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As a Neuro Somatic Relationship and Intimacy Coach, safety and nervous system regulation are at the heart of Piper Rose’s work. They bridge the gap between individual trauma and collective healing in the LGBTQ+, Poly, and Kink communities, emphasizing the crucial role safety plays in self-expression, identity, and overall health.

In this episode, Piper delves into this concept of collective healing, distinguishing between individuality versus individuation and highlighting the transformative power of finding a deep sense of connection to one’s authentic self and the collective.

We also discuss the impact of structural trauma on expression and the complex layers of trauma that manifest not just through events but through the lack of attunement and acceptance from others, further exacerbating feelings of loneliness and shame.

Piper shares their insights on important topics like navigating post-trauma identity, emotional processing for healing, getting in touch with your “essence nature” and dismantling internalized shame. This is an important conversation on the nervous system’s role in identity and expression.

Topics discussed in this episode:  
The concept of safety in the body Piper’s work employing neuro somatic techniques
The impact of structural trauma on relational health
Collective healing Pronouns and post-trauma identity
Rejection sensitivity from a neuro somatic perspective
Emotions versus feelings versus experiences  

Connect with Piper Rose:    

Learn more about the Neuro-Somatic Intelligence Coaching program and sign up for the spring cohort now!  


[00:00:00] Piper Rose: Emotions and feelings are not the same and they’re not the same as experiences. We hear people all the time say, I feel rejected. And I say, let me stop you right there. Rejection is an experience. It is something that has happened. That’s not a feeling. Rejection as an experience is something that has happened. And then you have an emotion. And then that all collides with your stories, your beliefs, your thoughts, your constructs, everything’s set up there. The lens you see the world through and then you have a feeling. Now, for those of us with rejection sensitivity, the feeling is not, I’m rejected, the experience is, I’m rejected. But we go there because we think we can manage the world at the level of rejection but really, we can only manage the world that is at the level of emotion.

[00:00:49] Elisabeth Kristof: Welcome to Trauma Rewired, the podcast that teaches you about your nervous system, how trauma lives in the body, and what you can do to heal. I’m your co host, Elisabeth Kristof, founder of, an online community where we use evidence-based Neuro-Somatic exercises to create resilience, change behavior, and re-pattern trauma.

[00:01:08] Elisabeth Kristof: I’m also the founder of Neuro Somatic Intelligence Coaching Certification, an ICF accredited course that equips therapists and coaches with a framework and tools to create transformation from the level of the nervous system. 

[00:01:19] Jennifer Wallace: Hi and welcome. I’m your co-host Jennifer Wallace, a Neuro Somatic practitioner that supports women in leading their truest lives by bridging the worlds of nervous system health and plant medicine spaces. 

[00:01:31] Jennifer Wallace: I’m also an NSI Educator and I’m so excited for this next cohort that’s enrolling in the spring. Having neuro somatic intelligence means that we understand that everything we do impacts our nervous systems, including our relationships. If you want to experience deeper, more meaningful connections to ourselves and to others, including emotionally, we have to learn to work with our nervous systems. 

[00:01:55] Elisabeth Kristof: Today, we are talking with Piper Rose, who is a Neuro Somatic Relationship and Intimacy Coach dedicated to supporting LGBTQ, poly, and kink communities. As this season’s focus is all about relationships and the nervous system, Piper is one of our Neuro Somatic Intelligence certified practitioners that we just had come through the last cohort and we just had to bring them on today to have this conversation. We’re going to be exploring systemic trauma components that impact relational health, looking at the concept of post traumatic identity and why that’s so important to unfold a new identity as you’re healing.

[00:02:35] Elisaebth Kristof: Plus we’re going to get into rejection sensitivity from a Neuro Somatic perspective, explore new strategies for addressing that. So there’s so much good stuff coming into this conversation. Welcome Piper, We are so excited to have you here.

[00:02:50] Piper Rose: My gosh, I am so excited to be here for so many reasons. First, I just want to list my favorite neuro tools that I used to get here today. I breathed into a bag. I’m an adult that breathes into a bag, so I definitely did that. And I unwound my vagus nerve a little bit and stared off at a beautiful horizon so that I could think from a more expanded perspective. And yeah, so I’m vibing. I’ve already gotten deep into my neuro tools already, and I’m here for all of it.

[00:03:26] Jennifer Wallace: My God, I love it. I did my own set of neuro tools too and I wear an ab belt sometimes when we record also, cause it just really supports these bigger conversations that we’re having. I’m so excited that you’re joining us today. You have such a well rounded wholeness of your nervous system, you feel so grounded and I’ve always felt that even since you came into NSI and it’s just been… I’m excited to learn from you today and to explore these deeper conversations.

[00:03:57] Jennifer Wallace: And like you said, it’s this nervous system regulation that allows us to be here with each other and be present so that we can explore. And, as I was expanding my research for today’s conversation and actually, let me back up for just a second. In the conversations that Elisabeth and I have privately one of the conversation when we’re talking about just being in the world as humans and little bodies with complex trauma, that the most important thing for us that we want to put out into the world and the message is that it’s important. The most important thing is that people feel safe in their bodies. Regardless of anything else and and maybe for some listeners that doesn’t seem like too big of a deal, but we know, the three of us, how big of a deal that is in the communities that we serve.

[00:04:46] Jennifer Wallace: Here we are. And to our listener that relates to aspects of complex trauma, because they’re here, but I really do feel there’s another level to the experience of complex trauma that you’ve experienced and that the community that you serve has experienced and for people to find their to be embodied and find their self expression to find their voices it is so important and I’m just, could you please just open us up today and speaking to that foundational concept of safety in the nervous system and how we show up to be fully self expressed or to just even show up just safety, really, not even in a full self expression capacity.

[00:05:32] Piper Rose: Oh, we’re just getting right into it. The first thing that I want to hone in on is the word safety and what it means. A lot of times when I’m putting on events or bringing several people together, especially around something particularly vulnerable, we write safer and the little R is in parentheses. This is really saying, I can’t guarantee a safe space for you, but I can create a safer space for you and I think that is something that is either going to terrorize us or empower us to realize we do not have control over what is coming at us at any given moment. And we cannot guarantee that we are quote unquote. Like safe, right? So this internal sense of safety when we think about, okay if safety is defined externally by nothing bad ever happening, nothing ever hurting us or making us uncomfortable or, searing us off course when we intended to go another direction but internally, when we talk about safety. What does that mean? And I think that’s very important for each individual to define for themselves and to recognize that the path to safety involves that you’re only going to be safer for yourself for a while. And let’s be real, am I ever going to be a person that doesn’t have horrible thoughts about myself to myself? Probably not. I might only be safer to myself forever because I have another voice that is more anchored in reality that says, Hey babe, those words are hurtful and they’re not true. I’m gonna scoop you up and give you a big hug about it. I can’t say to myself, Oh, because I’ve said this horrible thing, now I’m unsafe for myself.

[00:07:36] Piper Rose: I think we need to actually talk about this concept of being safer and accepting that and unplugging some of the power from these “negative” or hard feelings, thoughts, even behaviors we exhibit.  So I really want to encourage everyone to say, what would it be like? What would be the qualities of safer for yourself? What would be in line with your values? What would be an expression of your integrity? Who are you to yourself when you cannot stop the onslaught of things that are uncomfortable or hard externally? And sometimes internally, like who are you at the end of the day? And that’s what I think of when I think of internal safety.

[00:08:19] Elisabeth Kristof: Yeah, absolutely. I think that is such a couple of things. They’re really looking at this idea of dysregulation happens say that a lot, we live in a dysregulating world, it’s gonna happen, dissociation happens, my Fs get triggered, right? And it’s really about one, having the awareness and the understanding of what’s going on inside of yourself, that in itself creates a safer space inside of your own body and then having ways to work with the nervous system to create that safety at a very deep foundational level, really speaking to the nervous system directly in the languages that are in the language that it understands of sensory inputs and, like you said, too, there are different factors influencing the way that our nervous system responds to the world, the way that we’re patterned, and it’s always shaped by our past experiences, and that goes all the way back to the womb and it can be primed into that state of threat from developmental trauma that could also come from systemic trauma, oppression, violence it could come from a big T traumatic event, or it could come from chronic stress over time, and the system is just primed in the answer to the brain’s number one question, am I safe, is no, and so the body reacts in that way until we have a way to work with it, it makes it really hard to respond differently.

[00:09:52] Elisaebth Kristof: I want to back up just a minute and would you just tell us a little bit about the work that you do? What kind of work are you doing in the world right now?

[00:10:05] Piper Rose: Yes, so I have really honed in on complex post traumatic stress. I often don’t say CPTSD, I say CPTS. Because I, I often say I’m fucked up, but nothing is wrong with me. Everything that came in, what’s coming out now makes perfect sense. There is actually nothing wrong with this picture. This picture is very right, considering what I’ve been through. There’s nothing actually wrong with me. When I focus on CPTS, I focus on something that’s very lived and relevant for my own experience. But then I get to extend that outward to the queer community. I use that as a shorthand for LGBTQ , because so many of us believe something is wrong with us. That we can’t actually have a felt sense of rightness. That I’m right in the world and as I am. 

And there are just not enough resources that meet queer people from their lived experience where they are to reflect back to them. Not only is nothing wrong with you, but there is so much right in you that I would like to help your body, your nervous system to know at a profound level and then your mind to know at a profound level and every beat of your heart to know at a profound level that you are right. so the coaching really does work that way. It’s top down. We look at the beliefs, we look at the thoughts, we look at the behaviors, and there is significant transformation there and then we go bottom up with the nervous system, speaking the language of the nervous system, as you say, so that the nervous system actually can experience in its own language, a sense of safety.

[00:12:08] Piper Rose: And when those things come together, that’s where rightness lives. It’s like you’ve got that top down, you’ve got that bottom up. And in my imagination right now, it just meets at the heart and the heart is holding that beautiful, profound, unique, incredible gift and spark of that human that gets to be wild and free and do what it means to do. To contribute back to community. And what do I do? I sit down with people in a little container, and we talk about stuff, and we feel stuff, and we get into the nervous system, and we do drills, and it gets weird, and we laugh a lot, and there is absolutely rolling around on the floor and crying, and I don’t know, what do you call that?

[00:12:52] Piper Rose: We’re having coaching feels like it’s such a failure of a word. We’re having a profound, transformative experience of becoming. More herself, our authentic essence nature. And it’s yeah, we just don’t have a lot of frameworks to compare that to. It’s not, It’s definitely, it’s not talk therapy.

[00:13:15] Jennifer Wallace: You have such a way with words. Please find something else that does encompass what we do more than the word coaching. And you brought something up that I want to go back to the spirit self, because, gender, sex, these are made up things that we have done as humans and as a society that someone has done, we have codified gender and it does maybe help people relate and maybe it does do something to create safety when we come into groups of people or helps us orient or relate better what, what have you, but a society, we are not programmed to honor the spirit within. We are told to honor the body on the outside, and that’s not enough. That is not enough. And gender and sexuality are aspects of being human that we embody, but it doesn’t support the spirit and the expression of who we are internally. Let’s talk a little bit about how some of those structures might impact someone’s nervous system and then their felt safety in the world. 

One of the concepts that we talk about a lot is that the brain doesn’t like change. Change is really scary for the brain when we go into doing that intentionally. And as we look at that as a broader structure, society doesn’t like change. They are scared of change and we see it in the way that people are. There’s alarmist mentalities that we see out there around their gender, sex, and identity. 

[00:14:49] Piper Rose: Yeah. Okay. Let me, there’s so much here. How many hours do we have? Okay. How many lifetimes do we have? Okay. So I want to talk about two things and one thing I want to name. Want to name that structural trauma is real, systemic oppression is real. We prioritize bodies, minds, lived experiences and compare them to one another and elevate some and absolutely treat others. As though they are less than and that is lived out in every social system and institution and interpersonal relationship to varying degrees, up into, including the most extreme violence. I want to name that and I don’t think we’re here to debate that. And I’m just going to will just be there when you are in a body or a mind or an expression of being. That is in the category of deprioritized, unwelcome, disruptive, whatever. You are going to get feedback your whole life that something is wrong with you and you’re not welcome. Or that you are unsafe. And that is going to absolutely, again, like we were talking about earlier, there’s nothing wrong with me, comes in and this is what you get. You get a real stressed out system, that’s really struggling here to feel good about itself because it’s getting lots of messages that it’s not safe.

[00:16:34] Piper Rose: It’s not okay. It’s not good. It’s not valuable. It’s not worthy, right? That’s what we’re wearing internally. So I want to talk a little bit about personal expression. I actually do think that the body and our drag in this life is very important because we are creative expressions. We are art. We are an aesthetic. We are a flavor. We are a song. We are a dance. We are these things and it matters what we wear. It matters how we move physically, how we are in our body, how we speak, how we play with each other. And the spirit pours through and wants these things. It wants play. What would happen if I wore this outfit?

[00:17:32] Piper Rose: What would happen if I spoke like this? If I stood like this? If I behaved like this? We want to know. We want to play. And it’s so important to get right with our nervous system because we want to be able to measure internally. Whether or not we can sense that rightness and that’s our own inner sense of safety going all the way back when we’re there and we can sense, okay, I actually feel safe here for me as me. I’m aligned with with what I need to be in this moment in time, right? Then there’s just that congruence that is like ecstatic. And so I really see this beautiful opportunity for expression as such a divine and magical play space that is totally threatening to someone somewhere because people have some beef with it.

[00:18:23] Piper Rose: People are like, oh, if you look like that; oh, you talk like that threat, alert, going off in their nervous system. What is your deal? And that goes back to what you were saying about change. Babes, we were all told you have to sacrifice your authenticity to belong. And when someone out there, and I’m just gonna say queer people right now are who we’re talking about, is going, ‘I’m gonna be me. And it’s going to be fierce, and it’s going to be beautiful, and guess what? My authenticity is more important than my belonging to you. And I’m actually not going to fall down that trap. And I refuse to do that thing. And that is dangerous’. People see in themselves everything they’ve ever lost, everything they’ve not ever lived up to or done with their creative artistry.

[00:19:07] Piper Rose: It’s so sad. What’s really hard? Sadness. So what do people do instead? They get pissed. And they don’t see the systems that uphold all of this. They only see that one person in front of them, embodying all of that pain that they’re feeling. This is my theory. I don’t know if it’s true. Someone call me, let me know. You’re on the other side of this. You don’t like me? Tell me. Do you feel that? I don’t know. But wow. And I think queer people are born with something very cool, which is a rub. They’re born with a friction that forces them, because that love is so profound inside of them to be who they are, that they wake up and they look around and they’re like I definitely don’t fit and I have to investigate it. And that rub propels us, right? And then we’re taking the risks of doing self inquiry and challenging systems and challenging the things we’ve been indoctrinated into. And at some point, we. Either change or we wither. And I don’t know if lots of people in average Western privilege get that same rub. I think there’s a lot of people that can go through their whole life being like, I’m fine. I don’t have to think about the way I look or what anyone said to me my whole life or what stories I’ve been told about what I should and shouldn’t do. I don’t ever have to think about it. I’m coasting, but queer people have that. That’s not the only demographic that has that, but that’s really special. And it’s like bringing change to the world.

[00:20:46] Elisaebth Kristof: It is incredibly special. And I think that friction is where so much of the unfolding comes from. Like to the point of like expansion of consciousness, when we can be up against that and really pushed by some internal force to, to find self expression. Despite the things that are programmed into our neural architecture. I really believe many of these systems live inside of our nervous system too into the patterned responses. And so going up against that is challenging. And for me, it really takes a lot. It really takes a lot of training of my nervous system on a daily basis to deconstruct those systems inside of myself so that I can.

[00:21:35] Elisaebth Kristof: Not so that I can tolerate the system, but so that I can have the capacity to continue to move against the system for more self expression and for the betterment of the communities that I’m serving. And one of the things that you posted about on Instagram that I thought was really beautiful and something that we haven’t talked about a whole lot on here is really this idea that when we’re doing the healing work, it’s not just for our individual selves, but there is a collective aspect to, as we deconstruct these things inside of ourself, it’s bigger than just about us. And you had something in the caption that I wanted to put out and have you reflect on, which was, you said modern therapy often fixates on our individual responsibilities and healing, which disconnects us from collective healing.

[00:22:25] Elisaebth Kristof: When I work with clients, I say at the end of the day, you will only have to face yourself, but you have never been anything less than entwined with the world around you are wounding and healing center on our individual self as means of connecting and contributing to the whole, if we do not acknowledge the impact of systems, genetics, shared realities, be continued to become individualistic, rather than individuate. And I thought that was a really profound statement and then love to have you just expand on that a little bit and talk about like the collective component of all of this healing work.

[00:23:02] Piper Rose: Why would I spend hours sifting through the ridiculous chaos fest that is my mind and emotions to get anywhere near some semblance of sanity so that I could be alone is like one question. I’m not doing this so I can survive myself exclusively. Let me think about this. Yeah, I want to take a second with this because this is really important to me. There is so much pain from hyper individual ideologies and mentalities because we long for one another. We come out of the womb and we need much. We need to be seen. We need to be held. And then we grow to be beings that hold and see and touch. And this is the natural order of things. It is reflected all around us in the earth and ecosystems and symbiosis, right?

[00:24:24] Piper Rose: Like we are not alone. And yet so many of us in modernity today feel so tragically, like devastatingly alone. And there are, there are ways we cannot help ourselves or love ourselves, but if I recognize other people who’ve experienced my pain, I have the power to face it. When I recognize I do this not just for me, but for the legacy of queer people, for all of my siblings, and non human kin that are under the same systems that have generated the stressful environments that cause this much disruption inside of me, right?

[00:25:15] Piper Rose: Like some things I cannot do for myself alone. And I need to know that I am doing them on behalf of and with everyone. And that connects me back to a bigger hole at this really healthy and profound level. Helps me face the fact that at a very unhealthy level, the ways that we are all connected have hurt us tremendously. That. The ways that we share institution or culture or beliefs or ideologies can all also get mixed into that pot and be very painful. And it has to be both.  I have to hold both. I have to hold the beauty of the connected whole and I have to hold the pain of the connected whole and let that be a source of power. There’s just, I have so much to say about this. It’s actually difficult to sift out. Let me take one, one moment. Individuation is when we come into our authentic self, our authentic gifts. Individualization, especially this hyper individualization, is when all of those unique gifts are quarantined to individual experience. And they are the responsibility of the individual in a culture where everyone is connected as healthy individuals who have individuated. We start sharing our gifts. And we start cultivating each other’s gifts. We start seeing each other’s value. We long for each other. We’re excited for each other. We build together. There’s collaboration. There’s something bigger than us. And it actually doesn’t come from individualization. That’s hyper individualization. It’s me and only me. And I’m the only one that matters. And self preservation is all that matters. That mindset is that is a schism that causes separation. I don’t want to cultivate your gifts. Why? Because your gifts could be greater than my gifts.

[00:27:22] Piper Rose: And then I’m going to lose all my gifts. Cause you took all my gifts because now you have greater gifts than I have. That’s separation. That’s absolutely what’s at play here with capitalism. Where we all have to be individuals that are never good enough, that don’t have gifts that can contribute to each other. That have nothing bigger than ourselves so that we can buy the thing that we need to feel better. To get more love to have acceptance but in what realm, just the superficial individualist realm. So individuation is: I know my gifts, I see your gifts. Let’s go amp up our gifts together. And individuation doesn’t happen for so many folks in the West because shame shuts us down. Judgment shuts us down.

[00:28:12] Piper Rose: Rejection shuts us down from the time we’re children where we’re so afraid to individuate that all we can do is become individuals hyper fixated on our own world. And we can’t get out of that. And I think there’s a lot of not individuated people out there. And the natural turn is that I go inward. I go inward. I go inward. So then I see I’m connected to everything. And then I want it to go outward. But we’re going inward, and I don’t see how I’m connected to everything. I don’t belong here. And then it just locks down there. There’s no individuation. There’s no return to community. It’s very lonely in there. So once you recognize that you’re connected and that everything has influenced you and that you might have some semblance of influence on everything else, that you might be able to give something back, then there’s a turn towards that ability to go what would I give back? Who am I? What are my gifts? And the whole system starts to erode there. The whole separatist individual system starts to erode. Individuation is about connection. Individuality is about separation.

[00:29:35] Jennifer Wallace: Thank you. That was brilliant and beautiful and really, really love where you went there for that deeper understanding there for us. And I’m curious, I think this might be a good little time before we move into shame and rejection. Just real quick to segue into while we’re here in identity and society to talk about pronouns because there is okay, I’m going to say what I’m going to say from a regulated nervous system. My thought would be, what is the big deal? Why can’t people just identify people how they prefer to be identified? But that’s regulation. What I learned when I was researching for this was that the word, the term cis, that cisgender folks are actually taking this as a slur and this misunderstanding is pushing against someone’s safety to be seen and cis is not a slur. It is not to take away from anything for anybody. It is just taking away, I think, the power of uniformity and the ways that people construct make people feel safe, even though the constructs are dangerous and to speak to what you were talking about a minute ago, loneliness and isolation, it equals death, please.

[00:31:04] Jennifer Wallace: What you were speaking to is, it’s just so important for people to want to find themselves. I want to ask you a question. If I may, what does it feel like in your body? When someone misuses your pronouns, whether that is intentional or an accident. 

[00:31:26] Piper Rose: Oh, it’s different if it’s intentional. There’s a couple things there. One is I really love Hovhannimore’s view on this, or it did inform my view on this, which is essentially when someone doesn’t use my correct pronouns that they are aware that my pronouns are they/them, that signals to me they want a certain type of relationship with me. One that does not include my whole self. One that is not intimate or vulnerable or honest. So I position myself accordingly. I don’t take it personally. I say, I can see you don’t want to know me. I don’t need to make you know me. Not every person needs to know me. And I hope that you are able to bridge the gap of intimacy with those around you that do want you to know them. Now, if someone knows my pronouns and is willingly using that to attempt to hurt me, oh, I double down. Then I’m extra don’t care. I’m extra like okay thank you for wielding the incredible power of your opinion of me over me. I hope you get really good luck at hurting my feelings with that. Good for you. You found something to weaponize. Okay. Bye. I don’t, I can’t carry that. I can’t carry that. I just, I don’t. I hope that person finds joy and love and connection in this lifetime. I super actually, majorly, honestly, truly do. And if I’m just like at a coffee shop and someone misgenders me like, Are you kidding me?

[00:33:10] Piper Rose: Binary’s been around for a really long minute here. And of course they would just pick that up. Probably not because they hate me. Probably not because they don’t care. They might literally not even know. And also they’re just running the script. They’re just trying to get through their day, they’re just trying to move along that line in the coffee shop. That’s really long. So it’s 8 a. m. and they’re super stressed. Their onest thought is not how can I be more intimate with this person? That’s this rando in front of me at the coffee shop, right? I get it. So I think that for me, what is more painful in my body than individual interactions is to know that there is a general social paradigm that believes that non-binary people don’t exist, that the transgender experience isn’t real, and that they don’t deserve basic human respect. Acknowledging who they are at a fundamental, subtle, yet profound level. Pronouns have become, unfortunately, this signifier- Do you care about me or not? And I really hate that. Because I think there’s not actually a lot to it at the end of the day in the way I broke it down where it’s yeah, okay, they might not know, whatever, let’s move on, right? But they’ve become the signifier that says, do you see me? I am telling you who I am. And that’s what feels hard in my nervous system. That’s what breaks my heart. That’s where grief welds up, and anger, and confusion. It’s really at that level.

[00:35:03] Elisaebth Kristof: Yeah, that makes that I feel that the big picture and I think sometimes people can wonder like, yeah, is this big a deal? But what are we upholding? Is it part of that bigger thing that is actually really harmful? And I think it’s just. Thank you for sharing that because it’s good to reflect on um, one more thing on identity while we’re here and talking about identity.

[00:35:36] Elisaebth Kristof: I know a lot of the work that you do with clients is about helping them to find a new identity past the trauma identity, which is something we can become so connected to. I think in the beginning of our trauma healing experience, when we first start to learn and understand what’s going on with us, why we are the way that we are. It’s just personal experience here too. Like you start to live and breathe it because it feels so good to understand and to be recognized and you feel seen. And there’s this line between getting all of that information, starting to work with our nervous system and then having the identity be so tied to the trauma and to my past and holding that definition of myself. And so what kind of work do you do with clients to start to hold the space for the trauma, but also allow there to be a multi dimensional experience of their identity and that post traumatic growth space.

[00:36:38] Piper Rose: Yeah. Identity. So fascinating. This is so fascinating. What is identity? Oh my gosh. I don’t want to get too philosophical or too woo. Let me see if I can surf a nice relatable middle wave here, surfing it out. Okay. Trauma can really be rough because outputs of trauma can be behaviors. They can be thoughts. They can be beliefs. Now, if we make the locus of our identity, those things, the outputs of trauma, then we’re missing the mark, right? That is not what we are. Those are facets that have contributed to how we are. Maybe some part of who we are, but it’s not what we are. So if we create our identity around our thoughts and our beliefs and our behaviors, and trauma has so impacted those. And we think that’s who we are. Oh gosh, what a mess. What a mess. I’m a mess when I’m in the heat and throes of my trauma output. 

And if I stare in the mirror and I was like this is who I am. That’s my identity. It would be totally untrue for one, because thoughts can be changed, behaviors can be changed, beliefs can be changed. But two, it would create a lot of suffering. It creates a lot of suffering, a lot of self judgment, a lot of self rejection, a lot of self harm, a lot more of that hyper individuation, shut it down, close it in, put it in, lock it in. Don’t move from this spot. And so I like to encourage folks to remember those things can be changed and that the way when their thoughts and their beliefs and their behaviors change, they’re going to see that they are a literal different person and their identity can shift, their story can change. There’s more possibility when our nervous system is flexible there’s like when we do movement practices and our spine can flow and we’re really elegant and tall the nervous system has an equivalent of that when it’s like flowing and full and incapacity and holding itself upright, and so when you’re like in your nervous system and it feels like that, you’re going to feel like a different being a, but you’re going to be so much more graceful and how you execute it. Life who you are. And that’s a little bit of a tangent. I think I should refocus on identity, which is really to say those things can change. That’s super important to remember. Two, 

[00:39:38] Piper Rose: So, this is where it gets a little woo. I believe that everyone is born with an essential nature. That’s almost their unique frequency, their unique flavor, right? That’s their je ne sais quoi. And everyone has it, look around, you can’t deny it, right? We’re all a little different, there’s no two alike, turns out. However many keep coming, they’re all a little different. So that essence nature, I believe, is one they’re inborn, innate, two, absolutely immutable. You cannot harm it. You cannot change it. You cannot defile it. So I work with okay, let’s work on these thoughts and beliefs, behaviors, get your nervous system to a point where you can really embody those things.

[00:40:26] Piper Rose: You’re safe to change those things. You feel good in those things. And then what is your essence nature? What longs to come through you? Truly, if there were no rules, no shoulds, no conditioning, what would long to come through you? And most people don’t have that degree of self awareness. Like we say oh, identify your needs.

[00:40:52] Piper Rose: Identify your self awareness. It’s a little bit deeper. It’s a little bit more challenging. So I do practices and coaching where we learn to listen to and respond to our sort of primal impulse of our essence nature. And then there’s some tooling between, okay, here’s the essence nature. Here’s our current thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs. Now, how do we get those into a little bit more congruence? So that my essence nature really feels like it’s being expressed through my thoughts and my beliefs and my behaviors in a way that, that feels like it’s in harmony, it feels right. It feels good, even when it’s hard. And that’s that marrying of those two things, and that identity is where we’re really guiding folks in the coaching I do. I say we, like it’s all three of us doing it. I don’t know why I said we. I do that. I feel like you do it too. You all do it too. I know you three. I know us three are doing it. So that’s what’s happening, right? These aren’t weird, like our thoughts and our feelings, our behaviors aren’t like weird abstractions in a box. They are the living, breathing art form of our existence. Who’s painting that picture? Essence nature. Let’s get into that. Let’s feel that. Let’s vibe with that. And then use those tools we have to do it. And I’ve been working with so many metaphors. I’m like, It’s essence nature,  really like our essence nature is the artist and our thoughts and our behaviors. And our beliefs are like the paint we’re painting with and we’re painting a picture of reality with those things, you can’t get, you can’t get into any of that without the nervous system.

[00:42:54] Jennifer Wallace: You just can’t. You can’t. It’s for my own story, I used to hide so much of who I was because I was so scared of being real, of being seen, of being heard for what was really truly happening to me. There’s just so much shame and I experienced so much rejection, not just from others. I rejected myself. I rejected that essence that my little spirit in here, that’s so big, was rejected for so long until I found support in my nervous system. And I could really get in there and be like, you know what, this is who I am. This is just it. This is who I am. And I want to show that to people and rejection.

[00:43:37] Jennifer Wallace: Nobody likes rejection. Rejection is hard for most people, but some people are going to experience more sensitivity around rejection because we’ve experienced either more rejection and development, heavy times of years, maybe of neglect or an abuse that all contributes to rejection sensitivity. And there’s actually, and one of the studies I was reading says that rejection sensitivity children who are more in the throes of rejection sensitivity can act a lot more aggressively behave more aggressively. And adults, we’re talking well, and even in children, we’re talking about low self esteem and secure attachments and a lot of social anxiety.

[00:44:18] Jennifer Wallace: And when we’re talking about being in the collective, and, when you use the term, we a few minutes ago, I always use the term we, because we are the collective. This is a giant act of co-creation, whether we are in one containers with each other, or it’s the 3 of us here blasting into the airwaves to reach somebody, There are factors in the development that really lead to psychiatric disorders. Things that you would find in the DSM, maybe even going into borderline personality, severe depression, avoidant personalities, premenstrual dysphoric, dysphoria, border, bulimia, all sorts of things that really could at the very end of this painful spectrum is suicidal ideation, loss of life, self harm, and Another aspect of rejection sensitivity is misinterpreting facial signals, and that’s going to activate different parts of the brain that are then I’m going to amp up that hyper arousal, that hypersensitivity, the hyper vigilance around being in, in the world with people and, yeah, as I think of the NSI framework, you named a lot of it a few minutes ago, inner critic, perfectionism, all the F responses, beliefs, identity we cover all of this in the NSI framework and within the modules. And I think so much of what I just talked about for rejection sensitivity could be resolved through applied neurology and emotional practices. What are your thoughts on that, Piper?

[00:46:01] Piper Rose: My gosh. Yes. First of all, just going back to okay, so I always say to my clients, if you were to anthropomorphize the nervous system. It’s just this little bean walking around going, Am I safe? Am I safe? Are we safe? Am I safe? Are you safe? Is this safe? What about that? Is that safe? That’s what it’s doing. And so when we do nervous system work, we are functionally stimulating our nervous system. The stimulation is the language of the nervous system. Functionally stimulating our nervous system to answer that question. Am I safe? And when we can functionally stimulate the nervous system to answer the question, if we were to anthropomorphize it, that little bean, anxious bean inside would say, Oh, okay, I am safe. And then there’s so much space there to move into our highest thoughts, beliefs, our deep inner wisdom, our knowing our essence nature, right? Then there’s space to actually access that and do something with it. 

When I think of rejection, which is like absolutely wild, when we’re in rejection sensitive triggers and we’re going into our most convenient F, some of us are flighters, shout out to my flighters, what’s up flighters, what’s up fighters, love you too, fawners, what’s going on, you know you freezing, like I love you, come on in, we all have our thing, we have our thing we like to do. So when you’re in rejection and your F goes off, you are not then connected to that higher part of yourself. You literally that being, I’m scared, I’m like, am I safe? Are you safe? Are we safe? Is this safe? That’s all that’s happening. It’s wild to me that people think you’re going to talk yourself out of rejection sensitivity by trying to convince yourself at a mental level that you’re worthy. Or that everything’s okay. That’s not the only thing happening. I like one of the things that I break down a lot for folks is that emotions and feelings are not the same. And they’re not the same as experiences. So we hear people all the time say, I feel rejected. And I say, let me stop you right there. I completely respect and honor your experience. Full stop. And let me illuminate something and see if it’s supportive. Rejection is an experience. It is something that has happened. That’s not a feeling. Rejection as an experience is something that has happened. And then you have an emotion, which is a sensual experience in your being that gives rise to the heart racing or the breath changing, the heat, the temperature, the right like the physical felt sense. That’s your emotion. It’s this raw primal somatic. And then that all collides. With your stories, your beliefs, your thoughts, your constructs, everything’s set up there. The lens you see the world through. And then you have a feeling. Now, for those of us with rejection sensitivity, the feeling is not, I’m rejected. The experience is, I’m rejected. But we go there because we think we can manage the world at the level of rejection. But really, we can only manage the world that is at the level of emotion, because that’s ours. And feeling, because that’s ours and shared, but people obsess over controlling how other people behave to keep themselves safe.

[00:49:51] Piper Rose: If I can just keep the world from rejecting me, then I won’t have to feel the emotion or the feeling. And I’m like look, that is a really rough ride, bud. Rough ride, because you can’t control people and you can’t make them do stuff. No matter how brilliant you are at dodging or manipulating or avoiding, it’s never going to happen.

[00:50:15] Piper Rose: Rejection is going to happen. Emotion, go there. Nervous system tools, your sensations they rise up. It becomes very intense. Guess what? You can downregulate. You can discharge using our nervous system tools that we all know in this room. And then that gives the space to challenge the thoughts and beliefs that lead to the feeling. There’s your point. There’s your point of disruption and capacity building right there. That’s where the nervous system tools can come in and make a huge difference. Then you’ve got those beliefs, those thoughts, now the feeling. Here’s the other thing. Most of us don’t know how to feel. Feelings are terrifying for folks with CPTS. What, why? Because the story associated with feelings is they’re big, they’re messy, they’re overwhelming, they blow stuff up, they get us in trouble, they get us rejected, right? We misinterpret that rejection experience and we say, oh, it’s the feelings fault. If I didn’t have that big overwhelming feeling and break down and lose it I wouldn’t have gone through this rejection all it becomes this really vicious cycle. So the feeling is actually the shadow work, and that is actually where we need to go to heal. That sadness, that anger, that fear, that’s actually the most tender part of us saying, will you just fucking look at me?

[00:51:37] Piper Rose: Will you listen to me? I am so scared right now. I am so hurt right now. And if a child were to say that to you, you would scoop it up in your arms immediately and say, do you need a band aid? Do you need a hug? If you have a caregiver that’s functioning at that level, right? Like CPTS, obviously we’ve talked a lot about with in Trauma Rewired, it being an attachment wound. So that inner caregiver is critical for that moment. We’ll get into that later. But like that feeling is the thing that needs you and you can’t even get to that feeling if you’re in an F. If you’re fight, flight, freezing, fawning, whatever, you better believe you’re not going to turn to the inner child that’s going, I’m really scared right now that nobody likes me anymore and I’m going to die alone. And you’re like, I can’t hear you. I am in flight mode, right? Like you got it take down the nervous system. Then you can shift those thoughts. Then you can get in and really feel those feelings. And the way you resolve a feeling is you feel it. It’s in the name. It’s already instructing us. You’ve got to feel it. How hard is it? So it’s like we’re obsessed with that first part and we even say, I feel rejected. No, you don’t. You feel sad. You feel mad. You feel hurt. You feel confused. So it’s just like when you recalibrate the lens, you’re looking at all of that through, then you’re like, wow, wait, I have power here. Yes. Yes, you do. At the emotion and the feeling level.

[00:53:06] Elisaebth Kristof: Amazing. I love the way that you broke that down. And really, I think that’s one of the most important components of the tools is that we can then make it possible at the level of the nurse and just like you’re saying when you’re already in fight or fight, freeze, fall and flop, you can’t go into that emotional processing space.

[00:53:28] Elisaebth Kristof: You can’t be with that part of yourself that needs to express and just like these systems are baked into our nervous system. These systems of oppression. So are the other repressive techniques that we learned for survival at a really young age, the emotional repression, the disconnect from those parts of ourselves, the inner critic. And so until we have the tools to create that safety and regulation, then it becomes possible to have that emotional experience to start to rewire the beliefs to, to create the change in the feeling state and having that framework that you just so beautifully outlined is okay, there’s a path to this.

[00:54:05] Elisaebth Kristof: It’s not wild and unmanageable that I can’t start to create that new way of being when I break it down into these practical, actionable tools. There’s so much that I would love to talk with you about, but I feel like we’re going to have to do a part 2 at some point. Before we do that, though, I would love to just hear a little bit about your NSI experience and what some of your big takeaways from the course were, how it’s impacted your work or anything about that you want to share.

[00:54:40] Piper Rose: Yeah. One, I think one of the coolest things is that I have been doing nervous system training intuitively or explicitly for so many years and not knowing what it’s actually doing inside of me. And now someone’s do box breathing. I’m like, yes, and I can actually tell you what’s happening here. And I actually can have this different, deeper relationship, but then what’s beautiful is the nervous system tools are like having read the labels on the back of all the medicines and you actually know what they do. So then you’re intelligently selecting the right medicine in the right dose for the thing you need. That’s very cool to me. Like 100%. I’m just not walking around saying, you take a deep breath, you meditate, you stretch. Wait, what? No don’t stop. Let’s stop that. 

Because each of those things might be really destabilizing for someone’s individual nervous system. And so instead I can learn somebody, a client’s nervous system and say, okay, we’re going to pull this medicine down from the shelf. This is going to answer the question, am I safe right now? And it’s not, it really isn’t one size fits all. Our nervous systems are not one size fits all. And so all of these beautiful tools floating around, they can help people. And I’m so grateful when someone happens to pick one up that’s really effective in healing for them. And that’s just not always the case.

[00:56:16] Piper Rose: So it’s really changed my work because we do that top down. These beliefs, your thinking, your behavior, right? But now, the bottom up work isn’t just, let’s hope we can find some things that answer the question, am I safe in your nervous system? But now I can actually help a client do that. I can help a client do that.

[00:56:46] Piper Rose: I keep calling it the secret sauce of the work that I do. Because the work I do was highly effective before NSI. Most people leave with a new sense of their identity and what’s possible more agency more choice. But this secret sauce is like it makes it so that it’s faster. You are struggling less to literally drag your terrified nervous system with you on the journey you want to be going on again. Like it really is for so many clients. They’ve been like, I’ve been telling myself I want to change in this way for 20 years and I’m like, yeah, but are you strapped to like one wild horses pulling in the other direction? That’s your nervous system. Yeah, you might get somewhere eventually, one or two of the horses gets on board.

[00:57:43] Piper Rose: Maybe they befriend you, trained them a little bit. Now you’re down to five wild horses running in the other direction, right? It’s just really haphazard. And now it’s very clear. Now you’re like, see, these metaphors are hilarious, y’all. I’m just making this up. Now that you’re like a horse.

[00:58:00] Elisaebth Kristof: They’re perfect.

[00:58:01] Jennifer Wallace: I love it. You can see it. We all know what that visual looks like but, it’s really incredible to hear. You talk about these concepts of the nervous system, how you’re using them in your work and just like I find the nervous system, it’s so magical. It gives you, like you said, you put something in, you get something out and it happens instantly. It happens instantly for people and to know that you can have tools that take seconds where you could have an instantaneous shift and you’re not biohacking, you’re not doing any, you are working with you and coming home into your body and that is never going to turn out poorly.

[00:58:50] Piper Rose: Yeah, it’s really cool. It really is cool. I don’t think that the other tools that I’ve learned are less important. I think they are absolutely vital. This is what helps me go with someone into the beautiful jungle, like shadow of their being, and help them to locate their essence nature and clear a path and I can’t do it efficiently or as joyfully or as easily or as sweetly without the nervous system tools that are really there helping me clear the path.

[00:59:28] Piper Rose: Yeah, and now all I can think about now is my nervous system is a bunch of fancy ponies in cool little outfits with their braids, doing the cool synchronized pony dances. And they’re all like, very well taken care of and they’re happy ponies. I just want that to be, I want my nervous system to really own that right now. You’re just a beautiful fancy pony show of a nervous system. myself that compliment. I’m complimenting myself.

[00:59:55] Elisabeth Kristof: Yes, let’s celebrate the wins. 

[00:59:57] Piper Rose: Yes, I’m celebrating the wins.

[01:00:00] Piper Rose: The weird nervous system pony prancing win.

[01:00:04] Elisaebth Kristof: It’s true. And we say on here all the time, do all the things there’s all the practitioners that come into NSI, like you guys are doing great work in the world and have a foundation of working with the nervous system to create the capacity so that you’re not always pushing against and sometimes pushing into diminishing returns or big protective outputs, exceeding someone’s capacity, And yeah, to all do the healing things that speak to your soul and the cognitive work and deconstruct the beliefs and all of that stuff. Just also have a practice of creating that capacity so that the body and the nervous system are on board. Do you want to just share any final closing thoughts and then also let people know where they can find you?

[01:00:53] Piper Rose: Yeah. Okay, my closing thoughts. We need you. Whoever you are, you’re hearing this right now. We need you. And we need us. I am so excited to talk to everyone who vibes with my work and especially looking at you LGBTQ plus babes that are affected by complex post traumatic stress. I am here for you. I have a few more spots for one on one coaching clients, and I’m about to launch a one to one week group CPTSD transformation program, which I’m very excited about. You can sign up for my newsletter. At either my Instagram account, shadow play coaching, or on my website, Thank you so much, Elisabeth and Jennifer and everyone for listening. 

[01:01:45] Jennifer Wallace: Thank you, Piper.

[01:01:47] Elisaebth Kristof: You bring so much to our community and to our lives, but NSI is incredibly lucky to have you. And we’re really happy to have this conversation. So thank you. And when you shared that closing thought of we need you, boom. That like really hit me. I think there’s listeners out there that need to hear that.

[01:02:16] Jennifer Wallace: It’s really true. We can’t create the world that we want to live in by ourselves. We do. We need you to do this with us to find the person, to find the people that you want to work with and do it.

[01:02:27] Piper Rose: Yeah.

[01:02:29] Elisaebth Kristof: and you’re important, 

[01:02:30] Jennifer Wallace: Yeah. And I want to thank you for your reflection, Piper. That is received lovingly. And I would like to reflect back to you that you just have a warm nervous system. It is so fun to be around. It is so lush and vast. And I’m just deeply grateful for your time and your openness and your willingness to go into these places with us today.

[01:02:55] If you’re a coach, therapist, practitioner, healer, and you’re looking to bring nervous system health and training and resilience into all of the good work that you’re doing, this conversation is maybe resonating with you, there’s a deeper place you want to take your work with your clients, also to help your own nervous system to prevent burnout and to create greater capacity to do all of the good work that you’re doing. We are enrolling now in the next cohort of Neuro-Somatic intelligence. And we would love to book a discovery call with you. You can do that at

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