Brett A. Loftis, JD Chief Executive Officer, Crossnore School & Children’s Home Founder and Faculty Member, Center for Trauma Resilient Communities firstname.lastname@example.org
“Brett Loftis has a passion for protecting the most vulnerable children that is apparent from the moment he says hello. As the Chief Executive Officer of Crossnore School & Children’s Home, Brett leads an organization that is dedicated to growing healthy futures for children and families. His experience working in a residential program for at-risk children and as a Guardian ad litem in South Carolina, a youth minister in Texas, and as an attorney and the Executive Director of the Council for Children’s Rights in Charlotte, NC positioned him well to assume the executive role at Crossnore in 2013.
Under Brett’s leadership, Crossnore effectively completed their Second Century campaign surpassing their goal to build the organization’s endowment fund, built a new high school building at Williams Academy which opened in 2015, and constructed three new cottages on the Avery campus which opened in 2016. His executive leadership and strategic planning with the Board of Trustees led Crossnore to a successful merger with The Children’s Home in Winston-Salem, NC to become Crossnore School & Children’s Home in 2017. Services are expanding to underserved counties in western North Carolina through a satellite office opened in Hendersonville, NC in early 2018. He co-founded the Center for Trauma Resilient Communities, a program of Crossnore School & Children’s Home, in 2018.
Brett received his undergraduate degrees in Sociology and Political Science from Furman University. His passion for children eventually sent him to Wake Forest University School of Law to continue his career in child advocacy. He serves on numerous statewide committees and boards of directors, and he speaks statewide and nationally about children’s issues. Brett has completed the Train the Trainer program with David McCorkle from the Sanctuary Institute and helps to lead a team of 42 Sanctuary trainers on Crossnore’s campuses.
Brett and his family live on the Avery county campus of Crossnore School & Children’s Home and in his free time, he loves to coach youth soccer and basketball. Brett’s greatest love is his wife, Sally, and their three sons, Will, Elijah, and Lawson.”
“Rhiannon is your guide back to yourself. As a bodywork therapist, she focuses on healing chronic pain and the physical after effects of trauma. She helps you to change your relationship with your body so you have a solid, safe foundation to go out and change the world.
Rhiannon has been a bodyworker since before she can remember. Following a path which leads to her own healing from sexual trauma, she became officially licensed in massage and bodywork in 2014. In the 5 years she has owned her practice, Philosopher’s Stone, her work has evolved from creating altered-state inducing relaxation, to treating chronic/persistent pain, to now balancing the physical and energetic elements of people’s experiences, gifting her clients the opportunity to heal and come back to themselves. She offers both in studio and online sessions.”
I have said for years, as I felt my way along a sometimes rugged and dark healing path, that I had to return to the darkness in order to make it into the light. Those dark spaces held my trauma, the negative energy needing to be released from my body, mind, and spirit. I used to dish this advice to my then-best-friend in regards to her traumatic past. She would scoff me off.
Just when I thought I had processed the worst of my traumas (sexual abuse, bank robberies, murder, physically abusive parent), this said-friend ghosted me. Gone. Just like that. No closure. No good-bye. No “piss off” to send me on my way. Just silence. After seven years of texting every day, weekend hang outs, girls’ trips adventures, deep talks, and laugh-til-we-peed gatherings. Done.
Only two weeks prior had I sat across from her at one of our impromptu lunch dates, telling her that my therapist and I had discovered my biggest fear during my last EMDR session: the fear of abandonment. I told her how it linked back to my mom and her alcohol addiction, how she had left me feeling emotionally abandoned my entire childhood. She knew most of the history of life with my mother: partying with her co-workers after banking hours, stumbling into our apartment hammered a few nights a week; pouring herself a vodka over ice with a squirt of lemon juice on those nights she came straight home from her teller job, sinking into the worn recliner, held together in places with duct tape, losing herself in a book from the library, yelling for my dad to silence the children, which always came with the jingling of a belt-buckle prepping to beat us quiet; belittlement at our not using our God-given talents and, therefore, disappointing Jesus, God Himself, and all of the heavenly hosts; attempted stabbing of my dad when she raged at him with a butcher knife; attempted drowning of her children when she decided we’d be better off with Jesus in lieu of living in this “valley of tears” called life; showing my school photo to church friends, in my presence, and laughing as she declared, “Look how ugly she is!”, later to remind me, “I was just joking”; and so on.
I was struck with an inkling of curiosity when this friend’s head cocked a bit to the side as she replied, “Really?” to my announcement that my biggest discovered fear was that of abandonment. Not bridges or highways, even though I cannot drive on them. Not death, even though I had faced it too many times, from beneath bathtub water, when staring into a revolver placed to my head, when confronted with the firing end of a Luger during a second bank robbery. Not heights, even though my dad had found it funny to dangle me from the Natural Bridge in Kentucky on a rare family outing or had me look out the window of our beat up station wagon at the Ohio River below us as we crossed the humming bridge into Covington, Kentucky to visit my grandparents, as he proclaimed, “See those river sharks? Some day this bridge will crumble. It was built in the 1800’s you know. And when we fall in, those river sharks will eat you”, then he’d laugh and laugh at his humor, while I stared at the muddy water, positive I saw those river sharks. Not flying, though I could not even think of climbing onto a plane without Xanax in my blood. Not cockroaches. Nor being buried alive. Nor fear itself. Abandonment – linked to my fear of rejection, my insecurities, my unstable sense of self, and my deep craving for approval and affection.
Really? That word would haunt my next year as I sorted through the processing of her disappearance from my life.
Only by giving yourself over to your feelings can you find your way out of them.
Susan Anderson in “The Journey from Abandonment to Healing”
I am guessing God’s timing was, yet again, perfect. It was time for me to visit the darkness that was my relationship with my mother. Still swirling in the chaos of her addiction, I never knew who I would encounter upon my calls to check in or visits to her retirement community. Sober mom was kind and doting. “Teri, I don’t know what I’d do without you. Thank God I have you.” Drunk mom was cruel, “I hate you. I want to put a meat cleaver in your forehead.” When I brought that one up during a sober conversation, she insisted, “Oh for Pete’s sake. I was joking. Get a sense of humor. You know I’d never say something like that to you.”
And then the friend-ghosting occurred. And I cried into my journal for a year. I cried at restaurants. I cried at sappy commercials. I cried when I’d hear songs, listening purposefully to tear-jerker ballads. I cried at Facebook memories popping up. I cried all . . . the . . . time. I just cried. For a year.
And as I did so, I read this book. This amazing book filled with comfort and wisdom, reminding me I would survive this, too. Just as I had survived all of the horrors of my past. This ghosting was a reminder that I had not yet faced the pain I had stored away in regards to trust and love, a heart-hurt melded in the hands of my parents. God was opening that attic door and shining a light on that long-avoided box of sadness.
Being left by someone we love can open up old wounds, stirring up insecurities and doubts that had been part of our emotional baggage since childhood.
Susan Anderson in “The Journey from Abandonment to Healing”
My grieving journey had begun. What was triggered by a ghosting, turned into a beautiful journey of healing those old insecurities and heartaches, helping me find forgiveness for my parents, as well as helping me release the ghosts from that abandonment attic. All of them.
The author takes us into an understanding of the five states of abandonment: shattering, withdrawal, internalizing rejection, rage, and lifting. All of which I circled through. The beautiful gift I discovered during this grief journey was that of embracing my own vulnerability even more than I already had. I learned to console little Teri all the while learning to empower adult me.
Susan Anderson, author of this powerful book, offers an action plan for readers to help us along our continued healing journey, as well. An action plan I fully implemented.
The key to change is opening your life to new experiences. Even small changes in your daily routine can lead to new discoveries about who you are becoming.
The key to reconnecting is to cherish the gift that abandonment has given you, to remain open to your vulnerabilities and to the vulnerabilities of others.
Susan Anderson in “The Journey from Abandonment to Healing”
Since reading this beautiful book, I have done exactly that. I opened myself up to new experiences: starting a successful podcast with a growing global audience (The Healing Place Podcast); meeting amazing souls from all over the world who are working to help others along their healing journeys; starting this blog; creating a website aimed at helping others heal from ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) and trauma; becoming a YouTuber (that is still in its infancy stages); standing on stages to share my story of hope; creating our Sammie’s Bundles of Hope project to help children struggling with anxiety and trauma history; volunteering with our sweet therapy dog, Sammie Doodle; and opening myself up to new friendships.
A deep post (it’s been a long time since I’ve typed up one of these!) Today was big. Really, really big.
A few months ago, one of my podcast guests referred me to an entity for funding projects. The guidelines are pretty simple . . . must be an artistic venture AND benefit the community/world in some way.
I registered on the website, read all of the info they directed me to, watched all of the videos, and signed up for a webinar scheduled for this past week. During that webinar I asked if a podcast fell under the “artistic” realm. I was advised it most certainly does and it’s their newest addition.
I completed a very lengthy application including my personal bio, project goals and mission, a projected budget, and more.
This evening I was advised: “The Healing Place Podcast has been approved by our Board of Directors and is now active. Welcome to a vibrant community of artists and organizations who are critical contributors to the creative sector’s vitality, autonomy, and innovation!”
My heart continues to overflow with gratitude and joy. This soul work I am doing is a blessing to many. But also to me. I have learned so much along the way. About . . . Healing. Hope. Editing. Interviewing. Marketing. And now funding.
I have self-funded for 2 years. Now it is time to take this to the next level. This is no longer a hobby. But a business. A trauma-warrior pursuit to help bring healing to the world. With a goal of reaching one million people with inspiring stories of hope and healing.
When I was little I wanted to be a doctor. I told my parents I wanted to “help make people feel better”. I may not be a physician, but I am a healer. A healer who welcomes other healers onto my show to help shine the light of hope into the world.
Right before I received the congratulations notice for the podcast, a beautiful friend and her adorable daughter stopped by to drop off this heart necklace she was gifting me. The timing was perfect. Most definitely a God sign.
I am sitting upstairs savoring this moment before heading into my sacred writing space to edit another podcast (this next episode is a conversation with one of the most adorable and brilliant bundles of energy I’ve encountered yet!)
Wishes of blessings go out to all those needing a reminder to never give up on your dreams. And hugs filled with gratitude to heart-bearing friends, boards of directors who believe in my podcast, brilliant guests who’ve helped me reach souls in thirty-eight countries, and a family that cheers me on every single day. Blessed beyond measure.
Thank you for your support, cheers, and love. Being a part of the ACEs Connection community has helped this podcast continue to grow in its reach. Both through amazing guests who have reached out to join me on air to discuss their vital work in trauma-related fields and/or personal stories of triumph over trauma, but also in my audience. I feel blessed to be a part of this space.
Rev. James Encinas joined me on air for a heart-felt conversation to discuss his work with teachers on a trauma-informed and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) healing level, his personal story of triumph, along with a discussion on his books: Wheeling to Healing: Broken Heart on a Bicycle and Your Own Wheeling to Healing: A Guide to Healing Yourself and Groups of People Who’ve Experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and much more.
“A former actor and grade school teacher, now a parent education specialist, teacher trainer and public speaker, James Encinas uses his creative skills in experiential workshops to instruct participants about the impact of trauma on childhood development. The non-judgmental space he creates allows probationers to engage in healing their emotional damage, learn about prevention of future child abuse and domestic violence, and to educate teachers to work with students who live in unsafe environments. James wrote Wheeling to Healing…Broken Heart on a Bicycle: Understanding and Healing from Adverse Childhood Experiences, a book and curriculum. He is a Fellow from the first class of Aspen Institute’s Teacher Leaders, a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network and an activist for healing.”
Hello to all of you #traumawarriors (both survivors and advocates alike). Thank you for the work you are doing to help shine the light of hope into the lives of those with ACEs history.
I am back from my summer hiatus from interviewing guests on The Healing Place Podcast. Exciting news to share is that, as of today, the podcast has been downloaded in audio format in 38 countries around the world, along with video format views at 4,629. That is beyond exciting! People have been listening in on iTunes, Spotify, Blubrry, YouTube, and my website. Thank you for helping spread the word!
If you know anyone interested in joining me on air to discuss hope, healing, ACEs, trauma-informed practices, stories of triumph, book publications, etc., please feel free to share their contact info with me or have them reach out to me at email@example.com. I am looking to schedule in September, 2019 and beyond.
Thank you again for all you are doing to help others along their healing journey and helping me achieve my goal of reaching one million healing souls with stories of hope!
I loved connecting with a kindred spirit in Robyn Baldwin as we discussed her Autoimmune Thriving pursuits, her personal journey combating Multiple Sclerosis (MS) symptoms after living life as an over-achiever and fitness guru, her book Love Lost, Life Found, and much more.
“Robyn Baldwin is the founder of Autoimmune Thriving and an MS Thriver. Her mission in life is to empower those living with an autoimmune disease to thrive and not just survive. Autoimmune Thriving includes yoga retreats, an online program on healing and a treatment fund for those in need of holistic healing assistance.
Robyn lives in Ottawa with her husband and 2 fur babies. She is a full-time Digital Marketing Director, a health & lifestyle blogger at RobynBaldwin.com, the author of Love Lost, Life Found, a yoga teacher, the host of the Alpha Female Podcast and a passionate Essential Oil Educator. She loves weight lifting, running, yoga and making seasonal bucket lists. After being diagnosed with MS in 2014 and starting out on a new health journey she’s transitioned from being an MS Warrior battling an auto-immune disease to an MS Thriver and living well with the health sidekick.”
It was an absolute pleasure to engage in a soulful conversation with Karen Salmansohn to discuss her upcoming book, Instant Calm: 2-Minute Meditations to Create a Lifetime of Happy; her personal story of triumph; the philosophies of Aristotle (along with other fascinating letter-A subjects from Encyclopedia Britannica); and much more.
“Karen Salmansohn is a former stressed-out advertising Senior VP and award-winning designer turned healthy living expert, best-selling author, and longevity research geek. After leaving her successful career in the advertising industry, Karen stepped out on her own as a writer and designer of books.
Karen became a multi-best-selling author, having sold over 2 million copies of her books internationally and has gained a loyal following of almost 2 million people. At the age of 50, Karen realized another dream when she gave birth to her first child.
Karen has been profiled in the NY Times, Business Week, Chicago Tribune, the LA Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Time Magazine, ELLE, Marie Claire, and Fast Company.
As a late-in-life mom, Karen loves to research a wide range of longevity boosters and share with her audience how to slow down the aging process and live not only longer – but better – with greater health and clarity of mind. Karen is excited to head up a tribe she calls “The Wellderly” – a community of people who positively embrace getting older and aging into their happiest, highest potential selves.”
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to sit down with Carolyn Forrester to discuss her upcoming course utilizing The Matrix of Emotional Health, her nature-based artwork, and her own healing journey. Please join us on The Healing Place Podcast to listen in as Carolyn shares her thoughts on overcoming trauma and moving toward a place of peace.
“As a woman who has struggled to fit in and who has lost herself to pleasing others (so much so that she spent 15 years of her life on someone else’s dream), Carolyn Forrester knows what it’s like to feel lonely, unsupported, and disconnected.
Her nature based art is created to help you pause, feel a sense of peace, and connect with your deepest Self.
Her teachings using the Matrix are an enlightening guide to help you discern your Truth, identify any stuck spots, and heal the traumas of the past.”
I thoroughly enjoyed sitting down with Cedric Bertelli, founder and director of the Emotional Health Institute, to discuss the profound healing effects of Emotional Resolution. Please join us on The Healing Place Podcast to listen in as Cedric shares his brilliant insights and wisdom regarding trauma recovery and his work training others in the mental health and education arenas.
“Cedric Bertelli is the founder and director of the Emotional Health Institute. Cedric is of French origin and has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for over ten years. He began his training in Emotional Resolution in 2009 in France and has continued this work in the United States since 2011. In addition to working with clients individually, Cedric trains mental health professionals and educators across the United States on Emotional Resolution.”