If you have been following me for a while, you are probably familiar with my story. I began my journey into stress management after a childhood trauma led me to develop PTSD and suffer from years of anxiety, stress, night terrors, and more. Trauma is a subject very close to my heart because I know first hand how stressful and difficult it can be to process and heal after experiencing a traumatic experience. That is why this month on The Stress Less Show, we are focusing on how to deal with trauma and tragedy in our lives. This week, owner of Transfire Photography, Heather Manwaring, joined me on the show to share her story of healing from trauma and what she has done to help others and herself move forward.
Heather’s work with trauma and repressed emotions began as she started to heal from her own experiences of trauma. About six years ago, she found herself looking anywhere she could for a way to overcome the painful emotions she was dealing with.
“There was nothing I wouldn't try at a certain point when I really became awake to how much pain I was in.”
She ended up moving to New York in her journey to heal and found welcoming communities that encouraged her emotional expression and began to explore powerful ways to not only help herself heal, but others as well.
“Throughout this healing, I realized that I could combine everything that I loved. Three of my greatest passions are art, people, and personal transformation and growth.”
Her passions led her to create Transfire Photography where she has developed a unique method of photography that allows people to shed light on painful repressed emotions so they can step into embodied power and radiance.
“There is so much value in being able to see - without judgment, without shame, without fear - this is what I've done because of my trauma. Or this is what I look like when I'm angry or this is what I look like when I'm sad. It starts that process of awareness and being able to see it is then what starts that change.”
Through her work and her own healing journey, Heather has discovered a lot of fresh and unique ways to heal from trauma and she came onto the show this week to share one of the most important practices she used in moving beyond her own trauma.
Tip: Have a regular, intimate relationship with nature.
A self-proclaimed tree hugger, Heather’s biggest tip for those of us who have experienced trauma is to take advantage of the healing atmosphere of nature. By building a consistent ritual of going out of the city and into nature, we begin to overcome one of the biggest effects of trauma on ourselves: disassociation.
“When we've experienced pain in our bodies and trauma, there's the tendency to disassociate… There's this split between where we are in our heads and what's going on in our bodies.”
Disassociating from the painful emotions we are experiencing doesn’t allow us to move on in our healing process. Instead, it traps us in a state of fear, anxiety and pain as we continue to hold on and avoid our trauma. Nature offers us a welcoming environment to connect to ourselves and the world around us again.
“Nature is not judging you. It's not sitting there and being like, ‘Oh she should do this. Oh you should do that. Or oh how dare you say this about me,’ It's a neutral loving force.”
Spending that time exploring that healing force of nature helps us reduce the fear and negativity we may be harboring towards our feelings, allowing us to feel the safety we need after a difficult or traumatic experience.
“When we feel safer... there's more opportunity for us to just drop into what's here.”
If you would like to begin exploring your emotions in a powerful and candid way, you can sign up for a complimentary 30 minute session with Heather by clicking this link. Heather is also offering $100 off any Transfire Photography package when you mention The Stress Less Company, so take a look at Transfire Photography’s work here!