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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The Key That Set Me Free

Bird with keyI know this will seem really odd but it’s true. I’ve been carrying around a secret for almost 30 years.

Actually, a couple secrets locked away in my heart, & my mind, body & soul were caged along with it.

I am a survivor of multiple rapes

I could relive the horrifying details here but that is not beneficial for anyone. I choose not to simply because I can say “NO”.  I’ve been working through it most of this time. I’ve not been in denial. Oh no. I was diagnosed with PTSD. Initially I would lash out & attack like a wounded animal in my sleep. I self-medicated. At the young age of 22, five years later, I was finally being treated for “extreme stress”. By the age of 30, I was “depressed”.  I had a great career, yet if/when I received sexual harassment, or had a cheating boyfriend, I blamed myself. I have come to realize when one is creating a support system from the ground up – it better not be made of straw.

I had an abortion

My home life was not ideal, & I’ll be honest, college/university was my ticket out. I wanted to be a Mother of a nuclear family, not a single Mom. Getting pregnant as the result of a gang rape in 1986 and not being able to ask my family for help made it that much more difficult, so I made the only decision I thought I had at the time. I had an abortion the summer before I started college. I had just turned 18.

In 2009, I had a series of devastating losses that occurred so rapidly, one after another, that part of me went numb, and the other part kept going. One of the losses I experienced was a partial hysterectomy right before my divorce was final. A year later as I was grieving the loss of my “dream family”, I realized what significance this had held for me for so long. I was trying to atone for the choice I made as a teenager, even though I believed in Pro-Choice. I realized that I had to let go of that dream child in addition to my ex-husband, in order to move forward at that time in my life. So, I did. And as I was doing so, I discovered it was really about Loving & Forgiving Myself.

Loving & forgiving 

Yes, I have forgiven the rapists. Deep down inside I believe in humanity, & at that place I trust there is something good inside them. I have forgiven them, but not their bad behavior or inappropriate choices. They behaved badly & trust me, I do not condone rape. I also take responsibility for my actions that placed me in certain locations. I’ve forgiven my ex-husband & myself. I’ve admitted the decisions I’ve made that did not allow for Motherhood. I am a co-creator in this universe, so I cannot control what someone else chooses to do to me but I can control how I respond. The past is the past, & I am responsible for my emotional state at this current time. In order to truly be present with myself here today, I had to learn how to let go the pain & hold onto the lesson, the silver-lining, so to say.

The silver-lining

What could possibly be good in all of this? Well, as a child & youth, I was very smart & creative. I was an honor student, painted, wrote poetry, played music, danced. When the trouble started, I shut down the artistic side. All of the self-expression stopped. I went completely “analytical”  & focused on my creative STEM skillset. But what happened by 2010 was sheer beauty. I cracked open. Apparently I had been in a ‘bargaining’ phase for over 20 years, waiting for a specific thing to set me free from my shame – Motherhood. When this did not happen, my heart, mind and body had to have a “conflict resolution” and this is how I began to nourish my soul.  The art & writing began to flow again! I unlocked the cage & was set free from myself!

The key to happiness

This is why I refer to this practice of coaching that I do as a calling, helping others move past their traumatic loss, onwards to a place of passion & purpose. I certainly do not compare my losses to yours. I believe everyone has a right to their unique emotions & insights, & should be treated with respect. Personal growth is a dynamic process, allowing one to flow freely like a river. When we are blocked, we become stagnate & become toxic. Fresh perspectives, new tools & ideas, & interactions with others will give you an opportunity to move past the place where you have been, allowing you to heal with compassion. I look forward to sharing this key to personal happiness with you if you choose to do the same.

In love & light,



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

Founder & Personal Development Coach of Soul Nourishing, LLC




Copyright  Soul Nourishing 2011-2013






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