November 13, 2018

Abandonment: Remembering


This week, Anne Lauren shares how growing up in a home with a narcissist father who sexually abused her and detached mother fostered feelings of abandonment.

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It was dark outside. I was trying to move into the fast lane on a busy Southern CA freeway. My friend sat in the passenger seat as we headed to water polo practice. My blinker clicked, clicked, and clicked as I waited for the large car to pass by. Suddenly, I looked ahead and the car in front of me was at a dead stop. I slammed on my breaks, crossed my arm over my friend’s chest, and rammed the back of the car. His car hit the car in front of him accordianing his sedan. The cops arrived on the scene and stopped traffic so that we could all pull over onto the side of the highway. Everyone exited their vehicles uninjured.

Soon after my father arrived in a fury. His little Porsche Boxter whipped to the side of the road. He approached me madly, yelled at me for hitting the car in front of me on accident, and then abandoned me. He left me there: a 16 year old girl, on the side of the road with my friend, a police officer, and two men both whom I had hit in the middle of the night. My friend’s mother picked us up and drove me home. As soon as I arrived my dad sat me down and started yelling at me: apparently he could be sued and lose everything. My mother sat idly by observing all that occurred.

Being the daughter of a narcissistic father and a codependent mother made for a challenging development. Everything was about him; any attempt to seek independence was squashed by her. Additionally, I was born with a digestive disease and also had epileptic seizures until I was 5. My health was sensitive throughout my life and by the time I was 22, my body shut down. It wasn’t until I was 24 that the memories resurfaced: the frequent instances of sexual abuse by my father, my grandfather, and my uncle.

My first memory was at 2, I can’t really recall when the abuse stopped. I used the same coping mechanisms as many childhood trauma survivors do: repression, forgetfulness,  dissociation- I ran away from myself, abandoned my memory. I held their secrets, their shame, their need for release inside my body and slowly it poisoned me. My silence was my main source of survival- if I told, I would be killed. I was the great protector, of myself, of my family. I was a child.

When the memories resurfaced I asked my mother for space so I could simply process the new information swirling inside my head. Her codependency was more important than my need, so space was not granted. Sadly, what began as a temporary need became a permanent reality, I haven’t seen or spoken to her since. She knows what happened. She chose to stay with him. Again, I was abandoned.

It is far too common for incest survivors to be betrayed by their own families. The narcissistic abuser holds so much control over the lives of the family members, that the stories of the victim don’t matter. I’m not convinced anyone in my family actually believes what happened to me. I am in relationship with a few of them under the condition that they respect my boundaries: don’t share my contact information or my location with my parents. I am in a state of constant hiding.

I can’t pursue justice. Statute of limitation laws rob me of my right to criminalize my abusers. Apparently, it took too long for the memories to resurface and even longer for me to have the courage to take them to the police for justice to be pursued. When I finally did, I was rudely reminded of the statue of the limitations. I demanded to speak to an officer and after a long period of waiting gave my testimony. When I followed up, there were no notes about what had been done about my case. I was told to trust that the officers had done their job. But why would I believe that? No authority figure had ever done their job.

I ran away, abandoned myself to survive the abandonment of his paternal responsibility to protect my body and being, her maternal responsibility to teach me to use my voice and own my power, my family’s responsibility to stand by me when injustice arose, the state’s responsibility to enact justice. I abandoned myself because I had been abandoned so many other times. He left me on the side of the road, she sat idly by, no one defended me.

What else was I to do but run like hell?



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Anne Lauren is a word weaver, a woman warrior, and a wisdom wayfinder. She authors the blog, Blue&Lavender, which speaks of her experience recovering from incest and illness and seeks to educate and inspire others to do so. She runs her own coaching program, speaks publicly about her experience, and publishes writings to spread her hope for healing. Check out her blog at www.bluandlav.com. She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Medium @BlueandLavender and on Instagram @Blue_and_Lavender.


November 6, 2018

Abandonment: Running


This month, it is my joy to introduce you to Anne Lauren - writer, healer, and badass. I had the joy of writing for Anne's blog recently, and was so excited when she agreed to share about her journey and her thoughts on a major topic for survivors: abandonment.

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I left her at the dock, abandoned her there. My hand held the throttle as tight as it could, moving as fast as the jet ski could go, I whipped through the water away from her, never turning back. Focused and furious, I sped away and away and away. Suddenly my focus broke, I looked down at my gas gauge and realized that I was in need. I had no idea where I’d find it or how I’d pay for it. I looked up and noticed how beautiful my surroundings were: the bay, the homes, the water, the lights. I was alone. How did I get here? Where am I going? Will I find the resources to get me there? These questions spun in my mind until I woke up.

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At 18 years old, I started running. I’m not talking about putting on sneakers, loose shorts, and a breathable tee and sprinting down the street trying to keep up with all the other active folks in San Francisco. I’m talking about running away.

I’ve been running away from things from the moment that running became a possibility. As soon as I left home for college, I ran like the wind. I ran through two degree programs, a number of clubs and organizations, relationships and friends. I ran away from family, from the church of my childhood, from all that I held dear. I ran into two career paths, finding success only to let them both go. I ran to and through medical treatments, healing modalities, attempting to free and to fix myself. I ran into my 30’s exhausted, burnt out, and keeled over.

I didn’t know, of course, that I was running while I was doing it. I thought I was just searching - urgently, desperately - for people, places, and a career path that would alleviate the pain within me.


As soon as I left the house at 18, my brain and body began shutting down. I shook, I had night terrors, I isolated myself because I didn’t feel safe, I couldn’t digest food properly, my anxiety and depression raised to unmanageable levels. I was exhausted. I had no idea what was wrong, but something definitely was so.

At the time I was devoted to social justice. I volunteered with those in economic and spiritual need in the states and abroad- I worked in hospitals, prisons, immigration and food shelters, and schools to help alleviate the pain of others. As I was learning how to actively listen to their plight, how to help them to understand their worth regardless of social or economic circumstances, and advocate for the improvement of practice and policy to alleviate their suffering, I was also learning how to help myself. How to hold and to nourish and to nurture the deep cries within me. I was curious to find their source, but struggled.

My life from the outside seemed nearly perfect: white and wealthy, I had lots of privileges: food on my table, a roof over my head, healthy relationships, and a well rounded education. In college, I had everything I could have ever wanted: my teachers admired my curious intellect, I was deeply involved with a number of organizations on campus, I had great friends, the world was opening before me. And yet, the better my life became the worse I felt. I didn’t understand. I couldn’t comprehend why my internal plight and external circumstances didn’t align.

At 22, the suffering built up and I found myself lying paralyzed on the floor. I couldn’t move. So I broke through the stigma of therapy and mental medications and started to get help. This is when I began to notice my pattern of running. I sought out counselors and spiritual advisers to help me to understand why I couldn’t stop. Why I was continuing to flee, why my feet beneath me couldn’t cease moving no matter my level of fatigue.

At 32, I had the dream about abandoning the woman on the dock and the jet ski and it represented my place in life all too well. I had been running away for so long, concentrating so hard on just getting out, that in a moment I realized:


Where was I running to, what would I need to get there, and how would I actually do it?



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Anne Lauren is a word weaver, a woman warrior, and a wisdom wayfinder. She authors the blog, Blue&Lavender, which speaks of her experience recovering from incest and illness and seeks to educate and inspire others to do so. She runs her own coaching program, speaks publicly about her experience, and publishes writings to spread her hope for healing. Check out her blog at www.bluandlav.com. She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Medium @BlueandLavender and on Instagram @Blue_and_Lavender.


October 23, 2018

We Heal in Community


This week, Frances Goodall explores the importance that having a community of support plays in our healing journey.

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We heal in community. We are social beings. We don’t heal when we feel isolated, but when we feel connected and held. I know this from the inside out from my own healing journey from CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and trauma, and from the journey’s I have witnessed in others.

We are social animals and benefit greatly from having external support systems in place in order to thrive. This blog covers the power of community, relationships and being surrounded by loving support, in order to enhance your healing path.

In relationship we heal, with perhaps a coach, a therapist, a healer, or feeling held in a circle of support, like a women’s circle. Or simply by having friends that we have deep and soulful relationships with.

An important aspect of the recovery journey is often to be able to ask for help, to develop the confidence to expand your social network and make contact with people. To be able to let love in, as well as give it out. I remember a friend of mine assertively telling me I needed to learn to ask for help and be open to receive it. She told me that it was actually a gift to her, that she longed to be able to help me. Having this kind of support around me, even when it was painful at times to be authentically challenged, was also helpful in realizing some core patterns I had that I needed to change.

With this in mind, I encourage clients to develop their close relationships, as huge resources while they heal and for the rest of their lives. If they don’t currently have such support in their lives, to go out and find it. It’s difficult of course depending on the severity of the illness, but a sense of isolation or loneliness will only make a condition harder to heal. Get what support and connection you can, even if it’s primarily online initially.

In this step I also touch on the value of different supportive relationships, exploring our sexuality, women’s and men’s circles and therapeutic support, as we heal. It’s also about knowing that you are worthy of getting the external support and validation you need. Having a strong community around you will help you navigate all the steps of a health recovery journey.

I recommend you find your tribe (or tribes!) to support you to heal, be it The Women’s Wellness Circle Community or/and Rachel Grant’s community, or another supportive group space.


This is one of the primary reasons I co-created The Women’s Wellness Circle, which is an online and in-person spaces where women can gather. We hold space for women in in-person retreats and creating as far as possible, this experience in online gatherings. We gather to share tools, do self-care together and to be inspired to do the work that is required to heal. To do the work required in community with other women who get what it takes to heal from chronic illness and trauma.

In a women’s circle we can feel held and heard, we can heal trauma, we can recognize how our stories overlap with each other, and we are not alone on our path. We’re all connected, when one woman has an insight or shift, the benefits ripple out. Women can support each other, to reclaim our power, our love, be our true selves, live our potential, to reclaim our health and wellness.

The deeper vision of The Women’s Wellness Circle is for a world of fully resourced and vibrant women ready to give their gifts to the world, we believe the world needs empowered women to help create the shift we need for our survival as a human species and for the planet. We welcome you to join the community for more support, you can find out more at our website.

When women are stressed they release Oxycontin to support coming together, we innately know it’s what’s we need to do, to protect each other and any young ones.

Being held in community supports us to feel safe in ourselves, to live from love and trust, which is one of the keys that will help us to heal. Being held will help us to feel safe to bring healing to early imprints of trauma.

Even illness becomes wellness when I becomes we!

May the right community support you in becoming the most well and vibrant version of yourself, able to offer your gifts to the world and live your dreams in life.

May the world be full of vibrant people who have done the deeper soul and psyche work, and are able to offer their gifts to the world. If that is you already, feel free to contact us at The Women’s Wellness Circle about sharing your healing journey to inspire other women!



P.S.

Join The Womens Wellness Circlean online community of big-hearted, courageous women ready to support you to fully recover your health and give your gifts to the world.

Receive our free Five Steps to Reclaim Your Health’ coursean inspiring and practical mini-course for women with chronic health challenges who want to live a healthy and purposeful life.

Do you know any big, hearted, courageous women who are healing from chronic health challenges? Share this blog with them and spread the love ~ theyll thank you for it.








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Frances is a therapist, coach, trainer, speaker, mother and the author of ‘You Can Heal Chronic Illness: The Lotus Process, 8 Steps to Health and Happiness’. Over five years, she went from house-bound with chronic fatigue to running half marathons and she’s since spent a decade dedicating her life to supporting 100s of women to recover their health.

Frances is a Master Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) Trainer and Advanced Practitioner (AAMET Accredited), a Gupta Amygdala Retraining Coach, and a health recovery coach specializing in supporting women to heal from chronic illness.
For more information on working with Frances in one-to-one coaching sessions, visit her website www.francesgoodall.com

October 16, 2018

Can Suppressed Emotions Lead to Chronic Fatigue?


This week, Frances picks up where Jen left off, sharing with us about her journey in coming to understand how suppressed emotions were preventing her from healing from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

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Is your past your past? Have we truly left it there, or do we bring it with us in painful memories, thoughts, conditioned responses and body armoring? Is it contributing to our illnesses today? If we honestly ask ourselves that question many of us will find the answer is that we do indeed bring the past into our present life.

For me, it took me five years of healing from disabling CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) to even learn that I had trauma in my system to heal. Childhood and teenage sexual abuse trauma, an experience of being the victim of violence as a teenager, my parent’s divorce and later to realize that I was even carrying trauma from my ancestor’s experiences.

To address this step on our journey to health and happiness, it’s important that we are working with our emotions consciously, that we understand more about what trauma is and how it effects the body, and how we heal, including the different types of trauma like inherited trauma.

To be clear, we do not need to resolve all of our past baggage to heal physically, indeed we may not need to resolve any and other steps to support our healing may be enough, such as practicing a lot of self-care like a great diet, good sleep routines and practicing daily meditation and restorative yoga.

However, I believe for a full and lasting recovery, it is helpful to gently explore the roots of our patterns and conditioning, and bring new resources to our younger parts. This will also support us in moving to a deeper place of peace and wholeness, and enriching our lives and relationships in amazing ways for the rest of our lives.

As we heal our past we will develop more strength and resilience than we previously dreamed to be possible, and as we shall soon discover, we might even experience it as a spiritual awakening.


Trauma and suppressed emotions can be part of the picture of what later manifests as a chronic health condition. For example, as I was healing from CFS and was in the final year of the illness and generally doing pretty well, I went to see my father by the coast. Within a day of being there, I ended up feeling really unwell and barely able to get out of bed for days. As I was laying there in despair about how ill I felt, I suddenly had a feeling that my body was calling to me through these horrible symptoms to be really authentic with my Dad for the first time; to talk about how painful it was when I was a child and he split up with my mum, and what had led up it. Thankfully, he had recently been in therapy himself and so he was open to talking to me about it.

Once I realized this was what I needed to do, I had the energy to go out for a little walk with him and from the start I brought up the topic. Telling me more about his story as we sat on cliffs looking out over the sea, we both ended up crying and connecting, and it was a beautiful and healing experience. It was also a moment of reinforcing the link between mind and body, as I felt so much better physically once I’d spoken my truth and been heard. I left feeling so much healthier and happier, and like a layer of what was needed in order for me to recover had been resolved.

Needless to say, it’s not always possible to have these conversations with the people in your life that might have had a big impact on you. In which case therapeutic support can be really helpful and necessary to work through these feelings. Of course, if you’ve got really good friends that you can be truly authentic with, that can be very supportive as well.

For me I believe that sexual abuse and trauma was at the root of my chronic illness, and what led to patterns and behaviors that kept my system in a chronic place of underlying stress, until I got to those roots and started to free my system from the burden it was carrying. As this happens, and all of the energy that was bound up in the trauma starts to free up, we might even experience a shift in consciousness and what could be considered a spiritual awakening.

Wishing you well on your journey into the roots of what is affecting your physically or emotional health, to claim your birth right for health, happiness and joy.



P.S.
To learn more about our work for The Women’s Wellness Circle join us for ‘Getting to the Root of Chronic Illness’, a free call on the 18th October at 9am PST/ 12pm EST/ 5pm BST, sign up here.

Join The Women’s Wellness Circle – an online community of big-hearted, courageous women ready to support you to fully recover your health and give your gifts to the world.

Receive our free ‘Five Steps to Reclaim Your Health’ course – an inspiring and practical mini-course for women with chronic health challenges who want to live a healthy and purposeful life.

Do you know any big-hearted, courageous women who are healing from chronic health challenges? Share this blog with them and spread the love ~ they’ll thank you for it.






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Frances is a therapist, coach, trainer, speaker, mother and the author of ‘You Can Heal Chronic Illness: The Lotus Process, 8 Steps to Health and Happiness’. Over five years, she went from house-bound with chronic fatigue to running half marathons and she’s since spent a decade dedicating her life to supporting 100s of women to recover their health.

Frances is a Master Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) Trainer and Advanced Practitioner (AAMET Accredited), a Gupta Amygdala Retraining Coach, and a health recovery coach specializing in supporting women to heal from chronic illness.
For more information on working with Frances in one-to-one coaching sessions, visit her website www.francesgoodall.com


October 9, 2018

Stories We Tell: Trauma Created Stories, Re-writing Them, & Reclaiming Power


This week, Jen Evans explores how trauma creates the stories we live by and how re-writing them gives us our power back.


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“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” Joan Didion

I have this quote stuck on my wall, a constant reminder that at any one point in my day, I am telling myself a story, and that I had better check that it’s a story I want to tell myself and the world.

I’ve spent a lifetime telling stories. My dream growing up was to become a writer. But instead of pursuing the career that most spoke to me, I opted for safe and accessible work, and pastimes that did not involve a window into my own soul. That was far too dangerous. Best to just paint the window frame, but keep it boarded up.

Through my healing journey, a journey from constant fear and anxiety, depression and chronic physical illnesses, I came back to the desire at my core, the true self that knew all along what it’s purpose in this world was. I came back to my need to write, to tell stories that translated my experience and connected me to everyone and everything else. And I learnt that I had been a storyteller all along, just not the kind I had dreamed of being.

It turns out I am a great storyteller. How do I know this? Because I told myself the greatest of stories, the most elaborate and convincing of tales, my entire life. They were so believable I knew no other reality. I retold them daily, embellished them often and held on to them when anything threatened their existence. They were the filter through which I experienced all of life, every person, circumstance, place and feeling.

I’m not safe. I must stay in defense mode.  I must hide. No matter how hard I try, it will always end badly. Brace for the pain. I must have justice, here’s an elaborate plan on how to get it. I must be perfect. The universe is against me, I will never be ok…

The stories were epic, hundreds of volumes long. I can now see that the first volumes in the series were written well before my birth, in a hand not my own, and in a place I have never known. I was born into the story, I learnt it well, and I kept it alive with play, performance and chapters of my own.


It wasn’t until I understood where my stories came from that I could see them for what they really were: A tale. A fiction. A possibility. Not necessarily a truth. And not necessarily true for me.

Many teachers will tell a novice writer to just "write what you know’' Thus, stories are born from the writer's experience and interpretation of that experience. In the same way, stories that we tell ourselves about the world and ourselves come from our experience and our interpretation of experience.

When we experience trauma, that event or series of events gives us an opportunity to learn something about the world and ourselves. What we learn is based on numerous factors, including our already existent belief system, and the messages we get at the time of the trauma. But in that moment, whatever the pre-disposing factors, we learn something. We decide something about the world or ourself, and that becomes one of our stories. And if the conditions of interpretation are set to be negative, the belief that gets made will often be negative too.

I’m not good enough. I am not safe. It’s my fault. There’s something wrong with me. I hate myself. The world is a dangerous place.

So once we start to tell these stories, they become the way we see the world and interpret it. Someone says something mean to you in school? Well, that’s because you’re not good enough. You are too scared to do what you want, so you do what you think you should? Well, you’re not safe to be yourself so be someone else. You develop a debilitating long-term illness that you can’t seem to recover from? Well, that’s because there’s something fundamentally wrong with you.

We didn’t decide on these stories because we are silly or unimaginative or weak. We decided on these stories because at the time they were made, they seemed sensible. They seemed to do the job they were created to do - to protect us, to give us an alternative to what was actually going on, or to explain what was going on.

Maybe when my father told me winning 1st prize wasn’t good enough, it was psychologically safer to believe I was not good enough than to believe anything else. That was the story he was teaching me; if I believed anything else I would be going up against him and therefore opening myself up to even more attack, and moreover I would run the risk of crushing disappointment every time I achieved anything. In that moment, it was safer for me to believe that I was not good enough and never would be. It was a survival strategy that worked at the time.

Every story has a purpose. We tell them in order to live.

But at some point the story becomes redundant, and the effects that it can create to live from a place of negative storytelling become unbearable - pain, exhaustion, illness, misalignment to life purpose. What happens then?

Then we have to recognize the story. It’s time to rewrite what was only meant to be a short-term survival strategy. Once recognized, its important to accept it and thank it for helping you to survive. Genuine respect for the stories we tell can help us to collaborate with them rather than resist them even further. Deeply acknowledging that the story really no longer serves you comes next, and the willingness to let it go can be a major step in the healing process. Finally, the story needs to be re-written.

What story would you rather tell yourself? What do you want to believe about the world and yourself? The revelation of self-work, therapy, awakening, whatever path you have taken is this - the stories we tell ourselves define our experience of the world, they are all self-fulfilling prophesies.

There are many ways to recognize and re-write our beliefs, including techniques based on neuroplasticity. I’ve used many myself in my healing journey from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, an eating disorder, depression, anxiety and IBS; my favourites currently being meditation, EFT and Matrix-Reimprinting, ACE, coaching and the Gupta Program. Any technique that can help to empower you in setting your own stories and living from a place of love, acceptance and possibility is a beautiful way to live a fulfilled, healthful and intentional life.


So tell your own story, and live the life of your own choosing. That power is yours. 


Membership to The Women’s Wellness Circle, a supportive online healing space for women recovering from chronic illness and trauma, is available from mid-October 2018. See womenswellnesscircle.com for more details and to access our free "Reclaim your Health" course.


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Jen is a dedicated and compassionate Wellness Coach, EFT and Matrix-Reimprinting Practitioner, teacher, writer and (slightly obsessive!) herb gardener. 

Jen spent a lifetime with varying degrees of stress-related illnesses that culminated in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 2012. Through her recovery journey she tried - well, everything - from diets to bodywork to energy medicine and beyond. 

Jen recovered her heath when she awoke to the lifelong trauma she had experienced and dedicated herself to healing and releasing it, using a variety of techniques including coaching, EFT and Matrix-Reimprinting, ACE and meditation. 

She now strives to support others to realize their abundant power to heal and live fulfilled lives. 

Jen is Co-Director of the Women’s Wellness Circle www.womenswellnesscircle.com, and is available for 1-2-1 coaching sessions - see more details at her website www.balanceandflow.org 

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