Speaker 0 00:00:01
Hi, sweet friend. Welcome back to the Calm and Creative Podcast. Today I am delighted to introduce you to Nicole Lee, who is a trauma-informed healer and life coach. Together with Nicole, we discuss the concept of trauma and how it doesn’t necessarily matter how severe or how big the trauma is if we’re not properly equipped to process it or handle it. So Nicole shares her wisdom on different tools and techniques that we can implement, as well as diving deeper into this concept. Hi, sweet friend. Welcome to the Come and Creative Podcast. This is a podcast for artists and creatives of all backgrounds who seek to build a resilient mindset. Together we’ll dive into all things mindfulness and mental health as they relate to a creative journey. We’ll explore different tools and tips that can help us cultivate a more resilient and positive perspective on life. I’m Volta. I’m an author, a watercolor and animation artist, and the founder of Color Snack. I’m so happy that you’re here feeling stressed. I got you, sweet friend. I created a free resource just for you. It’s five creative exercises that you can do anytime, anywhere. To tap into a moment of calm, you can access the resource on my website, color snack.com/calm. And again, that’s color snack.com/calm, CALM. Hi Nicole. Welcome to the Calm and Creative Podcast. I’m so excited that you’re here.
Speaker 2 00:01:56
Hey, Volta, I’m excited to be here. Thank you so much for having me.
Speaker 0 00:02:00
So, Nicole, I know that you are a trauma-informed healer as well as a life coach, and I wanted to kind of get us started, if you could share a little bit about what does it that exactly mean, and if, especially if it’s someone who may think, oh, trauma is something that’s like a major like life event. Super traumatic happened, but I mean, what if it’s, I guess if you could describe that there, if there are different times of trauma or if you could share a little bit more about that.
Speaker 2 00:02:36
Yeah, so I, I love that you asked that question because to your point, many times we think of trauma as some of those kind of larger things that we hear a lot about, right? We know like there’s war going on, things like rape or murder or abuse, which are traumas that individuals experience. However, trauma is really any deeply distressing or disturbing experience that overwhelms your ability to cope, right? To be able to manage your mind and body that could have lasting potentially lasting effects on your mental, physical, emotional, social, or even spiritual wellbeing. So when you think about how we’ve shown up in the world, many of us, I would say probably 99.9% of us right, have experienced some deeply distressing or disturbing experience, and we weren’t able to potentially cope or process it in that point in time. And it’s had some effect on how we show up in the world. Oh. And so that’s where I think it’s shifting, because I think if anyone listens to this or you think of your life, right, you can probably think of something where you’re like, wow, that was distressing or disturbing and I didn’t, I wasn’t able to fully process that in my mind and body. And it’s had some kind of effect on you, either in the past or your present state.
Speaker 0 00:03:59
Oh, that is so interesting, and thank you so much for sharing about that particular distinction too, that, you know, you can have a trauma that’s super big, but also like a smaller trauma that does impact how you show up in the world.
Speaker 2 00:04:13
Yeah. And I think one of the things too that I’ve learned to be much more mindful of is there’s no one size fits all, right? And so even when I’m just even thinking about what we were talking about, like quote unquote big versus small, there used to be kind of language around the big T, the big trauma versus the little trauma. Well, when we are looking to be more compassionate, more empathetic, more understanding, and more honoring someone’s experience, there really is no big or small. It’s really the magnitude and impact that it has on an individual and their ability to cope and move forward in the world. Right? So I give an example. For example, we may watch something on the te, you may watch something on the television that’s just disturbing for you. Say it’s a crime, for example, right? And whatever’s gone on in your life or your experience, it’s unfortunate. You can look at that how and process through it and go about your day, right? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, someone else may look at that based on their experiences, based on whatever’s happened with them, and it could literally leave them in a distressed state.
Speaker 0 00:05:24 Hmm.
Speaker 2 00:05:24
Right? Yeah. Anxious, depressed symptoms tie to the exposure of seeing that.
Speaker 0 00:05:32
Uh, yeah. Right. But I’m glad that you brought that up, especially like the idea of like big T you know, big trauma, little trauma. And that’s what I heard from my own like years of therapy. I kind of Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. That’s the concept that I’ve, I’ve of, or how I got exposed to it. But I love that you mentioned that it’s, it, it doesn’t matter like the size, because if we’re not able to cope with it properly, it still ha can have like a, a, a major impact on how we live.
Speaker 2 00:06:02
Yeah. ’cause that, that could be my big T right? My a parent leaving for one person could be their big T mm-Hmm. <affirmative> being abandoned by a parent could be a big T for someone else. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> and another person, quote unquote a little T, right? Because it’s really not one size fits all. It’s it’s based on our experiences, our exposure, how our nervous system, how our bodies and minds process those things, and the energy that we’re able to resolve or release from the body. Because this is the other thing too, is that often there’s been a focus on the mental capacity tied to trauma, the thought process. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Well, what we’re starting to find, there’s so much research about how it impacts somatically, how it impacts the body, right? The nervous system. So recognizing that it’s not just a mental challenge, it is a physical one.
Speaker 2 00:06:59
Our body learns how to cope to survive, right? So if we are not thinking through like the thoughts and the feelings that are happening, then it becomes very challenging for individuals to actually work through their trauma and build the resilience to be able to bounce back. Hmm. Because you have the thought process. I mean, many of us know, right? Like that’s no longer our reality. Yeah. We’re no longer that person. However, those memories, that energy is actually been embedded in the body. So the body is remembering even if the mind knows that it’s no longer the case.
Speaker 0 00:07:36
Oh, that is fascinating. And what would someone need to do in order to process that in the body? Do you have any advice or approaches?
Speaker 2 00:07:47
Yeah. So there’s, there’s different things that you can do depending on the, and the other thing about this, right, is depending on your comfort level, where you are and what feels safe to you, things like dancing mm-Hmm. Is, is really helpful for releasing energies that no longer serve you aligned with beautiful songs that bring you joy or even songs that bring out a sense of anger, right? To allow you to release. ’cause the key thing is helping you release that energy. So through dance, through song, actually singing for some, I’ve, I’ve worked with clients that them singing that vibration of releasing that and amplifying their voice has really helped them. Because some, in many cases, right, your voice has somehow been impacted in some way of you expressing yourself in your full, in your full expression, shaking, actually just shaking the body out. Mm-hmm. Yoga is another beautiful one that’s tied to movement.
Speaker 2 00:08:44
Walking is beautiful. Walking in nature, walking in meditation, being in intentional tied to that, I will also say things like screaming, yelling, right? Because many times when you’ve been in a space, I just go back to not having this sense of being able to express yourself. You’ve suppressed so much of that, that that energy is just stuck in the body. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So having the opportunity to have the permission to actually express in that way, to express anger and rage and, and say words that you may not feel comfortable saying around other people, but it’s necessary for you to have a sense of healing and, and get out your expression in your own authentic way. Beating a pillow is another way. <laugh>,
Speaker 0 00:09:27 <laugh>
Speaker 2 00:09:28
And physical activity, right? So just working out kickboxing, those types of things. So move any kind of movement that feels good to you can be very healing tied to, to trauma.
Speaker 0 00:09:40
Oh, that’s so interesting. And then how would we then approach it? Like, would you say that in order to fully like release it, is it, do we have to be intentionally thinking about it? Because I, I’m just trying to kind of think of, okay, so I’m, you know, I’m working out, that’s part of my daily routine, but does that mean that I’m intentionally working on processing a trauma in my life?
Speaker 2 00:10:05
Yeah. I love that you said that. So intentionality is important, right? Because that brings a sense of the consciousness. You’re bringing it up. It’s kind of like if something’s under the water and you’re bringing it up to the surface. So aligning to that is key and important to help shift not only, um, your nervous system, but also for you to make the connection that that is why you’re doing that particular activity. Uhhuh. So for example, with like boxing, we’ll just use that, right? Yeah. If you are envisioning that you’re releasing something right, in every punch, that creates a different processing in the body to release that, the intentionality to, I’m releasing my anger through this, I’m letting go in the day. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So this is why individuals typically enjoy having affirmations. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, if you tie the affirmations to an actual physical activity, it shifts your physiology. Ooh.
Speaker 0 00:11:04
And I’m such a big fan of affirmations. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And I’ve never heard this being tied to like a movement before. Yeah. So I love, I love that you brought that up. Do you have any, like, examples that you could share? Like is what’s a good affirmation and movement combo?
Speaker 2 00:11:24
Yeah. I mean, I would say anything. So what’s, what’s an affirmation that you enjoy, that you like, that feels good to you?
Speaker 0 00:11:30
I’ll just mention one that I, I kind of was, I had on my mind recently because I was presenting in front of a huge crowd. And that always gives me a lot of anxiety. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And the affirmation that I tell myself during those times is, I’ve done this before and I’ll do it again.
Speaker 2 00:11:47
Beautiful. So even that affirmation is creating the evidence that it’s possible. So a beautiful thing that you’ve done is you’ve pulled evidence. So sometimes when we’re going through those challenges, that’s that intentionality you’re pulling back into like your, your file cabinet of evidence that you’ve been on that stage before, that you’ve been in this space before. So using that language, but also moving your body. If you present in a certain way that you present your hands in a certain way, or just shaking your hands out or envisioning yourself on the stage or in front of the camera, and seeing individuals smiling around you, that starts to bring it all together because you’re bringing the mind and the body together. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> that is regulating it to get into that sense of calm and peace that you were just referring to, right. Of out of anxiousness. Yeah. Anxiousness is just a response of the body saying, I don’t feel safe.
Speaker 0 00:12:47 Ah.
Speaker 2 00:12:48
So what you’ve done is said, Hey, body, I acknowledge you. That’s a big thing. I acknowledge you. I’m grateful that you’re telling me I don’t feel safe. And by the way, I have tools that I can use to help you have evidence that we’re safe. Hmm. And that’s basically what you went through, right? Yeah. So I invite individuals to go through that acknowledgement. Many times we’ve been judged volta for having anxiousness or procrastination or some of these other terms that can feel judgmental, can, and also paralyzing. When we acknowledge that our body is, has this beautiful intelligence and it’s trying to tell us something, we become reconnected to it. Oh,
Speaker 0 00:13:34
That is so beautiful. And what about, what if that judgment comes from within ourselves? Is there a different way to approach it, or would you say it’s kind of similar?
Speaker 2 00:13:45
Yeah, I would say it’s acknowledging it. Honoring it. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Right. Because that inner judge actually came from an external person, place, or thing. Oh, wow. Right. Because our beautiful inner wisdom when we’re born says it’s all possible. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, right? When we think of children, they will be any, you know, if we think about we will be any and everything, you know, you’re a dinosaur and a nurse and a, you know, an astronaut. You believe you can do all things. There are external factors that start to impact that. So what did you see that you absorbed as a sponge when you’re a small child, when you don’t have critical thinking skills? Mm. But did you hear that you absorbed, that started to shift the wiring in your brain and your body of what was possible? So when we have the inner critic, it is beautiful to acknowledge that is doing its best to keep us safe. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, thank you. You’re telling me that I can’t, because you want me to be safe. I acknowledge you for doing your job, of wanting me to be safe. However, I desire to move past it, and I acknowledge that something outside of me contributed to how I’m feeling about myself.
Speaker 0 00:15:04
Oh, wow. That is just, it gave me chills just listening to this, because that is such a powerful way to reframe, you know, obviously, like what, no matter what we do in life, that inner critic will come up every now and, and then it will keep coming up. And sometimes it can be so powerful that it’s debilitating. So it’s stopping us almost like a form of self-sabotage that we are not showing out the way that we’re meant to show up. And then if we make that choice of acknowledging them and then reframing that, and, you know, using them maybe, I guess like using the inner critic, like a tool to help us move through this, then we’ll be able to, I guess, show up with more authenticity.
Speaker 2 00:15:57
Yes. So I love that you said that because it’s when you, when you shift, I love using the word perspective, right? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Because we could both look out a window and depending on where we’re focused and our experiences see something totally different, it’s a different perspective. So if I decide to say, you know what? My inner critic is an inner voice that knows so much about me, it’s similar, what I say about fear, fear is in us to help us stay safe, right? Yeah. When I start to look at that inner voice that doesn’t serve me, or that fear as the friend that knows so much about me, that it’s doing it’s best to keep me safe, I will have a different conversation because I acknowledge that it’s doing its best to keep me safe based on the history, based on the experiences, based on the trauma, based on the exposure.
Speaker 2 00:16:54
And now I can say, okay, what about this is really mine? Some of these are contributors of other people that have told me that this is not possible. Right? Or I had an experience where I was on stage and it didn’t go well, and that’s holding me in this space, but I’m acknowledging it. And then I say, something did happen to me that I did experience my experience in this state, and time is valid and natural. This is a natural response to keep me safe. Mm-Hmm. Now I, if I don’t have the evidence, I want to seek evidence that helps me recognize that I can move forward, that I can be better, or I can do X. And sometimes that evidence is ensuring that you have people around you, you feel safe, that are encouraging and supportive of you to help you build up that additional confidence and resilience to do it on your own.
Speaker 0 00:17:53
Oh, yeah. I, I absolutely agree. Having emotional support in that way. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> is so important.
Speaker 2 00:18:00 Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:18:01
And personally, like from my own experience too, I’ve been working with a therapist for quite a few years, but it wasn’t always the same person. So at the beginning, in the beginning when I first kind of wanted to delve into feeling better and working through some things, I found a therapist who was not very well fitted for what I was going through. So I, I wanted to process a trauma, but they were more of like, um, a cognitive behavioral therapist.
Speaker 2 00:18:32
Yeah. Yep. The mental side. Yep.
Speaker 0 00:18:34
Yeah. And, and then I kept, you know, it was like super painful to process it and finally talk it out, but then I never felt any better, <laugh> better. And it was just such an interesting experience because I was like, but you know, in my head I was like, well, but I’m, I’m seeing a therapist, like I’m talking about this. Like, why isn’t this getting, why doesn’t this feeling any better? And I think I just wanted to share this in case someone listening is, has tried to work with someone to deal through traumas. And I think it’s so important to find the right person that can help you, that is trauma informed, depending, depending on what you’re working through. But that just, like, if you’re just addressing the mental part, it just is not as healing, I think.
Speaker 2 00:19:22
Yeah. And I love that you brought that up. One is finding the right fit and alignment for you, to your point. And I think sometimes when it comes to the healing journey, there’s a little more resistance or intimidation, right? Not, not feeling that that might be part of the process. So we might do that for a dentist we don’t like, or a massage therapist, right? Yeah. <laugh>, we’ll just be like, I’m not going. But with a therapist, because it’s so vulnerable, you’re exposing so much, it can feel very difficult to do that to say, wow, this therapist is not aligning to me or my needs. Mm-Hmm. I also think from a western medicine perspective, we’ve also kind of created this hierarchical, like they know better than I do. Yeah. Type energy. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So sometimes you will stay going to a therapist because you think something’s wrong with you.
Speaker 2 00:20:12
Right? Like, they’re going to get me there because it’s not this empowering co-creating experience. Mm-Hmm. So what I invite individuals to is to look at this the same as a relationship that you desire to be co-creating in. And if you’re not getting that, if you’re not feeling a sense of agency in the process, it’s probably not a great alignment for you. And having that choice and collaborating through, and that’s what I do love about trauma informed work because trauma informed is around that. It’s ensuring safety, right? We’re creating a safe space. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And we’re, we have to go through a process of what feels safe to you, and it can evolve, right? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> then there’s an element of trustworthiness and transparency. It is not assuming that you’re going to trust me, right? Yeah. It is helping get to that transparency in our boundaries or interactions that builds that trust.
Speaker 2 00:21:10
The other is that co-creation piece, right? Collaborating on what the experience looks like, and then you feeling you have a choice or agency and the things that you execute. And this is the part that I’ve experienced with experie individuals who I’ve worked with, where we, we worked together with a therapist or they’ve decided not to, where there was a stressor of not feeling that they had the agency or choice Mm-Hmm. To decide right. Of, of what they were going to do in that space. And then again, I would just mention the empowerment. I think a really important piece for anyone who is getting any support, whether it’s a healer, a coach, a therapist, is how self-empowered do I feel in this process. Mm. How do I feel that I am now moving to the point that I don’t feel codependent? Because many times you’re going into the space looking for those answers, looking to be validated. However, if you aren’t checking in to say, I am progressing to the fact that I feel self-empowered, and I’m now coming into this relationship once again, co-creating Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, it’s an opportunity to check in.
Speaker 0 00:22:18
Wow. I I love that you, you mentioned that I’ve never heard of a coach or like a mentorship or like a healer or a therapist relationship in that perspective of co-creating. And I, and I love the idea of self-empowerment, and I think it’s so, so important to feel that way, but it’s not always obvious that we can, or like that we have the choice.
Speaker 2 00:22:44
Yes. And I would say that’s the check-in, right? Like, how safe do I feel in this relationship? If you’re withholding information from your therapist, you don’t feel safe.
Speaker 0 00:22:55 Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:22:56
Right. And that’s what I’ve experienced going to this work is I’m like, oh, you’ve been dealing with this for 10 years and you’ve been going to a therapist. The first thing I start to ask is like, how safe were you were to, to say, tell, tell it all.
Speaker 0 00:23:10 Mm.
Speaker 2 00:23:10
Right? How much did you trust that the person wasn’t going to just diagnose you and commit you, versus really trying to understand and contextualize what’s happening? How much did you feel that you had agency in the decisions? How much did you feel that you were offering a perspective along with the perspective that you were receiving? And then when you left, did you feel more energized? Or did you feel completely drained?
Speaker 0 00:23:36 Oh,
Speaker 2 00:23:36
Right. Yeah. So if you’re feeling completely drained, it’s probably an opportunity to say like, what in this is actually not helping me feel better. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> is it, has it just become a dumping ground where I’m just releasing, but I’m not in being invigorated? ’cause there’s a difference in my opinion. Sometimes you get to a space where you just need to let stuff off your chest. However, if you’re not getting tools that allow you to get to a greater sense of coping and regulation and empowerment, then it just becomes a dumping ground. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, right? You’re, you’re not getting tools to integrate it into your life.
Speaker 0 00:24:13
Right? ’cause then you’re, you’re just, you’re expressing, but you’re not necessarily processing so that you can Exactly. You can. So next time a trigger happens, you’re better equipped. Right?
Speaker 2 00:24:24
Exactly. And that’s where the empowerment. So it’s like, I’m now equipped, I know what’s happening and now I’m having the conversation we’re having, right? We’re having a dialogue. Right. So we’re talking about what’s going on. And then it starts to shift that you are more so even potentially even leading that conversation of what you need. ’cause the whole key is for you to be empowered to now better understand what’s going on inside of you and what you need as support.
Speaker 0 00:24:51
Oh, this is, ugh, this is so amazing, Nicole. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with the community and oh my gosh, I just feel, I feel so empowered from talking to you,
Speaker 2 00:25:07
<laugh>. Oh, thank you Ulta. I am happy to hear that. And I’m, I’m grateful for the opportunity to share, again, I just call it perspective, right? There’s no one size fits all. Mm-Hmm. And I think the more that we realize there are so many different perspectives, tools, techniques, and things of that nature, then we can actually connect to what feels good to us. And then we can all develop, grow, evolve, right? Yeah. And, and be in that self empowerment and self-love that we all desire.
Speaker 0 00:25:35
Yeah. And, and I think that can be so liberating to, to realize that not everything is going to work for us. And that’s okay. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> because there are so many, like you mentioned tools and techniques out there that it’s just a matter of looking and keep looking and, and finding something that really clicks and resonates and that can actually help.
Speaker 2 00:25:59
Yes. I would say if we got back to being little scientists in a lab about our life, we’d have more fun. Right? So I always say be curious, get back to curiosity. Ask questions from why or when or how, not from judgment, but to gain understanding and clarity. And the other is to experiment. The more you experiment and say like, that didn’t work, this worked great. Right? That’s, that’s how we get evolution in the world. We think about the cars that we drive, the internet, like all the things that we use on a regular basis is because someone was experimenting. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So it got to a solution that it could actually be used for the masses, right? So if we start looking at ourselves that same way I’m experimenting, I might mix these two things together and they might not work <laugh>, right? Then I’m gonna try something else until I find what fits for me.
Speaker 0 00:26:54
Yeah. Oh, I love this so much <laugh>. And especially it resonates as from the perspective of an artist. Yeah. I love to encourage other people to tap into their inner artist in, in the way of like treat this art making experience as an experiment because we’re not exactly, we’re try to detach from judgment. It’s, it doesn’t matter what is good, what is bad art. Art is so subjective. But if we allow ourselves the opportunity to play and like you mentioned being curious and asking questions, I think it can be such a beautiful experience.
Speaker 2 00:27:29
Yes. And I love that you said it, it’s the freedom, right? Art is an expression of the artist, right. And the connection that we all desire is to have that level of freedom and sense and feel it in the art. And so if we leverage that same type of experience for ourselves, then life becomes art. We become art, we become full expressions of who we are. That also inspires others to be full expressions of who they are.
Speaker 0 00:28:00
Oh Nicole, this is so beautiful. Just pure poetry for my soul. Thank you so much for
Speaker 2 00:28:08 Thank you
Speaker 0 00:28:09
Bta, coming onto the show. And I, if you don’t mind sharing, where can people connect with you and if there’s any resources you wanted to mention?
Speaker 2 00:28:18
Yeah, so people can connect with me. I have a website which is nicole lee.love, that’s N-I-C-H-O-L-E-L-E-E dot L-O-V-V-E. Also on Instagram. I am Nicole Lee, so that’s Nicole with an H as well as LinkedIn as far as, um, lead magnets or tools and things of that nature. I don’t have anything available at this point in time. However, if you are interested in working with me or having a call with me, you can go on my website and access work with me and you fill out a form and we can have a complimentary call for 30 minutes. And every call that I do it is to extend something out to you. So it’s not just for you to have a conversation, but there is something that I can share with you that I hope will support you whether you work with me or not. And then I do have a newsletter. So if you do want to get a little sunshine in your inbox, you can also go on my website and you can see at the bottom where you can subscribe to my newsletter.
Speaker 0 00:29:17
Oh, wonderful. And I will be linking to all of your links in the show notes. So if you’re listening to this episode, please be sure to check the show notes for this. And I definitely want some sunshine in my inbox. So this is what I’m doing after our, our chat <laugh>.
Speaker 2 00:29:33 Awesome.
Speaker 0 00:29:34
Well thank you Nicole, so much for joining me today. And I hope you have a calm and creative day.
Speaker 2 00:29:40
Thank you. Wishing the sign for you Volta.
Speaker 3 00:29:45
Thank you so much for listening to this episode. Sweet Friend. I’ll close this out by mentioning the acronym calm. The C and CALM stands for community. Remember, you’re Not Alone. I invite you to join the Calm and Creative Community group on Facebook. It’s a private and free group where we can share various supplemental resources to help us feel more creative and calm. The A in CALM stands for apply. I encourage you to apply some of these learnings from this episode so that you can integrate this knowledge better into your day-to-day life. The L in CALM stands for Leave a Review. If you enjoy this episode, this will help our podcast reach a wider group of creatives that are seeking to feel more mindful and creative. The M in CALM stands for mindful, and that’s simply just being kind to our minds and remembering that it takes intention and practice. And no matter how you’re feeling today, I want you to know that we’re all doing the best that we can in a given moment of time. So keep going. Sweet, friend, you got this.