Dr. Liara Covert

Holistic Coach
Breathwork Psychotherapist
Sunshine Coast, Queensland

   

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Entries in suicide (1)

Wednesday
Feb202019

Interview with Kerrie Atherton

Meeting Kerrie Atherton and learning about her endeavours is heart-warming reminder that every moment is an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and develop strength from adversity. I had the pleasure to meet her through Darron Eastwell whose inspirational story and self-healing show us the universe shakes us up to awaken us to see the world and our evolving purpose differently. 

Like many of us, Kerrie Atherton has faced physical and emotional trauma throughout her life.  Rather than allow adversity to define her, she has used the wisdom gained from her experience to create Empower Life Solutions and become the Founder of Stories of Hope Australia. She has been highlighted in recent editions of Profile Magazine , Sunshine Coast Daily and has been a guest on radio. I am grateful to Kerrie Atherton for creating space to connect and engage in this dialogue:

If you asked someone to describe you, what would they say?

These are some of the things people have said to me: That I am caring, compassionate, bright, bubbly, non-judgemental, creative, wise, resilient and empathetic.

How has your sense of purpose and life focus changed over time?

Once I was able to let go of shame for things that happened to me and for mistakes I had made, my whole perception changed.  I no longer felt like I had to put on a mask or pretend to be someone I was not just to be accepted.  I finally felt I could be my authentic self without concern or fear of judgement or what others thought of me.  And that was a very freeing thing.

Love that your evolving purpose involved getting more connected to community. The more we feace our fear of speaking our truth, the more we come into our personal power This is also a measure of the ability to focus our attention on soul-fulfilling activities.

Indeed. Many people imagine they need to reach for liberation. It is said the hardest prison to escape is our own mind. Your life experience and those stories you share remind us we can change our thoughts and change our life. 

What has been your greatest life challenge? 

My greatest life challenge was when I hit total rock bottom where I planned to take my life as a result of much trauma due to alcoholism and a pill addiction.  

That is a huge thing to acknowledge.  How did you overcome or get through this?

I overcame this through reconnecting with my faith In God that day and through walking into the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Details of your story that you share with people include the internal shift you have experienced to transform your life. It is akin to what we hear about celebrities who beat addiction.  Australian singer- Songwriter Keith Urban speaks about his own addiction and sobriety. He came to recognize that he wasn’t living to his full potential.  Although he wishes he got sober earlier, It seems like you resonate with Jamie Lee Curtis who said on the Today Show, “My recovery is the single greatest accomplishment of my life. Without that, the rest of my life would have fallen apart... Recovery is an acceptance that your life is in a shambles and you have to change it.”

Tell us about Empowered Life Solutions.

EMPOWERED Life Solutions is a business I formed around 5 years ago.

So, your choice to shift your attitude in your life guides you to help others take their lemons and make their own refreshing lemonade. Cool! What fulfils you about mentoring roles taking shape?

After working with many people suffering with addictions and after working with troubled youth in schools for over 11 years, I wanted to devote my time to counselling, coaching, mentoring and running programs to help EMPOWER people who were struggling with different issues in life and to help prevent those people from going through them in the first place. 

What does empowerment process entail? 

To sit with an individual or family after the trauma has happened in their lives, especially due to drug addictions.  This is very devastating at times to see and to help them. That journey of recovery can be a lengthy process.  Prevention or early intervention programs can save so much heartache. Prevention really is better than cure.  Having said that, being trusted by someone with the opportunity to counsel and help them through their hard times is something I consider to be a huge privilege.

Something touches my soul as you describe creating a welcoming space where your clients feel safe to share stories of self-rejection and vulnerability.  Such an environment of unconditional acceptance would benefit many. 

When do you feel most alive? 

I feel most alive when I am sharing my own story or testimony to others about how I have come out the other side of hard times, so I can bring others HOPE.

How does instilling hope make you feel?

I feel most alive when I am playing a part in helping make a positive difference in the life of someone who has lost HOPE.  When I am at my Stories of HOPE events and I see all the faces in the audience this really causes me to know I am fulfilling my greatest purpose and being part of the process of changing someone’s life brings me the greatest JOY.  Especially helping someone who was about to give up on life discover that they really have a reason and a purpose for living.

Tell us about the Stories of Hope Australia initiative. (Some people get a taste via your Linked In)

I got the inspiration for this after I hit rock bottom for a second time in August 2016.  My father had just died, and my husband became very ill.  These things happened on the back of other trauma and grief I had experienced over the past few years.  I just felt like I could barely  go on.  I felt very alone and with little support. 

When did you get the inspiration?

After pulling out of all regular activities and spending much time alone for a few weeks trying to heal and regain my strength, I attended a women’s conference.  There I had a light bulb moment after hearing a couple of other people share about how they had come out the other side of their very hard times.  I knew right there and then that I had so much to share with the world.  That I had not been through all this pain for nothing, that it wouldn’t be in vain, and that I would use my pain for others gain, through sharing my stories of how I had come out the other side of the circumstances which could have easily destroyed me.  I also knew that I had to gather together all the other inspirational people I knew who had also triumphed over adversity and I thought ‘together we can literally change the world’. 

Eureka moments are like what you describe, instances which change each of our lives for the better. Like intuition in action, they prompt us to listen or pay attention to how we feel.  As you imply, we are triggering our own inner shifts in energy, attention and transforming purpose. 

How do you see this brain child unfolding? (and expanding)

I see myself taking my events into different states with some of my team members, and I am now working on my second Stories of HOPE Australia book. We will continue our regular free monthly events where we started two years ago at the Sands Tavern Maroochydore and will also be working on more ‘Men’s Only Mental Health’ nights and separate women’s nights targeting sensitive topics.

Meeting you echoes Pay it Forward movie message. You may be familiar with this flick. Who inspired/inspires you to empower and help others as you do?

There are so many people who have inspired me with both my parents who are no longer here being two of them.  My dad in particular who I witnessed over his many years also in AA, he was 60 years sober to be exact, pouring his life out to help others recover. Other than them, there is no one person more than another.  I guess the thousands of people that I have met in the rooms of alcoholics anonymous who are walking miracles, and all the people I have met through Stories of HOPE Australia.  Some of those people are my closest friends today and they continue to inspire me on a daily basis.  When you go through extensive pain and trauma, it doesn’t just disappear overnight.  It is a slow consistent journey of recovery.  Watching the progress of recovery in anyone who I have seen at the beginning of their journey and who is moving forward through it, inspires me beyond belief.

You have a book coming out soon. Share a bit about your process. Many people dream of writing a book. What is your own motivation? Why now?

The motivation behind me writing a book has always been there.  I have had my story sitting partially written for a few years, but got stuck.  I just really wanted to share a glimpse of the SOH journey and some of the stories to all the people out there who for different reasons, can’t make the events or they live in different states or countries.  I wanted,to take a glimpse of the SOH events and experience out to the big wide world, so I could exponentially share the experience with the masses of people out there, so they too could find the same kind of HOPE  that we have found through the sharing of all these inspirational stories.

This reminds me a  bit of a rendition of Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor HansenYou may know that Chicken Soup for the Soul book series of over 250 titles has sold more than 110 million copies in the U.S. and Canada. Chicken Soup for the Soul books have been translated into 43 languages, have been published in over 100 countries, and have sold more than 500 million copies worldwide. What a backdrop for your inspirational endeavours!

At what stage did you awaken to the importance of feeling the way through life to grow and heal?

At 18 when I was about to commit suicide, I heard a voice I believed to be that of God.  He said  ‘Don’t do it.  If you hang on a bit longer you will find happiness one day.’  And I am so glad I did hang on. Since that day when I walked into AA I have dedicated my life to helping others heal also.  To try and help prevent anyone especially young people going through and experiencing the pain and trauma that I did became like a mission for me.  I never want anyone to get to that point like I did where they feel like they are all alone and that they have absolutely no HOPE.  If I can help provide that HOPE I will.

That is an inspiring wake-up call. It reminds me a bit of an experience of a man who was intent on committing suicide and the touching story of his Golden Gate Bridge Survival.  His will to live sent out a vibration that brought the aid of a sea lion.

If you could share a single message with the world, what would it be?  

When you are able to be your authentic self, you unlock the door to freedom.  When you have Freedom to truly be yourself without fear of judgement, that opens the door to true connection with others, which is something we all need and have a deep longing for.  My mantras of Don’t do life alone and together is better ring loud in everything I do.  Also to believe that there is always HOPE.

Based on many shared stories, hope feels like a stepping stone to trusting ourselves more.

If you could share a meal with 5-10 people, who would they be? 

Jimmy Barnes, Mother Theresa, my grandfather Bert Fisher (who was the Tivoli Conductor/ composer and violinist who I never got the chance to meet), Brett Whitely, and the queen.

An intriguing combination of individuals would be sitting at your table...why them?

The reason I would pick all these people, is because they have all experienced deep trauma and lived both complicated and exciting lives.  They have all been through extremely sad and hard times and all reveal depth and great talent.  They all show resilience in the face of hard times.  All these people would have the most amazing stories to tell.

Love your choices! What the public hears about famous people is often only a glimpse of the truth or tip of the iceberg of deeper truths. It is also interesting that everyone we draw to us is revealing things about us we may not yet know. It is said we are drawn to or inspired by people who’s admirable traits we are in the process of recognizing, loving and accepting within ourselves. In a similar line, we can also imagine which fictional characters we would invite to dinner and the underlying reasons for doing so. In addition, it has also been said that anyone who is born into this world experiences birth and/or pre-birth related trauma and this is another possible avenue for investigation and healing.

Please share anything else you wish to add:

Our book launch is on the 28th of Feb at Venue 114 Lake Kawana.  Tickets must be purchased by next Tuesday 26th and are available via our Stories of HOPE Facebook page.  For anyone who would like to purchase a copy of my book  Stories of HOPE Australia ‘Everyday People, Extraordinary Stories’ which will be sure to change the way you look at life forever, you can do so via my website www.storiesofhope.com.au

If you are someone who feels you have a story of HOPE that you would like to share to help change lives for good, I would love to hear from you.  Until then,  ‘don’t do life alone, together is better’.

Thanks Kerrie, for creating the Stories of Hope initiative and inviting people to come together to reassure, empathize and support others.  I certainly look forward to taking in more of the events. You set an example to us all that we are not the body, not the mind, but the Soul in the process of experiencing different facits of life necessary to become a butterfly. Highly recommend people come attend one or more of the monthly events to get a taste of speakers who regain their personal power by sharing their stories, shifting their attitude and direct experience of what is possible in a group setting. Contact Kerrie Atherton for more details and visit the FB pages.

Leave people with a story:

Moving Mind from 10 Zen Stories 

Two men were arguing about a flag flapping in the wind.

“It’s the wind that is really moving,” stated the first one. “No, it is the flag that is moving,” contended the second.

A Zen master, who happened to be walking by, overheard the debate and interrupted them. “Neither the flag nor the wind is moving,” he said, “It is MIND that moves.”

Meeting Kerrie Atherton and learning about her endeavours is heart-warming reminder that every moment can be understood as an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and the strength we can develop through adversity.