The Healing Place Podcast: Episode 39

I had the pleasure of conversing on-air with Chaplain Chris Haughee, to discuss trauma-informed ministry and his role as chaplain at Intermountain in Helena, Montana, on my most recent episode of The Healing Place Podcast, available on iTunes, Blubrry or directly on my website at www.teriwellbrock.com/podcasts/.

Chris shared his insights with me by answering my interview questions beforehand, as well. With his permission, I am sharing his written responses with you:

Today, I welcome Chaplain Chris Haughee (pronounced “Hoy”), who is joining us to discuss trauma-informed ministry practices and his experience as a chaplain to the children of Intermountain, a residential facility for severely emotionally disturbed children in Helena, Montana.

The Reverend Chris Haughee is a licensed minister of the Evangelical Covenant Church and has served as chaplain of Intermountain’s residential services in Helena, Montana, since 2012. An adoptive father to two, Chaplain Chris Haughee is an advocate for greater inclusion of foster and adoptive families in the life and ministry of local congregations. You can follow his ministry at www.intermountainministry.org, contact him at chrish@intermountain.org or order the curriculum Bruised Reeds and Smoldering Wicks to learn more about becoming a trauma-informed ministry.

Q: Please tell us a little bit about your story.

It’s been four years ago now. My son had a particularly bad day at school, and his rage had hit the point at home that evening where I needed to wrap my arms around him until he calmed down. When he finally settled into my embrace, he sobbed. He couldn’t look me in the eye as I asked him how he felt. Head in hands he muttered, “I feel yucky inside, and I feel like that almost all the time.”

Despite all the love being poured into him, nothing was sticking because of his profound sense of shame. Holding my broken-hearted son, I have never felt more broken and helpless as a father. As a dad, when you see your child hurting, you’d do anything possible to help. That image of my son sitting in my lap, hands over his face unable to look at me and see the love and care in my eyes, will remain with me forever. It has driven me deeper into my own sense of call to express the love of God to those most desperately in need of it, especially those trapped in shame.

This experience steeled my resolve to help other parents, and other pastors and ministries, through producing materials that would train, encourage, and empower the community of faith to help hurting children.

Q: If you could reach as many people in the world as possible with your message, who would you want your audience to be? 

My primary audience is the church, especially those in leadership. Churches and ministries can be very effective communities for reducing stigma, healing trauma, and building resilience. Unfortunately, these same communities can also re-traumatize people, marginalize those most in need of help and healing, and can be guilty of holding any number of views towards mental illness and emotional disturbance that aren’t only bad practice when it comes to ministry, but also don’t truly align with their theology and mission, because they aren’t supported biblically.

I have worked hard at producing materials that would train, encourage, and empower the community of faith to help hurting children. My first attempt at creating such a resource is a six-week study for adults called “Bruised Reeds and Smoldering Wicks,” released in 2017. In the last fifteen months, it has been ordered by ministries and social service agencies representing 33 different states, two countries and the District of Columbia. It’s an effort in building “trauma-informed ministries.” A trauma-informed ministry is one that understands the impact of early childhood and other relational trauma has on brain development and social and spiritual functioning.

For those curious about the content of the curriculum, here is a brief outline:

  • Week One: Jesus and the children; key idea: Jesus welcomes ALL children, even those affected by trauma, toxic stress, or adversity (ACEs)
  • Week Two: Advocacy… what is this “trauma-informed” talk all about?; key idea: In order to advocate for children and families impacted by trauma, your church should consider trauma-informed ministry.
  • Week Three: Was Jesus’ ministry “trauma-informed?”; key idea: Jesus understood the devastating effects of trauma and adversity and his ministry was shaped in a way that responded to our needs.
  • Week Four: How the traumatized can look like they “have it all together.” key idea: those that are dealing with trauma don’t all look the same. Even leaders in your community have been touched by trauma… so everyone should be treated compassionately.
  • Week Five: Does being trauma-informed mean we avoid saying hard things? key idea: Jesus was compassionate, yet firm… being trauma-informed means you prepare for the strong reaction some topics may elicit, not that you avoid all issues that may elicit a strong reaction.
  • Week Six: Responding to trauma within the compassionate Kingdom of God; key idea: God’s Kingdom stands apart from this world’s kingdoms, bringing justice and mercy where trauma and heartache have prevailed.
  • BONUS MATERIALS: “Advocating for Rachel”–a case study from a licensed child and family therapist with suggestions for interventions that a church can appropriately implement to help hurting children and families!

I am currently working on a new edition of the curriculum that would include two additional studies on working with adults that have experienced trauma or are currently going through traumatic experiences and mental health issues, and a week on “next steps,” or how a group that has engaged the rest of the study can determine where to start in forming trauma-informed ministry practices that fit their context.

Q: Why is trauma-informed ministry and working with traumatized children so important to YOU?

It’s important to me because of my personal connection, in my home and in my work. I can see that those hurting and traumatized individuals are the very ones that Jesus was drawn to in his earthly ministry. My “life verse” is 1 John 2:6—“Anyone who claims to live in him must walk (live) as Jesus did.” So, this is about me “walking my talk.” If I am a Jesus follower, I better be about the things Jesus was passionate about. There is no escaping that Jesus was passionate about children and about those who are marginalized by their situation or their suffering.

Q: Are there any myths or facts you would like to clarify for our listeners?

Being “trauma-informed” in ministry is not a program. It’s not a fad or gimmick. It’s a lens through which you can come to see the world differently. It’s not unlike the “scales falling from Saul’s eyes” when he is healed of his blindness (through Ananias) after encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:18). Once you learn about ACEs and trauma and the impact it has on a person—physically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually… well, you’d wonder how you ever saw things differently.

For instance, I will take Jesus’ teaching on worry from the Sermon on the Mount as an example of how knowing about ACEs and trauma helps you to se the world differenty (Matthew 6:25-34). In this teaching, Jesus says, “Do not worry about your life and what you will eat or drink… and what you will wear… Can you add even one hour to your life by worrying?”

How many of us have heard from messages on this teaching? After hearing a sermon on the subject of worry, how many of us have walked away thinking, “I should worry less! Jesus just wants me to trust God, so my anxiety means I am not being faithful.” Ironically, we might end up worrying about how much we worry!

Now here’s where knowing about the challenges facing those with ACEs should be reflected in our interpretation of this teaching: telling the survivor of ACEs to worry less, and that’s what Jesus wants you to do, is about as sensitive as telling a disabled child that they need to stop using their wheelchair and that Jesus wants them to walk. Many with ACEs wish they could be less anxious, but their brains adjusted to an elevated level of stress hormones early in their development.

Physically, their nervous and endocrine systems are not the same as someone who didn’t have that adversity in childhood. If someone’s infirmity doesn’t scream out to our sense of sight, touch, or hearing we shouldn’t assume it is less significant. The ACE Study found that the child with six or more ACEs will likely die 20 years earlier than the child with no ACEs. That’s significant.

Are we missing the point of the passage by shaming others and ourselves about our anxiety? I contend that Jesus was less concerned about worry than our inability to recognize our dependence on God. What did Jesus speak to? Worry about food, drink, and clothes. For most, provision of these basic needs in childhood was not an issue. But, for the child who truly didn’t have enough to eat as a child, who learned to hoard when food was available, THAT child just might have food issues—that’s just one common example I see in my ministry. Consider how you would tell these children about Jesus’ message on worry instead of the kids that argue about how many stalks of broccoli they might have to eat in order to get dessert.

When you can do that, you will know that you are on your way to being trauma-informed and that the scales have fallen from your eyes, as well!

Q: What support and resources have YOU utilized or recommend for our audience?

Perhaps a little selfishly, I’d like people to engage in the materials I have written… the curriculum called Bruised Reeds and Smoldering Wicks. I don’t benefit from the sale of these materials. All the proceeds go towards Intermountain, the place of my employment and ministry.

I can also recommend Key Ministries and the book “Mental Health and the Church,” as well as colleague Rene Howitt’s work at Cope24. I just reviewed a Bible study she has worked on that will be published later this year, and it’s really good. Personally, I can recommend the work of Lisa Qualls at OneThankfulMom.com. Also, any materials that come out of the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University, were they teach TBRI: Trust-based Relational Intervention, which is very similar to the relational-developmental work that Intermountain does.

Q: How did you overcome/handle your own trauma and parenting a trauma-affected child? What do you suggest our listeners do to help them overcome/handle trauma, and how it intersects with their faith?

To quote a friend who just gave her testimony at our church about her own struggles with mental health misdiagnosis and recovery, she was told after her first hospitalization, “This won’t be the first time you deal with this.” Our trauma is always with us. It’s about viewing your trauma-story as something you own, rather than being owned by your trauma. It doesn’t define you, but it has shaped you. Once I could accept that for myself and for my child, and for all the children I work with, I could embrace hope.

Ultimately, that’s what faith is about… hope. Hope that our present situation or circumstance isn’t all there is. Hope that we can find community and healing together. I’d like to encourage your listeners to walk towards their trauma in whatever way they can, with as much support and help as they can muster from their community, friends and family, and know that they can transform their pain into their power with enough time and patience with themselves. Hold on to hope.

Q: If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who could help you with working with traumatized children, who would it be?

Well, Jesus would be the obvious answer, right? And, my faith teaches me that Jesus is very much alive… not just in the words of scripture, but in the real life encounters I have on a daily basis. As he taught us in the parable of the sheep and the goats from Matthew’s gospel… every time we extend kindness and grace to someone who is marginalized, without hope, or is distressed, we are actually interacting with Jesus. The saints of the church have always understood this to be true. It fueled individuals like Mother Teresa. It empowered the social justice of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And… so many others that won’t ever be famous our applauded in this lifetime.

Q: What is your dream job? Does it revolve around this topic? Do you want to be more involved in trauma-related ministry?

I think I am in my dream job, at least for now! I’d like to think I can speak with some insight to this very difficult and complicated topic of trauma-informed ministry because I am a pastor, parent, and ministry professional in a residential facility for severely emotionally disturbed and traumatized children. It’s not a calling I would have selected for myself when I was a younger man, but it’s deeply rewarding because I know that I am engaged in a ministry that means something… not just now, but for generations that follow and, God willing, for eternity as people who have felt outside of God’s love and acceptance understand their place in the community of faith.

I’d love to have the freedom to travel a bit more and share the passion I have for this work. I also wish I had a bit more of the research psychologist’s expertise, as I am working on building resilience in the children I work with and have attempted to measure the effectiveness of that work. It’s just not in my wheelhouse, so to speak, so I am hoping that God brings someone forward that shares my passion and has the research expertise to work with the data I am compiling! We’ll see… I am a dreamer and an idealist, and I think that scientifically proving that trauma-informed ministry can build resilience in severely disturbed children just might be what it would take for more ministry professionals to catch on!

Here’s an article I wrote about the resilience-focused curriculum I am writing:

Building Resilience for Better Lives (article for March 17, 2018 religion page)

Life is hard. “In this world you WILL have trouble,” Jesus said. The ability to successfully face the hardships that will inevitably come to us will determine our level of satisfaction, joy, and peace. Resilience isn’t just a desirable trait, it’s absolutely essential. And, it turns out that scripture has a lot to say about this essential quality for successful living.

There are many passages we could examine to illustrate the point, but the letter from James is one of my favorites. Eugene Peterson does a good job capturing the meaning of James 1:12– “Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.” Patient endurance. Perseverance. Determination. Grit. All these characteristics are desired to face and overcome adversity.

When working with and ministering to severely emotionally disturbed children, instilling these characteristics is a necessity. Children who have experienced early childhood trauma, sometimes called “ACEs” or adverse childhood experiences, desperately need to know that God loves them and that they have the skills and abilities to meet their present challenges and future difficulties. It’s not enough to simply love them and teach them Bible stories. They NEED the tools to take what they are learning from Intermountain’s amazing staff so they can apply it to their lives and integrate it into their belief system. When they believe the truths we seek to impart and embrace the unconditional nature of God’s love and our care, then we know we have made a lasting difference. That is why I have purposefully shifted the ministry focus at Intermountain Residential to building resiliency in the thirty-two children under our care.

Resilience is more than simply picking yourself up after you get knocked down, it involves environmental and biological factors that are often out of our control. As Paul Tough writes in his excellent book, How Children Succeed, the science of resilience tells us “that the character strengths that matter so much to young people’s success are not innate… they are not simply a choice. They are rooted in brain chemistry, and they are molded, in measureable and predictable ways, by the environment in which children grow up.”

For over a decade, many of those involved in social work have recognized the need to focus on a child’s strengths rather than their deficits. As the Social Work Policy Institute states, effective social work with vulnerable children has shifted to a “strengths perspective,” and as a result, “increased attention was paid to personal qualities and social influence that promote or reflect health and well-being.” I love the idea of building on the strengths the children I work with already have and then structuring my lessons and instruction in chapel around those traits identified to further build resilience.

I am currently writing a curriculum that ties into the measure developed by the Resilience Research Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia (resilienceproject.org). Using their “Child and Youth Resilience Measure,” I have been interviewing the children of Intermountain for the last four months and the initial results are encouraging. Recently, two formerly fearful children looked me in the eye at their discharge and could recount the things they learned and the skills they gained while in our care. They could see the connection to their faith and how their story and God’s story were now woven together on the path to resilience, experiencing greater hope, joy, and peace.

“In this world you will have trouble,” Jesus said. The children of Intermountain know that trouble better than most! Jesus continued, “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Let us join together in God’s Kingdom work, building more resilient children, families and communities.

If this effort is something you’d be interested in knowing more about, I’d encourage you to contact me or find out more about Intermountain and Elevate Montana. The Helena Affiliate of Elevate Montana meets monthly and is an inspiring group of people serving in a number of fields and capacities throughout Helena. If we’re going to make a difference in the hearts, minds and souls of children and youth in our community, we’ll need everyone’s help in some way.

 

What Is EMDR Therapy?

Following is an excerpt from my upcoming September newsletter. This month I cover: Step 3 in the Defining Resilience series – Utilize Self-Care Strategies; a video on anxiety and panic attack coping skills; information on EMDR therapy; and creating a safe space as a coping mechanism. I would love to have you (or anyone you know who could benefit from my insights) subscribe to this and future newsletters at Hope for Healing Newsletter, as I work to grow my audience.
What is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR Therapy has been life-altering for me. In 2013 I experienced what I reference in my presentations as a “shift”. I was struggling in a toxic relationship, trying to come to terms with my trauma history, and attempting to juggle various personal issues. It was within the confines of Dr. Barb Hensley’s office, at Cincinnati Trauma Connection, where I finally confronted the dark spaces of my traumas and learned to process them, releasing the stored up energy which had been surfacing as severe panic attacks for the previous twenty-five years.

So, what is EMDR Therapy? EMDR is the acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It was initially developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro as a method for helping soldiers, returning from war, combat their post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. However, it has since been utilized to help hundreds of thousands of patients process traumatic experiences.

More information about the therapeutic technique can be found at the American Psychological Association’s Clinical Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

My personal experience during sessions included the following:

Sometimes I would use a light bar in my therapist’s office, keeping my head still and allowing my eyes to move back and forth, following a flowing green light stream from left to right and back again. Other times, I would close my eyes (as I was being distracted peripherally) and focus on the vibrating paddles I held in my hands. Those would alternate vibrations, left, right, left, right, left, right, and so on. My eye movements would naturally fall into a rhythmic back and forth movement, similar to the movement experienced during REM sleep.

While following the light bar or hand vibration pattern, I would be prompted to return to one of my traumatic experiences. The vast majority of the time something would instantaneously surface. A body memory. A flashback. A sensation. Something would appear. Sometimes it would be a snippet I had remembered outside of therapy, other times a memory would appear from an unconscious space. It would be filled with specifics I had long forgotten (such as the blue oval-shaped rug, sprawled across the floor next to my black metal-framed bunk beds, in my bedroom in our home in Park Hills, Kentucky- a memory from age four).

Sobbing, shaking, overwhelming emotions, and sometimes the symptoms of a panic attack would arise. The soothing voice of my counselor would be there to assure me that I was safe. It was there I would first learn to “just notice”.

I became aware of my triggers and realized the body memories were there to help me instead of scare me. I started to look forward to the sessions so I could dive headfirst into the chaos in order to find more answers. There was light within the darkness.

We touched upon every known traumatic experience, sometimes returning to an event repeatedly as something would surface later down the road. At first these visits into the past were seen as if I was watching a movie, from a dissociated space. I was watching someone do horrific things to a little girl from outside of myself.

I knew the day I returned to a trauma and saw it happening from within my body, through my own eyes, that I had reached a place of healing. To feel safe within my body as I relived a moment of terror during an EMDR therapy session was truly empowering.

EMDR allowed me the opportunity to process a massively complex history of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, neglect, exposure to violent crimes, and addiction in my family. I am now panic attack free. While I still experience heightened anxiety in certain situations, I am better equipped to calm my physiological responses, being mindful of my needs and triggers and the coping skills I can utilize to help myself overcome the fear.

Coming next month: What is PTSD?

Episode 36: Stacy Brookman – Resilience & Life Storytelling Expert

During a recent episode of The Healing Place podcast, I sat down with ACES Connection member, Stacy Brookman, host of the Real Life Resilience Podcast, to discuss her role as a resilience and life storytelling expert, finding clarity, her upcoming Emotional Abuse Recovery and Resilience Summit (of which I am one of forty-five featured speakers . . . yay!), and more.

Follow the links below to learn more about Stacy, life storytelling, to register for free for the 12-day summit starting September 1st, and the FREE guide listing the 35 most impactful books for emotional abuse.

Stacy Brookman

Life Story Laboratory – Summit Registration

FREE Guide – 35 Most Impactful Books for Emotional Abuse

 

stacy brookman

Listen in on iTunesBlubrry, or directly from my website as Stacy discusses her important work in the field of resilience.

Peace,

Teri Wellbrock

www.teriwellbrock.com

 

* I am excited to have more therapists, trauma-gurus, and ACES experts lined up over the next few weeks for podcast interviews. I would love to have YOU join me, as well. If you are interested, please send me a private messages through this site and I will send you my podcast interview questions for you to review.

I am a huge fan of lifting one another up as beacons of light for those who are struggling, looking for guidance, or lost in the dark. I would love to offer my podcast as a platform for your voice about your mission and passion. My goal is to provide motivational, inspirational, and healing stories for my listeners.

The Gift Within the Struggle

Sometimes we stumble, tumble and then lie there flat on our face whimpering for a bit. I had a moment of this last week on our family trip to Panama City Beach, Florida. I struggled a bit with being on the highway on the eleven hour drive down, being in open spaces on the beach, and trying to climb a tall white-water-rapids ride. Sometimes my trauma history sneaks up on me. Then anxiety and panic envelop my peace.

So I wallowed in self-pity for half a day and moaned about it all on a personal Facebook post. Then, I did some self-soothing, gave myself a pep talk, and pulled up my big girl pants.

I found the gift within the struggle.

A reminder to keep fighting. This is why I am writing my book. This is why the completed manuscript will be done next month. My God-nudge to keep on going. The universe held up a mirror in front of my face to say, “You can do this!”

So, I did. I made myself practice all of those coping skills I tout in my book. I faced some fears. I walked out into the water, even though I was experiencing body memory flashbacks, and I tossed lacrosse and football with my family. I sat in a beach chair without an umbrella, pushing myself a little further than I was comfortable, in order to test my resolve. I reminded myself that this book and all it promotes for healing would not be filled with positive energy if I was not actually living the words.

So, thank you, God. Thank you for challenging me. Thank you for those hurdles. Thank you for reminding me how strong I can be. Thank you for believing in me enough to nudge me forward just a little more.

Peace and blessings to you all.
Teri
www.teriwellbrock.com

Defining Resilience: Step 3 – Utilize Self-Care Strategies

I have been working on my September newsletter and thought this was an independently shareable section. Enjoy! Be sure to sign up for my newsletter for more “hope for healing” guidance.

Step 3: Utilize Self-Care Strategies

I created a list of coping skills I have learned and utilized along my healing journey. This is most certainly not an all-inclusive list. My recommendation to you is start researching ideas for some self-care strategies. Then try them on for size. Some will work, some will not. We are unique beings so there is no cure-all fix. I, personally, love writing with meditative music in the background. Friends of mine have tried listening to meditative music while working and practically dozed off. Their productivity nose-diving into snoozeville.

However, to aid you on your self-care journey, here are ten kick-start ideas:

Surround yourself with positivity: Positive energy. Positive people. Positive places. If you find yourself surrounded by energy-vampires, eliminate your exposure to their toxic energy or, at least, off-set it with positive people.

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Nap: Seriously. Treat yourself to a nap. Curl up with a favorite movie and a blankie. Sit outside in a lounge chair, close your eyes and let yourself doze off for a bit. Snuggle with a fur-baby and snooze away. Allow yourself the gift of rest.

Exercise without telling yourself you are exercising: One of my best friends came over for a swim and she mentioned how she loved swimming laps and doing treading exercises while we all hung out in the pool because it didn’t “feel like exercise”. Dance for an hour around your house. Take a bike ride. Walk your dog for thirty minutes. Anything that has you moving without dreading it.

Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

Know your food cravings: Being aware of food’s addictive effect on me (I am a carboholic and sweet-tooth junkie!) has helped me curb those cravings a bit. Therefore, I have been trying more Paleo-based recipes. Particularly in the crock-pot so dinner is ready when we walk in the door.

Try a fun new social gathering: Singo rocks! It’s like Bingo (Tuesday nights, sitting next to my Grandma Kitty, in Guardian Angels church undercroft come to mind), but instead of scanning your card for O-63 and B-11, you sing along to songs and find those on your Singo card. It’s my new favorite!

Practice positive self-talk: I saw my reflection in the mirror as I cleaned our bathroom this morning and I stopped to smile at me. Then I said, “I love you, T. You’re cute.” Try to be your own best friend. Lift yourself up with encouraging words.

Treat yourself: I am headed off to Florida (which is a treat in and of itself) and decided a super-blonde, super-short new “do” was in order. Remember, you are so incredibly worthy. Reward yourself for all the tasks you accomplish every day.

Create your own space: My writing space is a sanctuary filled with everything Teri – from my currently burning vanilla-scented candle to my angel paintings to my collection of treasured hearts and so much more. Allow yourself a sacred space dedicated to you.

Appreciate nature: Find time to walk outside, even for just a few minutes, and enjoy something – the warmth of the sun, the pink clouds at sunset, a parade of ants marching off with seeds in tow, the sounds of birds chatting on a wire. Nature is a grounding force that reminds us of the simplicity of life.

Find a new hobby: I love finding and collecting hearts. I also love photos. I have combined the two and created a new page on my website featuring all of my heart pics. Most of them I have taken, but a few have been shared with me by friends. I have friends and family looking for love all around them, as well, as they seek out hearts.

Coming up next month: Step 4: Take action steps to create positive change.

Podcast Episode 26: Suicide Awareness

Episode 26: Suicide Awareness

During this podcast, I sat down with Stephanie Potter and her granddaughter, Emma, co-founders of the non-profit agency Rob’s Kids. The motto of this organization is:

rob's kids 4

As described on their website:

“Over 98% of the funds we raise go directly to programs that promote and improve children’s mental health.  Programs we support include: Mentoring programs, after school programs, food assistance programs, scholarship programs, various community projects through out the year.”

Emma & Sammie
Therapy Dog, Sammie, mid-smooches with Emma Potter during podcast recording session

The traumatic impact of Emma’s father’s suicide on her older sister, Sam, resulted in her sister spending time at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital with a diagnosis of depression and also post-traumatic stress disorder.

Listen in on iTunesBlubrry, or directly from my website as Emma & Stephanie discuss Rob’s Kids, the impact of suicide on their lives, their healing journey thus far, art therapy, signs of depression, seeking help, their heroes, and so much more.

As I say in my podcast closings, “remember to be gentle with yourself.”

* Every few days I will be posting links to various episodes from The Healing Place Podcast from 2018 thus far. I am excited to have more therapists, trauma-gurus, and ACES experts lined up over the next few weeks for interviews. I would love to have YOU join me, as well. If you are interested, please send me a private messages through this site and I will send you my podcast interview questions for you to review.

I am a huge fan of lifting one another up as beacons of light for those who are struggling, looking for guidance, or lost in the dark. I would love to offer my podcast as a platform for your voice about your mission and passion. My goal is to provide motivational, inspirational, and healing stories for my listeners.

Funks & Punks

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

Photo by Manuel Meurisse on Unsplash

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

Yet.

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

 

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

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


Photo by Bryan Minear on Unsplash

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Love and hugs,

T

Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash

www.teriwellbrock.com

The Power of Self-Care

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace to you,

Teri

Weekly Update – Book Proposal

Weekly update!

This week has been fairly quiet on the book-front. The completed proposal is in my editor’s hands. She will have it back to me by the first week of February. Then I can edit away!

As for the book itself . . . I am so excited to have an outline to work with and a plan for it. Finally. As I’ve told so many, I’ve been writing this book for years. In, what feels like, circles. Always coming back to “what is it I am really trying to say?” I knew in my heart and soul I didn’t want it to be a “woe is me” story all about my trauma. I wanted it to be about hope and healing and the journey toward joy, yet knowing the trauma has to be a part of it.

There is a connection that happens between our souls when we have those “me, too” moments. The haunting beauty of my story is that it paints with a broad trauma brush, touching different people in different ways . . . yet, the vast majority of those folks are striving to live a more joyous, peaceful and purposeful existence. And many are stuck. Not knowing quite how to do move forward.

This is my tale from trauma to triumph, the “how to” for getting oneself unstuck from the muck.

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Tomorrow, I have a meeting to discuss the website development. Excited to move forward with that, as well! Wish me luck.

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A beautiful and incredibly talented friend painted this unicorn shadow for me. It hangs next to my desk in my writing space. I smile at it every day.