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From Painful Periods to Power with Lisa de Jong [Wild Flow Podcast with Charlotte Pointeaux]

How are painful periods linked to our traumas? Lisa de Jong is my guest on Wild Flow Podcast, reveals the wisdom of our bodies, and the tools she used to holistically heal chronic pain and tend to our nervous systems in her trauma-informed approach to menstrual cycle coaching.

tune in to hear:

In this week’s episode of Wild Flow Lisa and I had a big beautiful chat about cycle coaching business, pain, trauma and nervous system healing approaches. We chat about:

  1. Lisa’s journey from corporate to discovering menstrual cycle awareness and growing a really successful and thriving professional business in the menstrual cycle space and what that was like for her.

  2. Her menstrual cycle experiences and her pain, and how she found relief.

  3. What pain is, where it originates, how we inherit perceptions that periods are going to be painful.

  4. Why Lisa takes a trauma informed approach to her menstrual cycle work and how trauma can be involved in our experience of the menstrual cycle and any challenges and pain that can be coming up.

  5. Her top tips for quickly relieving pain, and how to start with the deeper inner dive to transform pain to power long-term.

[00:00] Lisa: The reason I take a trauma informed lens is because a lot of people and women have a history of trauma. And when we have a history of trauma, we carry we can not always we can carry a lot of freeze response energy and or fight or flight response energy, and that’s very normal, very healthy. That is a protective response from the nervous system to help us survive and be safe and, you know, be okay in the world. But if we’re living from that place and I think our society, to be quite honest, lives from the fight flight response, right, that’s a lot of cortisol, a lot of adrenaline to be living off and that depletes your life force energy. And the more we can learn how to be more often in, rest and digest with ourselves, but also not shame or pathologize the trauma responses, then our life force energy goes towards health and vitality versus survival and defenses.

[00:57] Charlotte: Welcome to Wild Flow podcast with me, Charlote Pointeaux. I’m an internationally award winning menstrual cycle and embodiment coach cycle mysteries guide and founder of the First Moon Circle School of Menstrual education for children. Tune in for deep, heartfelt conversations with wisdom keepers, embodied leaders and change makers on themes from cyclical living in flow with your menstrual cycle on bodies, wisdom reclaiming rites of passages to normalize period positivity for you and the next generation and exploring our embodied experiences, soulful transformations and intuitive wisdom guiding you to express and embody your full power in the change you want to see in the world. Are you ready? Let’s flow.

 

I love this conversation. We have Lisa de Young speaking with us today. She is a health coach and educator specializing in women’s health, the Menstrual Cycle chronic pain and trauma. Lisa has a one to one practice coaching clients online and she’s the founder of the globally accredited Professional Training Menstrual Cycle coaching and Facilitation Professional Training. She takes a really holistic integrative and traumainformed lens in all of her work. She brings a gentle yet powerful approach to her clients and group, supporting them in the understanding of their body, their nervous system and in relationship to agency and better decision making for recovery. Lisa hosts the podcast From Pain to Power and she is based in Ireland. So I invited Lisa to come and chat with us because I really like the approach that she takes to menstrual cycle work. As I’ve just explained with her bio, she’s really focused on pain and taking a really trauma informed approach to the work means that she’s really considering what pain is, what it’s manifesting from, what these deeper inner conflicts might be. This sort of nervous system approach, the way that the body is holding on to past stored previous pains and traumas and it’s manifesting in the current moment in these ways that can show up as chronic pain or occasional pain. And so Lisa’s approach is not just about helping people to get the relief from that pain that they’re experiencing, but to do that inner work as well, that’s needed and I think this is just so important. I see it very much myself in my cycle coaching work, that it’s the deeper inner work that is where a lot of the healing is required. We can make the kind of surface level lifestyle changes and they can be really helpful. But there’s also this real deeper inner approach that’s required. And I know for certain that when I do my work with clients that we go very deep, very quickly in a really beautiful, safe and trauma informed way. So it’s great to speak to Lisa who also takes a real deep dive look, but also that broader view when it comes to pain and well being. And so today she’s sharing on a range of topics. We were talking about her journey from corporate to discovering menstrual cycle awareness and growing a really successful and thriving professional business in the menstrual cycle space and what that was like for her. I was also asking Lisa about what pain is, where it originates, how we inherit perceptions that periods are going to be painful. We’re talking about trauma and why Lisa takes a trauma informed approach to her menstrual cycle work and how trauma can be involved in our experience of the menstrual cycle and any challenges and pain that can be coming up. This is a really beautiful conversation and it was really lovely to chat to Lisa. And I’m sure that you’re going to get so much out of this, whether you live with pain in your cycle or whether you’re a coach or a practitioner or a mentor in the menstrual cycle world. So settle in with a couple and I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for listening, as always. Welcome Lisa to Wildflow Podcast. How are you today?

[05:28] Lisa: I’m really good, Charlotte, thank you so much for having me. It’s great to be oh, thank you.

[05:32] Charlotte: So much for joining me. I’m really looking forward to chatting with you and hearing about your amazing work and your story and just helping people get to understand about this topic of pain and trauma in the menstrual cycle. I think it’s something that people really need to and want to be hearing about. So before we dive in, let’s start with a cycle check in, as always, and I’ll go first and then just invite you to share what that’s like for you. So my cycle check in, I like to think about the menstrual cycle but then any of the other seasons and cycles as well that I can feel just influencing me because I’m quite connected to those. So I’ll invite you to share just how you do your cycle check in afterwards. So for me, I am on cycle day 17 and I am right in my summer phase, so I haven’t ovulated yet, but I’m just really feeling that rise in energy and just more resilience I can feel is there as well, but also more ease. I can feel like this sense of like, there’s lots going on, it’s a busy time of year, but I’ve also got this sense of ease with things and just kind of acceptance. It’s almost like, okay, well, that’s how it is, so we’re just going to roll with it. We’ve had my daughter home from daycare for the last couple of days when they’ve been my work days and I don’t know if she’s actually going to go back, she’s sort of having a bit of a struggle with daycare. So we were already going to have two months of summer holidays, and so it looks like that’s starting really early. But I can really feel this sense today that instead of panicking about that and what that’s going to mean for my work for the next three months, I’m currently in a phase of like, it will be what it will be, and it’s going to be fine, and we’ll just roll with it. But I’m fully aware that give it another week or so and I’ll be freaking out about it. So, yeah, just at the minute feeling lots of ease and flow and there’s also some tiredness there, though, and physically quite sore just from a dooju jitsu. So in this time of my cycle, I feel like I can go for a long time and quite hard, and I’m like, don’t go too hard, don’t overdo it, but, yeah, I’m sort of feeling it in my body as well. So, yeah, it feels quite nice, but I definitely have got Ovulation to look forward to, which feels nice and so, yeah, time of day wise, it’s 08:00 P.m. For me in Australia, which I know is at ODS to you, but we’ll come to that. So just kind of taking like now all the children are asleep and it’s like that peace and that quiet. And I sort of get to come back to myself again after the evening routine and just feel like I can drop into more of a yin kind of space to have this chat with you, which feels really lovely. And yeah, as I was saying, we’re in a really busy time of year, so it’s true for us, whichever hemisphere we’re in, it’s like that last month of get stuff done before the festive season or school holidays for us begins. And so there’s a bit of frenetic energy, a little bit of overwhelm around me, but trying to just buffer myself from that a little bit. Yeah. And then with the moon, I’m just realizing I’m not sure where we’re at with the moon. I think we are just past first quarter and we’ve got full moon probably around the weekend or sometime like that, and so that kind of rising energy is happening and yeah, I can really feel that with my menstrual cycle and the moon cycle and maybe the seasons, just everything all being quite aligned. I am definitely in a state of like, let’s get stuff done, let’s really crack things out and creating and planning and getting details down and thinking very much about next year already, which, yeah, I’m trying to be present, but also planning ahead a little bit to give myself some space. So, yeah, all in all, it’s busy and I feel like a bit like a swan. There’s lots of furious paddling, but I’m also trying to maintain a sense of ease and flow and a bit more kind of gentle pacing. So how about you, Lisa, if you were to do a cycle check in, what’s that look like for you?

[10:21] Lisa: Thank you very much, Charlotte. It’s so gorgeous to listen to you and hear where you’re at and visualize where you are in the world through all those different touch points in your various cycles. I love that so much. So thank you for sharing that and inviting me to share as well. I’m also in summer, so I’m on day 14 of my cycle, so very similar energy, different contexts, though I also feel like I am in this getting things done mode, which feels really good and similar to you, Charlote. I also have a sense of ease around it, which is with thanks to Menstrual Cycle Awareness and being aware that the summer doesn’t have to be frantic and chaotic or very fast. You can have ease there too. So I had my car serviced yesterday. I’ve got my National Car Check thing, the safety check that we have to do every couple of years next week. So that’s a big tick off the list. I also sorted out my wardrobe for the winter and got rid of things over the weekend and met my sister in Dublin. So I’m in a place called Wicklow in Ireland, which is an hour south of Dublin, and I went to see my sister who’s in Dublin over the weekend and we were just rambling around and the Christmas lights were already on and the moon, the half moon was in the sky and it was just so gorgeous. So I’m starting to really enjoy those wintery vibes that are happening while I’m in my summer, I suppose, and looking forward to some social plans in December. December is a really nice month here in Ireland for meeting your friends, going for drinks, having dinners, it’s a really fun time. So, yeah, I’m definitely in that place in my cycle where I’m wanting to connect and socialize and be out in the world and get things done. But also similar to you, I’m really grateful that I’ve found myself in a place where I’m really enjoying the slowing down energy that undercurrent in the autumn and winter. And I actually think it’s obviously thanks to Menstrual Cycle Awareness that has helped me to lean into those energies more and embrace the seasons for what they are. But also the pandemic did that, too. Really helped me to really think about the actual seasons. Not just my cycle seasons, but the actual seasons, because I remember being at home in my home at the time by myself and just literally looking out the window every day and watching this tree change every day throughout 2000 and 22, 21. So, yeah, I’m really enjoying the cozy vibes and the candles and the cinnamon tea and just that kind of energy. And I lit the fire a few nights ago, things like that. So that’s where I am in my cycle. And also, similar to you, I have made space in my diary for planning as well for 2024, which it kind of gets squeezed into pockets of time here and there, but I’ve actually carved out a few days in December to really kind of plan and think things through and personally and mostly work planning. And it was because I’d listened to someone on a podcast saying that she takes time in her diary to plan and I was like, oh, that’s so inspiring, I want to do that as well. So I’ve done that and I’m really looking forward to those few days in early December to plan a little bit better the year ahead. And yeah, I think something like that will really help cal my nervous system because things can be a little bit chaotic as, you know, life and work and all that and being an entrepreneur. So, yeah, I’m really looking forward to that’s. Yeah, that’s where I am in my cycle. A lot going on, but at the same time slowing down and enjoying that.

[14:45] Charlotte: Beautiful. Thank you so much, Lisa. I loved listening to that as well and just really feeling the similarities between us, but also the differences based on where we’re at in the world and how that’s influencing us. And how also we’re a few days apart in our cycle but it’s the same season. And maybe also how our cycles are different even though we’re in the same season. Like how that season is coming up for us. Given that I’m not Ovulating yet and it sort of feel like I’m on the rise. And you’ve described your experience of this summertime, too, so lots of similarities there, which just feels really nice to tune into and notice and oh, I was just really feeling into the gift of planning ahead at this time of year and what you were saying about being gentle on our nervous systems and I was just thinking that before you said it. Just what a gift it is, actually, to be able to spread things out. I made a calendar and was planning out my different programs and the different offers and the different when I need to be doing this and when I need to be doing that and thinking about coordinating things and just been launching my main program for next year as well and doing involvements. So I feel like I’m just going to get it all tied up in a nice bow now ahead of next year. And so it feels like I can take that space over the calendar summer. And just what you were saying there about summer doesn’t have to be that frenetic, burnout, overwhelming time where it’s just super busy. And I feel like that’s hopefully what I’m giving myself is this chance to enjoy the summer when it comes and to be with my kids and with my family and to have a bit of time and a rest from working when it comes because I’ll have done this prep work now. So, yeah, maybe this is an invitation for people listening as well. Like if you’re in your job or if you run your business or just in general life. Just taking that moment to think about what we can do now so we can free up some time for pleasure and connection and family and celebration and joy and all of those things come summer.

[17:01] Lisa: I love that you say that, Charlote, because I’ve been thinking recently that planning, it’s a skill to know and interesting, you’re talking about onboarding for people who are not yet in business because I know a lot of your listeners are starting out or maybe they’re already in business. A lot goes on behind the scenes if you’re running program. And I didn’t realize how much there was going on behind the scenes until I was in it. And it was really stressful because I hadn’t planned as much as I quote unquote, should have. But then we all learn. That was a big lesson for me to learn. It’s like, oh, okay, I need to carve out time to plan things in advance so I can set myself up a bit better for success. And yeah, if you are kind of a flowy person, I’m not the most structured person. I do like structure, but I’m not very routined and I can prioritize very well with my intuition, but that doesn’t always help me because I have to plan. I’m trying to get better as well at planning in advance and I do see it now as, oh, this is like a skill, I just have to learn how to do better. So I’m always looking for tips and tricks and things that people do.

[18:27] Charlotte: I hear you so much. I feel like just more similarities between us because I feel like this year is the first year I’ve done anywhere near as much of an in depth plan, whereas I remember last year being like, oh, I need to think about next year. Do I? Oh, God. Really? And kind of resisting it. Whereas this time I’m like, no, we’re doing it because it pays off. And so, yeah, I feel like I’ve kind of learned that skill a little bit and had a nudge from other people around me as well who’ve been doing the same sort of thing. And I think it’s just so, like you say, there’s so much that goes on, and you kind of just have to learn as you go, unless you’re getting that kind of nudge from others who’ve been there before you, maybe. So, yeah, I think that it might look like there’s not much happening, but there’s plenty happening behind the scenes. We can use cycle wisdom in those ways, which I just love and how we run a business. So, yeah, that’s so good. So I wanted to ask you, Lisa, actually, which kind of flows on from this, which is interesting because lots of our listeners are considering, I think, maybe as well at this time of year, it’s like thinking about what the future holds next year changes particularly. But lots of people listening are considering what they’re doing in the world, what they’re doing for work, how they live. People are on a healing journey or they’re just really interested and have a passion that they’re looking to maybe switch out of a career or whatever it is that they’ve been doing, something that’s not been serving them as. Much and into something new, whether that is a business or maybe coaching or healing or maybe something creative or just something different. Something that we have a lot of women in business listening, like you say. And I’m just really interested because I think it’s so interesting to and useful to hear stories of how people have jumped out of a career and then started a business, and especially a successful business. Would you be interested in just sharing us with us? Why you left your previous career to come and create the business that you have? What was the reason for that and how did that shift go?

[20:55] Lisa: Yeah, thank you for asking that question, Sharl. That it’s been a while since I’ve kind of taken that was to give you my like, how far do I go know? I’m just thinking in my head, like, how very connected. Yeah. In school and in university, I would have been a very high achieving person. Okay. And because my personality and then also family stuff, conditioning and that kind of thing, so I was very high achieving. And when I got to university, then I kind of hit a little bit of sort of a mini depression and just felt very disconnected from what I was studying. I was actually studying business in university, but I studied business and French, and I was always really interested in language and communications and people and how people think and human behavior and all that kind of thing. And I spent some time in different countries, and then I had different jobs. At one point I worked in a bank and then I worked in tech. I actually worked in Google in Dublin for a while and was sort of in that real corporate world when Google was really taking off here in Europe, the headquarters, the European headquarters are in Dublin. And I was working there because I had these language and communication skills, and I think it was there for about two years, and I just didn’t like it anymore, to be perfectly honest. I felt a bit stuck in a very corporate machine and there was a lot of pressure to hit targets, and I just didn’t feel connected to the purpose there. I think google is a great organization. They do amazing things and I love their products, but I just didn’t feel very connected in there. So I actually went back and I did a master’s then in linguistics, which was a master’s in philosophy of linguistics. So I did that, and then with that, then I started to teach English and spent some time in Spain teaching English there and was kind of in this sort of in between place, I wasn’t really sure where I was going to go next and what I was going to do. And then I had another job in tech, and then I had another job in I actually had a job in the arts sector as well, in communications in the arts. So I was sort of like moving around, doing different things, trying to find connection to something. But I knew I was really, really interested in people and culture and language and communications. And what was happening then was in the background to all of that journey, I was struggling with my periods and was having really, really bad period pain. And to the point where ever since I was about 1514, 1516 in school, I was fainting with pain and my mother would have to clack me and I’d miss school and I’d miss sports and had to go home from work. And I remember being in google one day and hiding in the bathrooms in there because I had pain and it was always sort of in the background. And this was well before the menstrual cycle awareness world was like know, in the mainstream. It was before social media even really. We had Facebook, but we didn’t really have instagram. And this culture we have now with social media. And I don’t think there’d been many books written on the menstrual cycle at. So I was quite alone and unsupported in that journey, and I still had a lot of shame about it as well. And I didn’t understand what was going on. And I had been on and off the pill and I’d been to the doctor, the whole story. And then what happened then was at one point I decided that I’d kind of had enough. And I decided because the doctors were telling me things I didn’t want to do, and I just didn’t find it very helpful because I was so determined. I just said to myself, look, I’m going to have to figure this out myself. So because I’d worked at google, I was actually quite good at google search. So at the time there was like a certain inputs you could put into google search to find very specific things and I knew different things that you could put into Google search to find stuff. So then I did eventually come across more information about hormones and the menstrual cycle and started to do reading. And there was, I think then it was the year Elisa Viti had published her book Woman Code. So I read that book and I watched her. She had a couple of talks as well. I think she actually did a talks at Google in San Francisco. So I watched that and my mind was quite blown by what she was saying. When you first discover the work you’re teaching, the work I teach, and you’re just like, oh my God. It’s not just about periods. There’s a whole cycle, and my diet is like a factor and cosmetics are a factor, and there’s a cyclical element and all these different things I was learning. So my mind was really blown. And then I was diving deeper into this work, and I came across red school, which I’m sure a lot of your listeners are familiar with, but that organization and alexandra pope and Shani, their work, it was literally like, the first or second year that they had established their work as a pair and as Red school, because I know Alexandra was teaching it before as a psychotherapist. So I joined their courses and I got a listening partner and really dove very deep into this work. And that was also the year that I discovered mindfulness meditation as well. And again, it wasn’t talked about in Ireland, it wasn’t like in the bookshops or anything like that. Now, thankfully, we have mindfulness books as know every year. So I was really diving very deep into, I guess, my own psychosomatic healing. And I even created a folder in my BOOKMARKS on my computer called Spiritual Healing, and I started to really see, oh, this is a mind body connection. There’s so much here. There’s diet, lifestyle, hormones, there’s science, there’s spirituality, there’s so much here. So I started to dive deep and I went on a really long, deep healing journey for myself. And I was in therapy anyway, so you asked about my work. So what happened then was I then decided to offer some women’s circles in Dublin. And again, I was working as a language teacher and I was doing these women’s circles on the side, and I was teaching about the seasons and menstrual cycle awareness, and I had them advertised on Meetup.com and they sold out. I think I sold them for like five euro. Maybe they were free, I can’t remember, but there was like a waiting list to attend and I could see how much pain there was for women and for people with cycles, and I could see how much this work was needed. What happened then was I just started to teach workshops. So then I was teaching kind of more formal workshops and really offering education and then I was still working. And then I got some invites from the mainstream media in Ireland to do interviews about the workshops that I was teaching. And then I was invited to speak on television, which was very scary and very nerve wracking. So I was invited to come on a morning show called Ireland Am to speak about Menstrual Cycle awareness. So I did that. And then around that time, I was doing more workshops and I was doing workshops around the country in Ireland, and I was collaborating with yoga teachers and teaching in their yoga studios. And I was starting to take one to one clients. And then I got a supervisor and I had done a lot of different courses as well in the background, so I was doing different trainings and stuff. And then I guess the pandemic happened and for other reasons I left my job. And then in Ireland, when you quit your job or you become unemployed, one of the state benefits you can avail of, depending on the circumstances, is support to set up a business. So I opted for that. And when you’re in that sort of support system in Ireland, where the government is trying to help you to set up a business, other opportunities become available. So then I started to apply for grants and various different opportunities in Ireland to help set up things like free courses on bookkeeping and counting and marketing and digital marketing, all that kind of stuff. And a little bit of funding here and there. Like I got my laptop funded, for example, and I got a little bit of support with setting up my website as well. So the government here in Ireland is very good for entrepreneurs. They really help where they can. And then it just started to build and it didn’t happen overnight, but it happened very gradually. And I guess deep down I knew I always wanted to do something creative, I wanted to help people. I love teaching as well. I’m like a teacher at heart. It’s in my family line as well. And then obviously communicating with people and listening to people. I guess it’s sort of just been a journey of a lot of my skills coming together, a lot of hard work, because it has been a lot of hard work, a lot of learning, a lot of investing in various supports. And then I think at the root of it really is a lot of curiosity. I’m a very curious person, I’m an Enneagram five, so I’m always wanting to learn more and understand things. And I say to my own students, like, your curiosity is part of your intuition. So I really trust my curiosity as much as I can and allow this sort of unfolding of my career to sort of be guided by that. And so that’s always kind of really helped me to stay true, to kind of what I choose to do next is really guided by. Where I’m leaning towards from a curious point of view. So I hope that answers your question. But that’s how it’s all unfolded for me. Now, I kind of see the and I’m sure you can relate to this. Like, the business journey is, for me, very much a creative journey, a creative unfolding. And it’s really hard sometimes, but it’s also fun. It’s also a lot of fun. Yeah.

[32:53] Charlotte: Wow, that’s gorgeous. Thanks so much for sharing that, Lisa. I really appreciate hearing that. Just for myself. I just think it’s fascinating. And I love hearing what’s brought somebody to be where they are, especially in this realm of menstrual cycle awareness. Because, like you say, it is relatively new. And I feel like it’s just bursting a little bit into the mainstream. Or maybe that’s just the bubble that we sort of inhabit. But it feels like it’s really gaining traction now. And like you say, it’s in the media and there’s all kinds of articles being covered on it, so feels like it’s really turned a corner. But for you to have joined this work at such a point where it really wasn’t, I think it takes a lot of courage and, like you say, curiosity to guide you. And just hearing how your business has unfolded over that time is really inspiring, and I think that’s going to be really helpful for people to get a sense of how it went, what steps you took, how it unfolded. So yeah, thank you.

[33:58] Lisa: Yeah, I think I was really like as well. I think I was more interested in the coaching side of things than I was in the business. I say to my students, your business is the structure that allows you to coach. It allows you to practice. It’s like the house, and then you live in the house. You aren’t the house, but you live there. And so what happens in my house is my coaching practice. So my business allows me to deliver my coaching practice and my coaching practice. I think that’s the thing for people who are really interested in stepping into this world. I always say, get good at that, the business skills will follow, and you can get loads of advice and support with business, but if you’re really good at what you do, people are going to want to work with you, whether you have social media or not. So I think that’s a nice for me. That’s something that I always kind of told myself was like, if I can just be really clear on what it is that I do with people and be as good as I can be in the art because it’s an art. I think coaching is like it’s a practice. It’s evolving all the time. That’s kind of how I think about it. And that was a really helped like, my own supervisor really encouraged me to think like that, and then that took a lot of pressure off to be a good business person because I’m not always a good business person.

[35:29] Charlotte: Love that analogy. That’s so helpful and it’s so true. And I think that the same when someone’s starting off, it’s always like just get really good focus on the actual work that you’re doing and the rest will just go from there. So, yeah, I really love that and I’m going to remember that as well, that the house is how you describe that, as the structure that helps you to do what it is you’re here to do. Yeah, I’m really curious then. So from there, I’d like to know why it is that you have really specialized in working with this trauma informed lens and this pain lens around menstrual cycle awareness. I mean, pain is something that it’s interesting. When I was thinking about it, I personally haven’t had much pain with my periods. I used to have really heavy periods and there was a lot of pain as a teenager, but in more recent years less so. But I work with a lot of children as well and when we’re talking about what is a period, what do you think happens? Just finding out what they already know and what their kind of idea of having a period is? Pain always comes up as something that they are just expecting because they’ve been told maybe by a friend or their mum has had painful periods, so they’re kind of just expecting that it’s going to be painful. And I just would love to get an understanding from you as to why pain and trauma informed approaches to the menstrual cycle is something that you’re so passionate about and then I just would love to find out more about that as we have a chat.

[37:20] Lisa: Yeah, it’s a good question, I guess the reason why I chose well, obviously my personal journey with pain and the complexity of that journey. And, yeah, it was very much a very nonlinear journey. And then I suppose a lot of the clients who started to come to me did have pain, whether that was physical pain or psychological suffering like PMDD or PMS, even anxiety, that kind of thing. I think it just goes back to me being really curious and I like a challenge. And the world doesn’t have an answer for period pain as much as a lot of the world says it does. It doesn’t because we would be doing the thing if we knew what it was. So I think that there is no one right answer for working with people who have pain and I guess I just personally felt very drawn to working with people who have been around the block and who’ve tried a lot of things and who are feeling stuck and who maybe feel disillusioned or hopeless. Because from my professional point of view, there’s a lot I can do with those people and I’ve been there myself and I’ve worked with a lot of them. Now, pain is both an emotional and a physical biochemical experience we have in the body. And the menstrual cycle is linked to our endocrine system and our nervous system. And so when we work with the nervous system and the endocrine system, we can have a really positive impact and influence on the menstrual cycle as well as our thoughts. So I weave a lot of different lenses into my practice. So I’m working with the hormones, the endocrine system, the nervous system and trauma and understanding trauma. And I’m also working with the emerging field of pain science as well. So that’s kind of more on the it’s, it’s the nervous system work, but also on the cognitive side. So when you said young girls are expecting pain because they’ve heard that, that actually isn’t helpful and it can actually plant a seed in a young girl’s mind that the menstrual cycle should be painful, for example. And so that’s something we have to think about too is these neural pathways we create in our brains and the thoughts we have and the associations we have about menstruation in the world. So there’s so many different lenses that I work with and really there is a lot you can do even though those people might feel like they’re stuck and they’ve tried everything. When I bring in a trauma informed lens, what I usually see is a person who’s been in pain for a long time and is looking for answers and who’s tried everything and has lost hope. And they are then therefore in what’s called a freeze response or a very hijacked fight or flight response, always looking for answers. And usually the types of symptoms I see with that are very restrictive diets, a lot of fear with food, even with menstrual cycle awareness, fear that they’re doing cycle awareness wrong or that they’re doing something that they shouldn’t be doing. Fear about overextending themselves, even fear about not having enough boundaries. All these things that we learn about in menstrual cycle awareness, it can be rooted in a lot of fear, internalized victim blaming as well. I see that dynamic play out or comparing ourselves or the good enough piece as well. That’s a lesson, sort of a really big theory in psychology so we can look at it from that lens as well. Like what’s good enough wellness? What’s good enough health do we always need? Because coaching as an industry is rooted in this bettering mindset and improving and bettering. And so when do we get to the place where we’re actually fine, where our health is good enough for now and can I still leave the house? And a lot of people who’ve had very complex histories with chronic pain, they’re afraid to leave the house or they’re afraid to socialize, for example, people with PMDD as well. I work with a lot of women and people who experience PMDD and they have anxiety before symptoms even arise. So it’s like we need to work with that nervous system to help soothe and rewire some of those neural pathways and build safety in the body. And so the more we build safety in the nervous system and the more we heal things like shame and fear and all these things that we’ve internalized, the more chance our nervous system has to be present and to be safe. And when our nervous system is in a more regulated place that includes our thinking and how we relate to ourselves and how we relate to the world around us, the more likely it is that you might have less pain. And I’m only saying that because I can’t claim that this is the answer. But in my practice, I’ve seen incredible things happen for people who take a very holistic approach to their health. Like if we’re only looking at it from a diet point of view. And I think diet is really important and there’s loads we can learn and there’s loads I can tell your listeners, I’m sure they already know about eating for hormones and the importance of different nutrients. But if we’re really in a lot of fear about that, then that’s defeating the purpose. So yeah, I don’t know if that answers your question, Charlote, but I just work very holistically. I’m always thinking, going back to the Enneagram Five, I’m always thinking, what am I missing? What am I not seeing for this person? What are they not seeing? I also work with the psychodynamic lens too, which is in my coaching practice, I consider my relationship with the client, too, as something that can inform me. So I’ll give you an example. So, for example, if I experience a stronger inner critic while I’m coaching someone about myself and it’s stronger than I’m used to, then sometimes, not always, sometimes it can be something I’m picking up on in the dynamic and that can help inform me where our conversation might go next. So every client I work with is very different. I have a client coming into my head now, and we did some work around her relationship with her mom and how that was sort of playing a role in her identity as being a quote unquote sick person. Because there’s so many different factors at play in my head when I’m working at people. Like I said, like the business piece, it’s creative, it’s an unfolding. I don’t know where I’m going to go with clients, actually. I do have parameters in my head and certain things that I think about for every client, like the diet piece is an important one, and teaching them menstrual cycle awareness and I teach them the nervous system and that kind of thing. But then I also just take a very intuitive approach with these tools in my toolkit and in my mind. And what I have seen personally is people are really good at healing themselves. They really, really are. They just need to get the right information, the right support with seeing their blind spots, finding ways to feel better in their bodies. And there’s so many different things that we can do and it doesn’t have to be like another thing as well that I see and I’ve seen in myself is like adopting this very long to do list for self care to prevent pain or to have a better period. And again, I can add a lot of stress onto what is very often a very stressful life for women, for mothers and it doesn’t help. It doesn’t help at all. So if you can find those one or two things that do help and then be really aware of the way we’re relating to ourselves, then that can really help. I don’t know if that answers your question about the I know I didn’t really touch on trauma but it’s to do with the nervous system. And the reason I take a trauma informed lens is because a lot of people and women have a history of trauma. And when we have a history of trauma, we can not always we can carry a lot of freeze response energy and or fight or flight response energy and that’s very normal, very healthy, protective that is a protective response from the nervous system to help us survive and be safe and be okay in the world. But if we’re living from that place, and I think our society, to be quite honest, lives from the fight flight response, right, that’s a lot of cortisol, a lot of adrenaline to be living off, and that depletes your life force energy and there’s not a lot of space for the rest. And digest and trusting and feeling at ease. And like what we talked about before, you’re in your summer and you’re busy, but you still have access to ease and you have access to options, and it’s okay to let things be as they are. So how can we get to that place more often? And the more we can learn how to be more often in rest and digest with ourselves but also not shame or pathologize the trauma responses, then our body, our life force energy goes towards health and vitality versus survival and defenses. Yeah. So I’ll stop there because I feel like I could talk about that forever but that’s what’s coming out of my mind today.

[48:21] Charlotte: Amazing. There’s so much in there. Thanks for sharing, Lisa. There’s so much wisdom and insight in there and I think it’s so fascinating and I think that for anyone who’s not especially considered, if you’re having painful periods, the standard approach is go to a GP and you’ll be given any number of options that generally don’t treat the root cause. It’s more that masking of the experience and the symptoms and altering hormones or shutting off the menstrual cycle altogether or painkillers that are just going to override everything. And what I’m really hearing really clearly from you is that both that pains arises really from trauma in a sense and that it’s all held in the body and that that’s a real manifestation of that nervous system dysregulation. And a lot of those then challenges that come up about, like you said, about how we relate to ourselves and how we treat ourselves and how we care for ourselves and the standards that we have and all that. Internal kind of stuff that’s really there as a result of all of those previous experiences or traumas or pain that’s chronic and live with and then sends us into that state of fight or flight and that instead of taking that approach of, okay, we’re just going to shut it all down and make it go away. When you can take that holistic approach, which is what you’re doing, and go really into what’s underneath this. It sounds like there’s just so much healing in there. And you were saying about incredible results with your clients and that you don’t know where it’s going to go. Because I’m sure, and I see this with clients, too, like, I don’t work with pain specifically, but that you start off with somebody who comes with a surface problem or the main challenge, but then when you actually go deeper and deeper into it, it’s like a maze, like a rabbit warren. All kinds of different things come up for acknowledgment and healing. And so really hearing that, that’s why this is so important to you, not only from your own personal experience with pain, but from seeing like, okay, we can do some of these easy fixes like maybe with diet or some lifestyle changes, but it’s actually these deeper inquiries that relate to the trauma. Really like getting to the root of those pain. That that’s where the longer term sustainable healing is. Is that fair?

[51:11] Lisa: I think so, yeah. It will really depend on every client. There are people I do think that obviously mainstream medicine has its place and it can be really helpful for people on their journey. And some of the coaching I do is actually helping people to make decisions in the medical system like whether to get surgery and just educating them a little bit on different options that they might need to think about because a lot of I’m thinking about endometriosis patients as well and people like that. And I think when it gets to that level, surgery is good, it is really good alongside this work or there are people who are really at risk in terms of their mental health and therefore the pill or medicine medication is really, really helpful and my work would sit alongside that for those people. But this mind body work I think is really helpful, particularly for people whose pain fluctuates or moves around or 1 minute it’s there and the next minute it’s in another place or they might have had cycles where they haven’t had pain and then it comes back. And so that can very much be like a neural pathway type of pain as well. Not in their head, but it’s the brain creates all pain and so that can also come from neural circuits in the brain. But absolutely, even if you are someone who has PMDD and or endometriosis, that’s not a fun place to be. And the more we can work on healing the nervous system, learning to love ourselves really authentically, deeply or not even love ourselves, kind of being more self compassionate sometimes is the first step. And self accepting and start to speak kindly to ourselves inside of ourselves. It’s so, so helpful because whether you have trauma or not, we do live in a society that puts a lot of pressure on women. I think men too, actually the patriarchal system affects all people, but it does affect women in a certain way. And when we can free ourselves from those systems in our head as Belle Hooks speaks about that in her work, she talks about it being like a liberatory process, like this self liberation in our brains from all the shoulds and all that because we don’t see it, because we’ve been raised in it. So it’s a little bit of like fish out of water. We have to really think about these things. It can be really helpful. And yes, the more we do that, then it allows our nervous system to have more space if you are going for surgery or something like that, or you’re being supported in the medical system. I think working with the nervous system, working with the soul, working with the inside job work, healing allows that energy to be redirected towards healing as opposed to be in this survival threat response all the time. Because if we’re in that survival threat response all the time, very often the pain can come back or inflammation can come back in another way. So it can be very deep healing to do that kind of work, for sure.

[54:46] Charlotte: Thanks for clarifying that. I think that’s a really important thing to say. And yeah, I’m really glad that you mentioned that about for some people, the medical approaches are absolutely necessary and that it can bring relief and bring solutions for people. And then there’s this other way of doing things, and they can be a compliment. And I think that’s just fantastic. Yeah, so really hearing that for people who are experiencing these pain or flare ups or PMDD, things like that, that there’s a lot of hope out there to find healing and there’s like a really holistic approach that can be taken. You’re doing really important work and I love hearing about it. So could you give some tips maybe for someone I’m just imagining if someone’s listening, like going well, I get pain, but is it normal? Is it not? I’ve been trying to get some answers and I can’t get some answers. I don’t know where to go next. What would you suggest to somebody in that kind of situation to try and get some answers and what they might do next.

[56:05] Lisa: I usually do start with having a look at diet, unless for people who have a history with eating disorders, it’s kind of different. But if you don’t, then I would do a little bit of reading around blood sugar and only because it’s really easy to do and you can get really good results from doing it like literally the next day. So there is a book called Glucose Revolution and I can’t remember the lady’s name, Jessica. I think she’s Dr. Jessica in Shauuppei or something like that, I can’t remember, but I think her name is French, but she goes by the handle Glucose Goddess on Instagram. And you can check her out. I won’t go into the detail of what it is she’s teaching, but you can check her out. And there’s these what’s called blood sugar balancing hacks that she has and it’s all about the order of food and making sure you include healthy fats in your meals and enough protein and that kind of thing. And when you do that, you can really support balancing your blood sugar levels. And when you support balancing your blood sugar levels, it helps to balance out hormones. And if you are someone who gets hangry or very low blood sugar sugar levels or kind of the shakes between meals or you might crave sugar, this will really help you because I was that person too and would get like slumps and that kind of thing. So thinking about diet in that way, it’s actually not changing your diet, it’s actually just changing the way we the order of food and the way we think about diet. And you can add things in to make sure you have a bit more balance. So that is a really handy, easy place to start that doesn’t carry a lot of emotion. And then I would then maybe try that for a while. And then of course, menstrual cycle awareness, like the work you’re teaching. Charlote really leaning into especially that inner autumn time. Like we said before, planning, planning in advance for your period. Especially if you have pain, it’s such a helpful thing to do to maybe clean the house a little bit when you have the energy. Change your sheets, get some meals planned or in the freezer and plan ahead so you have space in your diary to rest if you can. And just let your body relax as much as you can. When you’re in pain, take a painkiller if you need it. Don’t feel any shame about that, just do what it is that you need to do. I also sometimes when I used to get a lot of pain, I’d have to distract myself from I’d have to watch some really sort of trashy thing on TV and just completely distract my brain from any kind of thinking. So that would really help me personally and then over the long term it is very helpful to reflect on a few things. So the first being where is there stress in your life that you might be ignoring and do a little reflecting on that or journaling, let yourself sit with feelings. I think that’s a really big one. A lot of us suppress emotions, myself included, because again, we were not trained to process emotion in our society, right? So really choosing to do that and sitting down, doing a little journaling, being curious about what feelings you might be ignoring or you mightn’t even notice because you’re busy. And that is really important because I think stress can come from places that we don’t realize. You could sit down and think that you’re journaling about work but then it’s actually like something you fear about money that goes back years. So that can be really helpful. A lot of the things I see in my work is a lot of people are afraid to feel anger. I think women are socialized away from anger so that’s something to consider like what big emotions are we afraid to look at? And then asking yourself the question like how can I build the skills and the resources and the capacity to start to start to feel a little safer with looking at this. So that could be working with a coach or a therapist or journaling or maybe buddying up with a friend who is in this space wanting to because it’s just like a skill for me. When I think back to language learning, it’s like you get better at stuff or coaching skills, you can get really good at sitting with feelings. That’s something you just have to learn. So I think that’s a really helpful thing to do because what that does is the more you learn to sit with and explore your emotional world it sends a message to your nervous system that you are giving your emotions attention. And if we don’t do that, then what happens then is our nervous system can be in this chronic fight or flight like trying to push down feelings. Whereas if we give it some time and attention then our nervous system is off the hook if you will. It gets a day off, it gets a day off work or a morning off because you’re looking at stuff. And having said that, you do need to be careful and take time with this and be gentle with yourself because it can obviously bring up anxiety if you’ve never done this before. So just take it gently, make sure you’re safe and comfortable and do get the help of a therapist or a coach to support you. But that is a really big thing is like over the long term to address our emotional lives and see where we might be ignoring things. And the seasons, like journaling with the seasons can really help unveil things for ourselves. So yeah, those are kind of the few places I’d start with the diet, menstrual cycle awareness and then emotions.

[01:02:06] Charlotte: Yeah, incredible.

[01:02:09] Lisa: Thanks.

[01:02:09] Charlotte: That was really generous and really helpful. And I’m sure that people listening will just be feeling like there’s a way in. And I really liked how you shared some gentle approaches as well before getting into the meat of the emotions and the kind of deeper stuff. And I can just imagine how that approach would be really powerful. So I’ll include the resources that you’ve mentioned throughout just in the show notes, so if anyone wants know find any more, then they can obviously click. Yeah, I think that’s really helpful. Thanks Lisa, for sharing.

[01:02:53] Lisa: You’re so welcome.

[01:02:54] Charlotte: Yeah, so I’d just love to hear then a bit more about the work that you’re doing and what you’re offering. So if people want to work with you or learn from you, could you share with everybody what you’re doing, what you’re up to, what’s on offer and how people can find out more?

[01:03:14] Lisa: Yeah, sure. Thank you so much. So my coaching practice where I work with clients, there’s two options. You can work with me one to one, or I have a new group course coming out in January, which is called Women in Pain. And that will be a six week course diving into all this stuff that we’re talking about today in a small group. So that’s all up on my website, Lisadioncoaching.com. That’s my client work and then I have my professional work where I’m supporting professionals. I have a six month long certified professional training menstrual cycle, the menstrual cycle coaching and facilitation professional training. And there you train to become a menstrual cycle coach. But most importantly, I teach you the skills and things to think about in terms of coaching and group facilitation as well. It’s a whole other topic, group dynamics and all that stuff. And we learn as a group there. That starts every year in September. So the next round is September 2024, but we do have the waiting list open for that. And on the back of that as well, I do also have very small little supervision groups for people who are already menstrual cycle coaches or professionals working in this area, in this space who are already integrating cycle awareness into their work. And they want to be in a supportive container with other professionals. And so that’s also starting in January and that’s just a call once a month. So it’s not as frequent, but it’s supportive for professionals. Two offers on the client side and two offers on the professional side. And then I’ve got a podcast as well called From Pain to Power. That’s where you can hang out with me and learn.

[01:05:15] Charlotte: Amazing. That’s such amazing work that you’re doing. And I think both sides of the coin sound incredible. The work that you’ve got for clients who really need to be held on that process of exploring their pain, exploring their cycle. Sounds really powerful. And then your course sounds incredible too. And yeah, I can see how you’re really bringing together your particular focus of cycle work to help people to be really robust facilitators in that space. And the supervision program sounds amazing too. So, yeah, anyone who’s wanting that level of support as a cycle coach, it just sounds like a really wonderful place to be. So. Thanks, Lisa. I’ll pop all your links in the show notes and people can come and find you and find your work and your podcast. And yeah, just thanks so much for joining us on the podcast. I’ve really loved chatting with you and hearing your story, your personal story, your business journey about this topic that’s just so important and this holistic approach that you take. So thanks so much for being with.

[01:06:25] Lisa: Oh, thank you so much, Charlotte so fun and I loved your questions. It really got me thinking today. So it’s really nice to connect and share with your audience. And yeah, sending big love to everyone listening. It’s a great community to be in.

[01:06:44] Charlotte: Thanks so much for listening to Wildflow. I love having you here. If you’re loving this podcast, why not leave a rating and review and share your favorite episodes with those you think would love to listen? And if you share on Instagram, tag me at charlote Puento coach to take the next step in your own journey of learning how to live, love and lead and flow with your cyclical nature. And for deeper guidance and support in your cycle embodiment journey, you can discover my freebies and join my Wild Flow Coven, my new Cycle Wisdom membership, or even discover my group programs, private cycle coaching and courses all on my website at www.charlotepointeaux.com. Until next time, go well with the flow of your body’s cyclic nature.

meet Lisa de jong

trauma-informed approach to menstrual cycle coaching

As a health coach and educator Lisa works 1:1 with women and leads the globally accredited Professional Training Menstrual Cycle coaching and Facilitation Professional Training, bringing a gentle yet powerful approach to her clients and group, supporting them in the understanding of their body, their nervous system and in relationship to agency and better decision making for recovery.

Lisa’s focus on pain through a really trauma informed approach means that she’s really considering what pain is, what it’s manifesting from, and what these deeper inner conflicts might be, so she doesn’t just help people find relief from their pain, but to do that inner work as well to transform pain into power.

Connect with Lisa

  1. Lisa is on Instagram and online at www.lisadejongcoaching.com where you can find her programs and coaching.

  2. Lisa’s podcast From Pain to Power

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meet your host

Picture of Charlotte Pointeaux

Charlotte Pointeaux

Charlotte Pointeaux is an Internationally Award-Winning triple-Certified Coach, Youth Mentor, Host of Wild Flow Podcast, a sought-after guest menstrual educator and speaker. She is a Shamanic Womancrafter, a Priestess of the Cycle Mysteries.

Charlotte’s work as a Wild Feminine Cycle Coach weaves together shamanic womb healing and rite of passage work with menstrual cycle awareness and feminine embodiment tools, to guide women through their transformational journey of reclaiming their wild feminine cyclic powers to expressing their big magick as a sacred leader.

Charlotte founded First Moon Circles®, a renowned facilitator training program, to train new menstrual educators to prepare, honour and celebrate children and their care-givers at menarche (their first period). To date, she has trained almost 100 facilitators across 5 continents and is on a mission to infuse families, friendships, classrooms and communities with period positivity and menstrually inclusive practices.

Download your free menstrual magick guide by subscribing to my newsletter, and discover my coaching, courses and short classes at www.charlottepointeaux.com/coaching.

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