By Sarah Farmer, M.A., Certified WRAP Facilitator
I became an official WRAPer a couple of years ago. After Seminar I, I read every WRAP product available. I created my own WRAP and one with my daughter.
But, in all honestly, I didn’t live it very well. I put it on a shelf and moved on.
Then, last summer, I was in a car accident that left me with a traumatic brain injury/concussion, major vision issues, neck and back injuries, depression, anxiety, and an unrelenting pounding headache.
Around month five post-accident, I entered a very dark place. I went from being a super-outgoing extrovert to a person who sat alone in the dark for hours and avoided people. I lost hope that I would recover and I stopped caring about anything.
That was when I knew I HAD to move my WRAP from page to action, because my mood was impacting my life, work, and relationships.
I began doing daily self-check-ins, planning what I needed to do to support my wellness each day and forcing myself to do it—even when all I wanted to do was sit in a dark room by myself. I was not a glowing ray of sunshine!
It took a few weeks, but one day—despite the intense pain—I woke up feeling different. The mental darkness had lifted and I felt lighter, hopeful, and determined to return to wellness.
In a moment of serendipity 2 weeks later, I was offered the chance to attend a WRAP Facilitator Training. That is when my true healing began.
Everything about the training was magical. It was like being wrapped in a warm cocoon of safety and love with the kindest, most supportive humans imaginable. Everyone needs a week like that!
Here are five things I learned during the training that I’m trying to keep active in my life:
1. We recover when we are honest and vulnerable with the right people.
We’ve all been through hard things. Most of us have experienced trauma, and we are all hurting in some way. But when our pain and experiences are kept secret, the shame, guilt, or whatever negative feeling we have eats away at us. It becomes larger than life and stops our healing.
In the training, thanks to our group safety agreement, we all felt safe enough to begin sharing really personal life experiences right away. And the support and genuine caring we received in return was life changing.
Together, we built an environment that embodied the WRAP values and ethics.
If even one of us had violated this trust, not been engaged in the process, or been judgmental or dismissive, this wouldn’t have been possible.
We all stepped out of our emotional comfort zones, and the results were magical. I’ve rarely felt as supported, cared about, seen and heard, or valued as an individual as I did that week.
To be fully heard, seen, and unconditionally supported is the key to recovery and wellness. We just need the right supporters. Seek those who see YOU, who listen without judgment, and who believe in your potential.
2. Everyone has something to teach us.
My fellow trainees came from all walks of life. We likely wouldn’t have met each other in any other circle. But none of that mattered.
There was no hierarchy, no judgment, and there were no “WRAP experts”—only a group of people who each had something to teach and something to learn.
We held each other in unconditional high regard, saw the value in each other’s wellness journeys, and were open to learning important lessons from each other’s experiences. This allowed us to all learn something important from each other—something we could not have learned on our own because our lives were so vastly different.
3. Expand your circle!
As humans, we tend to seek out what is familiar, and that includes people who look, act, think, and believe like us.
But if we really want to learn about ourselves and build empathy for others, we need to build relationships with people who aren’t so similar to us.
I learned about true recovery, self-care, motivation, and hope from my WRAP Facilitator Training peers who spent decades in prison. I learned about forgiving family from a young woman half my age. I learned about pure love from a woman who has a very different spiritual path than mine. Their perspectives and life journeys sparked new ideas and ways of thinking for me.
Growth comes from stretching ourselves out of our comfort zones and from building meaningful relationships with people who we wouldn’t typically meet or engage with.
Be open and willing to learn from everyone! And actively seek friends and peers who aren’t in your usual social circles.
4. WRAP changes lives.
Hearing the powerful stories of my peers who had experienced decades in prison, homelessness, family rejection, mental illness, abuse, and more was a profound experience. Seeing the people they are today, it would’ve been impossible to guess where they’d been.
Learning how WRAP helped each person regain hope and take personal responsibility for moving forward helped me see how WRAP can completely alter a person’s life and future.
It was inspiring, moving, and humbling. And it made me vow to put my WRAP into action daily for the rest of my life—not just when I’m feeling down.
Recovery is possible for everyone. Share WRAP with others and show them through your life that it’s OK to have hope, even in the darkest times.
5. You get what you give.
If we don’t fully embrace experiences and relationships and put ourselves out there, we don’t get as much in return. That is true for WRAP training and it’s true for life.
During the week, each of us were fully engaged, respectful, and supportive. We worked as teams to present key concepts. We each gave it our all, which was both exhausting and exhilarating.
We all took personal responsibility to give and receive ideas. We each held each other in unconditional high regard. And, by immersing ourselves in the experience, we all came away changed for the better.
I think we often sit on the sidelines of life because it is safe and familiar. But if we want our relationships, friendships, and life experiences to be extraordinary, it takes giving it your all and being fully present. This isn’t easy or always possible, but it’s something worth striving for.
So, what did I leave with?
I walked away from this training not just with my certification, but with a new perspective about life.
I’m digging deeper for what I’m learning from my accident injuries rather than just what they have taken away.
I’m practicing more gratitude for what I have and what I’ve overcome instead of dwelling what I don’t have.
I’m determined to show more gratitude for the small things in life.
I’m focusing on my strengths instead of my weaknesses.
I’m committing to self-care, putting myself first when my instincts are to focus on others.
And I’m working on active listening, expanding my circle of friends, and being a safe space for others to share their struggles.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to become a Certified WRAP Facilitator and can’t wait to share WRAP with others. I encourage anyone who’s been thinking about it to take the plunge!