As a mental health clinician, Rebecca Brown has been a safe place for many to seek shelter from their secrets, silence and shame. Inspired to finally slow down, stop running from herself and share her own story, she found ways to seek and savour her own shelter.
Rebecca's personal journey takes us through sadness, tragedy, self-sabotage, the impossible pursuit of perfection, distorted thinking and eating, engaging with her shadow self, divorce, and numbing with alcohol, all in an attempt to avoid the story needing to be shared.
Dispelling the limiting beliefs we hold about ourselves can unlock our limitless potential to reach goals we never dared to dream. From the Boston Marathon to working with horses, Rebecca sets out to prove to herself that anything is possible when you don't listen to the negative stories you tell yourself.
Everyone has a story. We become who we are because of what has happened to us, and because of the stories we tell ourselves. But do our stories continue to serve us well, or keep us stuck? Are our stories fact or fiction? Is it time to rewrite the versions we have been telling ourselves?
Shelter provides strategies to help reframe the thinking patterns we have developed, and offers tools to recognize when we are suffering from our own thoughts, feelings and actions. Resilience-building techniques are woven through the pages, and encouragement for the lifelong journey of collecting moments of awe and happiness.
Seeking and reading Shelter is a gift of self-compassion and self-discovery. Rebecca's hope is that it will be read with a highlighter in hand, pages folded down, re-read, recommended to a friend, and used as a guide to start sharing our own stories with those we love.
We may not have written our beginnings, but we have the ability to write every word from this point forward and just imagine where our stories can take us when we are free of secrets, silence and shame.
read an excerpt...
I give my talk.
The room erupts in applause.
A dozen people line up to thank me or say a few words at the end of my session.
One man in particular stands out.
He is well over six feet tall and wearing a full Texas sheriff uniform.
He has greying hair and is likely close to the end of his career.
He pumps my hand as he shakes it, almost leaving it numb.
He thanks me for my talk. “Great stuff,” he says.
And then he hands me his business card.
But it’s not quite a business card.
It’s a photo card, like a baseball card, or a kid’s hockey card, with the player’s name, position, and smiling face as they stand posed to take a shot in their team uniform.
Only this is of a man on a black horse.
More precisely, it’s this man, a Texas sheriff on his beautiful black police horse.
“I thought you’d like to have this,” he says. “My horse is Canadian, like you.” And then he says something that has stayed with me, because he couldn’t be more right: “Everyone in this business should have a good horse!”
He meant the business of trauma.
I couldn’t have agreed more.
I still have his “business card.”
Two years later, I went back to Texas to teach a three-day workshop on resilience to youth detention workers. I tried to look up my Texas sheriff, but he had retired. I hope he’s finding more time to enjoy his good horse. I’ve shared the story of our brief encounter and his photo card with many police officers over the years. And every one of them agrees: horses can heal humans. I’ve found shelter with horses. Sometimes in the saddle, but mostly not. My story will get there. Eventually.
I finished my keynote address and spent the rest of the day at the conference on Youth in the Justice System. People stopped me in the halls of the hotel, telling me how much they enjoyed my talk. Later that evening, I went for a run.
And then I drank a bottle of wine and went to bed.
about Rebecca Brown...
REBECCA BROWN is a clinical social worker with over 35 years in practice ranging from medical social work, childhood trauma, vicarious trauma for first responders, international psychological first aid, and Equine Assisted Therapy. She is honoured to hold a faculty appointment with the Department of Family Medicine at Western University in London, Ontario. She teaches extensively on the topics of trauma and resilience and has delivered keynote presentations throughout North America. She shares her life and career with her husband, a family physician and trailblazer in the field of Lifestyle Medicine. Together they live and work on the shores of the Great Lake Huron, where they seek and share shelter with their six adult children, four grandchildren, extended family and friends, two dogs, two cats and one horse.
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