Caroline Rochon-Gruselle is a Montreal based collage artist and yoga teacher to children and adults (RYT 200). She is a self-taught artist inspired by the various possibilities of paper and influenced by the wabi-sabi concept, drawing from the art of imperfection and temporality as well as the natural world.
Her yoga practice is focused on alignment and combines creativity and movement. Her teaching seeks to restore the body mind connection and focuses on grounding practices for good physical and mental health. She is passionate about making yoga accessible to all.
Describe yourself in three words
Dreamer, curious, loving.
How would those you love and respect describe you?
They would probably say loving, strong and complex.
What helps you feel safe and grounded?
Yoga and meditation definitely make me feel safe and grounded and I would also add being with close family and friends.
How would you define trauma?
Trauma is the undoing of the self.
How has trauma contributed to your suffering?
Initially, trauma changed my view of the world and unsettled my sense of belonging in the world. It added stress to my everyday life and also a bit of shame, as trauma is not often talked about and is misunderstood and therefore there is stigma surrounding it. I think there is suffering related to the culture of silence around trauma, the burden of carrying trauma and the fear of being judged or labeled, which ironically can only be released through talking, sharing and connecting. Even today, 10 years later, there is hesitancy in talking about my trauma. I came to understand that the experience of trauma has many layers and is unique to each person. I experienced a singular event, a kidnapping in a foreign country, which affected me strongly. I think at the time, it made me feel very isolated and alone in my experience. My sense of safety was shaken to the core and I had trouble feeling hopeful and happy again. It also broke my heart in different ways, trying to make sense of the trauma and the heartbreak. Today, I have come a long way and I can say that my trauma is a memory.
How has suffering contributed to your personal awakening or evolution?
Suffering after trauma led me to some profound soul searching and also led me to yoga. Therapy and time have been key to regaining a sense of safety and trust and being able to rebuild. Yoga has also tremendously helped in feeling safe again. As much as trauma is painful, it opened up a new level of understanding for me, and greater compassion towards others and myself. It made me aware of my inner strength and the beauty of being alive. It also instilled in me a renewed sense of faith in the universe and in myself and in times of difficulty, I remember my experience of trauma and it helps me to move forward and take pride in being a survivor, knowing I can withstand anything that comes my way and hope it can extend to others who have experienced something similar.
How has suffering contributed to allowing you to align with your highest creative self, if it has?
Suffering has for sure fueled my creativity and has been a deep well of inspiration. It led me to where I am today, as an artist and a yoga teacher. It has taught me that there is beauty to be found in pain, and to connect with a higher power, or a higher self if you will. Suffering has also led to a path of healing, to yoga and meditation, which is where I find the most inspiration and where creative ideas flourish. It has allowed for greater self-awareness and clarity. It has also connected me to my body, which is where I also find creativity in movement and yoga poses.
What words of wisdom would you offer to those who are stuck in suffering that is similar to what you have been through in the past?
I would say suffering is temporary. Therapy, yoga and meditation are great tools for recovery and healing. Trauma is change, but it does not have to define you. You belong here in this world. You are strong. You are loved.