Another Story of Trauma Healing and Purpose to Inspire Your Journey

“When I asked you for some stories of other people who’d experienced trauma, but found their purpose … I had no idea you would tell my wife’s story,” my client commented with a bit of sadness.

“I mean … I know it wasn’t really her story, but it sounded so much like her traumatic history and her purpose that it really touched me. I wonder if you chose her story for that reason?” he mused.

I knew it was a rhetorical question, but I responded: “It’s so interesting, because I’ve heard similar comments all week long!”

(From my friend in AA recovery … “One of the surest ways of staying the course of sobriety and healing is to champion others. I learned it wrong growing up. Success is not a solo journey of staying to yourself and toughing it out to victory. Yes, that’s part of it. But I’ve learned that the best way to sharpen intuitions for winning, is in what I call the ‘fellowship of choices’. Just being with others and hearing how they’ve given up trying to control any outcome and choose to do the next right thing moment by moment … is how you sharpen your strengths and confirm the wisdom to trust your intuitions and grow into your purpose.”)   

“The truth is … trauma and purpose have a similar theme … although the circumstances, the time frame, the gender, the details are different,” I said.

With a grin, he responded.

“Stuff happens … and then go into survival … and believe there’s no way your life matters … therefore, no purpose is in sight for you …”

Nodding and smiling, I replied: “I guess that’s a pretty good summation!”

“Well, it’s definitely the theme of my life!” he exclaimed with certainty … and  an edge of angst and regret in his tone.

Shifting from survival to purposeful living is not easy because survival becomes a lifestyle. A lifestyle that sets off the parts of your brain that an addiction does. Your first step?

Trusting what’s brought you to a desire for change … is what you can’t change… without a decision to surrender control and only change what you can.

Many people would not call what has kept them in “survival” as “trauma” … But whatever you would call the parts of your history that have kept you from thriving, from finding your purpose, and from living a great life of meaning and fulfillment … let’s continue to see how stories of hope and healing can inspire you.

Inspire you to:

  • Believe you have a purpose
  • Embrace the fact that your life matters
  • Thrive in abundance in every area of your life
  • Live a fulfilling life
  • Leave a legacy

That’s why I am sharing these stories.

As author David Smith says:

“As we uncover our purpose and experience success, it’s crucial to remember the power of sharing our journey with others. When we open-up about our struggles, triumphs, and lessons learned, we inspire those around us and create a ripple effect of positivity. By connecting with others who are also seeking their purpose, we not only provide support but also gain valuable insights and learn from their experiences. Together, we can uplift and empower one another, fostering a community of individuals who are committed to living their most purposeful and successful lives.”

This week, I will share Nate’s story.

I met Nate in London, where he and his fiancé attended the Power of Purpose. He was honored to share his story … “If it will help anyone else find their purpose sooner than I found mine, I’d consider it an honor to share!”

1. What was your trauma?

Nate grew up near the Persian Gulf. His dad was of Arabic descent, but his Mother was from London.

He shared his story, which I’m editing down for two reasons.

One is to not portray any person of any descent as stereotypical.

The other is to not create internal “second-hand” trauma to my readers.

Nate’s story: “I grew up in a home where words and whips were used for massive destruction. It destroyed all of us siblings in one way or another.”

“My sisters grew up believing violence was ‘normal’ and two of them married abusive men. My youngest sister was so scarred, she swore she would never marry or live with a man … and she has remained true to that.”

“My brother, the eldest, was treated as royalty. And he turned out living like royalty. But not in a good way. He was above everyone, above ethics, and morals, and above the law. He was imprisoned for what you in the US would call ‘white collar crime,’ and to this day is proud of it. When I realized that, I stopped visiting him.”

“As for me, as the youngest, I was seen as a ‘mama’s boy.’ I was okay with that because I loved my mother. She was beautiful, kind, fun, tender, and terrified of my dad. We had that in common.”

“But when he wasn’t there, I really enjoyed her. Enough that I was willing to take my chances by spending time with her. If he caught me with her, we were both beaten, and sometimes not allowed at the table for weeks at a time.”

“He would separate us and dump a plate of food for each of us on the floor daily. Sometimes I missed days and days of school. He would call the school an tell them I was sick. I knew better than to tell the school what was really happening.”

“To be honest, I became hard. I didn’t care if he beat me. I’d go somewhere else in my mind while it was occurring. But I learned that he would stop sooner if I screamed with the right amount of agony. Not too much or he would lash harder if he perceived it as fake. But not so lame that he would think he hadn’t gotten to me yet.”

“As I said, I learned to just go somewhere else. But the real reason I didn’t tell teachers (or anyone else) what was occurring was that I was afraid he would kill my mom.”

“My mother and I never spoke of any of this. We enjoyed time together, and never spoke to one another about what happened to each of us during those times until I was an adult.”

“I was on track to graduate a year and half early from high school. But one day a consideration suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks … ‘What will happen to my mother when I, as the youngest, leave home’?”

“I just couldn’t do it. I had dreamt of my ‘escape’ upon graduation for years. But I just couldn’t leave her behind. Little did I know she had her own plan of escape upon my graduation.”

“When she realized my plan, she began trying to convince me to graduate early. That I was smart. And she had helped me apply and get accepted at the University of London, to hopefully go on to their City Law School, which I did.”

“She had arranged for me to live in a back cottage of one of her relatives.”

“But I never knew she had her plan of escape in place. She never knew of mine either. Until years later.”

“Because I ran out of excuses, and it was made clear that my father was ready to have me out … I finally graduated early.”

“I thought leaving that hell hole would set me free, and I would be fine. I had no idea how what had occurred in my first 16 ½ years would haunt me.”

“I arrived in London feeling like life would be good. I was shocked a few months later when I arrived home and found my mother sitting outside at my cottage. I was thrilled she came to visit.”

“In the next few moments, I learned she had been severely beaten and hospitalized after I left. While hospitalized, the medical team helped her initiate her plan of escape … to return to London.”

“She was terrified he would come after her. Therefore, she got a flat in an alias name, and was unable to tell me where she was.”

“Eventually, he found out she was in London, and cut off my educational fund. I didn’t want her to know, because I knew she would try to do something to help. My greatest fear was that she would go back in order to get my educational fund reinstated.”

“I immediately got two full time jobs and told her I found scholarships. I worked around the clock and studied.”

“I trusted no one. NO ONE! I challenged and argued with professors, employers, supervisors.”

“I guess what finally got my attention and front row seat to who I was becoming was when the Dean called me in and suspended me. I kicked over a chair in his office when he informed me of his decision and turned to walk out.”

“He came to the door and said, “Hey! I don’t know what the hell is going on with you. But I want you to know I believe this bullsh*t bravado is just a charade to cover up a great man inside of you. If you ever decide to stop the charade, come talk to me.”

“I stomped out in disgust. How dare him speak to me that way?”

“That night as I replayed that scene in my mind, I realized that I was becoming my father. MY FATHER! NO! NO! NO!”

“I was horrified. I wondered if that was why I rarely heard from my mother. Had I known where her flat was located, I would have gone over there that night and begged for her to help me find myself.”

“I couldn’t sleep. I went out on that cold, damp night and went for a walk. I saw a cathedral, and thought I’d walk inside. I went in and sat in the back. There were some low lights on. I knew nothing of God, mass, or prayer. But it just drew me in.”

“I heard a shuffling sound, and a soft voice asking: ‘May I help you young man?’ I couldn’t see him but the tenderness in his voice compelled me to respond: ‘Oh, it was chilly, and I was walking, and thought I’d come inside’.”

“He assured me it was acceptable for me to be there as he shuffled toward me. He sat beside me without a word. I began to pour my life out. Tearfully. Piece by piece. Year by year. Story by story. Up to my meeting about being suspended earlier that daye. Then my realization I was becoming my dad.”

“I sat quietly. He reached his hand over and touched my knee. All he said was, ‘Welcome home. You’ve found yourself. Stay as long as you’d like’.” Then he shuffled away.”

“I don’t know how long I sat there. I don’t know what happened. All I know is that when I was walking back to my cottage, I wondered if I had dreamt all of that. And whether that was a human or some angelic being.”

“To summarize, I went to see the Dean the next day to learn how I might earn the right to come back into the program. I followed the protocol, and today he is still a great mentor to me. It wasn’t all sunshine after that, but he mentored me to become a man … NOT ANYTHING like my father!”

2. What is your purpose?

Nate began: “I showed up at the Power of Purpose because my fiancé asked me to go with her.”

“By this time, I was practicing law. I’d been married once and had messed up about two or three more relationships. I was doing my best to do this one differently. So, I decided that attending something important to her was one way of doing that.”

“I had no idea what I was getting into. But within the first hour, after the first exercise … I realized I might need what was going on in that room more than she did.”

“I couldn’t believe how it all went. She was deeply touched by the exercises that reached deep within us and pulled things forth that I had no idea existed in me.”

“I was transformed.”

“I had never once had thought about purpose. I mean … you get educated … you survive … you keep putting one foot in front of the other. That’s it. I thought that was all there was.”

“In the first exercise on the topic of purpose … I had no idea what to write. I wrote that the purpose of my life was to survive, and hopefully do no harm. But I’d already done harm in my first marriage and ensuing relationships. So, in my way of thinking, that ruled me out of the purpose game.”

“In the second exercise, it was no longer a game. It was a longing. I wanted all of those benefits you talked about.”

“But I thought it was too late for me. I had grown up hearing I was a ‘worthless village idiot’ and a ‘mama’s boy.’ I ran to escape my problems. I was suspended from a prestigious University. I was very much like my father. The man I hoped to never be like. I’d burnt my marriage to the ground with my alcohol abuse. I’d ruined two more relationships. I was already in my 40s …”

“Then, as if you’d read my mind, you told the story of the 82-year-old man finding purpose. After all of his horrible life decisions.”

“At that point, I settled into the idea that maybe … just maybe … there was actually a purpose for me.”

“On a break, my fiancé asked me what I was thinking about the topic of ‘purpose’ … and I told her it was settling into me. And that I was so thankful she invited me to come along.”

“I glanced at her and the tears in her eyes told me she liked the answer! But I surprised myself because I liked my answer too. That moment was key for me. I knew I had a purpose, and I was hoping I could find it at some point.”

“By the time we got to the last exercise on purpose, you said something about, ‘Don’t ponder this. Just start writing. Something will flow out of you. From your heart, up into your brain. Down your arm, through your hand, into your fingers, and on to the paper.”

“That’s exactly what happened.”

“I didn’t expect what came.”

“I had been practicing as an attorney for about 12 years, but really hated the litigation. It was cutthroat!”

“I wasn’t even thinking about that when I began writing as I considered all the previous exercises. It just flowed out of me.”

“I wrote: ‘My purpose is to help women in domestic abuse situations find a safe place and get the protection legally in the manner they deserve.”

I knew my career was getting ready to pivot into a meaningful direction.

And it did.

I’ve never been the same.”

3. What difference did it make in your healing and/or in your life?

“With my new sense of purpose, the first thing I did was to help my mother get a formal divorce, and to get the protection in place she needed to come out of hiding. And live a somewhat normal life.”

“But my wife (who was my fiancé at the time) had an interesting purpose. We didn’t share them with one another until days after the workshop was over.”

“Over dinner one night several nights later, she timidly asked me if I thought I had an idea of my purpose. I blurted it out like I had known it for years.”

“A smile, unlike I’d ever seen from her previously, appeared and lit up the room. It was magical.”

“With tears, she told me how proud she was of me. That’s when I told her my plan to do something that would change my mother’s life.”

“Then I turned to her and asked her if she had some sense of her purpose and if she would be willing to share it with me.”

“I felt like the smile that moments ago had lit up the room was lighting up the world. She took in a deep breath, and with more confidence than I had ever heard in her voice, she proclaimed … as if to the whole world: ‘My purpose is to help women who are survivors to domestic abuse to come back to life and live life to the fullest’!”

“I remember at the end of the program, you had said, ‘I wish we had time to now go through the exercise and help each of you as couples find the purpose of your marriage. Because it is the superglue that guarantees a lifetime of intimacy’!”

“Our purposes individually and combined have fueled our business of working with survivors of domestic abuse. Me on the legal side, helping them recapture their lives. My wife on the mental and emotional side, helping them TRULY LIVE!”

“The difference it’s made?”

“Two fulfilled lives, an amazing marriage. My Mother out of hiding enjoying her grandkids.”

“It’s given me the privilege and honor of REALLY living. There’s nothing quite like it, and nothing more fulfilling!”

“If I could say anything to your audience, it would be this: “YOU have a purpose. Find it. Live it. And watch your life, your marriage and your family come into a more beautifully fragrant bloom than you could have ever imagined!”


Finding purpose matters in your life. Amy Moren, Social Worker, wrote:

“Finding your purpose in living is more than a cliché: Learning how to live your life with purpose can lead to a sense of control, satisfaction, and general contentment. Feeling like what you do is worthwhile is, arguably, a significant key to a happy life.”

Finding purpose matters in your marriage. Caleb Simonyi-Gindele wrote:

“Purpose and meaning. This is that deeper layer in marriage where you get to explore the meaning of having been brought together as a couple. And, how you want to impact the world. How you want to create a legacy.”

Finding purpose matters in the workplace. Jack Cravens wrote in Forbes magazine:

“Passion and purpose are typically found coexisting in all long-term, successful endeavors. With passion, we understand our foundation and what we are committed to. What intensifies passion is a feeling that what we do matters and is often accompanied by a general desire to contribute to the well-being of others. This is the motivation and the why of what you do. This is purpose.”

Your purpose matters.

(From my friend in AA recovery … “Giving up control is the only way of knowing what you can control, and what you can control is all you need to control to make every right choice to find a purpose to live for … and that purpose is a life worth living!”)

Do whatever it takes to find yours today.

I’ve had many requests about my workshop. If you are interested in the Power of Purpose, you can learn more by clicking here: