Healing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): An Australian Policeman’s Intimate Account


Ray Karam is a husband and family man with five children. He owns multiple businesses and is an active community member of Ballina, a coastal town on the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, Australia. Many know him for his consistency, openness, deep care, vitality and excellent dress sense. Most notably, however, many associate Ray with a man who always makes time to connect with people and hear their stories, passions and concerns. In a nutshell, Ray is community. No one would ever imagine that recently he has made a miraculous recovery from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), after experiencing multiple attacks and tragic circumstances, while serving as an Australian police officer for 13 years, mainly in inner Sydney.

During one family dinner, Ray Karam’s sister-in-law Heidi Baldwin, who only had a vague understanding of his history, began to ask questions. Ray’s tenderness in sharing the details, stories, wisdom and insight that he has gained from this part of his life is astounding. This has led to the questions being recorded for others to experience.

What has resulted is a groundbreaking piece of writing, which provides insights into a world few understand. Ultimately, it is a love letter of understanding and compassion to all those who choose to serve and protect their community as police officers.

Read more……

Driving cars – Why I love it part 1.


I have been driving cars now for many years, ever since I was around 12 years old. Those who know me are aware of my love for cars but it’s not only the cars themselves, it’s the driving of them that gives me equal pleasure. If we take this back to where it started it may make more sense. Growing up, my parents loved cars and as a sideline they would detail cars together at our house for a local car dealer. My father in particular would always be washing and polishing his cars and this was something that transferred to me. My Dad was a role model for me; as I grew up he was one of the strongest role models in my life – as you can see from the photo below.


When it came to driving my father was my first teacher and as I mentioned, these lessons began when I was quite young.

What was great about my father was he gave firm direction while at the same time was willing to allow me to have responsibility and grow.

My first steps into driving were in a paddock at home in a small Mini Moke – it had 2 seats and didn’t have any brakes. The lesson for me here was to learn to use a manual car without needing brakes and also took away the temptation to speed. I remember driving around for many hours in the paddock; I only had a certain amount of fuel I could use and so I also learned to care and appreciate the time I did have driving. I would drive fast at times but driving for me, even at that young age, was so much more then driving fast. I loved and enjoyed just driving; learning how to be smooth in changing the gears, to the relationship on of how when my body was tense it seemed more difficult to drive. Even though this was an old car I would wash and polish it then always reverse it into our large shed out of the way. Even the reversing of the car into the shed became something I wanted to master.

Fast forward to now some 30 years later and I still love driving and love cars. As I said, it’s never really been about going fast or having fast cars, it’s more than that. I love driving to a feeling, watching passengers, watching the traffic and most of all, feeling how my body feels. I learnt from a young age that if you bring a tense, busy or frustrated body to driving, then this is how you drive. In other words, you drive how you live. Ever get into your car and it seems like every light changes to red in front of your eyes, or you get stuck behind a slow driver that really bugs you? Then ever experience the times when the ‘seas seem to part’ and you have a dream run to a destination? This relationship is not by chance . . . it comes from how you are before you drive.

What happens in your driving is only a reflection of what happens in your life – the two are linked.

The next time you drive or sit in the driver’s seat of the car, take a short moment to check in with how you are feeling. Are your shoulders tense, your mind on other things, are you talking on your phone or texting or are you sitting ready – ready for the drive ahead? Then as you are driving use the time to check in to your body: how are your hands on the steering wheel, how do your arms feel and how are your legs feeling? There are many little games or ‘check-in’s’ you can do while driving. It’s not a time just to get from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’ but a time to use to feel your body.

Do all this knowing that how you are is how you drive.




Sharks at Ballina – why as a community are we so divided and what can be done.


Below is a recent letter I sent to a number of people and agencies both in Local and State Government. There is an old saying, “it’s not what you do but it’s the way that you do it” that rings true with all things and this issue is no different.


Hello everyone, 

With the very active Shark issue in our local community at the moment I have been looking around at what other areas or councils are doing to support the decision making process around ‘tricky issues’. I have attended a lot of the meetings with the DPI as a representative for the Ballina Chamber of Commerce but I approach you as a concerned community leader. I was witness to the last Ballina Shire Council meeting and watched the continued emotion this issue has bought into the community. The some of the general flavour of concerns continue to be the community fearing they aren’t being heard, the lack of community constellation, the lack of trust in Government, to frustration of wasted time and resources, the injury and impact within the community. While these concerns aren’t exhaustive they are a sample of what is within our community. I understand the State Government decision to now go ahead with the Shark net trial which I support as a step with other measures as you have done.

I want to bring your attention to the results being obtained through Citizen juries.

In South Australia this is what they have to say:

Citizens’ Juries aim to change the way democracy is done in SA, creating a new balance between experts and the public and giving elected representatives confidence that public judgment (rather than opinion) contributes to better decision-making.  

This is a ground-breaking approach for the way governments make decisions; it presents our elected leaders with an uncontrolled result, reached by a group of South Australians whose composition ensures that they able to represent the state. While lobbyists, activists and community groups are welcome to present their points-of-view to the jury, the structured and supported process ensures that final recommendations are developed independently. Juries have given South Australia opportunities to bring the voice of its community into decision-making around a tricky policy issues”

Here is the link for more information with a current citizens jury and also the results of some others http://yoursay.sa.gov.au/initiatives/citizens-jury 

What I have found appealing about these type of community run juries are the fact that they are ‘run’ by the people, by the community. What I have found much of the feedback and criticism from the community has been they are not being listened to even after what some may consider exhaustive consultation. I have said before it is becoming more and more obvious that conventional consultation processes may be gaining results but they are certainly not supporting the consistent wider community view. The great result or method of the juries are that they not only have community representatives within them selected from a cross-section of the community but the process is run within the community in their full view. The juries are able to call witness and are supported to find the facts within these areas and not get drawn into or pushed around by emotion. These types of forums will be more and more a thing of the future I think. It takes the pressure away from Government and brings a lot more responsibility back to the communities decisions.

I would be looking for this to be supported with Council as driver for any decisions forward on the shark issue. The coordination of any jury would need to be funded and in the shark issue I’m sure pressure towards the State Government at this point may support something like this to be supported by them in this current climate. This type of thing could also be put on the radar by our Local Council for any further community engagement in the future.

I will be also forwarding this information to all parties at Local, State and Federal level. I look forward to your replies and I am always available for chats around this. My phone number is 0402……. for those who may not already have it.

Warm regards,

Ray Karam

Responsibility – a big word that’s only ever true when lived.

What a word – Responsibility – it was a word I avoided growing up and whenever it was said I felt a huge pressure, an expectation and as if it were something I would need to live up to constantly. In saying that, was it an actual word I avoided or was it the feeling that came with it that I avoided?

It seemed whenever you did something wrong or whenever something big was coming up, the word responsibility would be thrashed in there almost to scare you. It would pretty much always come in one of ‘those’ talks, almost a dressing down that would be so heavy and serious. Why are we so serious and heavy when it comes to the word responsibility?

I know also that because of how I held the word, I was also running from something when people talked about it when I was young. This wasn’t a one-sided relationship with the word responsibility – I had my hand in there somewhere as well, it’s just that I couldn’t see it.

Travel forward 30 years and here I am with children and supporting them with responsibility. So do I deliver the same as it was for me or do I change it and give them everything I didn’t have? Or more still, do I unwrap what responsibility is for me and then deliver that to them and everyone? I have come to know responsibility very well – I have a relationship with it. I have found it’s not a word to be delivered in a serious and heavy way to make you fear. It’s a word that has a true meaning – a living way for us all to consider.

Responsibility is not about something you need to do, it is about how you are and the quality you are in in every moment. I know you ask, ‘quality?’ Well if I am in a shop selling you something, you can say I have many responsibilities; to pay the rent, be polite, be professional, make sure the product does what it says it does etc. etc. But what if responsibility has nothing to do with doing? What if my first responsibility was for how I am with myself; how loving, how careful, how dedicated I am to feeling etc., knowing that everything I do after that first point carries with it that imprint of love, care and dedication? It’s well worth considering the very fact that how we are with ourselves at any moment carries forward into the doing, so it is about quality first, a quality of being well before a doing. Some may say ‘we just need to get this done’ regardless of the quality, but there is always plenty to do and this will never stop. The only thing that is there to change is how you are, your being.

In this light, responsibility is far greater than we think but yet it’s not a heavy load or something we need to achieve or learn for the first time. It is within us, within our relationship with ourselves that we grow responsibility out and from there it touches everything we do. No serious talks needed, just a living imprint of a step in a relationship with ourselves that then people and children can feel.

Even the word in the ‘Hello’ responsibility can then be felt. Children don’t learn from what you say, they learn from what you do. It’s time to lead the way instead of trying to direct and control. True responsibility is a living way and not just a word we tell someone.




My Whole Body not only walks it talks

When I was young I remember there was a lot of focus on how you could remember things. All through school I recall struggling to learn, at times turning off to how things were taught. Those who were able to remember or recall things were rewarded and when I looked at the volume of work I thought it was impossible to learn so much, let alone recall it when I needed it. I was told that reading things over and over would help but I soon lost interest in this.

Any time there was a practical part to the learning or a physical application to what was being said, it just made sense and I was able to simply pick things up. I remember knowing and outwardly saying that when I had a tangible application to what was shown to me I found it easy. It was like education was targeting a particular part of you and for me this didn’t gel with how things were – it was like my whole body knew it needed to be involved for things to make sense. I had thoughts that part of me was dumb – that I wasn’t intelligent and I was just a physical type of person. I not only grew up with this but took it into my life… I believed that because I had difficulty with this type of learning that meant I would never be normal or be successful.

As I grew up and went from school into the workforce, similar things would happen. I was a life learner; whenever I could apply what someone was saying to life it made complete sense. It was like I had a particular way of learning – I didn’t just want to remember or recall something, I wanted to be able to live it. I wanted to know how what was said made sense to my whole body. Again I thought this was somehow inferior or that I was somehow dumb for having to be like this. I watched others pick things up quickly and I was somewhat a slow learner because of needing to apply a teaching to life. Some things I would pick up and others I wouldn’t. It wasn’t as if everything that I applied to life stayed with me either, and I didn’t know why this was. I had many question about life and in particular about how I learnt. I remember telling people how I found it best to learn and when I would say it I would still think this made me a second-rate citizen or similar.

I met a man by the name of Serge Benhayon who spoke of whole body intelligence, and when he did this just made sense. I came to realise that I wasn’t a broken, dumb and second-rate human being. In fact none of us are and from the awareness of what he said I was able to understand why I learned in the way I did. Even all those years back I was aware that something wasn’t right with just using part of my body to rule over the rest. It didn’t make sense, even though I put a lot of effort in trying to make this the case. It was like my whole being wouldn’t allow me to focus on a part but kept bringing it back to everything. My body knew something and even though it appeared quiet at times, I could see from how Serge Benhayon was, that there was a choice by me to have it this way.

The more awareness I bought to my whole body intelligence, the more everything around me made sense. I felt like I could be in the middle of life but not be surrounded and consumed by it. In this awareness – that appears at this point to have no end – I was able to gain insight into the past and future, all from the present. By staying and dedicating to how my whole body was feeling in any moment, I was able to expand my view of the world and have understanding of what was going on around me.

It wasn’t something you turned on, whole body intelligence was just there and you only needed to connect to it. This was like me returning to what I knew, what I always knew, but because I saw the world didn’t reward this I tried to change how I was to be a part of it. All along I was being pulled back to how I was; I knew how everything worked from a young age. I knew growing up that there was more to learning than school could support me with – for me this is why I learned the way I did. My body had an awareness of what was going on all along – it’s just that I didn’t trust that this was true from all that was around me. When Serge Benhayon came along it wasn’t as if he was saying something I didn’t already know, he simply had more awareness of the truth. I knew it but had doubted and discounted what I was feeling.

Whole body intelligence is the new, and the old, black.

Coming back to Community – from the past to now and back again.

I have made no secret of my love for growing up in a small country town. It would seem each day I speak of it I see something else to appreciate about it. But is it the country town that was the reason for this or was it the feeling within this country town that was the key?

I say this because I have experienced this same feeling at work in the city, in the street in other towns and at people’s homes on occasions. I don’t want to limit this to being just about ‘country towns’ which in my experience are really beautiful, because if you didn’t have that experience growing up it doesn’t mean you have missed out somehow. The feeling I am talking about is more often not related to country towns but because of their nature and their size it is easier to see it when it is there – this feeling is community and it can be true community if we truly support each other.

This support can be as simple as helping with something physical, it could be a chat, a wave, a smile or just a presence. I remember growing up and riding down the street. My parents job was made easier because it felt like I had 100 fathers and mothers at least in the town.

The way I acted when I was young felt like I always had someone watching me, this is not like it sounds or how you may think. I wasn’t fearful of being caught or wanting to sneak around, but it seemed with everything that was presented to me I had a choice. I could do anything I wanted but what would the consequence be of my choice? I was always accountable to my community.

This was like a steady support inside of me that was accessible in every moment, in every decision I made.

At times this was there even with no one around, so physically no one was watching but the feeling was still there. Some may see this as a young man under control, or being controlled, but it was far, far from this. What I see it as now is a community working together, people being responsible for themselves and others which in turn holds everyone in that equal responsibility if they choose it. As a young man growing up I had all the freedom under the sun. My parents worked very hard and so from a young age I would have time to do my own thing. I just kept choosing to stay with that responsibility that had been set for me, not only by my parents but in the community where we lived. My parents and grandparents and family were big community people when I was growing up. We had businesses in the town and had a reputation of being hard-working caring people– but to me, it wasn’t just our family, the whole community felt like this.

Karam's Fruit and Veg Market in CasinoSo what does this say? Does it make this exclusive to my small country town or to only people related to the Karams? No, what it is saying is that any community, no matter how big or small has a quality and in that, everyone has a responsibility to that quality, they all contribute to it whether they choose to be aware of it or not.


The majority or sum total of that community quality is what everyone will feel or be pulled towards.

So when I speak about how “I always felt I had someone watching me”, it was the collective quality of the local community that I was sensing, a quality that inspired a certain level of responsibility to be, live or act in a certain way. In this way we are all responsible for what goes on in the community in which we live, work or even visit.

Are we adding to the quality in a way that supports others or are we detracting from the quality?

I see the way we return to true community is in everyone, or at least the majority, holding a quality of care and responsibility in how they are, first with themselves and then with each other.

If we run each other down, compete, ignore etc then this is the quality we are putting into the community that will then be the place we live.

If we want community back, if we want that country town feel, then ‘we’ need to hold that feeling in everything we do first. So there is value in reflecting on and talking about what we haven’t got or what we have lost, but this ‘talk’ will need action and not just talk. True community is about people first and we are people, how you are with yourself, just like in a community, goes out to all others.

True community starts at home as they say and the first home is you, how you are with you. This is the foundation of the community we can all we enjoy and be enriched by.