( ENSPIRE Feature ) A Story of Overcoming: Resilient Walker
ENSPIRE Contributor: Rosemary Gonzalez
Dr. Shree Walker is a walking testament of faith she teaches and inspires people to free themselves from the shackles of their past and negative thinking. In her first book, Resilient Walker she shares her story of how she transformed her life of poverty, sexual abuse, and dysfunctional relationships into a life of resilience and success. The professor, motivational speaker, and author, Walker is an example of a victor and takes control of her life by not letting her circumstances define her. Through her lived experiences Walker helps others reclaim their truth and reach their full potential.
Walker uses her voice to change environments and the lives of people she encounters. The once little girl who hated school now has a Doctorate from Tennessee State University and speaks to thousands of people providing them a roadmap to self-discovery and healing. Walker’s goal is to foster psychological safety, inspire healing, demonstrate healthy relationships, and motivate others to believe in the possibilities of a great future.
Published in November 2018, Resilient Walker is a story of overcoming and resilience. It tells a story of triumph and prevailing through hardships. Her story has gained international attention and people who have read the book say Resilient Walker is incredible. “Congratulations on writing such an amazing book, but more importantly your courage is unreal,” said a reader.
According to the American Psychological Association, resilience is “adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress—such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors.” Walker explains to be resilient “is to be flexible, to be bendable, but unbreakable” and a ‘resilient walker’ is someone who realizes that “the world is full of monsters with friendly faces and angels full of scars,” but keeps moving forward without giving up. ENSPIRE spoke to a “resilient walker”, Walker to learn more about her story.
Can you tell me about yourself and your story, how did you find your inner truth?
Society often thinks people are products of their environment. As a young woman growing up in a poverty-stricken single-parent home, I refused to be a victim of circumstance. Being the eldest of six children and the backbone of my family, I’ve been faced with many obstacles. With no heroes to look to, I had to become my own. I am determined not to live as a victim or a statistic. I’m an author, educator, and motivational speaker who provides excellent professional development for life-learners. I can relate to others through the pain, trauma, courage, conquering, and the reality that there is a life after pain. I came to this planet to change the world.
I found my inner truth by going through a process of Self-Discovery; being honest with myself and my past, and believing that I can achieve greatness if I shift my mindset, educate myself, and execute my vision.
Tell me about your book “Resilient Walker”? What does it mean to be resilient?
Resilient Walker is my life story of overcoming fear, growing resilient, finding my voice, and speaking out. In Resilient Walker, I retell how I transformed my nomadic life once built-in poverty, abuse, and defeated thinking into a vibrant career helping others overcome their circumstances and rise through resilience to succeed. To be resilient is to be one who can persevere through the midst of the storm. Resiliency means being able to withstand homelessness, abandonment, rape, sexual abuse, a nomadic lifestyle, loss of family members, survivor’s remorse, and social injustice. To be resilient is to be flexible, to be bendable, but unbreakable.
What helped you overcome trauma and learn to forgive?
I learned to forgive through my core values as a follower of Christ. Forgiveness is a virtue. I learned to forgive because I believe in the golden rule, do unto others that you want to be done unto you. The trauma I experienced was caused by flawed people who also have harmed themselves. To understand the harmed people, harm people, most times, in the same manner, as they were harmed; and to know, that is not my plight in life- HA! Who am I not to forgive?
4. How were you able to forgive your abuser/s?
Forgiving my abusers was a process. Through prayer, self-reflection, therapy, self-forgiveness, and more prayer, I could forgive my abusers. I included self-forgiveness because often when abused, the abused internalizes the harm with shame, guilt or sometimes abuses himself or herself through high-risk behaviors such as drugs, alcohol, or promiscuity. I repeat- it was a process. One must determine what is needed for them to forgive when harmed. It is a challenging process, however, necessarily cathartic.
How have you changed from your younger self to where you are now? I am more self-aware and I understand where my true power and strength reside. I have a greater sense of empathy and compassion for others.
Where does your true power reside?
My power resides in my ability to change environments through my voice and encounters with people. I challenge people to see themselves to see others. I call it Magical Disruption- a supernatural disturbance caused in one’s spirit that interrupts an individual’s current state of being or mindset. Ultimately, evoking positive change in a person’s life.
How did you become self-aware and strengthen your compassion for others?
As a young child, I was self-aware, and I walked in confidence even when others called me “weird or an L seven”. I was not afraid of being seen as different, I apologized when wrong or asked questions when confused. As an adult, I am more self-aware. I access my psychological, emotional, and physical states of being throughout the day. I am always aware of myself. It takes practice and compassion. Human beings are complex, we are flawed and with each new day, we are evolving and compassion is necessary. Before one can offer compassion to others, one must offer compassion to himself or herself. Having compassion for yourself gives you the ability to empower others.
What is the biggest change you see among the people you teach and what is the best/worst thing about what you do?
I am an author, educator, and motivational speaker who utilizes practical resolutions to support diverse learners and develops policies and procedures to ensure students and professionals have improved educational and professional outcomes, stability, minimal disruptions, and endless possibilities to succeed. I provide Section 504 and Special Education consulting services for schools and school districts. In addition, I facilitate educational and professional keynotes, training, and workshops on the topics of Resilience, Overcoming Trauma, Leadership, and Emotional Intelligence.
The worst thing about what I do is having to leave after I present. I get to witness a change in the individuals I teach. This change is called “MAGICAL DISRUPTION”. This change takes place among my workshop or keynote participants. Magical disruption is a supernatural disturbance caused in one’s spirit that interrupts an individual’s current state of being or mindset. Ultimately, evoking positive change in a person’s life. This experience creates an atmosphere of vulnerability and emotional disturbance. After which, participants will share countless stories about their life and how they are now energized to move beyond their hindrances and strive to achieve greatness. I wish I could stay longer and connect with each person. Their stories are an inspiration to me.
What has been the toughest and most rewarding experience you have encountered?
Recording my audiobook was a tough and rewarding experience. Although I learned strategies to minimize my difficulties with reading, I have dyslexia… reading out loud, while being recorded by a producer who was hearing my truth for the first time….Whew- It was a daunting task. As I read, I re-lived every word and moment. Yet it was so cathartic. The visual expressions on the producer’s face as I exited the booth between sessions were priceless. His embrace as I cried tears of sorrow and jubilation was necessary and served as a validating experience.
What do you mean by “broken crayons still color”?
Broken crayons still color means despite everything that a person has done or been through they still have purpose and value. Our society is quick to ostracize individuals who may have gone through a rough patch or maybe even made a bad decision or two. However, I believe that greatness lives in everyone. Just because you may be broken or hurt does not mean you can’t fulfill your dreams or purpose.
What do you hope to accomplish?
My mission is to empower individuals and organizations to move from broken to heal, to overcome their circumstances, and become successful. Leaders, educators, parents, students, and employees are increasingly faced with difficult challenges in life. Through my keynotes, programs, and workshops I will help you close the gap between where you are and where you desire to be.
Resilient Walker is available on Amazon, Barnes, and Noble, and Audible. To learn more about Walker and how to become more resilient click here. Also, one can stay updated with Walker on Instagram @resilientwalker