How do you know that you are travelling ‘well’ mentally and emotionally? What are the signs? Recent events in NSW, both in Bondi and the church where another stabbing occurred, I couldn’t help but become aware of these events. It shattered me, kept me awake, concerned me, and then I had to just go into action. Fear is not the answer, love and compassion is! I called up as many of my clients as possible to follow up, to see how they were doing, on any level.  I checked in on friends, not necessarily talking about the recent violence or world events, more just checking in on them.

I recognised a few of the victims of the stabbing incident in the Westfield shopping Center in Bondi, they are part of circles of people I know.  My heart is with them all, the families of those fatally attacked and the ones who are still in the hospital with deeper emotional wounds to contend with. I feel deeply for the parents of the man who became unhinged and carried out these violent acts. My heart is with them as they begin their healing after such an unfathomable event.

Many years ago I had the privilege of consulting with an amazing young girl, let’s call her Violet.  Violet was a bank teller in a country bank in Victoria.  This particular bank was held up and robbed more than once, and on the second occasion, my client Violet was working her shift.  She recalled to me the moment the offender forced his presence (masked up) into her cubicle, demanding she empty the till of all cash, and pointing a gun to her face.  The gun was centimetres away from her eyes, as she looked down the barrel of a gun held by a gloved-up hand with a finger on the trigger.

She trembled as she gathered cash and coins into an onion bag.  She recalled to me that the bag had a strong smell of onion, and that smell affected her after that.  The offender left with two other thieves and ran from the scene.

Violet got through that experience, she discontinued her employment with the bank because it was too traumatic for her to go back to work in an environment like that, and because the thieves were not apprehended until several years later. She developed further anxiety and sleeplessness.  The reason why she came to see me, was not because of the lack of sleep or even the anxiety, it was because she wanted to eat more live food and didn’t know where to start.  As I had re-launched In The Raw, and Cairns Post had an article about it, she found her way to me.

Her retelling of the story came about on the second consultation, which was interesting because although it was well over two decades ago when she lived in Victoria, it was two particular questions that I asked her when we sat together for our second meeting, that brought everything out in the open.

What two questions triggered the story and her desire to share?

As usual, my 1-hour consultation was going way over time because we covered some relevant terrain.  I’m not a psychologist and don’t pretend to be one, but I can actively listen, and I can empathetically contribute to the environment that needs to be in place for someone to let go of their trauma.  Violet had eating disorders, skin rashes, nightmares and weight gain that she couldn’t shake.  At first, she was reluctant to seek a solution with me, because she didn’t see me in that light, until….

The first question I asked was, are there any foods that you simply can’t stand the smell of?

For a brief moment, I thought she didn’t understand the questions, and then she leaned forward and whispered ‘onions’, she can’t stand the smell of onions, and then she dropped a bombshell and told me that she had never really dealt with being held up at a bank.  She mentioned that she had experienced a gun being pointed at her head.

I was taken aback because something as significant as that would have been uncovered in our first meeting, or so I thought.  She was so quiet, shy and reserved, however something in her eyes changed, and I could see that the trauma of that robbery was still with her.

We saw each other again around the same time as I picked up another client, the first female forensic police officer in Cairns.  That’s a whole other story, but what both of these women showed me was the importance of checking in, having conversations about the issues that developed, and how they are coping. Because some people hide incredible trauma or sadness, only to be awakened or triggered at the worst possible time.

I say keep the conversations going, that way you can prise out what needs to be exorcised from the mind and body and begin the healing.

The second question was, when was the last time you had a check-up from the neck up?  

A check-up from the neck up is an expression I learned first from a brilliant networker/speaker Zig Zigler.  Zig authored many books, and spoke at many seminars about ‘mindset’, before any of the millennials came about, and Instagram became a ‘thing’. Zig was organic and fun to listen to, and even more importantly he was humble about it.  Some people will associate him with ‘selling, or marketing’, I saw him more as a spiritual soul with great depth, who navigated through his interactions with a lot of grace and poise.  He referred to his amazing wife as ‘The Redhead’, and always praised her in every talk as the woman people would line up to hug!

I was listening to a tape, yes, a cassette tape with his American ascent, going on about attitude and altitude, and to this day, when I heard the term ‘You need a Check up from the Neck up’!  I resonated with this so much because it rang true to me that taking time to check one’s thoughts and examine the terrain that leads us all to certain behaviours, can be life-changing.

There is always a set of ingredients that lead up to someone doing something crazy.  What if we could short-circuit the crazy before it happened?  What if a few key elements were put in place right from the outset that settled the storm?  Check in with your friends, really check in with them, they need you now more than ever!

In helping Violet with her raw food menu, and mental health, she shared with me that she hated onions.  I realised that the ‘smell of onions’, was a trigger for her, (remember the bag she had to fill with money smelt of onions). So I put recipes together for her that did not include onions, and I helped her anchor different scents to overcome any trauma that came up.

Onion aroma can turn people on to eating, but for a few, it can turn people off.  This was Violet.  I used certain aromatherapy to anchor new emotions and feelings.  Lavender, Tea Tree and Lemon were used, and I made a special blend just for Violet to help her work through her experience when it popped up.  I’m happy to say it was a success.  We had a breakthrough.

If you want to know how to do your Check-up from the Neck up, book a consultation with me.  There’s a very good probability I will be able to help you facilitate the change you need to move forward.  Also plan to be at our next Restore and Explore event, where you go into deeper relaxation and learn about aromatherapy for mental reprieve.  Love to see you at our next event.

Love to hear from you, so add your comments here xx Annie Clark.