Bob Faw interviewed about Vital Cycles and how trauma survivors heal

Listen in to an inspiring conversation (interview) with three positive change consultants who volunteer helping those who’ve suffered trauma to transform their lives.

Two wonderful women from Ottawa, Ontario (Canada) interviewed me this evening. What a delight to talk about how people can transform trauma and create vital cycles in their lives.

Powerful learning on her healing journey

This is a posting from a Vital Cycles group member.

In the two years I’ve been working on my healing I’ve learned so much.

I can sometimes see what triggers me and why. And I can choose to leave the room or situation, or change the channel on TV. I can now realize that what has happened to me is not my fault… it’s those that hurt me. And no wonder I feel like I live in hell. Who wouldn’t? I know my anger is really intense. I feel a lot of pain and sadness. I know when the memories are coming in, and it’s ok to sit and feel that pain and cry some of it out… even though it hurts to be there. It’s ok to talk about it now to my therapist, they can’t hurt me anymore. And I will be listened to and believed. I can accept I have been abused and mistreated by the people who were supposed to love me. I mistakenly learned to think of that as love. That’s not ok, but I accept it. And it’s also ok if some days I don’t feel any of this acceptance and struggle to get through my day. It’s ok to be stuck feeling that I’m in hell too. All I can do is the best I can do. It’s hard work and I’m far from done.

It’s amazing how much I’ve changed. All of you, Vital Cycles, and my wonderful therapist have helped me so much. Thank you for listening …   🙂


Empower yourself

One of my favorite Healing Principles is the Empowerment Principle. “We shape our own healing process choosing what best serves us.

We can develop the skills to make good decisions for our healing so we can lead lives of joyous dignity.

An important skill for our healing journey involves learning to access and trust our inner wisdom, sometimes known as intuition. By developing our connection with our inner resources, we gain valuable insight to help guide our choices. Ways to access one’s inner wisdom include journaling, visualization, creating art, meditation and prayer. Developing this connection and aligning ourselves with it is an enriching lifelong process.

Consulting our inner wisdom helps us discover our needs. Knowing more about our needs gives us power! We can proactively seek ways to meet our needs, taking care of as many of them as possible. The sense of empowerment gained in recognizing our capacity for self- nurturance leads to increased self-respect and dignity.

As we build self-awareness, we discover there are many ways we can begin to meet our needs. It’s vital we become expert in discovering what works for us and adapting it to fit. After all, we are the only ones who can truly know what is best working for us.

Gradually, we gain the emotional maturity to choose the paths that are most healing for ourselves. Gradually, we shift from seeing ourselves as victims, to seeing ourselves as survivors and over time as thrivers. This is more of a cyclic process than a linear one. Even after much healing has elapsed, we may still find aspects of ourselves feeling like victims at times. It helps when we can turn towards these aspects with empowered compassion.

As we continue to make empowering choices for our healing and deepen our connection with our emotions, our capacity to experience joy grows, and our lives feel progressively richer and more fulfilling.

Vital Cycle: The better we shape our healing process the more empowered we are. The more empowered we are the better we can shape our healing process.

Positive Reframing – guest blog by Teresa Vandergriff

Some years ago, I noticed that one of my friends took care to put a positive spin on things by changing “I’ve got to” to “I get to.” For example, “I’ve got to do my laundry – big hassle, takes time, I hate to iron, etc.” changes to: “I get to do my laundry-I own clothes that I like, I’m glad I chose washable things so that I’m not running to the dry cleaners every other day, etc.”

Gratitude came easily with that little change of words. At the time, I thought it was a nice idea, but I have since learned that changing my words to create gratitude is one of the best things I can do for my well-being. Those little changes keep me going forward. For me, a typical day brings up a long list of “got-to”: obligations to support my health, have a comfortable home; earn a paycheck, look presentable, take care of my family, spend time with friends, prepare for the next holiday or clean up after the last one, and so on and so forth. To get a handle on that list, I try to listen for the underlying “got-to” that I’m telling myself; often it’s not the list dragging me down, it’s the attitude: “I’ve got to deal with lots of stuff I don’t like, and I’m angry before I start!” That’s not only a negative approach, it’s a limited one; the glass is not only half-empty, it’s also half-full. I work on switching to “get-to” statements: “I get to choose my thoughts, attitudes, and actions; I am not stuck. I get to see-and use- my strengths and my resources to make today a great day.”

From that place of empowerment, I celebrate that half-full glass and the many blessings in my life. I hope we all “get to” see many blessings in our lives, today and always!

Maria Teresa Vandergriff is a Special Advisor to the Vital Cycles Board on grant writing. She is a professional grant writer and tireless advocate for women and children’s empowerment. 


Gratitude comes easily with a little change of words!

New Year = A New You!!!

I can’t believe another year has flown by. It’s going to be 2012 and I have to say being born in 1983 I’m beginning to feel old!

I hear people everywhere talking about their New Years resolution to “lose weight” “eat better”, “get more organized” or to “exercise”. These are all great goals but statistics have shown few people keep their New Years resolutions. For me I don’t  create New Years resolutions, instead I reflect on the last year and set goals for the coming year. My goals are based on what I hope to accomplish.

2010 was a particular rough year for me physically and emotionally. It took a toll on me and my depression got the best of me towards the end of that year. I was in the hospital last New Years Eve with a concussion and only hoped that 2011 would be a better year.

I had many goals for 2011. To get stronger both physically and emotionally. To find a therapist I could talk to, a support group, to be able to create distance from my family, to build a safety net of supportive friends, and to begin my Masters degree.

Some of these goals may seem small, however for me they were all challenges. I am afraid of being “judged”, afraid to trust, and afraid to let my guard down. Asking for “help” was something I have never been good at. But I knew in order to heal these were the beginning steps I needed to take.

Beginning my masters degree seemed to be the easiest of all my goals. Finding a good therapist I could trust took 9 months and a few attempts with other therapists. Finding a support group took time, but through multiple searches and not giving up I was able to find Vital Cycles (an amazing support group, that focuses on healing).

Letting my guard down, building a support network, and being open with friends has been one of the biggest challenges I have worked on this past year. I now have friends that I can truly be myself with. I can share about my happiest highs and deepest lows. This has helped my healing, and self-esteem grow tremendously.

As I look back at this year it has not always been easy. However I have seen my healing take dramatic leaps forward.  I have taken challenges that I wouldn’t have taken a few years ago. I have set clear boundaries with people that negatively impact me. I am beginning to create balance in my life. I have put myself and my healing as my first priority.

In 2012 I will continue to grow and heal. I will continue with my masters degree, and also assist with growing Vital Cycles. I need to maintain my boundaries with my family, surround myself with positive people, and work on what I can change and accept the things I can’t. I hope to return to working full time,when I’m able.

Each day I heal, I become stronger and happier.

Happy New Year Everyone 🙂



Find out more about Vital Cycles and a group near you!

Feeling like a grinch when people tell you to be merry

Grinch that Christmas

Acceptance: We honor all emotions and memories.

This healing principle can be especially important during the holiday season. If you’re like me, sometimes everyone around me seems to be saying that I should be “merry”, “it’s the happiest time of the year”, etc., and yet I feel like saying “bah humbug! it’s the hardest time of the year”.  I used to just want to avoid the whole darn thing. I never thought of mixing family and Christmas was a present for me.

To be honest, I still don’t mix the two. Now I spend time with “family of choice”. Dear friends who give me the space to feel whatever “coal in the socking” feelings I many be feeling at the moment. I choose now to spend time with those folks who are fun, relaxed and don’t make me want to run screaming from the house.

I now create my own holiday that works for me.

Here’s a toast to living having a truly merry holiday!

Bob Faw

Vital Cycles Blog October 2011


We shape our own healing process choosing what best serves us.”


            In this Vital Cycles healing principle it states, “As we build self-awareness, we discover there are many ways we can begin to meet our needs. It’s vital we become expert in discovering what works for us and adapting it to fit. After all, we are the only ones who can truly know what is best working for us.”

The key word in this quote is “adapting”. There are waxes and wanes, in what one is drawn to at any given time in one’s life to assist one’s growth and recovery.

We are where we are. Where we are today, may or may not differ from yesterday or tomorrow.

As we learn and grow we meet supportive people on the same path. Some have healing methods which may be new to us, while others may be familiar; and therefore, more “comfortable” or secure feeling.

The literature on this principle also encourages the use of one’s own intuition to be one’s guide to decide which methods to embrace, and which to put aside (perhaps for another day and time).

Part of “choosing what best serves us” is acknowledging, what no longer serves us; even if it did sometime in the past.

Being a support to others on the road of recovery sometimes requires honoring another person’s exploration of a method which we might consider a part of our personal “past”.  If and when we are able to do so; we honor our own healing journey as well.

The literature also states, ‘The better we shape our healing process the more empowered we are. The more empowered we are the better we can shape our healing process.” The key to shaping or forming the healing process is found in the choices we make.

It is through our choices, and recognition of our ability to make decisions, which empowers us.

May we all be empowered to strive towards healing and thriving!

Heather Hood

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