A huge thank you to Elisabeth-Ann Pitt for joining me on The Healing Place Podcast! Elisabeth shared her beautiful insights on alignment, empowering women, stress, her coaching course, Byron Katie’s The Work, and more, along with her personal story of overcoming adversity and finding alignment.
“Elisabeth-Ann Pitt is a Life Coach, with a mission to empower other women to live their lives fully as themselves. She creates simple solutions to help women reconnect with their true selves, figure out what they want and who they are – in other words, she helps them choose ALIGNMENT OVER PERFECTION in every area of their lives. That means giving up everything we’ve ever been taught about who we’re supposed to be and what we’re supposed to do. “
Having a C-PTSD diagnosis myself due to my complex trauma exposure during the first twenty-two years of my life, I know the craving for relief from overwhelming symptoms. I find such comfort even in just touching the softness of an animal’s fur. When I was a child I used to create a stuffed animal fortress around me before falling asleep. I found comfort in holding them close to me or reaching out to touch them when afraid.
There was Lenny the Lion (a royal blue lion with a cherry red main), Bobby Bear (clad in his Pampers diaper I took from a babysitting job in our apartment complex), shorts and a t-shirt, along with Billy Bear (also wearing a diaper covered up by his baby blue overalls). I had Greenie and Brownie, two worn little creatures who possessed broken music boxes for insides, one being green and the other brown, surprisingly. Sammy the Snake was always tucked along the small space left where my mattress didn’t quite meet the wall. Just in case anything might try to sneak up on me in that crevice. I still have Lenny, Bobby, and Billy in a bag in my basement, tucked among some other treasures. There were a few others, whose names I now forget, yet they stood guard each night, protecting me from the boogie man. Or in my case, a drunken mother standing in the shadows, watching me sleep, her blank stare concealing murderous ponderings of sending me to “be with Jesus.”
Jump ahead a few decades and I no longer sleep in a stuffed-animal fortress. Instead it’s a dog snuggle-fest. Max, our Schnoodle, thinks he’s a bad-ass in his little thirteen pound body. Except at bedtime he wants to sleep on my pillow and bury his nose into my neck. Sometimes he places his little paw on my shoulder, just to make sure I’m safe. Personally, I think he likes the reassurance, but don’t let him know I’m on to him! Sammie, our Labradoodle, curls up as close as possible somewhere behind my legs. If she could, she’d sleep on my pillow, too. She thinks she’s a lap dog trapped in a fifty-five pound body.
Sammie recently passed her two year re-test for her therapy dog registration. She was amazing. Truly amazing. A perfect score as she followed my every command (or as I like to refer to them . . . suggestion). She watched me for visual cues and listened for words of encouragement.
That’s my girl.
You’re my favorite.
I’m so proud of you.
Way to go, Sam-Sam!
Nice job, Sammie.
You’re a rock star.
Following is a list of seven benefits I find as I work with this sweet pup (whose 5th birthday we celebrated yesterday! Happy Birthday, Sammie Doodle!):
Sometimes I feel selfish for walking away from our therapy dog sessions with my heart overflowing with joy, a smile radiating from my face AND heart. I love watching this dog turn a child’s tears into giggles. Sammie has a thing for kids. Her tail wags every time she sees one. Whether we are walking the halls at a school or the trails at a nature preserve. She wants to meet them all and offer a snuggle. As a result, her tail thumps in canine happiness, and I just can’t help but grin.
We were visiting a school last year when the counselor asked if it would be okay if Sammie had an unscheduled visit from a child who was having a difficult morning. Of course he’s welcome to visit with Sammie! Immediately, upon this nine-year-old boy entering the room, his face stained from tears, Sammie moved toward him. He found his way onto a bean bag chair and Sammie was instantly next to him. Her pointy elbows tickling his belly as she climbed closer to love him.
That’s her secret.
Pure, simple, unconditional love.
And that kind of pure love can only result in pure joy.
I love it that I absorb healing benefits while doing healing work as a therapy dog team with Sammie. Whether she is comforting a child experiencing anxiety symptoms, offering solace to a room full of teachers headed to a co-worker’s funeral, or just greeting kids in the hallways on testing day, she is happy to be there radiating comfort and compassion. I usually step back and witness, avoiding my human interference in a wordless exchange. A hand reaching down to pet Sam’s head, her snout pressing up against a leg, even just a pause in time as she locks eyes with someone needing reassurance.
I watch all of this and allow it to radiate into my being, as well. There is a magic that happens. An energy exchange so powerful I can’t help but pick up on it. And, again, my heart smiles as a result. Perhaps I sense it because I’ve opened myself up to healing. I seek it, I welcome it, I treasure it. Therefore, when I see it and feel it, I know it’s happening and let it in.
A Course in Compassion
This amazing therapy dog has taught me so much about compassion. Whether a child is crying or a teacher is nervous, if a kiddo is expressing his needs through defiant behavior or a grieving adult is standing quiet and still in a corner, or maybe there’s the high end-of-the-school-year energy pulsating through a classroom making for loud voices and stressed staff, regardless, this dog treats them all the same. All she knows is there is a human, usually a smaller and younger one, that just might be interested in a hug.
She listens without interrupting or offering her input.
She offers a snuggle but isn’t offended if she’s turned away. She merely moves on to the next soul needing love.
She’ll stand in quiet solidarity with anyone needing silence, perhaps leaning against a leg just as a little added support.
She won’t nip or bite or growl if hurt. A woman accidentally stepped on Sammie’s tail and foot during a job fair. She happened to be wearing a heavy plastic boot to stabilize an injured leg. Sammie yelped in fear. But then wagged her tail at the woman. As if to apologize for startling the lady with her yelp for help. A child once stuck his finger into Sammie’s ear. Sammie shook her head and moved away as I gently reminded the child to respect Sammie’s body and use gentle touches. But, all the while, Sammie stayed calm.
She is just there to love. To comfort. To listen. To allow. Compassion at its finest.
One of Sammie’s best qualities is patience. I witness it first-hand when we hike. I’m in my fifties and my knees and ankles just aren’t as nimble as they used to be. Therefore, when we hit the steep treks, as I slowly make my way down the rocky trails with protruding roots and crooked rock paths, this sweet dog will pause and look back at me as we descend steep grades. I never taught her this. It just . . . happened. She is the essence of patience.
I witness this same gift being shared with children. She teaches them through modeling as she patiently listens as they talk her ear off, or patiently wags her tail as they rub the same spot on her head for fifteen minutes.
As I sit here typing this, Sammie is sitting in my office, staring at the closed door. She hears our little dog, Max, playing with our daughter. I look at her and she nods at me, as if to say, “When you have a minute, could you let me out.” I can’t help but smile. No barks. No whining. No digging at the door. Just a patient stare. And a wag of the tail as I open the door.
As we walk the trails at our local nature center, Sammie approaches all dogs with a wagging tail. She looks to me for guidance. I usually remind her to leave it as we keep moving forward. Every now and then, however, the hiker coming towards us will ask if Sammie is friendly and if we can stop to allow a doggy meet-n-greet. I always agree. Which makes Sammie one happy girl. The dogs do their usual dog-thing when it comes to meeting another dog. And Sammie walks away knowing she has made a new friend. I will say, though, that there is one particular breed of dog that cannot stand Sammie. Every time we encounter this breed, they always try to eat her. Without fail. Yet, she still wants to be friends.
I’ve studied this. In regards to my own interactions with people. Do I approach with a “wagging tail” and welcoming aura? If so, most people will respond with reciprocatory warmth. And if they are one of those rare few who do not, I’ll just walk away . . . wagging my tail behind me.
Sammie has brought new friendships into my life not because of anything I’ve done, but because of her willingness to approach each and every person she meets with gentle curiosity. As if she’s inquiring, “Do you need some love?” A beautiful thing to witness really. She could care less about skin color, what someone is wearing, religious affiliation, what car they drive, if they have stinky feet or a pimple on their forehead, whether smiling or frowning, upbeat or beat up . . . she just wants to meet them and offer her support.
Filling a Personal Need to Give Back
I have this compelling need to give back to the world. I want to give out hope by the fistfuls, money in anonymous surprises, and time in a I-have-more-of-it-than-I-really-do way. Maybe because I grew up in home where money was always a problem. Or, I guess I should clarify, the LACK of money was always a problem. My dad struggled to keep a job and blew through my mom’s paychecks with his latest “get rich quick” schemes. They never did pan out. Maybe because I spent the first forty-something years of my life struggling with heartache and trauma-related anxiety and panic disorders. And now I know peace. Maybe because I’ve battled my way through darkness and currently celebrate the light.
Working with Sammie as a volunteer therapy dog team truly makes my heart happy. I love the kids, the school staff, the giggles, the joy, the tail-wagging, and the love I witness transcending between souls. Beautiful on so many levels.
Offering hope to children through Sammie’s gentle ways gives me a sense of creating change in a world where sadness and anger seem to be gaining traction. Maybe that’s just social media. All I know is that having a sweet lady offer me hope as an eight-year-old second-grader changed my world. I still treasure the gift of that teacher. I’m hoping Sammie and I can offer that same gift to children. A pay it forward kinda thing.
This dog is truly a rock star! We were hiking through Cincinnati Nature Center last year when someone stopped us on trail and asked, “Is that Sammie?” I laughed and responded with an enthusiastic YES. This person went on to explain, “I know her from the internet.” I mean, seriously, rock star status, Sammie!
Sammie joins me on The Healing Place Podcast, as well. Not as a co-host. That’s Max’s job. He has his own chair and everything. Sammie just insists on being in the office with me when I record shows. She lays at my feet or snoozes in a corner. Every now and then she pops her head up to greet my guests. And whenever she does, the response is always the same. A huge smile appearing on my interviewee’s face. Along with, “Oh, hello, Sammie!”
I love it that this sweet pup has a reputation in Cincinnati for offering love and support to children. We have a project called Sammie’s Bundles of Hope. We fill bags with donated trinkets of hope (PlayDoh, journals, stress balls, bubbles, and more) and disperse them to children with trauma-history, anxiety struggles, recent loss, homelessness, etc. These bags represent everything Sammie. Relief from pain, fear, worry, stress . . . by focusing on something soothing.
This super-star dog even has a book written about her, The Doodle with the Noodle. My daughter and I wrote a book geared toward preschoolers a few years ago when my daughter was in fourth grade. We wrote, illustrated, and published it through Kindle Direct Publishing. And now we donate a copy in each Sammie Bundle of Hope we disperse.
Anticipatory anxiety is where a person experiences increased levels of anxiety by thinking about an event or situation in the future. Rather than being a specific disorder in its own right, anticipatory anxiety is a symptom commonly found in a number of anxiety related conditions, such as generalized anxiety. Anticipatory Anxiety can be extremely draining for people as it can last for months prior to an event. The worries people experience specifically focus on what they think might happen, often with catastrophic predictions about an event. The nature of negative predictions about the event will be the difference between an anxiety level that is incapacitating or merely uncomfortable.
A friend recently reached out to me prior to her drive from Cincinnati to Chicago to inquire about mindfulness practices. As she spoke, she talked about her fears of traveling alone, the possibility of heavy traffic, not knowing where she was going once she arrived in Chicago, and the known fact that she would be driving over bridges. All of which were causing her to experience heightened anxiety. I love it that she reached out to me, trauma-warrior research guru that I am, to discuss options.
I advised her to begin practicing mindfulness as that is my favorite go-to when experiencing anticipatory anxiety. I just happen to be working through my own bout with that pesky little symptom of my C-PTSD right now. We are preparing for a trip to Denver to visit my oldest son. While I am super pumped to see his cute face and the beauty of Colorado, I am also fretting flying, the high elevations, and being far from home.
I am well aware of these fears and why they are present, after my four year stint in EMDR therapy, so I honor their presence and just notice them without judgment. I remind myself these are physiological responses triggered by chemical surges in my brain in relation to past traumatic events. I am working at re-wiring my brain and creating new neural pathways, but that is still a work in process.
Think: brain pep talks! Do what scares you, Teri. You got this, girl!
My personal anticipatory anxiety goes something like this:
Lying in bed. Thinking about staying at The Grand Hyatt in downtown Denver with its rooftop pool and tennis courts. Then my knees start to sweat. Rooftop pool? How does that water not crack the roof and cause the building to crumble? Is there a guardrail? How high is it? Will I be able to ride the elevator up there? Will I feel it swaying? I swear, if that kid of ours goes near the edge, my heart will stop. I wonder how the drive is from the airport? I’m hoping we aren’t in heavy traffic. Especially on a busy highway. I’ll have to sit in the back. You should check out the city and enjoy it, Teri. No. What if you have a panic attack. You haven’t had one of those in a long time.
That all transpires in a mater of seconds. Ah, the joys of racing thoughts. But, then I reach into my coping skills tool box and start to pull out my calming strategies and redirect my thinking.
Deep breath. Closing my eyes slowly, I savor that breath. Now another. A smile creeps into the corners of my mouth. Another breath follows, even deeper. I reach over and grab a grounding stone lying bedside. I love this stone. It’s cool to the touch. And heavy in my hand. So smooth. Other than that rough little edge where it dropped into the gravel on a hike once. I wonder sometimes how long it might take for me to rub it smooth again. My fingers engage in their rhythmic dance along that edge.I’m excited to walk the one block trek from our hotel to the 16th Street Mall. I’ll let John pick a fun restaurant since he’s now a Denver pro. My sweet boy. The best hugger ever. Looking forward to that hug. If something triggers some anxiety, I’ll just hold onto his arm. He knows how to help his momma stay grounded. So blessed to have these children in my life. This trip is going to be amazing. I am going to savor every one of my senses. The sights of the city and atop the mountains in Estes Park. The tastes of new eateries. I wonder how crisp the air will be without Cincinnati humidity? I look forward to breathing it in, smelling The Rocky Mountain flora. We will definitely need to rent a boat on the lake so I can feel the cool water mist splashing onto my face. Oh, to hear the laughter of my children as they catch up with one another after months apart.
My anticipatory anxiety is now silenced. Perhaps it will poke its annoying head out of hiding again. But, I know how to put it in its place.
Back to my friend who was traveling to Chicago.
She called me today as she drove back home to Cincy. I was happy to hear her voice sounding perky. When I asked about her trip, she replied, “Oh, Teri, it was wonderful!” Yay! I then inquired about the six hour drive. She spent the next thirty-one minutes telling me about the strategies she used throughout her trip. How she brought along one of her stuffed otters someone had gifted her from the Cincinnati Zoo, having stuffed the little guy into a pocket of her purse, and reaching for him to touch the softness as she approached a sky-way bridge into the city. She discussed the pep talks she gave herself, You’re fine. You’re doing great. Just stay focused on your lane. The songs she sang along with and the phone calls she made in order to pass the time and keep her mind re-directed from anxious thoughts.
Her friend lives on the fortieth floor of a high-rise condo overlooking Navy Pier so her fear of heights was another anticipatory anxiety. She explained how the elevator ride was smooth and quick and her friend kept the shades shut in the bedroom in order to allow her to settle in. She took stunning photos of the scenery from forty floors above the city streets, but avoided stepping onto the balcony. Honoring her needs. I love that.
She also challenged herself to new adventures, such as an architecture tour of the city from a boat cruising along the Chicago River. Her friend praised her for how well she was doing throughout their escapades. She even watched the fireworks display through the windows of her friend’s condo upon returning from their day of tours and sight-seeing. She told me she continued to use mindfulness techniques to shake off her anxieties and enjoy the present moment. Again, I love this!
Mindfulness as defined by me: reminding myself to re-direct any old habitual scary thought patterns back to this moment, right here, right now, and all the joyous beauty to be found in it by use of my senses. I open myself up to all things smile-inducing in this moment in time.
So, how do you stop anticipatory anxiety? Practice mindfulness. As often as possible. Soon you will be living mindfully aware. And anticipatory anxiety may try to sneak in a word or two, but you can mindfully remind it to sit down and shut up. You have a beautiful life to enjoy without its input.
While I have an overflowing tool box of coping skills to utilize whenever those terrifying symptoms of my C-PTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder) pop up, I have recently been focusing specifically on keeping them at bay by using my new “I am lean, I am strong” mantra. I have been on a mission to make myself feel stronger physically along with the added perk of trimming my menopausal waistline. I am amazed by how much stronger I feel mentally and psychologically as a side-effect of my new attitude and regimen.
Following is a list of ways I have been proactively taking more healing strides in my life. Literally.
My Fitbit Versa, coordinating phone app, and chosen clock face on the watch all keep me motivated and moving. I have set reminders for myself to move at least 250 steps per hour. That keeps me from sitting too long at my computer while at the office (I have a stand-up desk in my home office, but not at my company office . . . more on that in a moment).
I recently bumped my daily step goal to 11,000. And I’m doing it! I grab our therapy dog, Sammie, and head out for a hike at our local nature preserve almost daily (Sammie is afraid of water falling from the sky so we stay indoors on rainy days). Those nature hikes are challenging yet so unbelievably peaceful. Birds chirping, frogs croaking, breezes rustling. I truly find it soul-quenching.
I even hit my goal on The Fourth of July amid a pool party at a friend’s place and family movie night. If I have a few thousand steps to go to make it to 10,000 for the day, I’ll turn on some music in our backyard and walk laps around our pool, while the dogs lounge in the grass curiously watching me move along my oval path.
My trick ankle is less swollen, my wobbly knees are stronger, my resting heart rate is lower, and my anxiety symptoms are staying further and further away. Yay!
I am lean. I am strong.
We are blessed to have a beautiful in-ground pool in our idyllic backyard. We are known in our community for hosting movie parties for families. I’ve lost track of the amount of times someone has commented how our little slice of paradise reminds them of being on vacation. There’s a tiki hut, trampoline, gardens, bird feeders, an island marker sign, Adirondack chairs surrounding a fire pit in the sand, cushioned chairs under a canopy umbrella, and even a Florida Marlin hanging on the back fence.
Luckily our summer weather is usually sunny and hot so our water temperature in the pool stays in the mid-eighties. Positively delightful for evening swims. I have recently discovered if I run in the water, my waterproof Fitbit actually counts the steps. Another way to reach my step goal while moving other muscles as I work to keep myself afloat.
Engaging my teenage daughter in swimming races helps keep me moving toward my lean and strong goal. All the while, helping my body regulate itself. Thereby keeping me calmer and empowered when triggered. Creating this sanctuary as part of our home was purposeful as I have utilized it often when needing grounding. From placing my hand on our sturdy maple tree to digging my hands into the soil while I garden or just sitting quietly while practicing mindfulness exercises. It all helps me keep those C-PTSD symptoms in check.
I am lean. I am strong. I am grounded.
Joining a new gym which recently opened close to our home was a family venture. We toured it together and made a commitment to our health as a group effort. We even signed up with a personal trainer just to assess our individual needs and discover ways we could kick-start ourselves into healthier choices.
I love the water yoga classes in the warm-water pool, although I have yet to attempt the cold-water lap pool. I think I’m a bit too spoiled by our sun-kissed water at home. I am trying out new exercise classes such as Pilates and a kick-ass Metabolic Strength session. Yoga is always a perk, as well. I’m looking forward to trying Zumba again, too.
A sampling of available classes at our local gym include: group cycling, cardio muscle, cardio kickboxing, TRX circuit, Barre circuit, various yoga choices, aqua arthritis, core cardio in the pool, and many more. Plus, I try to warm up on the stair stepper, rowing machine, or treadmill. Our trainer taught us about the medicine ball, balance balls, weight machines, free weights, and more. I love the idea of strengthening my body.
My favorite activity, however, has to be my almost daily treks to the track with our daughter. I love, love, love the fact that this kiddo comes to me every day and asks, “Can we go to the track and then shoot hoops in the gym?” How cool is that? I get to hang out with my thirteen-year-old and compete with her for steps on our Fitbits then help her with basketball drills as we continue working up a sweat in the air-conditioned gym.
I am lean. I am strong. I am grounded. I am motivated.
(And teaching this girl to feel strong, too.)
I had an old beat up mountain bike with tires that deflated once a week. It served me well when my older kids were little. How many times I attached their carrier to the back of that bike and took them on riding adventures through campgrounds and our neighborhood streets.
They were quite patient with me as I took one by one by one out for a spin. Then I saw THE one. I had to have it. Not because of the price. Or the design. Or the speed. Or the accessories. Why? Because of the color. Ha! This mint green bike made me feel like I was back on my favorite island, cruising along under the droopy Spanish Moss. It is the cutest bike I’ve ever seen. I actually smiled at it this morning as I hopped into my car to head off to work.
We have a bike trail close by that stretches seventy miles. Not that I’ve ever ridden the entire length of it. Although I did train for a half-marathon on it and walked 13.2 miles of it back in 2010. It’s a beautiful trail surrounded by trees and rivers and quiet neighborhoods. It even runs through the fun little city of Loveland, Ohio, lined with breweries, shops, and restaurants along that stretch.
The joy I find in biking is that it gives me the ability to move faster than my fifty-something-year-old legs can travel on their own. The biking wind tickles my skin and I can’t help but smiles as I glide along the trail.
However, I also am quite mindful in my rides. I stumbled upon the sweetest little snail attempting to make his way across the hot asphalt a few weeks ago. I stopped to find a leaf, let him slooooooowly climb on board, then moved him off into the woods to cool off. I think he winked a thank you my way.
I am lean. I am strong. I am grounded. I am motivated. I am happy.
I promised I would loop back around on this one. I am standing at mine in my home office (a.k.a. sacred writing space) right now. When I take a moment to contemplate an idea or search my brain for a word, I swing my hips back and forth, letting my arms move in rhythm. More heart rate, more muscle tone, more steps registered. Leaner and stronger. Calmer and more grounded.
There’s the blessing of being surrounded by my meditative music, the scent of an iced almond chai candle burning, and lots of angel paintings and figurines smiling at me as I move in this space.
Research shows the benefits of standing desks to be: lowering health risks, increasing energy, and improve productivity, among other positive results. See the article 7 Benefits of a Standing Desk. I know, for myself, my hip pain from sitting for prolonged periods of time (a drawback of being a writer, podcaster, and business owner) has been reduced drastically since I started using a standing desk.
Plus, when I’m already standing, if a great song comes on my 80’s station on Pandora, I can break right into dance. Hopefully I’m not scaring the neighbors too much with my disco moves.
I am lean. I am strong. I am grounded. I am motivated. I am happy. I am a dancing machine.
I wish you peace along your healing journey. I hope you find your positive affirmations that keep you motivated and moving. If you want to borrow mine, just remember . . . you are lean, you are strong, you are grounded, you are motivated, you are happy, and you are a dancing machine!
What an insightful and eye-opening conversation I shared with Dr. Amir Rashidian of Mid-Atlantic Chiropractic Center. Dr. Rashidian shared his brilliant philosophies on stress, eating habits, healing, and more, along with his personal story of hope and healing.
“Dr. Amir Rashidian is the founder of the Mid-Atlantic Chiropractic Center, where the focus is improving health of people through drugless solutions. He recently published ‘The StressProof Life’, which documented the real-life stories of his most memorable patients while showing the readers the secret to becoming the kind of person who is able to handle any amount of stress on that journey toward greatness.”
A few months ago I began requesting signed copies of my podcast guests books (offering to pay for the book and shipping, obviously). Many of my guests have gifted their word works of art to me and I consider this collection a treasure. Thinking about this stack of books I have embarked on reading, I am in awe of the amount of hope flowing through the words printed upon their pages. Books on triumph over trauma, some with flare and adventure, others with baby steps and quiet fortitude; books filled with guidance; books that may trigger yet offer strategies; books from a helper’s perspective and others from a survivor’s. Books overflowing with hope, healing, help, and happy endings.
I want to thank these beautiful souls for sharing their brilliant insights with the world. I wish them continued success in reaching those who most need their messages of hope. I wish us all a life filled with tranquility and joy as we travel our individual healing journeys, finding these hands to hold along the way, through books or podcasts or coaching or therapy sessions or a friend’s hug.
Following are 21 of my podcast guests’ books for your review (in order of podcast appearance):
From the Community Resilience Initiative Website: Our Super Heroes book introduces ten very special children, facing challenging life experiences such as homelessness and bullying. Beautiful child-friendly graphics show why it is important to understand how our brains respond to stress, and how we can learn to manage our responses by building a toolkit of strategies. This is an interactive book, encouraging use of the 42 resilience strategies from the child-focused deck of cards, from a child’s perspective. Coming soon in Spanish!
Amazon excerpt: Stephanie McPhail, M.S. wrote “Being Loved Shouldn’t Hurt” to help inspire others to live their best lives now. She begins with a very revealing personal recollection of her own toxic relationships and describes how they affected her on a deep level. In the wake of her last toxic relationship, she experienced depression, legal issues, and a major health scare. Feeling hopeless and alone, she finally made a conscious decision to begin changing and truly create her best life possible. Stephanie shares her struggles and triumphs with readers. The book also includes three other personal stories of triumph after a very difficult past. Part 2 focuses on defining codependency, understanding why people stay in unhealthy relationships, what are red flags and deal breakers, and how to begin the healing process. Stephanie also reflects on the many lessons that she learned from her life experience. Take advantage of the helpful guides at the end of the book to keep you focused on your healing journey!
Amazon excerpt: Putting off happiness is all that keeps you feeling unhappy, unsuccessful, depressed, discouraged, angry, deprived or insecure. This book shows you how to accept happiness now, and how happiness empowers you to create the conditions in life that you have been unhappily counting on to bring you happiness.
“Belinda Farrell is a courageous woman sharing personal woes so that others may find strength in their own journey. She lights the path of hope, brightens the realm of despair and embraces the act of survival. Cal-Berkeley graduate, Mom,”Snow White,” almost CIA agent, stunt car driver, actor, writer, hot coal walker, Huna teacher, wild dolphin swim guide, she’s a New Millennia Renaissance woman offering good health and holistic healing. Her new book Find Your Friggin’Joy is not for the faint of heart, but a manual for those brave enough to confront their demons, face their feelings, and exalt their potential.”
-Broderick Perkins, Executive Editor at DeadlineNews.com
This book takes you on a journey using Ancient Hawaiian Teachings that invite the reader to take personal responsibility to unplug from the old non-productive stories and step into the frequencies of your Higher Self. Connecting with these frequencies can heal your physical body, bring you back into balance, lighten your load, and fulfill your soul’s purpose. It’s all up to YOU!
When Belinda was forty eight she collapsed with herniated discs and spinal nerve damage. Threatened with paralysis by her medical doctors if she didn’t have surgery, Belinda instead chose to apply the ancient Hawaiian healing practices she had been learning for the past three years which are covered in this book. Her back completely healed including childhood scoliosis.
Belinda retired from stunt car driving and, for fifteen years has been sharing these healing practices with others. She offers Reconnective Healing and Huna in Santa Cruz, Ca. and takes clients to Hawaii to teach Huna and swim with wild spinner dolphins. The dolphins help us to dissolve fear with an open heart expanding our reality through their vibrational tones so that we experience our deepest joy.
Amazon excerpt: An encouraging and transformational guide for living your best, ideal life.
If you wish to follow your heart but don’t know where to start, this book will provide you with the tools needed to finally choose the life you’ve always wanted. If you feel that change is too hard, complicated, or altogether impossible, this book will help you overcome obstacles in a step-by-step, easy-to-understand guide. A Whole New Life teaches you how to turn dreams into achievable goals and how to develop flexibility without losing your sense of direction. In this book, you’ll learn how to identify and eliminate mechanisms that bring you to a standstill, recognizing challenges that evoke fear and anxiety or hinder your full self-realization. This book is first a promise, then an idea, a series of steps and, in the end, an uplifting reality.
“Wow! This is the most insightful and profound book on life and change in many, many years. Clear observations, wise insights and unjudging tone, sprinkled with amazing quotes and relatable anecdotes. Very powerful. Highly recommended.”
—Derek Sivers, Author, Ted speaker, founder and former president of CD Baby
“A Whole New Life is the guide you have been looking for. It inspires you to say yes to your life and your dreams.”
—Patricia J. Crane, Ph.D., Author, Master Trainer – Heal Your Life® Training in Louise Hay’s philosophy, San Diego, CA, USA
“Lucia’s voice, her incredible passion for shining the light over others is contagious. A Whole New Lifegives life and a second chance to those wanting to live beyond themselves.”
—Ajit Nawalkha, Co-founder of Mindvalley & Evercoach, Bestselling Author of LIVE BIG
Amazon excerpt: Brutal Sexual Abuse. Fear. Betrayal. Shame. After enduring daily sexual abuse for over twelve years, can there be any hope?
In Shattered by the Darkness: Putting the Pieces Back Together after Child Abuse, author Dr. Gregory Williams shares his dark and horrific childhood of sexual abuse and fifty-year journey of trying to put the pieces of his life back together.
The vital lessons learned in the process of finally stepping out of the emotional darkness and into the light will give you strength to ultimately open the deepest parts of your heart and find the courage to face your own personal darkness. Today is the day to take your life back!
Discover that no matter what abuse, hurt, pain, or betrayal you have experienced, you no longer have to live your life Shattered by the Darkness. This empowering book transforms the silence of shame into a rallying cry for hope and healing.
Amazon excerpt: The Impossible Conversation is that we carry those data and projections into our hearts and discover how to keep our hearts open even when we consider the most challenging aspects of our present and near future. In The Impossible Conversation we are invited to intimately reconnect: with our own inner wisdom, with the miracle that is every other human and with our magnificent, magnanimous Earth. I urge you to take this book into your heart and allow it to become part of your blood and bones.
Carolyn Baker. PhD., author of Collapsing Consciously: Transformative Truths for Turbulent Times and Dark Gold: The Human Shadow and the Global Crisis.
Craig K. Comstock, Huffington Post. In Walker’s book, what a relief to see the situation defined not as a “problem” that can be “solved,” but as a “predicament” that we must live with. The kinds of “reconnection” described by Walker (reconnection with: deeper self, others and Earth) would be attractive even if the situation were normal. Given our situation, they are necessary. Some of the climate scientists quoted by Walker suggest it’s too late to prevent disaster. From now on, we can only grieve what we have inadvertently done: grieve, and live intensely; behave well as we witness the gathering storm. Very few people want to accept this, and prefer to persist as if our way of life could continue. Besides, as someone always says just before the attempted conversation dribbles away, “what can one person do?” Walker has some answers, which go less to preventing disaster, than to living with the knowledge of what’s happening. Walker praises reconnection with the deeper self, with other people, and with nature. The (workshop and coaching) project announced by Walker and Carolyn Baker (in The Impossible Conversation) is based on the practice of psychotherapy, a knowledge of history, and experience in organizational consulting. For readers, their books offer some of the very best ideas for the enlargement of a community that can make the “conversation” more possible.
In The Impossible Conversation, Dean Walker recounts his transformational journey from his first contact with the shocking data and projections of Abrupt Climate Change – to the mind blowing awareness of the full scope of the global problems and predicaments we all must face. As we engage in The Impossible Conversation we begin to grapple with questions that really matter: “How did we get ourselves and our planet-home into these predicaments?” and “What are the inner skills and capacities that are called for as we confront our global problems and predicaments?” and “How does my life change as I witness the collapse of our environmental and human systems?” and “How can we come together to regain our long lost sense of agency in life?” and “What are the qualities of presence and relationship I can bring to my family, community, workplace, local environment, as I stand with new purpose in the face of our predicaments.?”
The Impossible Conversation is not another feel-good guide to our quick return to a thriving economy and business as usual. It is a sober look at how our business as usual paradigm is, in fact, what has driven us to the brink. The Impossible Conversation is deeply committed to keeping it real as we explore together, how to contact the immense power of human beings who are willing to intentionally break open their hearts and profoundly reconnect with their deeper selves, the people around them, and the miraculous web of life on this glorious planet-home, Earth.
Amazon excerpt: Parenting with PTSD is an anthology and workbook for parents who are survivors of childhood abuse. Editors Joyelle Brandt and Dawn Daum are survivors of childhood abuse working to break the cycle for their own families. Raising children as an abuse survivor is often a lonely and isolating experience, as the triggers and flashbacks of abuse can be hard for non-survivors to understand. When they were looking for stories of how other survivors coped, and couldn’t find any, they decided that something needed to change. So together they started an online community specifically for parent survivors, and started collecting essays to create Parenting with PTSD. Breaking the silence allows for an honest conversation about the lifetime journey of healing from childhood trauma. This is a combination of essays, journal questions, and recommended resources. It is intended to be a starting point to more conversations about how we can heal both individually and within our families, communities, and institutions. Our Mission: 1. To build a supportive community for parenting survivors, normalize the PTSD responses they may be having, and share resources for healing from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) or other traumatic events. 2. To educate professionals working in the fields of physical, mental, and social health about common triggers that arise for parents with PTSD, and the challenges they experience while working to break cycles of generational dysfunction and abuse. 3. To help partners and families better understand the experience of parenting for abuse survivors.
Website excerpt: What if I told you that today you could buy this eBook for $25, and by utilizing the educational information and guidance in the book for your own self-improvement, it’s possible for you to finally stop the cycle of fending off withdrawal?
What if I told you that by buying this eBook, and taking steps to implement the information and guidance provided in the book for your own self-improvement, you could save yourself anywhere from $100 to over $1000 per day by stopping your purchase of street opiates?
Too many people wait five years, ten years, twenty years to face their addiction.
You could decide right now to take control of your future.
Amazon excerpt: In Living with the Dragon, Jason Lee gives an honest and brave account of his life. As a Canadian-born Chinese man in his forties, Lee was raised in a household rife with physical and emotional abuse. He recounts stories of torment, angry outbursts, and beatings in his home that made him feel humiliated and unloved from a young age. Bullying at school and a complicated relationship with his brother who has schizophrenia added to Lee’s feelings of worthlessness and shame.
With stunning vulnerability, Lee confesses to his own emotionally abusive behaviour as an adult. He also shares about his personal struggles with depression and anxiety that he only came to realize in recent years. Through the hard work of counselling, group therapy, meditation, and practices of self-compassion, Lee has turned his life around in remarkable ways.
In Living with the Dragon, he shares lessons and tools for breaking the chain of abuse from one generation to the next. As Lee writes, “There is no greater feeling than liberation and being able to live your most honest self.” This powerful memoir will embolden you to find freedom and healing by facing the truth of your own inner life.
Amazon excerpt: One in six American children live in poverty. One in six struggle with a developmental disability. An estimated 70 percent of American adults have experienced a traumatic event. Despite the overwhelming prevalence of these circumstances, societal expectations and the country’s fragmented, under-resourced service systems make it nearly impossible for families experiencing hardship to keep up. In many cases, the system makes their situation worse. In her book, Zilberstein, Clinical Director of the Northampton, Massachusetts chapter of A Home Within, provides a candid look at how parents contending with poverty, illness, disability, or other constraints are expected to do so much with so little-and the price they and society pay. Through the unforgettable portraits of six overburdened families, Parents Under Pressure shows how health crises can quickly devolve into the loss of jobs and homes, how public perceptions of poor people hamper the chances for a better life, and the ways in which race and income affect access to assistance. Judged by family, friends and professionals who question their abilities and choices, parents feel inadequate and drained, rather than supported.
Amazon excerpt: The Trauma-Informed School is an all-inclusive guide designed to give school administrators of any school (elementary, middle or high school), step-by-step instructions of how to turn a school of any size into a trauma-informed school. With over 250 pages of content, this guide gives you the protocols you need along with a link to download all the documents needed for a successful implementation.
This well written and well-organized guide was developed from the vast experience of a nationally recognized retired school principal and school consultant (Jim Sporleder) and a nationally recognized trauma expert (Heather T. Forbes, LCSW). The combined work of these two authors is a winning combination that will equip and empower you to become a trailblazer in the area of trauma-informed education.
Amazon exerpt: Pinpoints and celebrates the vital role that educators have in instilling ambitious resilience both in their learners and themselves.
Growing up in poverty, and neglected and abused by her own parents, Jaz Ampaw-Farr was destined to become a statistic. Her story was changed, however, by a handful of teachers who made the point of putting human connection first despite the challenges of the education system.
Because of these people, Jaz went on to become a teacher, writer and international speaker who, through celebration and provocation, engages and galvanises educators into embracing the difference that they can make when they put being a human first too. In ‘Because Of You, This’ is Me Jaz shares her story often harrowing but always uplifting to show the ways in which the everyday heroes in our schools can empower those children who need their help the most.
Amazon excerpt: Four years after falling from a bridge in Cambodia, Amit Janco set off, like thousands before her, on a journey of physical healing along the legendary Camino de Santiago. What was slated to be little more than a restorative hike across the undulating terrain of northern Spain, would become an unexpectedly gratifying, comical, and, at times, emotionally tumultuous odyssey through physical and emotional recovery, into the very heart and soul of her existence.If you loved WILD by Cheryl Strayed, TRACKS by Robyn Davidson, EAT PRAY LOVE by Elizabeth Gilbert, or I’LL PUSH YOU by Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray, you will also love Amit Janco’s (Un)Bound, Together: A Journey to the End of the Earth (and Beyond).
Amazon excerpt: In chronicling the physical and spiritual steps she took to reclaim her life and peel away the layers of damage done by incest, Jenson has written a powerful narrative of one person’s healing journey. And though the subject matter is deeply serious, Jenson writes with her sense of humor firmly intact, reminding us that joy is possible in the face of great pain. Poignant, brave, and helpful, Healing My Life offers a much-needed testimony for anyone affected by or concerned about childhood sexual abuse. “Healing My Life is a story that is unique and personal in its detail, yet also universal and human in its impact. If we could raise even one generation without violence or shaming, we have no idea what might be possible.” -Gloria Steinem
Amazon excerpt: Based on a true story, Some Way Home is a tale of love and redemption. It depicts the healing of an abused and neglected boy named Dylan. It is a story depicting a dark night’s journey into bright day. Many adults, who try to help along his way, do more harm than good. Until a gullible couple adopt him at five years old. These ‘Forever Parents’ rise to the challenge of parenting a boy in danger of being lost forever. This novel takes a hard look at the inner workings of both the family and the foster care system meant to protect children. It delineates the price society pays when that system does not achieve the results it should. Some Way Home is a passionate portrayal of adoptive parents struggling to heal a child devastated by trauma. It takes its readers through the highs of victory and the inevitable emotional lows of relapse and failure. In the end, the reader is left with an unfathomable victory obtained through enduring compassion.
Amazon excerpt: Crossing In-finity will help parents,teachers, and all students of human behavior understand the effects ofemotional injuries on the developing personality. It will illustrate the thinking and learning of the developing child and lay a clear path to recovery from rage and shame to trust and forgiveness. Crossing In-finity is based on the experience of David J. Kenney, a foster dad, adoptive parent and child psychologist. It is dedicated to healthy emotional development. At certain developmental times, the traumas of early childhood have specific sets of possible effects onthe emergent ego. These effects have impact on the personality in definite ways, which lead to predictable behavior patterns. These are knowable.Therefore, we can act in a strategic way to redirect growth towards well being.In this manner, we can immunize the abused or abandoned child against significant mental disorders as adults. Much has been written concerning mental illness. Book after book, edition after edition of working manuals are dedicated to describing what sickness is in profound minutia. As a society,we’ve spent an uncounted fortune in time and money on investigating what we don’t want but have given little or no thought to what we do. Crossing Infinity attempts to improve this imbalance.
Amazon excerpt: ‘The story of a successful journey from broken and dissociative to integrated and fully aware.’ This personal memoir describes a woman’s journey through pyschotherapy. In middle age, Janyne began to sense that her wonderful, successful life was a cover for deep inner pain she called ‘the dark cloud.’ During her first EMDR therapy session, three fractured adult parts made a perfect three-point landing in her conscious awareness. Thus began three years of intensive therapy, as she fought to heal from sexual abuse that began in a home daycare at the age of three. With a sometimes conflicted faith in God, and with the support of both her therapist and her husband, Janyne fought to heal and integrate.
This is Janyne’s story but also a tribute to how a therapist and client worked together as a team to heal attachment wounds and increasingly tragic memories. Insights into the early wiring of unmet attachment needs, as well as dissociative coping mechanisms, are included throughout. Both pain and hope for healing are present on every page. Janyne is both vulnerable and triumphant in her writing and will help her readers believe healing from childhood trauma is possible.
Amazon excerpt: The author interweaves her own dissociative-personality story and her expertise in child development with beloved literary characters to demonstrate how she worked to re-frame the unhealthy messages she internalized as a child. This healing process cleared a path to behavioral change, forgiveness, growing faith, and the rediscovery of simple joys. The unfolding relationship between the author and her child self, Jeannie, illustrates the dedication, trials, and triumphs inherent in developing an attachment relationship that is necessary for full healing.
Amazon excerpt: The Most Powerful Thing You Can Do is Be Fully Yourself. Indigenous societies believe that we each possess original medicine, a kind of personal power, that is ours and ours alone. The greatest challenge of our lives is to find the seed of that power and let it bloom. Combining dramatic real- life experiences with mythic tales, Kathleen Hanagan draws on her 30 years as a psychotherapist, modern mystic, and spiritual adventurer to weave the threads of ancient wisdom with today’s intelligence. As you read, you will learn how to discover and grow your Loveseed, and then, shine its brilliant light by living with loving kindness, generosity, and truth.
Amazon excerpt: For survivors of childhood sexual abuse who are sick and tired of feeling broken, unfixable, and burdened by the past. Learn to let go of the pain of sexual abuse and finally feel normal.
Author Rachel Grant brings to the table a passionate belief that you do not have to remain trapped or confronted daily by the thoughts or behaviors that result from abuse. Through her own journey of recovery from sexual abuse, she has gained insight and understanding about what it takes to overcome abuse. This makes it possible for her to relate to and appreciate your struggles intimately.
The Beyond Surviving guidebook is specifically designed to change the way we think about and heal from abuse. Based on her educational training, study of neuroscience, and lessons learned from her own journey, readers have successfully used the guidebook to break free from the past and move on with their lives.
Through completing the guidebook, you will:
* Train in techniques for identifying the lies that abuse taught you about yourself * Learn strategies for breaking free of patterns of thought or behavior * Let go of shame, guilt, and any belief that the abuse was your fault * Release your anger, loneliness, and fear of abandonment * Develop strong communication skills and self-confidence * Learn how to trust again, set boundaries, and enjoy intimate relationships * Reconnect with your genuine self and feel normal Beyond Surviving enables survivors of sexual abuse to take back their rights and realize their own ability to make powerful choices about who they are and how they live. This guidebook offers an opportunity to reach the final stage of recovery and begin living authentically and free from the burdens of past experiences.
Thank you for sharing these inspirational books and podcast interviews! I would love to have you join me on a Hope for Healing Journey at www.teriwellbrock.com.
As producer and host of The Healing Place Podcast, I have been asked quite a bit, “So, how do I start a podcast?” I thought I’d share my podcast journey with the world via my blog as I’m sure there are many others who are intrigued by the idea of sharing their magnificent content dreams with the universe.
A Catchy Name
In the summer of 2017, a therapist friend of mine asked me if I’d be interested in creating a podcast with her. Well, yeah! How much fun would THAT be? We sat down next to a fire pit in my backyard one summer evening and giggled with anticipation over the possibilities, including a name for our new venture. We decided it had to do with healing, as that is what both of us do, one professionally and one as soul-work. Hence, The Healing Place Podcast name. Simple. Yet, profound. A place for folks to gather to discuss healing journeys, options, stories, paths, modalities, and so much more.
This same therapist friend reached out to an artistic friend of hers for a logo design and we both loved the first draft that came back. The colors were perfect and, again, the design was simple. It had a welcoming and peaceful feel to it. There are many options available for logo creation: Google “logo creation” and you will find both free and paid services available; like us, you can ask a creative colleague or friend; there are podcast logo creations available online; and some podcast hosting sites will help with the creation of your logo.
The first nine episodes of The Healing Place Podcast were a fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants adventure. We literally had no idea what we were doing! But, we kept it fun and light-hearted as we learned. My co-host and I sat down over dinner at a local dive one evening and came up with potential guests to invite onto the show, possible topics, and a time frame for length of interviews. Based upon our financial constraints, we decided to go with a weekly show to last between thirty to forty-five minutes per episode.
Secure a Hosting Site
I searched options for hosting sites and came across Blubrry. We were drawn to the ease of creation and their fee program. We wanted to work with a hosting site that allowed us to publish our episodes on Apple’s iTunes. There are many hosting platforms available and an online search will bring up a plethora of options.
The perks of Blubrry, as listed on their website, are:
Blubrry Hosting (at Blubrry.com or with WordPress)
No contracts, cancel anytime
Optimized for Apple and podcasting platforms
Audio, audiobook, video, ePub and PDF supported
Media hosted on our top-tier content delivery network (CDN) with more than 35 data centers throughout the world to provide the lowest latency (response time in seconds) possible
Upload using HTML5 technology, no special uploading tools or software required
Automated ID3 tagging (both artwork and textual metadata written to your mp3s)
Episodes hosted until you cancel service
Media validation (make sure your media will play on all podcast platforms)
Premium Podcast Statistics included ($5-a-month value)
Free technical support by email, phone and video
FTP access is available upon request
American owned-and-operated in the United States, our primary business is for podcasting!
After our first nine episodes, my co-host decided to step away from the podcast due to personal time constraints (working a full-time gig as a therapist in a mental health agency along with a weekend and evening job in a private-practice therapy program). I elected to continue with the podcast and decided to take it in a new direction. The format had been casual and filled with laughter and interviews with friends or just conversations between myself and my co-host on healing concepts.
I sat down and created a list of questions I wanted to review with my guests and came up with the following:
Hello! Thank you so very much for agreeing to join me on an upcoming podcast. I would like our interview to be a conversation between friends, filled with informative discussions, laughter, and guidance for our listeners.
I know some folks like the idea of having questions to lead the way. So, I have decided to compile a list of topics and questions. While we might not have time to cover them all, I will mostly pull from this list. Please review them and, if there is anything you would like me to address specifically or avoid altogether, just let me know.
I want this to be an enjoyable process for all. Therefore, I am open to any and all suggestions for your visit with our audience.
1) Today, we welcome (insert your name), who is joining us to discuss (insert your topic of interest)
2) Please tell us a little bit about . . . (your story, why you are passionate about this subject, your therapy modality, your theories, etc.)
3) If you could reach as many people in the world as possible with your message, who would you want your audience to be? (i.e. children, teens, addicts, those with suicidal ideation, struggling parents, single moms, single dads, LGBTQ community, and so forth)
4) Why is (insert your topic) so important to YOU?
5) Are there any myths or facts you would like to clarify for our listeners?
6) What support and resources have YOU utilized or recommend for our audience?
7) How did you overcome/handle (insert topic)? What do you suggest our listeners do to help them overcome/handle (insert topic)?
8) If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who could help you with (insert topic), who would it be?
9) What is your dream job? Does it revolve around this topic? Do want to be more involved in (insert topic)?
Those early interviews were filled with poor recordings as I was using a $20.00 microphone I had purchased on Amazon and a free editing software that left me scrambling for how-to videos for correcting background noises and fuzzy-buzzies. However, I really did learn quite a bit about sound quality as I stumbled through those episodes. I used Audacity for those early recordings when I was only creating audio formats for Blubrry and iTunes.
Purchase Quality Recording Equipment and Editing Software
I eventually realized that this podcast really did have a growing audience and I needed to treat it as a business in lieu of a fun little healing hobby. I was watching the stats grow and grow. Suddenly The Healing Place Podcast was being downloaded in countries outside of the United States (it has now been downloaded in thirty-one countries!)
With that came the exciting emails from agents reaching out to me on behalf of their clients with inquiries of joining me on the podcast! To say I was blown away with enthusiasm would be an understatement. I was now interviewing amazing souls from all over the world. Italy. Bali. Vancouver. And the far reaches of the United States from Washington state to Massachusetts and many places in between.
I ended up purchasing a Logitech HD 1080p camera to mount on my desk with a tripod along with an Audio-Technica podcast-quality microphone. I added a stand-up desk option to keep me from sitting so much while editing the video and audio recordings.
YouTube came across my radar as an option for promoting the podcast and I decided to start recording videos of interviews as well as maintaining the audio format. Therefore a quality recording app became a priority.
I elected to use Zoom. This allowed me the opportunity to schedule podcast interviews, send links to guests, and record our conversations all from one application.
Editing software then needed to be upgraded to something that allowed video editing so I researched (looking for a simple, affordable, and time-generous option) and came across Filmora by Wondershare. And it has been perfect for my needs. Allowing me to save edited recordings in MP3 audio format and MP4 video formats.
Create a Simple Five to Ten Second Musical Intro
My original co-host had a friend who created our intro music as a favor. It was quite long and I just never thought to research how much time should be dedicated to an intro piece. Once I discovered an intro should be contained to five to ten seconds, I made another change to The Healing Place Podcast music.
And Filmora by Wondershare had options for me to choose from as part of the program. Yay!
Social Media Campaigns
Part of promoting the podcast included a Facebook page from the get-go. We wanted to put it out to friends and family that we had created this healing space. That was the start of growing an audience.
I belong to an absolutely amazing online community called ACEs Connection. ACEs, for those of you who are not aware, is the acronym for Adverse Childhood Experiences. You can listen in as Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Bruce Perry discuss the impact of ACEs and research being conducted on their 60 Minutes episode here. I began promoting podcast interviews in this online community and a beautiful side-effect occurred, beyond the positive feedback, of having other community members reach out asking to join me on the podcast. So cool!
I was logged into my Blubrry account a few months ago and noticed a blurb on my WordPress page stating I could add my podcast to Spotify. Well, cool beans! I followed the link, filled out the application and within a matter of moments my request was submitted.
Last, but Certainly Not Least, Ask for Testimonials
I decided to do a little email blast to past podcast guests thanking them for joining me on air. A most sincere gesture of gratitude as I would not have this healing platform without them. As part of the email, I requested a testimonial if they felt inclined to write one up. The response was overwhelming. And continues to be. My eyes well up with tears and my heart overflows with joy at each new testimonial.
I then created visuals with collections of testimonials using PixTeller (another free online app). I am the queen of finding quality programs with no or small fees. I eventually upgraded to the Pro PixTeller as I wanted more options, but the fee is minimal and worth it.
What a beautiful way to promote your podcast and let others know your show is worth listening in on!
A podcast guest introduced me to the Calendly app for scheduling. This allows the guest to choose from available time slots without having to email back and forth regarding availability on both our parts. All I do is send them my calendar link. Again, I use the free service. Thanks, Suzy Gruber, for the heads up!
I invite you to join my subscription following – just complete the Hope for Healing pop up. Thank you so much, in advance!
I am heading to Denver, Colorado in the next few weeks to visit my oldest son. Three days in downtown Denver and three days in Estes Park, which we are being told is simply breath-taking. I am super excited to hug on my boy! Yes, he’s twenty-five, but always my baby boy. Yet, there is this little pest named Anxiety that keeps popping its head up to remind me how terrified I am of heights, that there is a possibility of altitude sickness, and I am not a fan of being far from home and my “safe space” along with a whole checklist of long-ago created avoidance behaviors.
However, I am bound and determined to enjoy every waking moment soaking up all the positive Colorado has to offer. I live in Ohio. The heart of the Midwest. I have never traveled further west than Illinois. For those of you who may be geographically-challenged, that is two states west of Ohio. Not even to the Mississippi River. When we have traveled south into Tennessee, I have closed my eyes as we drove over the Great Smoky Mountains. Yeah. Jelico, Tennessee on I-75 has been known to trigger a full blown panic attack.
Flying results in similar panic-induced responses – sweaty palms, flipping stomach, racing thoughts, and other overwhelming body sensations.
So, how do I bring myself back into a state of calm once the anticipatory anxiety has been triggered? Here is my personal go-to list. Please keep in mind I created this plan on a trial and error basis. I have loaded my coping skills toolbox with exercises, fidgets, courses, books, therapy suggestions, and techniques discovered through personal research. Following are my top seven strategies, however, please note that I have a much larger bag-o-tricks I pull from if needed.
Whenever I travel, I pack a backpack and fill it with my favorite calming aids. These two stones are always included in that collection of soothing strategies.
There is something settling about the weight of the stones in my hand and the silky smooth surface as I move my thumb and fingers over them. A transition happens, as well, as they move from icy cold to radiating heat as my energy transfers into them.
I purchased mine through a local store which carries various crystals and stones. However, you can find them online, as well.
Calming Coloring Books
Another one of my favorites, especially when flying, is to lose myself in the intricate designs of my coloring books. As with my calming stones, I find soothing comfort in the process of creating bursts of color on the white pages. This is very much a mindfulness practice as it brings me into the now, into this present moment. I forget whatever past trauma may be attempting to surface and I lose all worry of future what-ifs. I merely focus on staying in the lines as my gel pens glide along, enjoying the right-here-right-now moment.
I have purchased these at craft stores, my local grocery store, put them on my birthday wish list, and even won one as part of a writing contest prize. These, too, can be purchased online. My favorite is The Mindfulness Coloring Book which is smaller in size and easy to transport.
Coinciding with my coloring book calming strategy is my use of gel pens as I color and practice mindfulness. Again, there is something peaceful about converting the page from white with black squiggly lines into a vibrant work of art.
I have tried using colored pencils, Sharpies, and markers from my daughter’s school supply collection, but my preference is most assuredly gel pens. Particularly the pack of 120 pens I have found at Target. There are glitter, neon, swirl, pastel and more in the pack. A bundle of fun! Of course, they are available online, as well.
all photos copyright Teri Wellbrock
As you can tell by my collection of photos, I am drawn to the beauty that can be found in “the now”. From breathtaking sunbeams to dew-soaked spiderwebs, insects scurrying about their days, a seal basking in a meditative moment in the sunlight, from muddy hikes to rain-soaked blossoms, there is wonder all around us.
I use my Samsung phone to capture these moments, although if I remember to grab my Nikon D3300 camera before heading out the door, I will snap higher quality pics on that. But, most moments I simply stop, take in a slow deep breath and savor.
We live near a nature preserve (four minutes from our driveway to be exact!) and I find myself and lose myself all at once on those trails. The sounds of water rushing through the creeks as they sing along with the symphony of birds. The scents, oh how I wish I could record the scents for playback at a later time, sometimes stop me in my tracks. Again, I pause to close my eyes and breath in renewal into my soul.
However, I can find nature in my office as a lady bug appears on my desk as if she just stopped by to check in and chat or during a dinner date downtown Cincinnati as I smile at the muddy Ohio River carrying the paddle boats upstream or even as I step into the parking lot of my local grocery store only to be greeted by God, waving to me via sunbeams peeking from dark clouds.
What a gift I have found in being cognizant of the beauty in the now.
Angels, Faith, and Prayer
Growing up Catholic . . . my dad was a Jesuit brother for eight years from age sixteen to twenty-four and my mom wanted to be a nun but they wouldn’t allow her in due to her partying tendencies, a.k.a. alcoholism . . . was both restrictive and comforting. It wasn’t until I was in my forties and started my healing journey that I found my faith truly blossoming beyond the dogma of the Catholic Church. I started to embrace other faiths and found myself experiencing a higher power, God, universe, whatever label you would like to apply, outside of the walls of a church.
I pray throughout my day. But not The Lord’s Prayer and formal prayers. I throw out prayers of gratitude and pleas of compassion and requests for guidance. My faith is now weaved into my breath. It is merely a part of who I am, not how often I attend mass or donate to a charity.
I am my prayer. A living, breathing, loving prayer.
Angels surround me. Literally. In statue form and spirit form. I have had three different mediums approach me and say the exact same thing . . . I have never met anyone surrounded by as many angels as you are. Pretty cool! And makes me feel quite blessed and comforted. I have always been drawn to them. I have angel paintings, calendars, statues, and books surrounding me as I type this.
They are most definitely a go-to as a calming strategy. Prayer and conversations with my angels bring me right back here to the present moment.
The majority of the time I am not purposefully searching for hearts. They just come across my radar. I was recently hiking with a friend when I paused to catch my breath as we trudged up a hill. I told myself to “stop and smell the flowers” and upon turning my head, right there next to me on the path, was a leaf which had an insect-eaten heart hole in it. I couldn’t help by laugh out loud. Of all of the places to pause and of all of the leaves surrounding me in that forest, I happened to find a tiny little heart eaten out of a leaf. I laughed because it happens every single day. As in every . . . single . . . day. Without fail.
As a matter of fact, I wrote an e-book about it, filling it with heart pics I have snapped along with photos friends have taken and gifted to me. I even have a page on my website dedicated to those hearts (although it is just a small sampling of my collection).
Again, I find comfort in the reminder that I am loved, surrounded by love signs, and helping me be present in the moment.
Sammie Doodle – Therapy Dog
Oh, this sweet, sweet dog. Sammie is our labradoodle. She is the kindest soul I have ever met. She loves everyone and everything. Except pigs. I took her to a farm once and a pig snorted at her through a fence and she ran away terrified.
Wow, does she adore kids. We are a registered therapy dog team through Pet Partners and we volunteer at schools, visiting with kiddos in order to help them with feelings of anxiety or struggles with bullying or offering comfort after traumatic events. She just knows. She is drawn to those most needing love and dog snuggles.
The perk is that she is a member of our family outside of her therapy dog gig. And due to the fact that I have a history with panic attacks and heightened anxiety, this sweet pup is always by my side. She is my snuggle buddy, hiking pal, comforter, and best friend. She listens without judgment and offers stinky-breath kisses in support.
If ever I need grounding, just putting my hand upon her fluffy being radiates calm into my soul. She is a gift to us all. Sammie even has her own website, Facebook page, and Instagram account!
I love hearing back from others about calming strategies and coping skills used to bring oneself back into the now. Please feel free to reach out and share your experiences.
I wish you tranquility and joy along your healing journey.
After struggling with severe panic attacks for over twenty-five years, following horrific trauma during my first twenty-two years of life, I finally found my way onto the healing path in 2013. I began EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) along with reading everything I could on trauma-recovery. I began practicing mindfulness exercises, meditation, yoga, tapping (or EFT), and many other healing modalities in order to “fill my coping skills tool box.”
Following is a list of those books that had a profound impact on my life and have helped me create a life filled with tranquility and joy. While I may not have agreed with every word written, I did find powerful answers, delicious little tidbits, and inspirational guidance within each book.
I am always amazed when my podcast guests refer to these same books during our interviews. I would love to know if you have read any of these empowering books and their impact on your healing journey: https://teriwellbrock.com/contact-us/ .
I wish you continued healing and success in finding the tools that best help you along your path to recovery.
Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. He explores innovative treatments—from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga—that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score exposes the tremendous power of our relationships both to hurt and to heal—and offers new hope for reclaiming lives.
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You are not doomed by your genes and hardwired to be a certain way for the rest of your life. A new science is emerging that empowers all human beings to create the reality they choose. In Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, renowned author, speaker, researcher, and chiropractor Dr. Joe Dispenza combines the fields of quantum physics, neuroscience, brain chemistry, biology, and genetics to show you what is truly possible. Not only will you be given the necessary knowledge to change any aspect of yourself, but you will be taught the step-by-step tools to apply what you learn in order to make measurable changes in any area of your life. Dr. Joe demystifies ancient understandings and bridges the gap between science and spirituality. Through his powerful workshops and lectures, thousands of people in 24 different countries have used these principles to change from the inside out. Once you break the habit of being yourself and truly change your mind, your life will never be the same!
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In The Power of Habit, award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to the sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.
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In this beautiful and lucid guide, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh offers gentle anecdotes and practical exercise as a means of learning the skills of mindfulness–being awake and fully aware. From washing the dishes to answering the phone to peeling an orange, he reminds us that each moment holds within it an opportunity to work toward greater self-understanding and peacefulness.
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A totally accessible user’s guide from the creator of a scientifically proven form of psychotherapy that has successfully treated millions of people worldwide.
Whether we’ve experienced small setbacks or major traumas, we are all influenced by memories and experiences we may not remember or don’t fully understand. Getting Past Your Past offers practical procedures that demystify the human condition and empower readers looking to achieve real change.
Shapiro, the creator of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), explains how our personalities develop and why we become trapped into feeling, believing and acting in ways that don’t serve us. Through detailed examples and exercises readers will learn to understand themselves, and why the people in their lives act the way they do. Most importantly, readers will also learn techniques to improve their relationships, break through emotional barriers, overcome limitations and excel in ways taught to Olympic athletes, successful executives and performers.
An easy conversational style, humor and fascinating real life stories make it simple to understand the brain science, why we get stuck in various ways and what to do about it. Don’t let yourself be run by unconscious and automatic reactions. Read the reviews below from award winners, researchers, academics and best selling authors to learn how to take control of your life.
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How can we live our lives when everything seems to fall apart—when we are continually overcome by fear, anxiety, and pain? The answer, Pema Chödrön suggests, might be just the opposite of what you expect. Here, in her most beloved and acclaimed work, Pema shows that moving toward painful situations and becoming intimate with them can open up our hearts in ways we never before imagined. Drawing from traditional Buddhist wisdom, she offers life-changing tools for transforming suffering and negative patterns into habitual ease and boundless joy.
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Waking the Tiger offers a new and hopeful vision of trauma. It views the human animal as a unique being, endowed with an instinctual capacity. It asks and answers an intriguing question: why are animals in the wild, though threatened routinely, rarely traumatized? By understanding the dynamics that make wild animals virtually immune to traumatic symptoms, the mystery of human trauma is revealed.
Waking the Tiger normalizes the symptoms of trauma and the steps needed to heal them. People are often traumatized by seemingly ordinary experiences. The reader is taken on a guided tour of the subtle, yet powerful impulses that govern our responses to overwhelming life events. To do this, it employs a series of exercises that help us focus on bodily sensations. Through heightened awareness of these sensations trauma can be healed.
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An astonishing new science called “neuroplasticity” is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the human brain is immutable. In this revolutionary look at the brain, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, M.D., provides an introduction to both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity and the people whose lives they’ve transformed. From stroke patients learning to speak again to the remarkable case of a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, The Brain That Changes Itself will permanently alter the way we look at our brains, human nature, and human potential.
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The fear of abandonment is one of our most primal fears, and deservedly so. Its pain is often overwhelming, and can leave its mark on the rest of your life. In the midst of the hurt, it’s hard to see an end to your feelings of rejection, shame, and betrayal.
In this updated edition of the groundbreaking book, Susan Anderson, a therapist who has specialized in helping people with loss, heartbreak, and abandonment for more than thirty years, shares recent discoveries in neuroscience that help put your pain in perspective. It is designed to help all victims of emotional breakups—whether you are suffering from a recent loss, or a lingering wound from the past; whether you are caught up in patterns that sabotage your own relationships, or you’re in a relationship in which you no longer feel loved. From the first stunning blow to starting over, it provides a complete program for abandonment recovery.
Going beyond comforting words to promote real change, this healing process will help you work through the five universal stages of abandonment—shattering, withdrawal, internalizing, rage, lifting—by understanding their biochemical and behavioral origins and implications. New hands-on exercises for improving your life will teach you how to manage the inevitable pain, then go on to build a whole new concept of self, increase your capacity for love, and find new love on a deeper and richer level than ever before.
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A leading neuroplasticity researcher and the coauthor of the groundbreaking books Brain Lock and The Mind and the Brain, Jeffrey M. Schwartz has spent his career studying the human brain. He pioneered the first mindfulness-based treatment program for people suffering from OCD, teaching patients how to achieve long-term relief from their compulsions.
Schwartz works with psychiatrist Rebecca Gladding to refine a program that successfully explains how the brain works and why we often feel besieged by overactive brain circuits (i.e. bad habits, social anxieties, etc.) the key to making life changes that you want—to make your brain work for you—is to consciously choose to “starve” these circuits of focused attention, thereby decreasing their influence and strength.
You Are Not Your Brain carefully outlines their program, showing readers how to identify negative impulses, channel them through the power of focused attention, and ultimately lead more fulfilling and empowered lives.
I enjoyed the opportunity to sit down with Rachel Grant of Rachel Grant Coaching to discuss The Three Stages of Recovery from Childhood Abuse, her Beyond Surviving program, who inspires her, healing opportunities, and much more.
“Rachel Grant is the owner and founder of Rachel Grant Coaching and is a Sexual Abuse Recovery Coach. She is also the author of Beyond Surviving: The Final Stage in Recovery from Sexual Abuse.
She brings to the table a passionate belief that her clients do not have to remain trapped or confronted daily by the thoughts or behaviors that result from abuse. Through her own journey of recovery from sexual abuse, she has gained insight and understanding about what it takes to overcome abuse. This makes it possible for her to relate to and appreciate your struggles intimately.
Based on her desire to foster community, intimacy, and connection, she has dedicated much of her time to understanding relationships and communication and how they are impacted by abuse. For her, how we are relating to others is crucial to improving the overall quality of our lives. In addition to the lessons she’s learned along the way, she has attended various lectures and trainings to further hone her skills.
Her program, Beyond Surviving, has been specifically designed to change the way we think about and heal from abuse. Based on her educational training, study of neuroscience, and lessons learned from her own journey, she has successfully used this program since 2007 to help her clients break free from the past and move on with their lives.”