My Story by Dina Saalisi
I grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey during the '70s, raised in typical blue collar fashion; a family of five with parents who both worked full-time and provided a comfortable home meeting our basic needs. When I was 10, our family changed dramatically with the unexpected death of my father. Alongside the financial burden that was placed on my mom, she became severely depressed and wasn’t able to give my 2 brothers and I what we needed to thrive. In my early teens I became rebellious and was always looking for ways to escape. I began using recreational drugs to numb myself. I felt like a mess inside but somehow managed to get by without completely wiping out.
Junior year I was lucky enough to be chosen to attend a vocational program in cosmetology, which enabled me to become a licensed hairstylist. Right out of high school I got a solid job working as an apprentice in a salon. I began tofeel more confident in my abilities and noticed how this newfound self-acceptance released me from wanting to use drugs. I attended a 12-step program and began to work through my challenges in supportive ways. It wasat this time that I remembered being sexually abused as a child and I finally understood why I had felt so different and alone most of my life. This breakthrough allowed me to explore the deeper meaning behind my difficulties and begin to look for new ways to heal. I immersed myself in the philosophies and practices of spirituality. During this time, I met my husband and we decided to make a move to Northern California and I put my career as a stylist on hold to start a family. This felt liberating but I was struggling with the pressures of becoming a new mother and how this related to my early childhood trauma.
In California I continued to develop my education in the healing arts and searched for ways to deepen my own healing. I studied Planetary Herbalism with Michael and Leslie Tierra and Christopher Hobbs. I immersed myself in classes about flower essences, herbs, homeopathy, nutrition, yoga and meditation. A whole new world of resources opened up to me on the West Coast; I joined a weekly writer’s group with Ellen Bass (co-author of The Courage To Heal), found a compassionate therapist who guided me in working through trauma and became part of a women’s support group for survivors of sexual abuse. Slowly and steadily, by allowing myself to feel vulnerable, the shame and isolation began to shift. By being able to tell and transform the story of my abuse and bear witness to others, I was learning how to reclaim this wounded part of my self. I realized that the trauma was something that I experienced, but it didn’t have to define me. And I was not alone.
From this newfound growth and inner strength I made a decision to answer a calling to work with others who were struggling to find deeper emotional meaning and recover from challenging pasts. I trained as a flower essence practitioner with the Bach Foundation and the Flower Essence Society and hold international certification as a Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner (BRFP) . I am certified in Narrative Health Coaching from TeleosisInstitute (501 c (3) non-profit), where I serve as adjunct faculty. I am certified by the National Board of Medical Examiners as a Health and Wellness Coach. (NBC-HWC) As well as seeing clients in my private practice, I lead classes and workshops on Flower Energetics and personal empowerment.
My intention is to inspire others to create deeper self-awareness, reframe challenges and master new skills leading to growth. By learning how to face and work through your deepest challenges, you become able to cultivate the most profound healing.