How to Move Beyond Trauma [The Stress Less Show - Episode 39]

Read the blog post version of this episode here!

>> Carlee: How do we move beyond trauma and succeed in relationships? You'll find out in this episode of The Stress Less Show. Hi I'm Carlee Myers, a stress management expert and one thing I hear day in and day out is that we feel like we've tried everything when it comes to stress management. We may have tried the mainstream approaches to managing our stress but have we really gotten to the root? Each episode I bring on experts and leaders not just put a Band-Aid on your stress but to actually get to that root I'm talking about. This month of November, we are talking about trauma and tragedy. For those of you who have been following for a while, you know this is near and dear to my heart as a survivor of trauma and as someone who has PTSD, and I'm really really excited to have Heather on the show to talk about moving beyond trauma. Welcome Heather.

>> Heather: Thank you. So good to be here

>> Carlee: Absolutely. So Heather is a California native currently living in New York. She has created a unique photographic process at Transfire photography focused on shedding light on emotions that are too often repressed and helping people transform them into sources of embodied power and radiance. These are strong words. I love it. So Heather envisions a world where everyone feels safe to fall in love with themselves as they are and to relate to each other in empowered ways across the board. She believes in our potential to fully heal from a history of abuse and create a wildly better future together starting right now. So oh my goodness I just like reading that. Like introducing you just gets me all excited. I'm so excited to have you on to share your unique expertise.

>> Heather: Thank you.

>> Carlee: Yeah. I mean I think about like... I think about your work and I'm really curious as to how you got into this line of work, but I think about like how I went through my experience of PTSD and we're talking about repression. Goodness gracious. This is so common that repression of emotions. I'm curious, how did you end up here? Why why did you end up in this line of work?

>> Heather: Well I mean I think the obvious answer for me is like I was struggling and I needed to figure out a way for me to heal. And so I I really drove into a whole bunch of different modalities. You know there was nothing I wouldn't try at a certain point when when my when I really became awake to how much pain I was in. I was like I don't care how weird or foofy or whatever it sounds like, I'm going to try it because I'm desperate. And so it really my journey through the whole traumatic experiences really started about six seven years ago. And then just my full focus was on healing and there... When I moved to New York, I mean I had I had some really incredibly healing experiences right before I move to New York. And and then once I got to New York, it was kind of it's it's the next level of healing. And so I really dove into communities that encouraged emotional expression in ways that I had never experienced. So it was kind of a flip. Of you know I can't talk about it like growing up in a family where I couldn't talk about it where I had to clamp down and not you know not say anything to wait, what? These people want to hear my truth? Like what what. And really when. When I throughout this healing, I realized that I could combine everything that I loved like three of my greatest passions are art people and personal transformation and growth. So I really like this idea just like landed in my body and was like This is your thing. This is the thing. And so it it's really it's pieces of everything that I've experienced. For me to heal and then given out. So you know part of the reason I use photography is yes because I love art, but also because there is so much value in being able to see and just being able to see. And without judgment without shame without you know fear, it's just like this is just what I've done because of my trauma. Or like this is what I look like when I'm angry or this is what I look like when I'm sad. It just it starts that process of awareness and just. And I think being able to see it is then what starts that change So...

>> Carlee: Yeah. And I'm looking at some of your work like you can see the emotion of the folks that work with you and see some of the photos of even you and you going through this process yourself you know you practice what you preach and I love that. There's this like... I can feel this authenticity of emotion, but not not only that there's this. Yeah it's like looking at yourself from from outside of yourself, but not in the way that trauma typically does. Right like the disassociation like that.

>> Heather: Right.

>> Carlee: Look at yourself and you're like, "Oh like that's me." And that whole level of awareness in truth like without the filter. I mean of course there's like editing in photography right, but like without the like mental filters that go along with it. So what do you recommend for someone who has experienced trauma or tragedy? I mean you have such a unique process and you know here at The Stress Less Company we're all about alternative ways. So I want to hear what you recommend.

>> Heather: Yeah. Well yeah this is definitely unique and in the sense that it is not therapy and yet it has a therapeutic way of of being. And so I really recommend time in nature because there is... As I've gone through this healing process, there is something so healing about just being in nature because I realized that I am not separate from nature. So if I am this calm and this entranced and in awe of nature, then that is also true of myself and not only that but it's is just a powerful reset. There's like nature is not judging you. It's not sitting there and being like, "oh she should do this. Oh you should do that. Or like oh how dare you say this about me." It's a neutral force, you know, and a neutral loving force and so that for me has been one of my most treasured ways of healing and just getting away and resetting. And like it's so good for the nervous system to be near water near trees like I am a total tree hugger. I will go and hug just because it helps me feel connected and I think grounded is another one because like you said there's such a a way for us to when we've experienced pain in our bodies and trauma, there's the tendency to disassociate, right? We're like, "oh I don't want to feel this. I don't want to. I'd like... it's too scary. I can't show this because you know in the past it. It got me in trouble or it lost me love or whatever." So there's this like split between where we are in our heads and then what's going on in our bodies. And so I find that when we feel safer and our. our... Nervous systems are relaxed, there's more opportunity for us to just drop into like what's here. What is here. Where am I. Like do I feel pain? Do I feel numb? Do I feel like what? What is it? And I've been able to really check in with myself in ways that are really beneficial in nature.

>> Carlee: Yeah absolutely. It reminds me of an article I shared earlier this week that was like getting outside is the best self care that you could possibly do so. And you know I think this is really important to note that in your work that you're taking clients out into nature to experience this you know I know I know you wanted to make an offer to my community to let them experience emotion in a totally new way. So what is that offer?

>> Heather: So there is a 30 minute complimentary session where we just dive into where you are and where you want to go and just to get more clear on what your life is right now and then one hundred dollars off of any of the packages I offer. So yeah a hundred dollars off of any experience that you want to have for embodied emotion and power

>> Carlee: I love that. So make sure you mention The Stress Less Company whenever you grab that. So where can we find you?

>> Heather: I am online on at Transfire Photography dot com. I'm also on Instagram. At Transfire Photography and I'm also on calendly. So if you want to book your call through calendly, I can also share that link.

>> Carlee: Absolutely. So we'll make sure to get that link from you Heather and share it in the show notes. So this concludes this episode of The Stress Less Show. Thank you again, Heather, so much for coming on and we'll see everyone next week.