The Keys To Change, Growth and Healing

The keys to change, growth and healing…

1. You have to be more tired of your own shit than you are with anyone else’s.

2. Get curious about your drives, your motives, your wounds….

3. Stay focused. It’s not about the outside world, those are all projections. It’s about you.

4. Get to know yourself and understand your different “parts” and the root of those parts.

5. Hold yourself accountable but with compassion and forgiveness, like a loving parent would. 

6. Recognize that this healing isn’t optional, it’s critical if you want to improve and grow so make it a priority. It’s as important as sleep, showering, brushing your teeth or eating. And now stay committed and make it a way of life. 

7. Give yourself time and allow for baby steps. Small steps will ensure your success rather than trying to do it all at once, light speed.

8. Do not compare yourself to others but to who you were yesterday, last month, last year, 5 years ago.

9. And above all, know that we are not eliminating trials here. Obstacles will undoubtedly come up. The goal is to become more resilient over time, not to eliminate that challenges that ultimately refine us. Welcome the refiners fire, welcome the stormy ocean. A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.

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This Is Why Your Life Sucks & What To Do About It

1.) Your goals suck.

For those of you who don’t make it through the rest of the article, I thought I’d plant this one right at the top for your viewing pleasure. This is probably the single-most important reason out of this entire list, because even if everything else is right, but your goals aren’t, your life will suck.

If you don’t have the right vision of what your future should look like, you will have the wrong goals, and, in turn, set yourself up for failure.

Many of us have the wrong idea of what our goals should look like and we base it off of our current world view.

We believe that a “good life”is one, single, continuous orgasm. You want leisure, travel, vacations abound, beaches, sunshine, cocktails, money, wealth, status, the instagram bod, cotton candy, rainbows and the pot-luck of gold to boot. If your idea of a happy life is a constant state of bliss…ironically, that’s why you’re unhappy. It’s unrealistic.

All jokes aside, I’m not saying you can’t achieve great things. You can and should. Actually, I believe it’s your personal responsibility to do so. Just make it make sense. And remember that the 24-hour-big money-big prizes-Vegas-show also comes with a big crash and a big reality hangover. Instead of chasing flashing lights and prestige, if you chase goals that are meaningful and serving your soul and not your ego, you will be fulfilled as a result. But since this isn’t the whole pie, and just a slice, keep reading.

2.) Your beliefs suck.

This one is huge. The biggest of the biggest hugeness. Maybe you don’t believe in yourself or maybe you do and you’re just scared. Either way, that brain is stuck in a feedback loop that says “I’m why we can’t have nice things around here”, “I’m not good enough, smart enough, rich enough, blah-bluh-blah-bluh-blah…”

You compare yourself to the outside world, celebrities, Instagram, and the gurus, using fiction as your measuring stick. You don’t see the pain and trials behind the statuesque bodies and picture-perfect smiles. You assume that what others project is reality but it isn’t, even for the “enlightened ones”,… and the true teachers will tell you that. I promise you that Deepak Chopra looses his shit sometimes, has totally human emotions and temptations alike.

In addition to comparing yourself to impossible standards, you’re probably also super-amazing at gaslighting yourself. Allow me to demonstrate, “You should be thankful.”….” There’s always something to be grateful for. “….”First world problems…” ….”You should just be happy you have a roof over your head, at least you aren’t homeless”. Side-note, I was telling myself things like this when I was in a violent relationship. See the problem here? If we aren’t able to recognize our life for what it is, sometimes toxic, we will never be prompted to do anything about it.

There is no shortage of gurus and leaders telling you that you just need to “let it go”, “have gratitude”, “be positive”, “be in alignment with what it is that you want”.

The reality is, it’s really easy to espouse ideas like this when your bank account is overflowing and you’re afforded the luxury of traveling the world pompously lecturing desperate crowds to “be positive”, “chin up”, “just flow down stream”, “that’s resistance”, “not like that, like this”, “don’t be in resistance”. (looking at you Miss Esther Hicks and Tony Robins) * your privilege is showing.*

Don’t get me wrong, I still love Esther and Tony and always will. These teachers have immense value and have personally helped me and millions tremendously but what they are missing is the reality check that, here, in 3D, on Earth, fully awake and lucid, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

The truth is sometimes your life actually kind of sucks, at least in the moment- and you’re totally allowed to see it for what it is. Don’t be shamed out of the anger you feel if your life sucks. You’re entitled to that. Instead let that anger light a fire under your backside. Let it drive you and motivate you to change. Anger can be a springboard for you.

If you want real change, it starts with your belief system.

Now that we’ve established what not to believe, what should you believe then? Believe this; You are human. You are a being full of contrast, richness, depth, joy, pain, sadness, fear, strength, foolishness, wisdom, loneliness…you get it. Growing and changing your life isn’t glamorous. Don’t allow yourself to believe you’re doing it wrong because you don’t look like an Instagram reel.

Change is messy. It has to be. Chaos gives birth to order.

So just allow space for both to exist and learn how to know the difference between the two and when they are in service to your path or not.

And don’t believe that the “good” path is only the one that tells you the “good” things, you know, the things you want to hear? Good coaches push you hard, good friends tell you the truth and the good path is sometimes painful. It’s painful because it means you have to be willing to see your own undistorted reflection and do something about the parts in need of repair.

Changing a sucky life isn’t for the faint of heart, so if you’re here, believe this too, that what you are doing is brave, admirable, the road less traveled and your decision to heal your life makes space for others to do the same.

3.) Your boundaries suck.

Yes, the sucky saga continues but it’s for your own good. You need to know this. If you have boundary issues, you have probably been parentified, groomed since childhood to be the parent. It’s likely you learned to suck it up, be the fixer, the doer, the reliable one, the one to save face and the first one to cave.

You’re likely the type of person to always put others first and while this is admirable, if it’s out of balance, you will become a foot stool for life.

Stop putting yourself on the back burner. You are not less important than anyone else.

Something at some point taught you that you are responsible for the happiness of others and that in order to be accepted and/or worthy of love, you had/have to make others happy. This often means neglecting you…your needs, your wants, your values.

If your boundaries are porous, you find it difficult to say “no” when you’re feeling “no”. And when your actions are out of alignment with your soul, your life will always be out of alignment with your path and your purpose. The moment you start saying “no” to others and “yes” to you is the day your life will start to turn around. It takes practice and time but the more you do it, the more space, energy and time you will create for you and your journey forward and damn, it feels good. The first time you say “no” to something you don’t want to do when you normally would’ve said yes is a rockstar feeling and it smells like freedom.

I was going to make this number 4 but it really ties into number 3, so I’ll combine this one with three even though it’s important enough for it’s own number.

You settle.

Is the world happening to you? Or are you happening to the world?

Do you allow your circumstances to make you a victim?

If you aren’t putting in the work, the research, the dedication and standing firm in your convictions, your life will continue to suck.

Not settling means not taking “no” for an answer when you know it’s the right thing and when you know it matters.

You can’t underestimate the impact of settling.

Settling means you gave up on you. You abandoned you.

Settling is such a weird one for me because while it seems lazy at times, I also feel it’s complex. It’s a boundary issue mixed with a responsibility issue and add a dash of fear of failure.

I have this theory that some settle because they find settling easier than risking having to be responsible, should anything go wrong. So they leave it up to The Universe, they leave it up to others and they leave it up to circumstance allowing their choices to be made for them, incidentally, by proxy, by default.

The cumulative effects of settling are so far reaching and bigger than you could ever imagine. Settling could cost you your success, freedom, ideal relationships, health, a home…Literally everything in your life either came to you by choice or lack thereof.

Check out my YouTube story time on how I saved my own life multiple times, because I refused to settle. *weird flex I know, but just trust me, it’s a good story.*

4.) Your environment sucks.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

If your environment isn’t conducive to your personal goals, values and development, the story isn’t going to end well. You become the 5 people you are around most daily. Make those people your mentors, those who support you, empower you and are aligned with your path.

All too often this happens, someone goes to rehab, goes to the gym, starts working with a coach, or just creates a goal they want to achieve but then, they have to go home. And if “home”, ( friends, influences and living situation) isn’t healthy, implementing change is going to be next to impossible.

Yes, you have your willpower but if you’re in an abusive environment that is constantly trying to weaken your mind, or an environment where others are still drinking and you’re trying to stop, or maybe you told yourself it’s ok to have the same friends that still do drugs because you don’t anymore and you’re strong enough to say no…right? WRONG. This situation is a dog chasing its tail.

If you want lasting change, the environment has to change.

You can’t plant a flower in a garden of weeds and expect it to bloom, Love.

5.) Your actions and daily routine suck.

Pretty self-explanatory here. Get out of bed. No seriously, get UP! Make your bed. Take a shower. Comb your hair, brush your teeth and do something today that is going to make tomorrow easier. Obviously a routine is nice but Rome wasn’t built in a day, so slow down Sally. One day at a time. Just make sure you’re doing something everyday to work towards your goals and that you’re tracking your progress while also remembering, it’s not a race but it is a competition. You’re in competition with the old you, the old environment and the old life that sucks. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and won’t be, but you have to know you are putting in some effort everyday.

I believe firmly that The Universe, God, Jesus (insert deity) will meet you halfway. This is the caveat to manifestation. Part of the alignment process, is putting in the work to become the person you want to be and create the life you want to live.

*And for the stubborn ones who won’t get out of bed, here’s an awesome Tik Tok you can download and create an alarm with to motivate your butt to get out of bed. Time to get up and go do some “fricken awesome stuff”.

6.) Your self-awareness sucks.

This one is going to hurt.

If you don’t think there’s any hope for you, you are attached to your ego and oddly, your problems. Sounds like it doesn’t make any sense but it does. Many of us make the mistake of making our problems our identity, it’s this weird form of clout chasing that seems totally counter-intuitive but it’s definitely a thing. Our problems give us something to blame, besides us for our sucky lives. They insulate our egos and protect our identity from the threat of change.

But, if you are truly in the interest of changing your life, you have to be willing to embrace the fact that once you change, so will your identity…and all the things you became so used to complaining about, making excuses about and seeking sympathy about.

What on Earth will you do if you solve your own problems? *gasp*

I know, I’m kind of a jerk. But I’m a spiritual jerk, there’s a difference. I get results because I tell you the truth that no one else will, and that is valuable. I want to know what my blind spots are even when it hurts, don’t you? So you can rest easy in knowing that I’m a special and useful kind of jerk. You’re welcome. (Also, full disclosure, I still complain too. I like to complain about others complaining. It’s complicated.)

Really though, if you are unwilling to take a sincere dive into your shadow self, your issues and your patterns and open yourself up to change, change isn’t gonna happen.

If you think your life sucks because you’re a victim and it’s everyone else’s fault and that it’s everyone else that needs to change, I’m here to tell you, that’s precisely why your life sucks.

7.) Your accountability sucks.

This ties into number 6. You have to be willing to not only see the parts you are responsible for (everything in your control), but you have to be ready and willing to do something about it. That means admitting when you have been wrong, acknowledging unhealthy coping mechanisms, recognizing where you’ve hurt others, put in the work and own up to your role in your current situation.

Personal development and evolution starts with personal accountability.

Accountability means you stop pointing finger at others and start pointing it at yourself, besides, even if others are to blame, at least partially, so what, there’s nothing you can do about their role. All you can control is you. So take care of your part, that’s where your power is.

8.) Lastly, many of you aren’t willing to do anything about any of the above.

You feel stuck, defeated, drained. I get it. But you have to have enough determination, to gather enough energy, even if it’s small, to start somewhere. Depression is giving up. It’s defeat. You hit a wall and I totally understand, I do (been there) but that wall isn’t actually a wall, it’s a fork in the road. And the choice is yours.

The biggest problem I see with the stuckness of the suckiness is that we have false perceptions, unrealistic goals, false beliefs, unhealthy boundaries, lack of accountability and a lack of meaning because we live in a false world that sold us false ideals.

We build up ideas of what “good” is, “healthy”, “happy”. You see someone else’s projected image on Facebook and confuse that picture with their reality. But it’s not.

We get these super polarized, black and white ideas of the world. Either it’s awful or amazing, good or bad, this or that. But these are false narratives.

The World is a spectrum of emotion, achievement, experience. It’s a school. We are learning. So let your trials refine you. Our failures ARE also our achievements when we allow them to teach us, show us what we don’t want and show us where we went wrong.

There is no “Once I get there”….You’ll always be “getting there”. That’s life. Life is a journey and we have to embrace the reality of it while also being willing to push ourselves toward our highest potential. We need to be in a constant state of cleansing. If you clean your house once, does it stay clean? If you’re driving down the road and it’s raining, can one swipe of the windshield wipers give you a clear view? No. Getting clear about our values, our vision, our goals and our path means being in a constant state of challenging, clearing and cleansing.

Real change needs to be based in real reality.

So start saying “no” to things outside your path and “yes” to things inside your path. Make that a priority, hold yourself accountable and don’t take “no” for an answer when you know it matters.

Life sucks sometimes. But it’s also pretty spectacular. A true miracle and gift. Sometimes it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Sometimes it’s two sizes too small and we can’t find the receipt for a refund, but those are just temporary moments. Life is a series of moments and those moments vary, for everyone.

You might feel stuck in that mud right now, but you’re surfacing and though the mud feels like it’s weighing you down, ironically, it’s preparing you, growing you, nourishing you. No mud, no lotus.

All right now that you’re a newly born, grown up, go have an un-sucky life and do what you know need to do. You know it better than the gurus.

The soul always knows.

Listen to it, your intuition (soul).

Let it take you. Let it guide you. Let it be your truth and your guru, it won’t steer your wrong.

Later, tater.

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I’m Delusional and So Are You…

How Can We Achieve More Mental Balance in Our Lives?

Well, balance is the razor-thin edge of a piece of paper and delusion is the paper cut that comes with it.
And everything in-between appears to be a slippery slope, doesn’t it?

Ego is bad, but without it how would we function in this avatar?

Delusions of Grandeur are wrong but if someone doesn’t believe something grand will happen to them, aren’t they then reducing themselves to a powerless victim of circumstance at the mercy of The Universe?

Anger is bad, sadness is bad…but if we repress all of our “bad” emotions what will be the result of that? Pain in the body, silent resentments, disease and feeling like a disingenuous fraud?

The way is in the middle. But what is the middle?

Stay with me, this isn’t going where you think it is.

There is a balance to literally everything in life and that balance is a tightrope as thin as fishing line.

Part of the challenge of our lives is to be able to, in every moment, ask ourselves “Where am I out of balance? What am I lying to myself about? Are these delusions helping me? Are they healthy? Or are they hurting? Can I feel some anger and sadness without spraying like a fire hose? Can I have a personality (ego) without making everything about me?”

We have to constantly check ourselves with an honest openness, seeking out the beneficial and dedicating ourselves to working on the parts that are detrimental.

The problem is most of us walk around totally and completely unchecked by ourselves and others nearly all the time.

We subconsciously seek out people who agree with us and will tell us what we want to hear.

We blame others for the problems in our lives because the notion that we could have anything to do with our own problems is a threat to the ego. And an ego that has taken over and is not in balance will work overtime to stay in charge and silence narratives that do not align with the it’s current comfortable storyline and in addition, it will seek out narratives that do. This is called confirmation bias.

And because of this most of society is in a trance, a state of eternal subservience to the delusions of our egos, subservient to our emotions, subservient to the status quo, subservient to our own toxic patterns.

Refusing to be conscious and aware of our shortcomings is the greatest threat to society. Actually forget about threat, it’s already a done deal. Look at what we’ve done, to the world, to each other, to our children. Because we are so damn good at lying to ourselves and others.

Most of us are akin to the violinist playing as The Titanic sank or the “everything’s fine” meme.

I have my own delusions and patterns that could travel from Earth to The Moon and back. But I’m always scouring myself for them, my eyes like a searchlight and when I find them I feel dirty. “How did I not see this obvious blight?” I think, as I attempt to scour them off like leeches stuck to me after a dip in a the local pond. It’s usually this point when I realize they are more like barnacles on a boat and it’s going to take some persistence and work to rid myself of the daily delusions.

And this is absolutely, without a doubt why the idea that I could live my entire life lying to myself and others is my greatest fear. It’s so easy to not see. It’s so easy to close my eyes to the truth.

This is why radical honesty is so important to me. Honesty with myself and others.
Some have voiced that they think I’m unusual in that I’m frequently pointing out my own flaws. *Probably another part of me that’s somewhat out of balance.* However, being hyper-attuned to my own delusions, imbalances and patterns keeps me aware at all times and on my toes.
Not to mention that I also find self-deprecation less painful than when others point out the log in my eye.

Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s hard to look at my own shortcomings. But the idea that I could ever fall prey to becoming comfortable enough with myself that I would allow my ego to do anything to protect its delusions scares the bejeezus out of me.

I have realized that I have a tendency to judge others based on their level of self-awareness. I don’t like that I’m judgmental in this way, but I’ve realized I am. It’s another one of those slippery slopes in life that must be checked and balanced. We need discernment. Without it we would chronically make poor choices. But too much discernment turns into non-stop, harsh criticism of myself and others.

About the self-awareness, there are a few reasons I use self-awareness as a measurement of individuals that I want to surround myself with. One being, that as a coach I find this to be the most important gauge in terms of readiness. It’s nearly impossible to coach someone who is delusional about their issues and refuses to look sincerely at what’s going on inside.

It’s also how I measure character, honesty, receptivity and trustworthiness. I am very leery and suspicious of those who do not acknowledge their own weaknesses and mistakes. A lack of self-awareness feels like a precursor, a red-flashing warning that if anything goes wrong in the future, they will place all the blame squarely on me or the nearest, weakest link.

Delusion always lead to unhealthy self-justifications, a lack of openness, a lack of willingness and a lack of awareness.

Growing up I also found delusional people to be unsafe. Delusional people are capable of inflicting a lot of pain onto others without losing a wink of sleep due to the lies they tell themselves and believe, making excuses for their behavior, never taking ownership or accountability for their wrongs and always on the hunt for a fall guy, a scapegoat. And all too often, that was me.

I have found the most troubled characters to be trapped in delusions of the ego.

A delusional thought process might look something like this, “The world is a bad and meaningless place. Why should I even try? Everyone does bad things and those who pretend to not do bad things are liars.”

This kind of delusional thinking is very dangerous. This person will not believe in the sincerity of a loving act or gesture or the genuine high moral standards of others and are, in fact often hellbent to disprove the notion of such existence. As a result, these characters will do the devils bidding to tempt you away from your good nature, away from you souls calling and into the belly of delusion… with them.

It’s not malicious. It’s subconscious. It’s a desperate need to justify themselves through the camaraderie of others. Misery loves company. It makes them feel better about their choices and confirms their beliefs and impressions of the world. If they can cause you to fall from grace and off the wagon then it becomes clear evidence that there are no truly good people. You were faking it all along.

Delusional people with bad habits have to convince themselves that everyone is just as weak and tempted by empty pursuits as they are.

Delusional people are capable of truly terrible things. Because they’ve become so good at lying to themselves about what they do, they will be able to excuse anything away. Abuse. Neglect. Selfishness. Drug use. Inflicting mental harm and trauma. Cheating. Sabotaging other peoples lives. It doesn’t matter. Delusional people are masters of self-deception and as a result, they often can’t be helped.

And that is why I use self-awareness as my personal gold standard measurement of depth, virtue, openness, character and mental health.

To me, enlightenment probably doesn’t really exist on Earth and so the closest approximation to enlightenment I’ve been able to find (depending on your definition) is self-awareness.

Yet, the self-aware human appears to be as elusive as the Siberian Yeti. How many people do you know get a divorce and blame it on their ex, harm their children, never recognize or apologize, harm themselves with self-sabotage and make excuses for every, single toxic thing they do.

Delusion keeps us from checking ourselves. Delusion keeps us from balance. And delusion prevents growth. It is a steel wall. Miles high, miles wide and miles thick.

There is no problem-solving ability with a delusional person. A person trapped in their mind with their own delusions is not solution-oriented, they are the opposite, protection-oriented. No receptivity or willingness to perceive ideas that challenge the mind. Transformation and growth are totally stunted.

And it’s important for me to write about this because I passionately feel that delusion is a cancer to humanity and if we want civilization to advance, we have to get to the source of our hypnosis.

What is the source of our unethical behaviors? Delusion.
Think about it. Very few people think they are bad.

In Andrew Carnegie’s book “How to Make Friends and Influence People”, he states that even murderers believe they are good people. If asked why they are in prison, most will tell you a story painting themselves as harmless victims. This theory was tested in prisons and most of the time, the perpetrator had convinced themselves they were set up, victimized, just misunderstood, etc.

And this is why delusion is my worst fear.

Delusion is the Orobourous. (the snake that ate itself) and humanity is eating itself.

Don’t think you’ve escaped it. It’s in the spirituality community. It’s in the mental health community. It’s in politics, it’s in religion, it’s the bias we see on the news. It’s has infected every community for a great cause…the irony. Many great causes become ideal breeding grounds for distorted ideas. This usually happens over time and through the means of a delusional leader who sets the mold and blueprint for the rest to follow suit. This is how groupthink is born. Groupthink is delusion en masse.

Many seek refuge in the new age community as it’s ironic buzzwords bring thoughts of escape from the delusional, narcissistic world. Words like “enlightenment”, “awakened” and “woke” but it too, will not insulate you from delusion, on the contrary, it may be tar and feathering you in it.

Delusion can be pretty and alluring. Light a candle, say a mantra, cast a spell and whoosh!-all your problems will be gone. Believing that we can live without “bad vibes”, manifest whatever we want and keep our energy in a constant state of bliss is just another form of delusion.

Taoism is the OG of balance, building an entire religion on the principle of the middle way.

The path.

Look at a yin yang. The path is the thin that line between the light side and the dark side.

It’s a careful dance.

It’s the gray and the in-between but most of all, it’s awareness.

It’s learning how to be both soft and hard. *I think they call this boundaries. 😉

It’s learning how to be expressive yet still show restraint.

It’s learning that you can have desires yet still be disciplined.

It’s learning that you can be flawed yet still valuable and worthy.

It’s learning that you may be doing your best but can still use improvement.

It’s learning that your failures are leading you to your success.

It’s learning that your suffering gave you depth and the virtues of patience, will, determination, hope, faith, perseverance, generosity, empathy and others.

It’s learning that you can make mistakes, call yourself out, not be struck by lightning and still be a good person.

It’s learning that you are both light and dark, good and bad, sleeping and awake, flesh and spirit.

We have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.

We have to become comfortable with these concepts in order to grow as a collective in the pursuit of truth and meaning.

If we want meaning to enter our lives, we have to allow the truth as well, no matter how painful, no matter the cost.

Enlightenment is being able to look in the mirror and not distort the image. It’s the ability to see yourself in totality. It’s being ready to move, change, work, sacrifice, confront your fears and evolve. We can only see and meet each other as deeply as we’ve seen and met ourselves.

Perfectionism is a fear of failure and the delusion that anyone can ever be perfect.

We can’t. And we don’t have to be.

But we also shouldn’t get too comfortable with where we are at calling it “good enough”.

We must continue pushing, continue learning and continue growing.
This will enrich our lives and souls with the ultimate pursuit…meaning.

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“Trauma”-The New Buzzword

2020 became the first year of my life that I experienced trauma with the rest of the world. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve quite an impressive list of traumatic events that I’ve gone through alone. But this was my first sense of shared trauma on a global scale.

Yes, trauma is a heavy word. Yes, I worry that we use it too much and it will lose its emphasis. Yes, I wish there were a better word. Maybe BME, Behavior Modifying Event? But who’s gonna say that?

So for now, we just have to be ok with the idea that a lot of what we speak about in regards to trauma is more like a small-time, non-violent misdemeanor as opposed to a big-time, violent felony. But that begs a few questions. One, does less violent mean less impactful? And two, what is violence? What about mind violence, heart violence, soul violence?

We are in the depths of global transformation, an era of reinvention, redemption and redefining the world in which we live.

And we should embrace this.

Change is not perfect. In reality, it’s chaotic and messy and we’re bound to make a ton of mistakes along the way.

For me what’s most important about this period of time is that we stay open. Problems appear to arise when things become overly clinical, cold, linear and matter-of-fact.

I’m a questioner. Always have been, always will be.

Who are the arbiters of what makes a “fact”? To me, there are very few ways to truly qualify a fact. Life and experience seem to mostly be subjective. Science is bought and paid for by politicians and special interest groups and full or arrogance and ignorance and history, …well? Is it being accurately reported? Is it written to fit political narratives? Is it possible to remove corruption and bias from the arbiters of truth? As soon as we think we know it all, we shut down any other possibilities. Rigid definitions lead to dangerous axioms.

So many “experts” recoil to the ideas of evolving and improving our current standards, approaches and definitions of how we view, label and connect to our world. Instead, many just seem to double down on the work they’ve been doing for the past *insert number of years.* A frequent talking point. The number of years a professional has been doing something often times becomes a qualifier of credibility in their eyes and the eyes of those who seek their opinions but this is a fallible, primitive and ignorant approach to truth. Length of time in a field doesn’t always equal unrivaled wisdom. I understand why they double-down, though. Field veterans put so much time, energy and money into their careers and beliefs that they often become overly attached to out-dated, flawed and irrelevant ideas. They way the ego sees it, losing this attachment means losing all their investment in the subject as well.

And so, this brings me back to the new buzzword. Trauma.

The current global discussion around trauma has attracted some heated debates and controversy.

Some believe that by labeling events big and small “Trauma”, we watering down the meaning. Are we?

It’s a yes and no for me.

There is an obvious global shift in consciousness right now. I began to notice the slightest inklings of it around 2012. It was a slow, yet steady burn for the years following as more and more people became less interested in driving the latest and greatest such-and-such model and more interested in their personal development. And I really saw a steep incline in interest regarding spirituality, growth and self-improvement around 2018. Then 2020 happened, and I think that’s all we needed to finish tipping the scale. With more time on our hands and plenty of hardship to go around, we began questioning our purpose.

Pandora’s box has been fully opened en masse and there’s no going back now.

As a result we are becoming more open-minded as a collective. We are interested in expanding our mind, horizons and pursuing our dreams and our own personal healing. And this last piece is what sparked the world-wide trauma convo. Healing.

We are reevaluating what we’ve always known to be true. It used to be unheard of to claim you had trauma unless you had been through something truly beastly, evil and violent. But we’re reconsidering what it means to be traumatized now. We are realizing that not every harmful event is overt and malevolent but at times more like a slow drip on limestone, slowly carving away at the walls of our hearts. There are some big champions and pioneers taking the lead in the growth and healing revolution but also many naysayers and plentiful opponents to challenge these new ideas.

Personally I believe that taking inventory of our hurts and recognizing how they have shaped our behaviors, responses and the way we relate to the world and others is critical for our individual and personal prosperity.

How-ev-errrrrrr….there are some problems. One being that with the explosion of the “t” word’s popularity, also came the memes and sarcasm. When we take the word trauma and apply it to anything that is even the slightest bit uncomfortable or annoying, we are doing are serious disservice to the meaning as well as disrespecting those with trauma. When we reduce it, marginalize it and make it a joke, it becomes a parody of itself. No one wants their pain to be attached to a word that’s become facetious. So maybe we shouldn’t be “omg so traumatized. no milk for my cereal.”

But I don’t believe that’s the most outstanding issue on the topic of concern. Of much greater gravity, in my opinion, the biggest risk we run right now with the popularity of the term “trauma” and exploring our pains is over identification. Over identification with the word and our wounds.

There are two types of people in the world, those who want to heal and those who don’t.

What do I mean?

Ever met someone who was so attached to their wounds as a part of their identity that it was obvious they weren’t going to let those wounds go? Often times those in this camp will rest their laurels on their suffering. That doesn’t sound like it would make any sense, but it does. The labels, bruises and scars are the accomplishment. The labels are who they are. And so many can become impervious to healing as doing the work to heal poses a genuine threat to their current persona. Healing means losing their identity, losing who they are…

The word “trauma” poses a real particular danger to this camp of people, because it can quickly become just another label to add to the resume of victimhood. Another identity sticker to slap on the bumper of their car, add to their profile, or pin on their jacket.

I may sound insensitive but I’m not. I’m honest. And I have a sincere concern for those in this tribe.

And I’m not saying they aren’t wounded or traumatized. Obviously they are. The reality is, no matter how “small” the issue seems, if someone says they have trauma, I believe them, wholeheartedly. Even if they were saying it “for attention”, for me, this statement doesn’t invalidate those who claim to have trauma, it only confirms it. The need for attention is just one of the many signs that we have unattended-to wounds. There’s a reason people feel the way that they do and I’m not about shaming or telling others what does or doesn’t belong to them in terms of pain and labels- but I do worry about the risk of permanent affiliation. It’s asphyxiating to growth.

Although I do recognize that sometimes, when all we have is pain…it’s easy to make that our greatest accomplishment in life.

I’ve done it. And still do it at times. It’s especially a natural course for those of us who’ve been told to be “strong” our entire lives. We begin to measure our worth by the size of our pain and how well we can take an arrow to the knee. I call it my ‘soul cred’…instead of ‘street cred’, get it? You can always count on me to ruin a joke or find myself amusing when I’m really not.

What I’m really getting at here is that the word ‘trauma’ has attracted a lot of attention and like anything else, there are both pros and cons to this that we need to be aware of.

I seek to see a world rise and throw off their shackles of pain and labels. I desire to see a treat these words with the reverence and respect they deserve and use the wealth of information around the topic of trauma as the tools needed to GROW, not a badge, not an excuse to stay stagnant. But who am I to say? What’s my authority on the subject? Sure, I’m a ‘Trauma Coach’. That’s my label. We all have them. Does that make me any more or less relevant as an experiencer of pain?

Whoever you are, your experience is valid and you don’t need anyone with a title to tell you what you already know.

The buzz around trauma will probably fade some after time but I believe the broadened definition and expanded interest are here to stay-and overall, that’s a wonderful, healthy thing for the world.

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Many Pathways to Healing

What does that even mean? And what does it look like?

 What impedes this path? And what helps it?

After years of observation, experience and endless heaps of research, I’ve been led to some pretty simple, yet profound conclusions. 

The Kids

My children have endured unimaginable amounts of pain, trauma and storms in their lives and I have watched them all navigate their storms in ways that personally served them.

I have watched them all hurt, heal and hurt again. And they’ve observed the same in me.

I’ve also learned that many of us, though well-meaning, are doing more harm than good to our hurting loved ones. 

My daughter

Like many parents with teenagers, I watched my daughter change, in what seemed like, overnight. 

She went from playful, trusting, smiling, open and vulnerable; to closed, a tough exterior, and withdrawn. In such a short timeframe (months), her world went from safe and easy-going to scary and unstable. I was going through my second divorce when she lost her aunt who was more like a big sister or a best friend, her animals, and ended up needing and going through brain surgery. She was diagnosed with a serious and painful form of Chiari. What is Chiari? Well, essentially her brain did not fit inside her skull and was compressing the brainstem, spinal cord and literally being pushed outside of her skull. This is an extremely excruciating disease for some. She was lucky that way. It had affected her ability to swallow, she had constant nausea and tingling hands and feet but amongst those symptom, the worst were the relentless headaches. Pressure headaches. 24/7. Anytime she laughed, coughed, sneezed, stood up and sometimes just at the slightest movement. We had no choice but surgery.

During this time her home and security became a daily moving goal post and the family dysfunction and chaos was at a fever pitch. As she healed from brain surgery we had to flee to a friends home because ours was under threat of a break-in; that’s another equally drawn-out and terrifying story, involving my middle child. The discordance during this period of time was so much that I still have trouble processing it all.

My daughter became like a corked bottle on a stormy ocean; torrential waves thrashing her about unceasingly. No direction, no safety and no control. She was lost and at the mercy of the storm.

Her grades dropped drastically and her soft, glowing complexion exploded into an extreme case of cystic acne. 

But I was full of daily pep talks as if I could speak it all away with those ever-so-magic words, “Be strong”, “You are strong”, “I need you to be strong”…I know, I still cringe and my heart swells every time I think about it. 

She seemed to be developing an eating disorder and became OCD and extremely controlling, not of others, but over herself. It was so difficult to watch. She just shut down completely. She stopped sharing her trials with me, or anyone for that matter-and battled them alone, too afraid to be vulnerable. Too afraid to break. Too concerned about burdening me or others with her problems. Strong. This is what “strong” looks like; shutting down, control issues, a lack of trust, pessimism, pressure and emotional suppression.

It’s not like she hadn’t already been through enough. Abandoned by her biological father before she was born. He even refused to be listed on the birth certificate and ran from her and shirked his responsibility. Robbed of a father and only a baby; when she was 9 months old, I was diagnosed with Stage 3C inflammatory breast cancer that had metastasized. I was given 6 months to live. The first round of chemo failed and my first doctor gave up on me. More tangents and long stories, but where was I? Oh, right- I was too tired and weak to take care of her most days. A single mom living in a little “projects” box of an apartment that I endearingly referred to as “meth row”. Endless chemo, treatments, radiation and nonstop surgeries made it so I couldn’t even hold her most of the time, let alone take care of her, bathe her, change her, love her.

It felt like I slept for a year. In between dreams and eyelids made of lead, so heavy that I could hardly lift them, I would hear her…playing, pushing a chair up to the sink to play in the water, babbling with herself and her dolls, trying to get outside…I  still remember one time I heard her shuffling through the fridge, she then struggle-waddled down the hallway with a pitcher so full of orange juice that her tiny body couldn’t contain it, even with both chubby arms wrapped around, it splashed from side to side and all over the carpet. I managed to peek open my eyelids, half-awake, just enough to see her through the blur. She was standing in front of the drenched carpet beside the empty pitcher, glanced at me and whispered “don’t worry mama, I clean it”, which then involved squirting dish soap all over the carpet. Her spirit, so beautiful. So “strong”. This is when her independence began. Please know while reading these stories that I wasn’t intentionally a negligent mother. This is just how sick I was. There were times that I had some help but most days I was just either throwing up or couldn’t move with a pounding head.

Though head-strung and independent, she was an emotional child. When she was 5, I remarried and my husband and I, at the time, ignorantly shamed her out of her raw and innocent expression of emotion. We had convinced ourselves we were helping her. We didn’t know we were hurting her. She just had so many problems being bullied at school that we thought her emotional proclivities were making her a target. *a pattern she seemed to have carried over from me.*

I don’t know exactly when it happened but after enough shaming and harping on her to “Stop being so emotional. Be strong.”…she did. And from that point forward, she bottled it all up. Every drop.

After my second divorce I had no idea where we were going or what we would do. Her entire life was up in the air and she had no control over an ounce of it. It’s like I had taken all the contents of her life, scooped them up, put them in a jar, shook them around and dumped them into the trash. She was told to be “respectful”, “it’s not up to her”, “just deal with it”, and “accept whatever happens”; and she was to do it with a smile on her face. Her stability and happiness became a daily bargaining chip. I wasn’t purposefully wounding her but looking back, I can see now that my expectations were unfair and unreasonable.

At 12, right in the middle of my divorce she was diagnosed with the Chiari, and had to quit her true love, tumbling and cheer. Shortly after is when she lost her animals, her aunt, her brothers *in a sense, they had both left home* and her stability. Her best friends gone, her trust gone, her dreams gone, her innocence gone. 

Flash forward to 14 when she began picking at her hands, wrists, arms and acne. This is a form of self-harm resulting from pent-up anger, anxiety and emotions. This happens when the subject doesn’t feel safe to release their emotions amongst others and so they don’t. Instead they become numb, shove their feelings down and completely withdraw. And so they pick to feel, they pick to release and they pick to punish themselves, for everything. They aren’t even aware they are doing it. It’s not purposeful, just a subconscious habit.

I have spent a lot of time full of remorse, regret and silent guttural cries. I just didn’t know, what I didn’t know.  And though I’ve made it my job, passion and life’s purpose to help others, I still fail. I fail every single day, mostly with those closest to me. Unfortunately, and like many homosapiens, I often don’t know what’s right until I do what’s wrong. My life has been one single continuous string of events in which I learned through trial and error. I never trusted that the fire was hot. I always had to touch it first. I didn’t have a blueprint or a manual. Just a lengthy list of unhealthy coping mechanisms and a litany of trauma-tinged patterns. Bad parenting is only one of the many results.

The Boys…

My boys endured their own understated hardships and traumas.

The early years of domestic abuse, divorce, homelessness, recklessness and instability were just the beginning for them…there was plenty more where that came from waiting, in the future. 

For a couple of tumultuous years after my first divorce, we lived out of a car and suitcases. The boys were only 2 and 5. Bouncing from place to place and family member to family member. It was always a new place. A new state. A new city. Constantly driving through blizzards and winding mountains, sometimes where only chains were allowed in the middle of the night. The green flash of the deer’s eyes, caught in the headlights, frozen on the side of the highway became a living metaphor. The break downs, the car and me. Even the days were dark. I was a deer in headlights, and my fear and poor choices had thrust me before many a moving vehicle. I still remember a moment when I had to choose between $5 worth of gas or food for my boys. Naturally, I chose empty tummies. But those moments stick. You don’t forget.

We survived but it wasn’t easy. I became a tight-rope walker of fine lines, always trying not to wear-out the welcome mat with friends and family. The threshold was thin and I was limited on time as they grew tired of taking us in. And just like my daughter, my boys had no control, just along for a rollercoaster ride that they didn’t sign up for and couldn’t get off of. 

Each night we made a habit to pray. And pray they did. They prayed for the ability to choose their own food, open their own fridge, play with their own toys without having them yanked out of their hands by other kids, choose their own channel on the TV and sleep in their own bed. They prayed for a happy mom, and a happy, safe home. 

And when they finally got that years later, (at least the home part and some semblance of stability) mom still wasn’t happy. I became an unstable, suicidal alcoholic and their life was a waking nightmare.

The long term result?

My oldest son became a perfectionist. A professional pessimist. Mr. “play-it-safe”, the exact opposite of risky and unpredictable, the exact opposite of me (the old me). He was always the one to feel the obligation of “fixing” when chaos ensued. He carried my pain, his siblings pain, his pain and the weight of the world’s pain, all on his shoulders. He was self-loathing, constantly hard on himself and so paralyzed by anxiety that he dropped out of high-school. He also developed a disorder called dysmorphia which basically means that he had totally convinced himself that he was hideous (which he’s not, not biased). He was depressed, unable to sleep, unable to share his own pain and experiencing suicide ideations.

My middle child turned to ill-intentioned friends and self-soothing with drugs (which we all really know to be self-sabotage) He was constantly running, running from the pain of depression and anxiety, killing it with avoidance, and washing it down with denial, and risky behaviors. Starting at around the ripe, old age of 13, he began stealing my car late at night with his friends and around the same time, using drugs, which only escalated over the years. This led him down a very dark and grim path, eventually losing friends to OD’s, his freedom to the justice system, his dignity and ultimately more than words can express. 

The Rainbow…

But there is a rainbow after the storm. They are all in the process of healing and learning the art of resilience when life throws them a curve ball. 

All of them continue to heal and hurt and heal again. 

They each found an outlet and managed to carve out their own path to repair that works for them. 

They all still struggle at times though. So do I. That’s life. *don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.* But we show up for each other when we make mistakes and we try not to shame each other or ourselves when we fail. We are all still learning the art of imperfection, which just means recognizing and embracing life and healing as one ongoing process of lessons and love.

My oldest son is a musician and at the magic age of 14, he decided to learn guitar and I believe that in a way, it saved him. He went to therapy for a couple years, went back to school, got his diploma, went to college and is now a web designer with his own business. He is always learning and exploring healthier ways to release and navigate the challenging, anxious moments in life with music, working out, and creativity. He’s an avid reader and always interested in growth and self-improvement (healing). I call him a life ninja, a title that he rejects but I just call it as I see it. I really look up to him and the way he continues to hone his skills and ride the waves of life with grace.

My middle child, oh the poor middle child, so lost in the shuffle. His outlet, also around the same age was snowboarding. And he was really good! Honestly he was just always the kid who excelled at any sport he tried, Judo, Baseball, Gymnastics, Wrestling, Skateboarding, BMX, Rollerblading… But addiction has a way of stealing our talents, our joys and our power. He’s 21 now, in treatment, focused, working hard, loves fishing, working out and is building and creating a new future for himself. Watching him brave the storm and hold himself accountable everyday takes my breath away. He’s doing what he has to do, reclaiming his sovereignty and remembering who he really is. He’s on the hero’s journey, climbing his own Mt. Everest with the face of determination and sheer will.

My daughter is in club volleyball now and swears also that “it saved her”. She journals, pushes herself academically and continues to face her fears on a daily basis. She has her entire future mapped out…just imagine. I can’t. I’m a “creative” and still mapping mine out.

The picking has almost completely vanished and she began talking to me again. But I had to wake up, get real with myself, confess my folly and expose my role in her pain. I had to recognize how I had wounded her and commit to correcting those errors. I can’t change the past, but I can make the future better.

Her face is clear now. Her eyes are bright, and her smile and light are returning, a little more everyday.

But she still has her crosses to bear, at 14, *sigh*, I remember well…the heartbreaks, the popularity contests, the deep, heavy emotions, the awakening to the state of the world and imperfections of the human race. 14 is hard. So hard. But she’s surviving it and at the end of the day she knows she is loved and supported. I try to equip her with the tools needed to face the world but sometimes I’m not so sure she needs it. She knows so much more than I did at her age. I call her “Little Buddha” because her wisdom just blows my mind.

I often feel the awareness of my children surpasses mine. Most days I can’t tell who is helping who. All I know is I feel so grateful to bear witness to their stories and greatness and watch them rise from the ashes, so determined to learn from their trials, letting them “refine, not define” them.


You’re probably wondering about me now.

Well, the only difference between the old me and the new me is that now I do my best to stay self-aware, hold myself accountable and learn from my actions. Though I’m human and I still slip and slide down that hill, I try to catch myself. I just don’t allow myself to descend all the way back down the mountain anymore. Now I allow branches to smack me around and break my fall. I’m a lot more open to learning these days and I try to pause as often as I can in the tricky moments and observe myself, and when I’m able to, I’m usually able to bring myself back to awareness, accountability, responsibility and truth. 

It’s my turn now to be “strong” but I’m doing it different. I’m doing it with vulnerability and honesty. Somedays it feels like I’m on top of the world, conquering it all and enjoying the view. Other days it’s like I’m at the bottom of a canyon paddling upstream with a hole in the boat. But I’m learning. I’m improving. And I’m growing.

I try not to make my issues their responsibility to fix anymore. No more picking up the pieces for mom. And though I still mess up, I know the power of a sensitive, heartfelt apology. I know the power of pulling myself back up and dusting off my knees. I know the power of showing my children, by example, that change is possible. 

How have I mended? Well I’m still in the thick of it and surrendering myself to the idea that I may continue to find myself in an eternal state of repair.

And that can be and is, a happy ending.

I have found my compass, my passions, continue to learn and share and…I met someone. Someone who gets me, listens, doesn’t shame, holds space and has the same goals in mind. For the first time in this life I feel in sync with someone and he is definitely a significant piece of my personal puzzle, and I, for him. Don’t get me wrong, it comes with it’s own set of challenges but we embrace the lessons. I know I’m fortunate and that not everyone has that “special someone”. I’m aware of my privilege but I also know that most, if not all of our healing ultimately comes from within. Though I love every moment of our time together, we both realize that our “special someone” is also, ourselves.

The truth is we are never totally out-of-the-woods, it’s a cycle. We break. We mend. We fall. We get back up. We start over. 

The top of every mountain is the bottom of another. Life is birth and we are constantly giving birth to our selves. Fortunately the intelligent creator gives us brief periods of rest in between the contractions and the ongoing pain of birthing a new us. We have to accept that in life this is a pattern. Hopefully life’s trials won’t always traumatize us but if we are doing it right, we will become better captains of our own ships. Brave and skilled. Growth and evolution means we will always be shedding old skins. This is an ongoing, and at times, agonizing, system of progression and evolution.

And if we can just recognize this for what it is and accept it in ourselves and each other, showing up with compassion and understanding, we can heal, slowly and perfectly-imperfect. Healing is recognition, growth, accountability, acceptance and also…pain. Healing is the willingness to keep showing up for others and for ourselves no matter how much it hurts. And healing is embracing this cycle as wholeness, beauty and reality.

Animals…(keep scrolling, you’re almost done. promise)


Lola is my dog. She’s a mutt. A giant, goofy, black beauty. We think she is probably a mix of German Shepard, Lab, and maybe a dash of Border Collie? We don’t really know.

My son brought her home on a cold, winter night about 5 years ago. *without asking*, the classic. 

She was about 9 months old at the time, the equivalent of a human teenager, and she was afraid. Her “home” had abandoned her. They couldn’t keep her anymore because they were “having a baby”. The man shoved her in the car, shut the door and that was it. No hugs. No goodbyes. It was pretty clear she didn’t mean much to them. 

She was anxious, hyper, out-of-control, scared, untrusting, had no training and no boundaries. 

I knew it was going to be a long road with her. 

I didn’t expect her to trust me, love on me or even obey me. How could I? Had she ever even known rules, safety and love? I’ll never know but her behaviors sure didn’t seem like it. 

She would hardly make eye contact and was very much in her own world. It almost seemed as though she had ADHD. Studies are now revealing close links between ADHD and trauma but that’s for another blog.

I did my best to understand Lola, give her plenty of space and earn her trust…slowly. It took a lot of patience ( *full disclosure, some days I really failed at this) and it took a LOT of time. 

Over time she improved so tremendously. However, she did suffer some setbacks over the last couple years. 

We ended up moving to an apartment where she had little space, no yard and no freedom. Instead she had a shock collar-something I said I’d NEVER do. I still remember the day she accidentally tested the perimeter of the collar. We were playing and she ran just a tiny bit too far and it shocked her.

Her yelp and the way she looked at me is something I’ll never forget. I think that moment was a big set back in the realm of trust for her. A divorce also meant she lost two of her best friends. And we lost two more this last year to the afterlife. She became noticeably depressed, despondent, lost her energy and turned gray, overnight. She’s almost 6. That’s not normal. Some of her energy eventually returned, but so did her fear of cars, her digging, jumping and scratching at the back door. I also noticed separation anxiety set in as well. 

Is Lola totally rehabilitated now? No, not at all, but she has greatly improved. 

Whenever Lola experiences a set-back, I can see what’s happening and during those times I try to show up for her with extra comfort, patience and understanding. Ok, and maybe an extra snack. 

You see sometimes we heal only to be hurt again, and revert again… only to need to heal…again. 

This is the cycle of life.

So if you’ve “healed” and then backslid, cut yourself some slack. Healing is recognition. Healing is the ability to learn. Healing is patience. Healing is love.  Healing is an endless cycle, like the clouds, the rain and the storms.

We just need to remember in the midst of our storms, pain and healing that clouds never stay and the sun never leaves. 

Lola’s path of pain, trauma and finding the cure was unique to her. What hurts and helps each of us is so personal and unique. 

This is Rain, Lola, (the giant black one blending into the couch) and the little guy behind the couch is Sauske, my son’s Mini Aussie. They all heal together, with support and the power of unconditional love. I’ve noticed that many people who have endured mountains of trauma are animal lovers. And it makes sense. Animals are safe. 

Now the key is to find out how we can be safe for each other.

Imagine if we could show up for each other and ourselves like animals do, with forgiveness, acceptance, unconditional love, comfort and consistency. 

They are phenomenal teachers for humans. Animals don’t love with conditions. They don’t make promises they can’t keep, hold grudges, shame you, break your heart or abandon you. The worst thing an animal does is something they can’t control, they don’t live forever, but I think The Creator designed it that way. Sometimes we have to lose what is precious to us in order to really appreciate it. Part of what makes them so valuable to us, aside from their saintly nature is knowing how fleeting their existence is in our lives. 

Animals are consistently good to us. They just are. And being consistently good to others seems to always come with the constant threat of also being taken for granted but maybe, just maybe we can try to stay aware of this truth. And maybe,…we can do it anyway, knowing the risk, knowing it’s worth it, knowing it’s the right thing to do.

Maybe we can make an agreement with ourselves to recognize each day, all that we have to be grateful for.

The past is gone, and the future makes no promises. We make plans and God laughs but we have today and today we have the chance to be present for someone who needs us, without shame, without telling them “to be strong”… and sometimes, that someone, is us. If we can show up consistently and unconditionally with love, perhaps we can heal. 

Trauma and healing isn’t one path or one thing; it’s life, it’s love, and it’s an enduring ache. It’s ugly, it’s messy, it’s stunning, it’s wonderful and it’s different for everyone. 

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Welcome to The Soul Shook Podcast!



I have an announcement to make. Today I launched my podcast Soul Shook it’s currently on Spotify and Anchor. Feel free to check out my first episode here on Rock bottom Revelations. Hope you and enjoy and feel free to share!…/epi…/Rock-Bottom-Revelations-e1aea5d…

In today’s first episode I discuss the reason behind going through rock bottom alone and how we can support and understand those going through it. #mentalhealth #trauma #ptsd #breakdown #therapy #coaching #resilience #addiction #breakup #divorce #midlifecrisis #awakening #consciousness

I am a Transformation Coach with a focus on Trauma and how it impacts our lives and ability to create the life we deserve. #trauma #traumainformed #ptsd #coach

– Kimmy Millét

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