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Tell us a little bit about yourself where you are now in your life (what do you do, what you do love, what makes you, YOU etc)

I am a lover of life; glass is half full kind of girl. I currently live in Mesa, AZ with my best friend/husband and our sixteen year old son. We own a yoga studio and café. We love to be outdoors whether through hiking, camping, rock climbing or four wheeling. My passion, what completely lights me up from the inside out, is creating a sacred space where women can come home to their True Nature and reconnect to their life’s purpose.

 

Sharing only what you feel comfortable with, tell us what prompted you to find healing in your life (here is where you can tell us some of what happened to you as a child)

While it may sound dramatic, healing was really a life or death choice for me. I was sexually abused by an older sibling for years. It began around nine years old. I don’t remember exactly when or why it stopped. Being abused forces you to grow up at an exponential rate. Unfortunately, this false sense of maturity is seductive to every predator out there which made me the target for two much older neighborhood boys at one time or another.

Like many of us survivors, I had done a great job at burying any memories of trauma into the deepest recesses of my mind. When the memories began to surface around 16 years of age, I turned to drugs and alcohol to numb the shame, loathing, and brokenness. One night, just before my 22nd birthday, in one of my drunken stupors I began to plot my suicide. It is at this pivotal point that I chose the path of lightness, healing, versus the path of darkness, self-destruction.

 

What are some of the paths you have used on your road to healing? (writing, art, therapy, body work, energy work, etc) Tell about your healing journey.

Some of the key instruments on my healing path have been:

Writing: This was one of my first modalities and has continued to remain a sacred space to release many of my stored thoughts and emotions that no longer serve me on my path.

Reading: There are many who have come before us and are open to sharing their wisdom. Three fantastic books for healing trauma are~ The Courage to Heal (recommend going through this with a therapist), The Dance of Anger, and Healing the Shame that Binds Us

Therapy: We survivors are notorious for getting lost in our heads. My therapist helped me gain a perspective that was necessary for healing. When a child experiences any type of trauma his/her sense of reality is skewed. Therapy helped me piece together the insanity of the abuse, learn to establish healthy boundaries, and recognize that I am not as damaged as I once thought.

Yoga: To this day yoga has remained the most beneficial healing modality for me. Due to my body/mind split super powers (many of you know what I am talking about), it was only when I was able to step into my body that true healing occurred.

Parenthood: Parenthood has also been one of the greatest healing modalities for me. It was incredible to have another soul love me as unconditionally as my son. In order to create the life I believe he deserves, I had to learn the art of Self-love, Self-compassion, and forgiveness.

 

What has been the hardest or most challenging part of the healing process for you?

The most challenging part of healing for me is to shed the damaged good syndrome.I think, unless you’ve endured abuse, it’s difficult to understand this concept. As amazing, patient, and supportive as my husband is, he struggles to understand this perspective. He sees a strong, beautiful, intelligent, and loving woman. I tend to view myself first as a fake, worthless, and disgusting human being. However, I continue to show up and tap into that strength, wisdom, and courage that got me through the original abuse in the first place. Little by little those feelings are replaced with Self-love, Self-acceptance, forgiveness, and compassion.

 

If you could find a wisdom, a gift in your childhood wounding what would it be?

I used to prescribe to the theory I wouldn’t change anything because it made me who I am today. The first time I mentioned that to my therapist, I thought she was going to leap off the couch. I realize now, HELL YES I would change my past. I see what happens when a child grows up in a loving, nurturing environment, without having to claw his way to self-worth and/or self-acceptance. He thrives!

This all being said, one of the greatest gifts that has come from my past has been my connection to amazing women like you. From my personal experiences, I am able to empathize and teach women that you can have healthy intimate relationships, you can learn to love yourself, and you can find happiness, forgiveness, and compassion.

 

What is your take on how people heal?

This is a fascinating question, Stephanie. There is a resistance in my wanting to answer that I will have to sit with. I think part of the resistance is I’m hesitant to assume how others think. Instead I like to take the approach it’s 10% life and 90% your reaction to it. 1 out of 3 girls is sexually abused in some form or another. Two of my closest friends have each lost a small child. Horrible things happen to beautiful people. Suffering is wanting reality to be other than it is and my God, how we have all suffered, right!? Life is life. We can’t change that. What we can change, and this is where we take back our power, is how we react to it. I can choose to let it close me down or crack open my heart.

 

What would you most like others to remember on the healing path?

There is a place within each of you that is perfect, whole, and complete. It cannot be destroyed. It cannot be broken. It is your birthright to find this place within and reconnect to your innate perfection. I want you to know that it is your birthright to love and be loved. I want you to know that I, we all here in Stephanie’s community, believe in you!

Bio: Through her own personal journey of healing, Carrie has become a genuine example of the resiliency of spirit. Her core teachings integrate yoga postures (asanas), breath awareness (pranayama), Vipassana meditation, mindfulness, and humor guiding students to their own journey of intention, authenticity, and uncovering their life’s purpose. In 2005 Carrie co-opened Inside The Bungalow, yoga studio and cafe, with the intention of providing a Sacred space where students can come home to their own True Nature. In 2011, she created Dharma Connections, your guide to fulfillment from the inside out.

 

Website: http://www.carriehensley.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dharmaconnections

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/carriehensley

Google+: https://plus.google.com/106130985171034933254/posts