My Story and Its Connection to the Presidential Election

(I have spent these past 10 days deliberating my thoughts and feelings about the Presidential election and have decided to share my story here. I share it as a symbol of hope and resilience. And while you may be at a different place from others, or myself, I hope you will take what resonates for you in the way that you are ready to. Please share this post with others if that is something you desire to do.)

I went to bed last Tuesday pretty late and very disheartened. The candidate I had hoped to win in the election was not winning and I began searching for what that meant to me. I had been ready for a woman to fill the position of President of the U.S. and I had been in disbelief with the hate, racism and other positions that were commonly a part of this campaign season.

At 3:45 a.m., on Wed., I was awake and spent several hours battling bouts of fear, sadness and doubt. With the training I have received in Somatic Trauma Resolution work, I knew that staying in that vicious cycle was not going to help. So I started breathing, which is what I go to when I need to find calm. At one point I rolled onto my back with my arms outstretched and as I did, the image of a night 6 years ago was immediately front and center in my mind. That evening we had discovered that my husband of 19 years and my girls’ father had died by suicide. The girls slept with me that night and I remembered vividly that as they slept, I laid in bed, holding onto them, and filled with fear, sadness and doubt and not sure how to go on. This same sensation was now being triggered for me with the election results.

Within seconds of realizing where that fear and doubt was coming from, there was another most powerful thought that took center stage: “BUT WE MADE IT!” With that thought, the fear and doubt dissipated to the back of my mind. I was filled with a peace that is hard to explain, but very real. And the road to recovery has not been easy, but we did it. We did it by putting one foot in front of the other even when we didn’t want to, we did it with MUCH love and support from family and friends and sometimes strangers, we did it with folks who supported us without judgment, and when others judged us, we called them out and other times we learned to accept that their judgment was their ‘stuff.’

We healed because we grieved, we talked, we laughed, we were angry and we named the fear and doubt for what it was. And in this week since the election, I have cycled through each of these emotions and may do so many times in the present and in our future. But I know that resiliency and empowerment are also a part of my story.  Several of you have also posted about looking at your strong emotions with this election and finding what it is that is an old trigger and I applaud you. I would encourage each of you reading this post to do the same if you haven’t done so already. And know that you will find support on your journey.

The core of my sadness, pre and post election, continues to be what I call a tear in our moral fabric as human beings.  We have many opportunities, now and in the future, to ask ourselves, “what do I value” and “what am I willing to do to take action for what I value.”  As human beings, we are hardwired for ‘connectedness with others.’ So we will need to ask ourselves these questions as well: What do I fear about that connectedness, what do I believe about it, what am I willing to do to heal those connections with humanity and what are the triggers that keep me from being able to ask those questions?

One person will be the President of the United States and yes, they, and the people they surround themselves with do affect policy and our relationships with other countries in our world. But also be cautious of making that one person your savior or the recipient of your blame. It will not help you move forward on your journey. I do believe that this is a time where we can experience real healing. It may not look the way we envisioned it to look, but sometimes we have to step back, remember the lessons of our past, be alert to the future and live in the present. We must each do our part to build bridges and not expect others to build them for us. We are all in this together!

I remember very vividly several years after my husband died, that I had to make a choice: I knew I could choose to be a victim or I could choose to heal and move forward. I am so glad I chose to heal.  At the crossroad of choice is where healing begins. Regardless of the actions each of us take, we are now at crossroads and there will be many choices that we each must make in the next years. I urge you to make those choices from a place of integrity, of purpose, of recognizing what triggers you and naming it, so you/we can then function and make decisions based upon the values of being human.   That is our connection with one another. Thank you for listening to ‘my story’ of healing and hope. WE CAN MAKE IT TOGETHER!

 I welcome you to use the ‘comments’ section of this post to give light to a trigger that may have surfaced for you recently.  I would ask that we then hold comments in a space of support, without the need to give advice, but to simply listen. If you want to visit more about healing options available to you or you would like more information about the work I do, explore my website or you can contact me there as well.

Why STR?

IMG_1462Somatic Trauma Resolution (STR) is a therapeutic approach that engages the body along with the brain to resolve trauma events. It goes further than talking about traumatic or stressful life events. It is about releasing the trauma energy that has gotten trapped in the nervous system and restoring healthy energy flow throughout the body.

Here is a bit of the scientific base for STR.   Somatic work taps into the instinctual (lizard) part of the brain where trauma events get stuck. By allowing awareness of and tracking sensation in the body, clients are able to heal to the point of being able to think of or talk about the event as a part of their past. They also are so relieved to not be triggered on numerous occasions throughout their day and because of this, they report increased energy and a more positive outlook on life.

Because we have a more evolved, thinking brain, we frequently try to ‘think’ our way through trauma and stress, ignoring the body and the signals it gives us. And in the Western culture, we are often not as comfortable listening to our bodies and allowing it to show us what it needs for resolution (shaking, trembling, stomping, etc.)

I will be posting more about the function of STR on my website and blog posts so check back from time to time. I want to continue with the three basic principles of STR, giving examples from my practice with clients to reinforce each principle. I hope it helps bring clarity to the practice of STR.

 1.  STR brings the body on board so that greater healing can happen

 A key difference between STR and traditional ‘talk’ therapy is that it is not important in STR to retell the event. Frequently we go to sensation and track that, rather than retelling the story. When the sensation has been explored, it is then easier for a client to recount the experience.

  •  A child tells about a lock down at school that day. I ask her how her body felt during that time. She responds with “I don’t know” as her feet move back and forth. When I ask what her feet want to do she responds with ‘run.’ We stand together and run in place until she stops running. When asked if she needs to run some more, she responds ‘no, it’s all out.’ She has gone through the process of letting her body complete what it didn’t have the chance to do during the lock down. By allowing her feet to run she was able to complete this process thus releasing any trapped energy that was still in her nervous system.
  • After doing some boundary work in a session, a teenager was so excited and kept repeating, “I can feel my stomach.” He had had surgery in the abdomen area about a year before this session.

2.  STR helps you build and use resources that are unique for you

 A goal of STR is to help the client find resources that they will use and that work for them. Often resources become evident through the work the client does. Learning to breathe deeply and often is a resource that I remind clients of many times. Resources become valuable as a client recognizes triggers early on so they can help themselves make different choices.

  • A first grade child who got angry quickly noticed that his fists were clenched at recess one day. Once he noticed that, he took a deep breath and slowly unclenched his fists and decided to go do something else with another child.
  • A client who had spent a great deal of time in traditional therapy told me one day that she had always been given ‘homework’ to do but never would do it. The suggestions given at the STR session were so much easier for her to remember and to practice.

3.   STR helps you establish healthy boundaries

Resolving trauma involves recognizing boundary breaches and re-establishing healthy ones, which leads to greater resiliency in facing difficult situations.

  •  By slowly going back through a ‘pushing in line’ incident at school, a young girl was able to imagine turning and putting her hands up to the person behind her so they could see that she didn’t want to be pushed.
  • When a disturbing image came up for a client, she was able to work through it gradually by imagining that she became a robot, setting boundaries around her ‘younger self’ and finding the resolution she needed. She now recalls that she can tell this story to others without crying.

So why STR? It heals more deeply, it’s good for all ages, it restores balance in the nervous system and it engages brain and body working together for healing. I welcome your feedback, responses and questions.

A Path of Hope and Healing


“Traveler, there is no path, the path is made by walking.” 

Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

I have always been drawn to paths-paths through forests, across the tundra, along the coastline, and over sand dunes. They fascinate me and inspire exploration, wonder and choice of direction. There seems to be so much potential in a path!

I believe each of our personal journeys is very much our personal path. Paths inspire hope and healing and are ever changing: sometimes we are not sure we are on the ‘right’ path, at times we have to stop and look back to see where we have come from, at other times the path is so narrow we feel squeezed and afraid to move, we often have to navigate numerous switchbacks, sometimes we head straight up or down, they can be rocky and uneven and then there are the times we meander on paths that bring calm to our souls. Sometimes we don’t know how or what our next step will be, but we know we must simply take that ‘next step.’

My path of hope and healing currently leads me in three directions:

  • As a Somatic Trauma Resolution therapist
  • As a Trauma/Education Consultant
  • As a Workshop Presenter

Wherever your path may be currently leading you, I am honored that our paths are intersecting at this moment. Take some time to explore, wonder and be inspired and if I can support you on your healing path, I would be honored to do so.