Yes, there were some laughs at last week’s meetup. Even some serious cursing, all of which would have made for eye-catching headlines. However, the conversation all boiled down to one big topic—connection.

Our conversation started on the topic of bias. How does bias play out in your life? What we learned, is that there are constant opportunities to educate people and engage in a conversation about why they feel a certain way or say something.

This quickly moulded into the topic of first-responders and we all identified a strong need to fix an ailing system. First-responders need to be trauma-informed, but they themselves need better support in dealing with their own traumas. One big theme is that therapy doesn’t fit into a box. What works for one person might not work well for others, and as professionals in the mental health field, many identified that this needs to change.

One key message that always comes back: helping is healing. One of our veterans has turned to help other veterans at the Veterans Food Bank and with peer-to-peer counselling of sorts. He’s become a mentor and a support person for others. A couple of other members of our group are now also helping him — the cycle continues!

And SO many great quotes from our community members on connection, so I won’t rewrite them:

” Connection is key to healing.”

“Bias breaks connection but connecting can break bias.”

“We need to stand strong in our boundaries.”

The weight of the world is heavy when we think about how far we still have to go. Instead, we suggested that we can focus on the little things we can do to make a big difference in the overall picture. Planting the seed for the future.

“You may not see the change, but you are making a change.”

“Things don’t change, we change.” – Theo Fleury


Meetup | Rafter U7 Ranch

March 23 @ 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Our monthly meet-ups in Calgary, Alberta are one of our most successful programs and one that we are very proud of. Members of the BFF team lead a group conversation about trauma and healing. Participate actively or simply as a listener, as these are safe spaces to connect with BFF and the greater trauma and healing community. Hosted by Heard Wellness and Equine Enrichment at Rafter U7 Ranch near Carstairs. Email for directions.

Art Fundraiser for Breaking Free Foundation (hosted by Amber Craig)

April 4th at 7pm

On April 4th, join us as The Hemingway Room at The Commons Calgary is transformed into a chic art gallery. Some of Calgary’s most talented artists have stepped up to help us put on a night that will drive incredible conversations and much-needed funds. 

At the event, you’ll be able to bid on BEAUTIFUL art — all inspired by trauma or PTSD. The stories behind these incredible works of art will flood you with emotion. Not to mention, these are breathtaking pieces that anyone would want to have in their homes! In addition to the silent art auction, the room will feature poetry written by members of our community. 

To get people in the door, this is a pay what you can event.


The Good (Finding Joy)

1. My daughter wrote a blog about anxiety and tips on how to deal with it. It was a proud mama, joy-filled moment for me.

2. Our BFF meet-up on Wednesday reminded me of why I chose to take this journey publicly. Those humans who show up and allow vulnerability to be present in a room full of unknowns, are truly magnificent souls. Those conversations fill me up and bring me great joy. Watching people leave looking like a weight has been lifted, simply as a result of meaningful conversation, is nothing short of magical.

3. My week ended with a group of ladies who work together, and although I no longer put in hours there, I am graciously invited to their team events. Christmas dinner, laughter, saying tender goodbyes to a staff member who is a pillar of the company but is moving on…and a gift for each of us that holds rich meaning.

As I continue to look for and be mindful of joy in my life, I’m finding it! Grateful.

Okay, mushiness dealt with, I had a couple of journey wins too. As a result of writing down my food intake, it is in my face that my choices suck. I used to eat so healthy, and surprise, surprise, I felt good then! So, as I’ve committed to making small changes, I started to add in a quinoa salad with my nachos and cheese, choosing to make a much smaller plate of salty goodness. I said I’d cut out eating at night, which I’ve done really well with. With age comes that dreaded metabolism slow down, so I can’t eat the portions I did even 10 years ago and get away with it. I’ve always known that, just didn’t want to face it!

Every time I walk up or down stairs without having to lean against the wall, I could do a happy dance! The simple act of putting on my boots or shoes without leaning on a wall? Priceless! Progress.

My mind has shifted. I have a knowing, a confidence that I didn’t have when I began three weeks ago, that I’m going to do this. I’ve taught my kids that we become what we focus on. It’s not just b.s., it’s scientific fact. As I write, I’m getting a glimpse of how re-jigging my own focus is beginning to turn the sails. Slow but sure, I’m on my way.

The Bad (Stuff that didn’t go so well)

My activity levels are definitely still in the tank. The “fun” part is that I’m not content staying there. I did walk, but any attempts to push the use of my shoulder were met with too much pain. That will eventually get resolved, so in the meantime I will continue with walking.

The Ugly

I didn’t realize how afraid of falling I am. As much as I was hoping to walk outside, I think I may need to find an inside track to use.

I can hardly look in the mirror and see me. All I see are my stomach rolls, my back fat and the grey, thinning roots sprouting on top of my head. While that may sound a bit pathetic, it’s raw and real. For someone who was a size two before kids, it’s not always easy to just accept the changes in my body, even though they’re all teenagers now. Keep in mind that I worked for a modelling agency for three years (part time) and used to host/produce a tv program. Vanity ran deep and I fell prey to the societal norms and expectations of what “pretty” is/was. My body and my looks got attention. The turkey neck I now see wasn’t part of the plan.

I’m looking forward to staying put for Christmas this year and having family at my house for the first time. Ever. I’m already finding joy before the week’s even started!

What are some wins you can share? Or the bad, or the ugly. It all matters, and it’s all part of the journey.