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Meet Ellie Zarrabian, PhD of Centerpeace Foundation

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ellie Zarrabian, PhD.

Ellie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am the Founder and Director of the Centerpeace Foundation and the Centerpeace Project. I also teach at Antioch University in the Trauma Studies Department. Last year, I finished writing my book on how to turn conflict into calm and this year I am looking to publish it. I live in a lovely loft apartment on the Westside of L.A. and spend my down time travelling and spending time with my amazing children and crazy but lovable dog.

But my life was not always this fruitful. In fact, my earlier years were spend recovering from trauma, depression, joblessness and homelessness.

You see, I am a child survivor of war. In 1979 my native country of Iran went into war with its neighboring country of Iraq. Overnight the Shah or King of Iran was overthrown and the Islamic extremists took to the streets robbing, looting and lynching anyone who was a supporter of the old regime. My earliest memories of my childhood is of either being bombed or people being publicly executed. Thankfully, soon after all the mayhem began, my family and I escaped. Practically overnight, we packed our lives into a few suitcases and quickly and abruptly left our homeland. We escaped to United Kingdom where we became refugees and later immigrated to the United States. When we left Iran, we did not tell our friends or neighbors that we were leaving. We just left everything as it was, only never to return again.

Looking back, it has taken me what seems like a lifetime to work through the trauma I experienced as a child. These childhood experiences will forever be etched in my mind.

These experiences also robbed me of having a “normal” life as a young adult. I struggled with depression for many years and could not take care of myself reliably. My family had also suffered the consequences of these earlier experiences. My father was not able to work and make sufficient income for us so we struggled financially. My mother lost her ability to be a caring, nurturing presence and as a result harbored and expressed a great deal of anger and rage towards everyone including her children.

But the good news is that when I turned twenty-four, I decided to turn my life around. Once I made this pact with myself, I actually turned my life around. Through hard work, different types of therapies, higher education and a devoted spiritual practice, I was able to go on to create the life I have today.

Today, the culmination of these experiences has instilled in me an unwavering desire to do the same for others. As a person who has known suffering, I help others turn their life around. I coach people who also want to do better in life how to make great shift by attaining emotional, physical, financial and spiritual wealth.

Please tell us about Centerpeace Foundation.
I use my background in psychology, trauma healing, Therapeutic Touch, mindfulness meditation, leadership training and spirituality to help people overcome emotional, financial, and physical barriers.

I founded the Centerpeace Foundation in 2008 where I educate and privately consult people. Then in 2014, I created the Centerpeace Project where I go into different parts of the world virtually and work with young adults who are living in areas with a great deal of social unrest. By educating them through my written work, vlogs/ blogs and webinars, I establish communication with people who are interested in helping their communities in part of the work where they are dealing with a great deal of poverty, racism, sexism and religious discrimination.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I am not sure what I would have done differently. I didn’t have much in terms of resources or support to start my career, so I had to literally build my life from nothing. As a result, I have earned everything I have and all that I have become. I feel every bit grateful. I also make it point to practice gratitude on a daily basis. Therefore, I don’t have any regrets…only blessings!

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