In this episode:
At just 17 years old, Sara was raped by someone she knew. As a result of this rape, Sara became pregnant. Although she tried to press charges against her attacker, Sara was met with disbelief and judgement from police and community members.
Unbeknownst to Sara, the woman counseling her through her pregnancy made plans for Sara’s baby to be fostered and ultimately adopted. After giving birth, the nurse informed Sara that they were ready to take her newborn son to the family who had agreed to foster him. Sara fought for her son and called the foster family to inform them that she was taking her son home. At a young age, Sara learned the power of truth, your story, integrity, and the importance of walking through your pain.
Even if people don’t believe you…ultimately it’s about believing in yourself
Sara gave birth in July and was in college by August. Sara was so immersed in being a new mom and a student, she did not have the time nor space to begin to heal that deep emotional, intimate pain. It wasn’t until her next trauma hit, at age 40, that Sara was able to go back and heal her 17-year old self.
Sara met and fell in love with her husband in college. They married and had two more sons. They were a happy family of five. Until Sara realized that her husband had been living a double life. Over Thanksgiving with forty-plus guests, Sara’s husband tripped on drugs for five days. Sara was traumatized, initially not knowing what was happening. Two days in, he admitted to Sara that he had been sleeping with men. She would later realize that he had been with men for 14 of their 17 years of marriage, men Sara knew from their friendship and community circles.
Her 17-year old self comforted her, “We’ve been here before, we know how to get through this, and we’re going to get through it again.” Sara acknowledges that our past traumas can support us later in life.
At various times throughout their marriage, Sara’s intuition whispered, “He’s gay.” Each time Sara questioned her husband, he told her that he would never cheat on her and reaffirmed his love for her. Sara listened to her husband and ignored her intuition. Through her healing work, Sara has learned to trust and listen to herself.
After her husband disclosed his betrayal, Sara grieved deeply – still does, and always will – the loss of the life and future that she thought awaited her. As she’s come to learn more about forgiveness and grief, Sara has realized that there is never closure. Instead, we are confronted with many openings. Deep, personal, inner growth can help to navigate grief. It begins with acknowledgement of living your life differently than you thought and seeking the possibilities.
I never asked for this, and here I am. What am I going to choose to create from this?
Sara acknowledges the challenge and fear we experience when faced with this choice and encourages us to not resist the possibilities that unfold.
Sara believes deeply in the power of nature. Being present in nature allows you to get out of your head and forces you to drop into your heart. Your brain can rest and you can gain clarity. Meditation, breath work, and nature allow you to drop into our heart, where the healing and deep connection occur.
The power of nature is simple; it’s being present in the moment with what is around you. You don’t have to journey miles into the mountains, you can step outside, lie down in the grass, look up at the clouds and witness. Be one with nature, embrace the wonder of nature as you did when you were a child. Follow the path of a single leaf falling, watch the grass blow in the wind, feel the wind. Embrace nature through all of your senses.
Loneliness is a universal experience to those experiencing trauma and grief. Three words guided Sara’s recovery through loneliness:
Truth. Inspiration. Hope.
Owning and speaking her truth, finding inspiration every day even in the little moments, and hope for herself helped Sara overcome loneliness.
A TEDx Speaker, Sara spoke on the power of forgiveness and posed a new definition, one that allows us self-discovery and growth: to acknowledge an offense and the consequences of that offense as truth, to choose to let go of negative feelings, and to cease to harbor animosity toward the offender.
Forgiveness is a journey; it is important to acknowledge that moments will arise and challenge you and your desire to forgive. The most critical relationship we will ever have is with our self. Everything should begin and end with our self. Self-forgiveness is vital to forgiving others; it is loving yourself, healing your heart, learning from your experiences, and accepting responsibility and forgiving yourself.
From the age of 17, Sara knew that she would one day write a book that would help others feel less alone. Her debut book, Walk Through This, is a guide through traumatic experiences and the journey to forgiveness. Her goal was to create a resource that she didn’t have and wished she had during her trauma recovery. Sara envisioned a book that people could use during their recovery, one that would be taken outside and enjoyed in nature.
In her book, Sara openly discusses her own thoughts of suicide and the importance of talking about suicide. She wants people struggling with thoughts of suicide to know that they are not alone. Sara struggled with excruciating pain, rage, and despair, all the while she was caring for her three boys. Her path forward started with connecting with one single person. She encourages someone struggling with thoughts of suicide to identify just one person who will see and hear you for who you are, who will hold space for you.
Sara openly shares her story because she knows what it was like to be in a story and feel as though no one else was there. Sara intimately knows pain and wants to spare others that pain. She wants others to see themselves in her words and know that they are not alone. In sharing your truth, you begin to understand yourself and open yourself to possibilities and ultimately freedom.
Sara’s inspiration for her journey came from immersing herself in nature, a support group, and being present with her boys. Through her journey, beautiful unexpected gifts have appeared. She’s appreciated inspiring conversations, and seeing people embrace and be excited by her body of work, including her book. Her greatest hope is that her documentary and book travel around the world, bring humanity together, and put more love into the world.
Sara Schulting Kranz, Website
Walk Through This: Harness the Healing Power of Nature and Travel the Road to Forgiveness, book
Walk Through This. A Story of Starting Over, Documentary
We Need a New Definition of Forgiveness, TEDx Talk
Unexpected Launch, Podcast and Videos
Thank you for listening!
May our stories help forge your path forward. I hope you’ll stay tuned for our next episode and in the meantime, learn more about my story on my blog.