An attitude of gratitude! If all of mankind could live this mantra day in and day out, I would be out of business as a therapist. And this is what a seek to do! Now I don’t mean put myself out of business, I do intent to spread the work of gratitude out into the world. On a personal basis, this is part of my journey from therapist to Life Mastery Coach as I propose moving the work of trauma recovery outside the therapy room and into our homes, community and society.
The #Break Free Movement provides a platform for all to step outside the world of fear and misery from the fractures of the past traumas to gathering together with what we have and away from focusing on what we lost, do not have or fear.
As I ponder on how to begin to guide someone who is in the depths of pain, fear and grief, the first words that come to me is gratitude. As a society, I fear we have lost sight of having a daily sense of appreciation and exercise of counting our many blessings. Now I do not believe this is because we are intentionally ungrateful. Rather, we have grown to be more driven, competitive and desirous to do more in today’s world. Our world is smaller as we have almost instantaneous access to more. This ‘more’ is the more others are doing, the more possibilities, the more “shoulding” we could be doing, the more of endless possibilities. This leads to faster learning and greater connections and more tangible avenues and opportunities. Yet it also leads to ‘forgetting’ to be grateful for the human being of who, where and how we are today.
We forget that ‘being’ is enough. Unfortunately, this leads to feeling not good enough. Then when ‘not good enough’ dominates, my business as a therapist explodes with client after client seeking for answers on how they became ‘not good enough’. And additionally, by the time they come to my office, they have swum in the swamp of feelings of failure for so long, it is infused into their being as elements of unresolved grief and trauma. This is a tragedy in and of itself.
As a result, as a therapist, I am addressing the back end of the issue—versus leading the way for healthy living. Now what does this have to do with gratitude? Everything! As gratitude is the front end of your road to healthy living.
By #breaking free from my therapeutic role at the backend end, I am free to be the leader as I feel called to—that is, living the tenants of the Life Mastery Coach I have chosen to rise to.
I pick my words purposefully…I CHOSE to rise. I CHOSE to lead. I CHOSE to be. The #Break Free Movement is a platform in offering a place to likeminded leaders, role models and influencers to share their path of rising from their trauma to their triumphant success. And across the board, their first step has been CHOICE.
These leaders made a choice to take their trauma head on and meet it eye to eye. They began where they were at—where we all must begin. In taking their first step they started with what they had and embraced it with the love they organically carried within their hearts. This love manifests as gratitude.
Gratitude creates a mindset of being KIND. When we carry a sense of appreciation within our heart, we feel kind. Kindness extended is the practice of giving. As we engage in giving, the law set up by God takes over, that is, ‘you give you get tenfold back.’ And your life is enriched automatically in far more abundant ways than you give.
As we embrace this relationship with gratitude and do kind acts, and circle back around with a heart full of appreciation, then in addition to the tenfold return, our heart grows ten times bigger and we BE-come gratitude. This ‘Be-coming is alignment, as we are who we are created to be, that is we arrive at a place of ‘knowing’ –the place of now—the place of peace, joy and love…it just IS ( you BE-come your Ideal Self) We discover we are living in alignment of personal authenticity and a life of integrity.
This creates a momentum of increasing desire to not want to miss a moment of life. Hence, we are awake and embrace the NOW. We begin to see the things coming across our path and tend to grab hold of them, use them as needed for the good of others and ourselves…life be-comes easy as we learn its simply noticing the good stuff in life.
The magic of a grateful heart is we know when enough is enough. Since we know we are good enough—if not more, we are full. Full of joy and love. As our hearts celebrate the joy and love within, the yearnings of sharing these emotions naturally arise. As we have no inferior beliefs and programing jamming our circuits any longer, we eagerly seek to share with another and serve where we can.
Again, the law of giving and receiving ignites and expands beyond the one person we each are.
It is my wish, my prayer this holiday season that we take a moment to reflect. I encourage you –no, I challenge you to find the time—this very minute to ponder on gratitude and where this concept resides within you. I implore to find the good enough’ aspect of who you are and express appreciation for your creation, then share the ‘who” you are with all you come in contact. Then share your gratitude for them—friend, stranger and foe—all experiences are for our good…if we make them so.
#Break Free from your ‘not good enough’ thinking –as its ‘stinkin’ thinkin’’ and Be-come the ‘who’ you can CHOOSE to be. Then make the CHOICE to be KIND, live with INTEGRITY, CELEBRATE the miracle you are and give back in SERVICE because you can.
This is the vision and the service of the #Break Free Movement. If you desire to be a part of this community, we welcome you! If you have a story of rising beyond your trauma to triumph, please contact me. I would be most grateful to have your story part of the heroic influencers to show others there is hope and sure way toward a celebratory life.
To join us check out the #break Free Movement on Buzzsprout. If you have a journey of your own to share, join us by contacting me at email@example.com and we can get started!
As the Holiday Season comes around, rarely does the celebrations occur without the infamous greeting of “Happy Holidays” exclaimed, heard in song and written on cards, banners and gift packages. It inspires feelings of warmth, joy and belonging that supports the excitement and celebration in the air. Yet, there are also those who feel contrary, some dread the very same holidays, in short, “tis’ the season” is not enjoyed by all.
In fact, the holidays can stir up feelings of depression, stress and anxiety. These emotions can surface and intensify during the holidays for a variety of reasons, such as, unresolved grief, negative associations with past trauma, seasonal depression and isolation.
These negative associations can cause people to not celebrate the holidays and some may even avoid acknowledging them altogether. Instead of experiencing the gitty-ness of creating traditions and making plans to bringing family and friends together, these individuals are lost in a sea of memories they wish they could forget. Their joy is suffocated with despair, tortured with memories of conflict and/or haunted by shame and guilt. These negative ramifications from their past can leave them in a place of loneliness and isolation or what’s been termed as the ‘holiday blues.’
As a result, before I discuss the three keys toward creating happy holidays, it’s good to note the underlying possibilities for the holiday blues.
The American Psychological Association’s survey about the feelings surrounding the holidays, particularly the blues report that even individuals who reported feelings of happiness, love and high spirits also expressed increased stress, anxiety and depression particularly between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. In fact, their survey showed that thirty-eight percent stated the increase of stress was directly due to the upcoming holidays.
Despite the lack of documented research or systemic reviews, emotions do get stirred up during these holiday months that bring up depression and anxiety. And the best medicine is to talk about it. One thing the holidays do provide is the opportunity to be around others, usually the presence of family, friends and others is greater around the holiday season. Although the stressors and triggers are greater, the actual suicide rate is down. According to the information from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), November, December and January have some of the lowest suicide rates, (annenbergpublicpolicycenter.org). Although, this is good news, the depression spike is present and need not be minimized. I believe the rate is down because loved ones are around and activates keep the body busy.
Yet if we are present and look to the state of our loved ones, speak up if we are struggling, this sharing becomes foundational for the Holiday joy to rise out of the blues.
We have a prefect blueprint in how to apply the 3 keys for a happy holiday from Dr Seuss, author of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, in which Cindy Lou and the Whos of Who-ville taught principles that made their Christmas a happy one no matter what possessions they had or hadn’t.
As Dr. Seuss wrote,
“The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season! Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason. It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right. It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight. But I think that the most likely reason of all May have been that his heart was two sizes too small,”
As we can see The Grinch is alone. Possibly his isolation of his 53 years inhibited his ability to know anything but loneliness. To establish a connection, we must begin with were we are at, then seek to connect with one person. This step to personal vulnerability can seem big, yet it takes the first step from where you start at, one engagement with one person, one moment at a time.
For the Grinch, his introduction to kindness started with a two-year-old, name Cindy-Lou Who. Despite, being caught in the moment of his dark act, this interaction dissipates his isolation and opens the way for bonding. Her mere greeting was all it took.
“When he heard a small sound like a coo of a dove. He turned around fast, as he saw a small Who! Little Cindy-Lou Who, who was not more than two.
We are made to connect with one another, a smile and hello can break the isolation and dissipate any sense of loneliness. Once we extend a little kindness toward someone, we open the way for the momentum to continue forward.
2- Self Responsibility
The Grinch lived on his mountain, seething with rage over the Whos in the village below celebrating their Christmas. Their happiness only fed his anger, until finally he couldn’t take it anymore and hatched a plan of deception to steal away their joy.
The Grinch’s disposition may well have come from his unfinished business of negative experiences of the past. His reasoning for his resentments where contrived and projected on the Whos from Who-ville. This displacement of feelings, along with is diabolical plan, was meant to create a relief of his misery. This was not what happened as we know, rather, the Grinch discovered his acts had no impact on the feelings of the Whos at all nor did it provide any relief for himself.
Start where you are at, today is the first day of the rest of your life. Yet in today’s world we are too often asked to reflect on the “yesterday’s”, especially, surrounding the past tragedies, harbored resentments and the justified wrong doings. Yet as with The Grinch, doing so only sucks the life out of your soul. That is, your heart may shrink two sizes too small.
One of the greatest miracles we, humans have at our disposal is a new sun rising every morning, gifting us with a new start. As you choose to take accountability of your life and how you desire to celebrate it with each breath, you too can have a similar epiphany as The Grinch,
“Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small, Was singing! Without any presents at all! He HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same!”
Stopping and choosing to be aware for your feelings and seeking to understand the origin from the inside out versus the outside in will guide you to where to find resolution. This takes consistent practice and effort toward making time for reflection. Meditation and mindfulness exercises provide opportunity for clarity for healing your pain, letting go of what was and what you have no control over and learning to live for today.
“And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow, Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?… “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. “Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
“And what happened then…? Well…in Who-ville they say That the Grinch’s small heart Grew three sizes that day! And the minute his heart didn’t feel quite so tight, He whizzed with his load through the bright morning light And he brought back the toys! And the food for the feast!
Once the Grinch listened from his heart, his primary desire was to give. In this case, he made the choice to give back what was taken, and for you, to give, possibly from the kindness of the heart.
This is the magic of the holidays. As you show a little kindness from the purest of intent, seizing the opportunity to serve, the heart can begin to mend. The moment is filled, one new memory after another with loving acts. It is these loving actions that create new beginnings by medicated despair, adding new clarity and refinement from past trauma and filling the void from the loss and carrying the love forward.
These three keys—kindness, self-responsibility and service offer a refined and renewed purpose of the holidays. This turns the blues of the holidays into laughter and giggles, engaging the momentum of bonding and loving to be the healing balm of the soul.
And just as the The Grinch “…HE HIMSELF…! The Grinch carved the roast beef!” You too can beat those blues and BE the happy of the Holidays.
And so I leave you with this message from the love of my heart, “Happy Holidays!”
You may ask, as I ask myself, after 35 years of being a renowned trauma therapist why would I desire to become a life coach? Now I am not the first therapist turned coach, yet I do find my reason may come from a different place. I love what I do, I have a passion for treating people, my work is my play! And I love working with trauma.
Yet, the more I learn about the impact trauma has on individuals, families, communities and society, the more I realize therapy may not be enough to rise above the negative ramifications of the impact of trials, tragedies and losses.
Trauma imprints its mark on us, and if left untreated, it’s scaring is not unlike a neon sign, with its blaring mark. This mark ripples through every fiber of life, and for many, it’s a constant reminder, offering no rest from the torture it inflicts, years after the initial incident.
As a therapist, ‘treating’ the client through their recovery is an imperative step toward healing. My training affords me the skills and knowledge to understand the impact tragedy has on their life and to help them get back on track.
However, many times clients leave therapy ‘recovered’ yet still lacking the tools to use their story to help them align their life toward BE-coming whole again, especially when they re-enter the world where their trauma occurred and may still live. Hence, their only recourse is to return to therapy to maintain their recovery or fall prey to a repeat episode, or struggle thriving in a sabotaging environment.
As I witnessed this becoming a pattern versus a situational episode, I realize that full healing of trauma cannot happen when only addressed in the therapy room. It’s rippling effects spread out and infuse into the environment and reshape the family and community like the spread of unchecked cancer within the body.
A trauma-riddled life needs more than therapy. This revelation was the impetus to my vision of the # Break Free Movement and the beginning of my journey from therapist to Life Mastery Coach. As a therapist, my scope of practice is to treat the client within the context of their therapeutic needs. This limits the ability to teach the client on how to show up in their world, be their own healer from the inside out and rise to their highest and most authentic Self. To do this it would require teaching life mastery. The life altering changes come from this Ideal Self where the inner healer resides, and this is the work I knew I was made to do.
By stepping back from my role as a therapist and out of the therapy room, I observed the client’s life on their turf. As I witnessed their pull toward the status quo and the draw to the familiar role as victim, I realized that the learning from the inside out where mastery of evolution is integrated is still lacking for most, despite their progress and healing in the therapy room. I recognized that more training and support is required post therapy and inclusive of the family, community and society. This would require expanding the knowledge, therefore the vision that healing is ongoing and every evolving. As we are not an island unto ourselves, we are all touched by all loss and tragedies, as well as all gains and achievements of everyone around. The last layer of healing and mastery of past trauma is to be healers for others, and this may simply be rising above personal losses and recapturing your true identity, which I call, the Ideal Self. I believe, there is no greater joy that being your authentic self, grasping the lessons gained from every experience and sharing the wisdom as a community for prosperity and continued growth ahead. This momentum creates a contagious energy that, in turn, impacts and aids beyond the individual. Its healing force reaches the communities and societies in untethering and evolving from any and all trauma remnants that hold us back.
As Einstein said, “Once a mind is expanded, it cannot contract.” Once I visualized the formula for rising out of being a victim to survivor to the Ideal Self and how this creates a reversal rippling effect of healing from the individual to the family to the community to society, I couldn’t accept just being a therapist.
This realization broke open my own limited vision. I knew I had to do more because I knew I knew more. As a healer, I knew I had to start helping every person who I worked with and their world in the way that felt most honest to me. By embracing their world and paradigms—starting where they are at, adding my therapeutic flaw (knowledge is power) and creativity, true healing began to happen. And it didn’t stop there. As I witnessed individuals rise out of their victimization, realize they are survivors, they become masters of their lives, I also witnessed the igniting of the reversal rippling effect. That is, as each individual began to show up as their Ideal Self –healing from the inside out and leading the way with an awareness and willingness to extend a hand to another, the mending began to ripple out to their relationships and villages. This is just the beginning.
I have discovered working outside, meeting people in their own environment, is the key for assisting others toward achieving lasting healing and continued growth. Personally, and professionally, I am growing everyday as I get to tap into all I know, use my creative imagination all the while, working together with my community. My natural gifts and talents are used fully as I am free to use my own inspiration and intuitive skills to meet the client, community and society where they are at and guide them to becoming the masters from the inside out. This is very process of evolving to the Ideal Self. By working, modeling and Be-coming what I teach, I know I am in alignment with what I intuitively know is my best way to show up for others. In turn, I am practicing what I preach. This is my evolution from therapist to Live Mastery Coach. There is no turning back, THIS is the vision of the #Break Free Movement for healing in togetherness toward making a difference, starting with one person’s journey rippling through out this world.
I begin with myself. As I show up, live, experiment and play, I model rising above past trauma and living life triumphantly as my Ideal Self. My heart and intention is harmonious with how I work, so that I can be a true catalyst in impacting others with endless potential and evolvement.
My vision does not stop here. The work has progressed in the launching of the #BREAK FREE podcast, an inspired platform that embraces my aspiration of offering a forum for those who have triumphed and now live their Ideal life, where they can share their personal walk through the refiner’s fire to arrive today in a life after trauma. These influencers and mentors offer hope and direction in reaching the life of your dreams. During the podcasts, these masters share their revelatory event(s) from their life to demonstrate how such moments can become catalysts of growth and change. As these personal and life-altering experiences, challenged the core of their identity, they share how these threats became opportunities for deeper growth and greater hope and life purpose.
In turn, #BREAK FREE becomes a community of its own as one person after another supports and assists in the root, rebound and rise journey.
To catch their stories, you can tune into the #BREAK FREE podcast.
There is more, to capture my journey of self-discover, along with the step by step process of evolvement beyond the therapy room, it can be found in my latest bestselling book, Heal Your Trauma, Heal Your Marriage: 7 Steps to Root, Rebound and Rise. To get a FREE copy of this book go to this link:
Read our latest article on Thrive Global by clicking here.
What is a miracle after all? As a therapist, I have the privilege of working with people of all types and in the process, witness the healing powers of love, devotion and determination. Many times, if not most, miracles occur within the family unit.
Although, they may walk in my door fractured and in pain, the mere step of seeking a safe haven to bare their souls and find the answer for renewed peace and joy is a miracle in and of itself.
The momentum is in process–the mechanisms of healing at work. As the family opens their heart through their anger, pain and fears, they find common ground–unity begins to be mended. Together they clean and wrap their wounds and join in the journey of becoming whole once again.
As a therapist, I become a bystander as I anxiously record the changes that occur right before my eyes. The rage and tears become grins and laughter. The hopelessness dissipates as faith in everlasting change and growth embraces them like a hug of reassurance.
Once feeling alone among the lonely, now feeling loved among those committed to an united purpose of reaching their potential and ultimate joy.
May we all look within the four walls of our home and put away old anger, pain and fear by embracing the power of unity and commitment that only family can offer. Remember that family working together for the happiness for each other and the whole can manifest one miracle after another. What greater gift can one hope for for holiday season?