Today is the one year anniversary of a life-changing day when I went on a date & it ended horribly wrong 5 hours later (restrained, dominated, beaten, humiliated, raped, injured).

What can I say about it except this has been the worst & best thing ever. Yes, worst than the gang rape & subsequent abortion from my youth. And best because of what doors it has allowed me to open along my continued spiritual & healing journey.

I awoke working on my gratitude list because it helps me when I am having a bad day. Today is not bad per se, but I have been tense & preoccupied. So this is what I wrote this morning. The picture is a water color I made over lunch with some really fun watercolor pencils.


I am grateful I have rapport skills & endurance as I made a connection & got away, worse for the wear but alive. That’s all that counts. Your opinion does not.

I am grateful that I consistently went to medical & health professionals for help. And am on the mend. It really hurt to have my ribs reset, I mean hurt like a bitch, & I was very angry at the drs who claimed they were fine when I demanded they look at them all along. But what matters now is that they are healing properly finally.

I am grateful to be able to do my deep breathing & yoga techniques again.

I am grateful for the most amazing & sincere group of supporters that have shown up this year. I just hope I can be there for you if you ever need to call on me.

I am grateful that now I recognize a true red flag vs my anxiety or random somatic responses around people. It’s not me, it really is/was you. Trusting my gut is like having my own K-9 companion from now on.

I am grateful I reported it, & it’s on file. May he will think twice about sexually abusing women in the future.

I am grateful I “got his badge”. He did not wear it well. Nor do some of the others like him or that protected him, but most do. So let’s keep integrity there on the police force shall we?

I am grateful for the negative comments, victim-shaming, shunning & name-calling I experienced. Less people for me to waste time, energy & money with.

I am grateful for the non-believers or folks that just could not handle the truth that this happens in their circles too. I hope you are kinder to others in the future.

I am grateful that someone I loved told me that I had “ruined that man’s life”, referring to the rapist. I am not sure if he was drunk, angry, jealous or all of the above, but I do realize he was simply referring to himself & how women had made him feel. However, his words were the knife that severed our codependent bond, because I finally had realized how little he thought of me.

I am grateful for those who reminded me how much they did love me.

I am grateful that I realized & accepted this incident in my life has to be more about my courage to speak out & help others, than about seeing the justice system protect victims, since the local DA politely informed me there was not enough physical evidence to waste tax-payer money on me. (After reviewing an incomplete list of my medical records).

I am grateful that I am now informing more people about civilian PTSD & the various causes of it. It is time for more compassion, education & resources.

I am grateful for NLP, grief work, therapy, prayer, energy work, self care & meditation, as it all helps recovery.

I am grateful for better living through chemistry when it is necessary. Uncritical acceptance. No judgments. Get out of crisis & back into managing your recovery & life.

I am grateful for walking, massage, yoga, chiropractors, functional neurology, swimming, green drinks, & reducing alcohol, caffeine & sugar as it transforms your mind & body.

I am grateful for music, dance, art, poetry, laughter, crying, yelling, smashing, writing, singing, gardening, & photography as they are all wonderful ways to express oneself.

I am grateful that I spent this year in celibacy & platonic friendships. By establishing & setting this boundary for myself, I was able to identify LOTS of narcissistic, psychopathic, unstable or manipulative men who were rude & disrespectful simply because I said “no thank you” to their advances. Seriously, stay on your white horse & ride away. No heroes need apply.

I am grateful for connecting, coffee & meals w friends, volunteering, networking, & working as it all gives purpose & joy.

I am grateful for truly understanding, identifying & sharing my WHY.

I am grateful for pets, large & small. They are the most amazing mobile & interactive coping skills out there. They bring you back to NOW with their furry kisses & nuzzling to sleep in a ball under your arm, reminding you & I that we are loved & accepted in every way.

I am grateful for this amazing basket of life lessons. Yes some fruit may go bad but most turn out tasty & so we sift through it all instead of giving up & going hungry.

I am grateful for juicy ripe peaches, that drip down my hand as I eat them on my sunny back porch.

I am grateful for the smiling faces & heart-felt hugs I share with my clients.

I am grateful for long soaks in the tub with lavender bath salts at the end of the day.

I am grateful for hummingbirds and butterflies that come to visit me in the garden, & remind me what Summer is all about.

I am grateful for knowing my worth & waking up to it every morning with a smile.

I am grateful for this reminder to love & celebrate myself, & have a life worth living. That can not be taken away from me. Ever.

Thank You.

Love, Betsey xo




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Growing Up With PTSD

I have it. For years I wished I didn’t, but I do. It’s been with me for 30 years now. I have Complex PTSD. I got it due to child abuse, domestic violence, & sexual assault throughout my lifetime. Depression & anxiety developed after not taking care of myself properly for 15 years. I was self-medicating with drugs & alcohol, acting out, having failed relationships, & becoming a workaholic. Once I got treatment to get out of crisis, I learned coping skills, better boundaries, & how to communicate with others. I was never in a hospital. I was not violent. I was just sad, unmotivated, unable to concentrate.

Recovery did not happen overnight. I had to work hard to learn how to manage my recovery, to not numb out, to create a healthy lifestyle. Yet I was still filled with shame, shame from my past. And I still had so much grief from past & current loss at that time in my life. And so I would not talk about it much, only in little bits or privately if I felt safe. If I had a bad day (or more!), some people would judge me based on that snippet & act like that was who I was. These were not people who knew, loved & accepted me, but people who did not understand nor cared to. As I became more self-aware & advocated for my own wellness, I began making much better choices in my health, my stress management, my relationships, my time, my finances. I soon realized it was a unique blend of both allopathic & holistic health that was helping me along my journey to joy; one was not successful without the other.

As I continued along my spiritual, emotional & physical healing journey, I began to talk about what happened. All of it. And I allowed myself to be vulnerable & ask for help. As I got better people were making me feel bad about my story, telling me to be quiet, or criticizing me for not being perfect. It was like nailing boards over the bathroom door when the plumbing needs to be fixed; don’t go in there! But that was about them, not me. One day the pipes burst & there I was surrounded by water, no way to hide my shame. But here’s the weird thing, I finally accepted it. It was time to call a plumber. And then I was OK with it. I am perfectly imperfect. I love myself.

I now consider myself as having PTG, Post-Traumatic Growth. And I am stronger for it. I am so grateful for those I have met who have shown compassion & uncritical acceptance. In return, I have done the same for them. I have been coaching for 4 years, helping others to find their journey to joy. I have also been sowing seeds for the future & it is time to begin helping our dreams bloom. We are moving forward in our startup of a holistic wellness center for trauma aftercare! Please help us help others.

Thank you in advance! http://www.gofundme.com/soulnourishing


In love and light, Betsey Elizabeth Garland, M.S., CPLC, MNLP, CGRS, ICF Member

Founder and Personal Development Coach with Soul Nourishing, LLC


Copyright 2015 Soul Nourishing

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Big Sister Talk

Big Sister Talk is a monthly Meet Up progressive group that is a sisterhood & siblinghood. It is available for the straight & LBGT-friendly, male & female community with Goddess energies. We want to offer support to one another & provide a safe place to discuss women’s issues. We will meet monthly at the location below. Please be respectful of one another’s views. The topics will change each month and we’ll discuss how to support what individuals are going through in the moment. Love donations gratefully accepted. None turned away.

Join us on these dates: Saturday’s 10am – 11am Jan. 3rd, Feb. 7th, Mar. 7th, April 4th, May 1st,

Looking forward to seeing you at our coffee klatch spot at La Madeline, in Northwoods Shopping Plaza, at S. Hwy. 281 N. & Loop 1604.

La Madeline is located at 18030 U.S. Hwy. 281 N., Suite 201,  San Antonio, TX

We have also have Big Sister Talk on FB. Please join us! https://www.facebook.com/BigSisterTalk

In love and light,

Betsey xo

Elizabeth Garland, M.S., MNLP, CPLC, CGRS

Big Sister Talk Meet Up Facilitator

Soul Nourishing Founder & Personal Development Coach



Copyright 2015 Soul Nourishing, LLC

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Happy New Year 2015


Take a moment to reflect on how you would describe 2014 & how do you intend to move forward into 2015?

For me, 2014 was a year that I felt “stripped bare”. I made conscious decisions regarding my business as an entrepreneur jumping in fulltime. I made changes in personal relationships & boundaries. I had health issues, as did loved ones I cared for. There are some folks who still owe me lots of money, some of which I may never see. Yes, I suffered losses. However, I most definitely celebrated my gains & I continued to grow. But I honestly had no idea that by staying open to Seek My Truth, which is what I clung to all year, I would “feel” stripped right down to the bone.

Maybe I would respond differently if it wasn’t raining & miserably cold out? Or perhaps if I had not caught a cold? Maybe I overextended myself? Allowed too many emotional vampires & judges inside my inner circle? Were my expectations of self & others too high? Simply chalk it all up to lessons learned. My inner critic was now doubting my inner heart. What a wretched game!

But I trust my heart. I walked into 2014 with the intent of opening my eyes & heart, seeking truth and in doing so, found My Truth & begun the removal process. I think it IS an apt summation that the removal of material things, trappings, systems, technology, acquaintances, behaviors, beliefs, etc. etc. that no longer serve my highest good have left me bare, allowing me to be selective about what I add back into my life. That is exactly what needed to happen.

In appreciation & honor of that observation, I intend to move into 2015 wrapped in what only soothes and nourishes my heart, mind, body & soul. These are: good & healthy relationships that promote healing, foster respect & support one another’s endeavors; food that honors my personal choices; activities that are in full alignment with my heart & stimulate my mind, body & soul; technology & organized systems for the home & office that work best for me; & spiritual groups that share my beliefs.

By wrapping myself in these things, I love myself more & create a fresh mindset with which to walk into the new year with. With a fresher mindset I am once again open to new ideas for professional & personal opportunities, while operating with maximum self-compassion. It works!

The visual anchor I selected for this is fur, as in a “bear skin”. Some of you probably thought of Jeremiah Johnson, Robert Redford’s mountain man, & you are not too far off, but for my sake I found a Russian looking woman in a fur & woolen outfit. I don’t think she’s going to split wood or hunt fish in this dress, but she looks mighty warm. And that raptor can find supper if the horse doesn’t know where the lodge is. This archetype will do fine because this image is not just about clothing; it is about self-reliance without it killing you. It needs to sustain & nurture you, recognizing resources you need to add along the way. One must be strong enough to endure the external & internal challenges that we meet along our journey, enough to say “What troubles?” and mean it.

So as I reread my list, I imagined honoring my path & wrapping my “bareness” with layers of warm, thick, protective “bear skin”, creating a protective garment against the harsh environment we’ll call Winter & the Woods, with all of the good & the bad. I enjoyed my simple meal, relishing in its warmth, & appreciating the nice internal glow in my belly & the knowledge that I have enough.

Yes. What troubles? Bring on the new year! I’m ready.


So, have you decided on your personal or professional plan for improvement yet?

I’d be happy to help you with that! I have been working with lots of clients throughout December helping them get on track for 2015. Please contact me to book your personal session for January.

Please fill out this form to begin! http://soulnourishing.com/soul-nourishing-client-interactive/


In love and light, Betsey

Elizabeth Garland, M.S., CPLC, MNLP, CGRS

Founder and Personal Development Coach with Soul Nourishing, LLC


Copyright 2015 Soul Nourishing

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How to Survive Holiday Plans Gone Wrong

Holidays & vacations are supposed to be all smiles & fun & good times, but sometimes they blow up in your face. Just being real. That’s how it happens when someone is dealing with a physical illness, emotional issues, an addiction, unmet expectations, work stress, financial worries, or other big stressors. So, just like you, having had my share of celebrations that have gone really, really well & everyone is giddy with excitement, the photo album is bursting with excellent mementos to browse over & we’ve got stories galore to share & laugh over for centuries. And then we have those occasions that failed miserably like a firework rocket that did not just tip over, but exploded into the crowd & we are all ducking for cover into the nearest hydrangea bush or under a picnic table, trying to avoid the tongue lashing that poisons the entire party worse than spoiled potato salad. Sometimes it happens within the same day, with the same crowd! Sometimes it is not at a party & only happens over the phone, by email or text. But the end result is the same … there is carnage, it is shocking & super exhausting; & you end up not trusting how to act around the emotional time bombs for quite a long time until they get themselves under control.

Here are some survival strategies that I have learned:

1. First, own up. If you are the emotional time bomb, figure it out quickly & diffuse your own triggers. Nobody can do that for you. Once you can stop blowing up or reacting, you will be able to communicate in a more rationale, mature manner that will be received. This may mean giving yourself a timeout.

2. If someone else is the emotional time bomb, don’t take it personally, even if it is directed at you. This person is trying to communicate … but badly. It is their responsibility to manage themselves. Just recognize it. Don’t try to fix them. Especially family. Seriously. You’ve been warned.  😉

3. Practice wearing “giraffe ears” while engaging in compassionate listening. By doing this, you are able to hear everything the person is talking about, but from a perspective ‘above’ the conversation & not the direct target. Without the sting of the barb, we are able to apply empathy & compassion better, relating more to the other person & not get so caught up in the “ouch you are hurting me” aspect. How is this different than below, face-to-face, getting pummeled? Better? Worse? Indifferent? Are you able to learn something new?

4. Communication takes practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. You will do this until you die & never master it so stop thinking you are a pro.

5. Establish healthy boundaries for yourself. Take care of yourself first. Pardon my language, but it is complete b.s. if someone tells you that you have to put up with verbal or emotional abuse just because “it’s family”, or “they are sick”, whatever the excuse du jour is. Bad behavior is bad behavior, no excuse. I am also going to suggest a reframe on the word ‘boundary’ as some folks use it as wall, fence or barrier, when in fact it merely implies “healthy space” such as appropriate space between bodies, appropriate language, appropriate behavior between folks at work, appropriate distance to cool off emotions, etc. What is appropriate for you may be different than what another person defines, so again this must be communicated if you expect it to be respected & observed. Boundaries don’t change or go away just because someone is being nice or used as punishment. Boundaries should be respected all of the time.

6. Adult time outs. These aren’t just for children, everyone needs a chance to cool off & gather their thoughts. Use it constructively instead of plotting revenge or pouting. Meditate. Take a nap. Pet the dog or cat. Go for a walk. Tell knock-knock jokes with your kids. Read a book. Do yoga. Drink a glass of water or red wine. Go on Facebook & read something funny. Pull weeds. Take your mind off the problem at hand so you can calm down & redirect with some fresh perspective. Seriously, it works to take a small break & then come back refreshed & continue a conversation in an upbeat manner. If you come back in the ring swinging, determined to fight, you only lose the match, because nobody will engage with you a second time, or worse, you might just knocked out.

7. Know that you may not like or accept their bad behavior, but you will always love them in some way. This is what unconditional love is. If more people actually practiced this, others would not be afraid to open up & talk to one another willingly, without violence, threats,  manipulation or lies. They would know & trust that they were loved & accepted as a person, & separate from their behavior. Behavior modification is a personal choice. If you are being impacted by someone else’s poor choices, then make your own choice to talk to them about it (another time if that was part of the original problem), or remove yourself from their space. Loving someone & allowing someone to continue to hurt you are not the same thing. You may need to ask for help in modifying your own behavior first, set boundaries & remember self worth.

8. Don’t be afraid to be alone. You can still have a great time by yourself, wherever you are, & sometimes enjoy it more without the chaotic drama! I had an incredible time in on a Nevada trip a few years ago post divorce AFTER I realized I did not have to spend it with the group I had traveled there to meet. Sometimes, you just need to have the courage to say goodbye & do your own thing.

9. Be flexible. Don’t blame others that your plans are ruined. Life is what happens while you are making the plans. It just might be time to step outside of your box that you are controlling the world from. If you have such a rigid nature that nothing can change or you don’t learn how to roll with the punches, you may be disappointed by every little thing & every person in daily life. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Remember it’s all small stuff. Life is easier once you let go a little.

10. Find something to be grateful for. Perhaps it is a child’s laugh, your dog’s happy dance, a new nail polish, your best friend’s hug, an exotic flower, a piece of water melon, or simply the smell of bacon. Find gratitude even in a disappointment, because when we learn a life lesson we can say “thank you for teaching me this lesson I don’t want to repeat!” It doesn’t take much. Practice gratitude, smile & go on! The polka band is calling you & the sun is warm today!

Love, Betsey xo

Elizabeth Garland, M.S., CPLC, MNLP, CGRS

Founder and Personal Development Coach with Soul Nourishing, LLC


Copyright 2014 Soul Nourishing


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Childless & Still A Mommy?

For many years I waited for my day to come. My day to say with pride and joy that it was my turn to fall in love, to get married, to conceive, to have the baby shower, to lovingly hold a newborn and wash it in the sink, to hold the little one's hand and walk them into school on their first day of school, to kiss their boo boo when they hurt their knee riding their bike, to scold them when they did something wrong, to hug them so tight they wanted to run away and wipe off my cooties, to help them with their homework and wonder where my brain cells went, to watch them in school plays, to wait up for them to come home from a date, to speak to them softly on the telephone and listen to their accomplishments in college, and I could simply go on and on about what I imagined motherhood was supposed to be like. But it did not happen like that for me. Nor for hundreds or thousands or millions of others of you.

Instead my one chance at conception was a gang rape that I was so traumatized and shamed by, the only thought process I had at the time was to end the pregnancy so quickly and quietly so I could move on with my life and go off to college and make something of myself. It took me 5 years, therapy and immense courage to be able to tell my family what had happened previously. Much to my surprise they seemed supportive. "We understand your situation." But they did not, as for most of my life I heard this second line whenever I would mentioned the desire for a husband or a child, "You chose a career over family." It still shocks me to this day when I hear it because in all reality I was never given that choice. Believe me, nobody offered me two pills and said "The red pill is a happy nuclear family guaranteed to stay together, and the blue pill is a career guaranteed to provide you money to pay all of your bills." Neither has happened in any of our lives and it boggles my mind that this is still the odd logic that some people use as a way of making themselves feeling better or in an attempt to criticize me for a choice regarding my body, education, career, motherhood, marriage or divorce. Apparently the people I chose to spend time with did not want children, and I became infertile the older I got and later had to have a hysterectomy. There is no crystal ball to forecast these things. I've heard it all "You can adopt still." "Find a guy that has kids." "Be a Big Sister." I finally faced My Truth – I still believed in the dream of Family. There's nothing wrong with that.

I also began celebrating how I had been a "mother" in many different ways. How have you created, nurtured or mentored another life? My life has been full and diverse with many different animals for over 45 years; never a dull moment and always something to clean up! I've been an auntie to many children of friends and foster children. I've been surrounded by hundreds of school children due to different Career Day opportunities over the years, so I have lots of photos, hand drawn pictures and notes on my walls at home just like you. I reflect on the many kids I babysat and now they have kids – oh my! I've been fortunate enough to embrace many different creative projects and consider them my children, good and bad! As a team lead or staff manager, when I see photos of employees I worked with or hear their name, I still hold a certain fondness and consider them family. I've learned to use my stern teacher voice when setting rules and turn on a soft and bedtime story reading voice when calming someone down. I've felt "pregnant" with new opportunities and ideas as an entrepreneur and community volunteer, and witnessed them come to fruition, knowing full well that they were beneficial and well-received. I've also sat with an open heart listening to a friend pouring their soul out with the coffee or the wine well into the night, letting them know they are not alone.

Being a "Mother" or "Grandmother" may come as a biological gift to some of you, but I believe there is a bit of magic in all of us that allows us to create and nurture. This is not gender-specific, nor does one need to have small humans in their household to qualify. I think it is an awareness of being responsible for or Loving Something Beyond Ourselves. Perhaps I am merely romanticizing this concept, but I see it in all of you and so I wish you all a very Happy Mother's Day to you and yours!

Love, Betsey xo

Elizabeth Garland, M.S., CPLC, MNLP, CGRS

Founder and Personal Development Coach with Soul Nourishing, LLC


Copyright 2014 Soul Nourishing

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19315 FM2252, Suite 302 Garden Ridge, Texas 78266
Phone Number : 210.218.2075