In this invaluable episode, Joanna Lynn, founder of the Family Imprint Institute, delves into the transformative power of understanding family history and epigenetics – on relationships. She highlights the impact of generational narratives and the importance of embracing acceptance, for family dynamics.
Learn more at https://johannalynn.ca/
Hi and welcome to the You World Order Showcase podcast. Today we are talking with Johanna Lynn. She is the founder of the Family Imprint Institute with an international private practice and her tagline is science tells us that our biography becomes our biology. I really love that.
Welcome to the show, Johanna.
So nice to have you here.
Thanks for having me, Jill.
Great to be with you.
So tell us.
Tell us all about you. How did you get into this? And what's your story and?
What are you doing?
Yeah, yeah. Well, it started off. I was working at an integrative health clinic with a bunch of physicians that really understood the mind body connection. And I found my way into this work. That's all about epigenetics and family history and how any of us get to be the way we are at the time.
I was recovering from a really painful.
Divorce. And it was the one thing that had the whole painful situation make the most sense it ever had, and how so much of the painful patterns that went on in that marriage were really reflective of some of the things I hadn't looked at from that perspective that were going on in my family and certainly his.
The big joke in this work is that systems marry systems and then it finds a way to play itself out.
In the long term relationship.
So at the.
Time that was a big.
Reveal to me. And it was so instrumental in helping me to move past that heartbreak and really rebuild my life from a place of intentional choice.
Yeah, that's interesting. You want to.
Go a little deeper into the systems, Mary.
Yes. And so a lot of the times we marry or we fall in love with what's familiar, not necessarily what we would tell a dear friend we're looking for. But there's something beyond words that's just familiar.
That we settle.
Into and. The trick is we don't typically see it on the first few months of dating in that honeymoon phase.
It's not until everyone gets comfortable with each other and then it's like, Oh no, you know, you're critical like my mom or I can't really emotionally count on you like my.
That, and there's this familiar thread that in my work for years with clients and this, my belief is that it's exactly where we get set so that we can really grow in ways we wouldn't normally if we were just, you know, sitting on a mountaintop meditating or living our life carefree and single.
That these relationships bring up a lot of what is sort of sitting in the body left unnoticed. And here we come in this love relationship, it sort of brings these pieces forward that feel all too familiar yet.
Pretty painful at.
The same time.
Really interesting because.
All of these traumatic events that we go through in life.
Generally cycle around.
People that we love.
Or that should love us.
Well, and they do I if I've found and I've been in this work a little over 16 years. And so I like to hold the space that it is love. And yet often times when love hurts or when it feels really distorted, we've got a reason that it got distorted, you know, that old saying hurt people end up hurting people.
You know this work is a lot about looking behind Dad say alcoholism.
To why did he have to numb?
Or behind Mom being super quick to anger. Like, what is that switch that just has anger stand in front of everything as maybe a way of not feeling because she can no longer be vulnerable because of some of the things that happened to her. And so this work is really about getting clarity about the whole system.
And it can help us to understand why sometimes love hurts in our most tender close relationships in our family.
Yeah, that's really kind of a powerful.
Statement and how do we like?
How do we recognize it? And?
How do we fix that?
Not what you do with people.
Yeah, I think a lot of people come into my work with you.
Know the pressing.
Problem I'm losing connection with my teenager or it looks like we're heading for divorce, you know? Ready or not. And whenever my mother-in-law comes into the room, I, you know, sees right up in my chest, I lose my words.
And they're surprised to find out how much of what's going on today actually really deeply interconnects with what I call the family imprint. That's why my institute has named the Family Imprint Institute. Like, how do we get to be this way? How are we responding this way? And so the work that I do is really working from that.
Imprint to show up with a little more clarity, healthier boundaries.
The ability to say what you feel on the outside and match what you're feeling on the inside, and so first step is to identify how similar what's going on today is a replica of that past pain and then we work towards resolving it and showing up in these relationships differently, I'm sure.
Many of your listeners would agree. You know, probably moms not going to change or, you know, probably this dynamic with my brother. That's how it's going to be, but.
We can change.
How we interact with it can be different and.
That that changes the whole scenario.
It really does, and nobody stays the same all the time. And where your mom might have been when you were a child is totally different than where she is.
As you're an adult or even relationships with your spouse it changes overtime and they develop.
Different patterns of behavior based on the way that you're interacting with them.
That's right. You know, I often will tell my the couples that I'm working with if the other couple isn't ready to work, that as long as we're shifting, as long as we're connecting the dots.
As long as.
We're showing up differently. That changes the whole dynamic of.
The relationship and that often is enough.
It's a lot.
Almost all change.
That you want.
To happen in the world happens with yourself 1st and.
Couldn't agree more.
And just reframing the way you think about things and it's just, it even starts with.
How would you think about things? What things run through your head on a regular basis, and when you first start the practice of catching your thoughts and just looking at them rather than letting them?
Play the loop.
That are often destructive loops.
They don't serve anybody's better or higher good. You're just, like, ruminating on something and it.
And doing that, you're causing chemical reactions in your body that's destroying your body too.
That's it. You know, that is such a good point to bring up. We get stuck in a rut as you're saying, but then all those stress chemicals that fire off that go along.
With it, oh, can really deepen the.
Groove of some.
Of that misery, or hopelessness or whatever that stuckness might look like given the circumstance.
It prevents us from having the flexibility and imagination to find solutions to the situation that you're in, if you.
You just get like.
Stuck in that rut and it's like you can't see out above on the horizon to what the possibilities are or what the situation is trying to teach you.
That's it. We're sort of stuck in the language of the problem, and that's what I've come to really appreciate about this work. We don't really make space for the story, the telling of the problem, because it just becomes so well known by the body and exactly what you've said. We sort of almost wall off to the solutions because.
What we can see is down the channel of the problem. We sort of want to take those blinders off and begin to get creative about what's possible and maybe the main point is, how could you look at this differently?
When you include the whole.
Context. What might change?
And maybe just a tiny way.
You've been holding on to the circuit situation or circumstance.
You know, it's really easy to just.
Fall into the patterns of protection that you develop as a child and you know our first relationships are with our parents and our siblings and wounds happen because, you know it's people.
Messing with other people and.
A lot of this.
I call it technology, for lack of a better word, on my part.
As is fairly new, you know the idea of epigenetics has been around for that long and maybe 20 years.
Isn't really that long in the scheme of things, and people becoming aware of patterns being passed on and how it the interaction between couples people.
And how it affects?
The larger society even.
Absolutely true. It's so interesting. As you say, we aren't taught to think systemically. You know, we just think, oh, this is just how my relationships go. Or I just have a problem with earning money or keeping money or feeling secure or feeling safe. This is just me.
And one of the books I recommend most often is a book that's titled it didn't start with you. That speaks all about some of that cool science and latest research of epigenetics, but also some really interesting cases about the challenges that arise and how we look at it through this lens of epigenetics to make it so much more.
Understandable so that we can finally release it and move forward from there.
And so yeah, we are getting beyond where we've been stuck in certain relationships or even the consideration. Ohh that fear that I've held. Maybe it's not even mine and tracking back where, where did it come from. So we can set it down.
Let it go.
That's so powerful and people, people don't. I don't think realize how much just changing. You can affect the whole world.
Oh, the ripple effect is incredible.
And just taking the time to research it so.
How do you work with people? Do they? Yeah. How would they?
Come to you.
Yeah. So I work with people in two ways. In one-on-one or in a group setting, both online and in person. And what's really interesting and what makes it different is we start off by creating a three generation genius gram. So I'm really asking specific question.
To understand, you know, where did love stop flowing or what is an estrangement that might have happened between Mom and her sister? Or did Grandpa die really young, causing mom to grow up without a father figure at?
A young age.
We're looking for the whole flow of love inside of the family.
Circumstances, losses, even traumas, things that are unresolved.
That would then play out in the clients generation or even for the clients children. So I guess if you really think of it, we're often including the clients children. And so we're looking across 4 generations to see where that pattern is playing out again.
And then from the very first session.
We move directly into resolution. Nobody wants to just talk about what's wrong the whole time. We're moving into holding it differently, resolving it, and so much of the time just connecting.
Oh, I've been really influenced and caring what's not mine all these years. I kind of never looked at it this way and there can be a real lightness and even connecting those dots before we move into the resolution exercises that help the body to really get it. I think that can be a challenge sometimes.
With other things people try, we might really understand. Oh, that's why I do this.
Thing, but we're.
Still doing it? You know, we've got to bring.
The body along to be.
Able to get that full.
Change that we're looking for. So we're showing up in our lives and our relationships differently.
I can see how that would be.
Impactful not only for.
For you but.
It changes the potential for your children.
If you'll if you'll take that and.
If you if you move.
Quantum physics into this equation.
When you change.
Ohh you remember something?
It changes how others remember it too.
Because really a memory.
And that's what we're talking about right now is memories that we hold on to.
They're neither true nor false. They're just.
The way that we.
We perceive them.
And we hold on to them and.
And it's unique to us, even though we were not the only one in the experience.
Because the perspective is unique to us.
And it might.
And in most cases isn't actually even accurate.
Because a three-year old remembers something or a six year old, let's go with six or seven, because that's really when your memories.
Are a little more able to be formed.
Yeah, very true. Yeah.
But from that perspective, when something happened.
And from your parents perspective, say your mom or your dad.
Their perspective about that incident, if they even remember it at all and in most cases they don't because they had other things that were more important that captured their attention. But if you can change that for yourself.
It changes how they remember it too.
Yeah, it's so interesting. You know, a really pleasant surprise after doing this work. You know, I do this work for good reason. I had lots of challenge in my own family. And how many beautiful good memories of simple things like a birthday cake my mom made for me when she was, you know, a couple days away from delivering.
My little brother, we're eight years apart. So, but my our birthdays are a couple days apart. So she's decorating a.
Cake. You know, super pregnant and.
I just completely.
Forgotten about that?
In my hurt in my defensiveness in my shutdown.
And so this piece of.
Of changing that relationship to be more tender and to be more open to that love opened up the floodgates of.
Just simple little.
Kid memories like you're saying. So it's absolutely true as we shift the way we've held certain people.
Incredible things can open up.
That's empowering and it.
It allows you to appreciate.
Things that happen.
Fighting a cold and then this. This topic kind of does make me emotional.
How? How it empowers you to have.
And appreciate other people in your life that you might have been harboring.
Ill will towards.
Or anger or.
You just don't.
Want them to be part of your life because they're causing you so much pain that they're not actually causing you the pain you're causing yourself the pain.
Isn't that the paradox? Yeah.
Yeah, a response to how we wish they would be. You know, the pain of being around someone we love that we think.
Why do you?
Have to be so down and critical all the time. Or are you really having another drink and that can be hard to be close?
To and when I think we allow those we love to be who they are to be on their own path to have our really careful resilient boundaries when we like, place ourselves around them when it can push our buttons, we've got to treat some of these relationships.
With a little bit of.
Intentional care so that we don't.
Get hurt wrapped up in it.
Yeah. And sometimes it means, you know, separating yourself from them. And sometimes it can be you can have intentional encounters with them where you know that this is this is a situation and again allowing them to be on their own journey and.
Recognizing that you know.
Sometimes things happen and it's OK and it doesn't really speak to who you are. It speaks to who they are, and eventually they're going to do whatever they're going to do. And maybe that was the path that they chose for themselves on this journey.
That's right. And you.
You can choose to go along with it or not, but what you do with your own thoughts about the situation?
It is about your journey.
That's right. You know, it's.
A friend say.
To me, have you ever had your mom irritate you and she wasn't even in?
The room and I.
And I sort of laughed and said, like, are you telling, like, just replaying a memory or how it should have been this way or that way? And it's like, yeah.
You know, so how much are we?
The sort of building the frustration or building that that difficulty exactly.
As you're saying as.
We're thinking about it as we're playing.
It through and if we can clean up.
Our side of.
The fence, so to speak. You know, if we can.
Think about it like all.
The things that have happened in.
The past, we're carrying it around like this.
Big heavy backpack and maybe our work is.
Getting free of the backpack.
Letting go of how it should have been or how it could have.
Gone and really allowing ourselves to arrive how it is.
Acknowledging for what it is.
Byron Kelly had written a book loving what is.
Oh, that's right. That was her first. It's.
Such a great read.
It is a great read and it's a great reminder that you know.
You have two choices, you can just.
Of what was and is or you can be miserable and fight against it and wish it were something else.
You can remember it as something else. That's totally fine. You couldn't make it up yourself.
And sometimes that helps, yeah.
You know it can. You can create a memory and just hang on to.
Doesn't even have to be true, but you can remember it as true.
And over time, it will become true.
Well, it helps me. Well, it helps me to stay in the truth that I will often say to clients if we look at what happened to your mom or dad. So let's say the dad who was abusive, let's pick a really big one that's really hard to get over that there is no, you know, forgiveness for that this happened. There was a huge injury.
Emotional and otherwise.
And so how do we get over that? And sometimes putting an imagined image over that can feel not real, so it doesn't stick. And so I like to be able to talk with them about where did Dad come from? Why was anger his?
His first his first go to.
Why was there that distorted love around harming or?
Controlling or any of those things.
And we start to look at this way of relating is all that was known.
And so it spills over. And so this piece, if that never happened to Dad, if Dad could.
Show up and.
Throw ball with you and do the puzzle with you and be patient with you to imagine. How would you be able to give that to yourself.
That there's this growing part of you that trusts Dad would have wanted to give that to you if he'd had it given to him.
So that there is.
Sort of that.
Systems way of looking as that travels through the family system that the change gets to be here with me.
So any of those moments, sometimes I think for those of us who've been hurt by our family, self-care can be one of the hardest things to prioritize because we end up doing to ourselves what the harm that happened to us. We're putting ourself on the very last of our own list. And so those moments when we can be patient with ourselves.
Be kind in our own mind, set up those situations where in a way, we're reparenting.
Yeah. And I think that's the large part of learning to love and accept yourself as you are and being good with it and then not requiring other peoples input to.
Determine your value or worth.
Oh, that's a big one. That's a big one.
Yeah, and it seems like difficult childhoods often end into that. Now we're looking for validation from maybe the boss or the spouse or the friendships.
And we've really got to find.
A way to give that to.
Ourselves so that it.
Can come from the inside out.
Yeah, it makes it really difficult for other people to have a relationship.
With you when?
You don't want to have.
That's right. First things first, we've got to get clear with ourselves.
You got it.
Yeah, and being OK with, you know, everybody's unique and not everybody's everyone else's cup of tea.
And it doesn't.
Mean there's anything wrong with you if you know Susie doesn't like your personality or your laugh, or yeah.
Them. Yes, that's right, it's.
There's lots of us on this planet.
Yeah, that's right.
We're going to get along with someone. I hate it. An interesting conversation with someone. One time she was.
She was talking about meeting people and she shifted the way that she entered her room and the first.
Her normal pattern was to go into a room and hope that everyone liked her, and then she's she lately had come into the idea that she was going to end.
Her room and wonder who she would like.
Ohh what a chef.
Such an empowering shift of perspective.
Yes. You know, whenever we're doing that, hustling to belong kind of thing, we know we're not really being who we truly are authentically. And so to come in with that as an undertone, wow, who am I going to click with? Who am?
I going to be drawn.
To who will I like is a very it takes the hustle right out of it.
Because we come in with curiosity instead.
Curiosity is such a.
Powerful word. It's just one of those.
States of being that opens up the potential.
Instead of, you know, having a set agenda.
Having a need that needs to be filled in in any given case, yeah.
Yeah, it just allows.
Information to appear.
And the right people.
You know, to find to click with because we're not in performance mode, we're just.
Showing up as we are.
Very freeing. I know you have a book about self regulation that you offer to people you want to.
Talk about that.
Yeah, I'd love to share that with your listeners. So I have a training for the coaches and therapists who want to learn these systemic.
And I often will say to them people, you think people are booking appointments with you to maybe solve their problem or to talk about an issue, but often people are coming to.
Sit with you.
Because you are regulated because you've got that self regulation that they're looking to find their calm in the storm.
And so the importance as practitioners as parents will as human beings to find that center and a few suggestions and techniques for how to do that.
So do you work mostly with coaches or do?
You just work with everyone who do.
Well, I have a I have two.
You work with.
Sort of paths. I have people that are in relationship to stress that are looking for some solutions around.
And then my training and courses are really guided from anybody who's in the helping profession that wants to bring in epigenetics and systems understanding to broaden the solutions that they're able to offer their clients.
Oh, that is probably really helpful to a lot of people.
Yeah, I've had such great feedback. We're starting up our fifth year of the training and it just lights me up, it feels.
Really like a.
Pay it forward energy because I can only see so many people in any given day or week.
Yeah. Yeah. And it's such an important.
Piece of the holistic puzzle is really getting a handle on the epigenetics and how it plays into. I know there's all these other different modalities out there, but and it's really kind of a foundational piece to me.
It's how I see it. Yeah, whether you're working with physical health, relational health. We've got to look at. Where did these thoughts even come from? Why am I showing up this way? Where did this pattern come from? So we can really get a little more spaciousness and.
Freedom around it.
And it you're right in terms of health, your physical health, it, everything starts in your head and when the doctor says it's all in.
Your head well.
Often it is.
On your head.
I've always thought that to be such a strange response, of course. And you know what? What are we doing about it? It's affecting my.
Whole body too.
Yeah. And really the whole mind body connection thing is, is relatively new as far as you know people talking about it and recognizing that.
I have a stomach ache. Well, maybe it's more than just a stomach ache. Maybe it's something that you're thinking about. Maybe it's something that happened that you're not processing properly and it's manifesting as your stomach's hurting.
And it could be things that you.
Don't even you're not even aware of that you brought from like another life that has come through all of this.
Generations and now you're. You're manifesting it in your body and it's trying to get the message to your brain to do something about it.
That's right. And what's interesting in medicine, I might mispronounce it, but I believe the body of focus is Psycho Immunology. So this idea that how we're feeling impacts our immune system and how can we study the effects of stress on immune system depression and.
How we are?
Connecting that stomach ache that crops up.
What is it about? What were you thinking or feeling before that happened? What are you carrying that isn't yours? It's so nice that we're seeing this sort of shift in awareness to include more. It's great.
It is really great I and I'm.
I'm excited to see where.
It's going because I think the potential for real health.
In the world is increasing exponentially as people become more aware of the modalities that are available to them to actually heal.
All the things that are causing chronic pain or chronic illness in their bodies.
That's right. We got to get to the source. We got to understand that root cause.
And non invasive ways, right? Non chemical. You don't even have to add stuff to what you're doing your life. You just need to, like work on some of these more base.
Principles and epigenetics being one of them. So how do people get in touch with you if they want to work with you?
Yeah, they can visit my website whichistriplew.joannalynn.ca. You can find me on Instagram under the Family imprint Institute. And I've started writing weekly articles on LinkedIn under Joanna Lynn. As you can join that newsletter. And I write all.
About some of.
The most interesting.
Research and epigenetics and some case studies and a little bit about relationships and what you can do, relationship tips and things of that nature.
That sounds really interesting. I'll definitely have.
Yeah, great. Great.
To check that out myself.
What's the one thing you want to leave the audience?
With today, Johanna.
Well, I think the encouragement to get curious about their family of origin, so your listeners could even start to build their own three generation Genia gram and instead of you know, Uncle Tim and Aunt Annie that you really want to look at, how did Uncle Tim's life go?
Well, you know, was he doing well? Did he divorce? Was did he have mental illness? Was he happy? You know, how did the relationships connect between Mom, dad, Grandma, Grandpa.
So that you.
Have a more of an understanding of yourself and some of the challenges that you might.
Have in your life.
Very good, very good. I think that's very wise.
Can be a fun exercise.
Get you asking some different questions around the dinner table.
Yeah, yeah, I definitely try that out myself.
Thank you so much for joining me today.
Thanks for having me.