The Journey Back to Myself

Excerpt from the beginning of my new book:

To My Reader,

My first book was where I told the stories of what happened to me when I reported that I was raped when I was 11, 19, 23 and 25. This book contains poetry that I have written this past year as I have continued my healing journey by finding my way to Nia, movement based body-mind-spirit-emotion practice, continuing therapy and finding my scared livelihood. In these twelve months I have learned many things about myself and continue to come home into my body. I have learned that I can love body and myself.  I have learned that I am safe to express the feelings that I am feeling. I have found my voice and continue to speak my truth.

In early 2014, I went to a retreat called Artemis Rising in Bluemont, Virginia. The retreat offered EMDR therapy, art therapy, kayaking, hiking, archery, acupuncture, equine therapy, and somatic therapy. One of the therapists at Artemis Rising introduced us to a dance routine called “Break the Chain.” We learned the choreography and I felt so empowered. This is when I started to realize that I like to dance, and by dancing I am able to access feelings that are locked away. Though dance, I can let the tears come out.

After the retreat, I came back home and got involved in my life again. At the same time, I found out my mother’s cancer had returned and was feeling very emotional. I began to look for a way to express what I was feeling. A regular Nia practice, taking classes, and attending “belt” intensives, has helped me to feel again, to come back into my body and to heal on a deeper level. Nia is teaching me I do not need to leave my body, but that I am safe to feel what I need to feel and to express what I am feeling. Most importantly, it is doing what therapy has not been able to do, and is allowing me to access feelings I cannot talk about.


I took the Nia White Belt in July 2015 with an amazing trainer, Kate. That was an awesome experience! By doing the White Belt I developed a relationship with my body. I realized that I do not need to be ashamed of my body and can love my body. I learned where I hold my feelings and memories, and instead of criticizing and hating those parts of me, I began to accept and love those parts of me. Kate taught me to be present, to talk to my body, listen to my body and be loving to my body. I learned that I can dance and trust myself and embody the 52 moves of Nia. She taught me to listen to the music. I am all about the base, and I love music that has drums. I am coming back home to myself.

After this amazing White Belt, Kate recommended that I do Reiki Jin Kei Do with Haven. I was coming home into my body, experiencing pain in my right knee and left ankle were I held trauma memories. By doing Reiki, I was able to release energy, feelings and continued to process what I was feeling. I allowed myself to feel what I was feeling and allowed the tears to come out. At times, when I was laying on the table I shook. I got scared. Haven told me that I was safe and that it was my body doing what it needed to do to let go of the energy of all of the traumas. Also, she told me that I was safe with her, that she had me and that I could be real with her.

In September, I took the Green Belt with Stephaney. which continued to build on the foundation from my White Belt, learning where I hold my memories and about music, how to cue on the three and six. I learned the importance of just trying, and that I don’t have to be perfect. Also, I learned to that I did not listen to my body and that I continued to push through the pain when I did not need to do that. So from this point on I started to listen to my body more. My best varies from day to day. When something hurts it is time to stop, listen to my body and tweak the movement.

Late in November, I got a job working as a Photographer. I quickly learned that my Post Traumatic Stress still affects me. I tried my best to work there but there were to many triggers. One day I came into work and the manager asked if she could talk to me. She told me that one of the customers told her that I would not allow her to fix her daughter’s hair when I was taking pictures. I told my manger that was bogus and that one of the other photographers was in the room with me. We both told her mother, to go ahead and fix her daughters hair. While my manager was talking to me, I fell apart. She approached me the wrong way. I told her that I was done for the day and came home. I never went back to work there. The next day, I went to see my therapist and told her what had happened. My therapist helped me to work through this and asked me if I really needed to be working. I told her that the only way, I could envision myself working would be as my own boss at my own business.  That was the last day I worked. I have continued to go to therapy, do Reiki, and dance.

January is a rough month for me since January 17th, is the anniversary of when I was raped in the military.  I was driving in my car listening to music when I heard several songs that I loved. I found out who the artists were. I realized that the music had touched me deeply. I took the music I found to Lynda Heymen. I asked her if she would listen to the music. She loved the music so we started to co create a routine called Steppin In. This process helped me to get through a rough time of year. Also, it helped me to understand the principles of white belt on a deeper level, how to bar music, what goes into creating a routine, and deepened my practice with Nia.  I changed the meaning of January and will remember co creating an amazing routine with Lynda.

In May, I took Reiki Jin Kei Do training with Haven where I learned more about being a Reiki Jin Kei Do energy healer. The week started by Haven making this fabulous grape detox drink that cleansed my insides. I noticed that I was feeling a lot of emotions, that I was letting go of the past and was able to feel what I was feeling. I learned about the history of Reiki Jin Kei Do and how to do a session. Haven attuned me and two other people. One of the women in the training picked up on my energy when we were getting attuned in the morning but did not say anything until it was my turn to practice Reiki on her. She told me and the others that she could tell that I was really sad. I started crying. Haven was there to hold me and told me that it was fine to let the tears come out. That day I was able to let go of the emotions and learned that it was okay for me to cry in front of people.

After the training, I started doing a 21 cleanse that involved drinking teas, and water, as well eating vegetables and fruits.  Every morning I got up, made my smoothie with kale, spinach, strawberries, blueberries, flaxseed oil, orange juice and fish oil. Then I meditated and performed a self-treatment on myself.  I noticed that I was more present in my body and centered. I was able to breathe easier. I processed what I was feeling by writing in a journal and allowed myself to feel more completely. I had compassion for myself and others. When I became angry or jealous, I wrote down why I was feeling that way. It helped me to see what was going on inside of me and to process what I needed to process.

Then, later in May, I took Blue Belt with Winalee which continues to build on the foundation from White Belt, learning to have intimate knowledge with 52 moves of Nia, music and relationship. During Blue Belt, I took a slow dive into my mind to learn about myself.  I learned that I have a gift for finding music that creates magic and movement. Second, learned to have a relationship with myself, the class, the 52 moves of Nia, and the music. Third, I learned I love being on the floor, that; is where I feel grounded, safe, connected to earth, and am able to allow myself to feel. Fourth, I learned the many truths about myself and as I continued to allowed myself to feel.  Fifth, I learned that I am great at writing poetry and have put together this book to continue to tell my story of healing. Blue Belt was amazing for me and taught me so much about myself.

In July, Lynda asked me to take a training with her called Hakomi Somatic Psychotherapy. This workshop was amazing. I learned so much about what Hakomi is and learned about how my body still holds the trauma memories. I learned that mindfulness is very important in my everyday life, helping me to move beyond my normal ways of thinking and to stay connected to myself. I am able to have compassion for myself and others. Also learned about how important unity is.  We are all connected in this world. We are all one.

Every day I am continuing to learn more about myself. I am continuing to go to go therapy and Hakomi Somatic Psychotherapy to heal my body.  I am discovering who I am, what my place is in this world and what my talents are.  Right know at this moment, I am meant to teach Nia, continue to heal, help other survivors to heal, find music that helps people to heal, dance, write poetry, take photographs, take as many trainings as I can, and to be a Reiki Jin Kei Do Energy Healer.  I am meant to continue to heal myself.  This is my purpose. This is my truth.

I hope that you enjoy reading this book of my poetry, written as I’ve healed over the course of one year.



Author: shellback0608

Julie "Jewels" is an Author, Poet, Nia Blue Belt, Green Belt, White Belt dance instructor, Reiki Jin Kei Do Energy Healer, and advocate. When she is not writing, you can find her learning new Nia routines, listening to healing music, taking photographs, playing with her dog and spending time with her friends and family.

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