Irene Lyon — A Deep Dive into Repressed Anger, Kill Energy, Functional Freeze, Pain, Nervous System Healing and More – #28

Elly Mac Profile Picture

by Ellie Goode

Listen: Spotify | Apple | All other platforms

irene lyon - dealing with repressed anger

Most people experience repressed anger.

What is repressed anger?

In your nervous system you experience sympathetic activation, or fight-or-flight energy.

Anger (or rage) is sympathetic activation.

It’s the “fight” part of the fight-of-flight response.

It’s necessary for survival. It protects you, helps you set boundaries, and take action in life (not just in the wild).

Yet – so many people suppress their anger because it’s a huge, intense emotion.

Your parents, your boss, society – none of them look kindly upon anger.

So instead, people suppress it.

If you’ve ever experienced moments when you feel numb, paralyzed, or overwhelmed by anger – you’ve likely experienced repressed anger.

You’re not alone.

In this episode, we embark on an enlightening journey into the realm of nervous system health, somatics, and repressed anger.

Irene Lyon is a highly regarded nervous system expert, and we went deep into how to release challenging emotions like anger, and unravel the secrets of healing.

Irene guides us through the science behind the “kill” energy in our nervous system, and the fight or flight response.

These natural protective mechanisms are designed to keep us safe in times of danger or threat.

However, societal conditioning often inhibits our ability to harness and express these instincts, leading to repressed anger and unresolved emotions.

With a background in exercise science and biomedical health science, Irene Lyon emphasizes the significance of somatic practices and nervous system work.

Somatic practices, such as Feldenkrais, offer us a pathway to reconnect with our bodies and tap into the wisdom stored within.

Through these practices, we can release physical tension, unlock repressed emotions (and repressed anger), and restore balance to our nervous system.

We also explored how our knowledge of the nervous system can pave the way for effective physical healing.

Irene shares her insights on how somatic practices and nervous system work can assist individuals struggling with injuries.

By understanding the innate connection between the mind and body, we can unlock powerful, limitless healing potential.

We also talked about the balance between slowing down vs. pushing through resistance.

In an age where many of us transition from offline to online work, striking a balance becomes increasingly challenging.

Irene sheds light on the importance of pushing boundaries while also recognizing the need for rest and recovery.

She shares her experiences and lessons in differentiating accurate impulses from inaccurate ones, allowing us to navigate the demands of modern life while honouring our physical needs.

This episode intertwines theory and practical exercises.

Irene offers incredible insights into healing your nervous system and managing anger. By understanding the underlying principles of somatics and recognizing the impact of repressed anger, you can embark on a journey of self-discovery and growth.

Want to gain a deeper understanding of how your body and mind works?

Want to release all of you repressed anger?

Curious to know more about somatic practices, your nervous system, and the power of rage?

Listen now.

Learn how to unlock the power within you to heal, grow, and live a more fulfilling life.

Don’t miss this enlightening journey into the depths of rage and “kill” energy.

Sign up to get notified of new podcasts here 👇

In this episode, you’ll learn…

  • The difference between being feeling lazy vs. when your body needs rest
  • What the “functional freeze” response is in the nervous system 🥶
  • How to peel back the layers of repressed anger and express your rage in healthy ways 🤬
  • The importance of releasing fight-flight-freeze energy from your nervous system and how it impacts your physical health 👩‍⚕️
  • Specific strategies and techniques for releasing repressed anger from your nervous system 🔑
  • The many benefits of healing your nervous system, with real-life, tangible impacts 🙌

Connect With Irene

Time stamps:

  • 0:00 – Intro
  • 5:40 – Somatic Practices and Trauma Work
  • 18:01 – The Balance Between Pushing Through Resistance vs. Rest
  • 33:45 – Healing Your Nervous System
  • 41:08 – Managing Rage and Chemical Sensitivity
  • 57:57 – Rage and Nervous System Regulation

Ellie McIntyre - sex money and rage podcast

Ellie Goode Host of the Provocative “Sex, Money & Rage Podcast, Nervous System Junkie, and Plant Psychonaut 🌿

I created Sex, Money & Rage to talk about everything that’s taboo. BDSM. Plant medicine. Healthy Rage. Kink. Emotions. Boundaries. Money issues. Less thinking, more feeling. How to get into your body and silence your overactive mind.

Sex, Money & Rage provides straight-up, powerful nervous system tools to help you dominate life’s toughest moments.

All podcast episodes are located here.

Do you have 30 seconds to leave a 5-star rating on Spotify / Apple? 🤗

I mean… who doesn’t have 30 seconds, right?

Click here to leave a rating on Spotify.

Click here to leave a review on Apple.

And in case you need some extra social proof to inspire you to leave a review, check out these super nice things people have already said…

The title sucked me in and I am glad! I just found out about this podcast and I was very impressed! The interview style is very interesting (not your usual dry interview questions) and gives a lot of insight into the way the guest thinks and held my attention the entire time.

Dumpster Muffin – USA

First-time listener but definitely not the last…Sex, Money & Rage connects listeners to impressive people with fascinating experiences to share. SMR is authentic, thought-provoking and an entertaining listen.

Jack, USA

Thank you for creating this space for people like-minded to talk openly and and feel OK to talk about these things.

Beau, Australia

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this podcast (and in the Sex, Money & Rage website) is for informational and educational purposes only and therefore it does not constitute medical advice. Please consult a medical practitioner or healthcare provider if you’re seeking medical advice, diagnoses or treatment. To the maximum extent permitted by law (including the Australian Consumer Law), we exclude all liability for any loss or damage of any kind (including consequential loss, indirect loss, loss of profit, loss of benefit, loss of opportunity or loss of reputation) whether under statute, contract, equity, tort (including negligence), indemnity or otherwise arising out of or in connection with the Site or the Content. For more information about our terms, click here.


Ellie Goode: Welcome to the Sex, Money and Rage podcast. 

Irene Lyon: imagining and feeling the energy of wanting to kill that person that hurt you and this goes against all the grains of love and light and be kind and compassionate and forgive. I think that there’s a place for that, because if there wasn’t, we would be crazy people running around killing everyone. But there is that energy in the physiology that wants to feel. The protection mechanism that never got to happen because of our societal conditioning is humans

Ellie Goode: Hello Ragers, and welcome back to sex, money and rage.

I’m your host, Ellie, and today’s guest was super, super interesting Irene Lyon. She is an incredible nervous system expert. She has a huge YouTube channel and just puts out so much content all about the nervous system and how to release stored survival stress from your physical body. So today we chatted a lot about kill energy, really intense rage or the fight response of the fight or flight mechanism in your body and what to do about it, how to release it and what to do if perhaps you don’t feel kill energy and you feel really numb inside and suppressed and frozen, or in a state of just not knowing how to feel, not knowing how to act or take action because motivation, you know, taking action it’s all tied into rage and so if you’re suppressing your rage, is suppressing this kill energy that’s inside because you’re afraid of it, then this episode is for you. We talked about all about how to work with repressed anger and rage and get into your nervous system and peel back these layers of protection that so many of us put on to keep ourselves safe.

If you’ve been listening to the podcast and you’re loving it you’re listening to it night and day, 24 hours a day, even while you sleep, then please leave a five-star review. It would be greatly appreciated. It goes a long way. It helps get the word out to other people and helps me get really interesting guests. So if you are enjoying it and you want more interesting guests, then please hit that five-star rating or review button on Spotify, apple, wherever you listen to sex, money and rage. All right, that’s it for me. Enjoy this incredible episode with Irene Lyon and I’ll catch you on the other side. Hey, Irene, thank you so much for coming on sex, money and rage today. How is your day going so far?

Irene Lyon: It’s going okay. It’s that time of year where the you know the days are getting a little longer here in the northern hemisphere, yeah, so it’s good there’s a little more energy bubbling and I love the title of your show, so it’s it’s okay excited to talk about those topics

Ellie Goode: Yeah, I wanted to talk about, I guess, the more uncomfortable nitty-gritty stuff that people kind of avoid because everyone thinks about it, everyone goes through it.

So so, yes, I wanted to ask you a bit about yourself and what you do for people who haven’t met you or don’t know anything about you.

Irene Lyon: Yeah, it’s a long story, but I’ll start with like now, in this moment, pretty much all my work is in the online space and it revolves around if I really make it really macro teaching people about their nervous system, teaching people about what trauma really is, and teaching people educational but also practical through my courses and classes how to restore health and what we would call the fancy term is regulation to the nervous system, physiology, so it’s it’s like a hybrid between body, mind, brain, but also cells, but also and I know you know the work a bit is that connection to the environment. So it’s kind of that mind, body, environment intersection. And at the moment, you know, we’ve we’ve been doing these courses and these online teachings for almost it’s like been almost 10 years, which is crazy, really, really intensively. The last I’d say six, I was in private practice before. I brought everything online and was working with people, all kinds of folks so pain, PTSD, traumas, got problems, auto immune, old injuries, kids, teenagers, all ages and so I was in private practice for a very long time and basically made a shift to online just to change things up and and really, Ellie and you know this there was so much education that people needed to learn, and it didn’t make sense to do that one-on-one when you could create a video, you create an article, you could create a course, and so it was so clear to me, working in private practice six or so years ago, i would be spending so much of that hour of a person’s time and you know that wasn’t cheap. You know, here in Vancouver for a session, just drawing pictures and graphs, and this is your fight flight and this is your freeze and this is what happens when you’re born, and so that was a huge, important shift.

Gear shift, if you will, in my practice was to go that route. So that’s sort of now and then as my credentials, if we say those. I have training in something called somatic experiencing, which is the work of Dr Peter Levine, and he’s still alive and well, but that was, he was really the godfather, the grandfather of understanding that humans store stress in ways that animals in the wild don’t, and that’s why we get unwell and that’s why things linger. So I’m trained in that. I’m also trained in something called the Feldenkrais method, which is also a person, Dr Moshe Feldenkrais. He’s long past and he was just brilliant at teaching people how to really relearn is the best way to say it, but from the body level.

But when you relearn how to move and use your body, it also surprise, surprise affects the brain, because that’s where movement arises from. So that’s something else that I’m trained in. I was actually introduced to that in Australia, your home country, yeah, back in 2000, and Wollongong. And and then you know, another branch of the work that I do is the work of Kathy Kane and Stephen Terrell. I need to, you know, respect them, because they taught me about early trauma and developmental trauma and working at that pre-verbal level which is sort of just starting to be understood by the mainstream. It’s not enough to just talk about your problems, and even it’s not enough to work with emotions. You have to get into that deep cellular level which you’ve learned about through some of my courses. So that’s another bridge that brings in the body, the mind, but also that cell physiology element. And then you know before that, ellie, i had two degrees in we call it here kinesiology, but it’s exercise science and another degree, research in biomedical science.

So I’m over qualified.

Ellie Goode: Yeah, amazing. And and so what prompted your interest into the somatic world? and Feldenkreis and the nervous system?

Irene Lyon: Yeah, well, I was actually in Australia. I was in Wollongong going to university doing research and I had just recovered from a patella, which is the kneecap fracture, so I had broken my kneecap. It’s a long story, i won’t get into the full full, but essentially I had a complication from another surgery of my knee replacing a ligament called the anterior cruciate ligament, ACL, and my kneecap broke about three weeks after this surgery. This was back in 2000, so 22 years ago, which is crazy, and that injury really screwed me. It just, you know it, for lack of a better word fucked up my body, if I can say that, yeah and it it. What was so interesting, Ellie, is I was in Australia about a year after this happened. The bone was healed, like I looked good, my muscle you know definition was back, but I was in so much stiffness and pain and what. What was so interesting is I had just spent 10 years learning exercise, science and fitness and rehab and working with people with injuries and some of these people I was helping. But whatever I had learned didn’t work for me, and so I was doing the stretching and the strengthening and physical therapy and massage and it was just still not. My body was still not well. So I was introduced to the Feldenkrais method there in Australia and it blew my mind and you can almost say I had an awakening of my body and sensation. Even with all my athletic pursuits in my teens and twenties, never had I considered how to pay attention to my movement, never had I considered how my breath might get held when I strain or do something. I had no understanding of developmental movement and even though I had studied the spine and the bones and I could name every single piece of anatomy, i could not. I didn’t know how they really worked together, which is so strange, right? so we could say about the same about some doctors. You know they’ve studied so much about the system, the human system, but if you were to ask them to just heal someone with their bare hands, they probably wouldn’t know where to start. So that led me into the somatic world of Feldenkrais and one could say the rest was history.

I got into that work intensively when I returned back to Canada and did a four-year training. It’s not short, you know. So this stuff isn’t just like a weekend course, it was a four-year, like 800 hour training it was. It was. It was amazing for my if I could go back and do another one. It’d be great because you’re literally relearning every single movement of your body. And but what was interesting? to follow that thread to how I got into the trauma world with Peter Levine’s work.

I was working in private practice, having great success with maybe 50 to 60 percent of my clients, but there was a portion of folk who weren’t getting better with the Feldenkrais work which helped me so much and it made no sense at the time and so I talked and asked questions and that led me to somatic experiencing. And then when I started reading some of Peter’s writings, i went oh man, this is why some of these clients aren’t doing well. They have had some really terrible traumatic abuse, accidents, life stressors. There’s another layer that we need to go to, that is even under the neuro motor development patterns, and so that was in 2008. And I just signed up for an SC training in California and just kind of rode that way from 08, learning and learning and going to classes, and at the end I was assisting at the masterclass level with Peter and his masterclasses, which was a blessing that I got in when I did And that kind of ended, not ended, but I chose to sort of just go off and do my own thing intensively, kind of in about 2015.

So I was really in that community learning as much as I could for, you know, a good eight or so years. I’m doing my math correctly, yeah, so that’s. That’s kind of a quick version of how I got into what we would call. You know it’s funny there’s no actual designation for the word somatic, like it’s we kind of use it, and it’s nice because it encompasses not just my work but, say, body mind centering, which is body baby, which Cohen’s work. It might encompass dance and and other forms of even Eastern arts like chi gong and Tai Chi. But this moment in time, unlike, say, physical therapy or medicine, somatics is kind of this gray zone of everything thrown into one bucket. And then I would say I’m biased and I know you are The combo of Feldenkrais and somatic experiencing and Kathy Cain’s work is just like the bomb in a good way.

Ellie Goode: I was talking to John about this. My brother. And I was like you know, so I was trying to figure out, like what’s, what’s the difference between all these things? And he explained it really well. Like the somatic experiencing is really good for working with charge, like big energy charges that come through the body, and then the Feldenkrais is good for bringing in that more parasympathetic state or that karma state, and so I just, yeah, by having both, like you need both because you’re going to have these big fight or fight, energy is coming through, but then you need to also learn how to bring your body and your system down to rest and recover. And yeah, i thought that was really cool how you brought all of this together in into one sort of thing.

Irene Lyon: For sure. That’s a great way of looking at it And in my evolution it was really clear in, say, my somatic experiencing trainings, when I was just learning, those who struggled to really get what was going on were often and this is not always the case, i’m generalizing They were the ones that were more in the mental world of psychotherapy and counseling. And my peers who are, say, yoga trained or Feldenkrais trained or more Eastern, like there was some Chinese medicine folk, they had a much easier time I’m actually getting shivers thinking about it right now, like we had no, i don’t want to say we had no trouble, but it was so easy to go into that learning because we were already embodied and we knew how to be in our awareness of our body. And then I did feel for those folks who are more analytical It was hard for many of them to drop in because they didn’t have time. There was no time in that training to learn how to be in your body.

Oddly it’s called somatic experiencing, but there was no apprenticeship to teach, right? You know, this is how you sense your guts, this is how you sense your inter interception, and so I think that was an eye opener and it also gave me juice to know how, when and if that time comes. When I teach this stuff to other people It’s like, oh, there’s going to be so much foundational work before we get even get into working with people, because if you have those foundations on board, the higher level stuff actually is a lot simpler, if that makes sense. Yeah, definitely, like you can’t do calculus if you can’t read numbers Right.

Ellie Goode: Yeah, it’s like you need that kind of foundation of like how to move. I mean, i know I wasn’t even aware of it when I started with a somatic therapist and it blew my mind as well, because I was. I was like whoa, i didn’t, i just had this hunch of like I’d gone to talk therapy and I’d sort of resolved everything mentally, but I was like something feels off in my body still and and I don’t want to just go and talk about it I just feel it. And so that’s what led me into the somatic world, so to speak. Yeah, i know, so it’s yeah, it’s a lot of fun. So I wanted to ask as well about so you mentioned you did one on one sessions and then you decided to branch into the online world and do courses and videos. And what was that transition period like, and were you working sort of part time with with clients while you built up the online business, or how did sort of all of that work?

Irene Lyon: I was working full time clients. Wow, it was. One might say that I was still in a bit of a functional freeze In that period because, honestly and my students know this because I talk about this when I’m teaching it wasn’t really until the last two years I think that I finally lifted out of that functional freeze, and a lot of it had to do with COVID per se, but the fact that I wasn’t traveling and training and going places and, you know, uprooting myself. I was just nestled, routine and it gave my body space to really move some old, old, old old stuff out. So if I think about how I worked back in 2013 ish to 16 ish, i was seeing not like 40 clients a week. That’s impossible in our line of work to do that. Well, some might do it, but they’re probably doing it in a deep functional freeze in my opinion. But I was seeing, sometimes four days a week, six clients, five clients, you know, depended. I was still teaching classes in my little studio And then I mean I had a routine I would go to my office in downtown Vancouver and then I’d walk home And I’d stop at a very specific Starbucks. I’d have a tea And I’m I had to sit and write an article or write a piece of content for the like, like that’s. It was like my routine. Then I come home, i’d have dinner and I do it again till often midnight. So, yeah, it was just this constant, constant construction, if you will, of written word, outlining lessons, slide, what is it called PowerPoint, you know, for the biology of stress videos, audio exercises. So whenever I had a spare moment, i would get my husband, seth, who has a, you know, professional sound studio. He’d like set it up and I’d, you know, record a quick lesson in between things, you know, before dinner’s ready. And so it was done in this very piecemeal whenever I could. If I had waited until I had just all this time, it never would have happened. So, and I think when you talk to anyone who creates something like that, it usually has a story that’s similar. Yeah, and so it was a lot of work. And then it wasn’t until I’d have to look back at my notes.

One of my mentors and I’ve done some interviews with him, his name is Chris Durkey’s. He’s sort of my soul, spiritual mentor, confidant. He used to be a priest, so he’s got that very calming energy And he left the church because he realized I want to have a girlfriend and a wife and kids, and so kudos to him for following his impulse right And so now he does great, great work. But it was him who really said you need to get out of private practice because there’s a much bigger need for this education. And he was right. And it took it took probably from him saying that honestly, ellie about three years to really transition out. It was tough.

You know it’s, it’s… I mean, oddly, it’s easy work When you have that high level skill. You don’t have to prepare anything, you just show up. I mean, i didn’t prepare for our talk either, but you know it’s, you go, you, you come back, you leave, you do your work, but with the online thing, there’s always something else to do. Yeah, you know, and I’m still learning that boundary and learning to get more help from my staff and hire more people. It’s, yeah, it’s been an interesting journey of nervous system push, because here’s the thing If you can’t push a little bit and override in some things, nothing ever gets done. And so it’s knowing that balance of okay, now I have to really take a chill pill and just unplug and like force myself to be lazy, which is for me, that’s my. My upbringing was to work, work, work, work. That’s what my parents taught me, and so I’m trying to like shift that to have a good balance.

Ellie Goode: It’s a very Western, I think, motto is to just you know work and work and make money and build a business. And you know achieve, achieve. And it is this, this unlearning of you know slowing down and bringing that, you know using that fold and crash analogy of bringing that slower movement and slowing us down to to rest.

Irene Lyon: So true, but it’s it’s also, you know it’s also very post war. you know, after the Second World War at least my grandparents who lived through that you know it was a survival. it was, you know, immigrants, like they had to work darn hard to. you know, my mom was to make ends meet and find the things you needed to find, and I think that that push is still lingering in so many of our worlds. But it also can swing the other way to nothing. And so there’s this fine balance of how do you contribute? And we still have money, so we still need to make money to buy food and electricity and all those things.

And I’ve accepted that like, okay, I’ll play the game. But then again, yeah, going back to those, to the older ways of being more slow and nomadic and not knowing where your next meal is gonna come from, like it was just such a different time, you know, thousands and thousands of years ago, compared to the last, say even 100 years. So that fascinates me too is how we’re in this interesting transition. it seems, and some people are caught in that you know, screw you, i’m not doing anything, and some are still asleep in that very nine to five rat race world. So it’s interesting. It’s like nervous system. regulation at that macro level is interesting.

Ellie Goode: Yeah, definitely, definitely. And, like you said, it’s a balance of yeah, like there are times you need to sort of push and get things done, but then also, yeah, it’s that balance of and I guess that comes back to following your impulse, which you talk a lot about in your programs as well. So it’s also yeah.

Irene Lyon: Yeah, and the impulse is interesting, because sometimes that impulse isn’t accurate.

Ellie Goode: Yep.

Irene Lyon: And so how does one discern that impulse to be lazy in that being resistance to doing what is needed versus true deep need for rest? And, as you’ve learned, that’s just something you learn with trial and error Yeah, and it’s not always easy when you’re upbringing was one of the other. And I do think that there is this perfect I don’t like that word, perfect but this better balance, homeostasis, where we know when that impulse is accurate and then we know when that impulse is like the little devil trying to get us Yeah, and how to say not no. You know, like that’s like old stuff, that’s like trying to creep into sabotage my success, not just in business, but today, or in this hour, or in this conversation with this person.

Ellie Goode:

Yeah, yeah, it’s a journey, for sure, and so you mentioned functional freeze. Could you just explain what that is for someone who wouldn’t know what that is?

Irene Lyon: Yeah, so I’ll explain that. I’ll explain the other Fs. So fight or flight, that is our classic danger threat. I need to punch this person or attack them or run for my life.

And while that is I’ve just given it literal like there was, you know, like there’s a burglar or an attacker or an animal or something like a ball coming. it isn’t just a person, it could be a ball coming towards your head and you have to protect to not get hurt. That is our what we call sympathetic nervous system, part of our autonomic nervous system, that protects us. It’s also that energy that you hear when they say, oh, the mother was able to lift the car off of her baby, like heroic hormones, just you know. and then there’s free.

So there’s fight, flight, and then something called freeze, and that’s part of what’s called the parasympathetic nervous system. And then the parasympathetic nervous system is very complex. There has elements of freeze, but also elements of rest, digest, and also elements of social engagement, which is very much mammalian and human. but the freeze element would be I can’t fight, i can’t flee, i’m just going to freeze. And the classic animal metaphor would be the deer and the deer in the headlights. So you’re driving, and I’m sure in Australia that it would be kangaroo with headlights.

Ellie Goode: There’s lots of kangaroos.

Irene Lyon: Yep, and like they, you know, i don’t know if they freeze, they might, They do.

Ellie Goode: They look at the car headlights and they just stop in the middle of the road and stare at the headlights.

Irene Lyon: Yeah, so that’s freeze, they’re in shock, they don’t, they lose orientation because they’ve been blinded And they don’t know where to go because if they, maybe they’re going to jump into something. That’s not good. So they freeze. So humans have that too. And then freeze has a spectrum because, like, think about it, if you literally had that deer in the headlight, shock, you couldn’t live, like it wouldn’t work. So what happens is it happens in humans And let’s just say it isn’t an accident, because we do need freeze. So my example is always, if you rupture an artery because of an accident, you’re going to want to go into freeze And then what’s called shutdown so that your blood pressure and your heart rate goes really, really high, your heart rate goes really slow so that you don’t bleed out, right, that we want. So freeze can turn into shutdown And let’s just say there isn’t an accident like that, it’s just intense emotional trauma. So there might be some shutdown, you might feel a little low, you might even be what’s called collapsed, where the tissues get really kind of flaccid. It’s the opposite of fighting and bracing, right. So it’s just like I give up. I give up, i’m just going to be very suppressed and depressed and collapsed. That’s kind of the tail end of this freeze response and to shut down collapse. But then let’s just say and this is just one example, but we could extrapolate it to all sorts of things that emotional, verbal or even maybe physical sexual abuse happens, but you’re not harmed to the point where you need to go to a hospital, Like it’s a shake up, but you’re technically not needing medical attention. You go into this kind of lull but then you got to get up the next morning. Let’s say you have kids. Let’s say you have animals. Let’s say you have a business to run. Let’s say, whatever it is, i got to get going, but you don’t realize that your system is still trapped in that collapse freezy, deep, shut down, parasympathetic energy. But because of life, we have to keep going and we function with that freeze. So functional freeze in that respect is that. But the thing that’s interesting and I did do a video on this that you can share with folk I explain an analogy where this starts, because it isn’t always abuse.

My classic example is you’re raising a child and they’re learning how to ride a bike, or they fall and they hurt themselves. And a common thing that we usually say. I would not say this anymore, but it is. Oh, you’re fine, you’re fine, get up, get up. Get up. And maybe the kid didn’t break an arm, maybe they just scraped some of their skin. But that hurts. If you’ve scraped your skin recently, you know that it stings and it burns and it hurts and you need to take care of it. And so here you’ve got this little person who’s maybe been hurt this is the first time they’ve been hurt And they have this adult who apparently is the person who knows, saying you’re fine. But internally this little kid is like I don’t think I’m fine, but mom is telling me I’m fine, i must be fine.

And that’s what slowly starts to diminish our feeling, our sensation, our ability to process intensity. And so we shut it down, we go by her lead. Maybe she’s like come on, we gotta go, we gotta go. And so the movement of moving, getting that sympathetic, is not addressing maybe the tears that wanna come out, the emotions that might wanna process that accident, or the repressed anger. You know like kids sometimes get angry when they get hurt and it’s their frustration which is valid, trying to reset their system. We could also say, like, if a kid is angry about something, you know rage, anger, aggression and maybe it’s valid. Maybe their sibling just did something really mean to them and they’re trying to get it out. And because mom doesn’t want violence in the house, she sees that aggression is violence when it’s really just sympathetic energy, saying hey, that’s not right, it’s a boundary. And so there’s so many ways that even when we’re young, when it’s seemingly innocuous things, it screws with our capacity to set boundaries. Say that’s not right. You know that goes in with, i think, and many would say, how people get into trouble with abuse is they never knew when enough was enough. They never were given that opportunity to say no, you know, don’t, don’t, that’s mine, not your. You know that kind of thing.

So functional freeze isn’t just from one specific kind of accident or abuse. It’s just this way in which we diminish a person’s physiological sensations and expressions and then slowly, over time, it’s like just another layer of cement is put on the person and another thin layer, until they have no clue that they have this block of protection around them and their living life And they just think this is how life is. And so that would be a comprehensive way of describing functional freeze. You won’t find it in a textbook, that kind of thing. But it’s the more I talk to folks, ellie, and the more people get into the work they go. Whoa, i have been living in functional freeze from probably before I was born.

Because if a mom is carrying a little one in utero and she is not connected to her emotions and even feeling the interaction with little one inside there, isn’t that nice. That symbiotic relationship of communication and little one that’s growing inside gets the message of oh, whenever there’s an emotion, let’s throw some stress chemicals on it and shut everything down. Or every time there’s emotion could be the opposite let’s rage and get really obnoxious and raise our cortisol and all of that, and then little one learns that. So there’s not just one or the other, it depends on so many factors. Yeah, i hope that clarifies all. Definitely Does that make sense.

Ellie Goode: Yeah, yeah, yeah, no, it’s, it’s. It was really good explanation, thank you.

Ellie Goode: If you’re reading this and realizing that you’ve been stuck in fight or flight or freeze energy and you want to learn more about this nervous system work and how to release this stored survival stress from your nervous system, then go to and sign up for my free emails. I talk about all of this stuff and more how to get into your body, into your nervous system and into feeling these emotions in a physiological way, so that it’s released from your nervous system and your body for good. Check it out

Ellie Goode: Yeah, it’s almost, as you said, that the cement being piled on and it’s like you know you’re underneath all of that is all this energy of emotions that haven’t been released at the time, and so, yeah, and so do you find. I mean you would know from people doing your course that as they start doing this work and paying attention to their body, they start to feel, oh, there’s some stuff in there that needs to come out.

Irene Lyon: They feel all sorts of things and it’s it can be shocking, because if you’ve had again it’s a good analogy this layer of thin cement and then it hardens, but you get used to moving around it, right. And another layer, and oh, it’s a little tight, oh, I’ll just get used to moving around it. And then, before you know it, you have no clue how many layers are there. And so when you start to take these layers off and everyone’s different, but a general consensus that folks say is I’m feeling more pain because they’ve masked the pain I’m feeling more what we would call anxiety, which is simply survival energy. It’s the fight flight that was buried under that cement, and so that can come with, you know, the heart rate racing that can come with panic fear, sometimes the not sometimes a lot of the times the internal organs, because the digestion detox lymph brain immune. That is governed by the autonomic nervous system. So when you start to lift the freeze response off, the system might become more sympathetic And so there might be, you know, a flip and digestion. So someone’s like, oh yeah, my digestion is just great, and then and then the bowels are moving way more and it’s a little alarming, but the system is. It’s like it’s been in one area I’m using my hand to kind of represent a pendulum and it swings the other way, and so it’s like this is crazy, we don’t know how to deal with this, and then it poof, it goes the other way. So it’s kind of an interesting thing. When I was coming out of functional freeze There was this was years ago there was a moment where I actually had intestinal upset, which I’m someone who never had that And I remember my my belly bloated like insane for no reason, and it was this read rejigging of my autonomic nervous system.

Some folks will get sick because, you know, their immune system has been so primed to fight. It’s just vigilant, like we got to protect this one like crazy. And then when you take a bit of that fight, flight energy off, it allows the system to kind of actually collapse a little because it’s been so on guard. And then that’s when you can succumb to something. And so when you don’t understand that, you can sometimes think, oh, what am I doing wrong? What’s what’s happening Like? and sometimes, yes, you, sometimes you might get sick because you’re run down, you’re not filled with good nutrients, and that’s true.

But there’s also this interesting reshaping of the system body like the posture. As the posture changes, a person might feel more clumsy Because their sense of self and their kinesthetic awareness is like I have these arms and they’re. You know, when teenage boys get our girls really, you know, when they grow like five inches in a matter of two months, like they hit themselves, they’re bumping into things and it’s because the system hasn’t caught up to that change. And so, um, yeah, the nervous system is interesting because as you start to heal it and come out of that functional freeze, what occurs I wish you know there was like a list of these are the five things that always occur.

We don’t know, memories might come back. People’s memories of terrible things might come back, sometimes memories of good things, right, even brain, you know, i remember there’s been moments where I might, my voice, my speech, just isn’t working. Or you go to write something And then you don’t remember how to write words. Wow, and it’s not because you’ve had a stroke, it’s just because there’s been a restructuring of the system. And then the other thing that often occurs, ellie, is people’s food preferences shift because they’re listening more deeply to what their body actually needs. And that can be a tricky one, because if someone’s been a specific kind of eater, like I am, a this I am that it can throw them off because they’re like well, this is how I eat, but my body is wanting this and I’m confused, and that is an interesting shift for some people to you know, that’s where it’s like well, you follow your impulse and the impulse will be completely opposite to their food choices. Yeah, there’s so many ways that things shift.

Ellie Goode: Yeah, it’s interesting, especially the food, the food thing, because I’ve noticed, the more I’ve done this work and gone on this path, you’re right it can get a bit hairy before it starts to clear up. But it but I think you’ve wrote in an email once to about, as you do this work, more and more, like you can become more sensitive to certain things. And so you know, like I can’t have caffeine anymore because my hands crack and dry out. And I think part of it is to do with the altitude. But yeah, really, really interesting, you know, so I’ve had to shape, reshape my diet just to be like, well, that’s not working right now. Hopefully one day I can have coffee again. But yeah, it’s interesting Like you start to go, yeah.

Irene Lyon: The other one that more and more people are talking about these days which is good is sensitivity to chemicals and perfumes and just things that we’ve accepted as just part of culture. And so many of the things that were surrounded with are poison, you know, like all the detergents, the strong sense, the scented candles, the air fresheners, so like just really toxic to our hormones. Actually they’re called endocrine disruptors And what people will find is that as they become more regulated, they can’t stand these, they can’t stand to put perfume on, they can’t stand the lotions. That they just don’t even. You know one point they didn’t smell And now they’re like, and some might say, oh well, now you’re becoming overly sensitive, but that’s actually good, because that stuff is technically poison. And so in the wild, you know, animals aren’t putting candles in their dens and spraying you know, spray when they take a poop in the woods. It’s what it is, and we’ve gotten more so in North America.

Europe is a little less heavy from what I’ve experienced with. I don’t know what it’s like in South America, but here I hate getting into a cab, for instance, because usually that’s just filled with that stuff. So one thing people, one thing people will notice, is they just don’t have tolerance for that anymore. My hope is that as more people learn this, there is a demand to not have those things that aren’t necessary. Yeah, you know, if you just if you just keep something clean with jet, like just simple soap and water, you don’t need all these things. So that’s another piece that I have found, because a lot of folks will swing and be like this is insane. My hope is that that shifts and will just become more conscious around not having those products everywhere. That’s my hope at least.

Irene Lyon: Yeah, yeah, well, time will tell. Hopefully things will shift. And so you mentioned earlier rage and the child not not being able to express it or looking to mom and and being confused, and so I guess, for, for some of your students, what are some of the things that you could you help them or advise them how to start working with this rage? Because I know for me, like when I started working with it, there was a lot of it that came up and and it could be. You know, it’s like trying not to get overwhelmed by it, but then also rage is, like you said, link to setting boundaries and even motivation and getting stuff done and going after your goals. So how would I guess you, yeah, talk about some healthy ways maybe to work with rage and and approach that?

Irene Lyon: That’s sort of the spectrum, so the pure emotion we would call its anger. And so anger is like one of the six basic mammalian emotions of joy, surprise, sadness, disgust, fear and anger. So if you think of like a spectrum, like a line that’s horizontal, you might have anger in the middle And then as you go one way you might have just mild aggression, frustration, irritation, like those are light versions of anger. But then if we think of you know, i’m driving on the road and someone cuts me off, i’m going to get angry Right, and I I’m not someone who’s going to chase that person down and, you know, gun them down with my car or whatever The person that that can’t process that anger and knows that doesn’t make sense to get into an accident to teach them a lesson.

We can say that that becomes violence. So that’s like the very far end is things becoming violent. Rage is an interesting one because anger can tip to that rage and I’m not going to scream because it’ll distort my mic, but it’s like that. That’s like like just create, like I can’t handle it and stomping and a verge of like hurting things but not, and so that is natural. And so if we think of someone who is attacked right, physically, sexually, verbally there is a desire in that person who’s being attacked to protect.

Of course, for many people it’s not going to happen because chances are it won’t be useful to attack because you might get hurt more. So we shut it down, right? This goes back to that freeze thing. So when someone knows that they probably have repressed anger and then that whole spectrum of all the other things, sometimes, usually, it will pop out in ways that are kind of explosive, like it isn’t just little mild frustrations, it is that I just want to hit my kid. And this is what happens in households, right? A parent doesn’t know how to process and integrate their rage and it turns to violence because they don’t know how to direct that energy in a positive way out of their bodies and they’re not harming another person or the stuff around them. You know the classic punching your fist through a wall kind of thing.

Ellie Goode: It happens in the movies all the time.

Irene Lyon: That wall is so thin If I did that here, that would break my knuckles.

But like so, that’s like that, that’s that spectrum. And so, in a perfect world where someone is titrating which is a fancy word for going slow and learning these things slowly rather than you know, if I use my concrete example, we don’t want to break the concrete in one big piece and shatter it. When we’re uncovering our layers, we want to, like, take one off and another off. So if we do it that way, with the slow way of entering back and getting to know our body and learning some theory and doing some movement and orienting and all these things, we might like notice, huh, a little frustrated today, like everything’s just pissing me off, you know. And so that might be an indication that that sympathetic fight flight is starting to bubble up. And so, again, you don’t want to hurt anyone, harm yourself, screw you, you know, by doing something stupid. But this is where stomp your feet, you know, this is where I would teach people what is your impulse. Maybe you need to like squeeze something like a towel, which is what we teach people. Maybe we need to, you know, stomp on the ground or push against a wall and just get that frustration out. And then, as you take some of those layers off, you start to realize, huh, I actually feel a bit better Now that I’ve let that energy out. And then it lets, you know, okay, anger, rage, frustration, irritation it’s not bad. No, i’m okay. I actually feel better. There’s a lightness through my arms because I’ve released that charge. It then allows bigger boluses of repressed anger and rage to come out And, you know, this is where it’s important for the person to stay connected to the ground, connected to the here and now, because some things that get worked on, when you get to that level of being able to really express big, big fight flight energy. I call it kill energy, seth, and I would also call my husband, who teaches with me, annihilation energy, where you are literally imagining and feeling the energy of wanting to kill that person that hurt you And this goes against all the grains of love and light and be kind and compassionate and forgive. I think that there’s a place for that, because if there wasn’t, we would be crazy people running around killing everyone. Yeah, there is that energy in the physiology that wants to feel the protection mechanism that never got to happen because of our societal conditioning as humans. And so in learning from, say, peter Levine, i’ll never forget one of the demos he did. This was a video, so it was a video we were watching in class And I’ll speak to it.

This woman was at home. This is actually a really great story. She came into the house and she she had to get ready to go out and so she had to have a shower. And she walked into the house, she sent something was off And she thought she smelled cigarette smoke. But she doesn’t smoke and no one smokes. But she ignored that, that alert. She got into her house, she undressed, she got into the shower and it turned out someone had broken into her house and was looking to attack her And he eventually did rape her and left And of course she was just not good And so she passed forward to years later, i think it was.

She was still having trouble with I can’t remember what it was And it’s not important, but some kind of ailments, some kind of I think it was more physical ailment, i think it was headaches, maybe I can’t remember. And so he’s working with her And he’s walking her through that day And she knew something was off when she smelled, because it was. He was clearly someone who smoked, and when someone smokes you it lingers on their clothes and hair and all that, and so they kind of process that. And then they got to this point where he had her imagine and this is, you know, a session over an hour, so I’m really speeding this up And what would she have done if she could have done anything? and she was using her hands in this way, and her hands got above her head And and he said, is like, stay there. And she just felt it and felt it, and so she had this feeling, this, this image of basically having a huge butcher knife in her arms and her hands. And then he had her wait until that feeling of rage and wanting to kill entered, and then she just went through the motions of like seeing him and stabbing him to death, and so, in a sense, unlocked that tension that had helped and because there’s no way she was going to fight off this person. He was bigger than her and so, but after the fact, he, he and this is what I would teach my students to do would they worked through? if your body could execute literally it’s kind of a funny word but allow that movement, execute that activity. It would have been for her to do that. Now you can’t then take that someone might be listening to this going. I also was attacked.

Okay, i’ll imagine taking a knife and stabbing this, this perpetrator it won’t necessarily work because he followed her somatic movement of her hands coming up And he didn’t say to her I want you to put a knife in your hands. Imagine this is imaginary folks. It came to her impulse For someone else. It might have been I want to take some dynamite and blow that person up, or I might want to take gasoline and light them on fire, or I might want to stomp on them. You know, and I’ve worked with you know many folks where all those things I just said naturally come up.

And so this is where you also have to educate the person, alley, because what will occur when someone isn’t ready for that, when the layers haven’t been slowly released? is they all feel deep shame for wanting to harm a human? Yeah, even though that person harmed them. And this is where you know the very like the 10 commandments don’t hurt thy neighbor. You know all those things. It’s like yeah, yes, definitely true, don’t? you? don’t want to go around doing these things, but in your animal physiology there is this desire to rage and kill and annihilate, and then that it just frees up so much energy And it’s done in a way that’s safe, right, and so this is where humans are really, really different.

You know, i don’t think that animals see animals in the wild. If they get attacked, they get attacked and they die. They’re not lingering with, you know. Or if they get attacked, they, they, they move through, and if they recover and they’re not, you know, feeble and and lame they survive and they go back. But they don’t hold that memory because their brains aren’t developed to the degree that ours are. And so we can hold so many memories in our system, and the human system is so complex. All you have to do is study dissociative identity disorder, which once was called multiple personality disorder, and see how well we can compartmentalize the feelings, and you know, there’ll be a person who will have all these different alters. One alters the good person, the bad person, the. There’s a great show called the United States of Tara. Did you ever see that?

Ellie Goode: No, I’ve, I’ve heard of it, but I haven’t, I haven’t seen it.

Irene Lyon: Oh good, tony Colette. She’s amazing And she plays a woman who has this and the whole series is about them uncovering what occurred to her when she was young And the alters are really cool, like she basically is an actress that is playing like 10, eight different characters. So she shows how amazing she is as an actress And you see that, and that is a really good example to convince people how much stuff we can store and how many memories we can store. So, to answer your question about rage, that’s like a very macro way, but different little examples, and then the final thing I’ll say is it’s part of us, it’s our birthright, and babies express aggression in healthy ways by, like pulling on mom’s hair and, you know, pounding their little fists and feeling energy and pulling, you know, and we want to cultivate that in a contained way that lets them feel their strength, and so many of us didn’t get that. So when we start to feel our strength, it gets a bit scary, and then this transfer is into, you know, career and how we work is sometimes we need to push a little. You know, we need to put our some people say our big girl pants on or big boys pants on and all the other foul sayings that I won’t I won’t utter right now, but, like you know, strap that on and get some energy in there and do the work. But again, if we’re stuck in this freeze, this functional freeze, it’s going to feel scary to be a little aggressive with our career, and not in a bad way, in a go forth and like be powerful way.

And I learned from Peter that the word aggression comes from the Latin, a grady, which means to push forward, to break through. It’s not about violence, it’s about, it’s about pushing through and and that life force, energy. So I love that rage, repressed anger, aggression, but violence, that’s the one we don’t want, right? Yeah, that’s. That’s the one that happens when we don’t know how to process, and that’s where bad things, that’s. That’s where people that are violent get it. It’s not cause they’re you know, it’s not cause they’re trying to be malicious, they don’t know any other way.

Ellie Goode: Yeah, They don’t have that outlet, that healthy outlet, to release.

Irene Lyon: No, Yeah, And they probably didn’t have it from a very young age. Yeah, Right, Yeah, Often. I’m not an expert in serial killers, but often those folks are quite calm And when you look in their eyes they’re dead. It’s just this blank slate, vacant, exactly. There’s like the soul has been turned off and it’s like well, that’s why the because how could the people will say how can they do this? That’s why they’re completely shut down and they’re looking. They’re looking for that energy. That’s why people do drugs and tense drugs, right. They want that high or the drugs that bring down. They need that low Right Cause they haven’t got that built in their system. Exactly

Ellie Goode: Fascinating, oh, I could talk all day about this stuff. It’s awesome And so and I wanted to ask us to sort of talk about rage. You sort of mentioned, in the context of working and business, just some of the benefits you’ve seen in students who have started to learn to peel back those concrete layers and to follow their impulse and to really harness their rage in a healthy way, whether it’s through a towel or stomping. Just some of the benefits in terms of what they’ve gone on to do.

Irene Lyon: Yeah, I’d say that the the most important thing is it lets them break through the resistance Kind of a buzzword these days. Steven Pressfield popularized it in his book the war of art, i believe And that resistance that comes up and stops you from doing what you’re supposed to do. Some people say and he will say that it’s always there, that you can never break free of it. I would love to sit down with him and have a conversation and teach him about nervous system physiology, cause it’s like, actually, when you have a solid, healthy nervous system and you know how to feel, your fight, flight, life force, energy, you don’t need to break through that resistance because it’s just, it’s like it makes it obsolete. And so the few folks that I am more connected with who are building businesses and using this nervous system lens, they will say that they catch themselves much quicker dilly dallying, you know, not focusing And if they can really stay connected with their body, it helps push forward. But it’s just when the month when they’re just working with the mind or the higher brain, it’s like it’s like you’re working with one cylinder, so the more one can be regulated in their nervous system and learn the tools and all the skills that I teach and you and your brother have learned, for example, it’s like the impulses are clear, the gut hits are clear. Of course you have to follow them. Yeah, because because we are very clever as humans and we can deke ourselves out and and convince ourselves that that impulse isn’t right. And maybe it isn’t right, maybe it’s the beginnings of trial and error where you actually do make the wrong decision.

But for the most part, i have seen my folks who are getting this on board and using their healthy aggression, their healthy life force, their impulse, they’re, they’re, they’re building their business from their body and they’re got not so much the heart or the head Like the head still has to do the analytical work But the heart would be in, you know, having compassion for your employee who’s just having a hard time, like it’s okay to take the day off, that kind of thing. But that gut, if we really think of, if we bring the soul in and like the authenticity of what each of us are supposed to do here on this planet. It’s hard to do that when we’re not connected to our body, because our body is the vessel that drives that stuff And there’s some that would argue no, it’s not the body, it’s the energy and the soul. It’s like, yes, that’s true, but this body holds that stuff.

It’s like the ship. It’s like if you have a ship, the ship doesn’t do anything if there isn’t a crew inside doing the stuff Right. And so you need that body, but you also need all the innards working properly. And so I mean, like I said, i rarely have resistance, if at all, with my work And in installing those elements of going with the gut and listening, and it just things just open up in ways that you can’t explain. So I would say it is essential material for work, business creation, projects, when a person is ready for that and wanting to do that.

Ellie Goode: Yeah, that’s cool. It reminds me of what you said about the lady in the cigarette smoke. It’s like learning to attune to these signals, because our body can pick up on these things so much quicker than our minds. I mean, you know, sometimes I’ll knock a cup off the bench and I’ve before I know what. I’ve caught the cup and I have no idea how it happens. But it’s just, the body has these incredible reflexes and impulses that when we start to tune in, yeah, it’s when the magic really happens.

Irene Lyon: Oh, definitely, yeah, I’ve been really into lots of Marvel shows lately and it makes me think of the movie Doctor Strange, the first one, where he is getting his skills and you know, and just that you’re right, like just being able to catch things and balance, and that you have to kind of accept that that magic. But it’s like, is it magic or is it just how we’re supposed to be? Yeah, true, Or both.

Ellie Goode: Yeah Yeah, So cool. We’re almost on time. But before we wrap up, if people want, I know you’ve got some amazing online courses that I’ve done, but if people wanted to find out more about you and your work and maybe do one of your courses, what’s the best place to find?

Irene Lyon: you Just my name, so Everything is there. There’s a lot there, so do not be overwhelmed. For those that are new, we’re trying to create a better page That’s a bit more basic, but there are there. You will find more of my history, my YouTube channel links, all my classes, courses. There’s ebooks. I would say, if someone’s wanting to just start the work, the 21 day nervous system tune up is the best place to start. And then, when we run smart body, smart mind, which is the longer curriculum, get into that, because that really is the, the, the holy grail, if you will, of all of the things I mentioned at the start of our talk. Ellie, that it brings in the Feldenkrais, the somatic experiencing in the early trauma elements, whereas the 21 days is more of a. It’s still wonderful, but it doesn’t bring in the early trauma elements and there’s less somatic work only because you can only get so far in 21 days. Sure, but the education basics are in that program, along with some some good practical tools.

Ellie Goode: Awesome, sounds exciting. Well, I highly recommend it guys. I’ve done the SBSM, which is the 12 week course, and highly recommend it. So, yeah, check it out. And thank you, Irene, for coming on and sharing your knowledge.

Irene Lyon: It was a good fun chat. I enjoyed it, ellie, thanks.

Leave a Comment