From Traumas to Quiet Triumph

Almost a year ago I met with friends in Columbus for dinner. We gathered to celebrate my upcoming relocation to the mountains of North Carolina. I had only lived in central Ohio. I did not even go away for college.

As we ate our vegan dishes, one friend asked me, “What are you looking forward to the most?” I sat silently for a moment. “I’m looking forward to uncoiling.” A great deal had happened in my life in my recent past, long ago past, all imbued with a chronic backdrop of not ever quite feeling safe.  Having endured many traumas and seemingly endless violations of my boundaries, I really didn’t know what it could be like to live where there was a void of triggers-people, places, experiences, reminders, and memories.

Thankfully, I dedicated half of my life to many forms of healing modalities. I continue this meaningful work and probably will for a lifetime. My inner world has been coming alive for years as a safe haven, an expanded place of sacred discoveries, clutter clearings, and reconnections to pieces of goodness that I had kept stored away. Like balls of twine, my nervous system continues to be blessed to uncoil in the quiet beauty of the mountains.

Now I feel like I’m finally reveling in what I’ve heard others discover when they move away and geographically break free from their past, their history, and possibly all the painful reminders everywhere. Over the last 11 months, I have unpacked experiences that I had shelved or simply didn’t have time or space to examine.

When my former mother-in-law passed away two months ago, I finally fully grieved the loss of that entire family. Their choice to cut ties with me felt like another betrayal and abandonment. I love them all to this day. I may never understand in my mind the choice they made, but my heart simply had to grieve, to flow through the actual hurt this was. I had to learn to brave the wilderness of isolation in the wake of their rejection. I keep bringing myself back to recognizing that home is in my soul.

I finally cut the noose of unworthiness and toxic shame that had suffocated me for years. I found a richer voice of truth and a renewed ability to breathe from my diaphragm. A deeper dive into my long-ago difficult past to reclaim the treasures of my lost childhood continues to be rewarding and liberating. A couple days ago I could actually feel and “see” all my inner children joyfully rushing towards my grown-up self for a great big bear hug. They now feel more convinced of their safety and belonging. I get to let them know we’re turning all that hard stuff they endured into prose, poetry, and hilarious comedy that makes many people laugh.

Hearing the birds singing as I sit in my office with three walls of windows that face many trees, leaves, blossoms, and rolling mountains, I feel gratitude, peace, a deep sense of contentment, trust, and an unshakeable knowing that my life will not ever be what it was. Receiving the abundant love that fills my life now allows me to continue to give of myself generously in love and service. I am becoming in my life what I choose to experience in our world. This lives as a quiet triumph, the whispering, pleading mantras of all my inner children finally answered.


Laura Staley
Laura Staley
The founder of Cherish Your World, Laura Staley passionately helps people thrive by guiding them to a holistic transformation of space, heart, mind, body, and soul. Laura knows that there’s a relationship between the conditions of our homes or workplaces and the quality of our lives. Trained and certified with the Western School of Feng Shui and seasoned by almost two decades of working with a variety of clients, Laura uses her intuition and expertise to empower her clients to produce remarkable results in their lives. Her trifecta of serving people includes speaking, writing, and compassionate listening. As a columnist, Laura writes personal essays focused on self-discovery, feng shui, emotional health, and transformations from the inside out. Laura is the published author of three books: Live Inspired, Let Go Courageously and Live with Love: Transform Your Life with Feng Shui, and the Cherish Your World Gift Book of 100 Tips to Enhance Your Home and Life. Prior to creating her company, Laura worked as a fulltime parent and an assistant professor at Ohio Wesleyan University. She earned a Ph.D. in political science from The Ohio State University. Her joys in life include laughing with loved ones, dancing, reading, meditating, running, being in nature, and listening to music she loves. She resides in Black Mountain, NC with lovable dog, Layla. Laura is a contributing author to the inspiring book Crappy to Happy: Sacred Stories of Transformational Joy

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  1. Sometimes the only way to find yourself is by completely letting go. Welcome back to the self you always sought and had to leave in order to find that peace within yourself. Keep writing as the path in words can also be the discovery of your inner self. J

    • Oh, thank you for these kind words of affirmation, Johnny! And my life journey began as an abrupt disconnect from my self and Self, so I can see from this perspective that I immediately let go at birth. Every step forward became about connection to that which can never be lost. I promise to continue writing as it seems to be channeling through me onto the screen, page, napkin, or post-it note. For me words seem to only point to the discoveries and experiences of the heart, the inner world, and life itself. We may get to invent some words along the way! 🙂 Grateful for your insights and contribution. Thank you. 🙂

  2. And somehow I knew this was your article, Laura, before I saw your byline. Just wonderful. As always.

    This one sentence really resonates: I am becoming in my life what I choose to experience in our world.

    Yes. That.

    • Thank you so much, Susan! I continue to be uplifted by your support and kind words of affirmation. I’m truly grateful my writings resonate with you and others. What a humbling joy for my heart.

    • Thank you so much, Yvonne A Jones! Just saying the word “peace” feels good. I feel the same way about the word “breathe.” which often reminds me to take a deep breath. Grateful for your kind feedback.

    • My pleasure, Laura. That’s something I have to reminde myself very often to do. When I get impatient…usually with myself more than anyone else, I remind myself to breathe…and pray…for peace knowing it will all work out the way it should.

    • Yes, Yvonne, most definitely a practice and process to breathe through our feelings/thoughts and trust that a path will emerge, a resolution will arise, and to watch all of this from the unflappable place of peacefulness of that “fly on the wall” self. I recently learned that breathing from the diaphragm helps the vagus nerve send messages to our brain to calm down, to shift to the parasympathetic nervous system (calm, relaxed state-optimal for creativity, learning, and seeing fresh pathways). So wonderful-our bodies!

  3. I’m happy for you Laura. Releasing the demons that haunt one is something I admire greatly and seek deep within my soul. To see and hear that it can be done brings hope and assurance to another’s heart. Great work! Keep writing. J

    • Thank you so much @Johnny Johnston! Yes, releasing the difficult past and learning from it can be like walking across broken glass. It’s brave work that many are capable of doing from the inside out/with support, love, and guidance from loving others. When we can see what’s possible in another it often inspires us to keep going, to keep learning, seeing, healing, and transcending. You are a treasure. i promise to keep writing. You keep living true to your gifts, dreams, and all those possibilities that make your heart sing!

    • Thank you so much @Raissa Urdiales! I’ve realized lately that I need all of me on deck to be of love and service in our world. This often means allowing our inner children to whisper in our ears their deep insights, joy, and connection to possibilities! I appreciate your kind words so very much!