June 2016 - Tranformation


"Tumacacori Mission", Kathy Reid

June, 2016

I have recently been reading and studying about Generational Trauma and I wanted to share some of what I have learned.

Recent developments in the fields of cellular biology, neurobiology, epigenetics, and developmental psychology state the importance of looking at three generations of family history to understand the mechanism behind the patterns of trauma and suffering that repeat.

Dr.Rachel Yehuda, professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City is one of the world's leading experts in Post Traumatic Stress. She has done numerous studies to examine the neurobiology of Holocaust survivors and their children. Dr. Yehuda has focused on cortisol, the stress hormone that helps the body return to normal after a trauma. People who have had trauma will relive the sensations and feelings of the past trauma. Symptoms include numbness, depression, anxiety, insomnia, nightmares and flashbacks.

Dr. Yehuda's studies found that children of Holocaust survivors had low cortisol levels similar to their parents predisposing them to reliving the PTSD symptoms of their parents'. Dr. Yehuda's research demonstrates that you and I are three times more likely to experience symptoms of PTSD if one of our parents had PTSD and as a result, we could experience depression and anxiety. Yehuda is one of the first researchers to show that we can inherit PTSD symptoms from our parents without directly experiencing the trauma.

This is very interesting to me because I know that both my parents experienced PTSD from severe childhood abuse and neglect. I also hear from my clients and participants that I interview for Star that many of their parents and grandparents suffered severe abuse and neglect. So, this is a relatively new frontier in trauma treatment and will greatly help in treating PTSD.

Gratefully yours,


"Bell, Tumacacori Mission", Kathy Reid

Our Star 2016 - 2017 retreats are filling up quickly! We have also added our 2017 retreats so you can plan ahead. You can find a calendar and other information, including how to register, on our website by clicking the links below.

2016 Summer STAR Retreat

July 22, 2016 - July 31, 2016

2016 Fall STAR Retreat

September 2, 2016 - September 11, 2016

2017 Winter STAR Retreat

January 27, 2017 - February 5, 2017

2017 Spring STAR Retreat

April 21, 2017 - April 30, 2017

2017 Summer STAR Retreat

July 21, 2017 - July 30, 2017

2017 Fall STAR Retreat

October 13, 2017 - October 22, 2017

Star Tesimonial

I attended Star in 2006, and the 10 day retreat was instrumental in my evolution toward a conscious, mature human being. It was the beginning of what I now recognize to be a life-long journey of self-cultivation. I learned about aspects within myself that were self-limiting and counterproductive to living life deliberately, with less fear and more love for myself and others.

I am eternally grateful to those that nudged me to take the risk of attending Star. I am also forever grateful to the men and women that gave there time and presence to set me free from my own shackles. It is truly a gift to yourself and anyone else that you interact with, and I highly recommend this course to anyone seeking a better way of being in the world.

With sincere gratitude,

Larry Golson

Dear Star Friends,


Summer has come to Southern Arizona but not yet the rains we enjoy and look forward to.

Transformation is an interesting word. The most common meaning of "to transform" is to have a wonderful and positive almost mystical experience. However, the dictionary definition is simply "to go across, to change the nature or character". It can be a blessing or a trauma but it brings change not always welcomed. Even when transformation is experienced in the womb, at birth, and in early childhood these powerful experiences become part of the way we see ourselves. Being wanted, nurtured, safe and loved leaves an imprint of trust with compassion for ourselves and others.

We are impacted by our environment beginning before birth in the mother’s environment. Sadly we can inherit a legacy of trauma just like eye and hair color. The womb in which we gestated and the arms in which we rested contain an influence from our mother’s histories which trickle into our own. Though hidden in your unconscious, , it influences many of your beliefs, problems, idiosyncrasies and the choices we make. In this way we create our personas and build defenses to survive and fit it. Along the way we forget our authentic self and connection to the divine spark within us. I believe therapy at its best reveals what we forgot and reminds us of these forgotten states of being. Underneath the pain, the guilt, or shame we find the loving and loveable self we were created to be.

The journey is often hard work. It is not magical thinking.

The Star process provides a safe, supportive environment needed to take the journey within. The gift is freedom to be yourself, transform the negative patterns of the past and see your life with clarity and confidence. It has been an ongoing positive and transformative experience for me to be involved in the Star program since the late 70’s. I have and continue to learn and to be inspired. I have definitely become a believer that love and wisdom is a real possibility for us all.

Have a fun summer.

Love and gratitude to you for being part of my journey,


"Wind Chimes, Kenyon Ranch", Susannah Castro

Stopping, Pausing, and Observing

This tree ‘starred’ in one of those moments the universe offers me when I am open to them.

I was leaving my house — five minutes late for a meeting — when a squirrel sat up on the tree trunk and looked at me. I said hello and he offered an inviting stare. I walked over to him and he scampered around the trunk but did not go up the tree. Hmm… I walked around to look at him again and quickly it became a game of John walking around the tree following the squirrel. It might have looked a little squirrelly to the neighbors.

After three times around the squirrel jumped to the ground and was gone. As I headed to the car a peculiar bump on the tree caught my eye. It was a moth - perfectly aligned in the mosaic of the bark's ridges and furrows.

Some of our wounds and traumas fit quietly in the bark of our life. It takes time and willingness to stop and notice - to gain a different perspective and set our focus and gentle attention on our story. A STAR retreat allows for the settling of the day-to-day rush. The supportive attention and intention of the staff and fellow participants allows a deeper awareness and a different vision to appear. We might see a beauty and mystery in our lives that was not evident before.

- John Sims, STAR Facilitator

Overcoming Generational Trauma

By now almost everyone has heard of “epigenetics.” This is a word coined to describe going above or beyond our genes. For many years we were told that our genes were our destiny, but today we know that belief is erroneous. Dr. Bruce Lipton, cellular biologist, has been teaching something new—that our “environment controls the activity of genes” (Lipton, 2013, The Honeymoon Effect). This is really good news because we now know that we are not doomed to inherit the disorders of our forefathers. This puts our destiny in our hands so that we can make better choices. We can eat healthier food, avoid harmful chemicals, and behave in ways that are more loving than the behaviors we might have seen our parents act out.

This means that we can enroll in therapeutic programs like STAR to let go of old beliefs, release old destructive emotions, and learn new ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that bring us more happiness. We can see the benefits of overcoming addictions, hanging out with people who support our wellbeing, and actually learning to love ourselves.

However, we can face lots of challenges on the way to changing our beliefs because those old ideas were instilled from our very beginnings. The minute an egg and sperm united to create the body we will live in, we are subject to the effects of our environment. Our first environment is mother! And we will feel everything she feels, as her fear and stress expressed through her hormones will impact our development. In fact, the egg that became you was present in your mother’s womb while she was growing in her mother’s womb. We can’t argue that past generations don’t impact us. When we investigate our heritage, we often find patterns of behavior that descend on us from past generations like a burden too great to carry.

You are not alone. Most of us were born into dysfunctional families and wonder what we can do to go beyond our genes and environmental conditioning. Jungian psychologist Clarissa Pinkola Estes tells a delightful story about a witch who, like the stork, delivers babies to their new homes. She flies on her broomstick balancing a baby-filled-basket to the right destination, but sometimes she hits turbulence and the basket tips over and the baby falls into the chimney of the wrong house! Perhaps you have wondered if you were somehow born into the wrong family.

Humor helps—and so does finding a program, a mentor, or a therapy that can point you in a new direction. The new energy therapies are amazing. There is EFT, TFT, and other tapping modalities that bring great relief. Somatic and sensory oriented therapies work. EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, reduces and/or eliminates trauma. PSYCH-K, endorsed by Dr. Lipton, shifts old belief patterns and installs new ones selected by you and which will serve you better. During these processes you can experience insights, heightened understanding, emotional relief, and physical sensations that take you beyond depression and anxiety. You can begin to experience peace of mind, relaxation, and joy.

Whatever you received from past generations, you can overcome many of the effects if they are not working for you or enhance them if they are. You have new choices, new techniques, and new friends to support your healthier, happier life. That’s a STAR promise.

- Susan Highsmith, STAR Board of Directors

"Clouds and Santa Rita Mountains with Labyrinth, Kenyon Ranch", Susannah Castro

STAR: Call for STAR facilitators

After years of being one of the best-kept secrets in the therapeutic community, STAR is beginning to gain broader recognition and generate greater public interest. Since we moved our facilities back to the beautiful Kenyon Ranch, we have experienced a surge in the number of individuals interested in participating in the STAR program. We are delighted to run full STARs, and increase our impact.

In order to meet this increased demand, we need to expand our team of STAR facilitators. Our team is a dynamic group of committed, big-hearted individuals. Everyone on staff has attended a STAR retreat, and all have received training in the multimodal STAR method. Many facilitators have advanced therapeutic degrees in counseling, social work and psychology and some have their own private practices. Other STAR facilitators bring expertise from the realms of addiction and recovery, bodywork, education, coaching, communication, art therapy and more. All facilitators are committed to helping and making meaningful contributions to others.

If STAR made a difference in your life, and you would like to give back by becoming a facilitator, we’d like you to apply. If you know of an individual with healing gifts, deep empathy and communication skills who might make a great facilitator, we’d love for you to pass this on to them. You can apply to become a facilitator by emailing scastro@starfound.org or by completing this form: Become A STAR Facilitator.

Thank you for your interest in supporting the healing work of STAR.

"Sunset over the Tumacacori Mountains", Susannah Castro

The STAR Foundation's mission is to provide nurturing intensives where adults experience empowerment and inspiration, and are given tools to transform their lives.

We also hope that you will continue your generous contributions to STAR Foundation in order to fulfill our mission, vision, and values.

There are several ways you can contribute:

  • You can pledge monthly support. Your gift helps us cover operational costs, workshop leader salaries and provides a stable financial base for our work.
  • You can make a one-time donation.
  • You can dedicate your donation to the general fund or one of two scholarship funds; General Scholarship or our new Diversity Scholarship to encourage participation from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds.

Your support will be greatly appreciated. You can make checks payable to STAR Foundation – our mailing address is below. You can also donate online at our website here www.starfound.org/donations. STAR Foundation is tax-exempt under 501(c) (3) of the I.R.S. Code EIN 77-0009281.

Please mail donations to:
STAR Foundation, PO Box 1554, Tubac, AZ 85646

Visit www.starfound.org for more information, to register for a retreat, or to make a donation in support of our programs. The STAR© Retreat is a 501c3 non profit. The STAR© Retreat stands alone among personal growth workshops with its 1-to-2 staff to participant ratio. Its remarkably large, diverse, and knowledgable staff provide you, as a participant, a safe, unparalleled level of personalized attention creating an extremely individualized and tailored experience. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter by visiting the links below.


Kenyon Ranch photos copyright and courtesy of John Sims, Susannah Castro, and Kathy Reid, used by permission of the artists.