Sarah-Highlife-132Providing a safe haven for people to heal from trauma is what drives Sarah Turner of DiJo Mentoring.

There’s an illusion of separateness that there’s any divide between us,” Sarah Turner ponders. “I want to us to cut through all that crap and know we’re all struggling with the same things, to realise how amazing and unique we all are, and how we all bring something different.” ?

Sarah grew up in a family where trauma had afflicted generation after generation. “I was conditioned to see trauma as life ending,” she said. When she was medically discharged from the military for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) she did not know if she would ever recover. “It’s so shameful,” she said. “You think you should cope, that others have suffered more. The thing is, it’s simply the body’s response to trauma. You have no control over it.” Sarah got more and more sick, but it was not until she gave birth to her daughter Dixie that everything changed. “I couldn’t do better for me,” she said, “But I could do better for her.”

She threw herself into the study of healing from trauma, scouring scientific journals, medical reports, books, testimonials, using her background in science and mathematics to cut through the often baffling terminology of various healing modalities and learn the science behind things like yoga, meditation, mindfulness and Chinese medicine. “Spirituality isn’t hippy stuff,” Sarah said. “It’s scientific knowledge we’re rediscovering. The trauma has to be understood and worked through to become something to change and enhance my life.” She found healing from the sexual and physical abuse of her past, and transformed negative self-talk and self-sabatoging practices into words and beliefs that nourished, strengthened and healed.Sarah-Highlife-35

Now she’s sharing those things with others in a beautiful retreat centre she’s building in the tree-covered hills of Pilton. The land itself needed rehabilitation before it could become a place of healing for others. Sarah started by planting 3000 trees and shrubs through the Enrich program, and built a delightful little humpy by herself, filling it with soft furnishings, natural elements and art, and situating it to take advantage of exquisite views stretching out over the valley.

The project took her one year as she sourced all the recycled materials that would enable her family to live comfortably yet completely off grid. “I needed to teach myself to live in the moment,” Sarah laughed. “Each day I would achieve something, a window, a door, and I would be happy.” She also built an outdoor yoga studio where healing yoga classes are held four times a week, with special classes available for children to help them cope with anxiety and return to peace. Sarah works one on one with clients, and recently purchased six tents so she can start hosting healing retreats for women, families, veterans and whoever needs a safe place in a natural environment to continue their healing journey. “We need to connect, we can’t isolate,” Sarah said. “There’s a way to heal that embraces our trauma and our scars.”

Words by Krista Bjorn | Images by Cory Rossiter