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  • Writer's pictureJulie Kurtz

VOICE Matters. What is STRONG with you, not what is wrong with you!

"Giving Every Child and Adult a Voice!"

Trauma Healing, Resilience Building and Inspiring Hope

Story #01 Svetlana

February 2020

As we (Center for Optimal Brain Integration™) travel throughout the nation training on trauma, promoting strategies to build resilience and support healing, we are humbled and honored to hear VOICES from the field. Folks bravely sharing their journey of resilience and healing socially, emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. Their unique voices are powerful, their stories filled with strength, resilience and hope. Each person’s journey deserves to be told; their voices heard. You are not alone! Trauma healing is a journey of uncovering strength and resilience. We are not traumatized people, we are people who have experienced trauma. We are braver, stronger, more resilient and more empathic as a result of our collective experiences.

Svetlana, Educator with Julie Kurtz, Founder of the Center for Optimal Brain Integration™

Svetlana’s Story

“I was given two gifts in this world, the gift of love and the gift of connection - these two things saved my life. I truly believe I would never have built the resilience I have without going through every single hardship. I am exactly who I am supposed to be and against all odds I rise up, I bow and say thank you for listening to my story because every person in the world deserves to be seen and heard and believed. I truly feel that the measure of people’s worth isn’t studied enough. Not enough of life’s focus is on people and connection... life is hard regardless, so why not focus on the love and connections we have in our world.”

Svetlana was an orphan in Russia until the age of 6 when she was adopted by a family in the United States. She was told by her adopted mother of the abuses she experienced during her first 6 years of life. Unspeakable events stored as trauma memories pre-verbally in her body. Later in life she found that one way she coped when triggered emotionally was to self-soothe with food. She says it this way, “Food! Food happened and I ate my way through everything. To this day if I get triggered or upset, or angry, I turn to unhealthy foods such as pizza, processed foods, and/or sugar. The poem (below) was inspired by my journey, a promise, a declaration to never give up on myself, to be my biggest advocate and just be there for myself - just as I would for a friend! Self-love, self-awareness and self-care need to be mandatory curriculum in schools if you ask me.”

Svetlana discovered resiliency strategies on her journey as she developed self-love, cultivated self-awareness and advocated for her own self-care. She used resilience tools she has acquired to buffer her toxic stress, to leverage her support systems and to promote her own emergency response and self-care plan when she was triggered by the daily stressors that life brings. In her own words, she says resilience is a choice when you give your internal world a voice.

Her 2 biggest life changing choices toward resilience and healing were...

1. To find her voice and speak her truth. To clearly identify and express what she feels and needs rather than letting others define her, try to impose their truth upon her, or use food to shut down and numb herself.

2. Surrounding herself with a circle of supportive relationships. She chooses to surround herself with friends - her most important “family”. These circles she chose because they bring her to a higher place. She said her mission in life was to show others why they are loved and why they make a difference on the planet. She does not let a day go by where she does not share with her “family circles” how important they are in the world and how they make a difference in her world. Her lifeline and source of resilience is surrounding herself with people that ground and uplift her.

Svetlana shares this in closing, “Every choice I make is to better myself and treat myself with loving kindness”. She wrote this poem to share her sentiment about the importance of self-love, self-awareness and self-care.

POEM by Svetlana

A letter of hope to myself and for others...

"In doubt and in fear

Whenever you are

Near or far

I’m here to say

You’ve come so far

Bounds and leaps the effort is limitless

If only you believe

No shame in your game

No trip in your step

No break in your fall

You’ve got it all

To hold

To cherish

To love Forever, death do us part

My body, my life Is forever mine

I promise to heal, to love, and to mend all my doubts, all my fears, and to know who I am was here all along

I am here

I am free

I am built to be a stature of Health and love for all to see

Here I am”

Svetlana - Co-Director of a Preschool

If you need support, please reach out and find a safe person or place! You are strong, you have a voice, you have a choice and you are not alone. As we like to say at COBI™, “What is STRONG with you, not what is wrong with you!”

Contact us at for resources on building resilience and trauma informed care.

Join us on Facebook at the Center for Optimal Brain Integration or on Instagram at Center4OptimalBrainIntegration.

If you are interested in telling your story, let us know. We want to give you a voice! We want the world to know there is hope in the journey of healing.

*Published with written permission. Names may be changed if requested.

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