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Healing the Soul After Trauma


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Elisa Stancil Levine built a business into an internationally recognized brand with projects published in every major magazine in the US. Elisa’s memoir, This or Something Better: A Memoir of Resilience takes an unflinching look at the abuse she endured and how it impacted her life. 

Listen to this episode of Motivational Mondays to learn why she wrote her memoir and how the writing process helped her learn how to trust again.


When Elisa was a child, her grandmother would grab her, put her into a washtub, and scrub her vigorously while calling her a murderer. The abuse continued until she built up the courage to confront her grandmother. Her grandmother told her it was because she was Catholic, and they killed millions during the Crusades.

Elisa believes that her only saving grace was her first memory. In it, she was alone, outside, realizing that she existed. She was watching the birds fly by and the trees waving at her. Now, she feels a deep sense of connection and belonging with nature. But it certainly didn’t fix everything.

Elisa had many challenges to overcome throughout her childhood and adult years. Her grandmother was a clear sign that unresolved trauma results in behaviors that are not healthy or constructive.

how elisa's son saved her life

Elisa began to find success, selling 16 houses that she restored with some partners, one of which was her husband. But after they divorced, things began to fall apart. She was over-leveraged, and when interest rates spiked to 18%, she lost everything. She still had to provide for her 12-year-old son and sadly, the man she fell in love with tragically died in a car accident. 

To cope with her grief, Elisa started experimenting with drugs, which became her coping mechanism for the next few years. She always told herself that if someone discovered her secret, that was when she had to quit. Unfortunately, it was her son who caught her. But she kept her word to herself and she’s been sober ever since.


Elisa wrote her memoir to motivate and inspire others to be who they are deep inside. Writing forced her to revisit the traumatic aspects of her life. The process was both terrifying and cathartic. 

During the process, she discovered what trust could look and feel like. It allowed her to grow, change, evolve, and deepen her understanding of herself and the world. Listen to this episode to learn about how to heal after trauma.

Listen to this episode to learn about...

  • [0:32] Why Elisa wrote her personal memoir
  • [2:30] How to heal after trauma
  • [8:05] How Elisa’s son saved her life
  • [11:54] How nature became Elisa’s anchor
  • [16:04] Why writing a memoir is cathartic

Listen to the bonus episode to learn the key takeaway from Elisa’s book and the one thing she would like to see happen in the world.