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Podcast Ep. 60: Bringing "Woo" Into Therapy with Janell Cox, LMFT

In this episode

Throughout the month of November here at the Yes Collective, we’ve been diving deep into the mystical and magical world of woo for emotional health. From energy healing to Tarot to astrology, our amazing team of therapists, psychologists, and coaches have been exploring how “woo” practices can be more than fun diversions or guilty pleasures. They can be intentionally used in our mental and emotional health routines.

This week Jenny and Justin talk to licensed therapist and voiceover artist Janell Cox about how she uses “woo” in her therapeutic work. Originally from Chicago, Janell received her BA in theatre arts from Indiana University Bloomington and her MA in clinical psychology from Antioch University with a focus on Spiritual and Depth Psychology. Today she's a licensed Marriage Family Therapist, with a strong mind-body-spirit and psychodynamic lens. She's also taught yoga for 11 years and is trained in the art of applied esoteric astrology through Debra Silverman. Today Janell practices therapy at Highland Park Holistic Psychotherapy in Los Angeles.

If you’re interested in how you can bring more of the unseen, mysterious aspects of life into your own mental and emotional health journey, then buckle up. You’re gonna love our talk with the joyous, funny, and wise Janell Cox.

Yes Collective is co-hosted by Justin Wilford, PhD  and Jenny Walters, LMFT.

Justin Wilford, PhD, is a co-founder of Yes Collective, an educator, a writer, and an emotional health coach. He earned doctorates from UCLA (cultural geography) and UC Irvine (public health), and specializes in translating complex, scientific ideas into actionable programs for mental and emotional health.

Jenny Walters, LMFT, is a licensed marriage family therapist and senior expert contributor to the Yes Collective. She is a graduate of the Pacifica Graduate Institute and is the founder and director of Highland Park Holistic Psychotherapy in Los Angeles, California.

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About our guest

Janell Cox, LMFT, is a licensed marriage family therapist, voiceover artist, and yoga instructor. She is a graduate of the Antioch University and practices therapy at Highland Park Holistic Psychotherapy in Los Angeles, California.

Show Notes

Janell Cox, LMFT

Janell's book #1: Existential Kink

Janell's book #2: Roar Like a Goddess

Janell's book #3: Poly Secure

Janell's book #4: Facing Codependence

Amber Mark

Transcript highlights

JUSTIN

What we're doing this month is we're looking at different woo practices. We're looking at the whole idea of woo, by the way, woo. We're defining really as anything spiritual, alternative, mystical outside of the conventional, mainstream medical model. And we're looking at Woo this month because we recognize that it can be a very powerful tool in our mental and emotional health journeys. I introduced it last month by talking about a bunch of non-woo reasons why we might be fully on board with Woo.

And they are things like the placebo effect, things like Woo helps us connect with others, helps us build community. I had a bunch of other reasons lined up that I can't remember off the top of my head, but I will throw it over to you. Jenny, do you have any thoughts on just generally what we talked about last podcast, the power of Woo, what this theme is about for you, at least?

JENNY

Yeah, it actually had me reconnected to Woo last week as I was experiencing some bumps in the road of my own life and I always, whenever I start to feel better, I forget, I forget woo. I abandon woo. And then when I start to feel bad, I'm like, I feel sort of desperate and I reconnect with Woo! And then I'm like, Why don't I do this all the time?

So I've just been really trying to, you know, wake up every morning and do a guided visualization that's been connecting me to my, my particular brand of woo right now is connecting to my spirit guides, my ancestors some other we will get I can go into more detail later because I have a bit of a woo woo story to share and oh my God, it just brings me so much clarity and and comfort and, and meaning, you know, around the pain, which always helps soothe the suffering.

So, yeah, that's what's been coming up for me since we first talked about it.

JUSTIN

Awesome. Well, Janelle, I just want to throw it over to you now. We've been talking about Woo. I defined it for for me at least. But I'm curious, Janelle, what is Woo for you? What do you think of when you hear this word woo.

JANELL

Woo is woo for me. I love, love, woo. To me, it's it's an interesting word because it's a little you know, sometimes I think it kind of demeans it. And you're right and I'm sure you guys have addressed that, but it's like because it's so profound and important to me. But it's, it's, it's anything that is it can't really be seen.

I'll use the word like local reality quite a bit. That's my favorite new like concept, but our local reality is this sort of three dimensional plane of physical form, and it has its own set of laws, which we call science. And those laws are very important to abide by when we have physical bodies and this earth structure. And that's a that's a truth that we have to abide by.

But we also have these other realms. I guess it's so hard to talk about it with language because it's so much bigger than us. But we are in this local reality and we we kind of get fooled that this is all there is because this is all we can see. And while this local reality is really important, there's so much more to the picture.

And that to me is is is respecting quote, woo is respecting that there's more to us than our physical form in these dimensions that we live in.

JENNY

And isn't it interesting that that brings that brings me so much comfort. And I also think that it can terrify people who are longing for more control, concreteness.

JANELL

And you know why it terrifies people. Jenny, I tell you, I think I think it terrifies people because choice is overwhelming and it puts the power back into us as sovereign beings. And it's easier for people to have an idea of spirituality or religion that puts power and authority outside of themselves as something judging our behavior rather than in us as sovereign, powerful beings that are a part of God or love or source, making choices and choosing love.

But we would have to stop buying into the lie or the illusion that this is all there is. So there's a lot of choice and responsibility. I mean, it's like the the foundation of existentialism is choice, right? Which is why I consider myself such an existential therapist, because I'm reorienting people to their power, their sovereignty and their choice.

Because we do have to choose love. Well, actually, we don't have to do anything, but it's just overwhelming for people.

JUSTIN

That's interesting, Janelle, that you are highlighting two different ways to approach woo. And I actually want to take one step back just to acknowledge Jenny brought this up in our first podcast, That Woo is a demeaning way to talk about practices that are very meaningful and important to people. And the reason why we chose Woo as the word here is because we do have a lot of people in Yes collective and in our orbit who are uncomfortable with some of these things.

And so woo is a nice bridge actually for a lot of people. So I bringing forth woo and in the most positive possible way. But then the other thing that we talked about last podcast was how we are in this age. This is a long age now, a couple hundred years old of secularization and demystification of the world.

And for many of us, myself included, when I was in academia for decades, very unwell, very just materialistic, that woo is a word that rationalists, materialists like myself use to talk about the things that we actually are really attracted to. You know, that spirituality or astrology or, you know, smudging practices or whatever the case is. And so it kind of yeah, it's served that purpose of being a bridge.

JENNY

And you know, if I can add this, Justin Woo has helped me understand why I was in the closet about Woo. You know, when I look at like my let me explain. I mean Janelle, you know more about astrology than I do. But when I look at my my astrology, you know, my astrological set up constellation, you know, there's a lot of thinking in my chart.

There's a lot of of that kind of rational thinking analysis is, you know, very much in my chart. And I think that has run into conflict with the parts of me that are very attracted to this more abstract, spiritual, emotional realm. And so whenever I get down on myself for having been in the closet in the womb, I was in the closet around my will.

As you know, I shared this in the last podcast I came out about five years ago. I will be sharing things openly today that I would never have dreamed I would share openly. And but now I understand, thanks to something that some people might consider. Whew, why? That is why that gets consolidated. And that's a great I find that to be really, really helpful, really orienting, you know, good story.

JANELL

Well, I just want to say, you know, we live in a paradox of love and fear and we also live in a paradox of these extreme forms of what is real to us. So we have to it's almost like what you're describing is the collective moving into a paradox of mysticism versus a paradox of this form of of our reality, which is the physical form, science and these laws.

So it's like we're vacillating the female model of spirituality, mysticism, right, that we came from and then into the patriarchal. And I do want to talk about the patriarchy because I think it's very important because I think that that's all a part of this to this conversation is the the the masculine energy having power and versus the feminine holding power.

So yeah, I think what you're talking about is this sort of like, you know, bouncing off of these different paradoxes of like how we how we interpret the world and the answer is in all of it, we do have the physical form. That's why I love astrology. It's the earth energy with the air energy, which is the mental mindset psyche.

Then the, the, you know, the earth with the physical, you got the fire, which is spirit spiritual and the water which is like the emotional. And we have to, you know, acknowledge all of it in order to thrive.

JUSTIN

So, Janelle, I wanted to bring back this idea that you were talking about about choice, this idea of two different approaches to one being about choice and sovereignty. And then, on the other hand, this approach to of kind of giving up all of that, having no choice like this is all planned or, you know, I'm I'm my life is being directed or controlled by larger forces than me.

And so it feels like, you know, this is this is two different forms. And one of the things that we wanted to talk about today was spiritual bypassing. And it so it seems to me that what what you brought up is there's one form of woo that's very empowering, that is around choice and sovereignty, as you said. And then there's this other form of woo where we're giving up that that choice and sovereignty to a higher power as other forces as this second form is.

Is this a part of spiritual bypassing for you?

JANELL

That's interesting. Well, spiritual bypass. I almost want to kind of put a pause on that because we can that is an interesting concept that allows us to stay out of reality. And one thing that I want to I think if I share this, this, this, think, this, think the line of thinking that I'm coming from is which is how I understand what's happening here, which is really hard for people to understand.

I think maybe it'll make sense, which is that I think the meaning of life, this is just like my theory. I don't know anything about anything.

JENNY

I know. Let me go. Can I go get a martini? It's 1130 in the morning. Okay, let's do this.

JANELL

The meaning of life is that we have to come from the spirit form, from the soul realm. We are drops of water in the ocean, branching off as an individual sovereign being with free will that comes here willingly and excitedly. To and and we we we give up the the the the connection. We we know that we we have to have this veil of illusion, which is separation from the source.

And we come into these bodies and we come into this experience and we have to dimmer vibration down so, so, so low to come down here. And we have to go through this process of choosing to believe in the illusion of separation from source. And it is in the redemption of choosing love. Choose, choice. Right? There's that word that we expand our consciousness and we expand the experience of love and joy, which is the meaning of life, expansion of love and joy.

So we get caught up in the illusion, which is fear or which is which we willingly do, and we excitedly do. And the more we are in our quote, darkness or fear or separation, which is also ego, the more chances we have to choose love. So being in fear and separation is not a bad thing. In fact, it's a it's a glorious thing.

The darker, the more effed up it is, the more redemption we have in the expansion of love and joy.

JENNY

The more we're being invited, the more we're being invited to make that choice. Yeah. Yeah. Well, it's easy to.

JANELL

I just had a, like a a rupture will say with my dad, who is a staunch Christian and Catholic, and I need to address that, which is that, you know, he was he was scared for my soul, you know, that I've broken off from Catholicism and I guess Christianity when I was 19 and I realized I was raised Catholic like Jenny and it and that that context of Catholicism schism worked for me because I already had a lot of I had an awareness of unconditional love from an outside source, which was God through the heart opening of my parents who loved me unconditionally.

If we don't have our hearts open as little children, we have a hard time understanding unconditional love from an outside source, which is God. So as therapists, what I find is so important is that we connect people to a concept of unconditional love, which is only through the heart center. It it cannot be intellectual ized. And when you can connect to the inherent love ability of yourself, you can connect to joy and love, right?

And that's that that feeling that I have. I have a concept of what it is to be loved unconditionally, to be delighted, and to be a precious child of God. And we all are about those things. So when we are wounded from our actual parents, which is the like this authority outside of ourselves that are loving us unconditionally, we are it's hard for us to connect to our inherent love ability as a soul.

So that is sort of how I see therapy. It's very important to connect to your inherent love ability.

JUSTIN

And so in this in this framework, then, would spiritual bypassing be the avoidance of the fear or pain avoidance of of confronting fear? Fear or pain? Yeah.

JENNY

Can I get throw out an example and just on the spiritual bypass because yeah, there was a time in my life where I was in spiritual bypass. I was reading a a lot of Carolyn Mace at the time and I was and what I was using, the way I was using it was I was disowning my power and my choice and sort of relying purely on, well, I was getting into some kind of a rabbit hole around like manifest station and like it's all it's all my fault if something bad happens.

I've manifested it of something really very skewed understanding, inverted version of the law of attraction and all that. And what I was doing in a way was outsourcing my knowing, outsourcing my power, my choice, and instead was kind of collapsed into not making any choices. And also, I think really avoiding the the darkness that you're sick, the true darkness that you're talking about.

I was I was working very hard not to feel that. And as a result, I was closed off from the choices that that would have asked of me. So I was in this kind of like weird idling position in my life and was calling it spirituality, but I don't think that's actually what was going on now when I experienced my spiritual life now and my experience of Whew, now, is that what I find is it actually puts me into deeper connection with my suffering and it brings me into holding both the tension of the the form I'm in as a human and the suffering and the pain and the beauty.

But at the same time and holding that tension, which to me is what being a human is. And when I'm in, I'm when in my spirituality or in the world, I'm in that tension of like I'm here to live in this live this form and and on this planet and do the things. And I have bills to pay.

And there's all this, you know, just human stuff I'm doing. And I'm also connected to something beyond that and that is much greater than me and holding both of that so event. So my experience when I'm not in spiritual bypass is that the spirituality actually deepens my connection to suffering, but in a way that is really rewarding and rich and yeah.

JANELL

It's when we identify with the suffering that that is who I am that right. That's where, you know, get, get stuck.

JENNY

And that that's all there is.

JANELL

Yeah. Which is why I think that being a spiritual therapist is so important because you're constantly reminding your clients like, oh, that's not who you are, that's just what you're doing to figure out how to love. So I think Jenny and I both we both work in the what's called the unconscious and we're depth therapists. And another term that we like to use as shadow work.

JANELL

And you'll hear this word thrown around a lot, you know, doing well and just did a lot of shadow work last year and.

JENNY

Like you did. Oh, tell me all about it.

JANELL

Shadow work. I just like really want to do shadow work. And it's like, what does that mean? And it, it is. And I like how it.

JUSTIN

Okay, Janelle, I'm super curious. Well, now I know what shadow work means in the depth psychology context. I'm super curious. What does what does Shadow work mean for that parody of a person that you are talking about? Like, what are they doing.

JANELL

I'm a character actor. I do voiceover. So and Jenny knows oftentimes if I'm like trying to work through like a client issue, I have to like get in their vibration and like, do like, like a.

JENNY

Like she channels them. She can call them. So it's very entertaining and help someone. Yeah.

JANELL

Yeah, like shadow work. It's just like it's this, I mean, a real shadow work is, is, is freakin hard shadow work.

JENNY

Real shadow work does you, don't you think.

JANELL

I mean and it never stops because our consciousness never stops and our ego never stops and our defenses never stop. And that's just that's just how it is. And that's what we signed up for. And that's the that's the joy of the ride, honey. It's the drama. And the drama is what we came here to do. Oh, God. There's such a good book I told Jenny about. It's called Existential Kink.

JUSTIN

Yes. I was recommended that book a couple of years ago.

JANELL

Yeah, it's so good. And it's you know, Jenny and I are trained in this young in depth therapy and on the unconscious shadow where it can be dream work. It could be in your fantasies. And, you know, traditionally, according to Young, to me, it is anything that we can catch in the projection, which is through our relationships. That's actually the deepest shadow work is, is how relationships play out because talk about being unconscious around something.

Oh, my God. Like how you attract people and what plays out. You think that you're on a track to like get it and you're like, I think I got it. And then this dynamic plays out in your relationship and you're like, Oh my God, I don't know anything.

But that takes work, it takes commitment. It takes a consistent process of coming back into that that shadow.

JUSTIN

Because what. Yeah, what the shadow. It's, it's, it's the stuff that you literally can't see. But it's still but it's still coming out in your projections, in your relationships and yeah.

JENNY

It's the stuff you I'm unconsciously yeah. I tried to get rid of and you could think of that through a IFS lens of like the exiles. You can think of it through a Jungian lens of the unconscious. And we all have different ways of languaging this.

JUSTIN

And I'm imagining that woo in its highest and best forms helps us start to do shadow work because what comes up for me around this idea of shadow work is how difficult it is, because by its very nature, I mean, like if I could see it, then I could deal with it, but I can't.

And so it's like for me, woo practices, or at least the best and highest ones will help me start to see things that I, that I couldn't see. What do you think of that?

JANELL

Yeah. Whew. It's like we need tools. We need to. I like the word distinction. It's like we need distinctions. A distinction is something that emerges out of nothing. It's like there was nothing, and now there's something. There was a darkness, and now something is into focus. And I have this, like, concept around something. So something just emerged out of the shadow, which is a knowing, an understanding, wisdom, a concept of a feeling.

We use these words to describe attachment and and states of being and feelings and something that emerges out of nothingness, which is a distinction I have. I have a concept now I can see because all we're doing is projecting on each other. And that's what I love about like people who say like about astrology. They're like, I don't put a lot of stock in it, you know, I just like who says like, you know, who says Capricorn is the is the, you know, the planet of a father energy is like, okay, I get that.

I get that. But we're projecting onto each other all the time anyway. We might as well make it interesting. We might as well have a framework of archetypes, which is all astrology is. It's a framework of archetypes that are universal in the collective unconscious that we pull upon, which we all can relate to, and we all have parts of inside us.

And it's also a study of science and timing and transits. And, you know, we don't have time to get into all that, but it's like all these systems, these woo woo ish systems of numerology and astrology and tarot or Enneagram. I love Aynsley MacLeod and the book, The Instruction, which Jenny turned me on to, which is totally transformed the way I see it, which is also a structure of archetypes and soul levels and soul ages and.

JENNY

What just struck me, Janelle, as you were speaking, is the systems are super containing and orienting and validating. And these are all the things that we need parents to do when we're infants and want more children. And so many of us didn't get. And so when I am lost in the anxiety or the pain or the suffering or identifying with the suffering, the woo is like it brings me into something very containing something.

I love that that your word distinction. It makes meaning. It brings image it brings clarification, mirroring, validation. And that's all the stuff that I, I needed and sometimes did not get, you know, and it helps it helps ground me. Ironically, it helps ground me more in a more present way into this form. You know that that's why it's not spiritual bypass.

When you're doing that, it it actually brings you more solidly into your lived experience here.

JUSTIN

I love that I, I love this idea of WU practices being containers or holding and I came back. Now this is three weeks almost from our retreat in Sedona. Janelle as Sedona is, as the work capital of the world. Right.

JENNY

I just mark time. Oh, yeah.

JUSTIN

And so I came back from this week-long retreat and I was just feeling woo'd-out like, I mean, in the best way. And I was thinking, like, how can I just keep this vibe? Because I just feel I'm just in the flow. I'm feeling good. And I was thinking like, what? What can I is there like a mantra that feels authentic for me because I'm not generally inclined to woo?

Is there something that can feel genuine and authentic? And what came up was this mantra of "I am held" or "I am held by the universe." Like the universe is holding me and I can tell it like for the past couple weeks that has been so grounding. And Jenny, so what you just said matches perfectly with my experience over the past couple of weeks, this woo mantra of I am held, the universe is holding me is actually helping me feel so much more centered and grounded and present.

JENNY

Yeah. And it builds on it anyway when you're in the zone. I just had this woo experience this weekend. You can edit this out. Hell no because you know and it's very vulnerable to share this sort of thing because, you know, I can hear the kind of the kind of energy I grew up with around this issue was raised Catholic. So there was a lot of there's been a lot of concern about my soul for a variety of reasons in my family.

JUSTIN

Jenny, do you have a do you have a manager part that alive in is this for you?

JENNY

Yes, yes, yes. It's it's it's it's holding a clipboard. It's going. Are you sure about this? Sure. So so I was, you know, as as I as I shared, you know, I've been going through my mother is elderly. She's in the last phase of her her life. She's preparing to pass. And it kicks up an immense amount of parts.

JENNY

And and wounds and feelings and grief. And I'm just it's just been a real menagerie inside of things. And I found myself visiting it this weekend, and I found myself in just a swirl of very, very intense anxiety. And I, I love that word distinction, Janelle, because there was no distinction. I was just my body was just on fire with electricity.

My mind was just swirling with a lot of confusion, fear, and and it was just in every direction work, you know, just everywhere. And so I, I put on a guided minute. I just did a quick search on insight time. I was like feeling kind of desperate, and I couldn't get a hold of anything, you know? So I just put a quick insight timer search of, like, you know, spirit guide, healing like you know, whatever a track came up, had decent reviews.

I'm like, okay, so I throw this thing on. It's a guided visualization, walks me, you know, some deep breaths into a beam of light up to the angelic realm like you do. And you can you can sit or lay on a table. I chose to lay down and over walks a spirit guide. I think it was my dad.

Not sure. Hands on me. I'm over me and immediately. I've never had anything like this happen immediately. All of my anxiety went from the right side of my body to the left side of my or from my whole body to the left side. The right side down the middle, stem to stern felt completely calm. The left side was just as the healing continued and the visualization continued, it all began to center over my heart.

And then I was I was receiving like words and messages around heart healing, heart wounds, just heart ache, heartbreak. And then it left and I felt completely calm, anxiety gone. Then the visualization continues to takes me to a second. Guide Okay, hold on. Guide Hold on to your hats because this is where it gets a little surprising. I'm taken into a temple.

There is a woman in long robes, long dark hair, dark skin and takes me under her arms. I'm kind of sitting at her feet and I have this message of Mother Mary. Now, I left Catholicism a long time ago and I think I've been sort of anti anything to do with it, but I felt very open to this message and I just was there and I felt very held and mothered and I just I just felt relief in it.

And I had this realization of all of the layers of mother wound and mothering that's playing out in my shadow work right now, which is my mother is dying. There is immense grief and loss around the mothering that I wish I had had, that I did not, that the mothering I wish she had had, that she did not.

I am in a position in my life and in my career where people project mother onto me negative and positive. I work in the maternal transference. I you know, just lots of layers of this mother wound and energy and healing and longing. And so I come out of this meditate ation and I just feel some insights about choices I need.

There's your words now, choices. I get some real clarity that feels very grounded and wise about choices I need to make in my life. And I feel such gratitude for that. I feel calmer. I hop on Google like you do, and I just Google Mother Mary healing. I was just so curious about this Mother Mary showing up and the first thing that shows up is some guy in Canada who is a healer.

But but his healing mother, Mary. Heart healing what? So I click on it and it's all about being in vulnerability and power at the same time. It is about a mother energy, about the Divine Mother, about healing the heart and allowing the heart to be to be open to remove blockages from that, etc.. Okay, so that's part one.

Part two. Next day I wake up a little bit of anxieties back. I'm like, okay, I just do it. My wife's the sound healer. I thought, it must be nice to be in like a sound bath. Like, just so I go inside timer and I just like, Oh, let's do a mantra. I don't know why I don't normally do mantras, but click on a monitor.

The first thing I see is the goddess Devi. I believe Devi. I hope I'm not screwing that up. I click on it. I don't know who this goddesses, but sounds good. I listen to this. I feel immense, calm. I feel peace. I Google the goddess Stevie afterward and she is the divine Mother Goddess. And the mantra was all about allowing her healing.

And I just don't think that's a coincidence, right? I don't think that that is a coincidence. And it has been so comforting. And it's not that I'm without anxiety. You know, I had my IFC session this Wednesday and was just sobbing with grief around this mother this mother work that I'm in right now. But I also feel immense holding and wisdom and peace.

So all that to say that is an example of something coming from a place of no form, no distinction of terror, and into this beautiful array of symbols, imagery, meaning it gives me I've got the chills right now.

So I and I think that that those types of sort of mystical experiences and then feeling that evidential supports those are the experiences that confirm and our knowing around that realm and we're all having them all the time and they build on each other and they give us I, I like the word knowing it transcends the word belief or faith.

JANELL

The belief in faith are words that are associated with trying to trust something outside of ourselves, which is what we can, where we would just talking, you know, which is that religious model, particularly of male God, which totally demeans the female as power. And but, but when we have those mystical experiences and the coincidences and the, the tracking of synchronicities and the tracking of all of these things that are in the depths of us, that those build our internal knowing.

So you're sitting with, you know, Jenny and I and I can't speak for you, Justin, because, you know, I'm not I don't know you as as well as as Jenny. But I know that when you have those experiences over and over, you have a lifetime of of of building that, knowing inside of you. And that's just a great example, Jenny, of that sort of.

Wow, there's something bigger than me. Oh, gosh, mother Mary Totally. The archangels and all this stuff. It is just like, you know, you had a divine healing.

JENNY

Well I was going to say I agree I in the end it's such a nice retrieval of a symbol that was part of a religion that felt so oppressive to me and so shaming to me. And to be able to reconnect with, you know, an essence of it that is there's there is so much love and wisdom in that for her as a as a symbol, as a as a, you know, a master entity or, you know, however you want to think of her.

So that was really healing in and of itself, you know, like kind of reframing of of Mother Mary. So it surprised me. That's the thing I love about Woohoo is it surprises you. And if you're open to it, which is it's nice to be surprised, you know.

JUSTIN

So yeah, this this idea of being open to it. And so, Janelle, you mentioned something about you implied at least that this takes practice being this open to it. Like it's not something that someone who, you know, has had no will in their lives can just flip on. But that it's there's a practice element to opening to woo. What do you think about that?

JANELL

Yeah. You know, as you were talking I was like, gosh I have, I've had such a specific experience of that since I was a child. So it's so innate inside of me. And I have to remember that not everybody has that experience, so they have to kind of work in a different way. But that is what I love about being a therapist and sitting with people all day long, reminding them that their knowing trumps my knowing and helping connect them to their inherent worth, valuable value, love, ability, and a worthiness to have goodness and joy and love and how to open their hearts to love. So when we are blocked in the heart center, which is what narcissism is, which is what was so important about having Trump in office, I'm just going to say that it was horrible, but it also woke up the collective around a very a very deep heart chakra wound of being shut down, because that's what narcissism is.

It's a wound in the heart. And so we've all been waking up to that and we had to see it in its form. So obviously over and over and feel that separation over and over in order to be reminded of what it was. I've never in my whole life been so aware of the narcissistic wound. I mean, can I get a witness?

JENNY

Oh, amen. Yeah. I mean.

JUSTIN

Glaringly obvious.

JENNY

Well, and why? Why, why? All of those who've survived narcissistic trauma were just like mommy, mommy. Like, you know, it was very, very disturbing. I mean, yeah. Yeah.

JUSTIN

And then yes. And then how clear it was. And then to feel so disconnected from half of the country and many of our closest relatives who don't see how totally damaged this human being is.

JANELL

Yeah. And the split in the split continues. But with the split and I'm talking about you guys know the split is in the psyche. The divide has it's almost like we're living in two different realities right now. I mean, and that is the narcissistic wound. It's like a split. The ego splits off. Right. And that this is the separation that we're talking about, the paradox of love and fear. It's like this paradox. And we hold we hold all of it. So what Shadow Work is, is integrating the light and the dark, the love and the fear. It's not right or wrong or up or down. It's all of it.

JENNY

And it brings you more into your humanity.

JENNY

Right. Which is terrifying to the narcissist and the narcissistic ego. The humanity is absolutely terrifying, you know, because it's not ideal. It's too messy. We should do a podcast. Can we reconvene? Can we have a reunion podcast and just do narcissism? Oh my God.

JUSTIN

Let's do it.

JANELL

I'm I will say on Jenny's but you know, I will say Jenny is a real expert, she specializes in this.

JENNY

I thought you're going to say you're sitting with a real narcissist I know.

JUSTIN

She knows from experience, you know. (Laughter)

Yeah. So I'm curious, what are some daily or regular air woo practices that really work for you that are just that are that are a part of your personal routine?

JANELL

You know, it's so interesting because as you evolve as I've evolved, I used to have to work really hard. It's like really hard to explain. I used to have to work really hard to remember that I am love, that I that to not be fooled by the separation and to not be fooled and live in the veil.

And now the veil is so thin. The more work I've done, it's like the veil has thinned and I just. It's all just so funny to me. So I have to think, what do I do? It's just also I just I'm so glad if I'm full of glee around this this crazy drama we called life. And I love.

JANELL

Okay, music. Music. Okay. That is how I change my vibration in an instant. I Listen to music that is straight into my heart chakra and opens it. And I love moving my body. And this double Leo I have to sweat and move. And so for me, it's about what's going to shift my vibration, what's going to change my vibration and energy up, like move it up because it's easy to get stuck in the lower vibration and then stay there.

And then we run the self-pity. So we have to do things to connect to a higher vibration. I've got this beautiful German shepherd who is just love and joy in a beautiful dog body. And so I play with her, I smother her and I'm trying so hard to help make her more codependent with me.

JUSTIN

So dog spooning.

JENNY

This is great. Janelle, I just want to rewind a second what I hear you saying and I mean, be still my heart. You are saying that the fine art of karaoke is a spiritual practice? Yes. Am I right? Because Janelle is a master karaoke. I mean, just like watch out, karaoke, go karaoke or.

JANELL

But in Walters I have met my match.

JENNY

Well, you can bring voice and performance but.

JUSTIN

So from a from a scientific and anthropological perspective, the best evidence suggests that singing came before language. It was like a proto language and that we likely, as Homo sapiens, had our ritual practices before we could even speak language. And they were probably around rhythm and singing. And so I believe that oh, dancing and singing. This is all just it taps us deeply into our humanity.

JANELL

Clearly singing Whitney Houston ballads.

JENNY

This is this is great. This is this is a continuation of the woo bridge, because I think people think that for it to have a woo practice, you need to like, you know, hang out in a spiritual bookstore. But you're absolutely right. You know, I my my my hands-on energy healer suggested when I was in the throes of the mom stuff. So she's like, just, I want you to go into your car and put on a song. And she was right. I hadn't sung in a long time. And at first when I hit play, I was I put on my favorite Taylor Swift karaoke number.

And when I first started singing, I was like in the middle of the night and I and then it, like started and I was like, Baby, let the games begin, you know? And I was like really into it by the end of it. And I have to say my heart was open. I felt I felt transformed. And so I love that you're naming this as a as a spiritual woo practice.

JANELL

I mean, it's all about like levity, vibration and joy, laughter, singing. I, I will go into the drama itself, which is a lot of songs, right to laugh at the drama. And then unassociated from the drama, we are in trouble when we identify with the drama that is playing out and then we have feelings of self-pity around it.

And that helps. That makes us it pulls us down. And then we believe our own hype and we believe the the crap that's being played out. So to bring yourself out of that and look at it, which is what meditation is, by the way, we are observing from a higher place what our thoughts are. I'm a terrible meditator.

I just I know I don't have a meditation. I don't have a meditation practice. I am so antsy. I do sometimes. I do. I can sit still sometimes once the caffeine has worn off and but it's getting perspective. It's watching yourself do the things that you do. And sometimes music does that for me way better than like.

JUSTIN

Yes. Have you done ecstatic dancing?

JANELL

Of course I have.

JUSTIN

Yeah. Because for me, like when ecstatic dancing is done properly, it's it's kind of like a dancing meditation.

JANELL

I love I grew up as as a dancer. I'm a I'm a dancer. I'm an amateur. I'm a dancer. Oh, my gosh. All of it. So yeah. And I was I taught yoga for over ten years. And so, honey, I've done it all.

JUSTIN

Yeah, I think Ecstatic Dance is one of my top woo practices.

JENNY

Yeah. I want to. I want to speak to the folks out there that are listening. They're like, That sounds like my own version of hell. I'm just saying I want to speak to those people and say, I feel you and it doesn't. I want to I just want to say be vulnerable to move your body and also give yourself the grace that it takes to maybe get to the place where you can be vulnerable because depending on that, on the trauma that you've had, the lived experience that you've had, your past lives, etc., that may be made more difficult for others. And it doesn't mean that you can't have a spiritual connection or a connection if you're not able to love that, to experience those kinds of practices.

JUSTIN

Well I'll, I'll just say my introduction into what has, what is now ecstatic dancing which you know, ecstatic dancing just to define it for the audience at least the way that I understand it and the way that I have done it is it's basically like a rave without drugs and much more intentional. And so and the music will be much more I think there's like an organic tribal sort of musical theme to it.

But there is more intention around being present with your body moving with what's happening, you know, emotions. But I'll just say, you know, when I was 17 years old, I went to my first rave, this is way back in the nineties, 1994, probably. And I grew up in an evangelical household. My dad was a Baptist pastor. So you guys went through the Catholicism thing?

I went through the Baptist thing, and no one in my family danced zero point zero zero dancing. And I went and I felt totally out of place. And I couldn't I didn't know what I was doing, but I just saw the joy on people's faces and was like, Oh, I have to figure out a way to be a part of this.

I don't know how, but the next time we went . . .

JANELL

How liberating.

JUSTIN

Oh, for them.  But for me, I was, I was just faced with my own. I mean, I didn't have any of the tools, but I was just like, my body cannot possibly move like that. But then the next time we went to a rave, my friends and I just ate a bunch of mushrooms, just a ton of mushrooms, and it like I was all of a sudden, I swear to God, I was able to dance.

Maybe it looked horrible at the time, but I felt like I was just in full rhythm with everything. And then from that day on, I've been able to dance.

JANELL

Wow. I do appreciate psychedelic drugs for that reason as an actual chemical mechanism that pushes our ego slightly to the side, sometimes drastically.

JUSTIN

Sometimes not so slightly.

JENNY

Sometimes out of the building.

JANELL

Sometimes we need something to literally move our brain around in the concrete in order for us to connect to it. And hey, I'm all about it.

JUSTIN

And the most important thing is to have a wonderful holding container when that happens. Yeah. Yeah.

JENNY

So this is not this is not mental health advice that Janelle or I are giving. By the way. I agree. I have to give a disclaimer on that.

JUSTIN

Yeah, but it's. But it's coming. Did you see Colorado just.

JENNY

Yeah. No, no, I'm not saying it's not. Yeah, yeah.

JUSTIN

Yes. Oh, right. So, yeah, anyway, Jenny, I don't want to step on your thought. What did you have to say?

JENNY

Oh, not important. I was just thinking that I was like, what's my ecstatic dance? And I was like, Oh, it's eighties night at this club in L.A. that I haven't been to since COVID. And I was. And then I felt really sad because I haven't really danced since COVID. Not really. Well, Tina and I will do in the living room with the dogs. What's that? Janelle.

JANELL

Can I go with you sometime?

JENNY

Yes. We can make our own ladies night in the backyard if we want. Yeah, but yes, let's. Let's do it.

JUSTIN

So, Janelle, we this might have been covered in the previous question, but I like to kind of land the plane of these interviews by asking about what's really working for you in your life. What are you working on? Is there a new challenging thing that's coming up that that is making you excited and yeah, just what's, what's, what's new and edgy for you.

JANELL

Sexuality. I know. Even saying the word is titillating isn't it.

JUSTIN

Well for for two former Catholic school . . .

JANELL

Sexuality, it's, there's a lot to explore and there's a lot that I am wanting to explore. And again, it's a realm. It's a truth of our bodies and our worlds. It's a pathway to creation, but it's also a pathway to self-expression. A pathway that's another paradox is pain and pleasure. And people forget that it is our birth right to have pleasure.

And I'm looking at deconstructing the belief system that I inherently bought into around the patriarchy, monogamy, heteronormative beliefs. I'm really questioning a lot of that. I'm looking at the sex and love split the pain and pleasure split the binary rules that we live by, the gender rules that we live by, gender expression. I think that that is a really a mystical and divine pathway to understanding ourselves.

So that is where I'm at. And I'm also going through a divorce. So there's this thing, there's this opening that's been created in my life and I'm stepping way in and I'm kind of loving and sometimes it's really destabilizing and sometimes it's really exciting. I feel like I'm exploring and it's really exciting to me, so I don't know if that is in the realm of will, but it's in the realm of consciousness expansion, which is what I'm very excited about.

JUSTIN

Some curious are there books or workshops or people you follow? Like what? What is what has helped you in this area?

JANELL

Well, the first book that comes to mind is Existential Kink. I read that this summer and it just like blew my mind. I've also been looking at just that deconstruction of our idea of relationships and polyamory versus monogamy. And I read Poly Secure, I read Ethical Slut. I am gosh, what? I'm reading so many books. Oh, I love Pea Melody's work for Facing Codependency, Love Addiction her her work at the Meadows Inn.

I did the week long survivors healing there at the at the Meadows in Wickenburg, Arizona. I highly recommend that for healing childhood trauma. Her model around codependency and understanding that not the traditional way that we think of it in response to an addiction, she says that that's like codependency is like the thing and then addiction and everything else stems from it.

So that's been really cool.

JUSTIN

We'll definitely put those links in.

JANELL

Roar Like a Goddess. That's another one I love.

JUSTIN

Jenny, do you have any thoughts?

JENNY

I was just laughing to myself because I was like, wow, that sounds a lot more fun than what I'm reading right now, which is like I'm rereading Drama of the Gifted Child about parenting children and the wound. The mother wound to the mother. Yeah. Good times. It's a little light, you know, before bed. Just a little nugget. No, but it's I say what I love, like working with Janelle and working with therapists, and just as we move through these different chapters in our lives and what's really igniting our, you know, curiosity and what we sort of like die, I just I work with a lot of people who are just very much in with their into their curiosity and honoring it.

JENNY

And so it's been I learned so much from Janelle. It's I guess what I mean to say. And and also that we're, you know, we're all going through different things at different times. And and different different chapters of healing at different times. And what's, you know, what a divorce kicks up versus, you know, what a a dying mother kicks up and it's all welcome.

JUSTIN

Yeah, that's all welcome. Yeah. So we have three final questions that we ask every guest on our show. So the first one, Janelle, is if you could put a big Post-it note on everyone's refrigerator tomorrow morning, what would this Post-it note say?

JANELL

We are magic. And I just got a neon sign made on Etsy that I'm going to hang on my wall. So I'm literally I just made like a giant post-it.

JUSTIN

And then the neon post-it. Yeah, beautiful. And then the second one is, is there a recent quote that has changed the way you think or feel?

JANELL

And that I didn't I meant to look at and I don't I don't have one. I don't know. I, I was going to float, like, grab a quote from nothing. I don't know.

JENNY

Yeah, I have one. Oh, God. Where is it? Because I, I never every time you asked me this question, Justin, which I realize you're not asking me or asking Janelle, but I'm just going to help a sister out right now.

I never have an answer to this question. And then this quote came up and I it is a Khalil Gibran. Just bear with me. I'm going to find it. And it is. Oh, my God. Walters Come on. Scrolling past the queer wedding. Okay. Oh, here it is. Okay. Yeah, we. We went to a surprise lesbian wedding the other weekend.

JENNY

It was beautiful. Okay. Khalil Gibran, between what is said and not meant and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost between what is said and not meant and what is meant and not said. Most of love is lost. That really?

JUSTIN

Yeah. That's beautiful. And what that brings up for me is the practice of authentic relating that I've mentioned on the show or circling the idea that, you know, these are skills that we can build we can slow down and really listen to each other. Yeah, so the third question, Janelle, is what is one thing giving you hope right now?

JANELL

I, I'm just going to go back to that, the music, the music thing and, and just sort of circle back on that because it's so simple and you know, hope is, is, is like a daily practice. And so music gives me hope. I know that sounds really weird, but like, music is such a big part of my practice and it's such a big part of how I survive this world of form because it connects me to that vibrational realm.

And I have to choose hope every day. And so I choose to listen to music that fills me with connects me to my own hope inside, which is the the redemption of love and joy that we are inherently lovable and joyful beings. I have to work really hard to remember that, but the more I do, the more easy it is.

And changing my vibration really helps me remember that. So I know that, you know, I'm circling back on that, but that is how that's life.

JUSTIN

So, Janelle, would you give us one or two songs that are really doing it for you?

JANELL

Okay. Well, Beyonce's new album, Renaissance. Yeah. Oh, my gosh, I am bonkers over it. And I'm also really into this artist named Amber Mark. Oh, she sounds like.

JUSTIN

Oh, I've been an Amber Marc fan for quite a while. That voice is so powerful. Her power.

JANELL

Yes. So, like between those two, there's so, so many. But like and I like Harry Styles, like.

Like he is such like a ray of talent and sunshine. And so I, I'm a sucker for pop music.

JUSTIN

Beautiful. Oh, Jenny, do you have any final thoughts?

JENNY

No, I'm just delighted in this time and delighted in Janelle and everything that she shared.

JUSTIN

Absolutely. Janelle, thank you so much for coming on the US Collective podcast. And oh, and I can't wait to have you back to talk about narcissism where we will break down Jenny's narcissistic behavior (Laughter.)

JENNY

Yes, I can't wait. Let's make it a holiday special.

JUSTIN

No! Oh, my God. All right. We will see you soon, Janelle. Thank you.

Podcast Ep. 60: Bringing "Woo" Into Therapy with Janell Cox, LMFT

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Podcast Ep. 60: Bringing "Woo" Into Therapy with Janell Cox, LMFT

Licensed therapist, artist, and yoga instructor Janell Cox, LMFT, joins Jenny & Justin to talk about bringing woo into therapeutic practice, woo that really works, sexuality, psychedelics and so much more!

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In this episode

Throughout the month of November here at the Yes Collective, we’ve been diving deep into the mystical and magical world of woo for emotional health. From energy healing to Tarot to astrology, our amazing team of therapists, psychologists, and coaches have been exploring how “woo” practices can be more than fun diversions or guilty pleasures. They can be intentionally used in our mental and emotional health routines.

This week Jenny and Justin talk to licensed therapist and voiceover artist Janell Cox about how she uses “woo” in her therapeutic work. Originally from Chicago, Janell received her BA in theatre arts from Indiana University Bloomington and her MA in clinical psychology from Antioch University with a focus on Spiritual and Depth Psychology. Today she's a licensed Marriage Family Therapist, with a strong mind-body-spirit and psychodynamic lens. She's also taught yoga for 11 years and is trained in the art of applied esoteric astrology through Debra Silverman. Today Janell practices therapy at Highland Park Holistic Psychotherapy in Los Angeles.

If you’re interested in how you can bring more of the unseen, mysterious aspects of life into your own mental and emotional health journey, then buckle up. You’re gonna love our talk with the joyous, funny, and wise Janell Cox.

Yes Collective is co-hosted by Justin Wilford, PhD  and Jenny Walters, LMFT.

Justin Wilford, PhD, is a co-founder of Yes Collective, an educator, a writer, and an emotional health coach. He earned doctorates from UCLA (cultural geography) and UC Irvine (public health), and specializes in translating complex, scientific ideas into actionable programs for mental and emotional health.

Jenny Walters, LMFT, is a licensed marriage family therapist and senior expert contributor to the Yes Collective. She is a graduate of the Pacifica Graduate Institute and is the founder and director of Highland Park Holistic Psychotherapy in Los Angeles, California.

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About our guest

Janell Cox, LMFT, is a licensed marriage family therapist, voiceover artist, and yoga instructor. She is a graduate of the Antioch University and practices therapy at Highland Park Holistic Psychotherapy in Los Angeles, California.

Show Notes

Janell Cox, LMFT

Janell's book #1: Existential Kink

Janell's book #2: Roar Like a Goddess

Janell's book #3: Poly Secure

Janell's book #4: Facing Codependence

Amber Mark

Transcript highlights

JUSTIN

What we're doing this month is we're looking at different woo practices. We're looking at the whole idea of woo, by the way, woo. We're defining really as anything spiritual, alternative, mystical outside of the conventional, mainstream medical model. And we're looking at Woo this month because we recognize that it can be a very powerful tool in our mental and emotional health journeys. I introduced it last month by talking about a bunch of non-woo reasons why we might be fully on board with Woo.

And they are things like the placebo effect, things like Woo helps us connect with others, helps us build community. I had a bunch of other reasons lined up that I can't remember off the top of my head, but I will throw it over to you. Jenny, do you have any thoughts on just generally what we talked about last podcast, the power of Woo, what this theme is about for you, at least?

JENNY

Yeah, it actually had me reconnected to Woo last week as I was experiencing some bumps in the road of my own life and I always, whenever I start to feel better, I forget, I forget woo. I abandon woo. And then when I start to feel bad, I'm like, I feel sort of desperate and I reconnect with Woo! And then I'm like, Why don't I do this all the time?

So I've just been really trying to, you know, wake up every morning and do a guided visualization that's been connecting me to my, my particular brand of woo right now is connecting to my spirit guides, my ancestors some other we will get I can go into more detail later because I have a bit of a woo woo story to share and oh my God, it just brings me so much clarity and and comfort and, and meaning, you know, around the pain, which always helps soothe the suffering.

So, yeah, that's what's been coming up for me since we first talked about it.

JUSTIN

Awesome. Well, Janelle, I just want to throw it over to you now. We've been talking about Woo. I defined it for for me at least. But I'm curious, Janelle, what is Woo for you? What do you think of when you hear this word woo.

JANELL

Woo is woo for me. I love, love, woo. To me, it's it's an interesting word because it's a little you know, sometimes I think it kind of demeans it. And you're right and I'm sure you guys have addressed that, but it's like because it's so profound and important to me. But it's, it's, it's anything that is it can't really be seen.

I'll use the word like local reality quite a bit. That's my favorite new like concept, but our local reality is this sort of three dimensional plane of physical form, and it has its own set of laws, which we call science. And those laws are very important to abide by when we have physical bodies and this earth structure. And that's a that's a truth that we have to abide by.

But we also have these other realms. I guess it's so hard to talk about it with language because it's so much bigger than us. But we are in this local reality and we we kind of get fooled that this is all there is because this is all we can see. And while this local reality is really important, there's so much more to the picture.

And that to me is is is respecting quote, woo is respecting that there's more to us than our physical form in these dimensions that we live in.

JENNY

And isn't it interesting that that brings that brings me so much comfort. And I also think that it can terrify people who are longing for more control, concreteness.

JANELL

And you know why it terrifies people. Jenny, I tell you, I think I think it terrifies people because choice is overwhelming and it puts the power back into us as sovereign beings. And it's easier for people to have an idea of spirituality or religion that puts power and authority outside of themselves as something judging our behavior rather than in us as sovereign, powerful beings that are a part of God or love or source, making choices and choosing love.

But we would have to stop buying into the lie or the illusion that this is all there is. So there's a lot of choice and responsibility. I mean, it's like the the foundation of existentialism is choice, right? Which is why I consider myself such an existential therapist, because I'm reorienting people to their power, their sovereignty and their choice.

Because we do have to choose love. Well, actually, we don't have to do anything, but it's just overwhelming for people.

JUSTIN

That's interesting, Janelle, that you are highlighting two different ways to approach woo. And I actually want to take one step back just to acknowledge Jenny brought this up in our first podcast, That Woo is a demeaning way to talk about practices that are very meaningful and important to people. And the reason why we chose Woo as the word here is because we do have a lot of people in Yes collective and in our orbit who are uncomfortable with some of these things.

And so woo is a nice bridge actually for a lot of people. So I bringing forth woo and in the most positive possible way. But then the other thing that we talked about last podcast was how we are in this age. This is a long age now, a couple hundred years old of secularization and demystification of the world.

And for many of us, myself included, when I was in academia for decades, very unwell, very just materialistic, that woo is a word that rationalists, materialists like myself use to talk about the things that we actually are really attracted to. You know, that spirituality or astrology or, you know, smudging practices or whatever the case is. And so it kind of yeah, it's served that purpose of being a bridge.

JENNY

And you know, if I can add this, Justin Woo has helped me understand why I was in the closet about Woo. You know, when I look at like my let me explain. I mean Janelle, you know more about astrology than I do. But when I look at my my astrology, you know, my astrological set up constellation, you know, there's a lot of thinking in my chart.

There's a lot of of that kind of rational thinking analysis is, you know, very much in my chart. And I think that has run into conflict with the parts of me that are very attracted to this more abstract, spiritual, emotional realm. And so whenever I get down on myself for having been in the closet in the womb, I was in the closet around my will.

As you know, I shared this in the last podcast I came out about five years ago. I will be sharing things openly today that I would never have dreamed I would share openly. And but now I understand, thanks to something that some people might consider. Whew, why? That is why that gets consolidated. And that's a great I find that to be really, really helpful, really orienting, you know, good story.

JANELL

Well, I just want to say, you know, we live in a paradox of love and fear and we also live in a paradox of these extreme forms of what is real to us. So we have to it's almost like what you're describing is the collective moving into a paradox of mysticism versus a paradox of this form of of our reality, which is the physical form, science and these laws.

So it's like we're vacillating the female model of spirituality, mysticism, right, that we came from and then into the patriarchal. And I do want to talk about the patriarchy because I think it's very important because I think that that's all a part of this to this conversation is the the the masculine energy having power and versus the feminine holding power.

So yeah, I think what you're talking about is this sort of like, you know, bouncing off of these different paradoxes of like how we how we interpret the world and the answer is in all of it, we do have the physical form. That's why I love astrology. It's the earth energy with the air energy, which is the mental mindset psyche.

Then the, the, you know, the earth with the physical, you got the fire, which is spirit spiritual and the water which is like the emotional. And we have to, you know, acknowledge all of it in order to thrive.

JUSTIN

So, Janelle, I wanted to bring back this idea that you were talking about about choice, this idea of two different approaches to one being about choice and sovereignty. And then, on the other hand, this approach to of kind of giving up all of that, having no choice like this is all planned or, you know, I'm I'm my life is being directed or controlled by larger forces than me.

And so it feels like, you know, this is this is two different forms. And one of the things that we wanted to talk about today was spiritual bypassing. And it so it seems to me that what what you brought up is there's one form of woo that's very empowering, that is around choice and sovereignty, as you said. And then there's this other form of woo where we're giving up that that choice and sovereignty to a higher power as other forces as this second form is.

Is this a part of spiritual bypassing for you?

JANELL

That's interesting. Well, spiritual bypass. I almost want to kind of put a pause on that because we can that is an interesting concept that allows us to stay out of reality. And one thing that I want to I think if I share this, this, this, think, this, think the line of thinking that I'm coming from is which is how I understand what's happening here, which is really hard for people to understand.

I think maybe it'll make sense, which is that I think the meaning of life, this is just like my theory. I don't know anything about anything.

JENNY

I know. Let me go. Can I go get a martini? It's 1130 in the morning. Okay, let's do this.

JANELL

The meaning of life is that we have to come from the spirit form, from the soul realm. We are drops of water in the ocean, branching off as an individual sovereign being with free will that comes here willingly and excitedly. To and and we we we give up the the the the connection. We we know that we we have to have this veil of illusion, which is separation from the source.

And we come into these bodies and we come into this experience and we have to dimmer vibration down so, so, so low to come down here. And we have to go through this process of choosing to believe in the illusion of separation from source. And it is in the redemption of choosing love. Choose, choice. Right? There's that word that we expand our consciousness and we expand the experience of love and joy, which is the meaning of life, expansion of love and joy.

So we get caught up in the illusion, which is fear or which is which we willingly do, and we excitedly do. And the more we are in our quote, darkness or fear or separation, which is also ego, the more chances we have to choose love. So being in fear and separation is not a bad thing. In fact, it's a it's a glorious thing.

The darker, the more effed up it is, the more redemption we have in the expansion of love and joy.

JENNY

The more we're being invited, the more we're being invited to make that choice. Yeah. Yeah. Well, it's easy to.

JANELL

I just had a, like a a rupture will say with my dad, who is a staunch Christian and Catholic, and I need to address that, which is that, you know, he was he was scared for my soul, you know, that I've broken off from Catholicism and I guess Christianity when I was 19 and I realized I was raised Catholic like Jenny and it and that that context of Catholicism schism worked for me because I already had a lot of I had an awareness of unconditional love from an outside source, which was God through the heart opening of my parents who loved me unconditionally.

If we don't have our hearts open as little children, we have a hard time understanding unconditional love from an outside source, which is God. So as therapists, what I find is so important is that we connect people to a concept of unconditional love, which is only through the heart center. It it cannot be intellectual ized. And when you can connect to the inherent love ability of yourself, you can connect to joy and love, right?

And that's that that feeling that I have. I have a concept of what it is to be loved unconditionally, to be delighted, and to be a precious child of God. And we all are about those things. So when we are wounded from our actual parents, which is the like this authority outside of ourselves that are loving us unconditionally, we are it's hard for us to connect to our inherent love ability as a soul.

So that is sort of how I see therapy. It's very important to connect to your inherent love ability.

JUSTIN

And so in this in this framework, then, would spiritual bypassing be the avoidance of the fear or pain avoidance of of confronting fear? Fear or pain? Yeah.

JENNY

Can I get throw out an example and just on the spiritual bypass because yeah, there was a time in my life where I was in spiritual bypass. I was reading a a lot of Carolyn Mace at the time and I was and what I was using, the way I was using it was I was disowning my power and my choice and sort of relying purely on, well, I was getting into some kind of a rabbit hole around like manifest station and like it's all it's all my fault if something bad happens.

I've manifested it of something really very skewed understanding, inverted version of the law of attraction and all that. And what I was doing in a way was outsourcing my knowing, outsourcing my power, my choice, and instead was kind of collapsed into not making any choices. And also, I think really avoiding the the darkness that you're sick, the true darkness that you're talking about.

I was I was working very hard not to feel that. And as a result, I was closed off from the choices that that would have asked of me. So I was in this kind of like weird idling position in my life and was calling it spirituality, but I don't think that's actually what was going on now when I experienced my spiritual life now and my experience of Whew, now, is that what I find is it actually puts me into deeper connection with my suffering and it brings me into holding both the tension of the the form I'm in as a human and the suffering and the pain and the beauty.

But at the same time and holding that tension, which to me is what being a human is. And when I'm in, I'm when in my spirituality or in the world, I'm in that tension of like I'm here to live in this live this form and and on this planet and do the things. And I have bills to pay.

And there's all this, you know, just human stuff I'm doing. And I'm also connected to something beyond that and that is much greater than me and holding both of that so event. So my experience when I'm not in spiritual bypass is that the spirituality actually deepens my connection to suffering, but in a way that is really rewarding and rich and yeah.

JANELL

It's when we identify with the suffering that that is who I am that right. That's where, you know, get, get stuck.

JENNY

And that that's all there is.

JANELL

Yeah. Which is why I think that being a spiritual therapist is so important because you're constantly reminding your clients like, oh, that's not who you are, that's just what you're doing to figure out how to love. So I think Jenny and I both we both work in the what's called the unconscious and we're depth therapists. And another term that we like to use as shadow work.

JANELL

And you'll hear this word thrown around a lot, you know, doing well and just did a lot of shadow work last year and.

JENNY

Like you did. Oh, tell me all about it.

JANELL

Shadow work. I just like really want to do shadow work. And it's like, what does that mean? And it, it is. And I like how it.

JUSTIN

Okay, Janelle, I'm super curious. Well, now I know what shadow work means in the depth psychology context. I'm super curious. What does what does Shadow work mean for that parody of a person that you are talking about? Like, what are they doing.

JANELL

I'm a character actor. I do voiceover. So and Jenny knows oftentimes if I'm like trying to work through like a client issue, I have to like get in their vibration and like, do like, like a.

JENNY

Like she channels them. She can call them. So it's very entertaining and help someone. Yeah.

JANELL

Yeah, like shadow work. It's just like it's this, I mean, a real shadow work is, is, is freakin hard shadow work.

JENNY

Real shadow work does you, don't you think.

JANELL

I mean and it never stops because our consciousness never stops and our ego never stops and our defenses never stop. And that's just that's just how it is. And that's what we signed up for. And that's the that's the joy of the ride, honey. It's the drama. And the drama is what we came here to do. Oh, God. There's such a good book I told Jenny about. It's called Existential Kink.

JUSTIN

Yes. I was recommended that book a couple of years ago.

JANELL

Yeah, it's so good. And it's you know, Jenny and I are trained in this young in depth therapy and on the unconscious shadow where it can be dream work. It could be in your fantasies. And, you know, traditionally, according to Young, to me, it is anything that we can catch in the projection, which is through our relationships. That's actually the deepest shadow work is, is how relationships play out because talk about being unconscious around something.

Oh, my God. Like how you attract people and what plays out. You think that you're on a track to like get it and you're like, I think I got it. And then this dynamic plays out in your relationship and you're like, Oh my God, I don't know anything.

But that takes work, it takes commitment. It takes a consistent process of coming back into that that shadow.

JUSTIN

Because what. Yeah, what the shadow. It's, it's, it's the stuff that you literally can't see. But it's still but it's still coming out in your projections, in your relationships and yeah.

JENNY

It's the stuff you I'm unconsciously yeah. I tried to get rid of and you could think of that through a IFS lens of like the exiles. You can think of it through a Jungian lens of the unconscious. And we all have different ways of languaging this.

JUSTIN

And I'm imagining that woo in its highest and best forms helps us start to do shadow work because what comes up for me around this idea of shadow work is how difficult it is, because by its very nature, I mean, like if I could see it, then I could deal with it, but I can't.

And so it's like for me, woo practices, or at least the best and highest ones will help me start to see things that I, that I couldn't see. What do you think of that?

JANELL

Yeah. Whew. It's like we need tools. We need to. I like the word distinction. It's like we need distinctions. A distinction is something that emerges out of nothing. It's like there was nothing, and now there's something. There was a darkness, and now something is into focus. And I have this, like, concept around something. So something just emerged out of the shadow, which is a knowing, an understanding, wisdom, a concept of a feeling.

We use these words to describe attachment and and states of being and feelings and something that emerges out of nothingness, which is a distinction I have. I have a concept now I can see because all we're doing is projecting on each other. And that's what I love about like people who say like about astrology. They're like, I don't put a lot of stock in it, you know, I just like who says like, you know, who says Capricorn is the is the, you know, the planet of a father energy is like, okay, I get that.

I get that. But we're projecting onto each other all the time anyway. We might as well make it interesting. We might as well have a framework of archetypes, which is all astrology is. It's a framework of archetypes that are universal in the collective unconscious that we pull upon, which we all can relate to, and we all have parts of inside us.

And it's also a study of science and timing and transits. And, you know, we don't have time to get into all that, but it's like all these systems, these woo woo ish systems of numerology and astrology and tarot or Enneagram. I love Aynsley MacLeod and the book, The Instruction, which Jenny turned me on to, which is totally transformed the way I see it, which is also a structure of archetypes and soul levels and soul ages and.

JENNY

What just struck me, Janelle, as you were speaking, is the systems are super containing and orienting and validating. And these are all the things that we need parents to do when we're infants and want more children. And so many of us didn't get. And so when I am lost in the anxiety or the pain or the suffering or identifying with the suffering, the woo is like it brings me into something very containing something.

I love that that your word distinction. It makes meaning. It brings image it brings clarification, mirroring, validation. And that's all the stuff that I, I needed and sometimes did not get, you know, and it helps it helps ground me. Ironically, it helps ground me more in a more present way into this form. You know that that's why it's not spiritual bypass.

When you're doing that, it it actually brings you more solidly into your lived experience here.

JUSTIN

I love that I, I love this idea of WU practices being containers or holding and I came back. Now this is three weeks almost from our retreat in Sedona. Janelle as Sedona is, as the work capital of the world. Right.

JENNY

I just mark time. Oh, yeah.

JUSTIN

And so I came back from this week-long retreat and I was just feeling woo'd-out like, I mean, in the best way. And I was thinking, like, how can I just keep this vibe? Because I just feel I'm just in the flow. I'm feeling good. And I was thinking like, what? What can I is there like a mantra that feels authentic for me because I'm not generally inclined to woo?

Is there something that can feel genuine and authentic? And what came up was this mantra of "I am held" or "I am held by the universe." Like the universe is holding me and I can tell it like for the past couple weeks that has been so grounding. And Jenny, so what you just said matches perfectly with my experience over the past couple of weeks, this woo mantra of I am held, the universe is holding me is actually helping me feel so much more centered and grounded and present.

JENNY

Yeah. And it builds on it anyway when you're in the zone. I just had this woo experience this weekend. You can edit this out. Hell no because you know and it's very vulnerable to share this sort of thing because, you know, I can hear the kind of the kind of energy I grew up with around this issue was raised Catholic. So there was a lot of there's been a lot of concern about my soul for a variety of reasons in my family.

JUSTIN

Jenny, do you have a do you have a manager part that alive in is this for you?

JENNY

Yes, yes, yes. It's it's it's it's holding a clipboard. It's going. Are you sure about this? Sure. So so I was, you know, as as I as I shared, you know, I've been going through my mother is elderly. She's in the last phase of her her life. She's preparing to pass. And it kicks up an immense amount of parts.

JENNY

And and wounds and feelings and grief. And I'm just it's just been a real menagerie inside of things. And I found myself visiting it this weekend, and I found myself in just a swirl of very, very intense anxiety. And I, I love that word distinction, Janelle, because there was no distinction. I was just my body was just on fire with electricity.

My mind was just swirling with a lot of confusion, fear, and and it was just in every direction work, you know, just everywhere. And so I, I put on a guided minute. I just did a quick search on insight time. I was like feeling kind of desperate, and I couldn't get a hold of anything, you know? So I just put a quick insight timer search of, like, you know, spirit guide, healing like you know, whatever a track came up, had decent reviews.

I'm like, okay, so I throw this thing on. It's a guided visualization, walks me, you know, some deep breaths into a beam of light up to the angelic realm like you do. And you can you can sit or lay on a table. I chose to lay down and over walks a spirit guide. I think it was my dad.

Not sure. Hands on me. I'm over me and immediately. I've never had anything like this happen immediately. All of my anxiety went from the right side of my body to the left side of my or from my whole body to the left side. The right side down the middle, stem to stern felt completely calm. The left side was just as the healing continued and the visualization continued, it all began to center over my heart.

And then I was I was receiving like words and messages around heart healing, heart wounds, just heart ache, heartbreak. And then it left and I felt completely calm, anxiety gone. Then the visualization continues to takes me to a second. Guide Okay, hold on. Guide Hold on to your hats because this is where it gets a little surprising. I'm taken into a temple.

There is a woman in long robes, long dark hair, dark skin and takes me under her arms. I'm kind of sitting at her feet and I have this message of Mother Mary. Now, I left Catholicism a long time ago and I think I've been sort of anti anything to do with it, but I felt very open to this message and I just was there and I felt very held and mothered and I just I just felt relief in it.

And I had this realization of all of the layers of mother wound and mothering that's playing out in my shadow work right now, which is my mother is dying. There is immense grief and loss around the mothering that I wish I had had, that I did not, that the mothering I wish she had had, that she did not.

I am in a position in my life and in my career where people project mother onto me negative and positive. I work in the maternal transference. I you know, just lots of layers of this mother wound and energy and healing and longing. And so I come out of this meditate ation and I just feel some insights about choices I need.

There's your words now, choices. I get some real clarity that feels very grounded and wise about choices I need to make in my life. And I feel such gratitude for that. I feel calmer. I hop on Google like you do, and I just Google Mother Mary healing. I was just so curious about this Mother Mary showing up and the first thing that shows up is some guy in Canada who is a healer.

But but his healing mother, Mary. Heart healing what? So I click on it and it's all about being in vulnerability and power at the same time. It is about a mother energy, about the Divine Mother, about healing the heart and allowing the heart to be to be open to remove blockages from that, etc.. Okay, so that's part one.

Part two. Next day I wake up a little bit of anxieties back. I'm like, okay, I just do it. My wife's the sound healer. I thought, it must be nice to be in like a sound bath. Like, just so I go inside timer and I just like, Oh, let's do a mantra. I don't know why I don't normally do mantras, but click on a monitor.

The first thing I see is the goddess Devi. I believe Devi. I hope I'm not screwing that up. I click on it. I don't know who this goddesses, but sounds good. I listen to this. I feel immense, calm. I feel peace. I Google the goddess Stevie afterward and she is the divine Mother Goddess. And the mantra was all about allowing her healing.

And I just don't think that's a coincidence, right? I don't think that that is a coincidence. And it has been so comforting. And it's not that I'm without anxiety. You know, I had my IFC session this Wednesday and was just sobbing with grief around this mother this mother work that I'm in right now. But I also feel immense holding and wisdom and peace.

So all that to say that is an example of something coming from a place of no form, no distinction of terror, and into this beautiful array of symbols, imagery, meaning it gives me I've got the chills right now.

So I and I think that that those types of sort of mystical experiences and then feeling that evidential supports those are the experiences that confirm and our knowing around that realm and we're all having them all the time and they build on each other and they give us I, I like the word knowing it transcends the word belief or faith.

JANELL

The belief in faith are words that are associated with trying to trust something outside of ourselves, which is what we can, where we would just talking, you know, which is that religious model, particularly of male God, which totally demeans the female as power. And but, but when we have those mystical experiences and the coincidences and the, the tracking of synchronicities and the tracking of all of these things that are in the depths of us, that those build our internal knowing.

So you're sitting with, you know, Jenny and I and I can't speak for you, Justin, because, you know, I'm not I don't know you as as well as as Jenny. But I know that when you have those experiences over and over, you have a lifetime of of of building that, knowing inside of you. And that's just a great example, Jenny, of that sort of.

Wow, there's something bigger than me. Oh, gosh, mother Mary Totally. The archangels and all this stuff. It is just like, you know, you had a divine healing.

JENNY

Well I was going to say I agree I in the end it's such a nice retrieval of a symbol that was part of a religion that felt so oppressive to me and so shaming to me. And to be able to reconnect with, you know, an essence of it that is there's there is so much love and wisdom in that for her as a as a symbol, as a as a, you know, a master entity or, you know, however you want to think of her.

So that was really healing in and of itself, you know, like kind of reframing of of Mother Mary. So it surprised me. That's the thing I love about Woohoo is it surprises you. And if you're open to it, which is it's nice to be surprised, you know.

JUSTIN

So yeah, this this idea of being open to it. And so, Janelle, you mentioned something about you implied at least that this takes practice being this open to it. Like it's not something that someone who, you know, has had no will in their lives can just flip on. But that it's there's a practice element to opening to woo. What do you think about that?

JANELL

Yeah. You know, as you were talking I was like, gosh I have, I've had such a specific experience of that since I was a child. So it's so innate inside of me. And I have to remember that not everybody has that experience, so they have to kind of work in a different way. But that is what I love about being a therapist and sitting with people all day long, reminding them that their knowing trumps my knowing and helping connect them to their inherent worth, valuable value, love, ability, and a worthiness to have goodness and joy and love and how to open their hearts to love. So when we are blocked in the heart center, which is what narcissism is, which is what was so important about having Trump in office, I'm just going to say that it was horrible, but it also woke up the collective around a very a very deep heart chakra wound of being shut down, because that's what narcissism is.

It's a wound in the heart. And so we've all been waking up to that and we had to see it in its form. So obviously over and over and feel that separation over and over in order to be reminded of what it was. I've never in my whole life been so aware of the narcissistic wound. I mean, can I get a witness?

JENNY

Oh, amen. Yeah. I mean.

JUSTIN

Glaringly obvious.

JENNY

Well, and why? Why, why? All of those who've survived narcissistic trauma were just like mommy, mommy. Like, you know, it was very, very disturbing. I mean, yeah. Yeah.

JUSTIN

And then yes. And then how clear it was. And then to feel so disconnected from half of the country and many of our closest relatives who don't see how totally damaged this human being is.

JANELL

Yeah. And the split in the split continues. But with the split and I'm talking about you guys know the split is in the psyche. The divide has it's almost like we're living in two different realities right now. I mean, and that is the narcissistic wound. It's like a split. The ego splits off. Right. And that this is the separation that we're talking about, the paradox of love and fear. It's like this paradox. And we hold we hold all of it. So what Shadow Work is, is integrating the light and the dark, the love and the fear. It's not right or wrong or up or down. It's all of it.

JENNY

And it brings you more into your humanity.

JENNY

Right. Which is terrifying to the narcissist and the narcissistic ego. The humanity is absolutely terrifying, you know, because it's not ideal. It's too messy. We should do a podcast. Can we reconvene? Can we have a reunion podcast and just do narcissism? Oh my God.

JUSTIN

Let's do it.

JANELL

I'm I will say on Jenny's but you know, I will say Jenny is a real expert, she specializes in this.

JENNY

I thought you're going to say you're sitting with a real narcissist I know.

JUSTIN

She knows from experience, you know. (Laughter)

Yeah. So I'm curious, what are some daily or regular air woo practices that really work for you that are just that are that are a part of your personal routine?

JANELL

You know, it's so interesting because as you evolve as I've evolved, I used to have to work really hard. It's like really hard to explain. I used to have to work really hard to remember that I am love, that I that to not be fooled by the separation and to not be fooled and live in the veil.

And now the veil is so thin. The more work I've done, it's like the veil has thinned and I just. It's all just so funny to me. So I have to think, what do I do? It's just also I just I'm so glad if I'm full of glee around this this crazy drama we called life. And I love.

JANELL

Okay, music. Music. Okay. That is how I change my vibration in an instant. I Listen to music that is straight into my heart chakra and opens it. And I love moving my body. And this double Leo I have to sweat and move. And so for me, it's about what's going to shift my vibration, what's going to change my vibration and energy up, like move it up because it's easy to get stuck in the lower vibration and then stay there.

And then we run the self-pity. So we have to do things to connect to a higher vibration. I've got this beautiful German shepherd who is just love and joy in a beautiful dog body. And so I play with her, I smother her and I'm trying so hard to help make her more codependent with me.

JUSTIN

So dog spooning.

JENNY

This is great. Janelle, I just want to rewind a second what I hear you saying and I mean, be still my heart. You are saying that the fine art of karaoke is a spiritual practice? Yes. Am I right? Because Janelle is a master karaoke. I mean, just like watch out, karaoke, go karaoke or.

JANELL

But in Walters I have met my match.

JENNY

Well, you can bring voice and performance but.

JUSTIN

So from a from a scientific and anthropological perspective, the best evidence suggests that singing came before language. It was like a proto language and that we likely, as Homo sapiens, had our ritual practices before we could even speak language. And they were probably around rhythm and singing. And so I believe that oh, dancing and singing. This is all just it taps us deeply into our humanity.

JANELL

Clearly singing Whitney Houston ballads.

JENNY

This is this is great. This is this is a continuation of the woo bridge, because I think people think that for it to have a woo practice, you need to like, you know, hang out in a spiritual bookstore. But you're absolutely right. You know, I my my my hands-on energy healer suggested when I was in the throes of the mom stuff. So she's like, just, I want you to go into your car and put on a song. And she was right. I hadn't sung in a long time. And at first when I hit play, I was I put on my favorite Taylor Swift karaoke number.

And when I first started singing, I was like in the middle of the night and I and then it, like started and I was like, Baby, let the games begin, you know? And I was like really into it by the end of it. And I have to say my heart was open. I felt I felt transformed. And so I love that you're naming this as a as a spiritual woo practice.

JANELL

I mean, it's all about like levity, vibration and joy, laughter, singing. I, I will go into the drama itself, which is a lot of songs, right to laugh at the drama. And then unassociated from the drama, we are in trouble when we identify with the drama that is playing out and then we have feelings of self-pity around it.

And that helps. That makes us it pulls us down. And then we believe our own hype and we believe the the crap that's being played out. So to bring yourself out of that and look at it, which is what meditation is, by the way, we are observing from a higher place what our thoughts are. I'm a terrible meditator.

I just I know I don't have a meditation. I don't have a meditation practice. I am so antsy. I do sometimes. I do. I can sit still sometimes once the caffeine has worn off and but it's getting perspective. It's watching yourself do the things that you do. And sometimes music does that for me way better than like.

JUSTIN

Yes. Have you done ecstatic dancing?

JANELL

Of course I have.

JUSTIN

Yeah. Because for me, like when ecstatic dancing is done properly, it's it's kind of like a dancing meditation.

JANELL

I love I grew up as as a dancer. I'm a I'm a dancer. I'm an amateur. I'm a dancer. Oh, my gosh. All of it. So yeah. And I was I taught yoga for over ten years. And so, honey, I've done it all.

JUSTIN

Yeah, I think Ecstatic Dance is one of my top woo practices.

JENNY

Yeah. I want to. I want to speak to the folks out there that are listening. They're like, That sounds like my own version of hell. I'm just saying I want to speak to those people and say, I feel you and it doesn't. I want to I just want to say be vulnerable to move your body and also give yourself the grace that it takes to maybe get to the place where you can be vulnerable because depending on that, on the trauma that you've had, the lived experience that you've had, your past lives, etc., that may be made more difficult for others. And it doesn't mean that you can't have a spiritual connection or a connection if you're not able to love that, to experience those kinds of practices.

JUSTIN

Well I'll, I'll just say my introduction into what has, what is now ecstatic dancing which you know, ecstatic dancing just to define it for the audience at least the way that I understand it and the way that I have done it is it's basically like a rave without drugs and much more intentional. And so and the music will be much more I think there's like an organic tribal sort of musical theme to it.

But there is more intention around being present with your body moving with what's happening, you know, emotions. But I'll just say, you know, when I was 17 years old, I went to my first rave, this is way back in the nineties, 1994, probably. And I grew up in an evangelical household. My dad was a Baptist pastor. So you guys went through the Catholicism thing?

I went through the Baptist thing, and no one in my family danced zero point zero zero dancing. And I went and I felt totally out of place. And I couldn't I didn't know what I was doing, but I just saw the joy on people's faces and was like, Oh, I have to figure out a way to be a part of this.

I don't know how, but the next time we went . . .

JANELL

How liberating.

JUSTIN

Oh, for them.  But for me, I was, I was just faced with my own. I mean, I didn't have any of the tools, but I was just like, my body cannot possibly move like that. But then the next time we went to a rave, my friends and I just ate a bunch of mushrooms, just a ton of mushrooms, and it like I was all of a sudden, I swear to God, I was able to dance.

Maybe it looked horrible at the time, but I felt like I was just in full rhythm with everything. And then from that day on, I've been able to dance.

JANELL

Wow. I do appreciate psychedelic drugs for that reason as an actual chemical mechanism that pushes our ego slightly to the side, sometimes drastically.

JUSTIN

Sometimes not so slightly.

JENNY

Sometimes out of the building.

JANELL

Sometimes we need something to literally move our brain around in the concrete in order for us to connect to it. And hey, I'm all about it.

JUSTIN

And the most important thing is to have a wonderful holding container when that happens. Yeah. Yeah.

JENNY

So this is not this is not mental health advice that Janelle or I are giving. By the way. I agree. I have to give a disclaimer on that.

JUSTIN

Yeah, but it's. But it's coming. Did you see Colorado just.

JENNY

Yeah. No, no, I'm not saying it's not. Yeah, yeah.

JUSTIN

Yes. Oh, right. So, yeah, anyway, Jenny, I don't want to step on your thought. What did you have to say?

JENNY

Oh, not important. I was just thinking that I was like, what's my ecstatic dance? And I was like, Oh, it's eighties night at this club in L.A. that I haven't been to since COVID. And I was. And then I felt really sad because I haven't really danced since COVID. Not really. Well, Tina and I will do in the living room with the dogs. What's that? Janelle.

JANELL

Can I go with you sometime?

JENNY

Yes. We can make our own ladies night in the backyard if we want. Yeah, but yes, let's. Let's do it.

JUSTIN

So, Janelle, we this might have been covered in the previous question, but I like to kind of land the plane of these interviews by asking about what's really working for you in your life. What are you working on? Is there a new challenging thing that's coming up that that is making you excited and yeah, just what's, what's, what's new and edgy for you.

JANELL

Sexuality. I know. Even saying the word is titillating isn't it.

JUSTIN

Well for for two former Catholic school . . .

JANELL

Sexuality, it's, there's a lot to explore and there's a lot that I am wanting to explore. And again, it's a realm. It's a truth of our bodies and our worlds. It's a pathway to creation, but it's also a pathway to self-expression. A pathway that's another paradox is pain and pleasure. And people forget that it is our birth right to have pleasure.

And I'm looking at deconstructing the belief system that I inherently bought into around the patriarchy, monogamy, heteronormative beliefs. I'm really questioning a lot of that. I'm looking at the sex and love split the pain and pleasure split the binary rules that we live by, the gender rules that we live by, gender expression. I think that that is a really a mystical and divine pathway to understanding ourselves.

So that is where I'm at. And I'm also going through a divorce. So there's this thing, there's this opening that's been created in my life and I'm stepping way in and I'm kind of loving and sometimes it's really destabilizing and sometimes it's really exciting. I feel like I'm exploring and it's really exciting to me, so I don't know if that is in the realm of will, but it's in the realm of consciousness expansion, which is what I'm very excited about.

JUSTIN

Some curious are there books or workshops or people you follow? Like what? What is what has helped you in this area?

JANELL

Well, the first book that comes to mind is Existential Kink. I read that this summer and it just like blew my mind. I've also been looking at just that deconstruction of our idea of relationships and polyamory versus monogamy. And I read Poly Secure, I read Ethical Slut. I am gosh, what? I'm reading so many books. Oh, I love Pea Melody's work for Facing Codependency, Love Addiction her her work at the Meadows Inn.

I did the week long survivors healing there at the at the Meadows in Wickenburg, Arizona. I highly recommend that for healing childhood trauma. Her model around codependency and understanding that not the traditional way that we think of it in response to an addiction, she says that that's like codependency is like the thing and then addiction and everything else stems from it.

So that's been really cool.

JUSTIN

We'll definitely put those links in.

JANELL

Roar Like a Goddess. That's another one I love.

JUSTIN

Jenny, do you have any thoughts?

JENNY

I was just laughing to myself because I was like, wow, that sounds a lot more fun than what I'm reading right now, which is like I'm rereading Drama of the Gifted Child about parenting children and the wound. The mother wound to the mother. Yeah. Good times. It's a little light, you know, before bed. Just a little nugget. No, but it's I say what I love, like working with Janelle and working with therapists, and just as we move through these different chapters in our lives and what's really igniting our, you know, curiosity and what we sort of like die, I just I work with a lot of people who are just very much in with their into their curiosity and honoring it.

JENNY

And so it's been I learned so much from Janelle. It's I guess what I mean to say. And and also that we're, you know, we're all going through different things at different times. And and different different chapters of healing at different times. And what's, you know, what a divorce kicks up versus, you know, what a a dying mother kicks up and it's all welcome.

JUSTIN

Yeah, that's all welcome. Yeah. So we have three final questions that we ask every guest on our show. So the first one, Janelle, is if you could put a big Post-it note on everyone's refrigerator tomorrow morning, what would this Post-it note say?

JANELL

We are magic. And I just got a neon sign made on Etsy that I'm going to hang on my wall. So I'm literally I just made like a giant post-it.

JUSTIN

And then the neon post-it. Yeah, beautiful. And then the second one is, is there a recent quote that has changed the way you think or feel?

JANELL

And that I didn't I meant to look at and I don't I don't have one. I don't know. I, I was going to float, like, grab a quote from nothing. I don't know.

JENNY

Yeah, I have one. Oh, God. Where is it? Because I, I never every time you asked me this question, Justin, which I realize you're not asking me or asking Janelle, but I'm just going to help a sister out right now.

I never have an answer to this question. And then this quote came up and I it is a Khalil Gibran. Just bear with me. I'm going to find it. And it is. Oh, my God. Walters Come on. Scrolling past the queer wedding. Okay. Oh, here it is. Okay. Yeah, we. We went to a surprise lesbian wedding the other weekend.

JENNY

It was beautiful. Okay. Khalil Gibran, between what is said and not meant and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost between what is said and not meant and what is meant and not said. Most of love is lost. That really?

JUSTIN

Yeah. That's beautiful. And what that brings up for me is the practice of authentic relating that I've mentioned on the show or circling the idea that, you know, these are skills that we can build we can slow down and really listen to each other. Yeah, so the third question, Janelle, is what is one thing giving you hope right now?

JANELL

I, I'm just going to go back to that, the music, the music thing and, and just sort of circle back on that because it's so simple and you know, hope is, is, is like a daily practice. And so music gives me hope. I know that sounds really weird, but like, music is such a big part of my practice and it's such a big part of how I survive this world of form because it connects me to that vibrational realm.

And I have to choose hope every day. And so I choose to listen to music that fills me with connects me to my own hope inside, which is the the redemption of love and joy that we are inherently lovable and joyful beings. I have to work really hard to remember that, but the more I do, the more easy it is.

And changing my vibration really helps me remember that. So I know that, you know, I'm circling back on that, but that is how that's life.

JUSTIN

So, Janelle, would you give us one or two songs that are really doing it for you?

JANELL

Okay. Well, Beyonce's new album, Renaissance. Yeah. Oh, my gosh, I am bonkers over it. And I'm also really into this artist named Amber Mark. Oh, she sounds like.

JUSTIN

Oh, I've been an Amber Marc fan for quite a while. That voice is so powerful. Her power.

JANELL

Yes. So, like between those two, there's so, so many. But like and I like Harry Styles, like.

Like he is such like a ray of talent and sunshine. And so I, I'm a sucker for pop music.

JUSTIN

Beautiful. Oh, Jenny, do you have any final thoughts?

JENNY

No, I'm just delighted in this time and delighted in Janelle and everything that she shared.

JUSTIN

Absolutely. Janelle, thank you so much for coming on the US Collective podcast. And oh, and I can't wait to have you back to talk about narcissism where we will break down Jenny's narcissistic behavior (Laughter.)

JENNY

Yes, I can't wait. Let's make it a holiday special.

JUSTIN

No! Oh, my God. All right. We will see you soon, Janelle. Thank you.

In this episode

Throughout the month of November here at the Yes Collective, we’ve been diving deep into the mystical and magical world of woo for emotional health. From energy healing to Tarot to astrology, our amazing team of therapists, psychologists, and coaches have been exploring how “woo” practices can be more than fun diversions or guilty pleasures. They can be intentionally used in our mental and emotional health routines.

This week Jenny and Justin talk to licensed therapist and voiceover artist Janell Cox about how she uses “woo” in her therapeutic work. Originally from Chicago, Janell received her BA in theatre arts from Indiana University Bloomington and her MA in clinical psychology from Antioch University with a focus on Spiritual and Depth Psychology. Today she's a licensed Marriage Family Therapist, with a strong mind-body-spirit and psychodynamic lens. She's also taught yoga for 11 years and is trained in the art of applied esoteric astrology through Debra Silverman. Today Janell practices therapy at Highland Park Holistic Psychotherapy in Los Angeles.

If you’re interested in how you can bring more of the unseen, mysterious aspects of life into your own mental and emotional health journey, then buckle up. You’re gonna love our talk with the joyous, funny, and wise Janell Cox.

Yes Collective is co-hosted by Justin Wilford, PhD  and Jenny Walters, LMFT.

Justin Wilford, PhD, is a co-founder of Yes Collective, an educator, a writer, and an emotional health coach. He earned doctorates from UCLA (cultural geography) and UC Irvine (public health), and specializes in translating complex, scientific ideas into actionable programs for mental and emotional health.

Jenny Walters, LMFT, is a licensed marriage family therapist and senior expert contributor to the Yes Collective. She is a graduate of the Pacifica Graduate Institute and is the founder and director of Highland Park Holistic Psychotherapy in Los Angeles, California.

Listen here

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About our guest

Janell Cox, LMFT, is a licensed marriage family therapist, voiceover artist, and yoga instructor. She is a graduate of the Antioch University and practices therapy at Highland Park Holistic Psychotherapy in Los Angeles, California.

Show Notes

Janell Cox, LMFT

Janell's book #1: Existential Kink

Janell's book #2: Roar Like a Goddess

Janell's book #3: Poly Secure

Janell's book #4: Facing Codependence

Amber Mark

Transcript highlights

JUSTIN

What we're doing this month is we're looking at different woo practices. We're looking at the whole idea of woo, by the way, woo. We're defining really as anything spiritual, alternative, mystical outside of the conventional, mainstream medical model. And we're looking at Woo this month because we recognize that it can be a very powerful tool in our mental and emotional health journeys. I introduced it last month by talking about a bunch of non-woo reasons why we might be fully on board with Woo.

And they are things like the placebo effect, things like Woo helps us connect with others, helps us build community. I had a bunch of other reasons lined up that I can't remember off the top of my head, but I will throw it over to you. Jenny, do you have any thoughts on just generally what we talked about last podcast, the power of Woo, what this theme is about for you, at least?

JENNY

Yeah, it actually had me reconnected to Woo last week as I was experiencing some bumps in the road of my own life and I always, whenever I start to feel better, I forget, I forget woo. I abandon woo. And then when I start to feel bad, I'm like, I feel sort of desperate and I reconnect with Woo! And then I'm like, Why don't I do this all the time?

So I've just been really trying to, you know, wake up every morning and do a guided visualization that's been connecting me to my, my particular brand of woo right now is connecting to my spirit guides, my ancestors some other we will get I can go into more detail later because I have a bit of a woo woo story to share and oh my God, it just brings me so much clarity and and comfort and, and meaning, you know, around the pain, which always helps soothe the suffering.

So, yeah, that's what's been coming up for me since we first talked about it.

JUSTIN

Awesome. Well, Janelle, I just want to throw it over to you now. We've been talking about Woo. I defined it for for me at least. But I'm curious, Janelle, what is Woo for you? What do you think of when you hear this word woo.

JANELL

Woo is woo for me. I love, love, woo. To me, it's it's an interesting word because it's a little you know, sometimes I think it kind of demeans it. And you're right and I'm sure you guys have addressed that, but it's like because it's so profound and important to me. But it's, it's, it's anything that is it can't really be seen.

I'll use the word like local reality quite a bit. That's my favorite new like concept, but our local reality is this sort of three dimensional plane of physical form, and it has its own set of laws, which we call science. And those laws are very important to abide by when we have physical bodies and this earth structure. And that's a that's a truth that we have to abide by.

But we also have these other realms. I guess it's so hard to talk about it with language because it's so much bigger than us. But we are in this local reality and we we kind of get fooled that this is all there is because this is all we can see. And while this local reality is really important, there's so much more to the picture.

And that to me is is is respecting quote, woo is respecting that there's more to us than our physical form in these dimensions that we live in.

JENNY

And isn't it interesting that that brings that brings me so much comfort. And I also think that it can terrify people who are longing for more control, concreteness.

JANELL

And you know why it terrifies people. Jenny, I tell you, I think I think it terrifies people because choice is overwhelming and it puts the power back into us as sovereign beings. And it's easier for people to have an idea of spirituality or religion that puts power and authority outside of themselves as something judging our behavior rather than in us as sovereign, powerful beings that are a part of God or love or source, making choices and choosing love.

But we would have to stop buying into the lie or the illusion that this is all there is. So there's a lot of choice and responsibility. I mean, it's like the the foundation of existentialism is choice, right? Which is why I consider myself such an existential therapist, because I'm reorienting people to their power, their sovereignty and their choice.

Because we do have to choose love. Well, actually, we don't have to do anything, but it's just overwhelming for people.

JUSTIN

That's interesting, Janelle, that you are highlighting two different ways to approach woo. And I actually want to take one step back just to acknowledge Jenny brought this up in our first podcast, That Woo is a demeaning way to talk about practices that are very meaningful and important to people. And the reason why we chose Woo as the word here is because we do have a lot of people in Yes collective and in our orbit who are uncomfortable with some of these things.

And so woo is a nice bridge actually for a lot of people. So I bringing forth woo and in the most positive possible way. But then the other thing that we talked about last podcast was how we are in this age. This is a long age now, a couple hundred years old of secularization and demystification of the world.

And for many of us, myself included, when I was in academia for decades, very unwell, very just materialistic, that woo is a word that rationalists, materialists like myself use to talk about the things that we actually are really attracted to. You know, that spirituality or astrology or, you know, smudging practices or whatever the case is. And so it kind of yeah, it's served that purpose of being a bridge.

JENNY

And you know, if I can add this, Justin Woo has helped me understand why I was in the closet about Woo. You know, when I look at like my let me explain. I mean Janelle, you know more about astrology than I do. But when I look at my my astrology, you know, my astrological set up constellation, you know, there's a lot of thinking in my chart.

There's a lot of of that kind of rational thinking analysis is, you know, very much in my chart. And I think that has run into conflict with the parts of me that are very attracted to this more abstract, spiritual, emotional realm. And so whenever I get down on myself for having been in the closet in the womb, I was in the closet around my will.

As you know, I shared this in the last podcast I came out about five years ago. I will be sharing things openly today that I would never have dreamed I would share openly. And but now I understand, thanks to something that some people might consider. Whew, why? That is why that gets consolidated. And that's a great I find that to be really, really helpful, really orienting, you know, good story.

JANELL

Well, I just want to say, you know, we live in a paradox of love and fear and we also live in a paradox of these extreme forms of what is real to us. So we have to it's almost like what you're describing is the collective moving into a paradox of mysticism versus a paradox of this form of of our reality, which is the physical form, science and these laws.

So it's like we're vacillating the female model of spirituality, mysticism, right, that we came from and then into the patriarchal. And I do want to talk about the patriarchy because I think it's very important because I think that that's all a part of this to this conversation is the the the masculine energy having power and versus the feminine holding power.

So yeah, I think what you're talking about is this sort of like, you know, bouncing off of these different paradoxes of like how we how we interpret the world and the answer is in all of it, we do have the physical form. That's why I love astrology. It's the earth energy with the air energy, which is the mental mindset psyche.

Then the, the, you know, the earth with the physical, you got the fire, which is spirit spiritual and the water which is like the emotional. And we have to, you know, acknowledge all of it in order to thrive.

JUSTIN

So, Janelle, I wanted to bring back this idea that you were talking about about choice, this idea of two different approaches to one being about choice and sovereignty. And then, on the other hand, this approach to of kind of giving up all of that, having no choice like this is all planned or, you know, I'm I'm my life is being directed or controlled by larger forces than me.

And so it feels like, you know, this is this is two different forms. And one of the things that we wanted to talk about today was spiritual bypassing. And it so it seems to me that what what you brought up is there's one form of woo that's very empowering, that is around choice and sovereignty, as you said. And then there's this other form of woo where we're giving up that that choice and sovereignty to a higher power as other forces as this second form is.

Is this a part of spiritual bypassing for you?

JANELL

That's interesting. Well, spiritual bypass. I almost want to kind of put a pause on that because we can that is an interesting concept that allows us to stay out of reality. And one thing that I want to I think if I share this, this, this, think, this, think the line of thinking that I'm coming from is which is how I understand what's happening here, which is really hard for people to understand.

I think maybe it'll make sense, which is that I think the meaning of life, this is just like my theory. I don't know anything about anything.

JENNY

I know. Let me go. Can I go get a martini? It's 1130 in the morning. Okay, let's do this.

JANELL

The meaning of life is that we have to come from the spirit form, from the soul realm. We are drops of water in the ocean, branching off as an individual sovereign being with free will that comes here willingly and excitedly. To and and we we we give up the the the the connection. We we know that we we have to have this veil of illusion, which is separation from the source.

And we come into these bodies and we come into this experience and we have to dimmer vibration down so, so, so low to come down here. And we have to go through this process of choosing to believe in the illusion of separation from source. And it is in the redemption of choosing love. Choose, choice. Right? There's that word that we expand our consciousness and we expand the experience of love and joy, which is the meaning of life, expansion of love and joy.

So we get caught up in the illusion, which is fear or which is which we willingly do, and we excitedly do. And the more we are in our quote, darkness or fear or separation, which is also ego, the more chances we have to choose love. So being in fear and separation is not a bad thing. In fact, it's a it's a glorious thing.

The darker, the more effed up it is, the more redemption we have in the expansion of love and joy.

JENNY

The more we're being invited, the more we're being invited to make that choice. Yeah. Yeah. Well, it's easy to.

JANELL

I just had a, like a a rupture will say with my dad, who is a staunch Christian and Catholic, and I need to address that, which is that, you know, he was he was scared for my soul, you know, that I've broken off from Catholicism and I guess Christianity when I was 19 and I realized I was raised Catholic like Jenny and it and that that context of Catholicism schism worked for me because I already had a lot of I had an awareness of unconditional love from an outside source, which was God through the heart opening of my parents who loved me unconditionally.

If we don't have our hearts open as little children, we have a hard time understanding unconditional love from an outside source, which is God. So as therapists, what I find is so important is that we connect people to a concept of unconditional love, which is only through the heart center. It it cannot be intellectual ized. And when you can connect to the inherent love ability of yourself, you can connect to joy and love, right?

And that's that that feeling that I have. I have a concept of what it is to be loved unconditionally, to be delighted, and to be a precious child of God. And we all are about those things. So when we are wounded from our actual parents, which is the like this authority outside of ourselves that are loving us unconditionally, we are it's hard for us to connect to our inherent love ability as a soul.

So that is sort of how I see therapy. It's very important to connect to your inherent love ability.

JUSTIN

And so in this in this framework, then, would spiritual bypassing be the avoidance of the fear or pain avoidance of of confronting fear? Fear or pain? Yeah.

JENNY

Can I get throw out an example and just on the spiritual bypass because yeah, there was a time in my life where I was in spiritual bypass. I was reading a a lot of Carolyn Mace at the time and I was and what I was using, the way I was using it was I was disowning my power and my choice and sort of relying purely on, well, I was getting into some kind of a rabbit hole around like manifest station and like it's all it's all my fault if something bad happens.

I've manifested it of something really very skewed understanding, inverted version of the law of attraction and all that. And what I was doing in a way was outsourcing my knowing, outsourcing my power, my choice, and instead was kind of collapsed into not making any choices. And also, I think really avoiding the the darkness that you're sick, the true darkness that you're talking about.

I was I was working very hard not to feel that. And as a result, I was closed off from the choices that that would have asked of me. So I was in this kind of like weird idling position in my life and was calling it spirituality, but I don't think that's actually what was going on now when I experienced my spiritual life now and my experience of Whew, now, is that what I find is it actually puts me into deeper connection with my suffering and it brings me into holding both the tension of the the form I'm in as a human and the suffering and the pain and the beauty.

But at the same time and holding that tension, which to me is what being a human is. And when I'm in, I'm when in my spirituality or in the world, I'm in that tension of like I'm here to live in this live this form and and on this planet and do the things. And I have bills to pay.

And there's all this, you know, just human stuff I'm doing. And I'm also connected to something beyond that and that is much greater than me and holding both of that so event. So my experience when I'm not in spiritual bypass is that the spirituality actually deepens my connection to suffering, but in a way that is really rewarding and rich and yeah.

JANELL

It's when we identify with the suffering that that is who I am that right. That's where, you know, get, get stuck.

JENNY

And that that's all there is.

JANELL

Yeah. Which is why I think that being a spiritual therapist is so important because you're constantly reminding your clients like, oh, that's not who you are, that's just what you're doing to figure out how to love. So I think Jenny and I both we both work in the what's called the unconscious and we're depth therapists. And another term that we like to use as shadow work.

JANELL

And you'll hear this word thrown around a lot, you know, doing well and just did a lot of shadow work last year and.

JENNY

Like you did. Oh, tell me all about it.

JANELL

Shadow work. I just like really want to do shadow work. And it's like, what does that mean? And it, it is. And I like how it.

JUSTIN

Okay, Janelle, I'm super curious. Well, now I know what shadow work means in the depth psychology context. I'm super curious. What does what does Shadow work mean for that parody of a person that you are talking about? Like, what are they doing.

JANELL

I'm a character actor. I do voiceover. So and Jenny knows oftentimes if I'm like trying to work through like a client issue, I have to like get in their vibration and like, do like, like a.

JENNY

Like she channels them. She can call them. So it's very entertaining and help someone. Yeah.

JANELL

Yeah, like shadow work. It's just like it's this, I mean, a real shadow work is, is, is freakin hard shadow work.

JENNY

Real shadow work does you, don't you think.

JANELL

I mean and it never stops because our consciousness never stops and our ego never stops and our defenses never stop. And that's just that's just how it is. And that's what we signed up for. And that's the that's the joy of the ride, honey. It's the drama. And the drama is what we came here to do. Oh, God. There's such a good book I told Jenny about. It's called Existential Kink.

JUSTIN

Yes. I was recommended that book a couple of years ago.

JANELL

Yeah, it's so good. And it's you know, Jenny and I are trained in this young in depth therapy and on the unconscious shadow where it can be dream work. It could be in your fantasies. And, you know, traditionally, according to Young, to me, it is anything that we can catch in the projection, which is through our relationships. That's actually the deepest shadow work is, is how relationships play out because talk about being unconscious around something.

Oh, my God. Like how you attract people and what plays out. You think that you're on a track to like get it and you're like, I think I got it. And then this dynamic plays out in your relationship and you're like, Oh my God, I don't know anything.

But that takes work, it takes commitment. It takes a consistent process of coming back into that that shadow.

JUSTIN

Because what. Yeah, what the shadow. It's, it's, it's the stuff that you literally can't see. But it's still but it's still coming out in your projections, in your relationships and yeah.

JENNY

It's the stuff you I'm unconsciously yeah. I tried to get rid of and you could think of that through a IFS lens of like the exiles. You can think of it through a Jungian lens of the unconscious. And we all have different ways of languaging this.

JUSTIN

And I'm imagining that woo in its highest and best forms helps us start to do shadow work because what comes up for me around this idea of shadow work is how difficult it is, because by its very nature, I mean, like if I could see it, then I could deal with it, but I can't.

And so it's like for me, woo practices, or at least the best and highest ones will help me start to see things that I, that I couldn't see. What do you think of that?

JANELL

Yeah. Whew. It's like we need tools. We need to. I like the word distinction. It's like we need distinctions. A distinction is something that emerges out of nothing. It's like there was nothing, and now there's something. There was a darkness, and now something is into focus. And I have this, like, concept around something. So something just emerged out of the shadow, which is a knowing, an understanding, wisdom, a concept of a feeling.

We use these words to describe attachment and and states of being and feelings and something that emerges out of nothingness, which is a distinction I have. I have a concept now I can see because all we're doing is projecting on each other. And that's what I love about like people who say like about astrology. They're like, I don't put a lot of stock in it, you know, I just like who says like, you know, who says Capricorn is the is the, you know, the planet of a father energy is like, okay, I get that.

I get that. But we're projecting onto each other all the time anyway. We might as well make it interesting. We might as well have a framework of archetypes, which is all astrology is. It's a framework of archetypes that are universal in the collective unconscious that we pull upon, which we all can relate to, and we all have parts of inside us.

And it's also a study of science and timing and transits. And, you know, we don't have time to get into all that, but it's like all these systems, these woo woo ish systems of numerology and astrology and tarot or Enneagram. I love Aynsley MacLeod and the book, The Instruction, which Jenny turned me on to, which is totally transformed the way I see it, which is also a structure of archetypes and soul levels and soul ages and.

JENNY

What just struck me, Janelle, as you were speaking, is the systems are super containing and orienting and validating. And these are all the things that we need parents to do when we're infants and want more children. And so many of us didn't get. And so when I am lost in the anxiety or the pain or the suffering or identifying with the suffering, the woo is like it brings me into something very containing something.

I love that that your word distinction. It makes meaning. It brings image it brings clarification, mirroring, validation. And that's all the stuff that I, I needed and sometimes did not get, you know, and it helps it helps ground me. Ironically, it helps ground me more in a more present way into this form. You know that that's why it's not spiritual bypass.

When you're doing that, it it actually brings you more solidly into your lived experience here.

JUSTIN

I love that I, I love this idea of WU practices being containers or holding and I came back. Now this is three weeks almost from our retreat in Sedona. Janelle as Sedona is, as the work capital of the world. Right.

JENNY

I just mark time. Oh, yeah.

JUSTIN

And so I came back from this week-long retreat and I was just feeling woo'd-out like, I mean, in the best way. And I was thinking, like, how can I just keep this vibe? Because I just feel I'm just in the flow. I'm feeling good. And I was thinking like, what? What can I is there like a mantra that feels authentic for me because I'm not generally inclined to woo?

Is there something that can feel genuine and authentic? And what came up was this mantra of "I am held" or "I am held by the universe." Like the universe is holding me and I can tell it like for the past couple weeks that has been so grounding. And Jenny, so what you just said matches perfectly with my experience over the past couple of weeks, this woo mantra of I am held, the universe is holding me is actually helping me feel so much more centered and grounded and present.

JENNY

Yeah. And it builds on it anyway when you're in the zone. I just had this woo experience this weekend. You can edit this out. Hell no because you know and it's very vulnerable to share this sort of thing because, you know, I can hear the kind of the kind of energy I grew up with around this issue was raised Catholic. So there was a lot of there's been a lot of concern about my soul for a variety of reasons in my family.

JUSTIN

Jenny, do you have a do you have a manager part that alive in is this for you?

JENNY

Yes, yes, yes. It's it's it's it's holding a clipboard. It's going. Are you sure about this? Sure. So so I was, you know, as as I as I shared, you know, I've been going through my mother is elderly. She's in the last phase of her her life. She's preparing to pass. And it kicks up an immense amount of parts.

JENNY

And and wounds and feelings and grief. And I'm just it's just been a real menagerie inside of things. And I found myself visiting it this weekend, and I found myself in just a swirl of very, very intense anxiety. And I, I love that word distinction, Janelle, because there was no distinction. I was just my body was just on fire with electricity.

My mind was just swirling with a lot of confusion, fear, and and it was just in every direction work, you know, just everywhere. And so I, I put on a guided minute. I just did a quick search on insight time. I was like feeling kind of desperate, and I couldn't get a hold of anything, you know? So I just put a quick insight timer search of, like, you know, spirit guide, healing like you know, whatever a track came up, had decent reviews.

I'm like, okay, so I throw this thing on. It's a guided visualization, walks me, you know, some deep breaths into a beam of light up to the angelic realm like you do. And you can you can sit or lay on a table. I chose to lay down and over walks a spirit guide. I think it was my dad.

Not sure. Hands on me. I'm over me and immediately. I've never had anything like this happen immediately. All of my anxiety went from the right side of my body to the left side of my or from my whole body to the left side. The right side down the middle, stem to stern felt completely calm. The left side was just as the healing continued and the visualization continued, it all began to center over my heart.

And then I was I was receiving like words and messages around heart healing, heart wounds, just heart ache, heartbreak. And then it left and I felt completely calm, anxiety gone. Then the visualization continues to takes me to a second. Guide Okay, hold on. Guide Hold on to your hats because this is where it gets a little surprising. I'm taken into a temple.

There is a woman in long robes, long dark hair, dark skin and takes me under her arms. I'm kind of sitting at her feet and I have this message of Mother Mary. Now, I left Catholicism a long time ago and I think I've been sort of anti anything to do with it, but I felt very open to this message and I just was there and I felt very held and mothered and I just I just felt relief in it.

And I had this realization of all of the layers of mother wound and mothering that's playing out in my shadow work right now, which is my mother is dying. There is immense grief and loss around the mothering that I wish I had had, that I did not, that the mothering I wish she had had, that she did not.

I am in a position in my life and in my career where people project mother onto me negative and positive. I work in the maternal transference. I you know, just lots of layers of this mother wound and energy and healing and longing. And so I come out of this meditate ation and I just feel some insights about choices I need.

There's your words now, choices. I get some real clarity that feels very grounded and wise about choices I need to make in my life. And I feel such gratitude for that. I feel calmer. I hop on Google like you do, and I just Google Mother Mary healing. I was just so curious about this Mother Mary showing up and the first thing that shows up is some guy in Canada who is a healer.

But but his healing mother, Mary. Heart healing what? So I click on it and it's all about being in vulnerability and power at the same time. It is about a mother energy, about the Divine Mother, about healing the heart and allowing the heart to be to be open to remove blockages from that, etc.. Okay, so that's part one.

Part two. Next day I wake up a little bit of anxieties back. I'm like, okay, I just do it. My wife's the sound healer. I thought, it must be nice to be in like a sound bath. Like, just so I go inside timer and I just like, Oh, let's do a mantra. I don't know why I don't normally do mantras, but click on a monitor.

The first thing I see is the goddess Devi. I believe Devi. I hope I'm not screwing that up. I click on it. I don't know who this goddesses, but sounds good. I listen to this. I feel immense, calm. I feel peace. I Google the goddess Stevie afterward and she is the divine Mother Goddess. And the mantra was all about allowing her healing.

And I just don't think that's a coincidence, right? I don't think that that is a coincidence. And it has been so comforting. And it's not that I'm without anxiety. You know, I had my IFC session this Wednesday and was just sobbing with grief around this mother this mother work that I'm in right now. But I also feel immense holding and wisdom and peace.

So all that to say that is an example of something coming from a place of no form, no distinction of terror, and into this beautiful array of symbols, imagery, meaning it gives me I've got the chills right now.

So I and I think that that those types of sort of mystical experiences and then feeling that evidential supports those are the experiences that confirm and our knowing around that realm and we're all having them all the time and they build on each other and they give us I, I like the word knowing it transcends the word belief or faith.

JANELL

The belief in faith are words that are associated with trying to trust something outside of ourselves, which is what we can, where we would just talking, you know, which is that religious model, particularly of male God, which totally demeans the female as power. And but, but when we have those mystical experiences and the coincidences and the, the tracking of synchronicities and the tracking of all of these things that are in the depths of us, that those build our internal knowing.

So you're sitting with, you know, Jenny and I and I can't speak for you, Justin, because, you know, I'm not I don't know you as as well as as Jenny. But I know that when you have those experiences over and over, you have a lifetime of of of building that, knowing inside of you. And that's just a great example, Jenny, of that sort of.

Wow, there's something bigger than me. Oh, gosh, mother Mary Totally. The archangels and all this stuff. It is just like, you know, you had a divine healing.

JENNY

Well I was going to say I agree I in the end it's such a nice retrieval of a symbol that was part of a religion that felt so oppressive to me and so shaming to me. And to be able to reconnect with, you know, an essence of it that is there's there is so much love and wisdom in that for her as a as a symbol, as a as a, you know, a master entity or, you know, however you want to think of her.

So that was really healing in and of itself, you know, like kind of reframing of of Mother Mary. So it surprised me. That's the thing I love about Woohoo is it surprises you. And if you're open to it, which is it's nice to be surprised, you know.

JUSTIN

So yeah, this this idea of being open to it. And so, Janelle, you mentioned something about you implied at least that this takes practice being this open to it. Like it's not something that someone who, you know, has had no will in their lives can just flip on. But that it's there's a practice element to opening to woo. What do you think about that?

JANELL

Yeah. You know, as you were talking I was like, gosh I have, I've had such a specific experience of that since I was a child. So it's so innate inside of me. And I have to remember that not everybody has that experience, so they have to kind of work in a different way. But that is what I love about being a therapist and sitting with people all day long, reminding them that their knowing trumps my knowing and helping connect them to their inherent worth, valuable value, love, ability, and a worthiness to have goodness and joy and love and how to open their hearts to love. So when we are blocked in the heart center, which is what narcissism is, which is what was so important about having Trump in office, I'm just going to say that it was horrible, but it also woke up the collective around a very a very deep heart chakra wound of being shut down, because that's what narcissism is.

It's a wound in the heart. And so we've all been waking up to that and we had to see it in its form. So obviously over and over and feel that separation over and over in order to be reminded of what it was. I've never in my whole life been so aware of the narcissistic wound. I mean, can I get a witness?

JENNY

Oh, amen. Yeah. I mean.

JUSTIN

Glaringly obvious.

JENNY

Well, and why? Why, why? All of those who've survived narcissistic trauma were just like mommy, mommy. Like, you know, it was very, very disturbing. I mean, yeah. Yeah.

JUSTIN

And then yes. And then how clear it was. And then to feel so disconnected from half of the country and many of our closest relatives who don't see how totally damaged this human being is.

JANELL

Yeah. And the split in the split continues. But with the split and I'm talking about you guys know the split is in the psyche. The divide has it's almost like we're living in two different realities right now. I mean, and that is the narcissistic wound. It's like a split. The ego splits off. Right. And that this is the separation that we're talking about, the paradox of love and fear. It's like this paradox. And we hold we hold all of it. So what Shadow Work is, is integrating the light and the dark, the love and the fear. It's not right or wrong or up or down. It's all of it.

JENNY

And it brings you more into your humanity.

JENNY

Right. Which is terrifying to the narcissist and the narcissistic ego. The humanity is absolutely terrifying, you know, because it's not ideal. It's too messy. We should do a podcast. Can we reconvene? Can we have a reunion podcast and just do narcissism? Oh my God.

JUSTIN

Let's do it.

JANELL

I'm I will say on Jenny's but you know, I will say Jenny is a real expert, she specializes in this.

JENNY

I thought you're going to say you're sitting with a real narcissist I know.

JUSTIN

She knows from experience, you know. (Laughter)

Yeah. So I'm curious, what are some daily or regular air woo practices that really work for you that are just that are that are a part of your personal routine?

JANELL

You know, it's so interesting because as you evolve as I've evolved, I used to have to work really hard. It's like really hard to explain. I used to have to work really hard to remember that I am love, that I that to not be fooled by the separation and to not be fooled and live in the veil.

And now the veil is so thin. The more work I've done, it's like the veil has thinned and I just. It's all just so funny to me. So I have to think, what do I do? It's just also I just I'm so glad if I'm full of glee around this this crazy drama we called life. And I love.

JANELL

Okay, music. Music. Okay. That is how I change my vibration in an instant. I Listen to music that is straight into my heart chakra and opens it. And I love moving my body. And this double Leo I have to sweat and move. And so for me, it's about what's going to shift my vibration, what's going to change my vibration and energy up, like move it up because it's easy to get stuck in the lower vibration and then stay there.

And then we run the self-pity. So we have to do things to connect to a higher vibration. I've got this beautiful German shepherd who is just love and joy in a beautiful dog body. And so I play with her, I smother her and I'm trying so hard to help make her more codependent with me.

JUSTIN

So dog spooning.

JENNY

This is great. Janelle, I just want to rewind a second what I hear you saying and I mean, be still my heart. You are saying that the fine art of karaoke is a spiritual practice? Yes. Am I right? Because Janelle is a master karaoke. I mean, just like watch out, karaoke, go karaoke or.

JANELL

But in Walters I have met my match.

JENNY

Well, you can bring voice and performance but.

JUSTIN

So from a from a scientific and anthropological perspective, the best evidence suggests that singing came before language. It was like a proto language and that we likely, as Homo sapiens, had our ritual practices before we could even speak language. And they were probably around rhythm and singing. And so I believe that oh, dancing and singing. This is all just it taps us deeply into our humanity.

JANELL

Clearly singing Whitney Houston ballads.

JENNY

This is this is great. This is this is a continuation of the woo bridge, because I think people think that for it to have a woo practice, you need to like, you know, hang out in a spiritual bookstore. But you're absolutely right. You know, I my my my hands-on energy healer suggested when I was in the throes of the mom stuff. So she's like, just, I want you to go into your car and put on a song. And she was right. I hadn't sung in a long time. And at first when I hit play, I was I put on my favorite Taylor Swift karaoke number.

And when I first started singing, I was like in the middle of the night and I and then it, like started and I was like, Baby, let the games begin, you know? And I was like really into it by the end of it. And I have to say my heart was open. I felt I felt transformed. And so I love that you're naming this as a as a spiritual woo practice.

JANELL

I mean, it's all about like levity, vibration and joy, laughter, singing. I, I will go into the drama itself, which is a lot of songs, right to laugh at the drama. And then unassociated from the drama, we are in trouble when we identify with the drama that is playing out and then we have feelings of self-pity around it.

And that helps. That makes us it pulls us down. And then we believe our own hype and we believe the the crap that's being played out. So to bring yourself out of that and look at it, which is what meditation is, by the way, we are observing from a higher place what our thoughts are. I'm a terrible meditator.

I just I know I don't have a meditation. I don't have a meditation practice. I am so antsy. I do sometimes. I do. I can sit still sometimes once the caffeine has worn off and but it's getting perspective. It's watching yourself do the things that you do. And sometimes music does that for me way better than like.

JUSTIN

Yes. Have you done ecstatic dancing?

JANELL

Of course I have.

JUSTIN

Yeah. Because for me, like when ecstatic dancing is done properly, it's it's kind of like a dancing meditation.

JANELL

I love I grew up as as a dancer. I'm a I'm a dancer. I'm an amateur. I'm a dancer. Oh, my gosh. All of it. So yeah. And I was I taught yoga for over ten years. And so, honey, I've done it all.

JUSTIN

Yeah, I think Ecstatic Dance is one of my top woo practices.

JENNY

Yeah. I want to. I want to speak to the folks out there that are listening. They're like, That sounds like my own version of hell. I'm just saying I want to speak to those people and say, I feel you and it doesn't. I want to I just want to say be vulnerable to move your body and also give yourself the grace that it takes to maybe get to the place where you can be vulnerable because depending on that, on the trauma that you've had, the lived experience that you've had, your past lives, etc., that may be made more difficult for others. And it doesn't mean that you can't have a spiritual connection or a connection if you're not able to love that, to experience those kinds of practices.

JUSTIN

Well I'll, I'll just say my introduction into what has, what is now ecstatic dancing which you know, ecstatic dancing just to define it for the audience at least the way that I understand it and the way that I have done it is it's basically like a rave without drugs and much more intentional. And so and the music will be much more I think there's like an organic tribal sort of musical theme to it.

But there is more intention around being present with your body moving with what's happening, you know, emotions. But I'll just say, you know, when I was 17 years old, I went to my first rave, this is way back in the nineties, 1994, probably. And I grew up in an evangelical household. My dad was a Baptist pastor. So you guys went through the Catholicism thing?

I went through the Baptist thing, and no one in my family danced zero point zero zero dancing. And I went and I felt totally out of place. And I couldn't I didn't know what I was doing, but I just saw the joy on people's faces and was like, Oh, I have to figure out a way to be a part of this.

I don't know how, but the next time we went . . .

JANELL

How liberating.

JUSTIN

Oh, for them.  But for me, I was, I was just faced with my own. I mean, I didn't have any of the tools, but I was just like, my body cannot possibly move like that. But then the next time we went to a rave, my friends and I just ate a bunch of mushrooms, just a ton of mushrooms, and it like I was all of a sudden, I swear to God, I was able to dance.

Maybe it looked horrible at the time, but I felt like I was just in full rhythm with everything. And then from that day on, I've been able to dance.

JANELL

Wow. I do appreciate psychedelic drugs for that reason as an actual chemical mechanism that pushes our ego slightly to the side, sometimes drastically.

JUSTIN

Sometimes not so slightly.

JENNY

Sometimes out of the building.

JANELL

Sometimes we need something to literally move our brain around in the concrete in order for us to connect to it. And hey, I'm all about it.

JUSTIN

And the most important thing is to have a wonderful holding container when that happens. Yeah. Yeah.

JENNY

So this is not this is not mental health advice that Janelle or I are giving. By the way. I agree. I have to give a disclaimer on that.

JUSTIN

Yeah, but it's. But it's coming. Did you see Colorado just.

JENNY

Yeah. No, no, I'm not saying it's not. Yeah, yeah.

JUSTIN

Yes. Oh, right. So, yeah, anyway, Jenny, I don't want to step on your thought. What did you have to say?

JENNY

Oh, not important. I was just thinking that I was like, what's my ecstatic dance? And I was like, Oh, it's eighties night at this club in L.A. that I haven't been to since COVID. And I was. And then I felt really sad because I haven't really danced since COVID. Not really. Well, Tina and I will do in the living room with the dogs. What's that? Janelle.

JANELL

Can I go with you sometime?

JENNY

Yes. We can make our own ladies night in the backyard if we want. Yeah, but yes, let's. Let's do it.

JUSTIN

So, Janelle, we this might have been covered in the previous question, but I like to kind of land the plane of these interviews by asking about what's really working for you in your life. What are you working on? Is there a new challenging thing that's coming up that that is making you excited and yeah, just what's, what's, what's new and edgy for you.

JANELL

Sexuality. I know. Even saying the word is titillating isn't it.

JUSTIN

Well for for two former Catholic school . . .

JANELL

Sexuality, it's, there's a lot to explore and there's a lot that I am wanting to explore. And again, it's a realm. It's a truth of our bodies and our worlds. It's a pathway to creation, but it's also a pathway to self-expression. A pathway that's another paradox is pain and pleasure. And people forget that it is our birth right to have pleasure.

And I'm looking at deconstructing the belief system that I inherently bought into around the patriarchy, monogamy, heteronormative beliefs. I'm really questioning a lot of that. I'm looking at the sex and love split the pain and pleasure split the binary rules that we live by, the gender rules that we live by, gender expression. I think that that is a really a mystical and divine pathway to understanding ourselves.

So that is where I'm at. And I'm also going through a divorce. So there's this thing, there's this opening that's been created in my life and I'm stepping way in and I'm kind of loving and sometimes it's really destabilizing and sometimes it's really exciting. I feel like I'm exploring and it's really exciting to me, so I don't know if that is in the realm of will, but it's in the realm of consciousness expansion, which is what I'm very excited about.

JUSTIN

Some curious are there books or workshops or people you follow? Like what? What is what has helped you in this area?

JANELL

Well, the first book that comes to mind is Existential Kink. I read that this summer and it just like blew my mind. I've also been looking at just that deconstruction of our idea of relationships and polyamory versus monogamy. And I read Poly Secure, I read Ethical Slut. I am gosh, what? I'm reading so many books. Oh, I love Pea Melody's work for Facing Codependency, Love Addiction her her work at the Meadows Inn.

I did the week long survivors healing there at the at the Meadows in Wickenburg, Arizona. I highly recommend that for healing childhood trauma. Her model around codependency and understanding that not the traditional way that we think of it in response to an addiction, she says that that's like codependency is like the thing and then addiction and everything else stems from it.

So that's been really cool.

JUSTIN

We'll definitely put those links in.

JANELL

Roar Like a Goddess. That's another one I love.

JUSTIN

Jenny, do you have any thoughts?

JENNY

I was just laughing to myself because I was like, wow, that sounds a lot more fun than what I'm reading right now, which is like I'm rereading Drama of the Gifted Child about parenting children and the wound. The mother wound to the mother. Yeah. Good times. It's a little light, you know, before bed. Just a little nugget. No, but it's I say what I love, like working with Janelle and working with therapists, and just as we move through these different chapters in our lives and what's really igniting our, you know, curiosity and what we sort of like die, I just I work with a lot of people who are just very much in with their into their curiosity and honoring it.

JENNY

And so it's been I learned so much from Janelle. It's I guess what I mean to say. And and also that we're, you know, we're all going through different things at different times. And and different different chapters of healing at different times. And what's, you know, what a divorce kicks up versus, you know, what a a dying mother kicks up and it's all welcome.

JUSTIN

Yeah, that's all welcome. Yeah. So we have three final questions that we ask every guest on our show. So the first one, Janelle, is if you could put a big Post-it note on everyone's refrigerator tomorrow morning, what would this Post-it note say?

JANELL

We are magic. And I just got a neon sign made on Etsy that I'm going to hang on my wall. So I'm literally I just made like a giant post-it.

JUSTIN

And then the neon post-it. Yeah, beautiful. And then the second one is, is there a recent quote that has changed the way you think or feel?

JANELL

And that I didn't I meant to look at and I don't I don't have one. I don't know. I, I was going to float, like, grab a quote from nothing. I don't know.

JENNY

Yeah, I have one. Oh, God. Where is it? Because I, I never every time you asked me this question, Justin, which I realize you're not asking me or asking Janelle, but I'm just going to help a sister out right now.

I never have an answer to this question. And then this quote came up and I it is a Khalil Gibran. Just bear with me. I'm going to find it. And it is. Oh, my God. Walters Come on. Scrolling past the queer wedding. Okay. Oh, here it is. Okay. Yeah, we. We went to a surprise lesbian wedding the other weekend.

JENNY

It was beautiful. Okay. Khalil Gibran, between what is said and not meant and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost between what is said and not meant and what is meant and not said. Most of love is lost. That really?

JUSTIN

Yeah. That's beautiful. And what that brings up for me is the practice of authentic relating that I've mentioned on the show or circling the idea that, you know, these are skills that we can build we can slow down and really listen to each other. Yeah, so the third question, Janelle, is what is one thing giving you hope right now?

JANELL

I, I'm just going to go back to that, the music, the music thing and, and just sort of circle back on that because it's so simple and you know, hope is, is, is like a daily practice. And so music gives me hope. I know that sounds really weird, but like, music is such a big part of my practice and it's such a big part of how I survive this world of form because it connects me to that vibrational realm.

And I have to choose hope every day. And so I choose to listen to music that fills me with connects me to my own hope inside, which is the the redemption of love and joy that we are inherently lovable and joyful beings. I have to work really hard to remember that, but the more I do, the more easy it is.

And changing my vibration really helps me remember that. So I know that, you know, I'm circling back on that, but that is how that's life.

JUSTIN

So, Janelle, would you give us one or two songs that are really doing it for you?

JANELL

Okay. Well, Beyonce's new album, Renaissance. Yeah. Oh, my gosh, I am bonkers over it. And I'm also really into this artist named Amber Mark. Oh, she sounds like.

JUSTIN

Oh, I've been an Amber Marc fan for quite a while. That voice is so powerful. Her power.

JANELL

Yes. So, like between those two, there's so, so many. But like and I like Harry Styles, like.

Like he is such like a ray of talent and sunshine. And so I, I'm a sucker for pop music.

JUSTIN

Beautiful. Oh, Jenny, do you have any final thoughts?

JENNY

No, I'm just delighted in this time and delighted in Janelle and everything that she shared.

JUSTIN

Absolutely. Janelle, thank you so much for coming on the US Collective podcast. And oh, and I can't wait to have you back to talk about narcissism where we will break down Jenny's narcissistic behavior (Laughter.)

JENNY

Yes, I can't wait. Let's make it a holiday special.

JUSTIN

No! Oh, my God. All right. We will see you soon, Janelle. Thank you.

In this episode

Throughout the month of November here at the Yes Collective, we’ve been diving deep into the mystical and magical world of woo for emotional health. From energy healing to Tarot to astrology, our amazing team of therapists, psychologists, and coaches have been exploring how “woo” practices can be more than fun diversions or guilty pleasures. They can be intentionally used in our mental and emotional health routines.

This week Jenny and Justin talk to licensed therapist and voiceover artist Janell Cox about how she uses “woo” in her therapeutic work. Originally from Chicago, Janell received her BA in theatre arts from Indiana University Bloomington and her MA in clinical psychology from Antioch University with a focus on Spiritual and Depth Psychology. Today she's a licensed Marriage Family Therapist, with a strong mind-body-spirit and psychodynamic lens. She's also taught yoga for 11 years and is trained in the art of applied esoteric astrology through Debra Silverman. Today Janell practices therapy at Highland Park Holistic Psychotherapy in Los Angeles.

If you’re interested in how you can bring more of the unseen, mysterious aspects of life into your own mental and emotional health journey, then buckle up. You’re gonna love our talk with the joyous, funny, and wise Janell Cox.

Yes Collective is co-hosted by Justin Wilford, PhD  and Jenny Walters, LMFT.

Justin Wilford, PhD, is a co-founder of Yes Collective, an educator, a writer, and an emotional health coach. He earned doctorates from UCLA (cultural geography) and UC Irvine (public health), and specializes in translating complex, scientific ideas into actionable programs for mental and emotional health.

Jenny Walters, LMFT, is a licensed marriage family therapist and senior expert contributor to the Yes Collective. She is a graduate of the Pacifica Graduate Institute and is the founder and director of Highland Park Holistic Psychotherapy in Los Angeles, California.

Listen here

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About our guest

Janell Cox, LMFT, is a licensed marriage family therapist, voiceover artist, and yoga instructor. She is a graduate of the Antioch University and practices therapy at Highland Park Holistic Psychotherapy in Los Angeles, California.

Show Notes

Janell Cox, LMFT

Janell's book #1: Existential Kink

Janell's book #2: Roar Like a Goddess

Janell's book #3: Poly Secure

Janell's book #4: Facing Codependence

Amber Mark

Transcript highlights

JUSTIN

What we're doing this month is we're looking at different woo practices. We're looking at the whole idea of woo, by the way, woo. We're defining really as anything spiritual, alternative, mystical outside of the conventional, mainstream medical model. And we're looking at Woo this month because we recognize that it can be a very powerful tool in our mental and emotional health journeys. I introduced it last month by talking about a bunch of non-woo reasons why we might be fully on board with Woo.

And they are things like the placebo effect, things like Woo helps us connect with others, helps us build community. I had a bunch of other reasons lined up that I can't remember off the top of my head, but I will throw it over to you. Jenny, do you have any thoughts on just generally what we talked about last podcast, the power of Woo, what this theme is about for you, at least?

JENNY

Yeah, it actually had me reconnected to Woo last week as I was experiencing some bumps in the road of my own life and I always, whenever I start to feel better, I forget, I forget woo. I abandon woo. And then when I start to feel bad, I'm like, I feel sort of desperate and I reconnect with Woo! And then I'm like, Why don't I do this all the time?

So I've just been really trying to, you know, wake up every morning and do a guided visualization that's been connecting me to my, my particular brand of woo right now is connecting to my spirit guides, my ancestors some other we will get I can go into more detail later because I have a bit of a woo woo story to share and oh my God, it just brings me so much clarity and and comfort and, and meaning, you know, around the pain, which always helps soothe the suffering.

So, yeah, that's what's been coming up for me since we first talked about it.

JUSTIN

Awesome. Well, Janelle, I just want to throw it over to you now. We've been talking about Woo. I defined it for for me at least. But I'm curious, Janelle, what is Woo for you? What do you think of when you hear this word woo.

JANELL

Woo is woo for me. I love, love, woo. To me, it's it's an interesting word because it's a little you know, sometimes I think it kind of demeans it. And you're right and I'm sure you guys have addressed that, but it's like because it's so profound and important to me. But it's, it's, it's anything that is it can't really be seen.

I'll use the word like local reality quite a bit. That's my favorite new like concept, but our local reality is this sort of three dimensional plane of physical form, and it has its own set of laws, which we call science. And those laws are very important to abide by when we have physical bodies and this earth structure. And that's a that's a truth that we have to abide by.

But we also have these other realms. I guess it's so hard to talk about it with language because it's so much bigger than us. But we are in this local reality and we we kind of get fooled that this is all there is because this is all we can see. And while this local reality is really important, there's so much more to the picture.

And that to me is is is respecting quote, woo is respecting that there's more to us than our physical form in these dimensions that we live in.

JENNY

And isn't it interesting that that brings that brings me so much comfort. And I also think that it can terrify people who are longing for more control, concreteness.

JANELL

And you know why it terrifies people. Jenny, I tell you, I think I think it terrifies people because choice is overwhelming and it puts the power back into us as sovereign beings. And it's easier for people to have an idea of spirituality or religion that puts power and authority outside of themselves as something judging our behavior rather than in us as sovereign, powerful beings that are a part of God or love or source, making choices and choosing love.

But we would have to stop buying into the lie or the illusion that this is all there is. So there's a lot of choice and responsibility. I mean, it's like the the foundation of existentialism is choice, right? Which is why I consider myself such an existential therapist, because I'm reorienting people to their power, their sovereignty and their choice.

Because we do have to choose love. Well, actually, we don't have to do anything, but it's just overwhelming for people.

JUSTIN

That's interesting, Janelle, that you are highlighting two different ways to approach woo. And I actually want to take one step back just to acknowledge Jenny brought this up in our first podcast, That Woo is a demeaning way to talk about practices that are very meaningful and important to people. And the reason why we chose Woo as the word here is because we do have a lot of people in Yes collective and in our orbit who are uncomfortable with some of these things.

And so woo is a nice bridge actually for a lot of people. So I bringing forth woo and in the most positive possible way. But then the other thing that we talked about last podcast was how we are in this age. This is a long age now, a couple hundred years old of secularization and demystification of the world.

And for many of us, myself included, when I was in academia for decades, very unwell, very just materialistic, that woo is a word that rationalists, materialists like myself use to talk about the things that we actually are really attracted to. You know, that spirituality or astrology or, you know, smudging practices or whatever the case is. And so it kind of yeah, it's served that purpose of being a bridge.

JENNY

And you know, if I can add this, Justin Woo has helped me understand why I was in the closet about Woo. You know, when I look at like my let me explain. I mean Janelle, you know more about astrology than I do. But when I look at my my astrology, you know, my astrological set up constellation, you know, there's a lot of thinking in my chart.

There's a lot of of that kind of rational thinking analysis is, you know, very much in my chart. And I think that has run into conflict with the parts of me that are very attracted to this more abstract, spiritual, emotional realm. And so whenever I get down on myself for having been in the closet in the womb, I was in the closet around my will.

As you know, I shared this in the last podcast I came out about five years ago. I will be sharing things openly today that I would never have dreamed I would share openly. And but now I understand, thanks to something that some people might consider. Whew, why? That is why that gets consolidated. And that's a great I find that to be really, really helpful, really orienting, you know, good story.

JANELL

Well, I just want to say, you know, we live in a paradox of love and fear and we also live in a paradox of these extreme forms of what is real to us. So we have to it's almost like what you're describing is the collective moving into a paradox of mysticism versus a paradox of this form of of our reality, which is the physical form, science and these laws.

So it's like we're vacillating the female model of spirituality, mysticism, right, that we came from and then into the patriarchal. And I do want to talk about the patriarchy because I think it's very important because I think that that's all a part of this to this conversation is the the the masculine energy having power and versus the feminine holding power.

So yeah, I think what you're talking about is this sort of like, you know, bouncing off of these different paradoxes of like how we how we interpret the world and the answer is in all of it, we do have the physical form. That's why I love astrology. It's the earth energy with the air energy, which is the mental mindset psyche.

Then the, the, you know, the earth with the physical, you got the fire, which is spirit spiritual and the water which is like the emotional. And we have to, you know, acknowledge all of it in order to thrive.

JUSTIN

So, Janelle, I wanted to bring back this idea that you were talking about about choice, this idea of two different approaches to one being about choice and sovereignty. And then, on the other hand, this approach to of kind of giving up all of that, having no choice like this is all planned or, you know, I'm I'm my life is being directed or controlled by larger forces than me.

And so it feels like, you know, this is this is two different forms. And one of the things that we wanted to talk about today was spiritual bypassing. And it so it seems to me that what what you brought up is there's one form of woo that's very empowering, that is around choice and sovereignty, as you said. And then there's this other form of woo where we're giving up that that choice and sovereignty to a higher power as other forces as this second form is.

Is this a part of spiritual bypassing for you?

JANELL

That's interesting. Well, spiritual bypass. I almost want to kind of put a pause on that because we can that is an interesting concept that allows us to stay out of reality. And one thing that I want to I think if I share this, this, this, think, this, think the line of thinking that I'm coming from is which is how I understand what's happening here, which is really hard for people to understand.

I think maybe it'll make sense, which is that I think the meaning of life, this is just like my theory. I don't know anything about anything.

JENNY

I know. Let me go. Can I go get a martini? It's 1130 in the morning. Okay, let's do this.

JANELL

The meaning of life is that we have to come from the spirit form, from the soul realm. We are drops of water in the ocean, branching off as an individual sovereign being with free will that comes here willingly and excitedly. To and and we we we give up the the the the connection. We we know that we we have to have this veil of illusion, which is separation from the source.

And we come into these bodies and we come into this experience and we have to dimmer vibration down so, so, so low to come down here. And we have to go through this process of choosing to believe in the illusion of separation from source. And it is in the redemption of choosing love. Choose, choice. Right? There's that word that we expand our consciousness and we expand the experience of love and joy, which is the meaning of life, expansion of love and joy.

So we get caught up in the illusion, which is fear or which is which we willingly do, and we excitedly do. And the more we are in our quote, darkness or fear or separation, which is also ego, the more chances we have to choose love. So being in fear and separation is not a bad thing. In fact, it's a it's a glorious thing.

The darker, the more effed up it is, the more redemption we have in the expansion of love and joy.

JENNY

The more we're being invited, the more we're being invited to make that choice. Yeah. Yeah. Well, it's easy to.

JANELL

I just had a, like a a rupture will say with my dad, who is a staunch Christian and Catholic, and I need to address that, which is that, you know, he was he was scared for my soul, you know, that I've broken off from Catholicism and I guess Christianity when I was 19 and I realized I was raised Catholic like Jenny and it and that that context of Catholicism schism worked for me because I already had a lot of I had an awareness of unconditional love from an outside source, which was God through the heart opening of my parents who loved me unconditionally.

If we don't have our hearts open as little children, we have a hard time understanding unconditional love from an outside source, which is God. So as therapists, what I find is so important is that we connect people to a concept of unconditional love, which is only through the heart center. It it cannot be intellectual ized. And when you can connect to the inherent love ability of yourself, you can connect to joy and love, right?

And that's that that feeling that I have. I have a concept of what it is to be loved unconditionally, to be delighted, and to be a precious child of God. And we all are about those things. So when we are wounded from our actual parents, which is the like this authority outside of ourselves that are loving us unconditionally, we are it's hard for us to connect to our inherent love ability as a soul.

So that is sort of how I see therapy. It's very important to connect to your inherent love ability.

JUSTIN

And so in this in this framework, then, would spiritual bypassing be the avoidance of the fear or pain avoidance of of confronting fear? Fear or pain? Yeah.

JENNY

Can I get throw out an example and just on the spiritual bypass because yeah, there was a time in my life where I was in spiritual bypass. I was reading a a lot of Carolyn Mace at the time and I was and what I was using, the way I was using it was I was disowning my power and my choice and sort of relying purely on, well, I was getting into some kind of a rabbit hole around like manifest station and like it's all it's all my fault if something bad happens.

I've manifested it of something really very skewed understanding, inverted version of the law of attraction and all that. And what I was doing in a way was outsourcing my knowing, outsourcing my power, my choice, and instead was kind of collapsed into not making any choices. And also, I think really avoiding the the darkness that you're sick, the true darkness that you're talking about.

I was I was working very hard not to feel that. And as a result, I was closed off from the choices that that would have asked of me. So I was in this kind of like weird idling position in my life and was calling it spirituality, but I don't think that's actually what was going on now when I experienced my spiritual life now and my experience of Whew, now, is that what I find is it actually puts me into deeper connection with my suffering and it brings me into holding both the tension of the the form I'm in as a human and the suffering and the pain and the beauty.

But at the same time and holding that tension, which to me is what being a human is. And when I'm in, I'm when in my spirituality or in the world, I'm in that tension of like I'm here to live in this live this form and and on this planet and do the things. And I have bills to pay.

And there's all this, you know, just human stuff I'm doing. And I'm also connected to something beyond that and that is much greater than me and holding both of that so event. So my experience when I'm not in spiritual bypass is that the spirituality actually deepens my connection to suffering, but in a way that is really rewarding and rich and yeah.

JANELL

It's when we identify with the suffering that that is who I am that right. That's where, you know, get, get stuck.

JENNY

And that that's all there is.

JANELL

Yeah. Which is why I think that being a spiritual therapist is so important because you're constantly reminding your clients like, oh, that's not who you are, that's just what you're doing to figure out how to love. So I think Jenny and I both we both work in the what's called the unconscious and we're depth therapists. And another term that we like to use as shadow work.

JANELL

And you'll hear this word thrown around a lot, you know, doing well and just did a lot of shadow work last year and.

JENNY

Like you did. Oh, tell me all about it.

JANELL

Shadow work. I just like really want to do shadow work. And it's like, what does that mean? And it, it is. And I like how it.

JUSTIN

Okay, Janelle, I'm super curious. Well, now I know what shadow work means in the depth psychology context. I'm super curious. What does what does Shadow work mean for that parody of a person that you are talking about? Like, what are they doing.

JANELL

I'm a character actor. I do voiceover. So and Jenny knows oftentimes if I'm like trying to work through like a client issue, I have to like get in their vibration and like, do like, like a.

JENNY

Like she channels them. She can call them. So it's very entertaining and help someone. Yeah.

JANELL

Yeah, like shadow work. It's just like it's this, I mean, a real shadow work is, is, is freakin hard shadow work.

JENNY

Real shadow work does you, don't you think.

JANELL

I mean and it never stops because our consciousness never stops and our ego never stops and our defenses never stop. And that's just that's just how it is. And that's what we signed up for. And that's the that's the joy of the ride, honey. It's the drama. And the drama is what we came here to do. Oh, God. There's such a good book I told Jenny about. It's called Existential Kink.

JUSTIN

Yes. I was recommended that book a couple of years ago.

JANELL

Yeah, it's so good. And it's you know, Jenny and I are trained in this young in depth therapy and on the unconscious shadow where it can be dream work. It could be in your fantasies. And, you know, traditionally, according to Young, to me, it is anything that we can catch in the projection, which is through our relationships. That's actually the deepest shadow work is, is how relationships play out because talk about being unconscious around something.

Oh, my God. Like how you attract people and what plays out. You think that you're on a track to like get it and you're like, I think I got it. And then this dynamic plays out in your relationship and you're like, Oh my God, I don't know anything.

But that takes work, it takes commitment. It takes a consistent process of coming back into that that shadow.

JUSTIN

Because what. Yeah, what the shadow. It's, it's, it's the stuff that you literally can't see. But it's still but it's still coming out in your projections, in your relationships and yeah.

JENNY

It's the stuff you I'm unconsciously yeah. I tried to get rid of and you could think of that through a IFS lens of like the exiles. You can think of it through a Jungian lens of the unconscious. And we all have different ways of languaging this.

JUSTIN

And I'm imagining that woo in its highest and best forms helps us start to do shadow work because what comes up for me around this idea of shadow work is how difficult it is, because by its very nature, I mean, like if I could see it, then I could deal with it, but I can't.

And so it's like for me, woo practices, or at least the best and highest ones will help me start to see things that I, that I couldn't see. What do you think of that?

JANELL

Yeah. Whew. It's like we need tools. We need to. I like the word distinction. It's like we need distinctions. A distinction is something that emerges out of nothing. It's like there was nothing, and now there's something. There was a darkness, and now something is into focus. And I have this, like, concept around something. So something just emerged out of the shadow, which is a knowing, an understanding, wisdom, a concept of a feeling.

We use these words to describe attachment and and states of being and feelings and something that emerges out of nothingness, which is a distinction I have. I have a concept now I can see because all we're doing is projecting on each other. And that's what I love about like people who say like about astrology. They're like, I don't put a lot of stock in it, you know, I just like who says like, you know, who says Capricorn is the is the, you know, the planet of a father energy is like, okay, I get that.

I get that. But we're projecting onto each other all the time anyway. We might as well make it interesting. We might as well have a framework of archetypes, which is all astrology is. It's a framework of archetypes that are universal in the collective unconscious that we pull upon, which we all can relate to, and we all have parts of inside us.

And it's also a study of science and timing and transits. And, you know, we don't have time to get into all that, but it's like all these systems, these woo woo ish systems of numerology and astrology and tarot or Enneagram. I love Aynsley MacLeod and the book, The Instruction, which Jenny turned me on to, which is totally transformed the way I see it, which is also a structure of archetypes and soul levels and soul ages and.

JENNY

What just struck me, Janelle, as you were speaking, is the systems are super containing and orienting and validating. And these are all the things that we need parents to do when we're infants and want more children. And so many of us didn't get. And so when I am lost in the anxiety or the pain or the suffering or identifying with the suffering, the woo is like it brings me into something very containing something.

I love that that your word distinction. It makes meaning. It brings image it brings clarification, mirroring, validation. And that's all the stuff that I, I needed and sometimes did not get, you know, and it helps it helps ground me. Ironically, it helps ground me more in a more present way into this form. You know that that's why it's not spiritual bypass.

When you're doing that, it it actually brings you more solidly into your lived experience here.

JUSTIN

I love that I, I love this idea of WU practices being containers or holding and I came back. Now this is three weeks almost from our retreat in Sedona. Janelle as Sedona is, as the work capital of the world. Right.

JENNY

I just mark time. Oh, yeah.

JUSTIN

And so I came back from this week-long retreat and I was just feeling woo'd-out like, I mean, in the best way. And I was thinking, like, how can I just keep this vibe? Because I just feel I'm just in the flow. I'm feeling good. And I was thinking like, what? What can I is there like a mantra that feels authentic for me because I'm not generally inclined to woo?

Is there something that can feel genuine and authentic? And what came up was this mantra of "I am held" or "I am held by the universe." Like the universe is holding me and I can tell it like for the past couple weeks that has been so grounding. And Jenny, so what you just said matches perfectly with my experience over the past couple of weeks, this woo mantra of I am held, the universe is holding me is actually helping me feel so much more centered and grounded and present.

JENNY

Yeah. And it builds on it anyway when you're in the zone. I just had this woo experience this weekend. You can edit this out. Hell no because you know and it's very vulnerable to share this sort of thing because, you know, I can hear the kind of the kind of energy I grew up with around this issue was raised Catholic. So there was a lot of there's been a lot of concern about my soul for a variety of reasons in my family.

JUSTIN

Jenny, do you have a do you have a manager part that alive in is this for you?

JENNY

Yes, yes, yes. It's it's it's it's holding a clipboard. It's going. Are you sure about this? Sure. So so I was, you know, as as I as I shared, you know, I've been going through my mother is elderly. She's in the last phase of her her life. She's preparing to pass. And it kicks up an immense amount of parts.

JENNY

And and wounds and feelings and grief. And I'm just it's just been a real menagerie inside of things. And I found myself visiting it this weekend, and I found myself in just a swirl of very, very intense anxiety. And I, I love that word distinction, Janelle, because there was no distinction. I was just my body was just on fire with electricity.

My mind was just swirling with a lot of confusion, fear, and and it was just in every direction work, you know, just everywhere. And so I, I put on a guided minute. I just did a quick search on insight time. I was like feeling kind of desperate, and I couldn't get a hold of anything, you know? So I just put a quick insight timer search of, like, you know, spirit guide, healing like you know, whatever a track came up, had decent reviews.

I'm like, okay, so I throw this thing on. It's a guided visualization, walks me, you know, some deep breaths into a beam of light up to the angelic realm like you do. And you can you can sit or lay on a table. I chose to lay down and over walks a spirit guide. I think it was my dad.

Not sure. Hands on me. I'm over me and immediately. I've never had anything like this happen immediately. All of my anxiety went from the right side of my body to the left side of my or from my whole body to the left side. The right side down the middle, stem to stern felt completely calm. The left side was just as the healing continued and the visualization continued, it all began to center over my heart.

And then I was I was receiving like words and messages around heart healing, heart wounds, just heart ache, heartbreak. And then it left and I felt completely calm, anxiety gone. Then the visualization continues to takes me to a second. Guide Okay, hold on. Guide Hold on to your hats because this is where it gets a little surprising. I'm taken into a temple.

There is a woman in long robes, long dark hair, dark skin and takes me under her arms. I'm kind of sitting at her feet and I have this message of Mother Mary. Now, I left Catholicism a long time ago and I think I've been sort of anti anything to do with it, but I felt very open to this message and I just was there and I felt very held and mothered and I just I just felt relief in it.

And I had this realization of all of the layers of mother wound and mothering that's playing out in my shadow work right now, which is my mother is dying. There is immense grief and loss around the mothering that I wish I had had, that I did not, that the mothering I wish she had had, that she did not.

I am in a position in my life and in my career where people project mother onto me negative and positive. I work in the maternal transference. I you know, just lots of layers of this mother wound and energy and healing and longing. And so I come out of this meditate ation and I just feel some insights about choices I need.

There's your words now, choices. I get some real clarity that feels very grounded and wise about choices I need to make in my life. And I feel such gratitude for that. I feel calmer. I hop on Google like you do, and I just Google Mother Mary healing. I was just so curious about this Mother Mary showing up and the first thing that shows up is some guy in Canada who is a healer.

But but his healing mother, Mary. Heart healing what? So I click on it and it's all about being in vulnerability and power at the same time. It is about a mother energy, about the Divine Mother, about healing the heart and allowing the heart to be to be open to remove blockages from that, etc.. Okay, so that's part one.

Part two. Next day I wake up a little bit of anxieties back. I'm like, okay, I just do it. My wife's the sound healer. I thought, it must be nice to be in like a sound bath. Like, just so I go inside timer and I just like, Oh, let's do a mantra. I don't know why I don't normally do mantras, but click on a monitor.

The first thing I see is the goddess Devi. I believe Devi. I hope I'm not screwing that up. I click on it. I don't know who this goddesses, but sounds good. I listen to this. I feel immense, calm. I feel peace. I Google the goddess Stevie afterward and she is the divine Mother Goddess. And the mantra was all about allowing her healing.

And I just don't think that's a coincidence, right? I don't think that that is a coincidence. And it has been so comforting. And it's not that I'm without anxiety. You know, I had my IFC session this Wednesday and was just sobbing with grief around this mother this mother work that I'm in right now. But I also feel immense holding and wisdom and peace.

So all that to say that is an example of something coming from a place of no form, no distinction of terror, and into this beautiful array of symbols, imagery, meaning it gives me I've got the chills right now.

So I and I think that that those types of sort of mystical experiences and then feeling that evidential supports those are the experiences that confirm and our knowing around that realm and we're all having them all the time and they build on each other and they give us I, I like the word knowing it transcends the word belief or faith.

JANELL

The belief in faith are words that are associated with trying to trust something outside of ourselves, which is what we can, where we would just talking, you know, which is that religious model, particularly of male God, which totally demeans the female as power. And but, but when we have those mystical experiences and the coincidences and the, the tracking of synchronicities and the tracking of all of these things that are in the depths of us, that those build our internal knowing.

So you're sitting with, you know, Jenny and I and I can't speak for you, Justin, because, you know, I'm not I don't know you as as well as as Jenny. But I know that when you have those experiences over and over, you have a lifetime of of of building that, knowing inside of you. And that's just a great example, Jenny, of that sort of.

Wow, there's something bigger than me. Oh, gosh, mother Mary Totally. The archangels and all this stuff. It is just like, you know, you had a divine healing.

JENNY

Well I was going to say I agree I in the end it's such a nice retrieval of a symbol that was part of a religion that felt so oppressive to me and so shaming to me. And to be able to reconnect with, you know, an essence of it that is there's there is so much love and wisdom in that for her as a as a symbol, as a as a, you know, a master entity or, you know, however you want to think of her.

So that was really healing in and of itself, you know, like kind of reframing of of Mother Mary. So it surprised me. That's the thing I love about Woohoo is it surprises you. And if you're open to it, which is it's nice to be surprised, you know.

JUSTIN

So yeah, this this idea of being open to it. And so, Janelle, you mentioned something about you implied at least that this takes practice being this open to it. Like it's not something that someone who, you know, has had no will in their lives can just flip on. But that it's there's a practice element to opening to woo. What do you think about that?

JANELL

Yeah. You know, as you were talking I was like, gosh I have, I've had such a specific experience of that since I was a child. So it's so innate inside of me. And I have to remember that not everybody has that experience, so they have to kind of work in a different way. But that is what I love about being a therapist and sitting with people all day long, reminding them that their knowing trumps my knowing and helping connect them to their inherent worth, valuable value, love, ability, and a worthiness to have goodness and joy and love and how to open their hearts to love. So when we are blocked in the heart center, which is what narcissism is, which is what was so important about having Trump in office, I'm just going to say that it was horrible, but it also woke up the collective around a very a very deep heart chakra wound of being shut down, because that's what narcissism is.

It's a wound in the heart. And so we've all been waking up to that and we had to see it in its form. So obviously over and over and feel that separation over and over in order to be reminded of what it was. I've never in my whole life been so aware of the narcissistic wound. I mean, can I get a witness?

JENNY

Oh, amen. Yeah. I mean.

JUSTIN

Glaringly obvious.

JENNY

Well, and why? Why, why? All of those who've survived narcissistic trauma were just like mommy, mommy. Like, you know, it was very, very disturbing. I mean, yeah. Yeah.

JUSTIN

And then yes. And then how clear it was. And then to feel so disconnected from half of the country and many of our closest relatives who don't see how totally damaged this human being is.

JANELL

Yeah. And the split in the split continues. But with the split and I'm talking about you guys know the split is in the psyche. The divide has it's almost like we're living in two different realities right now. I mean, and that is the narcissistic wound. It's like a split. The ego splits off. Right. And that this is the separation that we're talking about, the paradox of love and fear. It's like this paradox. And we hold we hold all of it. So what Shadow Work is, is integrating the light and the dark, the love and the fear. It's not right or wrong or up or down. It's all of it.

JENNY

And it brings you more into your humanity.

JENNY

Right. Which is terrifying to the narcissist and the narcissistic ego. The humanity is absolutely terrifying, you know, because it's not ideal. It's too messy. We should do a podcast. Can we reconvene? Can we have a reunion podcast and just do narcissism? Oh my God.

JUSTIN

Let's do it.

JANELL

I'm I will say on Jenny's but you know, I will say Jenny is a real expert, she specializes in this.

JENNY

I thought you're going to say you're sitting with a real narcissist I know.

JUSTIN

She knows from experience, you know. (Laughter)

Yeah. So I'm curious, what are some daily or regular air woo practices that really work for you that are just that are that are a part of your personal routine?

JANELL

You know, it's so interesting because as you evolve as I've evolved, I used to have to work really hard. It's like really hard to explain. I used to have to work really hard to remember that I am love, that I that to not be fooled by the separation and to not be fooled and live in the veil.

And now the veil is so thin. The more work I've done, it's like the veil has thinned and I just. It's all just so funny to me. So I have to think, what do I do? It's just also I just I'm so glad if I'm full of glee around this this crazy drama we called life. And I love.

JANELL

Okay, music. Music. Okay. That is how I change my vibration in an instant. I Listen to music that is straight into my heart chakra and opens it. And I love moving my body. And this double Leo I have to sweat and move. And so for me, it's about what's going to shift my vibration, what's going to change my vibration and energy up, like move it up because it's easy to get stuck in the lower vibration and then stay there.

And then we run the self-pity. So we have to do things to connect to a higher vibration. I've got this beautiful German shepherd who is just love and joy in a beautiful dog body. And so I play with her, I smother her and I'm trying so hard to help make her more codependent with me.

JUSTIN

So dog spooning.

JENNY

This is great. Janelle, I just want to rewind a second what I hear you saying and I mean, be still my heart. You are saying that the fine art of karaoke is a spiritual practice? Yes. Am I right? Because Janelle is a master karaoke. I mean, just like watch out, karaoke, go karaoke or.

JANELL

But in Walters I have met my match.

JENNY

Well, you can bring voice and performance but.

JUSTIN

So from a from a scientific and anthropological perspective, the best evidence suggests that singing came before language. It was like a proto language and that we likely, as Homo sapiens, had our ritual practices before we could even speak language. And they were probably around rhythm and singing. And so I believe that oh, dancing and singing. This is all just it taps us deeply into our humanity.

JANELL

Clearly singing Whitney Houston ballads.

JENNY

This is this is great. This is this is a continuation of the woo bridge, because I think people think that for it to have a woo practice, you need to like, you know, hang out in a spiritual bookstore. But you're absolutely right. You know, I my my my hands-on energy healer suggested when I was in the throes of the mom stuff. So she's like, just, I want you to go into your car and put on a song. And she was right. I hadn't sung in a long time. And at first when I hit play, I was I put on my favorite Taylor Swift karaoke number.

And when I first started singing, I was like in the middle of the night and I and then it, like started and I was like, Baby, let the games begin, you know? And I was like really into it by the end of it. And I have to say my heart was open. I felt I felt transformed. And so I love that you're naming this as a as a spiritual woo practice.

JANELL

I mean, it's all about like levity, vibration and joy, laughter, singing. I, I will go into the drama itself, which is a lot of songs, right to laugh at the drama. And then unassociated from the drama, we are in trouble when we identify with the drama that is playing out and then we have feelings of self-pity around it.

And that helps. That makes us it pulls us down. And then we believe our own hype and we believe the the crap that's being played out. So to bring yourself out of that and look at it, which is what meditation is, by the way, we are observing from a higher place what our thoughts are. I'm a terrible meditator.

I just I know I don't have a meditation. I don't have a meditation practice. I am so antsy. I do sometimes. I do. I can sit still sometimes once the caffeine has worn off and but it's getting perspective. It's watching yourself do the things that you do. And sometimes music does that for me way better than like.

JUSTIN

Yes. Have you done ecstatic dancing?

JANELL

Of course I have.

JUSTIN

Yeah. Because for me, like when ecstatic dancing is done properly, it's it's kind of like a dancing meditation.

JANELL

I love I grew up as as a dancer. I'm a I'm a dancer. I'm an amateur. I'm a dancer. Oh, my gosh. All of it. So yeah. And I was I taught yoga for over ten years. And so, honey, I've done it all.

JUSTIN

Yeah, I think Ecstatic Dance is one of my top woo practices.

JENNY

Yeah. I want to. I want to speak to the folks out there that are listening. They're like, That sounds like my own version of hell. I'm just saying I want to speak to those people and say, I feel you and it doesn't. I want to I just want to say be vulnerable to move your body and also give yourself the grace that it takes to maybe get to the place where you can be vulnerable because depending on that, on the trauma that you've had, the lived experience that you've had, your past lives, etc., that may be made more difficult for others. And it doesn't mean that you can't have a spiritual connection or a connection if you're not able to love that, to experience those kinds of practices.

JUSTIN

Well I'll, I'll just say my introduction into what has, what is now ecstatic dancing which you know, ecstatic dancing just to define it for the audience at least the way that I understand it and the way that I have done it is it's basically like a rave without drugs and much more intentional. And so and the music will be much more I think there's like an organic tribal sort of musical theme to it.

But there is more intention around being present with your body moving with what's happening, you know, emotions. But I'll just say, you know, when I was 17 years old, I went to my first rave, this is way back in the nineties, 1994, probably. And I grew up in an evangelical household. My dad was a Baptist pastor. So you guys went through the Catholicism thing?

I went through the Baptist thing, and no one in my family danced zero point zero zero dancing. And I went and I felt totally out of place. And I couldn't I didn't know what I was doing, but I just saw the joy on people's faces and was like, Oh, I have to figure out a way to be a part of this.

I don't know how, but the next time we went . . .

JANELL

How liberating.

JUSTIN

Oh, for them.  But for me, I was, I was just faced with my own. I mean, I didn't have any of the tools, but I was just like, my body cannot possibly move like that. But then the next time we went to a rave, my friends and I just ate a bunch of mushrooms, just a ton of mushrooms, and it like I was all of a sudden, I swear to God, I was able to dance.

Maybe it looked horrible at the time, but I felt like I was just in full rhythm with everything. And then from that day on, I've been able to dance.

JANELL

Wow. I do appreciate psychedelic drugs for that reason as an actual chemical mechanism that pushes our ego slightly to the side, sometimes drastically.

JUSTIN

Sometimes not so slightly.

JENNY

Sometimes out of the building.

JANELL

Sometimes we need something to literally move our brain around in the concrete in order for us to connect to it. And hey, I'm all about it.

JUSTIN

And the most important thing is to have a wonderful holding container when that happens. Yeah. Yeah.

JENNY

So this is not this is not mental health advice that Janelle or I are giving. By the way. I agree. I have to give a disclaimer on that.

JUSTIN

Yeah, but it's. But it's coming. Did you see Colorado just.

JENNY

Yeah. No, no, I'm not saying it's not. Yeah, yeah.

JUSTIN

Yes. Oh, right. So, yeah, anyway, Jenny, I don't want to step on your thought. What did you have to say?

JENNY

Oh, not important. I was just thinking that I was like, what's my ecstatic dance? And I was like, Oh, it's eighties night at this club in L.A. that I haven't been to since COVID. And I was. And then I felt really sad because I haven't really danced since COVID. Not really. Well, Tina and I will do in the living room with the dogs. What's that? Janelle.

JANELL

Can I go with you sometime?

JENNY

Yes. We can make our own ladies night in the backyard if we want. Yeah, but yes, let's. Let's do it.

JUSTIN

So, Janelle, we this might have been covered in the previous question, but I like to kind of land the plane of these interviews by asking about what's really working for you in your life. What are you working on? Is there a new challenging thing that's coming up that that is making you excited and yeah, just what's, what's, what's new and edgy for you.

JANELL

Sexuality. I know. Even saying the word is titillating isn't it.

JUSTIN

Well for for two former Catholic school . . .

JANELL

Sexuality, it's, there's a lot to explore and there's a lot that I am wanting to explore. And again, it's a realm. It's a truth of our bodies and our worlds. It's a pathway to creation, but it's also a pathway to self-expression. A pathway that's another paradox is pain and pleasure. And people forget that it is our birth right to have pleasure.

And I'm looking at deconstructing the belief system that I inherently bought into around the patriarchy, monogamy, heteronormative beliefs. I'm really questioning a lot of that. I'm looking at the sex and love split the pain and pleasure split the binary rules that we live by, the gender rules that we live by, gender expression. I think that that is a really a mystical and divine pathway to understanding ourselves.

So that is where I'm at. And I'm also going through a divorce. So there's this thing, there's this opening that's been created in my life and I'm stepping way in and I'm kind of loving and sometimes it's really destabilizing and sometimes it's really exciting. I feel like I'm exploring and it's really exciting to me, so I don't know if that is in the realm of will, but it's in the realm of consciousness expansion, which is what I'm very excited about.

JUSTIN

Some curious are there books or workshops or people you follow? Like what? What is what has helped you in this area?

JANELL

Well, the first book that comes to mind is Existential Kink. I read that this summer and it just like blew my mind. I've also been looking at just that deconstruction of our idea of relationships and polyamory versus monogamy. And I read Poly Secure, I read Ethical Slut. I am gosh, what? I'm reading so many books. Oh, I love Pea Melody's work for Facing Codependency, Love Addiction her her work at the Meadows Inn.

I did the week long survivors healing there at the at the Meadows in Wickenburg, Arizona. I highly recommend that for healing childhood trauma. Her model around codependency and understanding that not the traditional way that we think of it in response to an addiction, she says that that's like codependency is like the thing and then addiction and everything else stems from it.

So that's been really cool.

JUSTIN

We'll definitely put those links in.

JANELL

Roar Like a Goddess. That's another one I love.

JUSTIN

Jenny, do you have any thoughts?

JENNY

I was just laughing to myself because I was like, wow, that sounds a lot more fun than what I'm reading right now, which is like I'm rereading Drama of the Gifted Child about parenting children and the wound. The mother wound to the mother. Yeah. Good times. It's a little light, you know, before bed. Just a little nugget. No, but it's I say what I love, like working with Janelle and working with therapists, and just as we move through these different chapters in our lives and what's really igniting our, you know, curiosity and what we sort of like die, I just I work with a lot of people who are just very much in with their into their curiosity and honoring it.

JENNY

And so it's been I learned so much from Janelle. It's I guess what I mean to say. And and also that we're, you know, we're all going through different things at different times. And and different different chapters of healing at different times. And what's, you know, what a divorce kicks up versus, you know, what a a dying mother kicks up and it's all welcome.

JUSTIN

Yeah, that's all welcome. Yeah. So we have three final questions that we ask every guest on our show. So the first one, Janelle, is if you could put a big Post-it note on everyone's refrigerator tomorrow morning, what would this Post-it note say?

JANELL

We are magic. And I just got a neon sign made on Etsy that I'm going to hang on my wall. So I'm literally I just made like a giant post-it.

JUSTIN

And then the neon post-it. Yeah, beautiful. And then the second one is, is there a recent quote that has changed the way you think or feel?

JANELL

And that I didn't I meant to look at and I don't I don't have one. I don't know. I, I was going to float, like, grab a quote from nothing. I don't know.

JENNY

Yeah, I have one. Oh, God. Where is it? Because I, I never every time you asked me this question, Justin, which I realize you're not asking me or asking Janelle, but I'm just going to help a sister out right now.

I never have an answer to this question. And then this quote came up and I it is a Khalil Gibran. Just bear with me. I'm going to find it. And it is. Oh, my God. Walters Come on. Scrolling past the queer wedding. Okay. Oh, here it is. Okay. Yeah, we. We went to a surprise lesbian wedding the other weekend.

JENNY

It was beautiful. Okay. Khalil Gibran, between what is said and not meant and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost between what is said and not meant and what is meant and not said. Most of love is lost. That really?

JUSTIN

Yeah. That's beautiful. And what that brings up for me is the practice of authentic relating that I've mentioned on the show or circling the idea that, you know, these are skills that we can build we can slow down and really listen to each other. Yeah, so the third question, Janelle, is what is one thing giving you hope right now?

JANELL

I, I'm just going to go back to that, the music, the music thing and, and just sort of circle back on that because it's so simple and you know, hope is, is, is like a daily practice. And so music gives me hope. I know that sounds really weird, but like, music is such a big part of my practice and it's such a big part of how I survive this world of form because it connects me to that vibrational realm.

And I have to choose hope every day. And so I choose to listen to music that fills me with connects me to my own hope inside, which is the the redemption of love and joy that we are inherently lovable and joyful beings. I have to work really hard to remember that, but the more I do, the more easy it is.

And changing my vibration really helps me remember that. So I know that, you know, I'm circling back on that, but that is how that's life.

JUSTIN

So, Janelle, would you give us one or two songs that are really doing it for you?

JANELL

Okay. Well, Beyonce's new album, Renaissance. Yeah. Oh, my gosh, I am bonkers over it. And I'm also really into this artist named Amber Mark. Oh, she sounds like.

JUSTIN

Oh, I've been an Amber Marc fan for quite a while. That voice is so powerful. Her power.

JANELL

Yes. So, like between those two, there's so, so many. But like and I like Harry Styles, like.

Like he is such like a ray of talent and sunshine. And so I, I'm a sucker for pop music.

JUSTIN

Beautiful. Oh, Jenny, do you have any final thoughts?

JENNY

No, I'm just delighted in this time and delighted in Janelle and everything that she shared.

JUSTIN

Absolutely. Janelle, thank you so much for coming on the US Collective podcast. And oh, and I can't wait to have you back to talk about narcissism where we will break down Jenny's narcissistic behavior (Laughter.)

JENNY

Yes, I can't wait. Let's make it a holiday special.

JUSTIN

No! Oh, my God. All right. We will see you soon, Janelle. Thank you.

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