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Career Moves, What’s Next?

 

 

 

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Sunday was my 28th birthday. Instead of New Year’s Resolutions I like to reflect on what I’ve learned this past year of my life and consider the year ahead. This past year has been exciting; I’m in a place in my life and career that I wasn’t a year ago, and I wanted to share with you all some of the challenges and triumpths I’ve discovered along the way. I also want to share some goals for the upcoming 12 months that I can use help holding myself accountable for.

Sometimes we try to ignore our bodies and minds, despite clear signals communicating that something needs to change. For me, this reality was born from my learning to prioritize myself better and recognize my needs. 

Healing is valuable work. It is draining – emotionally and financially. My creativity and conviction and belief in full recovery has given me hope and inspired others to keep swimming.  For the first time in my life I became my own best advocate, I was and am on a mission. I pushed through the fears that I should just be grateful and accept myself and my life as it is. Ignore pressures to compartmentalize, repress, dissociate and “move on.” It makes others uncomfortable at times and they seem to have lost hope and think you are giving in to your past. DON’T listen to them! Healing is not linear, and these past few months have taught me so much that I would never have believed just a year ago. 

I am forever thankful for my tribe who continues to believe in me and remind me of my strength when I waver.

 

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A fellow social worker entrepreneur, Nicole Clark, writes:

“It’s always been said that when you make a decision to play big, the Universe will rearrange itself to bring in people and opportunities that will get you closer to your dreams. When you have a big enough WHY, the HOW will always present itself.”

I am proud of how far I’ve come since I first put myself out there consulting and coaching in 2012. I remember the Omega Women’s Leadership (Omega Women’s Leadership Center) Intensive that was my launching ground. This growing circle of women who believe in their power and what it means to share power, continue to inspire me. This summer I have the chance to give back to the OWLC and I can’t wait-stay tuned for details! 

Beginning in July 2016, I began hosting a podcast called Transforming Trauma. I still have a lot to learn, but I am proud of and excited by this new opportunity to break the silence. In April 2017, I was offered the opportunity to do be in a direct service role with the coaching business I was contracted for marketing and consulting these past few years. I’m officially facilitating a monthly virtual support groups for adult survivors of physical, sexual, and/or emotional child abuse or neglect, bringing them together within a nurturing and supportive community. This past month, 17 survivors joined the call from around the world-one person calling in from across the world! In the Fall of 2017, in addition to completing the last leg of my Masters in Clinical Social Work @ Smith College (at a college counseling center!), I will be be providing one-on-one coaching to support survivors going through the Beyond Surviving Group virtual program.

This Spring, I’ve been developing a program for Volunteer Facebook moderators who will help maintain a safe space for survivors who seek support in the “Healing from Sexual Abuse” Facebook Community. I’m interested in how people can learn to utilize social media as a rich resource while still protecting themselves from triggers and traumatic experiences. I continue to be amazed at the ways that technology intersect with social work/therapy and how we can leverage online resources and apps to meet people where they are at in their healing. 

Finally, these past several months, I have begun collaborating with various local organizations like Beth Israel’s Center for Violence Prevention & Recovery, Survivor Theater Project, Incest Resources, Cambridge Women’s Center to design more services and spaces to support survivors. I am so energized by this work and am working on creating a scaleable web platform that will be a resource for survivors everywhere (contact me if you’re interested in getting involved.) I’d LOVE to hear from you!

Coaching

Therapy

Action Oriented Thoughts/Feelings Oriented

Tools:

Inquiry Listening
Accountability Reflecting
Requests Confronting
Goal-setting Interpreting
Strategic Planning Diagnosing
Telephone & Email Face-to-face at a
special time and place

What are some of my career goals that I want to achieve by my 29th birthday?

Well, I have a few:

  • Complete my college counseling internship.
  • Complete an independent research study with Smith Social Work faculty who have similar research interests. 
  • Chart a strategic plan for the open-source web platform I am creating to facilitate resource sharing and connections for the survivor community in the Greater Boston area.
  • Complete Level 2 of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy training (apply for a mini-grant to make this happen!) 
  • Continue my meditation practice and meeting monthly with KM group. Go on an extended retreat.
  • Cultivate multiple (and sustaining) streams of income (by way of speaking engagements, writing, coaching, and consulting.
  • Share a story at a Live Moth Event.

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Of course, these will change slightly or significantly. The accountability of writing them out should help keep me focused. Feel free to ask me how I’m doing! 

Jack Canfield says:

“The quickest way to hit a target is to fire, see where the bullet landed, and then adjust your aim accordingly. If the hit was 2 inches above the target, lower your aim a little. Fire again. See where it is now. Keep firing and keep readjusting. Soon you are hitting the bull’s-eye. The same is true for anything.”

Despite how scary and challenging the world can be, today I feel more hopeful than I’ve ever felt. I feel creative and energized and connected and surrounded by incredible friends and colleagues.

I wish ease and abundance for every human in my life and around the world.

Change. Hope. Possibility.

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In Strength & Power,

 

 

*Self-Care & Sustainability: Why Healing is Valuable Work was first printed on Rest for Resistance https://www.restforresistance.com. Read more of Shivani’s writing at @shivaniseth05

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Post-Traumatic Growth: Transforming Pain into Power

 

IMG_0271.jpgI believe in the power of vulnerability and this means sharing my truth on  social media which is sometimes a scarily distorted version of reality. I feel inspired to share in hopes that it reaches someone needing a boost of self-compassion. You are not alone.

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If you’re human like me, you probably get lost in old stories about who you are. I like to remind myself on an annual basis, especially when critical voices of the past pay me a visit. This happens all the time! For instance, two people’s whose opinions I wish I didn’t care about have recently made comments that have made me feel very small and unworthy. My first response was to feel misunderstood and hurt. But now, I’ll take a moment to reflect on who I actually am and want to be. What I know about myself and how I treat myself matters most and maybe I won’t choose to be around them or discuss certain topics.

I’m obsessed with babies, quotes, puppies, ice-cream and chocolate. I’m a good listener. I can be fearless. I am open-minded. I love learning. I don’t shy away from challenging people and being challenged. I am beautiful because of my presence and spirit. Because of my intensity. Because I am thoughtful and resilient. I am dependable. I am adventurous. I can be clumsy. I love travel, hiking, playing soccer/basketball, hosting dinner parties, spending quality time with loved ones (especially my niece & nephew). I am curious & chatty. I am a seeker. I am creative. I am silly. I love flash mobs and karaoke. I am a loving & generous daughter, sister, Aunt, and friend. I am a survivor.

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Bolstered by the privileged parts of my life, which are never more apparent than when shit hits the fan, I feel fortunate to identify post-traumatic-growth despite surviving various violent experiences. Even though I have developed positive ways to cope with trauma, over the years the impact of it has affected my education, housing, work, and my health as is so often the case. As many survivors have stated, the aftermath of trauma is often more painful than the event itself, shared most recently by a survivor of rape quoted by Sheryl Sandberg in her new book: Option BEven though I been working to help others in their healing for a over a decade, I’m still learning how to ask for help. IT’S HARD! Trauma makes you feel helpless. It is confusing and paralyzing. It makes you doubt yourself. Plus, I was raised by someone who equates asking for help with weakness and incompetence.

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What I want to tell you, fellow survivors, is to reach out & ask for help. People will show up. In fact, people LIKE helping. You are loved and there are people in your life and people you don’t know even know who would be honored to be there. When people make you feel small, let them project their shit onto you, but don’t give them your power. They are too consumed with themselves and their own image to see or hear you. (Shout out to my dear friend, Hope!) Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you. Find the people who can cheer you on as you grow stronger and do the courageous work of healing. 

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These past few months have been difficult & triggering for me personally, to say the least. What’s helped fuel me, in addition to ramping up the “self-care,” having good boundaries and supports, are the encouraging messages (excerpted below) I’ve received in response to my survivor advocacy work (podcasts, workshops, social media campaign). Note to Self: Use your voice! Do what you Love! Share what’s on your mind! 

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Introducing Voices Raised in Power @ The Fred in college.

I am sharing these words because I am moved, inspired and emboldened by the badass, brave survivors I connect with every day. Whether I’m leading a therapeutic group or getting my hair cut or my car repaired, I hear your hopefulness and strength in how you live your lives. I see your pain, your grief, your loss. You are so beautiful and brave. 

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Ubuntu, originating in South Africa, means that a person is a person through another person, that my humanity is caught up, bound up, inextricably, with yours. You are me and I am you. I am you and you are me.

These are my wishes for myself and for you, and for beings everywhere: I deserve to be at home in my body and mind. I am worthy. I am forgivable. I am enough. I am safe. I am loved. I am powerful. I am allowed to make mistakes. Healing is not linear. 

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At a rally shouting.

Thank you for the encouragement to keep sharing and doing what I love. I am lucky to have such a powerful community of colleagues, survivors, friends and family. Thank you for the laughs, invitations, blog comments, texts, calls, cards, visits. The most difficult experiences of our lives seem to clarify what matters most.

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Facilitating a therapeutic writing workshop for survivors about self-compassion

“You created a remarkable healing opportunity on Saturday with your facilitating of the Healing Through Creative Arts workshop. I looked around the room to see the wide range of participants and appreciated how skillfully you affirmed our shared purpose of healing from sexual trauma.  When you stated it simply and clearly I felt you ground all of us in the courage of that common intention.  Then the tone you set of respect, generosity, loving kindness, honesty and nonjudgmental acceptance gave us all permission to write with honesty and vulnerability.   This tone combined with your thoughtfully sequenced guidelines and prompts created an afternoon filled with beautiful moments of support, appreciation and powerful writing.”
“i saw your post about sexual assault awareness month. i’ve thought so many times about the speech you gave i guess like 8 or 9 years ago now…and i’ve wanted to go back and read it again. i was wondering if you have a blog online or something. thanks again for sharing. It made an impact on me and i was very proud of you.”

Great resources, thanks for sharing.  This gives greater awareness to the global phenomenon of sexual abuse as New Zealand has a high proportion of victims compared to most developed countries.  It was encouraging to see the openness and willingness to speak on this topic as it is very taboo here in New Zealand still and met with great resistance.”

“You just have a very profound way of being so real and sharing. You have so much to offer.”

Thank you Jocelyn for sharing your podcasts with me. I listened today. I appreciated all the different information shared and definitely could relate with all the topics mentioned. What touched me most was hearing your heart and experience and voice of care for other survivors. I heard your voice of your own divinity coming through within it and it was beautiful and touching. Thank you again for sharing so many resources and your experience and well wishes for all. The birds are singing here. Such beautiful nectar :)”

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@ Vessel Van Der Kolk’s incredible Trauma Center enjoying some healing energy.

   If you or someone you love would like help connecting with local resources and services to begin or continue your healing, please don’t hesitate to reach out! 

 

 

Celebrating a decade of advocacy work.

“…I saw your post about sexual assault awareness month. i’ve thought so many times about the speech you gave [in college] (i guess like 8 or 9 years ago now…) and I’ve wanted to go back and read it again. i was wondering if you have a blog online or something. You explained how you felt so eloquently. Thanks again for telling your story back then – it made an impact on me and I was very proud of you.”

“You created a remarkable healing opportunity on Saturday with your facilitating of the Healing Through Creative Arts workshop. I looked around the room to see the wide range of participants and appreciated how skillfully you affirmed our shared purpose of healing from sexual trauma.  When you stated it simply and clearly I felt you ground all of us in the courage of that common intention.  Then the tone you set of respect, generosity, loving kindness, honesty and nonjudgmental acceptance gave us all permission to write with honesty and vulnerability.   This tone combined with your thoughtfully sequenced guidelines and prompts created an afternoon filled with beautiful moments of support, appreciation and powerful writing.”

-Healing Arts Workshop Coordinator, Survivor Theater Workshop & Teacher tumblr_oir0pxQGPh1sz0omqo1_1280.jpg

This past week, I led a healing- arts writing workshop for survivors through the Survivor Theater Workshop @ the Cambridge Women Center.17309460_4460534826654_7108000988534932529_n.jpg

At my first American Group Psychotherapy conference in New York meeting new inspiring colleagues. March 2017. 13406756_4062022864104_6612211373539402086_n.jpg

With my mentor at MASOC’s annual conference in April 2016. I am grateful for her example and showing me the power of writing groups.

“Stop Sexualizing Us.”

Today I met with my teenaged female client for our third to last session. We are wrapping up a project (Dear Me Campaign) we’ve been working on for the past several weeks. I was already tearing up because she wrote the most inspiring letter to her future self. The themes were: remembering how loved she is, the importance of being herself, recognizing her resiliency, and a declaration of her strength and power without a man. I nearly balled my eyes out-I am so proud of her and in awe of her wisdom and perspective at such a young age AND in the midst of incredibly difficult circumstances.

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Just this week she returned to her middle school after almost two months at another school and hospitalizations. Bored in the library with her best friend, she decided to finally make the flyers about dress code that she’d been talking about for months. The poster is of an image of a girl’s body with marker writing: Stop censoring my body. 

Stop Sexualizing Us!

We want the freedom to wear what we want! Tank tops, shorts, etc. should be allowed! Stop sexualizing us women for what we wear. I will fight for my women! I don’t care if I get detention or not, I will stick up for our rights. And if you have a problem with that, then so be it!

She went on to tell me that when she showed her older sister, she gave her a high five and was proud of her. However, when she showed her mom (who is from Pakistan) she gave her a “mean look.” My client said she didn’t care and wasn’t going to let that stop her. We went on to talk about her plan of action and she mentioned she knows the counselor at the school is into feminism and perhaps could be an advisor to a club she might start.

I hope as I reflect on my last few sessions that I find the words to describe how much I’ve learned from her. I know that her Dear Me video WILL change lives and I am so grateful to have had the privilege to work with her these past 9 months. About a year ago she courageously sought support by creating a video about how bullying was making her feel suicidal. Now, she’s on mission to inspire others to accept themselves.

Dear Me #1-Letter to My Younger Self

I have so much to tell the younger me so I’m going to just start now and accept that this might end up in a dozen videos or blog posts until I get it all out. Where Do I Begin?

You are amazing and you don’t have the slightest clue. You have a unique style and often wear things that nobody else would dare to wear. Forget about the one girl who comes up to check the name brand on your awesome, unique shirt. Know that you are courageous for daring to be different in middle school!

I hope you will surround yourself with nice girls who make you smile, NOT cry. I know they exist and it might take some patience and bravery to leave the one’s you’ve been hanging with for awhile. You are independent, and have so much to offer a friend, don’t waste another minute on girls who make you feel less than fabulous. The mean and insecure thing is normal at your age AND it’s also a sign that those individuals are struggling themselves. Try not to take it personally. Don’t change. There isn’t a single person who is just like you! Being sensitive is a gift.

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You know you are different and that’s hard to deal with in middle school. You want to fit in and be “normal.” You have a LOT going on in your life right now and I want you to know that you are an inspiration to others. You are dealing with some major trauma and an illness and you are becoming a resilient and wise young lady. I’m proud of you and wish I could give you a hug (every day for the rest of middle school). I love you and am so excited for you to get to high school and start to explore activism and leadership-you won’t believe all the cool things you’re going to experience. Think boyfriends. Think Surviving Bullies Charity. Think Girls Leadership Worldwide. Think Gay-Straight Alliance. Think Field Hockey team. Did I mention you are going to go to a whole bunch of proms!?!

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P.S One day you will laugh that you cared about where you were sitting on the bus or in the cafeteria. Nobody cares about that when you leave high school!

Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.

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This morning my friend reminded me of the wonderful interview between Krista Tippett and Brene Brown. I relistened to it at the gym (embarrassing? It gets my heart rate up!)

Here are some of my favorite take-aways:

  • “Most of us are brave and afraid in the exact same moment, all day long.”
  • “When i meet you vulnerability is the first thing I try to find in you and the very last thing I try to show you in me. It’s the glue that holds connection together, it’s all about our common humanity. When we own our stories and share them with one another and we see ourselves reflected back in the stories of people in our lives, we know we are not alone. And to me that’s the heart of whole heartedness.”
  • “It’s the long walk from what will people think to I am enough. I think it is recognizing if courage is a value that we hold as important, then vulnerability is the only way in and through.”
  • “It starts by an openness to see ourselves and how we are protecting ourself from vulnerability.”
  1. Standing my ground, valuing my time and contributions, in a negotiation
  2. Asking someone for a second date. Going on a date. Period.
  3. Reaching out for support.
  4. Reaching out for a friend to get her more support.
  5. Going to a community event by myself and going up to the moderator after to thank her for her comments.
  6. Asking for help with a new machine at the gym and then responding confidently when the person commented on my “sun tan.”
  7. Setting boundaries with my ex.

Share your stories with yourself, a friend, or below to honor your strength and encourage others in your life to take some emotional risks!