don’t get it, you know, before I ask for it, and don’t get it. And so there’s that running away from what you want most just what I just heard you say? Yeah,

yeah. Yeah. So. So that’s a big piece I and I find that working with that over time has been super important to me, obviously. And, and that’s one of the reasons why again, I value nervous system focus, body focus, attachment work in that sense, because it is one of the ways you can start to really look at that, make sense of it, contextualize it, and start to support it and help it.

Mm hmm. And there’s so there’s so much and what you said and you know, one of the pieces is this, this piece when you’re talking about numbness and focus on the other and disconnection from your own needs and and how they all you know, it also makes sense, right? When someone’s depressed or when they’re hypo aroused. There is there’s more numbness there. Yeah, right. And the aliveness, this hyper arousal, right? That that state, there’s permission, there’s like need and maybe there’s upset because it’s not being met? Or maybe there’s turn on, but in that hypo aroused state, there’s, it’s just like, I don’t get to have it. And and in order to not even feel the upset of not having it, I’m just going to the nerve. This is of course, all unconscious. Usually. Yes, it’s like, okay, I’m just gonna get really sleepy, or I’m gonna get really numb, or I’m gonna get really depressed over here.

Yeah, yeah, it’s like you we’ve already given up. It’s like a resigned state of mind that if he becomes a body state,

yeah. And then and then it becomes a, just an automatic way of, of operating for it can be decades and decades can be a whole lifetime. And then there’s that numbness and as the numbness starts to dissipate, and you start to feel, I mean, what I want to also underscore for for listeners is that here’s someone sharing who did rigorous regular practice, right? And that there’s a path. And so we want to all be patient with ourselves in terms of our evolution, and some people are needing to learn how to calm their nervous systems, and other people are learning how to like, have their needs and sensation come online?

Yeah, great, I’d really want to emphasize that. And this may not be for everybody, but just in my experience, the yoga, the meditation, the Chi Gong was not enough, right? I did decades of that. And I really needed to do the relational work, the work involving other people, people helping me people connecting with me in a way that I could feel safe, that I felt attuned to, so that my body can learn how to open up to feeling in need, that work to me was so essential. So just like to all the people who are self reliant, and who do tons of meditation and yoga and are trying to heal their personality issues, through that, you might have a hard time doing that, especially if your personality issues come from relational trauma, you might not that you can do it at all, or like you can’t do it, maybe nothing like that. But it might be easier if you learn how to work with someone you can trust around these things. Because once you can bring in care or a connection, kindness, you know, empathy from another being, right, the experience of that external being relating to us with that gives us permission in the body, that there’s something so healing and important about that relationship. And that relational realm, right?

Absolutely. I mean, you know, yeah, there’s self regulation. So let’s in case people don’t know when we use these terms, self regulation is us focusing on her you know, you could go meditate or do Qigong and you’re learning how to ground inside yourself. While co regulation is your partner or a therapist or friend, somebody helping with their nervous system, calm your nervous system.

I love that. That’s so well put it in specifically the CO regulation is important because there are places in our body memory right in our developmental memory, where we Experience disconnection, and aloneness and rejection in very particular places. And those places believe that they were not acceptable, in a sense, physically neuro somatically. And they cut off, they start to compartmentalize those places, because being rejected for a human really is a signal that you’re not okay. And then, which leads to you’re not going to be part of the group and you’re not going to survive. It’s actually really primal. Yes. So it’s actually, our system registers. It has a high cost. That’s why we still whether we like it or not care about how other people feel about us or what people think about us. Right? And so when we can bring the signal that you’re okay, you’re safe, you’re accepted through the validation of the energy and nervous system, calm, nervous system that’s resting in their ventral uncaring state. And when that can actually be registered in that place in US somatically on a body level, that feels rejected from the past. That sort of interrupts that old circuit of memory. Yes. And that’s what we a lot of us need is that interruption, that positive interruption, and then that needs to usually happen a bunch of times, because that part is like, Oh, I don’t believe you. This is bullshit, you’re gonna go away. Right? Right. And so it needs to happen enough that it can take that in and really believe it and rewire that memory. And start to know that the impulse, the feelings, the needs in the body, are actually okay.

I can feel that as you’re, as you’re speaking about it. And one of the things that I really appreciated about you during our training together, when I be having some kind of young part of me that was triggered, and overwhelmed. Your presence and I, you can’t, you can’t see Mark, maybe you can feel him through his voice and through his articulation. But there’s something for me and I’ve seen this and I got this from from being with you, and and other, you know, other male practitioners, that there’s something super important, an imprint that happens, like it’s a very healing imprint, to be around a man who feels really grounded, and calm, and there’s a lack of pulling energetically, there’s a lack of wanting something from me, no. And that there’s just this invitation to drop deeper into the body. Right, and I worked with another, I had another Qigong practitioner who we would do Qi Gong and right he was he did both things. And I could come in, and I’d be like, doo doo, doo doo, you know, whatever I was, let’s say I was in and then I would actually drop in, in His presence. And then I would access something entirely different. Feel the grief that I hadn’t made time to feel that week or something, right. But just as you’re speaking about it, I can feel the sweetness of what you’re bringing to the people you’re working with, and how I really get how much work that’s taken in you. You know, and how, especially the part that wants to run away in you from intimacy to like, keep bringing yourself forward when you sit with people. And I feel I feel very moved by that. And I can just kind of I feel the soft, the softness in my own system in your presence. And I just appreciate that.

So that’s so sweet. I really appreciate that reflection. Thank you. Yeah,

Yeah. I feel like wow, I’m surprised by that. Like, it’s just really, I’m really moved by it. And I think it’s so important. Yeah. And I have a new friend, who’s an older gay man in the 70s. And I have that experience with him of like, Oh, it’s so and he’s, he’s been in the bodywork field and in doing this kind of healing work for 50 years, and it’s such a gift because I didn’t have a father growing up. I didn’t have men who were respectful and loving with me. Yeah, that didn’t take take something inappropriate, that that sometimes teachers but like in school were okay. But to have more of those male friends in my life, that have that quality of softness, but also grounded masculinity is just a massive gift.

100% Yeah, it’s funny that you mentioned gay men, because I’ve experienced similar. I’ve had some gay male friends over the years and different moments and you know, sometimes there was a sexual attraction piece that might have been layered in there to some degree right from them. But then in general, one of the things that really struck me was how much access they had more to a wider range of emotion. no intimacy and vulnerability. And I found that to be so beautiful and therapeutic to be around. Because by nature I, you know, I am I have a lot of predisposition to that too, obviously. So being around other men with that capacity has been super important to be around, you know, even as a male. Yeah, just the permission of that. Yeah, I feel you, given we we’ve touched into this, I would love to hear more about your, your work with people around healing and repair of attachment? And what are some? What are some things that you want to share about that?

Great question. A little vague. I know,

No, it’s okay. It’s okay. I think I think big is great. It’s, it creates more room for different directions. Right. So right now, you know, I left the school that we met, for a variety of different reasons. One, I wanted to make this kind of workout a little more accessible and affordable, and wanted to build some sort of infrastructure for that. And then also really focus on the attachment healing component of it. So what I’ve been experienced, it’s on experiments like you know, under construction right now really, right. But I started by creating a system of teaching self regulation from an attachment perspective. So this involves understanding the basic principles of attachment, understanding the nervous system, understanding semantics, and then using meditation techniques as a way of starting to dialogue and connect with oneself. Because the self regulation component to me is about one internalizing will be called the IPF attachment therapy or ideal parental figure, right? This is like the image or, or the template for model for the adult that we never had in our lives. So you’re hanging out with Joseph, like, he’s holding that for you as an example. And when you spend time with him, you start to develop sort of an understanding and a memory of what that’s like, and you start to internalize that through the interactions you’re having. And when we have ideal parents in our development, those parents become us like they, we absorb them. And that becomes the basis for how we relate to ourselves. Yes, right. So a lot of self regulation work is about getting those templates in graining them into our own minds. Sometimes even just learning a script, like how to talk to yourself, like one of my favorite scripts is when you go into meditation, finding the body, start to talk to your body, especially if you’re feeling some woundedness, or feelings, some trigger, you start to say, Hi, buddy, Hi, in this part of me, that’s feeling angry, sad, hurt, numb, I see you. I feel you. I’m right here with you. And then we use in meditation, we call concentration, but the staying we stay with that experience, we don’t abandon that experience, we don’t run away from it, we don’t try to fix it or change it. We just connect to it with our awareness and we stay with it. And just that staying with for a lot of us, we had distressed as children. And our parents ignored us or shamed us or got frustrated with us or just disappeared. So we didn’t get connection in those places of hardship. So when we can start to provide that connection to ourselves, in the body, then these parts of us start to register what it’s like to have our handheld, have an adult nervous system, be there with it, right, because these are younger parts of us, even though we’re you know, 3040 5060 are still stuck in that place in that memory. So when we can bring our adult awareness as our current stuff that’s calm, right and regulated to that place, it starts to create a new imprint, right, like we were talking about earlier and initiates a healing process. So that’s the self regulation. And then from there, I brought people into CO regulation class where we then take those principles and qualities like staying with calmness, empathy, right? Listening on a feeling level on body level, and also verbal listening, right? And queuing properly. And we start to do co regulation where you have two people connect with each other, using these skill sets in a way that facilitates a sense of connectedness, because, in a sense, connection is not, you know, a complex science, it’s something very basic. And if you understand the principles of connecting, it’s actually quite easy to meet another person. A lot of times what makes it difficult is that we don’t understand those principles or forget them, or were triggered right? We’re in a dysregulation state like a high sympathetic fight or fight or shut down so that we can provide that connection and openness to the person which has happened in intimate relationships right with higher stakes. Yeah, ever.

So so what I’m doing is kind of training people on self regulation and CO regulation and then kind of going deeper in the skill sets with CO regulation. That’s kind of where I’m developing right now, at the moment. And eventually what I like to do is create a community around that and just have people that they can learn the skills and also work with other people who have the basic skill sets. Because Because I find that often, you know, intimate relationships are difficult because there’s already been trauma and trauma and history. And it triggers each other so much more. And there’s too much entrenching right and complexity there already. Yeah. So going to your therapist is that’s why it’s so valuable, or finding a healer friend, right, like someone you do the work with specifically. And you’re like, hey, I have this hard thing happened. My partner, can you just hold space? And can you give me these things? It’s usually easier to be met, because that experience of being met so important for the therapeutic process, right?

Yes. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I love so what it sounds like you’re implying is not only would you be teaching individuals, these tools, but then creating groups, like, you know, the nonviolent communication community has they do these trainings, and then they have practice groups. So you’re thinking you’d have attachment practice groups?

Is that Yeah, that’s what I’m working on creating slowly? Because, you know, being a healer, Coach therapist, right, like, there’s only so many people who can see a week. That’s right. And, and on top of it, these are skill sets that everyone should have, that will profoundly change their self regulation, and also, like relationships in the world. A lot of, you know, the problems we see in the world are because we don’t connect well, and we don’t regulate together. Well, we don’t meet each other well, and resolve conflicts. Well, right.

Right. So my god, imagine if Putin had done his attachment work. Right. So years ago, I had a therapist who I did this attachment body work with, that comes from body body dynamics, did I ever show you this to you to ever do this with you, I don’t think so. There’s a different clients will give it different names, but one person would be like, the hold, the other person would be like cuddle therapy. And, and so the practitioner is sitting upright, and there’s a particular way that you’re holding their occiput and your leg is across the torso of their body, and the arm, your arm is around their back. And, and there’s there’s a particular movement, that circular movement that with the fingers that calms the nervous system, but this holding that you’re doing is the way that you’d hold a baby against your body. It mimics that, right? So it is amazing. It’s like instant calm. For some people, some people they have to, when they have that ambivalent attachment, they’re nervous, they get a little like, and then they like calm into this deep state of being held. Right. So I had such a positive experience in in felt it was so radical, when my therapist was doing this with me that because normally even having having somebody next to me are breathing when I was sleeping would be hard, I’d wake up, right. And like to be able to sleep while someone was touching me was was a miracle for me. And I, I would literally fall asleep, kind of in and out during those sessions with her. And she would do this hold for 90 Min. We would do 90 minutes. Wow. Yeah. So anyways, I loved it so much. And it because we so rarely get nonsexual, right, this touch that I basically felt like what the message he was sending to my nervous system was there’s nothing you need to do for me to love you. Beautiful. And so I took that and I started doing these groups with and a lot of male friends would show up so then it meant men were holding each other. Oh, I love that was so sweet to see these men doing this with each other and everyone feeling so nurtured. And I just saw this need that I was like, everybody, anybody, this is what I’m doing. And I was I was doing it regularly for a while. And I see the same value and love teaching my couples this particular work, because some of them really need to bridge the gap between, you know, like this resentment or shut down or on lack of willingness or desire to be sexually intimate. And I’m like, Oh, wait, you need some just basic, remembering that your nervous system can be safe around this other person. Yeah. And non sexual touch. And just it’s the upright person is channeling love and the belief of like, there’s nothing You’re perfect as you are. There’s nothing you need to do and you deserve this.

You know? Yeah. 100% That’s so great.

That’s so so what when you say that I’m like oh groups groups, we need non sexual partner practice groups to develop skill.

Yeah, yeah, I know cuz sexuality can be so loaded, right? Because there’s a performance thing. There’s like trying to get to the orgasm like that. So many agendas that come into play that the connection piece doesn’t always get to really develop or deepen or get met. For a lot of people, I think both men and women, so I really do value non sexual contact spaces. I think they’re so important. And you know, I’m not against sex at all, obviously, you know, I think having these specific containers like you’re talking about, so important for people?

Well, when you have those skills, and you practice that, and then it enriches your sex, right? 100%. Yeah, like, I mean, when you have safety, the body opens up, your pleasure capacity opens up. I mean, can you I mean, I’m just like, imagining having sex with someone where I would just totally mad at them and hate them and don’t feel open to them. I’m like, that sounds like horrible sex to me.

Yeah, I get it. And a lot of my client eat, a lot of people will shut down and not be able to, while it’s a, it’s a remarkable thing to me that I do have clients that are totally able to compartmentalize and like they hate the person that they’re partnered with and want to divorce them, but they can still have sex with them, which is amazing to me, you know, and then what I know about things like cervical orgasm, it’s like that or, you know, basically transcendental or calm, like, I’d say cosmic orgasm is you need a level of safety and openness in the body to access that space. Right? And so I’m aware of time to, do you want to guide us and an exercise? Yeah, I can do the exercise, why don’t we do that along the lines of attachment, and being earlier, you’re speaking about being able to bring yourself out of a shutdown state to reconnect, this feels like a universal need that we all can benefit from, whether it’s with our lover, our child, our friends, our parents. Mm hmm. Is there a practice that comes to mind that you would like to guide us through?

Yeah, so whenever I teach things, I like to really emphasize that the most important things are the principles behind any practice. So because practices can have a lot of different shapes and forms. And a lot of there’s no universal shape and form that works for everybody, right? Like, that might need a particular movement sequence, or a particular breathing exercise or a particular meditation, what’s for one person doesn’t work for the person, yes. But if you understand the principles behind them, then you can adapt the shape or the contour of what you’re doing to meet you better, and usually tends to work better. So I just want to name that first. Because I’m going to go through probably a sequence here. And I’ll try to name the principles behind what I’m doing. So then you can kind of just be aware of that, and feel free to be creative with that. I’ll try to give suggestions, alternatives, suggestions as well. So specifically, you’re asking around shutdown. So there’s a couple of things that will be fun to do. One would be more of a body oriented thing based on some principles. And then the before we do that would be more of the internal parts work or regulation piece, based on what shows up, typically with shutdown. So we can work with a scenario where there is shutdown, let’s say, there’s often an argument happening, the other person is really upset at you. You feel scared, overwhelmed, or blamed or attacked. So you’re starting to withdraw by shutting down right? After not intentionally. So maybe you’re closing your eyes, maybe you’re turning away, your posture is collapsing to kind of protect yourself and your core. So let’s imagine we’re in that state. So the eyes are closed or has turned to the side, we’re moving away from the person who’s upset at us. We’re rounding your shoulders, we’re collapsing. And usually in that space, we feel quite justified to move away from this other person, right? Because they’re being a threat to us. They’re attacking us, right? That’s the usually the perception. So the first thing I would do is just to recognize that, that we’re okay. I’m in a defensive stance right now. Noticing, I’m feeling unsafe, I’m noticing that I feel like I need to protect myself from this person. Maybe there’s even some anger or hurt there. So I would want to acknowledge that that’s going on. I may, if I have access to mobility in my body, I might take my hands and just place them on the areas that feel really vulnerable that I’m actually protecting by numbing out or dissociating so often I’ll bring hands to chest area or belly usually because that’s where those feelings tend to live. And I might start to talk to those places. Hey, I feel you Hey, guys in here, I see that you’re feeling hurt, or threatened, blamed, attacked, I’m here for you, I see that you’re here, I got you. And instead of it being sort of a knee jerk reaction, I might consciously go into those places. And imagine that I’m enveloping those parts of myself with my awareness or my being, and consciously step in, protect them. And I might even imagine myself standing in between me and this other person that I’m perceiving as a threat. Just take a moment, imagine that could do one or both, you might go in and talk to those parts, Hey, I see you, I feel you I’m here. I understand you,

I got you.

Then as you do that, noticing if there is any shift in the felt sense experience in the nervous system or the body. So one of the things we shut down is immobility, and dissociation. So you just want to notice if you’re feeling a little less immobile, if you’re feeling a little less dissociated, or Nam, if there’s a little bit more sensation in the body. And once these parts of us feel somewhat protected, and our ventral system comes online, perhaps there’s some capacity, or room at least even mentally, to start to have a tiny bit of empathy for the other person to your right. If it’s not available, don’t force it. Okay, if you can’t do it, it’s okay. But this is where we stretch a little bit. And we think in our minds, this other person is very likely hurt and upset for a reason to, they’re probably behaving this way, because they’re not getting their needs met, I might not be ready to meet them yet. But I could at least acknowledge or register that. So I stopped seeing them as evil enemy person, right, just coming to get me and kill me.

So we just let that percolate in the system. And again, when we get a little more access to the executive brain function and also into the ventral state, and empathy is a little more accessible, we might just check the body again and see and notice that we’re experiencing a little bit less closed down and shut down numbness or print. And now when you start to have some access to mobility in the body, then you want to really leverage it. You want to start to perhaps leverage the mobility, or freedom that you start to gain as you’re doing some regulation. So then I will start to actually move the body. Because one of the things that helps shutdown is movement. Right, it’s the opposite of the shutting down. To see what kind of movement feels doable for you from this place. You don’t want to move too fast and do something too big too quickly. Because that might feel threatening or violating to the part of you that’s trying to protect you. So maybe start with just turning the head side aside or starting to wiggle the shoulders. Open the mouth, make a little sound. Now the thing that helps a lot of people is the tapping so you can tap your chest. Right, the areas that feel tight. Tap your belly lightly. Try taking a couple of breaths again, making sounds. So anyway, you can bring movement sound. At some point, you know, you’re starting to come out of collapse and shut down when you start to get more and more mobility and relaxation in the body. And when you eventually are able to open your eyes, then that’s a sign that you’re really coming back more. And then once you’re able to tokenize try looking around, you maybe might not want to look directly first at the person that you feel threat from, but you might want to look at the environment. Register where you are. Some of you might want to move the legs, right? Because partly mobilization is shutting down the mobility the legs, so if it feels okay, you can start to shuffle the legs back and forth like this if you’re sitting down or lying down, and imagine you’re running or mobilizing. Okay, so my move the hips may extend one leg at a time. Okay, and then now if there is permission to continue to mobilize, you might even then from there if you can vocalize be like, Hey, I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed. I’ll be back with you kind of take two minutes just so I can feel a little bit more common available. And once you have enough mobility, you might actually leave the room and check the body make some sounds even more and just establish a little bit of distance from that person, the key word that is often negotiating, it’s letting them know that you need to do this and not just disappearing, and then letting them know how long you’ll be gone. And trying to stick to that, right and at least checking in if you need more time. So then at that point, you should have more movement back and your ventral system will start to return. And then you may be able to then exercise a minimum degree of communication with the other person enough to maybe like say, Okay, let’s shelve this. Let’s talk about this in a couple of hours. Right? Is it okay, if we pause here, I hear you, I know, there’s things that you need care over here as well. Perhaps we could do that when we’re both more available. And I promise to come back and make sure you come back and address it. So that’s kind of like a general sequence with some of the principles sprinkled things. Yeah, that’s beautiful.

And you know, of course, each one of those pieces can be very challenging, just like that last piece for people. It’s like, how do you actually not storm up? How do you one person will be like, I did say, I was doing that. But then they followed me, you know? And it’s like, how do you do, each person needs to do their part? Right? So that if you’ve tried this once, please don’t give up. Right? It you know, it’s not Nestle gonna go the exact same way next time. And maybe your partner can be more regulated next time and actually receive in here that you need to take some space before you’re ready to speak. And yeah, it’s such an essential, like, this alone could be everyone in the world’s practice, every week.

Yeah. 100%. And the cool thing is that, that once you can gain, regain some mobility, and you can actually do it, like you can choose that, in a sense, right? And create that for yourself. It creates confidence.

Yes, I was thinking about a particular client or a constellation of clients that, that go into this dynamic with their partner. And, and I could feel the softening when they allowed an adult part of them to really protect and take care of them. Right. Yeah. And that alone, I just want to acknowledge it can be such a feat for people that if you’ve been a self reliant kid, that growing up and becoming an adult who’s also still self reliant, there’s still some part of you that’s waiting and wanting to be taken care of, and you can be like, not want to take responsibility and be the kind good mom or good dad to yourself feel like put that man up that noise. But you don’t do it cut. And that’s not conscious, right?

It’s a rebellious fight. Yeah, that’s like, Yeah, I’m going to wait until I get what I need. Because I’m so tired of this. And I’m fed up, right. Totally understandable.

But I’m defeated. And I’m not gonna give it to myself. And you can’t give it to me, and I’m not open available for you to give it to me. So fuck y’all.

Yeah, that’s tough predicament to be stuck in.

Hmm. So yeah, so just, again, just a certain amount of patients where if you were learning how to ride a bike, or ice skate, or do all the things that might take a lot of coordination to learn, you don’t try it once then give up? Yeah, right. Yeah, crucial. And this stuff is such a long term process. You know, I’ve been aware of a lot of these skill sets for a long time, and it’s taken me a long time to be able to implement them. And because, you know, the protective mechanisms are so strong, right? When you’re in that shutdown or defense, you know, when you’re when you’re in your normal state of mind that, oh, yeah, I could do that, totally, I’m totally going to do that. And you’ll promise that your partner and then you’re in that place, they’re upset at you, you are feeling threatened, you’re closed off. That is a hard place to call yourself out of it takes a lot of will and practice and, and also teaches, you know, takes practice for our partners to then develop trust, right, and permissioning to give us space to do that, and to then also meet us when we come out, right, instead of bad, like laying even more into us. So,

Right. Well, exactly. And especially, you know, that, that that exhibit that phrase, right, takes two to tango is a perfect one. Because the idea you have to start the dance, and have the movements coordinated, and be listening in the dance versus like one person starting to music. And then then someone starting five minutes later, you’re like, Well, I was doing the dads, what’s wrong with you? And, and then you think you know that you have a couple, right? It’s different if you’re starting with a new person. And maybe you had certain experiences with your parents or certain experiences your last five partners, but if you’re with someone for 10 to 20 years, and the all lot of the wounding Yeah. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I’ve been with that person, then. And then, you know, rebuilding the trust. It’s like, well, this is what you’ve done. And even in your highest self in your regulated state, you remember how your person is changed and you love them and you know that they’re working at it. But in a dysregulated hurt place, you remember all the times they’ve hurt you and not been there?

Yeah, you always do this you never help. You know you never come out.

Always, never always never. Yeah, banish those words. Your vocabulary. Yes, look, thank you so much Mark for being here. They just, I love being in your presence and and I’m so grateful that you’re offering this workout in the world in any way that I can support that I’m so happy to do it.

Thank you, Charna. It’s a pleasure. And I miss you. It’s so good to chat with you and see you and I love that you’re really putting yourself out there into the world and to sharing your magic and your wisdom. And I’m so excited for people who get to be your listeners and receive this and it sounds like this podcast is being consumed pretty internationally to right from a post. I think you put out somewhere and I saw that I was like, That’s so awesome. It’s so exciting.

So what what really cracks me up is I don’t even know if anyone in America is listening. But in Bulgaria.

Poland like Eastern Europe, right? No, not the Netherlands, the Netherlands, nor in Norway, Norway and Sweden. But I loved it. I was like number four in Bulgaria. What’s happening in Bulgaria? I gotta check it out. They’re having a sexual revolution.

Yeah, you’re meeting a need there.

That’s great. It’s so funny. Oh, well. I hope you have a beautiful rest of your day and I look forward to connecting soon. Sounds good. Thank you so much. Again, this has been laid open podcast with your host Charna Cassell, please join us next week. If this show feels beneficial. we’d love if you please rate and review it and share it with your friends so others can find us. If you have additional questions around sex and trauma, you can submit them at Follow me at Laid Open Podcast on Instagram and Facebook and read more about my work at passionate Until next time, remember who you are.

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© 2022 By Charna Cassell, LMFT. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. MFC 51238.

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