Jayne Carson—Being On the Path of STAR
STAR Foundation Newsletter
Jayne Carson—Being On the Path of STAR
by Dana Weimer
Jayne Carson (STAR, ‘96) has plenty of experience to share as a staff member of the STAR Foundation. As a reader, bodyworker, and future assistant leader, Jayne has a background and related experience in the public and private sector of the telecommunications industry, as supervisor of the Rape Crisis Center, and as a trauma counselor during the 1995 Amtrak train disaster. She has degrees and national certifications as a Licensed Professional Counselor, Trauma Counselor, and she is a Licensed Massage and Neuromuscular Therapist.
One night, a vision in a dream changed Jayne’s life. As she went to sleep, she said a little prayer, “Please show me what I am supposed to be doing.” She had this dream: “I was walking through a forest of evergreens and the golden filtered light came down through the trees. I had a basket on my arm as I walked on the path through the forest. Something on the ground caught my eye. I reached down to pick it up and place it in my basket. As I continued down the path, I picked up other things. I kept some, others I put back. I kept following this path and it was very clear. I never looked back.” It was about being on the path—not about where I was going or where I had been. Since I had this dream, there is no doubt in my mind or my heart that the path for me is STAR.
Here is a look at the heart and vision Jayne brings to the STAR staff team:
What led you to STAR?
I was working in a mental health clinic in Mobile, Alabama, with Sandra Hogue and she told me about STAR. Something was missing in my life. I’d done cognitive and co-dependency work, and a lot of separate little pieces. STAR uses the holistic approach; that’s what attracted me. I was pretty miserable at work and I needed to make a change, but I was real stuck. In my whole life, I was running rather than responding. I wanted to do things differently and not make excuses. My inner voice was screaming. And I was terrified—there is a myth about therapists having to be healthier than everybody else. Big issues of shame came up for me.
How did your life change?
I went home a very different person. I spent a lot of time re-evaluating and asked myself, “Why am I overworking and driving myself?” I really got the picture: I was addicted to stress. I had one foot in the future anticipating the next bad thing, and one foot in the past trying to figure out what I did wrong. I never learned how to live in the present. I slowed down and started standing up for myself by saying ‘no’ more often. I stopped overcommitting and began evaluating what I was doing in my work as a trauma specialist. The first big change was to take myself off the response team. As supervisor at the Rape Crisis Center, I asked myself, “Why am I doing this?” Then, I made a few more changes. I quit to become a part-time therapist. And—I liked it! All of this happened in a year and a half after STAR.
I also became a lot clearer about the relationships I wanted in my life, and the people that were in my life out of duty. I paid a lot more attention to the quality of relationships—the ones that I encouraged and nurtured that enhanced my life.
Why did you choose to become a staff member?
I saw first-hand how people are truly capable of solving their own problems in a safe, nurturing environment with support and safety. When I returned home, I knew I wanted to do this kind of work. It was scary not to have a full-time job, but I wanted to be available as a reader/ bodyworker as much as they needed me. My experience with crisis counseling was beneficial the first time I read in June of ‘97. It was hard work, but I felt at home. The wellness model used at STAR focuses on the whole person. STAR is about personal growth, not about treating pathology. The staff is very ethical dealing with participants, and the team approach allows us to work together.
What is your vision for the future of STAR?
Working with STAR has changed my life. It’s time to grow and provide more programs. I envision more leaders and more people attending. As a staff person, I’m a utility infielder and the program needs me to step up to the plate. People who come to our program have lives, and we’re within their comfort zones. They want a personal growth experience and this is the best program around. Our staff demonstrates a very high degree of commitment to the process. Also exciting is the addition of coaching for post-graduate support. This is exactly what’s needed and will continue to enforce empowering people to find their own power
As a member of the staff, I want to give whatever is needed. After we started talking about growth and the future of the program, I realized something: I don’t want to just give whatever I can spare; I’m willing to make an investment of myself in STAR’s future.