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I want to share a story of hope. And love. And forgiveness. But, before I share the happy part, I want to tell you about my dad and our history. For those needing it, *trigger warning for physical abuse*.
My dad hit me, quite violently at times, using a belt most days (the jingle of a belt buckle used to make those little hairs on my neck take notice). I was the oldest of two girls and, fortunate for me, but not my younger sister, I could scurry behind a locked bathroom door before being caught. I would spend my moments of terror, counting dingy white tiles in our tiny apartment bathroom, trying to tune out the sounds coming from outside my temporary safe space.
However, sometimes I was caught. Dad was six foot six, two-hundred and eighty pounds, and angry. At life. At his circumstances. At his alcoholic wife screaming for him to silence the children. At financial woes. At his boss. Whatever it was, he was angry about it. And we were easy prey, my little sister and me.
Sometimes he would throw something. Once he beheaded a statue of Jesus. My sister glued it back on. Another time, he broke my soccer trophy in half. I taped it back together with masking tape. The soccer player looked like she was playing with a cast on. Symbolic really. Keep on striving, even when broken.
When I was ten years old, my dad called me into his bedroom (my parents slept in separate rooms). He sat me on his lap and told me the following: “Teri, I’ve been seeing a doctor. A counselor. And I now realize I never should have hit you. I’m sorry. I promise to never hit you again. From now on you get to decide your discipline.” There was more, but that’s all I can remember.
And he never hit me again. My first lesson in forgiveness. And what a beautifully powerful one it was.
You see, my dad was also my saving grace. He was the one who took us to Burger Chef for a Fun Meal after our soccer games on Saturday mornings. Mom was at work and rarely came to our games. Dad tucked us in with stories of dragons and spaceships and talking dogs. He was the one who taught me how to count with raisins. And sat me on his lap when he would draw. He ran alongside my purple bike with the flowered banana seat as I wobbled around the school playground until he felt safe enough to let go, cheering me on with an exuberant, “You’re doing it!”
He was a good dad. Who was hurt as a child and didn’t know the impact of his violent actions on his own children until someone came along to show him the error of his ways. I thank God he had the compassion to listen. And apologize.
My dad died in January, 2009, of complications resulting from his diabetes.
This morning I went for my morning hike and said, “Dad, you should join me” (he loved his ‘exercise walks’ as he called them). I truly believe his spirit tagged along.
I was walking along a path strewn with hundreds of leaves when I sensed an excited energy urging me to “look down!” Sure enough. There in that mix of decaying brown, yellow, red, and orange tints was a tiny heart.
This continued throughout my hike. I would smile and send out an “I see it! Thanks!”
From my Unicorn Shadows Book Launch Team Facebook page:
My Unicorn Shadows: From Trauma to Triumph – A Healing Guide book is in manuscript form, awaiting completion then editing. It will head off to agent/publisher contacts afterward. My focus is now turned to completing it by month end. Yay!
I launched my e-book, Stop Thinking . . . Just Love this week. A book dedicated to my Dad, Jim Kamphaus, who left this world in January, 2009, and sent me a message through a friend after he had died. That message was, “Tell Teri to stop thinking and just love.” Soon afterward I started to find hearts, symbols of love, everywhere. Every day. This book is filled with over 600 heart photos, some taken by me and some gifted to me by others, and inspirational stories and quotes. My wish is that people find hope within its pages. I told my son, John (who is a numbers geek like his momma), to randomly pick a number between 1-131 each day and see what page offers inspiration for that day!
The Healing Place Podcast continues to grow. And what an amazing collection of guests I have had on air over the past few weeks. I am excited for the latest interviews to air. I have started recording the video as well as audio and have added the first video to YouTube. I will be adding more this coming week. You can check out the first vlog of The Healing Place Podcast below. There have been over 2,000 downloads of the podcasts. Exciting!
My Hope for Healing monthly newsletter continues to gain subscribers, as well. Thank you to all who have signed up. If you know anyone looking for a guiding resource for anxiety, panic attacks, depression, trauma history, or just a need for more hope, please send them to my website and tell them to “subscribe” using the pop-up or the subscribe button in the upper right corner, at www.teriwellbrock.com. Thanks!
Sammie Doodle, our registered therapy dog through Pet Partners, will be working one day a week at a local elementary school in a therapy dog role, helping children with anxiety needs. We are so very proud of Sammie! We will be delivering our Sammie’s Bundles of Hope to shelters throughout the Cincinnati area for kids with trauma-history, prior to Thanksgiving. If you are aware of a need, please reach out to me via email@example.com so we can add it to our list. Thank you!
Whew! That sounds like a lot. And, while it is, I love every second of it. It doesn’t feel like work when it’s a passion, a calling, a soul-pull.
Until next month, I wish you peace and joy! For those of you stateside, have a blessed Thanksgiving, surrounded by love and laughter.
P.S. If you’d like to order a copy of my e-book (at the cost of a fast food meal deal!), please do so using the link below. And share, share, share away. Please and thank you!
As shared from A Wise Retreat website:
A Wise Retreat specializes in the holistic restoration of women. Our services are tailored to the unique needs of each individual at a comfortable, private, and culturally sensitive location where women can get the care and treatment needed. Our services include but are not limited to;
- Dual Diagnosis Treatment
- Addictions counseling
- Domestic Violence Counseling
- Trauma Informed Care
- Family Treatment
- Bio Chemical Re-balancing
- Intensive Out Patient
- After Care
A Wise Retreat is a private drug & alcohol residential treatment facility exclusively for women. Located 30 miles North of beautiful San Francisco, A Wise Retreat sits on a hillside surrounded by luscious tall trees that provide shade, privacy, peace and serenity in a home-like setting.
Women Inspired, Supported & Empowered!
Please be sure to follow, visit, and reach out at http://www.awiseretreat.com/ or call 855-500-WISE (9473).
Thank you so much for the opportunity to share tonight. You are an incredible host! Below are the links to my instagram profiles and my website.Instagram: @cortney_edmondson & @embracing_ACEs
Please be sure to follow, visit, and reach out.
What is ART?
Similar to EMDR, which I utilized over a four year period, this methodology uses eye movements, but allows the client to replace images of traumatic events with positive images. It is being used primarily with veterans as a way to combat their post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.
I am optimistic that as we learn more about the brain’s plasticity, meaning its ability to change and rewire itself, these healing modalities will continue to flourish and provide much needed relief for those who have experienced traumatic events. Particularly if those events have resulted in stressful symptoms such as panic attacks, depression, anxiety, and codependency.
The idea of replacing negative images storied in my memories with positive ones, to be able to “unsee” what haunts me, is a dream come true. EMDR certainly provided me an avenue for processing the pent up negative energy associated with my traumas. However, we became stuck at my highway and bridge phobias. After revisiting all of my traumatic events repeatedly, we still could not identify the trigger for the driving-induced panic symptoms. This ART therapy seems as if it just might be the perfect fit for replacing any negative images associated to highways and bridges with positive images instead. Amazing!
Please remember:Healing is possible and you are so very worthy of that gift!
Holiday Inn and Convention Center, Stevens Point, Wisconsin
November 1st – 2nd, 2018
The Prevelance of Secondary Trauma in Helping Professionals: How We Keep Ourselves Safe
This is a morning meditation I utilized for quite awhile when first pursuing my podcast, book, blog, and speaking passions. Then I started using it as a way to release stored up negative energy from traumatic events in my youth. I envisioned it leaving my body with the sound. What a beautiful release it was. Honestly, at first I felt weird doing it. As I continued practicing it, however, I found comfort in releasing the sound into the universe. There were times I would walk around the rest of the day feeling a beautiful energy, a tingly sensation, radiating from my forehead. Researching the concept of chakras, I began to understand “centering” and balance within my mind and body.
I would love your feedback on this as you practice using it on a daily basis. How did you feel initially? What did you notice happening in your body? Your daily life? Your thought processes? Did you happen to have the same sensation in your third eye/forehead area as I did?
Thank you for allowing yourself the opportunity to experience something new, for giving yourself the gift of positive energy and treasured time. You are worthy of peace and joy.
Step 5: Work on Healthy Habit Formation
Before diving into step 5, 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?
- Focus on the positives.
- Seek out and nurture supportive relationships.
- Utilize self-care strategies.
- Take action steps to create positive change.
- Work on healthy habit formation.
- Find a guiding hand to hold.
- Learn to become our own hero.
- Be gentle with ourselves.
Today we will cover Step 5: Work on healthy habit formation.
Being an avid reader, particularly of self-help and trauma-related research books, I discovered the critical importance of habit change as a catalyst along my healing journey. One of the books that I talk about in my presentations is Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One by Dr. Joe Dispenza. This book helped me understand that my brain was not hard-wired in a permanently damaged state due to circumstances beyond my control (i.e. traumatic events) and I had the power to change my habits, thereby creating new neuron pathways. I also practiced the book meditations regularly as a transformational tool.
Another book worth diving into is The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. One of the powerful lessons in this book, at least for me, was learning to replace “bad” habits with “good” ones. For instance, instead of merely telling myself “Teri, you need to stop eating junk food,” I instead took on a 30-day journey of whole food eating, creating a food diary, and teaching myself new recipes. I created incredibly healthy eating habits by educating myself on the benefits of healthy food choices. Transforming our habits is a powerful tool we can utilize as we continue along our healing journey.
Here are five action steps you can implement in your life in order to create positive change:
- Start with a self-assessment: This can be done through journaling, a personality test (I found the information contained in The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types to be spot on in describing my “type” and helping me understand my strengths and areas where I needed improvement), talking it out with a trusted friend, prayerful reflection, etc. Use whatever feels comfortable for you in order for you to determine what healthy habit (habits) you want to create. Then write down your goal.
- Create an action plan for replacing unwanted habits with desirable habits (or creating altogether new habits): Take that written goal and create a plan, filled with achievable steps, ideas, research information, and rewards. Instead of “lose weight” try “create a healthy menu, adding one whole food meal a day, eliminating any processed products during that particular meal; pack a bag of healthy snacks to carry with me at all times including fruits, vegetables, and nuts; limit fast food to once a week (or not at all!); move for thirty minutes every day in whatever way I choose in order to increase my heart rate, blood flow, and create a sense of well-being and achievement; watch YouTube videos on easy-to-make healthy recipes; read up on whole-food eating benefits; and reward myself for a month of healthy eating patterns with dinner at my favorite restaurant.”
- Be gentle with yourself as you change old patterns: If you accomplish your goal without a single stumble, kudos to you! I applaud you and your determination. If, however, you experience a set-back or even give up all together your first (or second or third) attempt, please be easy on you. There’s an ancient saying that goes something like, “Old habits die hard.” Yeah, #truth. Give yourself a big hug, a pep talk, and then start again. You are creating a new habit where an old one has kept shop for a long time, most likely. If your new goal is, “Eliminate negative self-talk and replace it with positive affirmations,” but you find yourself beating yourself up on a bad day, praise yourself for now being aware of it and making an effort to change it. Then write yourself a thank you card, filled with positive affirmations, and maybe even mail it to yourself as a “surprise”.
- Sing your own praises: Continuing with that thought from the previous step, yes, it’s okay to applaud your accomplishments and even your attempts, whether you failed or succeeded. Put a post out on social media when you’ve had a successful day with your new healthy habit formation and embrace the accolades from friends and family. You deserve the praise! Join a group and share your successes and your fall-on-your-face moments. By exposing your vulnerabilities, you will find strength in the connection with others who sing out, “Oh my gosh, me, too!” Notice your mile markers and talk about them: “Hey, it’s been a month since I quit drinking soda.” I am cheering you on from here . . . yay!
- Reward yourself for goals attained: Make sure you reward yourself. Not just for the end product, but for all of the baby step accomplishments along the way. If you made it to ten exercise classes last month and “being more active” was on your healthy habit formation list, then treat yourself to some new workout clothes/shoes or a rockin’ headband or a new smoothie maker. If you volunteered twice this quarter and felt inspired to do more, then reward yourself by stepping into a leadership role within that organization. Rewards do not always have to be monetary. You deserve the reward of not only achieving your goal, but a special “thank you” to yourself for believing in YOU!
There are books, YouTube videos, mediation series, classes, websites, Facebook pages, and so much more dedicated to habit formation and the benefits of creating healthy and sustaining habits. Find what works for you. We all have that thing that jives with our soul, be it humor or depth or intellectual spirituality or wise-old-owl. Whatever it is that stirs you up, use that! If something doesn’t feel like a fit, move on. This is about YOU and YOUR journey. Do you.
I have a poetic little story to share about this blossom.
Last winter we decided to pull our 2 hibiscus plants into the house. We read they would go dormant and they did. Come spring, after moving them back to the pool deck, they both turned a bit yellow as they re-adjusted, losing most of their leaves. The red one quickly recovered and started blooming like crazy. Sometimes 5 blossoms a day would pop up. Gorgeous!
But this one, the yellow one, not so much. It struggled and eventually dried up. Its branches snapped off in a storm and one tiny sprig remained, sticking out of a huge pot.
We revamped our walkway and added new pots filled with overflowing flowers. Everything looked amazing. But, there in the corner sat our broken yellow hibiscus, clinging to life with its last remaining stem, which had fallen to its side, laying on the soil. Every time I looked at it, I felt sad, but something kept whispering, “Don’t give up.” So I let it sit.
I continued to water it. It flooded twice during 2 crazy storms and developed a green funk on the soil at one point.
But then I noticed something. Green buds were appearing. As if it wanted oh-so-desperately to bloom again. I started to caress the little buds and send them little, “You can do it!” messages. The branch began growing, sideways, out of the pot. It looked pretty pathetic, but it was trying.
This morning I walked outside and yelled, “It bloomed!” startling my daughter as she finished her breakfast.
Here, my friends, is a symbol in perseverance, resilience, determination and healing. This is my forever sign of hope 💛❤ #nevergiveup