I feel honored to have had the opportunity to sit with Louise Godbold, executive director of Echo, whose mission is “to educate trauma survivors (including parents and service professionals) about trauma and resilience in order to promote survivor empowerment, resolve individual and community-level trauma, and create the safe, stable, nurturing relationships that break the cycle of generational trauma”. We engaged in a beautiful conversation covering such topics as:
her Harvey Weinstein #metoo experience
the purpose and passion of Echo
alternative approaches outside of therapy for healing
and her upcoming 2020 Annual Conference featuring Survivors Becoming Empowered!
“Louise Godbold is the Executive Director of Echo. Before joining Echo in 2010, she worked for over 15 years in the nonprofit field, both in nonprofit management and as a consultant. For several years she was retained by UC Berkeley to provide statewide technical assistance to county alcohol and drug administrations. She has also worked for The California Endowment and the Los Angeles County Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, as well as innumerable nonprofits, providing assistance with evaluation, strategic planning and creating research-based programming. Louise is the developer and lead trainer for Echo’s curricula on trauma and resilience. She is a trauma survivor and #MeToo silence breaker.”
What a delightful conversation I engaged in with the passionate and compassionate Shenandoah Chefalo, author of Garbage Bag Suitcase: A Memoir and faculty member of The Center for Trauma Resilient Communities. We dove into the depths of:
the healing work of Crossnore and The Center for Trauma Resilient Communities
“Shenandoah Chefalo’s early childhood and subsequent placement into foster care has given her a personal insight into the trauma that children in our nation experience every day. As an author, coach, and nationally-recognized speaker, Shen advocates for foster children everywhere she goes. She also encourages and challenges those in power on state and federal levels, as well as those providing care, to provide the best care possible for these children. With a lengthy career as a paralegal and director of a law firm, Shen has also seen the legal side of children’s care and how much more trauma may be experienced as a child’s case proceeds through the court system.
Shen has been the owner and chief training advocate of two firms in Michigan offering business and life coaching, consultation, and training across the United States. She has consulted with both private and public sector clients providing group and one-on-one training and coaching, workshops, webinars, and keynote speeches. Shen is particularly adept at helping clients identify and address issues, as well as achieve goals, specifically related to the topics of trauma and adversity.
In addition to her work, Shen has authored three books: Setting Your Vision and Defining Your Goals (2013), Garbage Bag Suitcase (2016), and Hiking for Stillness: Healing Trauma One Step at a Time, expected to be published in 2019. Shen earned a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Science, Human Resources, & Society from Michigan State University, and is a 2011 graduate of Coach U in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a member of the Michigan State Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and currently serves as the State Chairman of DAR Schools.
Shen is married to Gerry and the couple have one daughter, Sophia. The Chefalos enjoy adventure and their travels have taken them around the globe. They especially enjoy their family trips during the Christmas holidays and in 2018, they will be hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro, a dormant volcano in Tanzania. This trip will also raise awareness for children in foster care and funds for Crossnore School & Children’s Home.”
I so enjoyed the opportunity to sit with the soft-spoken, brilliant, passionate, and enlightened Sarah Peyton of Empathy Brain and author of Your Resonant Self: Guided Meditations and Exercises to Engage Your Brain’s Capacity for Healing to discuss:
the concept of time-travel practice (returning to a younger self for healing)
“Sarah Peyton, Certified Trainer of Nonviolent Communication and neuroscience educator, integrates brain science and the use of resonant language to heal trauma. She brings together depth work and self-compassion that integrate relational neuroscience with the transformative potential of language. She teaches and lectures internationally, and is the author of the book ‘Your Resonant Self: Guided Meditations and Exercises to Engage Your Brain’s Capacity for Healing.'”
“Missy Garcia is a wife, mother of two as well as a powerful sex and leadership coach for women who are desperate to escape from their dull and disconnected lives. She is warm, authentic, funny and deeply vulnerable, offering sage advice about sexuality and leadership from a raw place that has developed through her own journey of self-transformation. Missy is passionate about empowering women with tools to come back into the true beauty of who they are, guide them to open their heart to completely loving all of themselves, and totally embracing their badass queen within. She coaches women to access their inner power, be healed from within and bring back the juiciness into their life, careers and relationships.”
Learn more about Missy and her mission at: W: missyagarcia.com E: firstname.lastname@example.org FACEBOOK: @themissyagarcia INSTAGRAM: @themissyagarcia LINKEDIN: linkedin.com/in/missy-a-garcia/ TWITTER: @MissyAGarcia YOUTUBE: Missy A Garcia
Thank you, Dr. Gretchen Schmelzer, for enlightening us even more about the “journey through trauma”. Listen in as Gretchen shares her insights on trauma GPS, her work in the field of trauma-recovery and healing on individual and societal levels, Nelson Mandela, her five phase cycle for healing repeated trauma, and more!
Welcome to The Healing Place Podcast! I am your host, Teri Wellbrock. You can listen in on iTunes, Blubrry, Spotify, or directly on my website at www.teriwellbrock.com/podcasts/. You can also watch our insightful interview on YouTube. These hope-infused episodes are also now available on Deezer, Google Podcasts, Podbean, and more!
“Gretchen Schmelzer, PhD is a licensed psychologist, trained as a Harvard Medical School Fellow and the author of Journey Through Trauma published in 2018 by Penguin Random House. She is a trauma survivor, who has worked for twenty-five years with the complex issues of trauma, integration and behavior change across every level of system from individuals, to groups, to large systems and countries, including her role as the expert consultant for documentary film The Silence which aired on April 19, 2011 on Frontline regarding priest sexual abuse in a Native Alaskan Village to ensure adequate resources for viewers and for proper follow on support for trauma survivors.
Since 2002, Dr. Schmelzer has also been a senior consultant with Teleos Leadership Institute, an international consulting firm serving leaders of fortune 100 businesses and major not-for-profit organizations such as the United Nations. Her expertise in long term trauma was used to inform the design and delivery of a four year large scale intervention for the UN in Cambodia. She and her colleagues worked with 150 leaders each year who were survivors of the Khmer Rouge in a large scale leadership initiative to strengthen the county’s response to HIV/AIDS. The program integrated work in self-awareness and self-regulation, gender issues, communication skills, relational skills and action learning. This program was rated one of the most successful leadership development programs run through the United Nations Development Program by an independent research team.
Gretchen received her doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Northeastern University, and her Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology from Springfield College, and BA from Mount Holyoke College. She completed her clinical training as a Harvard Clinical Fellow and completed her postdoctoral fellowship in Behavioral Medicine at UMASS Medical Center and The Center for Mindfulness. Since October 2014 she is the founder and editor of The Trail Guide, a web-mag featured on www.gretchenschmelzer.com dedicated to healing repeated trauma.”
Book three in this blog series – Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy by Francine Shapiro, PhD.
This book was recommended to me by my therapist in the midst of our four year, ninety-eight session, EMDR healing journey. For those unaware what EMDR is and how it helps, I will give you my trauma-warrior perspective, a view from the inside. EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. During most sessions, I would watch a light bar flash from left to right and back again or hold vibrating paddles in my hands, alternating left, right, left, right. This would result in my eyes naturally falling into a rhythmic back and forth as I was encouraged to revisit traumatic events from my youth.
What would arise during these sessions ranged from body memories, such as a feeling that someone was squeezing my left shoulder in a fierce grip, to flashbacks of images, such as seeing my mother’s face from beneath water as she held me down, to sensations of a spirit presence in the therapist’s office (I believe it was my deceased father trying to help me). Naturally, I would at times experience panic attack symptoms, and would almost always cry. Sometimes slow tears cascading down my cheeks. Other times full-on ugly crying, requiring a pause in the action.
While at times I found this to be terrifying, my therapist was always there to remind me to keep myself grounded, be gentle with myself, just notice the body memories or panic symptoms without judgment, and to guide me to tuck the session into a storage box, until next time, so I was able to walk out of her office, most days, emotionally exhausted but able to continue with my day. EMDR was life-altering. I would not be in the place of tranquility I am today without it.
This book, penned by the developer of EMDR, kept me holding on to hope as I weaved my way in and out of horrific childhood and young adult memories. It was my reminder that the symptoms of my Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) diagnosis need not be permanent. I could learn to process the memories in a healthy way, release stored negative energy, rewire neuron pathways, and create healthy coping strategies and new habitual patterns. Whew! Sounds exhausting, right? It was. But, wow, was it worth it.
PTSD makes life unmanageable. It pushes people into trying to do something to survive the chaos within them.
Using real-life stories throughout this book to guide us readers through the lessons to be learned about trauma and its effect on us in brain/mind/body/spirit levels, helped me feel not-so-alone in my journey. Dr. Shapiro also took me by the hand, along with my therapist, and guided me toward a better understanding of the physiological processes that had occurred during the traumas, and helped me understand what being triggered was doing to me in the present day.
Dr. Shapiro takes us into exercises we can utilize as we move along our healing journey. Trying to survive the chaos within me was a heavy load to carry each day. Not knowing when I would be triggered. How severe the panic attack would be. Wondering if I would actually die from it this time (a racing thought that haunted me mid-panic). However, these self-help techniques outlined in the book encouraged me to believe in the possibility. The possibility of relief. The possibility of hope. The possibility of true healing.
Basically, life is not just about getting rid of suffering. It’s about expanding our potential while embracing feelings of joy and well-being.
This incredible book introduced me to life changing concepts such as mindfulness (which I practice on a daily basis now, particularly on my nature hikes), post-traumatic growth (which I can proudly claim has occurred in my life), and Hope for Healing (my own coined term for what I experienced in my life as a result of EMDR – and also the name of my monthly newsletter).
I hope you find comfort in this collection of stories and pertinent information on trauma-recovery. You are so very worthy of the possibilities EMDR can offer.
I climbed the step stool to peer at the book titles atop the shelves in my closet, hoping to find this week’s must-share for the book review series. I prefer to hold a collection of words in my hand (the smell of a bookstore makes me giddy). But, nothing jumped out at me. So I grabbed my Kindle and opened it to my Book tab. And there it was . . . The Power of NOW: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle. Definitely in my top ten most-inspirational books of all time. This was the first book that created a shift in me, an awaking of new perspectives.
The author takes us on a journey into a deep place within us, a place where the truth is known “within every cell of (our) body”; beyond the masks we wear, the criticisms we’ve cloaked ourselves in, our over-thinker personas, fueled by the old doubts we’ve absorbed into our beings.
One of the most difficult, yet rewarding, ventures I have embarked on has been that of learning to silence my mind in order to truly hear. I, personally, believe I am in tune with my spirit guides, angels, The Universe, whatever you would like to call those spiritual nudges, when I purposefully stop the chatter in my mind and welcome the calm. But, wow, is that a difficult task to learn. However, I shout out an even louder WOW for having gifted myself the transition. This was a life-altering read in that I started the learning journey with this book and that would evolve into my healing journey.
I used to be, most assuredly, an “incessant thinker”, an over-thinker, a ponderer. The ever-persistent bearer of logic. And when I could not “logic” my way out of a panic attack, I felt even more broken. Oh my God, Teri, you’re fine. It’s just a bridge. Yet, there I would sit, mid-bridge, frozen and terrorized, shaking and wanting to leap from it just to escape the invisible monster haunting me.
The Power of Now gently took me by the hand and guided me toward an understanding of tranquility. Yes, it took tremendous effort to change habitual patterns and “disidentify from my mind,” however, I was worth it! Eckhart Tolle shares: “Every time you create a gap in the stream of mind, the light of your consciousness grows stronger. This means that you no longer take the content of your mind all that seriously, as your sense of self does not depend on it.” Oh. So. True.
To continue with my poetic analysis as I did with my book review of Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life by Dr. Wayne Dyer, here is the impact of The Power of NOW: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle:
Silence my mind As I am worthy There is only Now Not what was I am still in my Being I am light Free from Fear I know God by its flow Joy is my purpose I surrender to Now without judgment
As I sat here contemplating ideas for my next article, I glanced around my sacred writing space only to find myself staring at a beautiful stack of books. This assorted collection of signed copies of books, written by my podcast guests, their pages filled with the light of hope and healing, reminded me how a perfectly timed read can truly change a life. I am that person who makes a book my own by highlighting those ah-ha phrases or drawing five giant stars on a page so I can easily flip through the book to find those “spoke to my soul” words.
Today my eyes fell upon the small stack to the left of my podcast guests’ collection. And there it was . . . Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao by Dr. Wayne Dyer. A deep, poetic, powerful, life-altering translation of the Tao Te Ching. While I can go on about what the Tao is and give you the low-down on its original author, Lao-tzu, I will merely allow you the opportunity to discover it for yourself in the reading of Dr. Dyer’s book, just as I did.
Instead I want to share its impact on me and my healing journey. Perhaps then you will be inspired to pick it up yourself and allow a similar transition to happen for you. There were many more books, which I will review in this series, which have had a powerful affect on my journey, such as Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma and The Power of Now: The Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle.
I have been saying for awhile now that I finally learned to “find the gifts within the chaos,” meaning I am now able to search for the positives that resulted from traumatic or what I used to only perceive as negative events or circumstances in my life. I told my sister the other day that I now look for the positivities of growing up with an addict as a parent. Instead of seeing an alcoholic who struggled to offer her children emotional support, a mother who dished out criticism as a “joke,” one who chose nights out partying with co-workers over tucking her children into bed, I now say to myself:
My mom worked six days a week; she taught me work ethic. My mom drank after work with her followers and fans; she taught me loyalty to friendships. My mom was a partier; she taught me how to entertain. My mom was traumatized, too; she taught me how to keep going in the face of adversity. My mom was a “Jesus-freak”; she taught me how to believe even when in doubt.
Learning to find my gifts within my chaos has changed everything. Everything.
In the preface of Dr. Dyer’s book, is the following quote from one of his journal entries, which speaks directly to this philosophy:
Nature doesn’t create a storm that never ends. Within misfortune, good fortune hides.
Dr. Wayne Dyer
This review will be poetic in nature as I could truly write another book in response to this book’s based on my highlights and exclamation points and stars scribbled onto its pages. Here is my simplistic analysis of the first twenty verses as translated by Dr. Dyer and how I try to live them based upon the lessons I learned in their depth:
I try to be present in the moment.
I live to be me and the universe simultaneously.
I want to serve others.
I give the gift of myself.
I let my creativity radiate.
I try to meet the needs of others.
I allow my thoughts to flow freely.
I seek joy in the act of doing in lieu of the results.
I let go of what is mine so it may become someone else’s.
I allow silence.
I treasure what is within rather than what I can possess.
I trust my own perceptions of me.
I practice walking meditations.
I allow my life to unfold as planned.
I observe life.
I allow others to travel their own path.
I am virtue, not virtuous.
I learn to let go of attachment through generosity.
I let go and let God.
There are eighty-one verses total.
Eighty-one powerful lessons surrounded by and filled with an infinite number more. Different for all. Yet, the same.
I hope you gift yourself this transformative translation of the Tao.
First off, I apologize for the feed issues with the sound in a few spots! I put forth my best editing efforts. Still on the learning curve with editing software. Thank you for your understanding.
Thank you, Christina Beauchemin, for sharing your beautiful insights with me and The Healing Place Podcast audience. Christina and I discussed her book, Let My Legacy Be Love, her work as a passionate speaker and truth seeker, as well as her coaching practice where she works to guide others along their healing journeys.
“Christina is an author, speaker, and truth seeker. She is an advocate of curiosity, courage and honesty as a path to personal transformation. She facilitates workshops as well as working privately with those who are serious about changing their life for the better.
Christina is married to her best friend, Rick and is a mother to two grown boys. A combination of running, Zumba, and yoga keep her healthy and a positive attitude keeps her happy. Her only real complaint is her unfortunate allergy to many dark chocolates.” Learn more about Christina and her mission at:
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.