birthdays and beauty bring joy





“Birthdays and Beauty: Allowing Joy into our Lives as Survivors of Torture and Trauma” may seem to be an odd combination as a topic for a blog post. Recently as I sat in a coffee shop reconnecting with a coffee shop friend who I see infrequently, the conversation quickly became less superficial. We are both survivors of childhood abuse, including torture. Neither of us speak of it much for healing has occurred. The conversation focused on our lives now and how to allow joy into our lives on a deeper level and a more frequent basis.

My birthday is in the month of January. Beginning a new year and celebrating a birthday are both possible causes of reflection. When a new year and a birthday are in close proximity, there can be a double whammy effect! This year in my reflecting, I find myself yearning for more joy and beauty in my life.

Frequently when you are raised in an emotionally, physically, and/or sexually abusive household, happiness or joy is not allowed. Punishment may follow moments of happiness. This is also true in homes that include domestic violence by a spouse or significant other. Unfortunately some religious communities discount the joy aspect of faith.

How much joy do you experience? Do you even notice when you are experiencing happiness or joy? Do you wait until all the chores are completed on your list before you even think of satisfying your personal need for beauty or joy? Do you even have energy and time left after work and chores to seek beauty or joy? Is collapsing on the couch after a hard day all you can muster?

Beauty can be a catalyst for inner joy. Where do you see beauty? Do you find it in nature? Does interacting with children bring joy to your heart? Is the beauty easy to see in their faces? What about the face of an elderly person? Do you view beauty in yourself? Does the beauty you see in yourself and others shine through to your heart and then radiate outward toward others?

Even though many in my family did not want my presence on this earth, I still like the concept of birthdays. My birth date is the day I was born on this earth. There is a reason I was born and a reason I still live. Whether I spend my birthday alone or with others, the date marks another year on this universe. As I age, I find myself treasuring love, beauty and joy on deeper levels.

Recently I discovered a quotation by Bob Moawad. I do not know much about him except that he is a motivational speaker.

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.”

― Bob Moawad

I do believe there was a day – more than one actually – when I internalized the realization that I am responsible for my life. (I would not categorize it as the best day of my life.) After the fear that arose from that realization, there came a peace with it! Whether you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, a survivor of domestic violence, a survivor of clergy abuse, a survivor of ritual abuse (extreme abuse), a survivor of human trafficking, survivor of mind control (brainwashing) and/or a survivor of torture, it takes much healing and forgiveness to stand up for your life as it is now. To release the anger, rage, and blame you most likely felt toward the abuser(s) is a miracle in itself. That release frees you to move forward in your life.

Oh, I do not believe I am an island – all alone with no support. I do know though that it is I who arises each morning. It is I who faces the day ahead – good and bad. I am grateful for all the gems on my path over the decades. I am especially grateful for when I can be a gem for another person. (To read more on gems, read my past blog post:

I travelled the path which led me to the freedom, peace, and joy that I experience. Now I choose to allow beauty and joy into my life on a regular basis and on a deeper level. By allowing myself the pleasures of life, I am further able to serve others. My heart remains open to a divine expanse of goodness, love, peace, beauty, and joy! This intention is the birthday present I give to myself this year!

As a life coach for survivors of child abuse and other trauma, I am excited to propel you in the direction you, as my client, choose. Years go by, one by one ….. Sometimes we hardly notice. Isn’t it time for you to take note, decide where you want this year to take you, and take action? Contact me! I would be honored to walk with you on your path.

As always, take gentle care of yourself!