What a deeply engaging yet fun-filled conversation I enjoyed with Jason Lee, discussing his personal triumphs and passion to help others, particularly men, along their healing journey from anger to tranquility. Thank you, Jason, for sharing your inspirational mission and shining the light of hope.
“Jason Lee is an author based out of Coquitlam BC. He’s also a mental health advocate and speaker at events across Canada. His book Living with the Dragon, Healing 15000 Days of Abuse and Shame has received praise from counselors and comes highly recommended as a resource particularly for men in recovery from depression, anxiety and anger stemmed from childhood abuse trauma and trauma. He’s also the host of the Mangry Podcast which aims to redefine how men manage their anger. The Mangry Podcast is on iTunes and Spotify.
Jason believes that everyone has a story to share and it’s a matter of finding that delicate space of trust and compassion to do that in. He found his voice through speaking, writing, podcasting and blogging, connecting people through inspirational words and ideas.
Jason enjoys basketball, exercising, camping, board games and spending time with his son.
Grab that journal or note pad and let’s get our positivity on! This month we will address the following two Positivies of Persistence areas together:
What does persistence really mean?
How do we define positivities?
So, what does persistence really mean?
By definition: “Persistence, as used in psychology, refers to a personality trait that causes a person to persevere in a task despite obstacles or frustrations rather than simply giving up. This trait, often associated with stubbornness and perfectionism, is a prime ingredient in success in many pursuits such as athletics, academics, business, etc. One common example of this is seen in sports where a player continues to play the game despite injuries, rather than abandon the game and their teammates” Persistence. (n.d.). In Alleydog.com’s online glossary. Retrieved from: https://www.alleydog.com/glossary/definition-cit.php?term=Persistence
My sister once told me I am the most persistent person she’s ever met. I consider that one of my most treasured compliments to date. Considering my trauma history it’s miraculous I found the gift of persistence. Or was it?
While some scholars may attribute persistence to a need for control, I like to take the stance with those who look at persistence as a will to not give up. More and more research is emerging on resilience and its positive impact in off-setting ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) even learned resilience skills in adulthood. My opinion is that persistence is fueled by resilience. Thankfully, my persistence trait was forged from the resilience instilled in me by supportive relationships in my childhood (my grandmother, my best friend’s parents, and a kind-hearted teacher).
Think about your own life. Would you consider persistence as a trait you hold? If not, do you believe you can develop it?
Exercise: Write down THREE ways you have demonstrated persistence in your life. Then choose ONE of those and write yourself a one-page (or more) thank you letter.
Next, let’s look at positivity . . . what is it?
“The state or character of being positive: a positivity that accepts the world as it is.” Positivity. (noun). Retrieved from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/positivity\
Considering my nickname is “glitter-shitter” . . . I can probably talk this one up! However, it really is a work in progress and took some self-esteem work to reach this status of looking at life from a rainbows-and-sunshine perspective (most days).
Practicing positive affirmations (see my website for a scrolling list of heart-shaped affirmations I created for myself), mindfulness exercises and focusing on being present in the NOW, along with concerted efforts to look for the gift within difficult moments, all contributed to this positive state of being.
Do you consider yourself a positive person? If not, are you willing to take steps in order to create a more positive outlook?
Exercise: Make a list of ways you have demonstrated positvity in your life. Your list can have 1, 10, 100, 1000 examples. Whatever you feel compelled to write. Then examine ONE of those more closely, writing down as much detail as possible about that particular positivity event.
Coming up next month: A checklist of positive outcomes and Habits and hurdles.
I am grateful to have had the chance to sit down with Joyelle Brandt to discuss her mission of helping those who are parenting with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Thank you, Joyelle, for sharing your personal story and the beautiful work you are doing helping others along their parenting and healing journey. What a gift for those families and the children who will benefit from the steps their parents are taking to heal.
“Joyelle Brandt is a self care coach for moms. She specializes in working with mothers who are survivors of abuse, to help them develop a personalized self soothing toolkit for stress management. As aspeaker, mothering coach, and multi-media creator, Joyelle works to dismantle the stigma that keeps childhood abuse survivors stuck in shame and self-hatred. She is the author/illustrator of Princess Monsters from A to Z and co-editor of Parenting with PTSD, the groundbreaking anthology that breaks the silence about the long-term impact of childhood trauma so that parents can break the cycle of abuse.
When she is not busy raising two rambunctious boys, she is most often found playing her guitar or covered in paint at her art desk. You can keep up with Joyelle at www.joyellebrandt.com“
* Honestly, this was a difficult interview for me to conduct due to my trauma history and propensity for avoidance. Definitely a tough subject to discuss. Particularly when it came to the subject of “hope”. I am a hope-filled, hope-inspired, hope-flinging soul. Listen in as Dean discusses his book The Impossible Conversation and upcoming book/workbook release this spring. My question to you is . . . #whatishope
Join me in this deep and thought-provoking conversation with Dean Walker about his upcoming book/workbook release (coming spring, 2019), his mission, philosophies, and more!
From Dean’s website:
“Welcome to our Living Resilience website. Founded by renowned author, speaker and life coach, Carolyn Baker and author, resilience coach and transformational training designer, Dean Walker – Living Resilience is an alliance of authors, journalists, health professionals, concerned global citizens, scientists and artists.
What we all have in common is a mutual concern that humanity has conducted itself in such a way (primarily for the past one hundred years) that has landed us in a Twenty-First Century confronting not only vexing problems at every scale of life on Earth, but, more importantly, a set of predicaments that show no sign of relief or solution.”
What Dean has going on at the moment …
The book, released last year, The Impossible Conversation: choosing reconnection and resilience at the end of Business as Usual.
A new batch of online support content, self-paced on demand courses, resilience coaching for individuals, families and organizations, online focused advanced practices.
Safe Circle: An online, free support group that meets on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Tuesday of every month, sign up for the Zoom video call invitations on the website, www.LivingResilience.net.
Podcast: The Poetry of Predicament Podcast – a YouTube channel
Lastly, and by far the largest project at the moment, a new book and workbook combination, due out early in 2019. These two books are intended to be far more practical for the person who is grappling with finding meaning, purpose and reclaiming agency and right-relationship – in a post-truth, predicament-laden world.
This series will focus on the benefits of being persistent along your healing quest. I will, again, be speaking from experience. Some practical advice mixed with sprinklings of raw truth (those “This sucks and I really want to give up” moments).
This will work best if you have a journal, pad of paper, or Word doc dedicated to this exercise as I will be asking you to keep notes which you will need to refer back to as we progress.
Subtopics will include:
What does persistence really mean?
How do we define positivities?
A checklist of positive outcomes.
Habits and hurdles.
Encouraging one another.
I look forward to embarking on a Positivities of Persistence journey with you!
I was honored to have Dr. Greg Williams join me for a powerful conversation about his upcoming book release “Shattered by the Darkness: Putting the Pieces Back Together After Child Abuse”, his mission, personal story of triumph, and more!
Per Greg’s website: “Dr. Gregory Williams has written a new book that chronicles his lifelong journey of child abuse and its aftermath. It has taken Dr. Gregory more than 30 years to begin unveiling the horrors of what happened to him throughout his entire childhood. His book recounts the sexual exploitation he endured at the hands of his own father for 12 years.” https://shatteredbythedarkness.com/
Be sure to check out these articles, highlighting Greg’s story, posted in the ACEs Connection community:
I want to share one coping strategy a month. These are strategies I use (or have used) in my own life as I travel the healing journey. I hope they bring you tranquility, as well!
Create a safe space for yourself.
This can be a safe space in your mind where you can go when feeling anxious. Mine is a cozy little nook, surrounded by books and filled with a snuggly bed with lots of pillows and blankets, looking out a ceiling to floor window over a brilliant blue ocean, with a calming breeze flowing through the room, and sunlight streaming from behind a lone white cloud. Use as much detail as you can muster. What does the space smell like, what’s the temperature, what’s there in the space? Are you outside or inside? Remember, this is YOUR space. Fill it with you and everything that makes your heart happy.
Or an actual space. Filled with all things comforting, supportive, love-infused, and joyous. Make it about you and your needs. What makes your soul happy? Fill YOUR space with THAT.
I was thrilled to have Lucia Giovannini join me for a beautiful and enlightened conversation about her upcoming book release in the United States, her life mission, soul work, animal advocacy, and so much more! Be sure to check out the quiz on her website! Thank you so much for joining us.
“Lucia Giovannini is a former Italian supermodel turned best-selling author, spiritual teacher, transformational coach, environmental & animal activist, and author of 13 books. Her best-selling book, “A Whole New Life”, was first published in Italian and is now translated into eight languages, including an English version published by Hay House India. Her book has sold thousands of copies around the world and will be debuting in the US in March 2019. Growing up in Africa, Lucia often caused her parents’ hearts to skip a beat when she befriended the wildlife, from lizards to crocodiles. Till this day, she remains a passionate animal rights activist. She is a Master Fire-walking Trainer, an NLP and Neuro-Semantics Trainer, and a recognized international Life Coach.”
“Mom, Your life and work are so inspiring. Your social media presence is a light for people on a day to day basis. Your podcasts are influencing in all the right ways. Your writings are beautiful works of love that all need to hear. Keep up all your hard work and the dividends will exponentially grow. Remember that love is everywhere and I will always support you, even from across the country from atop mountains. Love, John”
John Wellbrock – letter to mom, Teri Wellbrock, Christmas 2018
I have been collecting hearts for a few years now. My friends will send me photos of hearts they find. I will post pics on social media of my heart finds. I even recently wrote an e-book, Stop Thinking . . . Just Love, filled with over six hundred heart photos. I have a collection of hearts on their own page on my website. And in my sacred writing space, I have a collection of special hearts given to me by loved ones, friends, and therapists.
Christmas 2018 I added a special Rocky Mountains heart to my treasure. My oldest son, John, my kindred spirit, my boy with a physicist’s mind and a poet’s heart, gave me the gift of a rock for Christmas.
Yep. A rock.
Plus, a letter. Written from his heart.
I have sometimes questioned my parenting skills. Am I doing this right? Did I coddle them too much, trying to compensate for my own painful childhood, filled with moments of terror and abandonment? Did I do too much for them? Overprotect them to a fault? Should I have let them fall and stumble more often? I wanted them safe. I wanted them to feel loved and protected and treasured. I wanted them to know they were wanted and their opinions mattered.
Or I’d ridicule myself for not being strong enough to fight for them. For emotionally abandoning them when I was lost and hurting. Those endless years I’d spent holed up in a dark room, smoking cigarettes, playing mindless computer games or seeking solace from strangers in AOL chat rooms, shooing my children away.
Learning to forgive myself, forgive my parents, and forgive my transgressors, altered my life. It’s not for everyone. But, that’s what worked for me. That’s my message to the world. Take it or leave it.
I reminded a friend the other day that no matter what decisions we make regarding our children, if we do so with love as our driving force, with intentions filled with hopeful promise, then, yes, we are doing it right.
Years ago, I told my children I was so very sorry for anything I had done to hurt them. I explained that none of it was ever done in malice. I accepted responsibility for my actions in hurting them. And they graciously offered the beautiful gift of forgiveness to me.
Yesterday, on Christmas morning, 2018, as my tears flowed, and I threw my arms around my now twenty-five-year-old baby boy, I knew in my heart . . . I did it right.
And as I kissed my eighty-three-year-old mother good-bye, as she left our home, my heart overflowing with joy at her having made it through our first family Christmas celebration EVER without drinking alcohol, I realized that she did it right, too.
She had abandoned me emotionally as a child while lost in her own pain and her self-medicating through Valium and booze. She had summoned my father to hit me when she wanted silence. Yet, I know on a soul level, she loved me. And some how, some way, that love permeated.
So here we are. Healing a once-festering wound. Enjoying our new normal, a relationship filled with phone calls and shopping and laughter and movie dates. Mother-daughter endeavors I had only dreamed of having and had envied in others.
I now realize my mom needed to heal her own pain. Did she hurt me in her flailing? Absolutely. Am I saying it was acceptable? Absolutely not. What I am saying is that parenting is a struggle . . . especially when we have lived adverse childhood experiences ourselves and are still working through our own healing process. Yet, love prevails. It really does.
Some may disagree with me. That’s fine. But, I like to look at the positives and focus on the hope. The hope of healing. The hope that permeates forgiveness. The hope that is love.
So, yes, here we are. Loving our children, my mom and me. We did it in our own ways. But, we did it right.
Before diving into step 7, 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 7: Learn to become our own hero.
One of those ah-ha moments in my life came when I realized that it was not up to anyone else to “save” me. Instead, I started to look to myself for empowerment. I experienced what I call “a shift” in 2013. Think of it as a change in philosophy, a willingness to open myself up to healing and answers. I allowed myself the gift of becoming my own hero. We all have the capacity for becoming our own superhero; we just need to open our hearts, minds, and souls to the possibility.
So, how did I learn to become my own hero? A whole helluva lot of research . . . along with some trial and error. The sole purpose of my Unicorn Shadows: From Trauma to Triumph – A Healing Guide book that I am finishing up the manuscript on is to guide others through the research I completed and allow readers an opportunity to engage in the steps I utilized.
I will give you a head start here and offer five suggestions for starting your superhero work (go ahead and put that cape on!):
Build your knowledge by reading, watching, listening, and absorbing all you can about healthy self-care strategies: I have a resource library full of books I have read (filled with mark-ups for ideas that spoke to my soul). I will be adding those titles to my website some time over the next few months. I’ll be sure to send you an access code once I do so you can dive into those books and articles. I also have a bookmark folder on my web browser filled with articles and websites that provide healing guidance. I would list them all, but what speaks to MY soul might not speak to YOURS. Therefore, I recommend you search for self-help topics that pique your interest. Do searches on your local library site (did you know you can check out books online, too?), Amazon, YouTube, Vimeo, web browsers, by key words, Pinterest, Facebook – the options are endless.
Be open to crazy awesome options for healing: When I started opening my mind up to new possibilities for healing my trauma wounds and relieving the resulting symptoms, miracles started to happen. No, seriously. For real. I started practicing exercises such as Ho’oponopono Hawaiian healing technique, the Ah Meditation, energy healing, and so much more. Next on my list is goat yoga! Watch my beautiful podcast interview with Belinda Farrell of Huna Healing for more information on Ho’oponopono.
Choose one and try it: This seems pretty self-evident, but how many times have we made grandiose plans, done the research, but then stopped right there. It’s scary sometimes to try something new. Right? But, the best way to learn if something will help you feel more empowered is to simply DO it. Give it a whirl. Maybe a few whirls. If it works . . . yay! You can add that patch to your superhero cape. If not, see the next suggestion.
If it does not work, file it away, see it as a learning lesson, and move on to the next idea: This can be tough, too. We feel like we are giving up. Or maybe questioning, “Why does this work for other people, but not me?” Please know that we are all different with an eclectic mix of backgrounds. What works for one person might not work for us because of genetics or experiences (such as adverse childhood experiences or ACEs) or a combination of factors. Regardless, it’s okay. Put it in the “life lesson” file folder and move on to another superhero adventure.
Build your superhero portfolio to use as needed: Once you have established a collection of tools . . . think of Batman’s utility belt . . . you will feel more empowered just by having more choices from which to turn to for your self-care strategies. But, keep on adding options as you grow stronger. Get yourself ready for your superhero strut. Watch out, world. Another bad-ass trauma-warrior is in the making.
Coming up next month: Step 8: Be gentle with ourselves.
*Excerpt from my upcoming Hope for Healing Newsletter . . . I would love to welcome you onto the Hope for Healing team! Join me here!