Ellie Monjoseph, RN, BSN, NC-BC
As an RN, Ellie has over 10 years of experience both as a bedside and clinic nurse, and spent a year volunteering in various undeveloped countries with limited access to healthcare. She is passionate about offering holistic care, incorporating nervous system regulation, and integrating trauma-informed care into her care approach.
After transitioning out of her nursing role she opened her own private practice coaching individuals to get out of the constant swirl of healing and reclaim connection to a present and meaningful life with confidence and ease by uncovering the blind spots keeping them stuck, befriending their unique nervous system, and adding transformational skills to their toolbelt.
Ellie continues to enjoy traveling, has a deep love for the outdoors, and often likes to try her hand at a healthy but simple meal to share with others.
“Are you fighting something? Are you fleeing? Are you, what’s called, collapse or shutdown, and just trying to figure out where we’re at with our nervous system, so we can support ourselves?
It’s plugging in some of the missing pieces that an unresolved stress takes away from us. It kind of masks or clouds our vision of ‘where am I?’. Because when you think of when you’re connected, when you’re joy-filled, when you’re present, you can make decisions very easily.” ~ Ellie Monjoseph BSN, RN, NC-BC
Nicole Vienneau 00:00
Welcome, everyone, to the Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! podcast. My name is Nicole Vienneau. I am your host, and I’m also a Board Certified Integrative Nurse Coach who has the absolute pleasure to welcome a guest all the way from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has been doing some amazing work in the space of trauma sensitive work, inner healing.
And I’m excited about our conversation today so that we can dive in a little bit deeper into these areas, as all of us as Nurses experience some sort of traumatic events. So I’m really happy to introduce Ellie Monjoseph. Ellie is a Board Certified Nurse Coach. She’s a trauma sensitive practitioner and inner healing guide. And she empowers individuals to deeply heal within and move towards growth and impact. So, let’s welcome Ellie.
Ellie Monjoseph 01:01
Yeah, thank you so much for having me on. I’m happy to be here.
Nicole Vienneau 01:04
I’m super happy that you’re here. We love to have, you know, a really wide variety of guests on our podcast. So, I’ll be really excited to hear more about the work that you’re doing as a Board Certified Nurse Coach. But before we get there, we have to travel down history lane. And we’d love to know a little bit about why you even became a Nurse in the first place.
Ellie Monjoseph 01:28
I love that question, because for me, it really came full circle to what I do now. But I come from a family of Nurses. So my mom was a Nurse, she went to school while I was in high school, back for Nursing. So I saw the whole process of what it looks like to go to Nursing school, the tears, the pain, my mom did very well.
But I have two other sisters who are Nurses, and so it was kind of my destination. It’s something that my parents were pushing me towards, and me being the middle child did not want to do it. Nothing in me wanted to go that path. And so I took a summer just to kind of figure out what I wanted to do.
And ended up volunteering at a rehab center for drugs and alcohol and addiction. So I was there for maybe a month or two, just volunteering with some of the… it was all inpatient. And so being there, I realized that there was… they were lacking some support with detox and some of the support when it comes to emotional health and mental health.
And so being there, I realized, actually, Nursing makes a lot of sense, because Nurses wear so many hats. And it’s such a holistic approach to health and healing, and connecting to a person, just heart to heart, hearing their story. And so that… once I saw that picture, and was able to plug in that as a resource, or that as a solution, I think for me, it all of a sudden just clicked and made sense for me to go into Nursing.
And so I used that as fuel to get into Nursing school and started my career out with that way of just going into Nursing and trying to figure out where do I go from here, without trying to lose that desire to help people in a very impactful way where it’s not just you have a problem, let’s find a solution with your health.
But then how can we actually listen to your story and make sense of it as you’re going through, sometimes, what’s traumatic or a crisis, when you’re in the hospital, or when you have a family member that’s sick or dependent on you. So yeah, that’s kind of where I started and didn’t expect to go that route. But I’m so grateful that I did.
Nicole Vienneau 03:35
Oh, this is so good, especially with the influences of having your mom be a Nurse, your sisters be a Nurse, and then you being pushed towards Nursing and having that resistance at first, right? No, I don’t want to be a Nurse. And then discovering, hey, if I choose to be a Nurse, I can impact people in the way that I want to impact people, in the way that I want to show up.
Yeah, so I love this connection to, you know, recognizing that yeah, we can, as Nurses, wear so many different hats as you put it, and we can choose where we want to go and how we want to wear the hat. Right? Yeah, yeah. So tell us a little bit then about some of your experiences in the Nursing world, before you got to Nurse Coaching.
Ellie Monjoseph 04:25
Yeah, after Nursing school, I did the very traditional route of getting into a hospital, trying to do med surg, getting on a unit or a floor where I’m just taking care of acute care with patients. And so I loved that experience in the way that it really gave me a front row seat to humanity. I got to see all sorts of people walk in.
You grow up with your family system or your community and you have an idea of what the world looks like. And then all of a sudden, working in a big hospital, big inner city hospital and just seeing all sorts of people, or all sorts of situations, different kinds of families, really helped me understand just how unique everyone is, and where are their strengths and how it really isn’t a one size fits all approach to everyone.
And so I did that for about two and a half years. And there was something still calling me. I remember when I was in Nursing school, when I went to Nursing school, I told myself, I wanted to give back somehow. And so after doing two years, there was definitely some burnout, working in the hospital, working with just high trauma with patients taking care of high stress.
And something… that inner voice that wants to give back, I realized, okay, this is the time to do it. And so I ended up quitting that job to pursue volunteer work as a medical volunteer in underdeveloped countries.
And so it was a year of just me piecing together different assignments around the world and working with either mobile clinics and setting up clinics where there was no access to health care, or creating promotional education for people about something as simple as hand washing.
I remember we were in Papua New Guinea, in one of the places, and just working with people who have never seen a doctor, let alone never seen a white person. And so just that entire experience was very eye opening for me, of just how deeply different we are, but then also what connects us as people, and made me really fall in love with holistic health.
Because I was working with people from all over the world, not just as patients, but also medical professionals. You know, having a doctor from Germany, who was an integrative functional medicine practitioner, and some of her knowledge that she shared with me.
Or working with people who were physical therapists from Hong Kong, and their idea of the nervous system, acupuncture and integrating that into healthcare. And just seeing people from a holistic perspective really opened my eyes to just how much more there is. So my heart always felt it.
But I think I finally got to experience it working with a team of different people, and serving different populations, different cultures, that might not make sense to me, but trying to understand why are they where they are today? And where can we make sure that they’re thriving, whether it’s by providing more food in their poverty, or more support emotionally in their home, if there’s lack of resources or finances or understanding.
So I did that for a year. And it was a beautiful experience. I think I would have stayed more, but there was something also calling me to just come back home and be with family. And so I’m glad I listened to that kind of inner voice and then ended up coming back home and started working with autoimmune patients, and doing different kinds of care and infusions.
And also, that’s where my question still kind of lingered of, how do I make sure that people are thriving? Because I’m providing these cares, and I get to know these people— because they would, you know, reoccurringly come back— and building relationships with them. But seeing that we’re still missing the big picture.
They have a condition that they’re coming in with where their body is fighting against themselves. We know that, especially with autoimmune conditions, it’s only about 20 to 30% of your environment, or I’m sorry, 20 to 30% of your genetics and everything else is environment. And so where are we missing the pieces?
Where did they have potential past trauma that’s unresolved, or stress that they’re carrying in their body that is making them sick, that is creating disease. And that’s where it kind of started. It was simultaneous for me, where I started the journey of trying to figure it out for my patients, but then also me realizing I keep hitting burnout.
No matter what Nursing job I do, I keep hitting this wall where I have compassion fatigue, and I want to connect with people, but I’m so tired. And I don’t even have capacity for myself. Or having stints of time where I’m just constantly hustling, and I’m done with work, but I’m at home and my mind is still buzzing. And I can’t just silence that inner hum.
And so for me, it was kind of a journey of me also realizing I need some better support as well. I’m looking for answers, but I’m also part of… I’m living in the problem, in a way. And so that’s where I started pursuing more of the therapy route and trying to consider do I go back to school as a mental health counselor professional?
Or do I stay in Nursing? Because it seemed like two very different avenues. And I wanted to do… I just wanted to do more. More for myself. I wanted to do better for myself as a family member, as a Nurse, as a practitioner. But also how can I serve people powerfully so that they’re walking away with impact, not just a diagnosis that they have to treat?
And so it started with my own inner work where it was just a couple of years of therapy, peeling that back, realizing or trying to understand what it is. And then I stumbled upon working with a Coach. There was a Coach who ran a program more on inner healing and how do you actually make sense of your world? And that really changed me.
It was a year of working with an individual who helped me understand a little bit more about why I believe what I believe. Where are my patterns no longer serving me? Where am I still living in protection? Or where is there some stuff that I haven’t processed from my past, but it’s actually weighing me down?
And I’m hitting this burnout because of beliefs like, I have to keep serving, even though I have nothing left to give. And so, where’s this no longer helping me, but actually hurting me and the people around me? And so I’ve kind of started that entire journey.
And then also because I’m… I feel like I’m a lifelong learner, always wanting to be curious about things, dig a little bit deeper, I started learning more about the nervous system and started taking courses and certifications on how do we regulate? How do we get out of this fight or flight survival energy that I did not realize I was living in?
And even though I was wanting to help people, I just had no capacity, my mind was honestly kind of fried, just from constantly trying to give output, constantly trying to help, trying to do better, trying to kind of work against the hustle. But I was not finding inner peace.
And it was affecting my relationships, it was affecting my sleep, it was affecting my eating, it was harder for me to let go of some of my weight, and just my performance at the gym, and really my outlook in life. I had a hard time connecting to joy, and presence. And so blending the two really helped me realize— blending nervous system care and inner healing with the Coach that I worked with— just helped me find a different avenue.
And I feel like a light bulb went off in my mind of why can’t I have both? And so that’s where I started realizing I can do mental health work. That’s so important. And I’m passionate about it, because we need to let go of some of the stuff to move forward.
But then I’m still really passionate about Nursing and the body and, again, the nervous system and how our mind is connected to our body, our heart, our thoughts, all of that is so intricately connected. And there’s a way for us to kind of untangle that when it’s… when it feels a little messy inside. So that’s where I actually discovered the INCA program and Nurse Coaching as well.
Nicole Vienneau 12:19
Wow, I’m just really thankful that you are sharing all of these details about your journey, so intricate, you know, how we are all connected as humans and just, you know, doubling back to when you were describing your experience as a volunteer.
And, you know, meeting people from all different nationalities and locations and, you know, connecting on that human level, and learning and wanting to serve and doing all of that, and you were doing all the things. And yet still, there was something that you were seeing, this pattern of giving, giving and wanting to give more and then feeling like you were on empty, but still wanting to give but you didn’t have enough energy to give.
And I just, you know, I’m connecting to that so much, because where do we see this happening? We see this happening pretty much in the majority of people that are walking on the planet, you know, just that wanting to give, but we really see it in our colleagues and our fellow Nurses and healthcare practitioners.
And, you know, your vulnerability and sharing your story, I know that our listeners are connecting with this because they too are feeling this sense of wanting to give and knowing we have so much to give. And yet also feeling the pull to say I just don’t have enough energy to give.
And so now you brought in the whole idea and the whole vision of, you know, learning about our nervous system and tools that we can potentially tap into and the work that you’re doing. So now you found you’ve had this life experience, you’re recognizing these patterns in yourself, you’re seeking out the knowledge so that you can support yourself.
I love that. Yourself as the number one thing to really learn more about it, and reaching out to different people to learn more for yourself, to support yourself. And so now we’re in the part of the journey where you learned a lot, experienced this deep transformation with a Coach, and now you found Nurse Coaching. So tell us a little bit more about that.
Ellie Monjoseph 14:37
Yeah, that was such an exciting journey for me because I had worked with a life Coach, had no idea that this was even out there. But I remember, again, hitting that burnout. It was right before COVID. Everything is… the world’s on fire.
And I just wanted to move out to the mountains because Minnesota can get very flat and really snowy, and I love it, but I just needed a change of scenery, especially after traveling so much. And I’m constantly used to a lot of change. And so I was trying to create change, not knowing I was actually running away from some stuff, because I didn’t want to deal with them.
Just totally disconnected from that reality. But was looking into moving out west and started looking for Nursing positions. And I remember there was one offer for a Nurse Coach, and I instantly was really drawn to it. I kind of looked at the job role and what it entailed. And that was the first time I actually saw something like that, where you can blend two.
And that same week, I also had a conversation with a friend about, okay, I think I’m gonna leave Nursing, I think I’m gonna go into going back to school, pivoting my career into mental health work, and just go that route. But instead, this opportunity came up and I started looking for how do I actually bridge that?
And so came upon the INCA program, and again, got so excited, because I think it was finally an answer to how do I bridge the two, the two worlds of the actual, again, nervous system and working with people. All my experience as a Nurse, all my passions as a Nurse, and then also bridging the mental health world of how can I do both?
Because both of the models are beneficial. But then both models focus on, again, a diagnosis, and then treatment. And there needs to be a little bit more of a holistic approach. And so this is where I got really excited of how can I create impact? How can I plug myself in and support people in a way where I got support, and now I’m thriving and doing better.
Nicole Vienneau 16:43
And so I know that you’ve graduated from the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy, Integrative Nurse Coach certificate program, two years ago. Exciting. So let us know a little bit about what you’ve been doing in that time, and how you’re blending all of these aspects together.
Ellie Monjoseph 17:03
Yeah, it’s been quite a journey. For those who have gone through their program, it’s such a beautiful experience, where we’re all just having these huge aha moments every week. And so I feel like that’s never quite stopped. But I didn’t think I was going to do this, but I remember after finishing the program, there was just this inspiration in my heart that I wanted to open a private practice.
And even though it felt so scary to do, because who am I to do anything? That imposter syndrome was screaming really loud at me. I realized I have nothing to lose. I have the certification, I have education in trauma care, I was pursuing extensive training in nervous system care, and just continuing to learn more about that, supplementing that.
And so I realized, this is the time to do it, I’m gonna either keep getting burnout, and keep doing what I’m doing, or I can create a different life for myself and really pursue the dreams in my heart and see what happens. And so, in that year, I decided to get certified and opened my practice, and so slowly started taking clients in.
And it’s been quite a journey of also just learning to do my own inner work, my own trauma work, working with other people, getting supported as I’m doing all of this because fear can get really loud. And again, that imposter syndrome, or the people pleasing can get in.
Sometimes some of the things that we think are best for us, or where we’re making good decisions, is actually a voice from our past, stopping us and not allowing us to do our best, or the inner critic is a big one. And so a lot of my personal journey, and what I’ve overcome is what I work with my clients in.
So it’s really two camps of people that I work with typically, and it’s either the people that are deeply dysregulated, living in survival energy, where it’s this constant fight or flight, constantly tired, constantly on edge, there’s something wrong and you’re just disconnected to a greater vision for life.
So that’s kind of the first category of clients that I love working with, is an 8 to 10 week, how can we get you regulated? And how can we give you those really simple tools that will last you for a lifetime? And that entails… I know I do a lot of work with moms, especially new moms, because it’s such a huge transition, such a your world gets flipped upside down.
And now you’re taking care of a little one and everything from your past, you’re trying to change so that they have a better future. And so working with moms on that, and getting them on the fast track of how can we support you? How can we make sure you’re taken care of?
And you’re not just reliving in the survival energy, and creating a better future for your kids, or if it’s Nurses, for your patients. So that’s kind of the first camp that I’m really passionate about and the work that I love to do. And the goal there is just to give people as many tools as possible so that they can walk away and have sustainable change.
And that also looks like a lot of people who have tried therapy at times, who have worked with both therapists and people who have had success in therapy, where we kind of work on the nervous system level and find something that’s unique to them. And get them on the course of lasting change so that they’re connected to greater vision, to hope, to clarity.
And they have tools to walk themselves out of things, instead of just constantly reliving the patterns that are getting them stuck. So that’s kind of camp number one. And then a second camp that I love working with is a lot of entrepreneurs, Nurse Coaches, and people who… life is going well, but they want to do something deeper, more impactful.
And they just don’t know how to get there. And it’s either, again, that imposter syndrome that’s really loud, the inner critic tendencies where they may be people pleasing and not advocating for what they want. And so we work with… it’s the same approach, because it’s all connected to, even if it’s little T trauma, little things that happen that feel like embarrassment, or insignificant, or where we feel like a burden, we kind of break that down.
And, you know, break down some of those walls so that they can create a pathway. And they feel supported to create what they want out of life. Because the sky truly is the limit. Sometimes we’re just standing in the way.
Nicole Vienneau 21:12
So good. I’m enjoying this. I was really connecting to the inner critic. I have one. Her name is Tabitha and she sits on my shoulder some days and she’s like, “you can’t do that. Who are you to think that you could do something like that?” And I always just tell her, okay, you can just go sit over there, because this is something that I want to work on.
She’s gonna show up sometimes, and I’ve learned how to deal with Tabitha. But for many years, I didn’t have a clue. And so I would hold myself back and not do the things that were really calling to me. So when you find people, they are recognizing, oh, you know, something’s holding me back.
And if it is an inner critic, what are some of the things that… a tool that, you know, an easy tool, maybe, that that we could explore on our own, related to that?
Ellie Monjoseph 22:01
Yeah, I think one place that I typically start is our heart space. Our heart is the place where we connect to ourselves, it’s the place where we connect to others, to our higher power. And it’s also where we hold in a lot of our beliefs and emotions. And it can be kind of a messy place. And so with the inner critic, just first of all, realizing it’s typically not actually your voice.
It’s someone from your past. It’s something that someone has said, that you’ve taken on as your own. And so there’s a lot of work around that. But a very, very simple tool that I do is just placing your hand on your heart for a minute, feeling the warmth of your palm on your chest, feeling your heartbeat, slowing down, leaning into what’s present here.
And knowing that if our heart is this space for connection, what can we connect with? Asking yourself the very simple question of what do I need right now? Or what is my heart saying? Because so much of life, we go through assuming the answer, or we’re listening to the inner critic, and it creates this chaos in our lives.
And again, it’s that kind of buzz that’s in our mind that’s constantly humming, and constantly making noise. And so it’s just this little center or activity where we just go back to, where am I in all of this, and what do I want? And then we get to decide and move forward.
But it’s actually creating that pause, connecting with ourselves. Because a lot of, especially Nurses, we’re very in tune with the room around us or what people need. And so we’re constantly giving, we’re constantly doing. Same with parents. And this is just that little activity of we’re not going to dissociate, we’re not going to focus on everything around us.
We’re just going to come back, it’s going to take a few seconds, where I connect with myself, and ask myself, what do I really want? And usually it’s something that’s very, very kind and very true. That authentic version of us that the inner critic buries. And it’s not an “I should do this”, or “I should have done that.” It’s typically something like, “I actually need to just take a breath”, or “I need to step away and enjoy this moment.”
Or sometimes it’s something simple, like I need a cup of coffee, because that’s something that brings me joy. You know, just relearning to connect with ourselves instead of living on autopilot. Or we’re constantly responding to everyone’s needs, or feeling everyone’s energy without connecting back to ourselves and living empowered from who we truly are.
Nicole Vienneau 24:40
As you were talking— and I hope our listeners did this too— but as you were talking, I had my hand on my heart. And I was just listening to your words. And I really heard you say that the inner critic is not your voice. It’s someone else’s voice. Something that’s happened to you in the past.
And that’s not your voice. But the voice that when you ask yourself, what is it that you need? That’s your voice. And it’s usually kind, and it’s usually loving. That was very special. Thank you. Thank you for bringing this to us.
Ellie Monjoseph 25:18
Absolutely. My pleasure. I love how simple some of these tools are. I mean, that’s what I’m so passionate about, is we have access to coming back to our nervous system or coming back to… we can use different language, but just really coming back to ourselves in much easier ways than we think.
Often people don’t want to work through their trauma, or we allow things to go in process, because it seems like it’s too big. Or we believe the idea that I need to work through everything, or I need to get to the very root of every issue so that I can finally understand why I am the way I am, and be quote, unquote, healed. Instead of realizing it’s actually a different destination.
It’s how can we live life present to what’s around us and connected to ourselves so that we can connect to whatever life throws at us, whatever relationships we have. And it’s this constant fine tuning of, where’s my heart right now, or where’s my thought?
Instead of constantly, again, giving, producing and feeling like our value isn’t anything outside of just simply being who we are. So it’s really a process of acceptance, and leaning into some of that resistance to find out that it’s usually a lot easier than we thought. And it does take someone holding our hand or supporting us through it.
Because there is this idea of co- regulation, of sometimes we’re not meant to do everything on our own. And it’s actually a huge power move, and I had to learn that, of that is my strength, is to reach out and say I need some help.
Or I’m triggered right now, and I can walk myself out, I can journal, I can walk myself through an activity, but that’s actually not going to be helpful for me, I need to reach out for help, which is exactly what I don’t want to do, because it’s vulnerable. And I don’t want people to see my mess or my emotions.
But how beautiful is it when we actually do that and create a community where we are cushioned? So that even when traumatic events happen, we have that cushion around us so that it doesn’t completely deteriorate who we are.
Nicole Vienneau 27:25
Yeah, yeah, I see, you know, in our Nursing environments, in the systems, especially within health care, in a hospital situation, and in many other places where you’re really caring for people, and the things that you do on a daily basis are often task driven. And you need to get XYZ completed.
And you have to do that for you know, maybe eight people. And you have all the push and the pull from colleagues, from physicians, from physical therapists and CAT scans, and giving medications and doing all of the things, that we can tend to separate our authentic self from the work that we’re doing.
And really, the essence of Nursing is that true caring, coming from the heart space. And yet our systems have, you know, the systems that we work in, sometimes don’t always support that authentic-ness. And in the way in which our unique being show up in our work environments, because we are not able, or we think we’re not able to be present.
So this heart space is one tool that appears to be very simple. hand on heart, pause, feel, and then ask yourself, what do I need right now? And then the second thing that you brought up, was asking for help, which Nursing is so autonomous, we are on our own all day, even though we have colleagues, plenty of people around us.
Yet all the decisions we make are independent, the majority of them are. How we assess someone, the task that we complete, the interactions, they’re generally on our own. And I feel that one of the things that Nurses think that they do really well is do that, be autonomous, and really have some trouble asking for help.
So I’m curious to know, maybe a tool or some thoughts around that and helping support ourselves to, I guess, feel a little vulnerable and ask for help, and what that could look like or just to your ideas around that.
Ellie Monjoseph 29:50
Yeah, I think you summarized that beautifully. These are two really powerful resources when we are in some of that survival energy or when we have something going on in life that’s too big for us to handle on our own. And that’s again, reconnecting with ourselves, reconnecting to others and then reconnecting to God.
So three things, again, that our heart space needs, in order for us to move forward. And so with the question of asking for help is often, sometimes people think the solution is, well, I need to change my environment, I need to change my work environment, I need to change my profession, I need to change my family, I need to change this and that, I need to move.
That’s what I was doing, moving out West, because I just needed a change, I was too stressed. Instead of realizing that it doesn’t matter if you change your environment. What’s going on inside of you and your inability to ask for help because you feel like a burden, or because you feel like that’s a weakness, or maybe you feel like you need to be the strong one.
And so if you’re the one asking for help, then how can people trust and depend on you? Some of those limiting mindsets or beliefs that maybe served us in the past and protected us, those are actually going to follow us even if we change the environment. And so we’re creating this chaos inside of us.
And so, sure, we’re moving, we’re shifting things, and we get a little bit of relief. But we never process what’s actually going on inside of us. And why do we believe that? Why do we have this urge to flee, which is again, a trauma response, to get out and say I need something to change.
And so some of the simple tools I talk about is when we recognize our urges, trying to figure out what energy we’re living in. Are you fighting something? Are you fleeing? Are you actually what’s called collapse or shutdown, and just really simply trying to figure out where we’re at with our nervous system, so we can support ourselves.
And so instead of trying to find a solution, it’s plugging in some of the missing pieces that an unresolved stress takes away from us. It kind of masks or clouds our vision of where am I. Because when you think of when you’re connected, when you’re joy-filled, when you’re present, you can make decisions very easy.
Because you can see your surroundings, you’re aware of what’s happening, you’re connected to yourself, you can ask for support, and it doesn’t feel hard. But then when something, quote unquote, traumatic or hard or stressful happens, that’s where some of our past does come up and our past patterns play for us and make us miss some of those pieces.
So we go backwards and just start with where’s the urge? What is the urge? Is it to run away? Do you want to curl up into a ball and just hide away under the covers until this passes? Or do you want to demand your family member or a loved one to fix this for you?
Different kinds of responses, once we acknowledge how we respond, and we actually connect to it in our heart space, instead of just living in our head and trying to ruminate and find a solution, then we actually, once we have those pieces, we can make a better choice and a better decision.
So we go backwards and just make that simple process or that step. And that’s where I work with a lot of my clients, again, in both groups, because it really shows up in both ways where we stand in our own way. Because we’re not well connected with what is actually happening with my nervous system, or my heart or my head.
And why is it feeling so disconnected? And so kind of depends on if people are interested, I love educating on this. And doing those micro education moments where I step in and say, hey, this is what’s actually happening with your mind. When you’re in this state where you’re so stressed, your emotional brain is actually totally disconnected from your reasoning brain.
And so you can try to find a solution, but you’re gonna find yourself walking in circles. Because your emotional brain is just completely hijacking your reasoning. And it’s not going to happen until we actually calm down and lean in to the emotion and ask what it’s trying to say. What story is it telling?
So instead of running from that emotion, we gently learn to sit with ourselves in some of those things that we are afraid of, or that might feel too painful. Or we have created habits so that we wouldn’t have to acknowledge. So either again, compartmentalize or run away, where we turn towards others and expect them to meet our needs, or support us.
Or we have these beliefs that lock us in and say I’m a burden. I can’t ask for help. And we go backwards and reframe some of those, and actually unearth some truth of where are you in all of this? Where’s your value and who’s telling you or what circumstance in the past painted a picture that you can’t ask for help?
Because we’re all interconnected. And healing happens in interconnection as well. Because it’s typically someone from your past. Not to blame, but it’s typically a person or people who created this idea for you that hurt you, or taught you that you can’t ask for help.
But it’s also people who are going to get you out of that. And so just playing with that, and holding space for people to experience the healing power of interconnection, and working through some of the things that do feel scary or vulnerable or uncomfortable, and doing it in a space together.
Nicole Vienneau 35:24
I think of the work that Nurse Coaches are doing around the world, in creating spaces to come together. And I think I also think of times in my life where I really feel comfortable with a certain group, you know, where you get together, and you’re feeling like, oh, this is… I feel so good.
I feel like myself, I can verbalize what’s on my heart, I don’t feel unsafe. I feel like I’m myself. And then there’s other spaces, groups, again, that maybe I am really quiet in that group. And I don’t potentially feel safe for likely little things… not little things, things, experiences that I’ve experienced in my past are showing up there.
And so I’m thinking of Nurse Coaches— we’re creating places and we are trying to create safe places for our fellow humans to show up in and heal and learn and grow and become connected. And so as I think of Nurse Coaches in creating these environments, which we all learned how to do in the Coaching program, yet, maybe we’re not doing the best we could.
Like maybe there are some little things and little tips that we could also gain from maybe some of your experiences in creating safe spaces for people. So what comes to mind for you, when I say creating a safe space, as a Coach, as a Nurse Coach, what does that look like for you?
Ellie Monjoseph 37:05
As a Nurse Coach, it really comes back to me as the practitioner, me as the Coach. What is my energy and am I attuned to what’s happening? I see this a lot in the Nurse Coaches I work with, or entrepreneurs that I work with, is, again, absorbing everyone else’s energy.
And so when someone’s talking about their story, this even happens in the hospital environment, you’re on the bedside, someone’s telling you their story, and you get so drawn in that you’re just chasing their rabbit holes, and you’ve completely lost sense of where you are at, and what your purpose is or what your intention is for that day.
And so it really comes back to, again, connecting with myself and recognizing, as a practitioner, my role is to recognize what’s happening on the body. So with the nervous system, our body will often communicate to us where we’re uncomfortable, kind of like you said, of those groups where you feel really comfortable.
You have such a relaxed stance, you’re smiling, it doesn’t feel forced, your eyes are relaxed and softened, your shoulders are slumped down, and you can kind of feel your entire body. Whereas let’s say you’re in an environment where you’re having some social anxiety.
And you don’t know anyone there and this is totally out of your comfort zone, and you can literally feel your entire body just constrict and hold that stress. Your shoulders are slumped up, your jaw is tight, the smile feels so forced. And you’re talking, yeah, and your laugh is forced, your tone of voice is different.
And you have no recollection of where are your feet? Where’s my body? Where’s my heart? And you’re just, again, focusing on what’s around you. And so that’s where, as a trauma practitioner, as a Coach, it’s important to hold that space, to understand and recognize when my client is in a different state.
So let’s say the difference between shutdown and collapse, realizing when they are just tuned off, their brain is actually completely off and they’re telling me things, but they’re disconnected. And so how do I pull them slowly back in. And it’s a different approach than when they’re in fight or flight energy, where they’re giving off a lot of energy or trying to run.
And so it seems like complicated language, but it’s learning to do that for ourselves, and then learning to do that for others. So that’s where, as a Coach, especially a Nurse Coach, understanding our body, our systems, having access to people’s stories, it’s so important to be a resource to ourselves, first and foremost, and learn some of those skills of where am I in this room, as someone across from me is sharing a story?
And how can I actually hold space for them, instead of pull into that space and get completely absorbed and not be a support or a helper or resource anymore? And it doesn’t mean detaching from the story. It means holding space for myself first. Knowing where am I in all of this?
Again, something as simple as reconnecting to my heart. Or noticing where is there sensations in my body where it’s constricted? And what is that telling me? And so learning some of those tools, so that we can truly hold space for others instead of absorbing or retracting.
Because sometimes as Nurses, as parents, as individuals in the world, we’ll hear things that are traumatic for us, or feel like too much, and so we will pull away or we’ll have judgments and biases. And then we can’t hold space. But if we learn to harness that power of reconnecting to ourselves, it really does create this beautiful opportunity for others to be held, too.
Nicole Vienneau 40:39
Thank you for that beautiful explanation. I couldn’t help but remember Dr. Barbara Dossey, one of her phrases that she often uses is “soft front, strong back.” So meaning, yes, we can feel and of course we’re going to feel, we are humans, and yet, we still have to have a strong back in the sense of, you know, being aware, being aware of how we are showing up as well, and how we can support this space.
She would obviously explain that much better than I. But I often think of that, because we are soft in the front, but we’re firm in the back. And I think that just… that image has helped me a lot to recognize that it’s okay to show up as myself in the soft front, and I also am supportive of the space that I’m in, so I’m not going to fall apart and be a puddle on the ground after absorbing someone’s story.
So I really connected to how you explain that. And she always is… she’s always a beautiful angel on my shoulder to remind me of different things as well— Dr. Barbara Dossey.
Ellie Monjoseph 40:58
Yeah, it’s a beautiful reminder of how, again, Nurse Coaching is a different philosophy. We’re not getting to a point, we’re not trying to get to a destination of healing, we’re just being with the experience. And so I love that example of or that sentence, that phrase of soft heart, strong back.
You’re holding space for both, because both are needed. And so that’s the intention, and how can we hold space for ourselves, and be aware and just lean in, instead of constantly pushing and shoving ourselves to do something that is not for us, and is actually creating us more pain and more resistance down the road and creating disconnection from others as we do that.
Nicole Vienneau 42:40
So we have a few moments left. And I always love to ask the question, what is on your heart that you would really love to share with our listeners?
Ellie Monjoseph 42:52
I think just expelling the idea that you have to be at a certain destination, or you have to be healed enough, or you have to have made sense of your personal story in order to do something. Or to get the support that you need.
Sometimes we don’t allow ourselves to move forward and actually learn along the process, and make mistakes if we need to. But trust that we’re going to learn. And you can’t… you can only win at that point. I love the phrase of you either win, or you learn. There’s no losing.
And so, same with the work that I do, the clients that I work with— different circumstances in life that we’re all facing, sometimes we want a solution, or we want to get to a destination. And people get frustrated. Or they know that there’s relational conflict or something going on with the past and they want to get past it because it keeps surfacing.
And it’s frustrating that they’re not there yet. But the best thing we can do is just take one step at a time and learn in the process. Because in that process, we also learn to be with ourselves and resource ourselves so that we can show up differently, instead of replaying what we have in the past.
Nicole Vienneau 44:07
I think I need to hit rewind and listen to that again.
Ellie Monjoseph 44:14
It’s a lesson I have to remind myself of often.
Nicole Vienneau 44:20
Thank you, thank you for sharing what’s on your heart. So we’d love to know how we can find you. So could you share a few ways that we can find you?
Ellie Monjoseph 44:29
Yep, my primary platform is freetolivewellness.com. That’s the website where you can see a little bit more about my work and what I do. Otherwise, I’m also pretty active on social media with Instagram. So the Instagram handle is @elliemonj. Part of my last name there.
And I just love to share tidbits as well as some education on the nervous system on trauma and love connecting there. And then another platform is Facebook. So, Free To Live Wellness with the Facebook group and sharing some content there as well and connecting with people.
Nicole Vienneau 45:06
Awesome. And we will for sure be sharing all of the links in our show notes so that we can… listeners, you can find Ellie, follow her on Instagram or just check out her website, see what services she has to offer. Who knows when she might be having some new programming that shows up and things that we can continue to learn.
And who better to learn then with and from a fellow Integrative Nurse Coach? Yeah, definitely. So we’re gonna change modes here, and ask you a few fast questions. So you can’t think too hard. Just gonna say whatever comes up for you. Are you game?
Ellie Monjoseph 45:46
Perfect. Love it.
Nicole Vienneau 45:47
Alright. Okay. Tell us what you do in your free time.
Ellie Monjoseph 45:51
I love, love, love the outdoors. And so for me that’s running, especially around trails. Being in Minnesota, I love water, naturally. And so finding new trails around rivers, lakes, doing that kind of stuff. And then again, being in Minnesota, just embracing the winter is something that I really enjoy.
I know we’re about to get snow here and half the population complains, the other half, which is me, I get super excited about saunas, you know, plunges, cold plunges, doing things outdoors, running outdoors, hoping for no injuries, no falls on ice and things like that.
But just getting outdoors as much as possible. Because that’s such a beautiful resource as well for us, where we can just be and re-regulate and hear the birds or the wind and be with ourselves. It’s very, very healing.
Nicole Vienneau 46:42
Yes, I love nature too. Love being outside and even just looking out the window. I see cactus. So much different than Minnesota. There’s cactus outside my window here in Arizona. Alright, second question. The West Coast or Minnesota?
Ellie Monjoseph 47:02
Oh, that’s a tough one. I think right now, I love love my family, and they’re all here. And so I’m choosing to be in Minnesota. But I do travel quite a bit just to get my fix of mountains whenever I can. So maybe that’ll change in the future. But for now, it’s Minnesota.
Nicole Vienneau 47:21
Blooming where you’re planted for the moment, right?
Ellie Monjoseph 47:24
Yup. I love that.
Nicole Vienneau 47:27
Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Ellie, for sharing so many beautiful pearls of wisdom that we can take away with us and just consider and potentially even use, like hands on heart, asking for help. So many really good and valuable tools that we can consider. So, thanks so much for your time here.
Ellie Monjoseph 47:47
Yeah, thank you for having me. This was an absolute joy.
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