When something unexpected happens in our lives, just like in the movies, everyone and everything seems to freeze, and the soundtrack playing in the background stops abruptly with the sound of a needle across vinyl.
A record scratch.
It is inevitable that we will all experience “record scratch” moments in our lives. These big, disruptive moments require resiliency to move forward with our lives, for we are never the same.
My record scratch moment was when my son Jake died in a car accident on February 19, 2022. He was 16. That fateful day completely disrupted my life and only recently I have rediscovered my voice.
Trauma recovery is not a D-I-Y situation. I am surrounded by a team of amazing humans who continue to help me along my healing journey. A few of these very important individuals have already been guests on my podcast, Finding Joy with Kara (see Iva Nasr, Charles Crenshaw, Jr., and Graehm Hall episodes).
Authenticity is greatly important to me — so all of my featured guests are individuals who walk their talk.
Trauma encompasses a vast spectrum. There’s no competition and no judgment as we speak about varying topics including generational trauma, grief, PTSD, and what we can do to heal our wounds and be better humans.
Please follow me on social media and subscribe to this podcast. @karakavensky on IG, TikTok, FB, Twitter
Karen Hellman never believed she could heal after experiencing a severely traumatic event — until she did.
WARNING: this podcast discusses PTSD, trauma, and depression. Karen is a survivor of 9/11.
Karen is a testament that you cannot only survive, but thrive after trauma. My friend who referred me to Karen said that her work is “a game changer!” And she’s right.
Our experiences do not have to define us, but we can leverage them into becoming a better human. Karen believes that everyone deserves a life filled with joy, and I wholeheartedly agree!
CONNECT WITH KAREN
@karakavensky on FB, IG, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok
Receive updates on Kara’s new memoir release, FINDING JOY, here.
Sponsored by: Adam Gibson Design
Produced by: Marilou Marosz
Original music written and performed by: Adam Gibson
Karen Hellman never believed that she could heal after a severely traumatic event impacted her life until she did. Karen is a testament that you can not only survive but thrive after trauma. Her record scratch moment happened on 9/11. She worked on the 35th floor of Tower One of the World Trade Center. And as fate would have it, she was intentionally a little bit late for work that day, which turned out to be extraordinarily serendipitous. But from her vantage point at the base of her building looking up, counting the floors to see if she could make it into her office, the second plane hit and she saw it. Seeing Karen in person, you would never know what she’s gone through.
She has a lightness about her that is simply magical. Karen has since become certified in all of the healing modalities that helped her overcome her PTSD. She helps her clients return to wholeness and live fully again after trauma. A friend of mine who referred me to Karen told me that her energy work was a game changer, and she’s right.
A quick housekeeping note.
After recording a few interviews for my podcast, I realized the hard way that I had experienced some technical issues with the third-party technology that I’d engaged with. As a recovering perfectionist, it is an understatement that this is challenging for me not to give in to the temptation of rerecording my parts. However, I am truly prioritizing the level of authenticity in my conversations, so I thank you in advance for your grace.
Thank you, Karen Hellman, for joining me today. It is so wonderful to speak with you. You’ve been a very important healer in my life. So I wanted you to share your record scratch moment. And before we get into that, I would like for you to explain your healing practice because you have quite an extensive menu on your website of all of these things that you do, all of which when I first visited your website was, I’ll take one of everything, yes, please. And I felt like I was ordering a la carte, like yes, everything, everything here is appealing to me. So if you can please explain just your elevator pitch of what you do.
Sure, thank you for having me on. I really appreciate the opportunity to speak and share with your audience a little bit about my history and the services that I offer.
So I offer energy healing, hold one light healing touch and it really works with connecting with the body, using various sacred energetic healing techniques from all over the world to tune in to a person’s energy field to see where there are blockages, emotions, energy that is stuck and preventing a healthy flow within the body. This works with helping people get more connected and in their body, more grounded, just finding a new sense of peace and freedom, clarity.
So that is one of the services I offer. There’s something else that I offer called Akashic Record Readings. And that helps people to break patterns, belief systems, programs. That work is really interesting because I receive messages from the clients, guides, their ancestors, their teachers. And those guides have been with an individual for their lifetime and they know where this individual may be stuck.
It’s fascinating work because I don’t use my own intuition with it, I’m strictly allowing the individual’s guides to come through and direct us to specific situations in that person’s life where there is an emotional charge. And this charge is preventing the individual from moving forward because there are emotions that are connected to these very specific experiences in that person’s life.
So the way that is resolved is when I open up a person’s records and these records, let me just backtrack for a minute, these Akashic records are basically blueprints from an individual’s life that holds information about everything that person has experienced, everything they’ve heard, they’ve seen, they’ve witnessed. So when I open up these records, begin with an invocation, and then the person’s guides will come through and direct us to very specific situations in that person’s life, where the person is needing to break through and through us having dialogue, the energy is transmitted around those situations.
So again, creating another sense of freedom, peace, lightness, and it helps to shift the energy without having to go back and have conversations or connections with individuals where they might have had a challenging experience. So I like the fact that we don’t have to bring people back into the situation. This just is able to be resolved and transmuted by the two of us having a conversation together.
So they don’t have to relive or get into that sense of that traumatic moment if there was one.
How did you learn how to do this?
I trained with a woman who has been doing this work for years. However, I had actually learned a couple of different ways to access people’s records.
And there was one particular way that really resonated with me, and I was able to receive a lot of information that way. So that’s what I’ve adapted as using for working with clients, because that seems to bring the most information in. so that clients can clear whatever is blocking their life.
What led you to study energy healing? What prompted you to dive into this area as a profession?
My story goes back to 2001. I was working at the World Trade Center at the time of 9/11. And as you can imagine, my life was flipped upside down inside out and had a very, very challenging time. As a result of that, I worked at the building. I was present for the horrors that went on. I was witness to the plane going into the building and the aftermath. And so for many years, I was living in a very, very dark place. Had severe PTSD, anxiety, depression, rage, anger, sadness, you name it. I experienced all different kinds of emotions and not the pleasant ones. It was horrific. And about eight years post-9/11, one of my sisters realized that I needed some help. She had a friend that was into Buddhism, Nichiren Buddhism. And she knew that this friend had had some struggles in her life and my sister had witnessed this friend overcoming these painful struggles that she had. So my sister thought, let’s just get together with her and we’ll go out for drinks. And so that was the guise, let’s meet up for drinks and hang out.
And then that is my optimal type of intervention, by the way. It’s like the reverse.
Yeah. I mean, why would you think anything else is going on other than going out for drinks and having a good time?
But in those eight years, you were seeking some treatment, but you definitely required medication, correct? Explain what was happening with your body as you were absorbing the trauma of that unimaginable overwhelming day?
Sure. Yes, I was medicated for three years, started probably within about a week to two weeks after because I could not, I couldn’t function. So initially, my recollection of what happened on that day was, I was witness to this horror standing in front of the building, my building had been on fire at the time and I stood there and it was if I was in a movie, on a movie set, there was no sound, I couldn’t hear anything, no screams, no running, I was witness to a lot of activity and a lot of movement and I’m sure that there were sirens of people yelling but I personally do not remember that.
My body, I believe, just went into protection mode.
Yeah, I can imagine.
I was panicked. I was confused. I felt alone. I didn’t feel supported. I didn’t feel connected. Even though there were millions or thousands of people around, I never felt so alone in my life and paralyzed with fear, with panic, with the Unknown.
So later, as all of those emotions and heavy trauma that was absorbed came out and you’re able to heal through all of the various collection of energy work, did you ease into this? How did you step into this from that evening of wine with your sister and her friend?
I was, gosh, I went to a Buddhist meeting at somebody’s house. I went with this, my sister’s friend and my sister, but I was told about chanting and I thought, “You know what, this really aligns with me. It’s very spiritual. It’s not religious in any way. And I can get on board with this. It’s about overcoming any obstacle that you have in life, knowing that you can just chant.” And I thought, okay, this is easy enough. I couldn’t handle too many things at that point in my life. And I thought, okay, this feels right.
It felt like what I’d been looking for my whole life. Only I hadn’t known what I was looking for, but this really resonated with me. And I thought, okay, I can do this. I can chant a couple of words and see if this stuff actually works. And lo and behold, it did. And I started chanting And I started through this practice, you go to people’s homes, it’s really the practices shared person to person. And I liked that idea of it, started chanting, and I just started chanting for peace in my life.
That’s what I needed. So I started chanting for peace. And lo and behold, I started to feel a little bit of peace. It didn’t, it wasn’t the cure or feel, but I was starting to feel some relief and I wasn’t feeling as angry and as hopeless as I felt. So I continued doing that, and I was chanting every day. And then I was just chanting because at that time I’d had some physical issues, I’d had a back problem that I’d been suffering with for almost two decades. And also migraines And so I chanted for optimal health. And after about six months, seven months, completely or alleviated, which blew my mind just from chanting. And then eventually what happened was I wound up meeting somebody that did Reiki, which is a Japanese form of energy healing. And I went to a retreat center where the person I was rooming with was going for her Reiki master certification. I had slipped and fallen when we went on a hike and she offered to do some Reiki on me. And I thought, okay, I have no idea what this is, but okay, I’m open, I’m in pain, I’m suffering. So she did.
And I realized I started to feel things in my body that I hadn’t felt in years. I’m starting to feel sensations. I’m starting to become aware of sensations in my body. And I thought, okay, there’s something to this. And to boot, I wound up not having any physical pain from the slip and fall. 24 hours and I thought, “Oh, okay, there’s something to this. I have got to learn what this is.” And then I wound up getting, I went to somebody locally for some sessions.
I really liked the way my body started to feel. I just became more aware. And then I also realized I hadn’t been feeling anything. I’d been completely numb for years. And I liked the idea starting to feel again. So then I wound up getting certified in Reiki and that led me to the One Light Healing Touch which led me to the Akashic Records and then as I was going through this experience in the One Light Healing Touch and learning about this, learning how to meditate and visualizations and tuning into my body, a lot of stuff kept coming up around my parents and stuff with the family.
And I thought, I don’t want to work on stuff with my family. I want to heal myself, but I didn’t realize how deeply all of that was intertwined and connected. So it kind of moved me towards healing trauma in my own family and just looking at the family system and looking at how dysfunctional my family was.
And like most people, most people have a a lot of dysfunction in their family some more than others. But so it just, it led me on a path to really look at my relationship with my parents and then even looking at their relationship with their parents and where trauma was in the family. So that led me down another road of healing in a different way.
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I heard a quote from Fran Liebelowitz recently that said, “Families to her are for manufacturing insanity.”
Oh, I like that.
Isn’t that hilarious? It’s so true. I think that a lot of things are comical when there’s such a resonant truth in them And of course, it was funny because she is, but that’s what she said about families. But with healing those issues or connections from generational trauma, did you see a shift in the family dynamic?
There was a shift for myself. And then also it helps me to deepen my compassion and understanding for my parents, especially my mother, I found it very difficult for most of my life to have compassion for her. But in doing this ancestral healing, it allowed me to step into her shoes in essence and to really feel the pain and the struggle that she went through.
And it just helped me to have a lot more compassion for her and what she went through. And so it made me understand why growing up in my home was as difficult as it was. And I am the oldest child. And so a lot of times the oldest child tends to take on a lot of the burdens unconsciously.
We want there to be peace in the family. We want there to be healing. Every child has a different place in the family. And there’s certain things that either we take on from our parents or we’re seeking acceptance or love that we’ve not gotten from a parent or both parents. And so we each play a role in the family. And so it helped me to understand deeper why I took on certain responsibilities or certain desires, what was lacking in attention or love. And so it made me see my parents in a very different way.
And I liked that I finally was able to get to that point where I could see them without being triggered or go back to certain experiences in my life or understand my relationship with them with a new perspective.
As you have worked with clients, are they sharing similar experiences with you as feedback from their sessions with you?
Yes, and interestingly enough, being that I have had challenges with my mother, many of the clients that come to me have had similar experiences. And about all the work that I do, I’m able to speak from having had personal experience and having had trauma and or living with anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder and being able to overcome and be able to thrive. But I can also relate to what they are going through.
And sometimes people, clients don’t feel as if, they feel as if they’re the only one that is going through that struggle or they’ve hated their parents or their parent abandoned them. I mean, I can relate to what my clients are going through. We may not have had the exact same experience. However, there are a lot of matching pictures, similar pictures, and so I can relate. And I can share about how I’ve been able to overcome. I never wanted to be about me, but when they’re sharing certain experiences, I’m able to relate having had a real life experience rather than something that I read in a book. No, this was real life. I lived this and I lived with this for 14 years or for 30 years and I’ve overcome and here are some tools to utilize so that you don’t have to suffer.
As you work with clients, are most of them aware that they have PTSD when they engage with you or do they discover that through their healing? Wow, that was a traumatic event I was able to release. I wasn’t aware that I have PTSD.
Yeah, sure. It’s not all of my clients have post-traumatic stress disorder. Some just have had some traumatic experiences, but then through some of their work and their healing and their own personal evolution, they realized, “Wow, I didn’t realize that that was as traumatic as I originally, as I perceived it to be initially, or even it could be the loss of a pad or moving.” I mean, for instance, that even came up in my own life. I had moved when I was 10 years old and weren’t allowed to share that we were moving. And I didn’t realize, I mean, I was working on this about two years ago. And so this happened a long time ago, but you just don’t realize where that trauma sits in your body or how you’re holding it or how it’s impacted you. So sometimes clients don’t even realize the depth of the impact of an experience has had for them until they’re working through it and moving through it or even on the other side of it.
A lot of times, myself included, are just moving through the experience just for the sake of getting through because it’s either too painful, you don’t want to address it, you can’t look at it, it’s just what you have to do, kind of have to suck it up and just move through it.
You’re in a bad situation and you just have to move through it the best that you can without thinking about it. If you don’t think about it, then you don’t feel it. If you don’t feel it, it’s not addressed until it comes up. And what happened for me having a difficult childhood, everything was compartmentalized until 9/11 for me is what broke me. So all this stuff had been building up and I sense that that is common for many people. going through the motions, maybe you lose a pet, parents get divorced, somebody passes, you have a big move, you lose a job. Whatever that is, those are all traumatic experiences. It doesn’t matter how big or small.
The point is, it’s for that individual, that is a traumatic experience. But everybody puts them into a little box until it needs to be addressed or something happens and then it forces them to address it. And then it will come up. For me, I feel like everything that had happened in my life until 9/11 was in a, I wouldn’t say a neat box, but it was tucked away in a box somewhere. And then when 9/11 happened, it completely broke me, destroyed me. And then everything else that had been put in those boxes for years, death of a friend, breaking up with a boyfriend, moving, all these different things, family stuff.
Then all of a sudden I felt as if it was just seeping out from underneath the carpet. I couldn’t keep it stuffed under there anymore It was just coming out and all of it needed to be addressed. And so I think for a lot of people that tends to be what happens when there’s a major event, because then they’re forced to have to deal with everything that has been tucked away.
I wasn’t aware of that kind of concept until the last year or so of things building upon themselves to where you’re dealing with an event of seismic tsunami proportions where you need every bit of reserve to cope with that. But if your reserves have already been spent holding on to those boxes, as you said, then And you just don’t have the coping mechanisms to help. So is that what you’re saying?
Yes. As an adult and having done a lot of inner work on myself, I realized that my nervous system was impacted at a very, very early age. In my house, there was a lot of yelling. So I was walking on eggshells for most of my childhood. So when your body gets triggered in that way and you don’t feel safe and you don’t feel like you have a protector, when this experience with 9/11 happened, it was as if there was this memory in my cells, memory in my body, in my nervous system “Oh yeah, I don’t feel safe.” And so all of this stuff came up for me and I’ve been addressing it. So it’s not only for me with the 9/11 stuff.
This was a lot of early childhood stuff I was dealing with about not feeling loved, not feeling protected, not feeling safe, not feeling like I had somebody to count on. It was reconciling and understanding a lot of what happened in those earlier years in my life and why I had such a challenging time to be able to come back to center, even find my center after 9/11, everything was dysregulated in my body.
I was having major panic attacks, which I had never had in my life. I didn’t even understand what a panic attack was. And so not being able to breathe, not feeling safe, all of that was just completely shattered. and I had to redefine and just figure out who I was and what I needed so that I could function in this world and just function on a daily basis. I couldn’t even do that after 9/11.
When I first met you, I would have no idea that you had gone through such an ordeal. You were so light, you look so happy and free of all of this heaviness that we’re talking about. kudos to you that you’ve went on this journey and that you healed and are healing. There are a lot of people who get into different healing modalities who don’t necessarily walk their talk in this area. And I saw that with you, which was one of the big attractive features for me to work with you knowing, “Okay, I can do this.” This will help me. “She can help me facilitate my own healing. When you work with individuals, where do you suggest that they start?
Well, it depends. Everybody is different depending on what has gone on with them and what they’re willing to do. I’ll tell you when I first started this, I was extremely resistant, but I would highly encourage for anybody that is seeking assistance or guidance from a trauma, Whatever trauma it is, if they’re going to be working with a practitioner, I would encourage that they trust their gut and listen to their body.
The reason why I continue to do a lot of work and I’m working on myself almost every single day, whether I’m clearing myself, healing on myself, I’m doing meditation, I’m doing breath work, something to become more self-aware.
It is a continual journey of healing, But I want to be able to hold space and be there for individuals that are suffering. So I need to have the capacity to be able to be present for them. So I really encourage people to find somebody and something that resonates with them because it’s key that an individual feels safe. They feel listened to, they feel seen. So if somebody’s in their ego or they haven’t done their own work, they really can’t be fully present for an individual. And when you’re doing such delicate work, you wanna know that you are being heard. So find that right person because they’re out there and it may take a while and there’s nothing wrong with saying to somebody, thank you for your time, but this doesn’t feel right.
I personally had to do that with somebody.
So you have to really trust your gut instinct and go with what feels right. Because even if you don’t know why you’re getting a weird feeling about somebody or a place, you don’t have to know what that is. Just trust what you’re feeling and go with it.
That’s really a great bit of advice. What are you most proud of through this entire process and through your life? What are you most proud of?
That I have stayed with doing the deep, dark, difficult work because it has transformed my life. And I never, in a million years after 9/11, did I ever think that I could be happy and feel at peace. And I have never felt more peace in my life than I do now. When I think about who I was after 9/11, I could never have imagined myself with where I’m at now. I’m a very different person.
I love that.
And it takes a lot to do this work. It’s a really challenging, difficult, it sucks type of space to trek through and heal your own stuff. And it’s so worth it to get through that and release it.
I’m just hoping that others realize there is hope that they can get help.
They can, whatever they need to do to get to that space, there are things that they can do to take those baby steps towards peace, towards happiness, towards feeling lighter in releasing this stuff. They don’t have to be defined by what has happened to them or what they’ve witnessed or experienced. They can move forward.
It’s not an easy journey. This is definitely not for the faint-hearted. Sometimes it can be really grueling, but I think also being able to find a community of individuals that’s not easy either, but just having people that you feel supported by and that will hear you.
Thank you so much for sharing your journey and offering hope to others that have experienced trauma. You are a living example of what is possible when you put yourself out there and go through that arduous process to heal. And I’m really grateful that you’re in my life and you’ve helped me more than I can say. So I’m very grateful for you. Thank you so much.
Oh, thank you. I really appreciate it.
Our experiences do not have to define us. Karen shows us how we can heal from them and even become better humans. She believes that everyone deserves a life filled with joy, and I certainly agree.
Thank you so much for listening to Record Scratch.
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Provide a review, share with your friends, and subscribe.
I really appreciate you.
Thank you so much.
Record Scratch is produced by the incredible Mary Lou Morose.
Original music, written and performed by Adam Gibson.