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S3 E35

Voice is a profound tool for self-expression, embodiment, and navigating the world around us. In this episode with Elise Besler, NSI-certified practitioner and voice coach joins us for a deep dive into the power of finding our voice and using it safely through the work of nervous system regulation.

Our conversation opens with a discussion of how trauma impacts voice, exploring the connection between trauma responses like freeze and fawn, and the ways NSI can help rewire the patterns that inhibit healthy communication and full expression. Elise shares insights from her personal journey and work in trauma-informed leadership, illustrating how a deeper connection to her voice has revolutionized her ability to set boundaries and live authentically.

Tune in to learn how activating and liberating your voice is a pathway to healing!

Topics discussed in this episode:  
Trauma’s impact on voice and its connection with the nervous system
Freeze response and voice
The connection between the vocal cords, diaphragm, and pelvic floor
The healing power of singing Fawn response and setting boundaries
Communication and nervous system regulation in leadership
How NSI has transformed Elise’s work and personal life  

Connect with Elise Besler:  


[00:00:00] Elisabeth Kristof: Hey everyone. I am really excited to chat today because actually on my own healing journey and I’m at a place where I’m discovering that whole new deeper level of working somatically with my voice and vocal cords and throat and it has had such an impact on the patterns held in my body of moving into freeze, bracing in the diaphragm, my pelvic floor, and it’s also making a huge impact on my behavior, my ability to more effortlessly express myself or set boundaries or communicate with clarity and ease.

[00:00:37] Elisabeth Kristof: And that’s without even cognitively working on any of this. It’s by working with my nervous system and my body. And today we are joined by Elise Bessler, who is an expert in activating and liberating the voice. She’s a singer songwriter herself, a voice and communication coach and an NSI certified practitioner. So today we’re going to explore all things voice and communication and how using NSI tools enhances all of these practices. So welcome, Elise. We’re so excited to have you here today.

[00:01:11] Elise Besler: Oh my gosh. Well, I am so happy to be here to have this conversation with both of you. I think it’s such an important conversation. I actually want to share a fun fact before we begin that I didn’t share with you both before we started. Uh, this interview is actually almost a year to the date of me discovering the Trauma Rewired podcast, and then that was, of course, the catalyst to me jumping into the training last year. So this is really special for me, as sort of like a full circle moment. So, so, so happy to be here.

[00:01:41] Jennifer Wallace: That’s really special for us. I just want you to know and to reflect that back to you like for us showing up here and doing this, that’s just the ultimate, like, thank you so much for that. It really means a lot to us, Elise.

[00:01:55] Elise Besler: Yeah, yeah, so happy to be here. So much of what you shared, Elisabeth, I think is so important about working with the voice and also, of course, combining with the nervous system and it’s just been such a journey for me as well. Even though I’ve been practicing as a singer and as a voice practitioner for many decades now. I too had trouble accessing my voice. I’ve had challenges being able to speak freely and being able to say the thing that I really want to say. And for a long time I didn’t know that that was protective. Right? When I was younger especially, and for a long time, I thought that meant there was something wrong with me, that I wasn’t able to speak up, that I wasn’t able to say what was really on my heart, or like more importantly for me, that I wasn’t able to speak without people pleasing, without fawning, going into that fawn.

[00:02:50] Elise Besler:  It’s been just such a game changer for me to be able to explore creating safety around my own voice. And that’s because I’ve carried a lot of shame around using my own as the throat chakra blocks up there as I make that statement. I’ve carried a lot of shame around being visible and being bold with my voice.

[00:03:15] Elise Besler: And that’s because I’ve lived in a large body for the majority of my life, aside from a few moments where I was disordered in my eating or over exercising to try and shrink down into what was culturally acceptable. But the experience that I’ve had with the systemic trauma. Yeah, just like not being considered worthy of sharing my voice has been really challenging, but starting to work with my body and my nervous system has really been a game changer in that respect.

[00:03:45] Jennifer Wallace: Thank you so much for sharing that. So much of what you just shared in your own story is resonant for mine definitely, as well and so many fears around even just showing up as who I am and using my voice from a place of like my spirit, my sovereignty and my truths were always really hard for me and especially in relationship and fawning and freezing and I know we’re going to explore both of those trauma responses specifically today.

[00:04:16] Jennifer Wallace: So, it’s been a journey for me, even launching this podcast three years ago was a huge deconstruction in my belief systems in healing with my pelvic bowl, working in my pelvic floor, working all throughout my nervous system. And the vocal toning has helped me so much. It’s different. It’s so funny, I can remember what my voice used to sound like on the answering machines back in the day. And oh, I used to always cringe when I would hear it, it would fluctuate and it would change a lot. And it sounded when I spoke, I sounded unsure of myself and now I speak from a place of surety. I speak from a place of calmness even. And it’s a really different, it’s a really different experience to embody a person and to embody myself fully in voice invisibility,

[00:05:19] Elisabeth Kristof: Yeah, it’s so true. The impact of the voice has not just on our physical health, but on our relationships and how we show up in the world in this season. We’ve really been exploring how the nervous system uses both pathways of connection and protection for our survival that we’re wired for both. And with trauma, that conflicting need can create a lot of internal chaos.

[00:05:44] Elisabeth Kristof: And all of those experiences of our past are really woven into our neural architecture and shape how we respond in the present day world and that is reflected through our voice a lot. And for those of us with developmental trauma or long periods of chronic stress, especially freeze, can be that well worn pathway.

[00:06:06] Elisabeth Kristof: And we know that freeze really locks up the horizontal fibers of our body, including our vocal cords, our diaphragm, our pelvic floor and these are all areas needed for communication and self expression. And so that pattern of losing our voice, being unable to express our needs, our desires, set our boundaries, can run so deep for many of us.

[00:06:29] Elisabeth Kristof: And there have been so many times, just like you were talking about, Elise, where I really thought there was something wrong with me because I would rehearse setting a boundary, I would practice having that difficult conversation, and then in the moment, I just couldn’t have the conversation with a business partner or something where I thought someone might be disappointed. I would try so hard to show up there and integrity and I just could not get the words out. Then it wasn’t really until working with my nervous system that that became possible. And the good news with all of that is that like, we are neuroplastic, we know that we can repattern, and that we’re biologically wired to connect, so when we start to work with our nervous system, we can restore that capacity, our system really wants to do that, we’re built to return to connection, and so by working on voice activation and vocal toning, this is a really tangible way to help our body to respond learn to move into a new response. And so I’d love for you to talk a little bit about freeze and the vocals.

[00:07:30] Elise Besler: Yeah, as somebody who is very well acquainted with freeze, I have to remind myself probably on the daily that it is wise and protective. When I’m able to remind myself of that and then also pass that information on to my clients, it can be such a game changer.

[00:07:49] Elise Besler: And of course I’m reminding myself on the outside of when I’m freezing because when we’re freezing that’s just that thought is too much for our brains to handle, right? At least for me it is anyway. I think about the threat that shows up with speaking up with showing up in a big way- on stage or even in setting boundaries and even in saying like, I love you, you know, to be vulnerable for some people that’s actually harder than showing up and speaking on stage.

[00:08:19] Elise Besler: The work that I’ve done with NSI and then also the practices that I already had in my in my toolkit, I like to think of creating almost like a bubble of safety around a hard conversation or around something that’s more challenging. And we use the tools, we use the toning as well. I like to think of actually consciously going in and choosing to create a bubble of safety with our nervous system tools. That of course is where the daily practice comes in. It’s so important to be able to create that flexibility, but then also if I know I’m going to have a difficult conversation or I know I need to set a boundary, taking a moment, doing my tools, using my Zvibe along my jawline and my neck. Taking a moment to do those things actually creates such a bubble of safety. Then when I’m feeling safer, of course, I can access my voice in a way that’s a little bit more available to me.

[00:09:27] Elise Besler: I also like to say that after we’ve created the safety, one of the things that my clients and I do is work on actually naming Freeze. It can be a beautiful way to start a conversation after we’ve frozen, like to say, I was just frozen and couldn’t speak up right now. Or that moment can be a really beautiful way to start a conversation after we’ve frozen, sometimes it’s hard to know what to say, what do I say next? It’s a great way. Let’s name it. Let’s name what happened in the body. Of course that comes with practice and with having a little bit more, spaciousness around that.

[00:10:08] Jennifer Wallace: I love what you said about creating the bubble of safety around the hard conversation. I create that bubble of safety. Like anytime I leave the house, I’ll be sitting in the car before I go to the grocery store. Like that’s a really daily practice for me too. I think I want to speak to what you said about flexibility, because I really think that flexibility is just the key to life.

[00:10:32] Jennifer Wallace: And especially when we’re talking about the nervous system, like number one, having the words to identify anything in conversation is so powerful for us to articulate to another person in a really true way of like, Hey, This is how I feel. This is what’s happening for me is so huge because it’s hard to even identify and show ourselves in that way. A lot of us who have complex trauma have been taught that showing up as ourselves is bad. And we’ve been conditioned to hide and part of that freeze response and hiding of course goes so well together. That is what freeze is kind of doing a little bit in the animal world, right?

[00:11:15] Jennifer Wallace: Like freeze, don’t see me. I got to make another move. But for those of us with complex trauma and that well worn pathway, freeze was a big one for me. It was a very well worn path and it was. Totally over coupled with shame, like you spoke to earlier. And I was in a larger size body. I’ve always been a larger size body too. And there was a lot of shame around that and that there were a lot of limiting beliefs around my body size and my voice. And what I had to say and being visible to people was huge.  I think you can’t have trauma and not have shame. I even had shame in the beginning around what was my capacity to show up. To show up in the work, to show up in the world, to show up for this podcast, which came years after my nervous system practice, but realizing that freeze was so normal for me and my daily life, like understanding that that was part of my capacity. It was really hard for me. And the tools are what really kept that shame from getting too big, you know, like just going into the shame bucket. So back to the flexibility that you spoke of, it’s like flexibility and the awarenesses of where we are today. What do I have the capacity for today? And how can I move with that? Do I need different tools? Do I need to change my day? What does the emotional expression of this look like? So naming it and flexibility really loved those those talking points.

[00:12:54] Elisabeth Kristof: Yeah, I think it’s interesting, just the word flexibility there too, because as I’ve been doing more work with my vocal cords and my throat and my jaw, my range, my actual vocal range starts to increase and change. It comes down to that daily practice, like you were talking about. At least I spend time working and rehabbing these areas of my body outside of the difficult conversations. And then as that vocal range has started to change in the activation in my throat, the energy can move through differently there. I don’t necessarily even have to prepare cognitively for the conversations in the same way. I just show up and all of a sudden I’m, I’m saying the things that I wasn’t able to say before. Even when I would try to think my way so hard into being able to say that thing now, just by having that daily practice of rehabbing my throat, my jaw, my voice, it comes out of me now in these moments, which is just really cool to see that happen for me and, and for my clients.

[00:14:00] Elisabeth Kristof: And I noticed this big somatic connect to between just working with the vocals, and then also the changing in my breathing patterns and the changing my pelvic floor tension. I’d love for you to speak a little bit on the connection between these different areas of the body.

[00:14:20] Elise Besler: Yeah, I just to I would love to talk about that and also to name something or to respond to something you said around the fact that the words are just there that you don’t have to prepare as much, I believe, and you know, work with my clients to create the capacity to believe that everything we need to say is inside of us. When that safety, that felt sense of safety, is there we will be able to access the words, and we don’t need to prepare for the interviews as much. I mean, listen, we want to prepare, right? But also not having to have every single word written out. I think that’s really powerful. Regarding the connection between the vocal cords and the diaphragm and the pelvic floor. I love to bring Mama Vegas into the conversation and have this conversation about the vagus nerve and how it’s such an important nerve, or bundle of nerves really, we know is a bundle of nerves to tone. That’s because it literally connects our throats and our diaphragms and of course our whole torso down to our pelvic floor. Any time we make any kind of noise, any sustained noise I should say, in particular like toning or humming or singing we’re vibrating the entirety of the vagus nerve. And that, to me, is what allows us to be able to move flexibly back and forth between those states of survival and then those states of collapse, and then also being in a more regulated state, right?

[00:15:54] Elise Besler: So I think that the daily toning, I’m going to say this probably a million times today, but I think it bears repeating that daily practice of expression. It’s like an expression practice really helps us to be able to connect all of the moving parts of the mechanism to be able to access our voices and yeah, speak, sing, like whatever it is, be on stage, be on a podcast, like all of those things, even showing up on Instagram. I work with a lot of entrepreneurs and there’s a lot of fear around showing up on stories or showing up on reels. This can be so, so helpful with that as well.

[00:16:41] Elisabeth Kristof: Yeah, it, it really is. It’s this very deep body based way to start to create change and also to start to create change in a lot of the places where, if we have experienced trauma in that repeated pattern of freeze. The body is just so braced and we have so many clients that come in with pelvic floor dysfunction and pelvic pain and going right to that area of the body to release the bracing and release the fears is really difficult. We found such a beautiful way to access some of that release and to make coming into the body as a whole safer because of the vagus nerve activation that you were talking about. Then also just the relationship through the fascia, through the nervous system between these areas of the body.

[00:17:33] Elisabeth Kristof: Even if you look at an image of the vocal cords in the jaw, it really looks so similar to an image of the pelvis and the pelvic floor. And there’s so much interplay between these body structures, there can be a great impact on it. Improving the health of the pelvic floor without necessarily having to dive right into that area and releasing that fear through the body starting in the throat or the jaw where it’s a little bit more accessible can be so big. Jen, I know you’ve done a bunch of work recently with fear releasing from the body and how has some of that showed up in your vocal stuff?

[00:18:17] Jennifer Wallace: There’s so many different ways I look to support the releasing of fear throughout my body. One of the ways I really learned, and this is around my pelvic floor and around my jaw, was that I’m someone who braced a lot in my body. I held a lot of tension in my body, particularly in my pelvic floor. Everywhere, my pelvic floor, my shoulders, my torso, my legs, everywhere. So learning to work with the constriction and tension release tools really supported that and learning how to really release and even with breath patterns. Aligning that with my body and with the movements that I do. The truth is the fear that I have experienced in my body runs back to a very small little girl and I’m 47 years old. So I have not only my NSI tools, but I have an incredible practitioner that I work with here in Austin that helps me literally release things from my body. I work in plant medicine spaces. I’m someone who needs depth and layers. And I have needed a lot of support in this journey and I can tell just in my vocal tone on a daily basis, it has changed.

[00:19:32] Jennifer Wallace: I mean, I’m listening to myself right now and it’s different than it was last week. So I know that each time I’m engaging in these practices and just staying with it, I notice how I sound and I notice how more liberal I am with using my voice. Like you said, just singing around the house, singing in the shower, being heard, being heard feels really good.

[00:20:00] Elise Besler: Something that you just said felt really pertinent to explore. I like to think of ourselves as our own sound healers, you know? It’s the O. G. sound healing. You know, I love a good gong show or gong bath. I love a good crystal bowl sound healing session. Then I think about the power of our voices to be able to create that same vibration and to be able to shift the makeup of our nervous system and create that shift, as you said, in the vocal tone and how it will change. I think about when we are in survival, how we’re at the pitch of our voice is up higher. Then as we become more regulated, that’s when our voice can drop. And when I use the NSI tools with clients and myself around the neck and the jaw, almost immediately you can hear the drop in tone. And it’s just, it’s such a powerful way to be in self expression.

[00:21:23] Elisabeth Kristof: I love, too Jen, that you said you found yourself just singing more, singing more around the house. The same thing has happened for me too, to the point where my partner is like, ‘Whoa, I’ve never heard you sing before’. And now it’s becoming this normal part of our life. And I know there’s so much power in singing and in regards to healing. And just like you said, having your own body be the instrument and the impact that that has on the nervous system. Tell us a little bit about the healing power of singing.

[00:21:58] Elise Besler: Yeah, as I mentioned, it’s like we’re our own sound healers. It’s like a self cleaning oven. We have this, opportunity to be healing ourselves. And then also, you know, how much joy it brings, especially singing. I love to sing by myself, but singing with others is something so powerful.

[00:22:24] Elise Besler: That is because of course we are tuning to each other’s nervous systems and we’re all sort of receiving the goodness of that. But the power of singing and toning and chanting is, I think, it’s unparalleled as far as, being able to help us explore self expression and a lot of the folks that I work with, particularly the vocalists that I work with. And I work with people who come to see me for their truth speaking and also people who come to see me so they can free their voices to use them in a singing capacity. And for those folks, so many of them, they have a story that they carried with them about the power or the possibility of their voice from childhood. It’s right around the third grade, there’s some choir teacher or some Christmas concert. The director that told them to be a little listening bird today, you’re out of tune, or like we carry these stories around about our voices that aren’t true. So the more we use the mechanism, the more it becomes free. And then also can become such a joyous experience again.

[00:23:39] Jennifer Wallace: I would imagine too, in a situation like that, particularly for a little one fawn and boundaries is the next thing that we should kind of just easily move right into. Fawn is another reflexive well worn path trauma response that we’ve talked about on here on Trauma Rewired a lot. I think in terms of in setting a boundary, fawn must be the most common response that people would fall into after setting a boundary. That has some tribal roots to it. People pleasing is the most common definition of fawn, but it could look like mirroring or overgiving, overexplaining, and even perfectionism.

[00:24:31] Jennifer Wallace: All of these behaviors lead to states of depletion and dysregulation and, in the end, self abandonment. I’ll circle back to that self abandonment, but Fawn from an NSI perspective is a behavioral adaptation and it’s based on a survival need for attachment and to circle back to that self abandonment, I think this is one of the beautiful ways that vocal toning supports not self abandoning to really come home to the self, because if we can use our voice and get into that place where that’s reflexive and we look at a fawn trauma response that say rooted in relational behavior.

[00:25:16] Jennifer Wallace: Then we want to set a boundary with someone. If we notice that we set a boundary and say then that person pulls away or maybe gets angry or frustrated with us, we are going to get activated in our own nervous systems. In some way, there’s going to be internal sensations and it’s easy to respond by fawning and to secure that connection that that’s the reflexive part of this, because we want to calm the person down. And so that fawn can live in its own on a spectrum, but I really think in using the voice on a daily basis, it does support setting boundaries and maybe dialing back that fawn trauma response that’s so reflexive. Elise, do you have for thoughts on that?

[00:26:06] Elise Besler: Oh, I have thoughts on Fawn. I’m pretty familiar with Fawn, as I mentioned earlier. I was bullied as a kid. My trauma stems from being bullied really terribly for the body that I was in. And then also who do you think you are to show up as you are and be bold.

[00:26:30] Elise Besler: I developed that protective fawn as most of us do at a pretty early age. It was super toxic and it really pulled toxic friends towards me. It pulled even toxic coaches and mentors that I really had a hard time speaking up with when I was being manipulated or gaslit. I just had a really hard time.

[00:26:52] Elise Besler: So I would just kind of play along with it as most of us do when we’re fawning. I’m going to be honest with you. I’ve been using my voice for 40 years in a healing and a singing capacity and then offering voice and communication coach for 20 of that 40 years. I’m 47, but I didn’t start singing until I was seven. It wasn’t actually until I added the NSI tools and this is like, I mean, obviously I’m going to be shamelessly plugging to everyone I speak to about the program and about the tools, but it wasn’t until I added the NSI tools that I was actually able to heal that output for myself. I was still fawning up until; does the faw ever really go away? For me, it hasn’t yet. I don’t know. I feel like it’s probably something I’m going to befriend and have awareness around for the rest of my life. But it’s the same for my clients thinking with the clients that I was working with before I started the NSI program and that are now I’m still working with.

[00:27:54] Elise Besler: We’ve moved mountains around the fawn output based on the NSI tools. Right? I think it’s because of that felt safety. Before it was, yes, we’re using singing and then we’re also doing some limiting belief work and all of that, but it really wasn’t until that felt safety, that shroud of safety that I was talking about earlier, came in and said no, we can actually protect that and we can change the shape of, or we can change the direction, you know, we can change that pattern from the body to the brain of, of felt safety so that we can speak up. So many of my clients are coming to me with; I have Voxer support attached to my coaching packages, and it’s so special for me to get that Voxer that says, ‘I just set a boundary, it happened, my heart is racing, and I’m so proud of myself.’ You know, like to be able to do that for the first or the fifth time. I mean, I’ve been slaying my boundary game this year, it’s still exciting every single time to be able to do that. So, NSI is where it’s at for the fun response in my humble opinion.

[00:29:06] Elisabeth Kristof: I love that. I love hearing that experience. And it is like you were talking about, it comes so much down to this ability at a really physiological nervous system level to create that safety. Even if I am cognitively pushing through, I know I want to do better. I maybe even set the boundary. And then, like Jen was saying, afterwards then just pull back into that fawn response and like, Oh my God, I did it. But now I’m going to start backtracking and offering all these things and overextending myself. And until I have that way to create safety inside around it, it’s just so reflexive. and automatic to move into those responses. Until I can have new experiences doing it, recreating the safety over and over and over again, then that starts to be repatterned. And the reflexive behavior isn’t so automatic, though it may still show up. Like you said, it’s always just about having that awareness, befriending it, and then recreating the new response so that you learn that it’s possible, it’s safe. It happens less and less frequently. And when it does happen, I can keep the altitude to see it and to take corrective action and keep working with my system because I think all of this goes beyond just the health of our body and our nervous system, but it directly impacts the way that we’re able to communicate in all areas in our business, in our relationships, on social media, like you were talking about. Every aspect of life is impacted by this. And when we re pattern in our nervous system and release the bracing in the body, then we can start to have that experience of speaking the truth and staying present as we’re speaking the truth and be a safe space also for other people to share their own boundaries and to be able to receive that and express with us.

[00:31:06] Elise Besler: Yeah, I’d love to lean in like butterfly effect, right? When one person sets a boundary, the other people in your life, I mean of course, there’s people that have a hard time receiving boundaries. I’ll share a little fun story about my husband. He has really started picking up on the verbiage that I’m using and also reflecting it back to me. So it’s really kind of fun to witness that mirroring in a positive way. In a way that allows other people to start setting boundaries for themselves just through witnessing when we are able to step out into that more confident expression.

[00:31:56] Jennifer Wallace: Boundaries are the medicine that will always give. There is never going to be a time in our life, like, I never like to say never, but I’m here to tell you there is never going to be a time in your life where you don’t have a boundary to set or a boundary to receive. And it’s cool to receive a boundary. It’s cool to know where the lines are with people. I don’t want to overstep someone’s personal boundary. That’s not gonna make me feel good. I have a friend, she’s a fawner. And a lot of times it works out in my favor, right? Because I’m the person whose nervous system is kind of on the receiving end of that. There’s a lot of times where I have to be setting the boundary from my safety perspective of like, she’s overdoing it. Does that make sense? Setting the boundary for the fawner to let them, and it helps her know like, Hey, these are my boundaries and you’re cool. Like you can relax and I love that for our relationship, for our friendship, because just like Elisabeth was saying, the idea that it’s possible and it’s safe to take any action, any scary action, whether that’s boundaries, emotional work, clients, bosses, all of it. When that idea of it’s possible, it’s safe.

[00:33:23] Jennifer Wallace: That’s when the brain is looking for that one pain free rep. That’s the idea that lets the brain say, you know what? We could do this again. I’m going to trust Jennifer to do that again. Like, let’s keep testing it. And then that’s the big part of repatterning because when we’ve got a template that we’ve walked for so long, sometimes. Decades, our whole lives, then we have this new template that we’re walking. You have to keep walking the path, walking the path, walking the path until you really start to see something different and that’s what it takes is that one pain free rep of of using your voice and even the one pain free rep of vocal toning in your home so you can just start to hear what you sound like to hear that you have a voice that you can take up space.

[00:34:24] Elisabeth Kristof: It’s a beautiful thing to start to hear our own voice. And I know, Elise, you also do a lot of work with leadership and communication in leadership. And again, I think it weaves through all these places, but I’d love to hear a little bit more about this concept of dignity centered leadership communication that you talk about, because I think it’s really important.

[00:34:51] Elise Besler: Yeah, it’s, it’s one of my favorite things to talk about and to share about. I love working with people in leadership. I love helping people cultivate felt safety at the operating level of their own bodies so that they can lead with dignity, both in themselves and the people that they support. I think that it goes without saying that when we lead from a trigger or lead from an unhealed place, we cause harm. We cause harm to people and that’s because we communicate with hostility or we, you know, we have these power over dynamics that show up or this judgment that’s present. To me, this is where the rubber meets the road as far as trauma informed practice is concerned. Being trauma informed, of course, we know it needs to start with our own bodies. And to be able to know what safety feels like for us, what are my triggers, what are my unhealed parts, what are the parts of my nervous system that I need to be aware of so that I can lead from my highest self, so that I can, again be in my own dignity and not cause harm.

[00:36:02] Elise Besler: An interesting story about this, my Instagram took a big turn before Christmas. I had a couple of viral-ish reels that went a little bit, it’s like you can’t stop it, right? When it happens, it’s like running down the hill and not that I would want to stop it, but it happened and I welcomed tens of thousands of new community members into my orbit and what a lot of them are seeking is help with how to talk to a toxic boss. Like what to say in a situation where harm is being done and I can give scripts and I can give strategies and I can give cute little Instagram infographics about how to find your center. But the truth of the matter, and I’m going to say something real bold here, the way people can start to feel safe is by leaders understanding their nervous systems is by leaders understanding how to regulate themselves before, during, and after a leadership conversation. That’s it. That’s full. That’s the mic drop. I can help and I do, and I support people about how to respond to that kind of behavior. But the truth of the matter is that true felt safety isn’t going to exist for the people who are in the not leadership position, the employee, unless the leaders know how to, how to roll. That’s the TikTok right there.

[00:37:45] Jennifer Wallace: We had this conversation with Margy, I think that might have been season two I can’t remember, Margy Felhuhn of Interview connections. It’s a really big deal to have a regulated leader. I mean, that just means everything, like gaslighting, taking your work, not giving you your credit. I mean, there’s are so many scenarios and I’ve been in many of them myself, which is one of the reasons why I love being my own leader because it’s hard. It is really hard. Watching your Instagram grow has just been incredible. Like, from the sidelines, I just want to honor you for all of that voice and visibility. It’s been so cool to watch.

[00:38:33] Elise Besler: Thank you. It’s been really fun. I think for the first time in my life, it feels like I’m ready for it. Do you know, like it’s on an embodied level, it doesn’t feel scary. It feels like, yeah, I’m ready. I’m ready to hold space for the people that are coming in and then also for myself, you know, thanks.

[00:39:00] Elisabeth Kristof: It’s exciting to see and to hear you say that experiencing that growth was a positive embodied experience because it can be a little bit overwhelming, you know. So Jennifer certainly knows about having some real scope. I don’t know. It’s a lot to take in all those people making comments and seeing. And so it is really important to have our nervous system practices so that we can have the visibility that we desire and not be causing harm to our self with the stress that it might cause if we’re not in a safe place to handle that. I’ve also really enjoyed seeing how you’re weaving the NSI tools into your work into everything that you’re doing. I’d love to hear just a little bit more about what brought you initially to the NSI course and then how that expanded your capacity and changed your work- personally, professionally, all the things.

[00:40:03] Elise Besler: Oh, okay. My heart just started beating a little bit faster and I can actually feel a little bit of emotion come up. So I don’t know if anyone’s cried on the Trauma Rewired podcast before, but today might be a first. The major turn that my personal, personal and professional life has taken since starting to work with you all in this practice and also listening to this podcast and continuing to revisit the work that we did in the course. I mentioned that fawning and people pleasing was… It’s kind of like my nervous system home away from home for so many years. I initially took the course because I wanted to serve my clients in a more robust way. I can’t remember which module it is that we talk about people pleasing. I think it was like module three or four. And I remember, I did the replays of the meetings because I wasn’t able to make it at the time of the meetings. I remember I had everything set up and I was all ready to learn about how to offer nervous systems tools to my clients.

[00:41:17] Elise Besler: And I remember one of the things that was stated in that module was you might be a people pleaser if, I’m paraphrasing, but if you take courses so that it could help other people and I was like, Oh, right, that’s me. That’s me. I’m taking this course because I wanted to help other people. And it was at that moment, I think I even dropped it in the WhatsApp chat. I was like, no, I have goosebumps actually thinking about it. That was when I was like, no, this is actually for me. This is for my healing and that when I am showing up and this is where the emotion comes up, that when I can show up in that place of a healed place that I’m going to be able to serve the people that need me.

[00:42:03] Elise Besler: So, you know, the most powerful outcome, look, I’m getting excited, I’m knocking my microphone, the most powerful outcome of this program, in addition to me being able to support my clients, was that I was able to heal my lifelong attachment to toxic friends and mentors, and I stepped away from a really significant relationship this year. It was a professional then turned personal slash professional relationship and it was toxic. I didn’t realize it or maybe I felt it on an embodied level, but I didn’t realize it and I didn’t feel I had the capacity to continue it. So this was the first time that I was able to consciously close.

[00:42:56] Elise Besler: I think that’s a really important thing to remember that any other time I had closed a relationship, whether it be personal or professional, I would just ghost. Like I would be out because I wasn’t able to sit down and have the conversation. And yes, I know I am a voice and communication coach, but I just didn’t have that capacity. So for the first time I was able to sit down and have that conversation and it just was the most empowering. thing for me. Again, in addition to the game changer moments that I’ve had with my clients.

[00:43:33] Jennifer Wallace: That’s incredible, Elise. Congratulations. I know that it’s… so many words want to come to my mind that it’s hard to just land on one. When it comes to closing those chapters it’s a really big deal because it’s a grieving process too. Even though it’s something that we want, it’s something that you’ve lived with a relationship for quite some time. That’s changed in its own and it’s changed in the container. It sounds like many times. So when we go to close any relationships, that’s like I said, that’s always led me into deep grieving practices and always calls for the mirror to turn back to me a little bit. No, not a little bit. The whole bit. Could you tell us a story? Do you have any inspiring stories to tell us around your clients and how you’ve used tools or any major shifts or anything that really sticks out for you there?

[00:44:37] Elise Besler: Yeah, actually, this one, it kind of makes me giggle a little bit because the really cool thing that I can share is that I’ve had more people leave my practice this year than ever before. That’s because they’re good. Like they’re good, you know. It’s really powerful for me. And I actually am so grateful for it. When somebody comes to a call and says, ‘you know what, I think it’s time for me to take a break because I have so much more capacity and I’m good’. I don’t know if that was what you were looking to hear, but the breakthroughs for me are just… I love those moments where people message me or we hop on our next call and they’re telling me about these conversations I actually have in addition to the people leaving my practice. I ran a group program called the Embodied Leader this Fall. And one of the women said that because of the tools, this was on the last day. She said it was the very first time a couple days before that she was able to stand in her dignity and have a conversation.

[00:45:47] Elise Besler: And it was because of the work that we had done through the nervous system repatterning and through the safety, the cultivation of safety that she was able to do that. So, I would say that’s a pretty badass breakthrough in addition to people leaving my coaching practice.

[00:46:05] Elisabeth Kristof: I love that. I love her experience of when people again get to have that moment where something is possible that their whole life hasn’t been possible before. And now in a matter of days or weeks of working with the nervous system. Oh my God. I can do this. And that’s really beautiful. And I love that you see people get to a place where they’re ready to move on.

[00:46:31] Elisabeth Kristof: We’re always talking about, we are equipping you here to become the expert of your own nervous system and to develop the capacity. I don’t want to be working with someone forever, keeping them in that constant cycle of healing and backsliding, and then taking a step forward and backsliding again. It’s about developing that foundation where they can grow. And yeah, the ultimate goal should be for them to be able to go on and continue their journey and their healing in their own way. And yes, sometimes things might come up and they might need to come back, but a good coach is not there forever. You want to get to the place where someone can grow out of the container and become the expert for themselves and then bring in the new people. That also helps alleviate your burnout, right? If you’re not working with the same people on the same problems over and over again, and not ever getting to that place is really powerful.

[00:47:33] Elise Besler: Yeah, it’s a true testament to the work and to the addition of what I was already doing. A true testament.

[00:47:43] Jennifer Wallace: Do you want to just share some closing thoughts with us?

[00:47:48] Elise Besler: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I’m just so grateful for this conversation and as we sat together here today I’m learning from you both. I think we’ll continue, obviously, to learn from you both being in the community and it’s just such a gift for me and to me. And then also to my community for us to have this conversation and to explore the possibilities for people in them being able to access their truth and share it with the world. So thank you so much for having me.

[00:48:29] Elisabeth Kristof: Thank you so much for being on. Where can people find you if they want to do more work with their voice and their communication?

[00:48:37] Elise Besler: I’m on the old Instagramables at @EliseBesler. And I am on TikTok. I honestly can’t remember my handle. I think it’s probably Elise Besler and if you’d like to connect with my website, the best URL for that is just And everything on that page has what my current offerings are, or if you just want to book a discovery chat and have a conversation about the work.

[00:49:09] Jennifer Wallace: Wonderful. Thank you so much. And we’ll have links to everything in the show notes.

[00:49:13] Elise Besler: Awesome.

[00:49:15] Elisabeth Kristof: Any chance you want to take us out with a little chant or a song that you might use for your own vocal activation? If not, no big deal.

[00:49:24] Elise Besler: Yeah, I would love to do that. I would love to share something. when I run retreats, I always try and book my retreats near water whether it’s ocean, I mean, I live in Nova Scotia, so the local retreats are always near water. If it’s not by the ocean, it’s got to have a river or something running through the property just because of the transformative properties of water. So at the end of all of my retreats we do a chant and there’s a little bit of improv that happens. It’s really fun. So I would love to share yhat chant with you all and you can sing along with me if you like, both of you. I’m going to do it three times. So if anyone wants to sing along while listening, then we can do that.

[00:50:15] Elise Besler: Yhe lyrics are ‘Hear my truth and wash me in the water. Hear my truth and set my soul free.’ So I’ll sing that three times and you can sing along. Hear my truth. And wash me in the water. Hear my truth and set my soul free.

[00:50:44] Elise Besler: Hear my truth

[00:50:46] Elisabeth Kristof: truth, and

[00:50:47] Elise Besler: and wash me in the

[00:50:50] Elisabeth Kristof: My truth, and

[00:50:52] Elise Besler: Hear my truth and set my soul free.

[00:50:59] Elisabeth Kristof: me 

[00:51:01] Elise Besler: Hear my truth. And wash me in the water, hear my truth, and set my soul

[00:51:13] Elisabeth Kristof: my soul free.

[00:51:17] Elise Besler: Yeah.

[00:51:19] Elisabeth Kristof: Love it.

[00:51:20] Jennifer Wallace: Love it. wonderful.

[00:51:22] Elise Besler: We should re-record it. I’m going to re-record it, and then we can.. That way, because it’s interesting how Zoom and all these things we can’t sing together at the same time. It kind of sounds a little bit wonky. So if we can re-record it just like with, you two can sing behind your mutes if you like? Does that make sense? And then that way everyone can sing along.

[00:51:46] Elisabeth Kristof: Yeah. Cause things were coming through.

[00:51:52] Jennifer Wallace: Yeah. I’m slightly confused. What do you want? So you want me to mute myself?

[00:51:56] Elisabeth Kristof: Just right now. We’ll mute she’ll do it three more times.

[00:52:01] Elise Besler: All right, here we go. Hear my truth, and wash me in the water, hear my truth, and set my soul free. Hear my truth. Hear my truth and wash me in the water, hear my truth and set my soul free, hear my truth and wash me in the water, hear my truth and set my soul free. There we go.

[00:53:02] Jennifer Wallace: So lovely.

[00:53:03] Elisabeth Kristof: Beautiful. Thank you so much.

[00:53:05] Elise Besler: Then everyone can see. It’s kind of fun. It actually is fun when I do group stuff on Zoom, we’ll like unmute and all of that sort of stuff. And sounds kind of cool, but it’s sweet.

[00:53:14] Jennifer Wallace: We’ll have to see because with our editor who could probably line the tracks up for us.

[00:53:19] Elise Besler: Amazing.

[00:53:21] Jennifer Wallace: We’ll see.

[00:53:24] Elisabeth Kristof: Awesome. Thank you so much for this conversation and yeah, it was just a joy.

[00:53:32] Jennifer Wallace: Thank you, Elise.

[00:53:33] Elise Besler: Thank you both so much.

Listen to more episodes of Trauma Rewired HERE