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Ep 104 Healing from Anorexia with Psychotherapy, Yoga, and Meditation with Dr. Jo Lamm

Interview with Dr. Jo Lamm about her story of disordered eating and how she uses trauma informed healing tools within her holistic coaching practice.

Dr. Jo is a women’s holistic coach and yoga/meditation/mindfulness teacher at her women’s wellness company called TulaSoul. Previously she was a clinical psychologist specializing in trauma in private practice. Dr. Jo’s career was inspired by the psychologists who helped her when hospitalized for anorexia at twelve years old. She is a proud social activist and volunteers for an anti-racist human rights organization called Humanize My Hoodie, and she is an Ambassador for the Eating Disorders Coalition, which advocates for legislative change to promote awareness, prevention, and treatment of eating disorders. Her hobbies include spending time with family and friends, laughing, hiking, zip-lining, teaching and practicing yoga, learning new things, reading, and writing.

Dr. Jo’s poetry has been published in Beyond Words Literary Magazine, Half and One, Wingless Dreamer Publisher, and twice in Sad Girls Club literary journal. She has a memoir in progress.


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Ep 104 – Healing from Anorexia with Psychotherapy, Yoga, and Meditation with Dr Jo Lamm


[00:00:00] Cynthia: You are listening to the Well Connected Twin Cities podcast. I’m your host, Cynthia Shockley, and I’m here to learn alongside you through meaningful conversations with health and wellness practitioners. This is your time to experience some mindset shifts, learn practical tips, and get excited about what is possible.

[00:00:22] Cynthia: We want you to own the power of choice in your personal wellbeing journey. Let’s discover what’s possible right here in our Twin Cities community. Hello and welcome to the Well Connected Twin Cities Podcast. I am here today with Dr. Jo, and we’re going to be talking a bit about trauma informed care. Utilizing the tools that Dr. Joe does in her private practice, some of her own story of how she got into this space. But first, let me tell you a little bit about her.

[00:00:59] Cynthia: Dr. Jo is a women’s holistic coach and yoga meditation mindfulness teacher at her women’s wellness company called Tula Soul. Previously she was a clinical psychologist specializing in trauma in private practice. Dr. Joe’s career was inspired by the psychologists who helped her when hospitalized for anorexia at 12 years old.

[00:01:20] Cynthia: She is a proud social activist and volunteers for an anti-racist human rights organization called Humanize My Hoodie, and she is an ambassador for the Eating Disorders Coalition, which advocates for legislative change to promote awareness, prevention and treatment of eating disorders. Her hobbies include spending time with family and friends, laughing, hiking, ziplining teaching and practicing yoga, learning new things, reading and writing.

[00:01:48] Cynthia: Dr. Joe’s Poetry has been published in Beyond Words, literary Magazine, half and One Wingless Dreamer Publisher, and Twice in Sad Girls Club literary Journal. She has a memoir in progress as well.

[00:02:02] Cynthia: Hello, Dr. Joe. I’m so happy that we can connect and I’m glad we’re able to make this time work.

[00:02:09] Dr. Jo: Thank you so much, Cynthia. I’m pleased and thrilled to be here. Yes. I appreciate you.

[00:02:14] Cynthia: And I know we’ve gotten to meet, we met at the well connected Reimagine event. And so that was a fun way to get to know each other.

[00:02:23] Cynthia: But I’m really excited to dive deeper, especially after reading your bio and just understanding. The breadth of knowledge that you have, the experience that you have. So tell us first just your own story, what brought you into the work that you’re doing now.

[00:02:39] Dr. Jo: Sure. First of all, I wanna give some credit to my mom.

[00:02:43] Dr. Jo: She was the worker in the family and she. Was usually working two or three jobs to support by myself and two other daughters. And I always knew that whatever ambition I had, I would accomplish because she was my role model. And she started out in special education as a teacher, and She actually worked in my junior high.

[00:03:06] Dr. Jo: Which was it was cool only because all the kids loved her and she was a great teacher. And also if I missed a class or if I was late, I gotta pass. So that was a bonus. And then she worked in an A L C one of the first alcs, and I volunteered with her. So I got to work there and meet a lot of really cool people.

[00:03:26] Dr. Jo: And this whole time she was still going to school, graduate school to get her doctorate. And eventually she became a principal at a middle school. And everybody loved her there. And I would go there a lot and hang out with her and meet all the people there. So I was always really proud of her. And when I decided at age 12 that I was gonna be a psychologist, it, there was no question about me going through graduate school.

[00:03:49] Dr. Jo: It was just like, yep, this is what I’m gonna do. And the reason I decided to do that is because I was hospitalized for anorexia and I didn’t even know what that was. I just knew that Suddenly I became terrified of eating. There was no goal of losing weight or being thin. I think a lot of people have a misconception about what anorexia is.

[00:04:14] Dr. Jo: It’s typically not about looking a certain way. In fact, many times it’s about actually looking ugly, or not wanting to be perceived as as attractive because for many women, It’s, there’s a history of sexual abuse and the goal is not to have curves and not to be seen by men. Trying to be invisible.

[00:04:38] Dr. Jo: So that was definitely, for me, one of the aspects of it. Trying to be as boyish as possible and as bony as possible, and also just to feel safe. There’s something safe about being small and about being able to hide. But I was hospitalized and I was there for I think seven weeks. And when I was there I was so fascinated by the psychologists and the work that they did, I was by far the youngest and I was fascinated by all the characters there.

[00:05:08] Dr. Jo: And I wanted to figure out my family. So I was like, I have to be a psychologist. And I was, that kept me going through a lot of difficult times through my teen. 15 years. So just having that goal. So I’m very grateful for that. And I went straight through graduate school, specialized in trauma. I worked at some clinics, not, didn’t have the greatest experience.

[00:05:30] Dr. Jo: So I had a private practice for 13 years I discovered in my last treatment in 2009, 2010, I went to a yoga body image class. And I recall in Warrior two having this very profound thought, I don’t have to loathe my body. And that was a revelation. And then I also recall being in my body.

[00:05:59] Dr. Jo: I had been living like many people from the neck up for most of my life, and I had no idea what it felt like inside my body that interoception. And I felt the muscles in my legs, and all of a sudden I was like, oh, I have a toes that are gripping the mat. And it was just so beautiful. And so I started crying and I was like, I have to be a yoga teacher.

[00:06:24] Dr. Jo: So the day after I left treatment, which was a year, it was almost two years, I started yoga teacher training. And so knowing that I wanted to bring in holistic practices, When Covid hit, I shut my office down and I started to, then I got certified in life Wellness and spiritual coaching, and I decided I wanted to work with women.

[00:06:47] Dr. Jo: So I started a new business called Tula Soul. Tula means balance and Sanskrit, and it means poem in the Philippines, just kind of, A gift from the universe. So that’s what I do today.

[00:07:01] Cynthia: Oh my goodness. what a great just synopsis of from childhood to now, what pulled you, what. Of your own story and traumas that influenced your healing journey and your desire to bring that to other people. So being able to pursue, and I can’t imagine, cuz I’m sure so many people at age 12 were like, I’m gonna be this, I’m gonna be that.

[00:07:25] Cynthia: And here you are actually doing it. So congratulations.

[00:07:29] Dr. Jo: Yeah, thank you. I, it was a gift. That’s what I look at is yes, I struggled at 12 years old with anorexia, which was, obviously not. Not an easy thing, but I got that gift of my career goal and that is a beautiful thing.

[00:07:45] Cynthia: Yeah. And I love the clarity you brought to what anorexia is or can be, because I think there’s definitely that narrative that there’s only a specific reason people might become anorexic and Right.

[00:08:01] Cynthia: Just hearing from you. Even just that straight up fear of eating. Yeah. And what, how that manifested for you. Yeah. It’s just really nice to know that there are different perceptions and experiences of a certain disorder and certain experience. Yeah. So thank you for sharing that.

[00:08:23] Dr. Jo: Yeah. It was more like a phobia of food. I really thought in the end stages, I really thought that it could kill me. and then also the fear of gaining weight, but not because of how I looked, but more because by the end stages your body is actually consuming your organs to survive, including your brain.

[00:08:44] Dr. Jo: and also just with no nutrition, you’re not able to think clearly. So it becomes a psychotic the way that you think. And so I remember thinking, and hopefully this isn’t triggering, but that I would rather die than gain five pounds. And that’s when I was hospitalized, thank goodness.

[00:09:01] Dr. Jo: There is a lot of good treatment, but the death rate for anorexia is about 10%, which is just lower than opioid abuse. Before it was the number one. But, so I want to stress to anybody who’s having disordered eating to get help because the earlier the intervention, the better the chances for full recovery.

[00:09:23] Dr. Jo: And also the other myth I just wanna challenge is is that binge eating disorder is not a sign of weakness. It’s not less serious than anorexia. I consider it the same exact thing as anorexia, just like bulimia. It’s just on the other spectrum, but the underlying emotional issues, the underlying desperation and pain, same exact thing.

[00:09:49] Dr. Jo: It just branches out in a different direction. And all of the eating disorders in any addiction starts out as an adaptive behavior. It’s not like I chose to, I think I’m gonna become an anorexic just because that might be a fun thing to do. No, it started out because I was overwhelmed with chaos and emotions that were intolerable.

[00:10:11] Dr. Jo: So I used it as a coping mechanism. Just like somebody as a teen, when they start drinking, they’re just partying, but for whatever reason, their biological makeup and their particular situation, it becomes an addiction for them. Any kind of addiction always starts out as adaptive.

[00:10:27] Dr. Jo: And I think people miss that. Blaming, oh gosh, that’s just an addict. Well, no, they didn’t choose that. They started out having an adaptive behaviors, which is smart actually. Yeah. So I just, I like to talk about addiction in that way.

[00:10:42] Cynthia: And just at first you hear 12 years old and you’re like, wow, that’s young.

[00:10:47] Cynthia: But then I look back at My own time when I was 12 and yeah, I remember a lot of girlfriends having disordered eating, some disordered, dysmorphic body images. Yeah, just. A lot of different things and just starting to come to terms with the chaos in their life in a more elevated way.

[00:11:08] Cynthia: I think that’s around the age when our brains are developed enough to have the same intelligence you have as adults. Yeah. And so our intelligence is now at like adult level and yet our inhibition is still low. Our ability to understand and cope with our emotions aren’t there yet.

[00:11:25] Cynthia: So I think that’s just a really tender time

[00:11:28] Dr. Jo: Yeah. At puberty, boys and girls have about the same rate of depression, until puberty. At that time, girls rate of depression and anxiety goes way up and boys rate goes down.

[00:11:42] Dr. Jo: Now the reason is because girls realize that they are sexual objects and they are looked at in that way. And boys, they get stronger, their voice gets deeper, so they have this confidence boost. So for girls it’s very vulnerable time, and that’s often when eating disorders start. And actually the reason I’m an ambassador for the Eating Disorders Coalition, and what we do is we work towards legislation for awareness prevention and treatment for eating disorders.

[00:12:12] Dr. Jo: But the last few years there’s been this kids’ online safety act because there are actually websites funded by corporations that target young girls to promote eating disorders. And I’m talking about teaching ways to purge, having pictures of emaciated girls and boys to promote this. And and as soon as we get one down, another one pops up.

[00:12:36] Dr. Jo: So that’s one of the bills. So it’s really It’s ingrained in our society. And this targets very young girls. And I think I had a statistic, something about fourth and fifth graders, a high percentage of ’em had already dieted. So this is a very prevalent issue and obviously I’m passionate about it.

[00:12:54] Dr. Jo: And I talk to parents about, talk to your kids about bodies. Talk to them about how. It’s important that they love their bodies and that bodies are all shapes and sizes and be aware of how you talk about bodies. People make fat jokes like it’s not a big deal. It is a very big deal and your kids pick up on how you talk about that, as well as whether or not you’re dieting or if goods are good or bad.

[00:13:20] Dr. Jo: Kids are taking all of that in. And the way that you talk to your kids about, ah, you shouldn’t eat that dessert cuz you’re getting chubby. No. That is so damaging. And we don’t think about that. But all of these things I wish there was more parent education about that because it stays with the kids.

[00:13:40] Cynthia: Yes. And I can definitely attest to that personally. Yeah. I think just, especially in the Korean American culture. Oh. And it’s just, I. Very bluntly talked about, your body and you’re just, yeah. Oh, your face is getting fat. Oh, your thighs are touching. Oh. It’s just, and it’s just like a blanket statement, no fluff.

[00:14:01] Dr. Jo: And so it’s devastating, right?

[00:14:02] Cynthia: It is. And, it’s something you I think I learned to callous too, almost. But definitely there was phases in my life where I really. Did not eat as much as I wanted to, or I was like, okay, like it’s good that I’m hungry and I’m gonna stay hungry.

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[00:15:20] Cynthia: But I can also resonate with your experience on the mat to do some yoga. Yes. And to. Feel alive in all parts of your body. To recognize the power of I don’t have to loathe my body. I can appreciate my body. Yes. I can love my body. And so I know yoga is a big part of what you use as a trauma informed healing tool.

[00:15:44] Cynthia: So can you tell us more about the coaching work you do and how yoga fits in?

[00:15:51] Dr. Jo: Yeah, I do. I use a lot of different tools and techniques. One of the most effective is mindfulness, meditation, and yoga. People that are anxious, depressed. We spend a lot of time in our heads rather than our bodies now.

[00:16:05] Dr. Jo: In our heads. We are either regretting yesterday, we are anticipating and worrying about tomorrow. Or we’re obsessing about our wrongs. We’re, and one of the first things I do is I have people just be aware not even trying to change anything yet, just practice awareness. That means noticing how they talk to themselves, noticing the narrative, because we go through the day and we’re not really aware of what our thoughts are.

[00:16:29] Dr. Jo: If you make a mistake, are you saying, oh God, I’m such a loser. Did it again? Or are you saying, okay, well I’m gonna learn from that one. Big difference. And then if if you’re in a social situation, are you thinking, oh my God, I don’t know what to say, I should probably just not say anything?

[00:16:46] Dr. Jo: Or are you just like present and able to just talk spontaneously? So all of those things that we’re not even aware of, the first step is just being aware of not even trying to change it. And that takes some time just to notice. And noticing and being aware, that’s huge progress, right? Because it’s just like this, okay, I’m getting to know who I am, and there’s no judgment, right?

[00:17:09] Dr. Jo: Like even if the whole time your narrative is pretty negative, whatever, it’s not good or bad. That’s just the way it is. I’m fond of the phrase feelings and thoughts aren’t good or bad, they just are. Because in our society, we’re so putting things in box, we’re very restrictive and we like to categorize things, but that’s not helpful when we’re talking about thoughts and feelings.

[00:17:30] Dr. Jo: And then eventually after the awareness, then we start to rewrite the script. Well, first we, we like to talk about, or I like to talk about where did those voices come from, because it’s not your genuine, true self. Okay. Because at Core we do have self love. That’s who we are. But it’s just covered up with layers of conditioning and voices that we heard from other people, childhood experiences, trauma.

[00:17:55] Dr. Jo: And so it’s important to identify, okay, well, who’s really saying that to you? And uncover that. And then we get to start to rewrite this script. And that’s an exciting time. And some of the techniques I use well obviously narrative therapy, I use a lot of somatic work. So I identify.

[00:18:14] Dr. Jo: And this sounds strange, but identify where in the body you feel emotions or you notice things and then we label it, name it, maybe find a shape, externalize it, and have conversations with it. So that’s one thing. And then yoga is all about being embodied and moving with the breath and getting used to being in your body and healing through.

[00:18:39] Dr. Jo: There’s a lot of different things that yoga does. It restores the sense of time, synchrony and rhythm. And these are all things that trauma takes away. It allows you to be in the present moment. It replaces judgment with curiosity. You develop tolerance for sensation because often with trauma there’s a dissociation and sensations are painful.

[00:19:03] Dr. Jo: Yeah. You get to integrate aspects of your experience. We all have different parts within us, like we’re still the child, we’re still the infant, we’re still the 20 year old. Well, I’m gonna age myself real quick. So we’re still all those parts. And so this allows us to integrate rather than having other parts take over, right?

[00:19:22] Dr. Jo: Like oftentimes when I get, and people can maybe relate, when I get together with my family, I find that my child or my teenager comes out and I’m rather acting immature. As I integrate my adult self can be more present rather than me throwing a tantrum and being like, okay, what? So it, and it helps us make decisions learn to take effective action, increases confidence and creates connection, and it helps us build skills for regulating our emotion.

[00:19:50] Dr. Jo: And the same thing with meditation and working with your breath. There are so many breathing techniques or pranayama. That when we learn those, it’s like you always have tools right at your disposal to change and regulate your emotions.

[00:20:04] Cynthia: Yeah.

[00:20:06] Cynthia: And though you say it’s a little weird for me, it’s so normal to have this experience of these different parts of you, these different voices that aren’t truly your voice.

[00:20:18] Cynthia: Exactly. And I know that’s something I’ve worked on with my own clients as a coach as well. And yeah, to have that tool of. Oh, this is just a voice and not the truth can be exactly huge because now you get to define what your truth is. And all these voices, they might have a seat at the table, like you can hear them out.

[00:20:38] Cynthia: Yep. And then understand like what their core needs are It’s like parenting all the different layers of you.

[00:20:44] Dr. Jo: Yeah. Like the child

[00:20:45] Dr. Jo: self that is still very needy and still needs attention and validation. You do, you go back and you say, okay, I love you. I see you, and sometimes you even need to cradle that little part of you, and give it a blankie.

[00:20:58] Dr. Jo: All of that work is so important. I totally agree.

[00:21:02] Cynthia: Yeah, I definitely do visualizations of just like hugging my child’s self and we’ll just cry together. And I’m like, yeah, totally. Like it’s hard, but I But you’re okay.

[00:21:13] Dr. Jo: Yep. And when people have trouble doing it, I have them look at baby pictures or young child pictures of themselves because that can be easier to generate compassionate empathy.

[00:21:22] Dr. Jo: When you have a picture, because some people have a lot of self-hatred and so they can’t even picture themselves young. But when you look at a picture and you’re oh man, she’s cute. Cannot love her. Like little innocent infants, how can you not? So that helps.

[00:21:39] Cynthia: Oh, I love that.

[00:21:40] Cynthia: That’s great. An actual visual cue to just remind you of how deserving of love you are.

[00:21:47] Dr. Jo: Yeah. And you’re still that infant, so that helps kind of transition into the, okay, well if I can love her and she’s still in me, maybe I deserve some of that.

[00:21:56] Cynthia: Yeah. Yeah. And I’d love to just, this whole quarter I’ve been talking to practitioners about how they see.

[00:22:06] Cynthia: And define trauma and what makes their work specifically trauma informed. So I’m gonna throw that question to you too. How do you define trauma and then what makes the coaching and the yoga that you provide trauma informed?

[00:22:23] Dr. Jo: Great question. To me, trauma is too much, too fast, too soon.

[00:22:29] Dr. Jo: So basically it’s something that, Overwhelms your regulatory system. And there’s so many different types of trauma. There’s acute, there’s chronic, there’s vicarious, there’s complex, so many different types. And it really doesn’t matter because the symptoms in the, the way it affects your body are the same.

[00:22:51] Dr. Jo: It matters in terms of understanding how to work with someone. But in terms of trauma informed, to me that means. Listening first. That means believing the person has their own healing within them. Not pretending that I’m the expert because I’m not everybody’s the expert of their own journey, but just being a compassionate, empathetic witness and I seem to be over, not seem to be I because of my own.

[00:23:21] Dr. Jo: Trauma and my experiences, the very great gift of that is I’m overflowing with compassion and I seek out people’s stories. It gives me fuel. So that is part of it. And also not giving advice. I think we think sometimes as coaches and therapists, there’s a time for giving guidance and advice, but there’s a lot of time when it’s just important to say, I hear you.

[00:23:48] Dr. Jo: And just be a witness. Yes, we have tools and we, and things like that to teach, but sometimes people just need to be heard and seen. The other thing is in terms of yoga, there’s a lot of trauma informed techniques, such as giving options rather than just having one way using invitational language such as, I invite you to try this pose rather than, Go into Warrior one, creating a safe space and, describing where the bathroom is. All of those things, giving people choices. And I did a training for yoga behind bars for prisoners. And it was very interesting the things we learned like, instead of rib cage, you call it rib basket. And then you never put people behind each other. You have to have it a circle just for safety feeling. And in shavana you allow people to stand or sit. A lot of people don’t wanna lie down. And you always offer eyes open, a lot of people don’t wanna close their eyes. So just little things that you think of when people have trauma that are important to be sensitive to.

[00:24:56] Dr. Jo: And certain poses are gonna be vulnerable for people. So you offer options?

[00:25:01] Cynthia: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:25:03] Cynthia: That’s. That’s definitely just as a fellow yoga teacher, I’m just chewing on that cuz Yeah. I understand and know that giving options is very empowering, but then to also bring that layer of awareness of what postures or what Yeah.

[00:25:18] Cynthia: Simple things might feel more vulnerable than others. And to provide options, not just in the different postures, but also specifically like even Shavasana. Which, in my own, everybody just don’t, yeah.

[00:25:32] Cynthia: It’s an easy thing, obviously, like everyone laid

[00:25:34] Cynthia: down, you get to relax.

[00:25:35] Cynthia: But for someone who’s been through certain traumas, and I think especially in the prison system where it is about being dominated over all the time. Yeah. It’s, it makes so much sense that maybe someone would prefer standing.

[00:25:48] Dr. Jo: Yeah. And I’m also trained in working with eating disorders in yoga and, certain, like Cat Cow one of the trainings we say cat puppy.

[00:25:58] Dr. Jo: Because cow was a sensitive word. And also sometimes you don’t wanna cue body parts. So instead of saying belly, you say in your middle Being sensitive to body parts that may be triggering. Especially the belly is always, Yeah. And I always heard that one. Yeah. I always tell this story because in eating disorder, populations are not, but I had, I take this Sufi dance class and this woman just this beautiful woman, she says, you have it so backwards in the west. You think you want hog flat flats?

[00:26:30] Dr. Jo: She said no. Belly needs to be spacious and round and beautiful because not only do I do, we digest food there, we digest the material of life. And I just love that, that allow space, allow round worship your belly. Yes. So I always tell that to people in yoga, because yoga can be like a competitive, I don’t do power yoga, I don’t teach any of that stuff because, I want yoga to be about getting in your body not a workout.

[00:27:02] Dr. Jo: and so I teach slow and I teach focusing on alignment and I teach focusing on the breath. The other thing to be aware of with trauma is a lot of people struggle with breathing practices. So I teach that very slowly with options. One of the best breathing practices for people is brommer breath, which is honeybee breath, which is simply just inhaling.

[00:27:24] Dr. Jo: And then, humming on the exhale. And it’s really good because it is a way to connect with your insides through vibration. And it’s a sensory withdrawal. And if you really wanna do it hardcore, you can close your eyes and block your ears. And then it’s full sensory withdrawal.

[00:27:42] Dr. Jo: And it is a really powerful meditation, but it’s not as threatening as some of the others.

[00:27:48] Cynthia: Yeah, so I remember teaching that to the students pre-K to second grade I was teaching at a school. Yeah. Oh, they love it. That’s, yeah. It’s just sound like a little b and your nose kind of tickles and

[00:27:59] Dr. Jo: Yeah, exactly.

[00:28:00] Dr. Jo: They’re like, yeah.

[00:28:02] Cynthia: They love it. And gosh. What you’re able to provide to people is so impactful. And I wonder to for you as well, because you’re only bringing these skills and these tools to people because it, it supported you, it helped you in your time of need.

[00:28:19] Cynthia: How do these tools or these ways of being influence your life now?

[00:28:25] Dr. Jo: Yeah, it’s been, just to be in recovery for anorexia is absolutely a dream. I really never imagined that life would be this way to experience joy and peace and it’s mind blowing. And also to be, to have such a rich spiritual life I’ve, yeah I can’t even really describe.

[00:28:46] Dr. Jo: It, my spirituality is more of a connection with the inner divine, which is a yoga practice, but yoga can encapsulate any spiritual, any particular faith or religion. That’s another misunderstanding. But to be able to really be in a spiritual place and experience that and connect with others is a gift.

[00:29:06] Dr. Jo: And I just feel so very grateful that I found. The tools. And I feel like the, my whole life I’ve been on that path and known it. And one of the ways to get there through yoga is spa yaya, which is self-study. And so basically you reach enlightenment through self-study, which of course I believe that because really if get to know your inner self, it’s, what else is there?

[00:29:32] Dr. Jo: You know what I mean? Like your inner self. We’re all connected. We’re all connected through universal consciousness. So once you get to know you and love you, you love everybody. You love everything. And that is pure Bliss.

[00:29:49] Cynthia: Ah, it’s such a easier way to exist in this world when yes. You are coming from love, you are experiencing through love.

[00:29:58] Cynthia: And yeah. Instead of fear. Instead of anger. Anger. Exactly. Anger instead of sadness which, all of these emotions come up, but if you’re anchored to love, there’s a softness, there’s availability to heal and move through and to come back to the core.

[00:30:14] Dr. Jo: So beautiful way to say that. Thank you.

[00:30:16] Cynthia: Yeah. No I love it. And I just, yeah, I just app. I knew this would be a good conversation. We just have a lot of alignment

[00:30:24] Cynthia: in our perspectives.

[00:30:26] Cynthia: Totally.

[00:30:28] Cynthia: Well you had mentioned the Eating Disorder Coalition, and I know you also specifically do work in an organization called Humanize My Hoodie.

[00:30:38] Cynthia: So can you tell us a little more about what you do in these two additional communities?

[00:30:45] Dr. Jo: Sure. Yeah. The Eating Disorder Coalition, they have an advocacy day every year, which happens to be this week. And what we do is a group of us and I happen to be on Kitty Weston’s team again, kitty Weston, her daughter Anna Weston, died.

[00:31:01] Dr. Jo: From anorexia and she started the or helped start the Emily program, which is one of the places I went to treatment. Anna Weston House is their inpatient program, and that’s her daughter. So anyways, so Kitty is a huge advocate. She’s known around the country, and basically what we do is we sit all day with legislators from across the country.

[00:31:23] Dr. Jo: And then I tell my story. So I love it. Obviously I like to talk and I love talking about myself, And one year it was the Anna Weston. Bill that we are pushing, which is like an education thing. And like I said, this year it’s the Kids Online Safety Act and one other bill.

[00:31:40] Dr. Jo: And so it’s really impactful work and it makes me, and then throughout the year we legislate for other things and just sign petitions, things like that. And then Humanize, my hoodie is an anti-racist social activist organization. They started when Trayvon Martin was killed in part because, well, because he was black and he was wearing a hoodie.

[00:32:01] Dr. Jo: So there’s this, misperception of a hoodie worn by black man being threat perception, right? And so they made these hoodies and they, it says, humanize my hoodie. And they gave them out to a bunch of black kids. And then they decided, hey, we can sell these and fund further, efforts. And now they do tutoring for kids.

[00:32:22] Dr. Jo: They they have a abolition network. They they do so many things. It’s amazing. They have a fashion house. They do ally training, which I did, and they do that across the country. They’ve even done that in other countries and they’re just fabulous. So I encourage everyone to check them out and they have great hoodies for sale.

[00:32:41] Dr. Jo: I think I have 20 of them. And so great hoodies and it, when you wear it, people say it, what is humanize my hoodies? And then you get a chance to educate them. And they’re just great guys. Jason, he is a former prisoner. He was in prison for seven years in part due to a state or not stage, but he was set up with drugs and his story.

[00:33:03] Dr. Jo: He has a book. His story about the way police treated him is just amazing. But he is now a criminal justice professor at Hamlin. And his friend Andre, the other guy who started this is a fashion designer and he has a fashion house in Iowa. So they’re just incredible people. I

[00:33:23] Cynthia: love it. And this just, I think also points to the power of storytelling.

[00:33:28] Cynthia: You joke that, oh, I love talking about myself. But it’s because you also understand the importance and the power of storytelling. Cause like you said, when you know yourself, you recognize that you know everyone, right? Yeah. Yeah. So when you share your story, other people are like, oh, I resonate with that.

[00:33:46] Cynthia: Yeah. And oh that touched me. Yeah. And it gives them a sense of being seen and maybe having the courage to share their own

[00:33:54] Cynthia: story and then just, it’s a ripple effect.

[00:33:57] Dr. Jo: Yeah. Totally. Totally. I agree with you.

[00:33:59] Cynthia: Oh, I love it. Well, if people are interested in working with you directly, Dr.

[00:34:06] Cynthia: Joe, what are some ways in which people can work with you and get some support?

[00:34:13] Dr. Jo: Yeah, I do. I just work with women for now sorry, men, anybody who identifies as women. So I do individual coaching and that looks like whatever you want it to look like. I’m very. Open very, I’m direct, but I use a lot of humor and I’m very sensitive and obviously trauma informed.

[00:34:31] Dr. Jo: I teach yoga individualized trauma informed, always body positive. And I also teach Pilates. I usually do a little mixture and I teach meditation and mindfulness. Sometimes I just blend them all together, depending on what a person wants or if somebody wants something specific, then I just do that. I also do workshops.

[00:34:50] Dr. Jo: I do a women’s poetry circle, which is really fun, and I do workshops like on what happens to a traumatized brain, adult, children of alcoholics and other dysfunctional families. Other things like that. So those are On my website, those are listed. I also wanna do a women’s support group as soon as I get that organized in my head about when I’m gonna do it.

[00:35:11] Dr. Jo: So that’s gonna be really fun. And there’s gonna be topics, but it’s also gonna be loose about what people need support about. So yeah, that’s what I’m doing right now.

[00:35:19] Cynthia: Perfect. And we’ll have the link to Dr. Joe’s website tula in the show notes along with her LinkedIn, her scheduler, her Instagram and then also the links to Human is my Hoodie and the Eating Disorder Coalition in case you’re interested in learning more.

[00:35:37] Cynthia: And before you go too, I love asking if there is one takeaway that you’d hope. That a listener walks away with, what would you hope that would be?

[00:35:49] Dr. Jo: I want people to understand that trauma is treatable and that it is common and normal and no stigma. Mental health is real. And take away the shame and reach out and get help.

[00:36:04] Dr. Jo: That is bravery. That is not a weakness. And just to self-love. I just want everyone to love themselves and to know that is not easy. It takes work, but it’s worth it and you are worthy.

[00:36:18] Cynthia: Yeah. Way to just flip the script that it is, it’s brave to ask for help. It’s brave to say you can’t do it alone.

[00:36:26] Cynthia: That’s right.

[00:36:27] Cynthia: Yeah. Well, as Dr. Joe alluded to, she has these poetry circles because she’s also a published poet and is currently working on her own memoir. Talk about sharing stories, right? Just having something out there and something people can learn from, heal with. And so Dr. Joe.

[00:36:48] Cynthia: Actually has a poem that she’s going to close out this conversation with and share with you all. So whenever you’re ready, Dr. Joe, you can take it away.

[00:36:58] Dr. Jo: Thanks, Cynthia. This poem is called Non-Duality. The day I fell out of my ego, rich verdant, radiant Earth, blanketed my collapse. Silence was penetrated by the sweet echo.

[00:37:17] Dr. Jo: Of the universal sound, oh, I did not exist yet. There I was inhaling soft, melted butter, sunshine, exhaling shame. That was never mine. I tasted the truth. There was no me yet. I was everywhere.

[00:37:41] Cynthia: Thank you so much. I was just sitting here with my eyes closed listening and just appreciate all that you are. Dr. Joe, thank you so much for joining us today.

[00:37:52] Dr. Jo: Thank you so much, Cynthia. I appreciate you and I appreciate everyone that’s listening and thank you again for this opportunity.

[00:38:00] Cynthia: Thank you so much for listening to the Well Connected Twin Cities podcast. Did you learn something new? Did you feel that spark of hope and excitement for what is possible? Because so much is possible. Tell us about it. In a review on Apple Podcast, not only would we absolutely love hearing from you, but these reviews help our ratings and help other curious minds like you find this resource.

[00:38:25] Cynthia: We are always better together. Thank you again and see you next time.

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