Defining Resilience: Step 1 – Focus on the Positives

A sneak peak at a portion of my upcoming Hope for Healing newsletter scheduled for delivery July 1st. Subscribe at Hope for Healing newsletter or on my website at www.teriwellbrock.com. Thanks!
Defining Resilience
Step 1: Focus on the Positives
 

Before diving into step 1, a reminder about resilience: it is defined as the ability to overcome adverse conditions; with healthy bonding relationships, guidance, support, and compassion as the catalysts. Basically, it entails having the capacity to bounce back from stressful or overwhelming experiences.

What are some steps we can take to ensure we are building resilience in our lives?

  1. Focus on the positives. 
  2. Seek out and nurture supportive relationships.
  3. Utilize self-care strategies. 
  4. Take action steps to create positive change.
  5. Work on healthy habit formation. 
  6. Find a guiding hand to hold.
  7. Learn to become our own hero. 
  8. Be gentle with ourselves.

Today we will cover Step 1: Focus on the positives.

I love when my memories pop up on Facebook. I can glance back at my life over the past nine years, since joining that social media platform, and re-live the joys. Sure there is an occasional post where I set a gripe free, but it’s mostly happy-sunshine stuff.

However, it has not always been that way. This glitter-shitter stuff took a lot of effort. I had to completely revamp my habits in some areas. Here are eight suggestions to incorporate into your own life:

  • Surround yourself with positive energy: I made a concerted effort to remove toxic people from my life, or at least, how much exposure I had to their toxicity. Those energy vampires are draining. Emotionally, spiritually, even physically.
  • Create positive affirmations: I made mine using a Word doc, incorporating heart shapes into the doc, then filling the heart with nature photos I’ve snapped. Here is one of many I’ve created:
  • Practice mindfulness: This is a way to be present with all of your blessings in the present moment. Let your past worries go. Do not focus on future “what ifs”. Just be here. In this moment. With everything peaceful in the moment. I like to practice mine in nature settings as I find tranquility in that space.
  • Re-direct your negative thoughts: I will purposefully stop myself mid-thought and say, “Nope. Let’s think about this in a positive way, T.” Example: my eighty-two year old mom was taking F.O.R.E.V.E.R. strolling through the grocery store. My own to-do list was nagging at me and I found myself becoming impatient with her. I stopped myself right there in the condiments aisle and just looked at her little hand reaching for the hot sauce. I smiled in the moment, knowing I am blessed to still have her with me.
  • Smile: It sounds simple enough. But, seriously. It requires effort sometimes. I try to remind myself to connect with others through a smile. It truly is amazing how people respond. Sometimes they actually look surprised to see someone smiling at them! But, almost always, they smile back.
  • Look for the light in the darkness: This can seem an impossible task. Especially if you are hurting or struggling. But, I promise, you will help yourself recover your footing if you find that light, that thing, whatever it is in your dark moment. Focus on it, treasure it, remind yourself of it as often as needed. Purposefully seek out a positive force, solution, or beacon.
  • Share the positivity: Put your happiness out into the world. I keep a happy thoughts journal. I also share my joys on social media. I write about things that make my heart happy. I try to offer positive solutions to others. Through radiating joy, I bring more joy into my life.
  • Give of yourself: I ran into a teacher I used to work with while pumping gas earlier today. She made my heart smile when she said, “It’s not been the same since you left. We miss you. The kids really need you.” She was talking about the job I had as a mental health specialist working in various school settings. Helping those kiddos, offering them coping skills and a chance to talk about their struggles, sharing my positive energy, helped bring positivity into my life. I knew I was making a difference in their lives. I still do this though our therapy dog services, meeting with kids to discuss anxiety and the important role of therapy animals in healing.
Coming up next month: Step 2: Seek out and nurture supportive relationships.

Funks & Punks

I’ve been in an on-again-off-again relationship with a case of the funks for the past few weeks. So, of course, the universe throws a reminder onto my Facebook feed. A friend confessed her woes on a Mom group page and a slew of other moms joined in to concur . . . there is quite a bit of treading going on, just maintaining in order to keep our heads above water.

Photo by Manuel Meurisse on Unsplash

I have prayed on it. Meditated through it. Tried connecting with the trigger through journaling and mindfulness exercises. Some stuff flitters on by, but nothing has given me the AH-HA! goosebumps.

Yet.

Perhaps it’s a combination of stuff, slowly heaping up in the corner of the room while I try to pretend all is right with my world. I’m the glitter-shitter, after all. Must focus on the positive. Stay motivated. Be that beacon of light. However, the more I try to ignore this funk, the quicker it is turning into a punk-ass bitch, obnoxiously interrupting my normally chill demeanor on a more frequent basis.

 

I even pondered returning to therapy. A little talk session about my woes just might be the answer. Then I remembered . . . oh, yeah, I blog! Cheaper than therapy, right?

Therefore Dr. Blog Reader, I am dumping on you. Maybe you have some insights that will help me kick this punk, Funk, to the curb.


Photo by Bryan Minear on Unsplash

I had an energy healer tell me once, “You are trying to keep too many plates spinning. You need to decide who you really want to be. It’s okay to say ‘no’ and let some of these things go.” Ugh. But, I am passionate about them all. Blogging, writing my books, The Healing Place Podcast, Sammie therapy dog work, running InvizaShield, and speaking. Not to mention the mom, wife, house-project-pro roles. However, I feel as if my friendship needs are waning. I used to connect with my peeps on a much more frequent basis. Now that has been back-burnered.

(A little AH-HA! goosie just appeared on my left arm.)


  • But, then again, I’m still harboring some ill feelings toward people in general. I experienced a burn a few months ago and I’m still
    Photo by Sebastien on Unsplash

    irritated by it. I want to expose the entire situation, but, just like in my youth, I am having to keep my mouth shut in order to protect others. I donned the peace-keeper role in my co-dependent family. And I’m doing it again. Only this time with a larger group. All in the name of peace. And that is seriously pissing me off.

(Must find a way to set this free without exposing those who could be hurt by the threatening authority figures. Golly I despise protecting the power-wielders.)


  • I was on a serious mission, headed in the right direction, the stars aligning, promises were being sent my way . . . (insert spike strip launched onto my path) . . . then crash. Right into that brick wall. It became painfully obvious that the entire motivation for those promising me the world was monetary. I was advised that I needed to focus on “monetizing” my mission in lieu of “helping others” as my driving force. Suddenly people who were “here to help” were asking for more money in order to do so. Money, money, money. I was being indoctrinated into the world of dollar signs and sales pitches. But, that’s not me. That’s not my goal. Do I want a beach house? Uh, yeah. Do I want to reach a million people with my story of hope and messages of positivity and healing? Absolutely. However, monetizing my mission for the sole purpose of just making money . . . nope.
  • Photo by Christine Roy on Unsplash

(My goal is to figure out the best way to share my story on a grand scale. Publish my book. Obviously. Online courses? Blogging? YouTube videos? Speeches? Sammie’s Bundles of Hope? Podcasting? Free e-books? My list is huge.)


So, there you have my top 3 funks right now.

The glitter-shitter is needing some sparkle. So, if you feel inclined, grab a handful and toss it my way!

Love and hugs,

T

Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash

www.teriwellbrock.com

You Are Magical

This writing space of mine feels like a hug every time I step into it. The walls smile at me from angel paintings, kid pics, inspirational quotes, and decorative reminders of treasured friendships. Today, as I sent up a prayer to the Holy Spirit asking for some inspiration for this blog, I found myself drawn to my “YOU ARE MAGICAL” cup.

Therefore, thanks to this Zen-looking unicorn, I am going to share with you ways in which you can whip up some magic in your life. I went with my spirit-inspired gut on these. There are thousands more I could choose from, but let’s start here:

  1.  Play.
  2. Dance.
  3. Sing.
  4. Paint.
  5. Swim.
  6. Hike.
  7. Call.
  8. Doodle.

Play: My daughter tapped gently on my office door about an hour ago, creaking it open enough to say, “Can you help me with this?” I paused from my ponderings and turned to nod her in. She held up the drone she had received as a Christmas gift. Flown once. Into a tree.

“Sure,” I semi-sighed . . . my to-do list already delayed by a few hours after an unplanned trip to the pediatrician for her sore throat.

We decided a second attempted launch from the cul-de-sac might work best. It still ended up in the tree. Oh boy. Swimming pool pole to the rescue! A few tries later, we had it hovering. After a crash landing into the neighbor’s garden and one bounce off of mom’s car, we had figured out the thumb-controlled-do-hickey-thingys (can you tell I’m a serious gamer?).

We laughed, ducked, screamed in fear as it careened toward us (okay, that was me), and had a fun mommy-daughter moment figuring out how to maneuver the drone over driveways and around mailboxes.

Get out there and play. A board game. A card game. A video game. Monopoly or Spades or Wii Just Dance 2018. Or toss a football, grab a hula hoop, jump on a trampoline. Having a twelve-year-old around helps!


Dance: I have a friend who teaches an amazing dance class. I’m hoping to get back to it as soon as this old-lady knee of mine strengthens. Be sure to check it out, if you are in the Cincinnati area. Amanda is ahhh-mazeballs!

But, this knee won’t stop me from popping in those Wii dance games and getting my groove on, battling it out with my kiddo for first place. Or dancing in my car. My middle child loves it so when I car-dance at red lights < – – – sarcasm font! And sometimes, I just blast a good song from my Pandora station while I write, push my office chair aside and get down with my bad self right here in my Zen space. Zen and disco can co-exist, right?


Sing: Sometime I can hit those Mariah notes. Sometimes not so much. But, I can ALWAYS belt out “Lady” by Little River Band. Every. Damn. Time.

My oldest son can rap like no one I’ve ever heard. Brilliant. My youngest son is moved (like his momma) by the lyrics, the singers’ stories, the tales behind the rhymes.

Music touches me on a soul level. And I let that move me.

Sing it out, people. Whether you are Harry Caray or Mariah Carey. Release your soul’s music.


Paint: My dad was an artist. My sister has had her artwork featured in galleries. Me? Not so much. I can’t even draw a straight line with a ruler.

So when a friend invited me to one of those painting parties at Cheers to Art, I literally laughed out loud. But, I decided it would be fun to at least drink the wine that was part of the package deal. I was completely blown away by the fact that my “sunbeams coming through the trees” painting actually ended up looking like sunbeams coming through the trees.

Grab a brush (and possibly some wine) and set your inner-Rembrandt free.


Swim: I have combined “quality kid time” and “exercise” with this one. My daughter and I have a little contest going every night, barring thunderstorms obviously, seeing who can finish our laps in the pool in the quickest time. She keeps bumping the goal by five laps each day. We are up to fifty-five as of yesterday.

My dad was not a swimmer. He was terrified of it. And not much scared that six foot six inch papa of mine. So, my advice is this, if you fear the water, grab one of those donut rings, stay in the shallow end, make sure another person is always with you, and just float. Let your hands skim the surface, watch those little bugs swoop in for a drink, let your soul dance with the sunbeams glistening on the splashes, allow the weightlessness of your body to float peacefully through the water.


Hike: My favorite place is anywhere I can hear a bird singing or a wave crashing, smell the sweetness of the forest or the saltiness of the ocean air. So strap on those hiking shoes or beach trekkers and hit it.

There is something magical that happens when we put the to-do lists away and allow ourselves permission to immerse ourselves in nature. I find my greatest peace when I find a bench at our local nature preserve and just sit. With no agenda. I merely allow it fall upon me. The sounds, the smells, the sights, the creatures, the sensations, the energy, and the tranquility.


Call: Reaching out to a friend, a family member, even a business acquaintance, via a phone call to check in can brighten our days with some much needed connection. I am a texting fan. It’s quick. It’s easy.

However, I know, for me personally, I also need some depth. And I find that through my chats, whether face-t0-face or phone calls, with others. I love my hour long catch-up calls with my son who lives in Denver. I treasure that time together.

Check on a friend today. Even if it’s just five minutes while driving to the store (using your hands-free feature . . . safety first, pumpkin!).


Doodle: Again, not an artist. My doodles always look somewhat toddlerish. But, I love doodling in my journals. Hearts, flowers, more hearts, smiley faces, hearts again, sunshine and trees, and possibly another heart. And angels.

Drawing can be a way to express something we might be struggling to find words to release it. I have used this coping skill with kids struggling with anxious feelings.


I look at this list, now that I’ve finished typing, and I realize that magic is created by setting our inner child free. Play, dance, sing, paint, swim, hike, call, and doodle.

Well, I’m off to let the kid beat me at some pool laps. Then maybe I’ll challenge her to a game of Battleship. She’s going down!

Angel Whispers and Neon Signs

Photo by Dalal Nizam on Unsplash

I am one of those folks who pay attention to the subtle whispers of my angels. I used to tell God, “Listen, Big Guy, I need some neon signs sent my way. Big flashing arrows pointing me in the right direction, if you don’t mind. Thanks!”

It’s taken years of practice, silencing the hum of my own insecurities and quieting my own directives, but I now notice the gentle taps on the shoulder, “Hey, T, look,” turning my head to notice the heart-shaped leaf on the ground.

Ah, thanks, God.

I’ve come to realize those sweet little nudges ARE the neon God-signs I had been asking for all along.

Lady bugs crawling on my manuscript, sunbeams radiating onto a crappy day, little kid giggles interrupting my mental chanting of shopping list items, unicorn fart coffee mug gifts from a friend “just because”, cardinal songs outside my window as my dad’s memory flutters through the room. Angel whispers filling my days.

As I sent up a little prayer this morning, feeling a bit melancholy over an old loss, I received a beautiful text: “I truly think you are an amazingly beautiful person.” Tears welled in my eyes, the timing of that message impeccable, as the sunlight beaming into the room caught my attention.

I turned to see the beams radiating through the glass sign I have perched on the window sill, the words “be brave” illuminated in a joyous reminder.

photo credit Teri Wellbrock

I’ve been looking for inspiration for this latest blog. Waiting to be prodded by some spirit-movings. I’d say this qualifies.

5 Ways to Awaken Your Awareness of Angel Whispers and God Signs

  • Look for hearts.

 I find them everywhere. Every day. I just walked downstairs to let the dogs back inside and laughed as I found a chewed remnant of a dog toy . . . in the shape of a neon orange heart on the stairs. Love is all around us. All we need to do is open our hearts (and our eyes) to notice. I will be posting a free downloadable e-book on my website some time in the next few weeks. It will be filled with heart pics I’ve snapped along with quotes and stories about love. Be sure to download it on my Teri Wellbrock website once it’s available. Until then, there is other free downloadable content available as a resource.

  • Meditate. 

I started out using a simple 2-5 minute meditation I had found on a phone app. Learning to meditate in short intervals was a much needed boost of confidence that I could actually do it.  I had always struggled with any attempts to meditate. My mind would wander repeatedly and I’d throw in the towel about thirty seconds in. Several different apps I found actually encouraged letting my mind wander, so I could practice utilizing my breath to reign it back in. I have created a few simplistic meditation videos. You can practice by listening in on my website or directly on YouTube.

I eventually worked my way up to 30-minute meditations, using apps and various YouTube guided meditation videos. I now make meditating a part of my daily routine. It has opened up my senses to everything beautiful. Including those angel messages.

Photo by Dingzeyu Li on Unsplash
  • Practice mindfulness.

This is a favorite technique that I will talk about often. Mindfulness is defined as “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”

It is a gift to yourself. Being aware of the space you fill in this present moment and all that surrounds you in the now can be more difficult than it sounds . . . hence the need for practice. I like to hike at Cincinnati Nature Center, reminding myself to absorb the sensations of the moment (the sounds of scurrying chipmunks, the sweet scent of honeysuckle blossoms, the tickle of the sweat bee landing on my arm). Those moments, after all, are filled with angel whispers.

Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash
  • Welcome balance.

Another concept I struggled with throughout most of my life was that of allowing myself the gift of relaxation, “me” time, without the weight of guilt sitting heavily upon my shoulders. I would try to kick back, but my to-do list would nag at me. All of the “shoulds” poking at me. You should be writing. You should be cleaning. You should be studying. 

Once I realized the benefits of giving myself permission to relax, unwind, let go, and enjoy the moment, I quickly learned to put those to-do list bullies in their place. Now I remind myself that my angel gifts come to me in those letting-go moments. They appear within the pauses.

photo credit Teri Wellbrock
  • Be gentle with yourself.

A huge lesson learned. This was one of those Ah-ha! moments in my life. A true awaking. On so many levels. I can honestly say that learning how to accomplish this seemingly simple mindset was life-altering.

When you find yourself being self-ridiculing or slamming yourself over a mistake, stop. When you find yourself doubting your abilities, stop. When you start to question your worth, stop. When you pick on your weight or your wrinkles or your knack of crying at all things sappy, stop.

Instead . . . be gentle with yourself. Remind yourself you are trying. And you are worthy. And loved. And beautiful. Give yourself a hug. Be your own best friend. Hold your own hand. That’s when you’ll hear the angel whisper, “I believe in you.”

Photo credit Teri Wellbrock

 

 

 

 

Thirty Tranquil Ponderings for a Murdered Girl

Thirty years ago today. Wow. That just dawned on me as I sat poolside, journaling today’s ponderings. May 23, 1988. A day I thought would forever be burned upon my soul. Branded by a cruel and searing experience.

As I turn my head to the left, sitting in my writing space, I glance upon a file folder holding newspaper articles, court documents, and everything cold and factual about that day.

I feel the tingles of a presence beside me. The spirit of a girl whose earth-life was stolen. Marsha Burger, age twenty-eight, engaged to be married, my new after-work bowling league teammate . . . shot with a gun that had been held to my head only three months prior on February 19, 1988 in a previous bank robbery. Our lives forever entangled in the cold steel of the revolver and the thick, callous fingers of a thief.

Video: Raw News Coverage May 23, 1988 

I find myself joyous in the fact that it took me until 4:00 p.m. to realize the significance of this date. I used to dread the anniversary’s approach for years, decades really. A reminder of all of my broken pieces showcased on displays labeled “Panic Attacks” and “Overwhelming Anxiety”.  

Here I sit, oh-so-serene, thirty years after running terrified from the gun shots, staring down the barrel of a Luger semi-automatic weapon, as I froze in fear behind a house in the neighborhood just beyond the bank. I am calm. I have made my peace with the ghosts.

Today, in honor of you and your thirty years transitioned to another life, Marsha Burger, I share thirty tranquil thoughts:

1. There is peace in the stillness where there used to be overwhelming fear.

2. There is freedom in forgiveness.

3. There is clarity in the space between thoughts. 

4. Each breath in is a gift, each breath out brings more relief.

5. God sends love via nature hearts.

Do you see the heart?

6. There is comfort in  musical melodies

7. Being surrounded by angels, both real and through treasured collection of paintings, figurines, and calendars brings contentment. 

8. Life is celebrated through laughter.

9. Prayer is meditative.

10. Writing heals the soul.

11. Friendship is a gift of spirit connections. 

12. Cardinals visit to share messages from beyond this world.

13. Carrying a child’s heartbeat is a treasure beyond measure.

14. Trinkets of hope bring joy to others.

15. Unicorns are real . . . well, at least their shadows are!

Unicorn Shadows

16. Being a glitter-shitter is a great #lifegoal.

17. Magic is experienced in helping others.

18. Smiling instills calmness. 

19. Hiking is good for the body, mind, and soul.

20. Creative outlets release negative stored energy. 

21. We are all our own heroes. 

22. Self-care is a necessary component of healing.

23. Hugs are therapeutic . . . so are dogs.

24. Positivity radiates from within. 

25. Sharing stories of triumph offers hope. 

26. Resilience stems from having a supportive hand to hold.

27. Photos capture essence. 

28. Kindness equates the greatest wealth of all.

29. Love truly IS the answer.

30. . . . and finally . . . God is love.

 

Peace to you. Peace to us all.

 

Boundaries, Beatitudes and Besties

I was chatting with a friend today and confessed that the first time my newfound therapist (back in 2013) suggested I put “healthy boundaries” in place in regards to my then BFF, I truly had no clue what she was asking me to do.

Really.

No clue.

As an empath and lightworker, I have always found myself drawn toward the broken heartbeats in the world. As an adult child of an alcoholic, still trying to figure out the meaning of codependency as it applies to my life, I have also found myself desperate to save those I thought were drowning in a sea of despair. I would throw on my super-hero cape, the one with the Good Daughter emblem on it, and swoop in to save the day.

Photo by Steven Libralon on Unsplash

Having grown up more Catholic than the pope himself  (Dad was a Jesuit brother for eight years, Mom spent her recess time in grade school sneaking into the chapel to pray, and my parents spent their honeymoon saying the rosary together instead of attempting some procreation stuff), I was indoctrinated into the faith. My main goal in life, according to my mother, was to “find a good Catholic boy, marry him, and make little Catholic babies.” In that order. Obviously.

I was instructed, on a nearly daily basis, how to be a good Christian and follow such teachings as those dictated by Christ during his Sermon on the Mount, as shared in the Gospel of Matthew, The Beatitudes:

 

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
     for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
     for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
     for they will inherit the land.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
     for they will be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
     for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the clean in heart,
     for they will see God. 

Blessed are the peacemakers,
     for they will be called children of God. 

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
     for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are the peacemakers. My self-imposed role. Straight A student, conformist, good girl, avoider-of-conflict-at-all-costs. One of those eye-opening realizations when I read “Codependent No More” by Melanie Beatty, was my unhealthy role as peacekeeper in my family. A peacekeeper mentality can actually be a good thing when we have healthy boundaries in place and are cognizant of the driving force behind our desire for tranquility. Where I was up until 2016 was donning the unhealthy peacekeeper role.

A recipe for chaos: 

No clue about boundaries.

Unhealthy peacekeeper mentality.

Drawn to hurting souls.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Then, boom, March of 2016, it all became painfully obvious. I was brought to my knees when my bestie disappeared from my life without warning at the exact moment my alcoholic mother was fighting for her life in a state of detox, seeing little boy ghosts and hearing songs not being sung, in her month-long hospital and rehab stay.

After crying for, oh, I don’t know, a year, I did what I always do when confronted with chaos . . . I researched the shit out of it. I read books and articles, listened to podcasts, watched videos, joined online groups, tormented my friends with hours of contemplation, self-reflected through journaling, and prayed. A lot.

Somewhere along the way I learned how to forgive. And I learned about loving from a soul perspective in lieu of ego-based. Most importantly, I learned how to let go. In the process, I put some healthy boundaries in place (it’s still a work in progress and some of the lines are squiggly, but that’s alright). I also maintained my role as peacekeeper, as I am a huge fan of tranquil living, but with the realization that I can say “no” and stand up for myself at the same time. Respect for myself and my own needs has been a key component.

Utilizing ho’oponopono Hawaiian healing practice has been crucial, as well. For instance, I might silently say to someone who has been curt, “I’m sorry I don’t understand your anger. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.” Then I move on.

Now when my eyes meet the knowing eyes of another soul who has dwelled in the darkest of spaces, I offer a hand to hold, as always, but with this knowledge in place:

  • Healthy boundaries are crucial to a healthy relationship.
  • A peaceful existence is possible, even with a volatile past.
  • As a lightworker and empath, my role is one of empowering others through  “I get it” connections on an emotional and spiritual level, while honoring my own space.

I’ve been thinking about the girl I used to call my “best friend”. There are days I miss her. Tremendously. When she comes to mind, I send off a little prayer. And in it, I wish her peace.

Photo by Nathan Fertig on Unsplash

 

Where Can I Find Some Skin-Thickening Cream?

I was sitting here in my writing space, contemplating ideas for today’s blog post, when a friend commented on an article I shared in my Unicorn Shadows Book Launch Group on Facebook. The article I shared was You Can’t Be Trauma-Informed If You Can’t See the Trauma – a fantastic reminder to keep in mind that we have not traveled another person’s journey, therefore, wearing a trauma-informed lens will help us to see beyond the after-math of trauma and, at the same time, avoid our own triggering. This beautiful friend shared:

“It’s so hard!! From my trauma I tend to take everything personally!! Yikes!! I need some skin thickening cream!! If you have anything helpful for that, let me know!! Thanks!!”

That was my blog post inspiration: a how-to on “thickening one’s skin” to being triggered in our own trauma history. I used to find myself responding to other’s without understanding the underlying currents flowing beneath my gut reactions. One of the first memories that comes to mind relates to my interactions with the director of a preschool where I taught many years ago.

I had been doing the stay-at-home-mom thing for years, but was asked if I would be willing to teach part-time at the preschool where my then two-year-old daughter was attending. I adore kids and their amazing logic, sponge-brains always absorbing, and their knack for teaching us grown-ups about unconditional love. So I climbed on board the preschool wagon. A year in, this new director was brought on board . . . the one I allowed to push my buttons.

The day I walked into my classroom to find it completely rearranged, with new labels in place on some of my stations (i.e. sensory table, science area, reading corner), my head went kaboom! I stomped into her office and stated my case, accusing her of disrespecting my role as a teacher and violating my space and all I had accomplished in setting it up exactly as I had envisioned. There was an apology (of sorts) and we ended up coming to an agreement of terms on how we would handle any future changes she deemed necessary in the classroom. Fair enough.

In hindsight, I look back and realize how my response had little to do with the changes she made – they actually made sense and were beneficial for the children – and everything to do with the remnants of the trauma history of my youth. Walking into that classroom left me feeling as if I had no control, no voice, a loss of power within the confines of my space, and fearing retaliation if I would speak up.

What can we do if we find ourselves easily triggered by the actions or words of others?

  1.  Pause. Stop. Take a breath. Step back. 

All of those little tidbits of advice we hear often when we find ourselves stressing out. They work. If we stop for just a moment to notice the reaction we are experiencing, we can allow ourselves the opportunity to “be gentle” with ourselves and “just notice”. When I stand in front of audiences and share my Story of Hope,  I emphasize these two points.

Learning to be gentle with myself was a huge catalyst for healing. I learned to simply allow the feelings to be, without judging them, without trying to correct or guide them. I just let whatever was surfacing to flow through me. Then I would allow it to dissipate. Again, without judgment. The concept of “just noticing” is a part of this process. I allow myself the opportunity to experience whatever is rising to the surface within me by merely noticing it, observing it.

2. Remind ourselves we have not traveled another’s journey.

When I learned the concept of forgiveness on a soul level, it allowed me the opportunity to look at my transgressor’s lives from outside my own wounds. I reminded myself that I had not traveled their road. While I was not justifying their actions in any way, I was gifting myself freedom by releasing their negative impact on my current life. I allowed them their journey and, in so doing, continued along my own without them tagging along.

Perhaps my transgressors had been abused, neglected, hurt in profound ways, or traumatized. Their actions toward me or my indirect involvement in their actions really had little to do with me.

3. Send positivity toward others.

Once we have paused, then reminded ourselves we do not know another’s driving force for their negative behaviors, we can turn around our normally automated defensive reaction and instead send some positive energy toward that person/situation. That can be a quick prayer, a wish for the individual to find a moment of peace,  a sincere smile followed by silence, a purposeful sending of love from our heart toward the offender’s, whatever way feels as if you are sending positive energy.

By allowing this affirmative energy to flow from us, from a heart and soul place in lieu of an ego perspective, we empower ourselves in the process while providing much-needed goodness toward others.

4. Journal about the moment. 

When all is said and done, record it in some way. Journal, make a video blog, voice record it, again, document it in whatever way you find helpful. The point is to allow yourself to release your encounter without judgment. Set it free, perhaps noticing what triggers arose in you initially.

Remember to be gentle with yourself and merely notice what is surfacing as you record it. I also recommend writing without editing. A free-flow release can sometimes bring to light a long-sought-after answer.

Keep me posted on your progress! I love hearing stories of positivity, inspiration, and motivation. You are worthy of peace and joy. This is one way to empower yourself with those gifts.

 

Honoring My Mother’s Journey: Next Time

As I sit here listening to my twelve-year-old daughter and her tweenage friends splash about in our pool, after a night filled with water balloon battles in the front yard of our quiet little cul-de-sac home and off-key singing of “Happy Birthday” while tiny purple candles dripped wax onto the cookie cake decorated with a giant basketball and birthday wishes, I smile in the knowledge that this kiddo’s exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) has been little to none. A far cry from my own childhood.

I will be visiting with my mom in a few hours, a trip to the grocery store and vacuuming her apartment are on my daughterly duty list today. I thank God I still have her here with me. Even through the torment of growing up the child of an alcoholic – a mostly distant and sometimes violent consumer of booze and pills – I loved my mom. I longed for her to teach me how to play those card games she’d laugh over for hours on end with friends, or help me with advice about the bullying I was experiencing at the hands of a fellow Catholic school girl, or even just listen when I’d excitedly approach her about my science fair project. Instead, I was told how disappointed she was in me for the 93% grade (still an A, mind you!). “A ninety-three?” she slurred. “God gave you the gift of a brilliant mind. You’re wasting it. Why didn’t you get a hundred?” As I turned to make my way back to my sanctuary of a bedroom, shoulders slumped a little more than usual, my soul held onto hope . . . next time she’ll be happy with you, Teri. 

I kept trying. Continuing to hold on to hope. Continuing to remind myself . . . next time.

And here we are, ages 82 and 52, my mother and me. We’ve reached a place of acceptance, both in our own ways. I accept my mother’s addiction, having learned to put healthy boundaries in place in order to protect my heart and soul. Her new hearing aids allow her to listen a little more than she did in my childhood years.

Last week, I excitedly told her about my new website, www.teriwellbrock.com, and all of my grandiose plans for helping others traverse their healing journeys. I grabbed her by the hand, dragging her in a toddler-esque fashion toward her front door, convincing her with each shuffled step, “Mom, come on! Let me show you!”

We stepped into the game room of the retirement village where she lives, two antiquated computers sat at desks along the far left wall and three antiquated little ladies sat at the round card table in the middle of the bright room, each a puzzle piece gripped between arthritic fingers and thumbs. They smiled in our direction as my mom announced, “My daughter, Teri, is showing me her new web-thing.” I laughed. They nodded in understanding so I left it uncorrected.

I sat her in the stationary chair next to my swivel seat, while my fingers typed away the web address in anticipatory glee.

Ta-da!

“Here it is, Mom. My new website. It has my book summary, podcasts, videos about my speaking engagements, meditations, Sammie Doodle therapy dog info, all kinds of cool stuff!”

“That’s nice. Hey, Margaret, I made vegetable soup. If you stop down I’ll give you a container of it.”

Ah.

Next time, Teri.

As I tucked her into her faded forest green chair, held together on the right arm rest by neon green duct tape, I kissed her on her forehead and reminded her, “I love you, Mom.”

“I love you, too, TT. Don’t forget my doctor’s appointment is at noon on Wednesday.”

“I got it, Mom. I’ll be here.”

Maybe on Wednesday at noon, Teri. You know . . . next time.

However, as I drove off, I reminded myself of insights I read recently in the book, “Change Your Thoughts-Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao” by Dr. Wayne Dyer. In his translation of the 41st verse of the Tao Te Ching he stated, “Apply this same insight to the times you feel unloved: When you see what appears to be indifference, know in your heart that love is present. Allow it to work its magic in your life.” Then in the 49th verse, “I see myself in this person, and I choose to be in a space of goodness rather than judgment. I honor the place in you where we are all one.” And I took pause.

My mother’s spirit cheers for me even when her ego-based actions cannot allow her praise to surface.

I called her this afternoon, this 2018 Mother’s Day, asking what time she wanted me to head to her place for our grocery shopping endeavor. “Oh, you don’t need to come today, TT. Just enjoy your Mother’s Day. You deserve a day off. We can celebrate tomorrow instead.”

“Mom, it’s not a problem. Plus, I’d like to see you.”

“No. I’m tired. I think I’ll just go to bed.”

“Okay. I’ll see you tomorrow then.”

As I was about to say good-bye, she interrupted my thought . . . “Teri? Thank you. For everything you do for me. I’m so proud of you. I told all of my friends about your book and handed out all of your business cards. Will you bring me more?”

“Yes! Next time I see you. Thank you. I love you, Mom.”

The Power of Self-Care

As I continue on this journey of healing, I am amazed on a daily basis by the number of resources coming across my path. Articles on ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) will show up in a Facebook news feed or I’ll receive an email discussing trauma recovery. I love when the universe aligns the stars just so and the answer I was seeking magically appears.

I worked in school settings for years, as a teacher and in a mental health professional role. Helping children learn to cope with anxiety, bullying, overwhelming emotions, unstable home environments, the after-math of abuse, and so much more, had my own inner-child longing for more solutions.

The kids and I would work on filling their “tool box” with coping skills, such as using manipulatives like stress balls to ground themselves or release energy, simple breathing exercises for centering, free art to express something they might not have words to convey, and so on. Allowing kids the opportunity to express themselves in whatever way they were comfortable, while I listened respectfully and without judgment, created a space filled with compassion and tranquility. I once had a fifth grade child, whose home life was in the midst of chaos, tell me, “I like your energy. You have white light around you. I feel safe here.” To say I was blown away by that message would be an understatement. Knowing this child was picking up on the energy I was sending to her as she learned to cope, heal, and empower herself, made my sappy heart dance with joy.

This morning as I scrolled through the amazing articles on ACEs Connection, I came across an article titled, Why Adults Need Social and Emotional Support, Too by Mathew Portell. In it, he discusses the needs of his school, not just in regards to the students, but in relation to the staff and parents’ care, as well.

Pointing out norms they have implemented in their school structure, this blogging principal sets a shining example of trauma-informed care in action. Self-care is critical in all aspects of our lives. I think about those funny memes that state, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” #truth

The point being . . . when we learn to take care of ourselves, we fill our own coping tool box with beneficial energy we can share with others: compassion, understanding, patience, kindness, and love.

As you move toward healing in your own life or reach out a helping hand to others who may be struggling to find their footing along their path, make sure to heed the advice offered in 25 Self-Care Tips for the Body & Soul.  Learning to live in the “now” and allowing myself to experience joy on a soul level has been life-altering. A great read, and a catalyst for change in my own life, is the book, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, by Eckhart Tolle. In it, the author advises us, “All the things that truly matter-beauty, love, creativity, joy and inner peace-arise from beyond the mind.

Empower yourself with self-care and watch your life transition. Then share your tranquility with others as we move toward a world filled with compassion and joy.

Peace to you,

Teri

Growing Pains . . . Hurt So Good

I have been reading Michael Hyatt’s book, Platform: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World, absorbing every word and adding to my to-do list in droves. Making sure I blog on a weekly basis is one of my new promises to myself. Yes, I have a book to finish. Two actually! But, I’m a writer. So what’s a little more writing?

Today, I added a blog link to my new website: www.teriwellbrock.com and am excited to see it in action now that I’ll be adding weekly content. Exciting stuff! I added quite a bit to the new website. Some positive affirmation hearts, including these . . .

I love the idea of sharing my story of hope through so many avenues: books, videos, blogging, pics, courses, social media, speaking gigs, podcasts, and therapy dog work with Sammie Doodle (check out her therapy dog role on the Sammie website).

Speaking of courses . . . I am researching my options for creating an online course as another Hope for Healing source for those looking for a hand to hold along their healing journey. Everything is piecing together in an incredibly beautiful way. For that I am so very thankful. Here you go, universe: #thanksGod

Until next week, may your days be filled with a million little reasons to smile.

Peace,

Teri