The Truth About Healing | Stephanie Hilborn

And how to get started.


There’s nothing particularly likeable about healing. That is precisely the point. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling unicorn sparkles. (If you are attracted to that – it might be a sign of where you are in your healing – I’d be happy to chat more about this – you can learn more here.) You might ask, if it isn’t particularly pretty then why would you seek this? Do you have to be a masochist to want to heal? Well….there comes a time when you realize the masochism was enduring the situation you are/were in and your soul is clamoring and silently (or not) shouting to leave. It takes a certain combination of time and layers of non-consent for us as individuals to see that we have been violating our own principles and integrity, which begins to grate on the soul. It’s bigger than all of this as it falls under this scope of an entire system of likeabilty and the façade of success. We are indoctrinated to believe that everyone else is more successful than us so we try even harder to be “accepted” when all of that literally chases away anything of innate beauty in us. Why do we keep falling back into the death march of “I’m ok. There’s nothing wrong with me”?  Why is it so painful for us to see our shadows with dignity?

We get triggered when hidden layers and integrity are breached. For many of us, it takes us to this place of unsafety, activating a possible fight or flight and conflict within ourselves. Meanwhile, we unkindly label ourselves as “moody”. So, we verge into something to numb this inner conflict. What are these layers of non-consent – think about all the things you do to motivate an activity you don’t want to do, and then think about the reasons you don’t want to do it. It could be as simple as not wanting to go get an oil change, put the laundry in the dryer, put the dishes away, to not wanting to submit a report, or perhaps something quite bigger like telling your husband you are not attracted to him any longer. Habits and repeated actions that seemingly are neutered are in fact, not. Like the coffee to get through the emails, or the cocktail to meet with the in-laws. (No one is saying to put down the coffee or cocktail…yet.) Look at the procrastination and the motivation. A mentor once asked me what I was procrastinating on and I realized it was planning my wedding, but I didn’t want to admit to the why. 

So again, if looking at what displeases you in your life is part of healing, why would you want to do it? The obvious answer is, would you prefer looking at it or staying in that self-created jail? We believe ourselves not to have wings when the reality is we cut them off ourselves to fit in. Healing is looking at this path in a society of self-injury and recognizing how it has created coping patterns in our lives and giving us the tools to see we can fully overcome most of this (yes!) in this lifetime. There is a conscious choice in choosing to stay in situations that are convenient but painful, vs. following your purpose in life. 

Are you ready to get out of that yet? If the answer is yes, then there are a variety of modalities to gently guide you to seeing that your wings are actually still attached but a little stuck and hidden. This article will be the first in a series of explorations on trauma, healing, and paths to recovering this deep integrity and inner wisdom. 

How did I get out? Well, that’s a different story which we will dig into. I’ll be sharing more on my website It involved a surfboard, a purple eye and a demolished ego. Gratefully a few months later I found myself on the same beach meeting a healer linked to Andean master healers. After one session, I invited the healer to stay with me. A few days later my life became surreal; I canceled an all-expense paid trip to Peru and instead went to meet my now mentor in North Carolina at a healing workshop. It was transformative and planted seeds that are still emerging in me eleven years later. 

The first step in healing is recognizing you are living without joy and being willing to make shifts away from the things that are suffocating your spirit. Again, remember, if you are looking for quick fixes, blasts, endorphins and unicorn sparkles, you will only be wasting your money and sabotaging your soul in its process of healing. We are sold the myth of instant in today’s disposable society when there is absolutely nothing disposable about dignity and integrity of our soul. Our souls are eternal and anything and everything that has happened to the soul across lifetimes are recorded into it and lead to this thing called trauma, which in the Andes, is more aptly called spiritual afflictions. Even in this life, past is never past as it is written into the muscles, the fascia, the organs, the energetic hit, creates an imprint and creates the imbalance. So we repeat the same mistakes over and over again. The way out is seeing the pattern. There’s no need to see a psychic to see what the issues are because they are repeating. 

Where to start? 

The first step to healing is recognizing how you are feeling which is something we have learned to cover up and shut down. I invite you all to watch this video on the polyvagal nerve, this little nerve connecting the heart and the lungs, which essentially can lead the body into fight or flight or rest and digest. When I realized how profoundly unsafe I still felt even after years of healing work, it was transformative in my self-awareness. The polyvagal approach can be transformative in understanding some of your triggers. Once you have an awareness, you can go deeper and begin the process of more of the release. Something that also has helped me in spaces of deep affliction is tapping or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). It takes about 3+ minutes and has been proven to assist with anxiety, PTSD and food cravings. What I like about it is that you can do anywhere, when you are possibly losing your cool and transform the energy into a place of grace. Healing is essentially the art of recovering balance. 

Some of the approaches assisting me on my journey are nervous system alignment and acupuncture. A nice neutral way to recover balance and groundedness in your healing journey is Network Spinal Analysis – a gentle touch on your nervous system by trauma-informed chiropractors trained to see the point of greatest accessibility and assist in building your foundation. Acupuncture is also a good way to bring the body into alignment. I have been working with these modalities for my own healing and they have made tremendous shifts. I’ve sought out acupuncture globally when living overseas. Most unique place – Bosnia! There are other modalities if you have deeper levels of self-awareness and not actively crippling post-traumatic stress disorder, from TRE, yoga and meditation, as well as somatic healing. Why do I put these later in the stages of healing? I have noticed that in serious cases of spiritual affliction or trauma and suffocation of the voice, creating a validation modality around quieting the inner voice and being still might magnify the inner violence inside. Quick fixes involving ingesting plant remedies ceremonially or not are best left aside as it can create larger problems short and long-term. (remember, leave the unicorn sparkles aside if you are serious.) The best way really to begin with healing is re-connecting with nature – standing outside and offering gratitude and reciprocity to the sun for all it provides to us – warmth, light, food, energy, healing. It is as simple and accessible as a heartful thank you. Begin simply and graciously. Make it a daily practice. 

Join me on this healing journey. I invite you to rediscover that you can and do hold joy and grace in every step in this life, even when you are in this place of dis-ease and discomfort. 

About Stephanie Hilborn    

Founder of Catalyzing Inspiration, Catalyst, Former Diplomat to Holistic Healer

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Founder | Transformational Coach | Holistic Healer


Lover and healer of all things broken, Stephanie has a knack for finding solutions for change - be it broken democracies and social contracts, challenges in communities, or relationships. After seeing a disconnect in values and witnessing global-level hypocrisy, Stephanie made the conscious choice to align with her higher purpose and educate and coach on decolonizing the body, mind and spirit from self-sabotaging patterns and violence. A native of San Francisco, she teaches environmental and global studies from a trauma-informed approach and is a transformational life coach. She has extensively mentored with elders from the Colombian Andes for over eleven years.

Stephanie works as a guide, interpreter and co-creator with clients of all ages to understand themselves, their nervous systems and triggers, and behavioral patterns to recover their inherit joy so life’s challenges are seemingly less turbulent. She is honored to build a network of social change agents striving to catalyze more beautiful futures.