How You Care For Yourself is How You Feel About Yourself

I struggled with self-care for a long time. It wasn’t an easy task for me. Back then, I was solely focused on numbing myself. I was in too much pain and too ashamed of what had happened to me. It hurt too much to think about it. In the process, I had completely disconnected from myself, my body, and my needs. 

What helped was when I learned about the long-term impact of trauma, what the long term impact of toxic stress on my body. I could easily see how the abuse I suffered made me not want to talk about the past, feel my feelings, or want to take care of my body. But what was invisible to me was how the toxic stress from my childhood was still fueling the high level of cortisol in my body. The high levels of stress hormones in the body can create and contribute to long-term problems with our heart and our blood vessels. This information became a complete game changer for me. 

I had to start to practice good self-care to help my body counter the years of living with...

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How to Reach Your Healing Goals

Summer is almost here and we are already on month 6 of the year, I can’t believe it. Now is the perfect time to review your healing progress, to check in with yourself and the tools you’ve been using and what’s working for you and what isn’t.

But first, I want to celebrate you for your commitment to your healing. I know it can feel like two steps forward, one step back sometimes. Remember to not focus on what you didn't accomplish. Because that's not important. The only thing that matters is what you did accomplish. I know you had several victories so far (even the smallest changes can be HUGE victories in the healing journey) and I hope you celebrated them. If you haven’t, do that now. You deserve it!

What healing goal did you set for 2019? It’s easy for abuse survivors to forget change is a growth process and that part of healing is to learn to trust the process. The journey is the healing, not just the destination.

Survivors often ask me if...

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How Adopting a Dog Made Me Face My Inner Child

On April 8th, 2019, I was babysitting the toddler of a family in Portland. The mother messaged me in the days before letting me know that a dog would be there. When I got there, a small Pitbull mix came to greet me at the door, very timid and shy. The mother introduced her as Roxy but quickly made it very clear that she would not be staying with the family for long. She explained that they had rescued Roxy from another family who had not adequately explained that she had separation anxiety and that between raising their first young child, full-time work, and still getting the house in order since they had just moved to town, they did not have the time or energy to properly train her to not be so anxious and simply had to heavily medicate her when they left her alone.

This instantly broke my heart and it broke even more to watch this poor dog fall apart once the mother left for her appointment. The dog was so panicked and so unsure, it took her minutes to even walk over to allow me...

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Becoming the Parent Your Inner Child Needed

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a quote on Facebook that really struck a chord with my followers. The image went on to be shared 102 times, with 12,825 people reached. The quote was, She held herself until the sobs of the child inside subsided entirely. I love you, she told herself. It will all be okay. (H. Raven Rose)

I believe that this quote resonated with so many people because the words finally put a scenario that they had dealt with so often into simple words. It’s a strange situation to explain but one that I guarantee most, if not all, people have experienced often. After a particularly hard day or after a triggering event, you might feel overwhelmed, upset, angry, and sad but confused because they don’t feel like your feelings. The feelings are in your body and something is pushing you to feel them but it doesn’t feel like it originated from you, or at least from your adult self. So where are these feelings coming from then?

They are coming...

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Reconnecting With the Power of Your Breath

Self-awareness is an ongoing part of the trauma healing journey. It can feel a bit overwhelming in the beginning, as you are literally choosing to counter your biology in choosing discomfort, learning how to navigate stepping outside your comfort zone and taking a hard look at your helpful but toxic coping strategies. Are you aware of your coping strategies? We can also call them habits.

Part of what I do to support my clients is to provide a bit of trauma education. I know it provided me with comfort to know that there was nothing wrong with me in how I had responded to and lived through my trauma. In fact, I was in many ways a textbook example of a child that grew up in a household with domestic violence and was being abused emotionally, physically, and sexually. The outcome, like so many others, was my living with toxic stress (Learn more about ACE study here) as a child and growing into adulthood with the toxic stress keeping my systems on high alert, all the time.

As I began to...

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Giving Yourself the Gift of Compassion

On Periscope Live this past Friday, I wore my heart shaped glasses. We had been digging deep that week, asking some hard questions about healing, so it was time to lighten the mood and laugh a little. 
 
Not only do these silly heart shaped glasses help us to laugh, they also remind all of us to lead from our hearts. To lead with warmth and kindness and love and to choose to see the best in ourselves and in other people. This is called self-compassion.
 
These are stressful times in our world and for many survivors the holidays are hard and can be very painful. Either you are being reminded of the past by your family's presence (more than usual) around the holidays or you are triggered by the fact that you have cut off your family as a part of your healing and feel alone. For many survivors, the holidays rarely feel safe or enjoyable.  
 
So I wanted to send out this reminder, that no matter where you are on your journey and despite whatever hard...
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My Hope for Healing Weekend Retreat

Over the years, as I struggled to find the perfect solution to healing, the winning combination that would lead to my breakthrough and initiate the deep healing I so desperately wanted, I always felt like I was missing something. I tried many things for my healing but still I was struggling.

I’ve talked about one of the key ingredients to my healing before and it’s the same answer I give to my clients when they ask me what the turning point was on my own healing journey. And I am here again today to talk about it once more, not just because it is so important and I want to share the secret to success with all survivors, but also because I have exciting news.

I am hosting a weekend retreat next year in April, to bring together survivors in a safe place to explore their healing, learn from myself and others, celebrate their story and their strength, and create a community that will support one another for years to come. Why?

The turning point in my healing was when I found...

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Your Special Invitation to Join My 2019 Online Support Group

Hi friends,  

I know I have been MIA for a couple of months. This fall was very busy with travel and learning. I am enjoying being back home for the holidays and no more travel until the spring of 2019. But I do have some exciting news that I plan to share with you over the next few weeks. You may have seen some of the announcements if you follow me on social media. I am getting back to my blogging and newsletter routine here in December and regular blog posts scheduled for 2019.

I have a special invitation for you, especially meant for those of you who are feeling alone and behind in your healing.

For so long, I had this nagging feeling that I was always behind. Like I was chasing my tail, always almost there, so close but always falling short. So much of my time was devoted to taking care of others and busy work but I never felt like I was making progress towards my goals, doing what I wanted or needed.  And at the end of the day, little progress made. It was exhausting...

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Healing is a Lifelong Journey

Healing after years of child abuse and rape takes a long time. I am still a work in progress and each time I find another layer, I welcome it because it is the only way I can work through it to let it go.

Part of my healing journey now is to challenge myself as a human being. After years spent managing internal pain and uncertainty, in survival mode I am on a mission to become the best version of myself. Not perfect, but experience all that life has to offer.

This past weekend, I attended a retreat in Sedona with like minded people. I have been blessed to find a group of entrepreneurs that are both looking to build a successful business and do it with integrity and in alignment with their highest and best good. I have been a part of this group for almost a year now. Just like I recommend to my clients that they find a group or join one of the groups that I provide, I also need a group of peers for encouragement and support and, most importantly, to celebrate our strengths and...

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Reflecting on the Importance of Prevention

 This past week I was invited back to be a keynote speaker at one of the children's advocacy centers in Oregon. I can still reflect on the speech I gave 3 years ago. I had just moved with my family to Oregon and was honored to participate in such an important fundraiser.

 When I spoke at the event 3 years ago, they were raising funds to expand their center and asked me to tailor my message to help their supporters understand the impact of trauma on children and how important it is to have services like CAC's in their community. The event was successful! They had over 700 people join us for lunch to hear about Liberty House's impressive goal to not only continue to provide services to children that have been abused but to continue adding healing services for adults as well. But the focus of this fundraiser was to emphasize the importance of prevention.  
 
They asked me to share my experience from over 14 years of educating adults about how to keep kids safe...
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