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Trauma is not what happens to us. It’s what we hold inside due to the absence of an empathetic witness. ~ Dr. Peter Levine


Trauma is such a loaded word and I am no trauma expert, but I can say that during my time on
this planet and working in the field of pet death, I have seen things I cannot un-see and I have
felt things I cannot un-feel, and in that regard I have experienced trauma. I needed to find ways
to cope and move forward. These are my three go-to’s for dealing with trauma that keep me
centered, hopeful and coming back to what I love time and time again.

FIND A WITNESS

The moment an incident occurs – reach out to someone. Maybe the universe will put that
person in your path for that moment; maybe it is someone you already know, a co-worker, a
mentor, a family member. Either way, reach out, tell them what happened and allow yourself
that unified space to feel all the emotions that are coming up for expression. Let them come
and then let them go. Bless them, bless the situation, bless the witness and go home and drink
a warm cup of tea, have a bath, journal, hug your pets, cry some more and go to bed. Create a
new paradigm of self-care.

IF WE MUST TELL A STORY REFRAME IT

Trauma is part of the human experience. With social media and the media in general we can
experience an adverse event time and time again, re-living the emotions that arise and the
feelings that overwhelm. Social media gives us no breaks and keeps us locked in a sequence of
feel-repeat, feel-repeat, feel-repeat until we actively say “enough” and choose something
different. Re-framing the story gives the heart, the body and the spirit an opportunity to look
back with compassion and look forward with hope and admiration that you survived it and
became the newest version of yourself because of and in spite of it. It is a choice, always, to
move forward or stay stuck in the endless circle of blame, shame and negative emotions.
Moving forward is courageous and there is so much help to do so. Reach out for that help and
reframe that story.

BECOME COMMITTED TO YOUR OWN WELLBEING

In the aftermath of a traumatic experience and in the space of healing and self-care it is vital to
continue to allow the emotions air. Whatever avenue of expression you choose, make it
personal to you – writing, art, music, community, animals, travel, spiritual retreats, space, loads
and loads of space to expand, to express, to exhale and reconfigure who you are in the world
now and what is calling out your name. Remain hopeful always that life will find a way. You are
not broken. You do not need fixing. You are courageous, brave and strong.