Beginning Your Healing Journey with Lily Gibarac

S08 | 09 – Beginning Your Healing Journey with Lily Gibarac

Lindsay Recknell Compassion, Hope, Mental Health, Podcast Leave a Comment

Fear, grief, and anxiety are really intense emotions that usually signal there is some sort of unhealed pain or trauma in your past. These unresolved emotions can negatively affect your mental health, physical health, and ultimately hold you back from consciously experiencing a full life.

So how do you begin your healing journey?

Lily Gibarac joins me on the podcast today to share from her personal experiences how we can cultivate the ability to see past the pain and obstacles we experience in order to discover what we need to be healed and transform our lives. Overcoming hardship and uncertainty isn’t always easy, but Lily shares actionable ways to face these challenges so that we can truly thrive and create meaningful lives.

Tune in now and take the first step in your own healing journey.

About Lily Gibarac:

In 1994, Lily Gibarac emigrated from her war-torn home country, former Yugoslavia, and arrived in the United States with her family, without speaking a word of English. She set out on learning fast and building her professional career. Today, Lily is a senior consultant, entrepreneur, executive, and leadership coach, trainer, speaker, author, and professional licensed counselor.

Diverse interest and educational background, starting from Computer Science to several degrees in psychology including Ph.D. ABD in Organizational and Leadership Psychology honed her comprehensive problem-solving ability and deep interest in the science of human behavior.

Lily is on a mission to transform the workplace by empowering high-achieving professionals, purpose-driven leaders, and entrepreneurs who are tired of just surviving in the corporate jungle. She helps them connect to their inner wisdom and strengths so they can bring heart-based values into the corporate arena and operate from the place of alignment, integrity, and authenticity.

To learn more, you can visit her website and connect with Lily on LinkedIn.

Mentioned In This Episode:


Lindsay Recknell 0:03

Hello, Lily, welcome to the show. I am so excited to have you here.

Lily Gibarac 0:09

I am absolutely delighted to be with you, Lindsay, and to be with all of your listeners.

Lindsay Recknell 0:17

I, you know, when we had a chance to connect in anticipation of this show, I had so much inspiration after hearing you speak, the transformation that you’ve gone through in your own personal life, overcoming hardships and challenges, I think you are going to really inspire the audience in what you have to say.

Lindsay Recknell 0:36

So why don’t we just get into it? Can you share with us your story of how you have used hope to motivate action in your life?

Lily Gibarac 0:45

Oh, absolutely, I will be delighted to do that. And I think I would like to reflect just a little bit on what the definition of hope is for me, because I think it is going to be very important for everybody. So what I have actually done in preparation for this conversation, I looked up the meaning of the word hope. And according to the dictionary, it seems that the definition of hope is to cherish a desire with anticipation to want something to happen or to be true.

Lily Gibarac 1:21

And what I found interesting is that the second archaic definition of trust, of the definition is actually trust. And trust is the belief that someone or something is reliable, good or honest. And I found this very interesting because it resonates very much with my personal experience and lessons that are learned in life.

Lily Gibarac 1:50

So from my perspective, trust is something that grows in hearts that have been broken open by pain. And in order to facilitate and grow trust, we need to cultivate the ability to see past or pain or obstacles, or undesirable circumstances and believe that life will get better. And to trust is the hope and the hope you must accept any vulnerable. Challenge challenges, and heartbreaks are inevitable in life, but the way that I see them, they are the growth opportunities, and they show the path to unlocking our wholeness.

Lily Gibarac 2:40

So, to go back to my personal story, I think that trust plays a very important role. It is something that I had to make friends with. And the way that I see it is that trust becomes the most essential and fundamental need for all of us. In order to thrive. We do need to have some sense of safety, predictability and security. We typically don’t question if sun will come out in the morning and shine. Or if our beautiful planet that will continue to support our existence. We trust that we are going to wake up in the morning, and that our needs will be met. We must depend on others for our basic needs, supplies, nourishment, and care.

Lily Gibarac 3:36

All of this contributes to that sense of safety that is essential for us to thrive in life. The challenge that we often get exposed to is how do we continue to trust once when something very unpredictable happens, something that shakes the core of our foundation. And I believe that with this pandemics, we are really forced to ask such questions. So these questions become really relevant for every one of us. And in the midst of all of that, we need to learn to overcome all of these challenges, betrayals, losses, experiences, and regain our positioning.

Lily Gibarac 4:42

So in 2002, I was confronted with a experience that really shook foundation for me. My 16 year old son suddenly He collapsed and died of an undetected congenital condition. There is absolutely nothing that could have prepared me for such an event. I was very scared. And I was very, very angry, in my mind, like a broken record events of that night just kept replaying, well, I searched, argued, bargained for some different outcome, I simply could not. And I found that I am now ready to face the finality of that event. And as long as I kept my focus on that fateful night in how senseless and unfair that was, it kept me feeling stuck and powerless.

Lily Gibarac 5:52

I found myself wishfully thinking that somehow someone or something might have happened to make this horrible event better, which only perpetuated the notion of my powerlessness. The real challenge with is that the same victim mentality started seeping over in other areas of my life. And it continued to create similar patterns. We all know of a saying that whatever we judge and resist it possess. And we simply end up getting stuck with that. And that whatever it is, it starts taking hold of every aspect of our life.

Lily Gibarac 6:49

So what I learned is that fear, grief, anxiety, are very powerful emotions, and they are expressions of unhealed pain. These emotions are actually really indicating to where we are suppressing love, and where that love is longing to find its way and positive expression. The other extreme that we may usually go to when we stay in that perpetual state of unhealed trauma, and suppress emotion is that it may start affecting our physical well being. And illness usually can take over our body, because of strong cognitive dissonance in our mind. And from my personal experience, and experience of talking to other people and working as a therapist.

Lily Gibarac 8:11

Such events and such circumstances really show up in our life to wake us up to invite and call us to start reevaluating our life. Where are we out of alignment? So it presents an opening and an opportunity for us to step up and discover what needs to be healed.

Lindsay Recknell 8:44

Lily, what an incredible story. First I will I want to express my deepest sympathies for you. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to lose a child in the you know, if he was so young. He had so much going so much future ahead of him. Very sorry for that. And I thank you for your courage to share your story with us. It can’t have been easy. It can’t be easy to talk a lot about these sorts of things. So I really appreciate you sharing that with us.

Lily Gibarac 9:15

Thank you so much.

Lindsay Recknell 9:17

It feels to me that you’ve done something awesome with your traumatic growth. You know, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the concept of post traumatic growth, but the idea of growing through trauma and sort of coming out the other side of grief and pain in a stronger, more courageous way. It feels like the lessons that you have taken from there have been very powerful in your life.

Lindsay Recknell 9:48

And you said something that really resonated with me and that was how on recognized or unresolved grief and Pain can manifest itself in a physical way in our body. And I don’t think that’s something that a lot of us think about, you know, grief and pain feel mentally unwell. But the physical impacts in our body are huge. Could you talk a little bit more about that?

Lily Gibarac 10:21

Yes, absolutely. I mean, I certainly speak from my personal perspective and my personal experience, and the way that I look at human beings and every individual, it’s an it’s in very holistic way. And we are simply not just our mind, our body, or our soul, there is simply no way to look at those things in isolation, there is an intricate the balance between each and every one of them. And when we merge them together, when we bring that unity, and wholeness and alignment, that comes from deep work, from vulnerability, from our openness, to experience live, it is only then that we can become aware of how one impacts another.

Lily Gibarac 11:36

And I have had to learn how to deal not just with my emotional pain, I had to learn how to deal with the brokenness of my physical body, because there was that auto immune condition that came knocking on my door, as a powerful reminder that there are things that haven’t been fully looked at and healed. And when that call came, here to answer

Lindsay Recknell 12:20

for anyone that is listening to you speak, is maybe going through something similar, or has experienced a traumatic event, such as yours, who feels stuck, who isn’t coming through the grief, who doesn’t see a hopeful future. Do you have ideas on where they can start? Or how they can move through or share how you started your healing down your healing journey?

Lily Gibarac 13:02

Oh, absolutely. That is such an important question. And I think that awareness of what is available and what is possible, is absolutely essential. And my message is a message of hope, because there is hope. And there is a way to reach that other side and go above that tournament, and that deeply terminalis state and in my experience, I would say that the way to arrive there is through compassion and empathy.

Lily Gibarac 13:53

First, and inform us start with compassion and empathy for ourselves. And to me, that just means to embrace ourselves, embrace what is happening with the full acceptance, without judgment without resistance. And then from that point, I would definitely say, reach out and ask for help. Because none of us is supposed to are meant to do this on our own. We do need to trust other people believe in their expertise, believe in heart centered approach of people around us who care and who are willing to support us through this journey. So that will certainly be something that I would, I would highly recommend

Lindsay Recknell 15:08

that self forgiveness, peak peace is super, super important, something I definitely didn’t recognize was even a thing that I needed to pay attention to, in my own life. And it’s, it’s wonderful to hear you call it out. And I hope that I hope that the listeners heard you when you said that because sometimes we need a little bit of permission to take care of ourselves first or offer, offer that self forgiveness piece, give each other give ourselves a little bit of grace to be in the moment and to feel those emotions and, and to, you know, experience them before we kind of move through them.

Lily Gibarac 15:53

And it’s interesting that you say that, because research actually suggests that any emotion lasts for 90 seconds. So if we can create that safe container, and need that emotion, with grace, with love, with acceptance, it will move through very quickly. And oftentimes, we get stuck in narrative, in the stories that comes surrounding these events. And what these events in mean to us. And that is what becomes a true obstacle and challenge. Because on that journey of healing and coming to wholeness. It is a process of untangling parts of us that were never ours. Those are parts that have been sort of conditioned parts that we may have accepted. As part of our growing up. It was a very successful coping mechanism and skill that serve us as little girls and boys.

Lily Gibarac 17:25

However, now as a fully grown adults, it becomes an obstacle to who we are meant to be. So moving from that place of crisis, survival and uncertainty, and stepping into a more empowered state, which is a victor. And conscious co creator requires trust, trust in ourselves in our ability, that we’re going to move through that experience, and that we are willing to take responsibility for choices that we make in our life.

Lindsay Recknell 18:16

One of the things that often I’ve found is experienced when we are growing going through grief and trauma is a lot of times we feel alone, that you know, the world is moving on without us. And it can be hard to find other people that record you know, that are having a similar experience. You know, you mentioned that it’s important to ask for help. Do you have any thoughts on where to ask and who to ask?

Lily Gibarac 18:52

Well, absolutely, I would say that. There are definitely two different paths, one, which is in a word. And it just lead us down to the path of self discovery and self growth of compassion, self compassion, and understanding, acceptance of hardship and hardness and challenges this event or situation presented to us. So what can be helpful in that state is connecting with nature. I’ve found great solace, and just spending countless hours just sitting by the lake or by the ocean or by the river allowing sun to bounces off of my face and just hold me and, you know, laying on the ground and just feeling being held, and being supported by our Mother Earth is such an important sense in feeling that helps us understand, not just intellectually, but viscerally that we are never alone. That we are loved, we are held by everything around us.

Lily Gibarac 20:43

So that would be one step that I would take. And then another step, of course, is reaching out to people with trust, such as friends, family members, professionals, therapists, counselors, there are many, many wonderful people who can help us guide on this journey. So we did not feel

Lindsay Recknell 21:19

That was beautiful. I really liked what you said about sort of embracing nature and surrounding ourselves with nature and the healing power of Mother Earth. And the, you know, I think we underestimate the power of that as well, you know, the sound of the water, the wind and feeling the grass. And then on our face, I think, and there’s tons of evidence to support that as well, from a physical perspective and the healing powers from a physical perspective as well.

Lily Gibarac 21:48

Yeah, yes. And I would like to offer one story that was very essential and critical in my journey. And that was, at some point, when I was meeting with some compassion, friends, and we had a discussion, something was brought up to me that really prompted me to think and think really deeply, there was a new liberty, the man who agreed so intensely that she expressed her challenge being faced with her son’s friends, because there was yet another reminder of what she had lost.

Lily Gibarac 22:41

And that really, really stuck with me, because I knew that I did not want to end up there. If there is one thing that stood out for my son is that he loved life in people. And I felt that I need to honor that. And the best way that I can honor that is by facing every day, every single individual, every single creature that crosses my path, as a fragment, little fragment of my son, if we go with that notion, and that understanding that we are all connected, that we are all united, and part of a whole, where I choose to be anywhere I want to be, is the sea around myself, but the whole world is a reflection of my son.

Lily Gibarac 24:02

And it’s a reminder of what I had. And I still have, Wherever I look,

Lindsay Recknell 24:11

What a beautiful perspective and such a great reminder of the little things that we tend to take for granted and but if we can change our perspective a little bit, we can really gain a lot of joy and a lot of hope from that.

Lily Gibarac 24:25

Yeah, I like what you said about that perspective, because I do believe that as I mentioned previously, that our perspective in the way we see things, stories, that we build around certain pivotal moments of our life, become an obstacle and at the same time, they present opportunity for us to step out Up and over I personally love is, is a Rumi is saying of the wound is the place where light enters you. And I really think that is so wonderful and beautiful.

Lily Gibarac 25:21

And I find it very inspirational because it really that part of us that is hurting, that is looking for healing, that is looking for wholeness can elevate us and transport us into a space an arena that goes way above and beyond of anything of who have we ever imagined ourselves to be. It can literally transport us in a whole, whole different new level. So we become victors, we become someone who has transcended from this space of survival into being powerful co creator, and thriving in life, which is a very different perspective,

Lindsay Recknell 26:29

beautiful perspective, a very hopeful perspective. And since we’re reaching the end of our time together, you know that I asked the same question to all of my guests, which is a very nice segue to say that Lily, what gives you hope?

Lily Gibarac 26:47

Oh, well. With everything that I already said, I think that what I would like to add is that I see hope and trust everywhere around me. And every time when I am met with a new individual, or someone else that is showing up in my life, I can see that innate goodness. And I can see that same ability to transform our perceived weaknesses into strengths and obstacles into advantages.

Lily Gibarac 27:38

I really truly see it as a portal to becoming someone of a higher nature. And if we are all willing to do that work, to make those little shifts and twist in the way how we see circumstances around us, we can really create the most beautiful and the most wonderful world. And that is what gives me hope.

Lindsay Recknell 28:13

Well, Lily you give me hope and I believe that you have shared a lot of hope with the listeners today. Anyone who is has experienced something similar or is in the in the midst of a traumatic, grief filled experience, you have offered a lot of hope. And thank you so so much for sharing your wisdom with us sharing your story and your courage. It’s been a real pleasure having you on the show. And I really appreciate you spending your time with us today.

Lily Gibarac 28:40

It is my pleasure and honor to be with you.

Lindsay Recknell 28:44

Take care and I’ll catch you again soon.

Lindsay Recknell 28:49

I hope you enjoyed this latest episode of The Hope Motivates Action Podcast. These episodes are labor of love inspiring conversations with hopeful people make my heart happy. If you also love this episode, it would be amazing if you could go to Apple podcasts and leave a review five stars if you’re into it. It’s these reviews that encourage Apple to promote this podcast to their network and the more people that listen, the more hope we can spread into the world.

Lindsay Recknell 29:12

Don’t forget to check out the show notes of this episode to find all the links to my guests’ books and other resources referenced in this episode. You’ll also find the link back to my website where you will find additional support and resources for you, your team and your community. I truly believe that the future will be better than today. By taking action over the things we can control and hearing from these guests on these episodes.

Lindsay Recknell 29:33

I know that an even more hopeful future is totally possible. I’m always looking for inspirational guests so if you or anyone you know would like to be a guest on the show please reach out you can find me on the contact form of my website at or by email at

Lindsay Recknell 29:53

When I was a teenager, my sisters were leaving the house to go out for the night. I always made it a point to remind them to call me if they need me. It was My way to tell them that I cared and would always be there for them. I’d love you to know the same. So all of you listening out there, call me if you need me.

Lindsay Recknell 30:07

Again, thank you for your love and support of this podcast, my work in hope and your intentional focus on making your future better than today. After all, hope without action is just a wish.

Transcribed by

Lindsay Recknell | Expert in Hope | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram

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