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Transmuting wounds to superpowers doesn’t have to be a loud, explosive affair

transmuting wounds to superpowers, woman crowning herself

During my last event, one of the topics we covered was transmuting wounds to superpowers and reframing challenges.  This is a universal archetypal experience.

For example, I’ve been told I’m too quiet all my life.  I thought there was something wrong with me for not having words at the tip of my tongue immediately when I was expected to perform. There’s some wounding around my quietness.

Self-exploration can answer deeply ingrained questions.

“Why am I this way?”  Or a more fulfilling question: “How can I use my gifts in a way that feels good?”

Sometimes we get stuck in victim-mode around our wounds.  There’s a purpose for victim-mode in the path of healing—it helps to see why things are so difficult.  

After we understand the big picture from this lens, we can choose to shift into a new narrative.

From a greater perspective, I can see that my quietness is a multitude of things.  I can separate the wound from the power.  Appreciate my sensitivity, heal the trauma.  

Why is a wound a wound?

Wounding might be around something that has caused pain (e.g. hearing opinions that you’re not enough) or shame (“something is wrong with me”).  

You may have wounds around beautiful aspects of your persona.  Maybe wounding around your creativity, sensitivity, or energetic drive.

Have you been consistently told you’re “too _____?”

Where have you felt not-enough?  

I invite you to explore this and widen your perspective.  How did this feel?  Did it cause you to hide behind bulky armor, or aggressively get into offensive-mode?  

Do you agree on a heart-and-soul-level with this designation?

Where is the line of “just-right” volume, sensitivity, creativity, energy, or whatever you’ve been measured by?  If it exists at all.

What else does this trait mean, and how does it uniquely identify who you are?

Create from wounds for healing and purpose.  

There is healing in creativity.  

Our wounds often lead us to a sense of purpose as we navigate them.  

I’ve discovered that my voice is well-suited for leading meditations and clients appreciate deep listening without being interrupted.  Being quiet helps me less often startle my semi-feral cat friend, who tends to spook and run at loud noises.  

You might find that you feel a sense of purpose through creating beautiful abstract paintings when you were once told you were “too messy.”  Or through writing your story after believing that you weren’t interesting enough.

Time and gently scuffing away layers of shame and perceived inadequacy uncover our gifts.

Transmutation of wounds to superpowers doesn’t have to be a big, loud affair.  

It can be quiet acceptance or simple language reframing. Gentle scuffing away of the layers preventing your shine. A natural changing of the tides in divine timing. It it isn’t always harsh and rough.

When you look for these wounded places through self-exploration or telling your story, you can see.  

Find and listen to those who reflect your superpowers back to you, whether that’s a good friend, colleague, mentor, coach, your students, or your beloved pet.  Experiencing authentic, warm, or loving connection can heal the past experiences of lost-connection that caused the wounds in the first place.

Even when you don’t realize it, you are already using your gifts.  

Analysis paralysis? You’re not alone.

analysis paralysis, image of purple and pink plasma ball of energy

For the past two days, analysis paralysis weighed me down. 

Each day, I sat down, wrote a list of to-dos, and stared until the words lost meaning.  My mind sifted through a mess of options like disconnected puzzle pieces scattered on the ground.

I tried prioritizing.

But priorities weren’t clear for complex work.  Even tasks with deadlines had information missing.  What seemed like the obvious next step (writing a first draft or scheduling an event) required knowledge or time doing something else. Like research or taking a class.  

I waffled with a spark of writing inspiration.

Should it should be a book or a blog?  Blog or book?  I knew ultimately it didn’t matter–the blog could easily become a book, and vice versa–but my mind was dead set on racing back and forth like a puppy exploring yummy scents on a trail.

I questioned whether I needed outside help.

Yet learning something new or seeking extra opinions would increase my existing information overload.

~

Can you relate? 

I’ve seen analysis paralysis often in clients who are spinning in many great ideas. Wanting to be thorough with a plan. Having all the knowledge before moving forward.  

Yet trying to fit a new creative idea into a box can be like trying to decide on what colleges a newborn should apply to.

It’s great to be conscientious and strive to be the best you can be.

And, imperfection is okay.  Imperfection is necessary for progress.

Needing to take the “right” actions is a mental trap that leads to overwhelm.

You can use self-awareness to shift into a state of calm inspiration.

When you know yourself, you understand your patterns and operating mechanisms. 

The better you know yourself, the quicker you get at calling yourself out. You’ll recognize the simpler issues causing the mental chaos.

Instead of learning how to do something from external sources (especially when your tasks require creativity and one size doesn’t fit all!), when you’re able to listen to your own body cues and soul whispers, the guidance you receive is apt for your current state.  Not the person you were two years ago or who you wish to be in the future. 

Now is where satisfaction and creative flow lives.  

When you’re writing, sometimes you need to research, plan, or prioritize your projects.  And sometimes you just need to write one page, focusing on a successful process to take you to your desired destination one step at a time.

~

As is my method, I turned to writing–and you can too. 

When I was in analysis paralysis, I wrote out my stuck spots.  As I journaled, I paid attention to my body sensations.  I started off by noticing that my “priority” stumped me.  My pen strokes were messy, shaky, and light on the page. My mind felt overwhelmed, body heavy.

As I kept writing what I thought I needed, I noticed where I felt more open, expansive, and inspired.

Here, my penmanship was bolder, neater, and more confident.  It felt right.

The sensations in my body and the sure letters forming on the page informed my answers.  

I didn’t really need external guidance to choose the best step forward. I just needed a baby step of inspired action.

What I discovered during my 10-minute self-exploration session.

On this day, rather than prioritizing, I needed to break down my tasks into the quickest and easiest to begin. Versus the most effortful.  Getting into the state of knocking out the little things would energize me to tackle the bigger ones.  

Ultimately, it was about using my systems for getting into the state of taking mini-actions to set off momentum.

~

I hope this story inspires you when you’re stuck in analysis paralysis. 

If you’re struggling to get out of your head, I’m happy to offer tools and guidance for connecting with your inner wisdom to create a satisfying creative life. Please reach out.  If you have a friend or two with similar struggles, please share and invite them to sign up to receive these articles.  

P.S. By recognizing perfectionism and taking one baby step, I found myself in productive flow. I also realized the “priority” wasn’t really a priority at all. All resulting from under 20 minutes of introspection.

You can find inspired action too. Feel free to respond and let me know your baby step.

Relevancy–another reason not to strive to please everyone

relevant woman carrying a torch

You know how when conversation turns to talk of the best stock options or your brother-in-law describes renovations on their house in detail, your eyes glaze over? 

It’s almost like you lose time in another dimension.  

Once you’ve refocused on something else–like the oranges on the tree outside (yumm, orange juice) or the beading on your water glass, you’re back in your body.

There’s a reason for this.

Human brains have a radar system.

It’s called the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC).  The ACC scans the environment for what is relevant to you.  The definition of “relevant” is unique to each person, based on life history.  The ACC doesn’t encode what’s seen as irrelevant.  

There’s a reason you might struggle to learn about or pay attention to things that don’t seem relevant–that’s not how the brain works.  

~

Imagine this article opened with information on the ACC.  How it’s the frontal part of the cingulate cortex surrounding the corpus callosum and has both cognitive and emotional components.

Unless you’re particularly interested in neuroscience, you may have tuned out the terms.  You probably would skip right over the terms to get to the point–I would.

You can probably relate to the experience of tuning someone out, even if you do speak the language of money markets and structural engineering. Sometimes those you dearly love share things that just don’t interest you.

This is why there’s a “hook” at the beginning of most types of writing–to catch the reader’s attention.

And so they know the article, book, story, etc, will be relevant to them.

Even if you’re passionate about hydroponics, that doesn’t mean your audience is, or knows the ins and outs of the terms you use.  Since you don’t want their eyes glazing over at the details, you want to find a way to link the details to the purpose, or how it relates to them.  

You can use the knowledge of the ACC’s function around relevancy in various aspects of your life.

I’ve written before about why to write to an ideal reader and 2 ways to clearly identify them.  To deeply engage your readers, you want to write to them directly.  You can’t please ‘em all.

I believe that storytelling, archetypes, and emotions are universal while details are unique. 

Whether you’re writing or you just want to feel seen, heard, and understood in your life, speak to those who get you. 

You can do this by relating to universal archetypes and emotions.  I’ve written about this here.  It’s a huge gift to feel understood through reading someone else’s story, particularly when you’ve felt invalidated or lonely in the past around your interests.  

Just by being yourself, you can find others who do find what you have to say relevant to them–you can connect to the deeper truths of what makes your story universal and engage your readers.

Goodbye attempts to please people and make everyone happy–hello authenticity, vulnerable courage, and connecting with your people.

Also, the next time you find yourself not feeling heard or understood–perhaps it’s not about you or your ability to express yourself clearly–it’s just others’ ACCs.

Last chance to sign up for Connection Through Story: Honoring your differences

Connection Through Story: Honoring your differences is happening tomorrow, Thursday April 14, 2022 at 5-6:30pm Pacific Time.

This event is hosted through New Renaissance Bookstore. Here is the registration link.

Do you feel different, struggle with feeling disconnected, and long for connection?  

young woman showing accessories on hands and neck
Photo by jasmin chew on Pexels.com

Feeling different might look like
being a deep thinker in a superficial world,
being introverted in a society that rewards extroverts,
having a body shape that doesn’t match what’s considered normal,
having an illness or disability that isn’t obvious when looking at you,
or being an empath, highly sensitive, or neurodivergent.

When you don’t see yourself in the mainstream media or those around you, you may struggle to make sense of your own experience. 

You may feel lonely, invisible, or misunderstood. 

Hiding parts of yourself provides safety in some situations, yet suppressing yourself can make it difficult to hear your inner voice, shine your radiant light, and share your sacred gifts with the world.

Writing is a powerful healing tool for connection. 

writing is a powerful healing tool for connection
Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

In this class, journaling and creative writing prompts create space for your full expression. 

Your quiet inner voice will lead you to the story that wants to be told.  Listening to your own story and witnessing others tell theirs offers deep connection–you’re not alone.  Your story is valid. 

Beginners welcome; you don’t need prior experience with writing, just interest in creative self-exploration.

Thursday, April 14, 2022
5 – 6:30pm Pacific Time

This class will be hosted by New Renaissance Bookstore. $25

Stories the world needs most and why those undertaking self-exploration change their lives

stories the world needs
Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

Below is an interview I did for New Renaissance Bookstore, around my upcoming event Connection Through Story: Honor Your Differences.

Q1) How did your connection with storytelling begin?
As a voracious reader, I loved stories.  In childhood, I read books and used my imagination to tell myself stories in order to get my mind off difficulties like health challenges and anxiety.  Stories helped me make sense of the world and understand why people acted the way they did.  I wanted to discover how to alleviate the pain and suffering in my life and that of others.

Q2) Why might folks undertaking journaling and self-exploration change their lives?
The key to change is awareness.  Journaling is a way to become aware of one’s patterns, thoughts, feelings, and what these signify.  It’s a way to connect to inner wisdom and let the quiet voice within be the guide.  And find greater compassion for oneself and others.  

So often, people are living on autopilot.  Doing what’s expected and accepted, yet feeling unsatisfied and disconnected within.  By connecting with yourself through journaling, you can listen to your inner wisdom for guidance about what’s really true for you, what you want, and how to make that happen.  I’ve witnessed the seemingly simple act of courageous self-exploration create small shifts that lead to big transformations.

Q3) What kind of stories does the world need most right now?
We can always use more stories from the heart, more perspectives, and more people claiming their voice.

The collective is a tapestry of people whose stories weave together with universal threads and personal truths.  Each person may need a particular medicine at a particular time.  At one point, someone might need a story that allows them to escape while another needs to face an uncomfortable truth.  One person may need uplifting inspiration, while another needs to be challenged to dig deep and access their grit.

I feel particularly that the world needs to hear from those who’ve been invisible.  People who’ve been made to believe their voice and story doesn’t matter, isn’t allowed, or is something to be ashamed about.  Representation matters. In doing the work of claiming your voice to tell your story, you light the way for others around you to shine their light as well.  I’m here to help these stories unfold so these voices can be seen, heard, understood, and celebrated.

I invite you to check out my upcoming class to explore your stories:

Connection Through Story: Honor Your Differences  4/14/22  5pm PT

When you feel invisible in mainstream media or amongst those around you, you may struggle to make sense of your own experience. Journaling and creative writing prompts create space for your full expression in this 90 minute class. Your story is valid. Beginners welcome, no prior experience in writing necessary.

About the author

I help people connect and tell their stories.

I am a certified coach, writing mentor, writer, and group facilitator who enjoys helping people who’ve felt different and struggle with feeling disconnected.

Since 2008, I’ve worked with writers in every messy step of the creation process. I’m passionate about delving deep into the story underneath the story — the root cause of the struggle with communication — so you can feel good about the results.

For more, I invite you to sign up for my mailing list or explore how we can work together.

Why to write to an ideal reader and 2 ways to clearly identify them

happy ideal reader
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

You know how you light up when you are talking to someone who just gets it?  You feel safe to share and go deeper with that person, because you know they get it.  You have a shared language.

Now imagine talking to someone who you can listen to, and be polite, in a conversation that doesn’t light you up.  Your conversation may not last as long or feel as richly fulfilling. 

Like, you’re bubbling with a cute story to share about your kitten.  Your sister is not a cat person.  She listens because she’s your sister.  It’s a lot more fun rehashing the kitty’s antics with your best friend with 3 cats!

Not every book is for everyone.  

You can’t (and don’t have to) win over everyone.  That’s okay.  It just means that certain things appeal to certain people.

You can like what you like, and they can like what they like.

This is why it’s difficult to reach “everyone” and have universal appeal. 

Instead of striving to make everyone happy (and inevitably becoming disappointed because it’s quite hard to please ’em all!), it’s more rewarding to speak to a particular population or two.  Sure, you could be aiming to convince a non-cat lover to appreciate the feline species, and it’s a fine choice to make consciously.  But you could also reach towards those who will reach back towards you. 

It’s okay to make a choice to write to one population and not another.  

This doesn’t mean you’re limiting yourself or keeping your piece out of the hands of someone who’d enjoy it.  It doesn’t mean that people outside your target audience wouldn’t enjoy it.  

You may have people who love the story that you never imagined reading.  The effectiveness and depth of connection is increased when you can talk directly to the reader.  It’s about thinking of certain populations.

Consider your purpose for writing.

If you’re a highly educated professional writing a memoir for the general population, you might need to be more (or less) detailed to help the reader understand.  You don’t want technical terms to confuse the reader.

These choices are based on your purpose.  What are you trying to do?  Are you wanting to convey the difficulty to someone who’s never experienced it?  Are you trying to convince them that they can do what you’ve done too, if they start?

Write directly to your ideal reader.

Some people have never been in a pool.  Some people have swum competitively.  Some people have watched a lot of swim documentaries, but have never swum themselves.  

So people would have different understandings of a breaststroke.  

When thinking about how your writing will land for your audience, you need to know who you are writing to.  It informs choices you’ll make.  Like how deep to describe a breaststroke. 

How to get clear on your target audience / ideal reader.

First, think about your own demographics.  Who are you, and where do you fit along the spectrum?  Chances are, people who share qualities with you could make ideal readers.  

  • Age 
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Religion 
  • Education Level
  • Socioeconomic Class

Next, think about psychographics.  This is a term used in marketing to depict:

  • Personality
  • Values 
  • Opinions 
  • Attitudes 
  • Interests 
  • Lifestyles 

Broaden your brainstorm of identities to include anyone you think would enjoy your piece.

I hope this helps you contextualize your ideal reader, and leads you to the juiciness of engaging with those who really want to soak in your words.

I encourage you to write directly to your ideal reader. The one who gets lit up by your words. The one who you feel lit up to share with. To experience that lovely loop of energy bouncing between the two of you, amplifying the connection the deeper you go.

About the author

I help people connect and tell their stories.

I am a certified coach, writing mentor, writer, and group facilitator who enjoys helping people who’ve felt different and struggle with feeling disconnected.

Since 2008, I’ve worked with writers in every messy step of the creation process. I’m passionate about delving deep into the story underneath the story — the root cause of the struggle with communication — so you can feel good about the results.

For more, I invite you to sign up for my mailing list or explore how we can work together.

Connection through story: Honoring your differences (Event Announcement)

Do you feel different, struggle with feeling disconnected, and long for connection?  

feeling different and wanting connection

Feeling different might look like
being a deep thinker in a superficial world,
being introverted in a society that rewards extroverts,
having a body shape that doesn’t match what’s considered normal,
having an illness or disability that isn’t obvious when looking at you,
or being an empath, highly sensitive, or neurodivergent.

When you don’t see yourself in the mainstream media or those around you, you may struggle to make sense of your own experience. 

You may feel lonely, invisible, or misunderstood. 

Hiding parts of yourself provides safety in some situations, yet suppressing yourself can make it difficult to hear your inner voice, shine your radiant light, and share your sacred gifts with the world.

Writing is a powerful healing tool for connection. 

writing is a powerful healing tool for connection
Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

In this class, journaling and creative writing prompts create space for your full expression. 

Your quiet inner voice will lead you to the story that wants to be told.  Listening to your own story and witnessing others tell theirs offers deep connection–you’re not alone.  Your story is valid. 

Beginners welcome; you don’t need prior experience with writing, just interest in creative self-exploration.

Thursday, April 14, 2022
5 – 6:30pm Pacific Time

This class will be hosted by New Renaissance Bookstore. $25

3 types of resistance in meeting creative needs

Do you struggle to set yourself up for success in meeting your creative needs?

creative needs

“Be in control of your environment,” my physical therapist often says.  

If it hurts to reach up and retrieve a dinner plate from the cabinet, move the plates.

Such simple, practical advice.  So why does something so straightforward feel impossible at times?

Resistance can take many forms.

It may be a visceral physical feeling: pain, exhaustion, overwhelm.

It may be emotions: anger, sadness, fear.

It may be thoughts: Move the plates?  Where?  The countertops are too full.  Plates are supposed to be stored in the cabinet.  

It’s a shared space; I can’t go around changing the kitchen to my whims.  

This isn’t supposed to be happening to me.  It shouldn’t hurt to do something most people don’t think twice about. I’m too young for this. 

I can’t do it.  It’s too much.

What is so hard about moving plates?  Goodness, how can I fail at such a simple thing?

I should be doing more, working harder, finding solutions to fix myself so I don’t need to move the plates.

Sometimes you need to change yourself, and sometimes you can’t.

Sometimes you need to change yourself

To work harder, to take a break.  Fill a gap in your knowledge, leave your comfort zone.  Hold a boundary, compromise. Speak up, quiet down.

Resistance to the status quo comes in handy, pointing out where you can improve.

Sometimes you don’t need to change yourself

The urge to do more may come from an insatiable internal pressure and societal programming.  The instilled belief that (1) you aren’t enough, that (2) you need something outside of you, or (3) you need to change who you are in order to have what you truly want.

Resistance against norms or your own internal pressure can stem from your inner wisdom’s voice.

Sometimes you physically can’t change yourself

Due to illness, injury, chronic condition, or simply how your brain operates.  Time constraints, financial limitations, responsibilities.  There’s only so much you can do. 

Here, resistance makes a lot of sense–it’s your body saying, “no.”   

Changing the environment to meet your creative needs.

As a creative, you need tools just as in any craft.  To write: pen & paper, computer & word document.

Beyond that, you need resources: Time and space to create.  Peace of mind without other burning priorities and unmet needs.  

You may have requirements that look different from someone else’s.  That’s okay.  If your needs feel unreasonable, get curious and ask yourself–is this because you’re used to ignoring your needs?

  • Maybe you want your blue Bic ballpoint pen, otherwise the words don’t come out right.
  • Or your inbox has to be at 0 so unread and to-send messages aren’t nagging at you.
  • If you can’t focus in a cluttered environment, what would it take to clear out your room?
  • If a fortress of pillows and blankets feels safe, what if you turned off your phone, locked your door, and created a cozy cave?  Yes, even though you’re an adult and this sounds like child’s play. 
  • If you do your best creative work outside, can you take a notebook and walk to the park?
  • If you need a day to yourself and blasting music so you can focus, how might that work?
  • Conversely, how can you be around people to get into a happy productive zone?

Start with awareness of your creative needs–what’s truly stopping you?

Be gentle with yourself in your inquiry of your needs. Especially when it stops being about the plates and touches something much deeper. A therapist or mentor can help with long-existing raw spots.

It’s okay to ask for support with mental blocks. It’s common to not see an obvious solution until someone points it out to you. It might help to inform a spouse or family member to help you meet a need.

I invite you to think outside the box. Be open and flexible.  What if… I had the space, tools, and resources that met my creative needs?

When it’s all too much, H.A.L.T. (acronym) if you’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired.  Resource yourself.  Break it down.  And try again.  Small steps can make a world of difference in your creativity, productivity, and satisfaction. 

Keep your plates from causing you pain and create an environment that supports your success.

Good luck and happy writing.

4 frequently asked questions about writing prompts and 7 free prompts

What are writing prompts?

Writing prompts ask open-ended questions to get you thinking. Guided questions makes it less daunting to sit down and explore your thoughts and feelings in free-form.

reflective writing prompts
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Who are they for?

Whether you’re comfortable or uncomfortable with writing, your words are just for you. Because of this, writing prompts are for anyone who wishes to explore and express themselves, regardless of how good of a writer you are.

Even if 10 people write to the same prompt, their answers will be unique. So prompts are customizable to your situation, and you’ll have different answers to the same prompt at different times in your life, or even times of the day.

When can you use writing prompts?

  • When you need to express yourself, but aren’t sure where to start
  • When you’re feeling confused or indecisive
  • To get back into a creative practice
  • When you’re stuck in a creative project
  • When you need self-care
  • For self-exploration
  • When you want a spiritual connection
  • When your child-self needs attention

The benefits of writing prompts:

  • Emotional catharsis
  • Release of physical gripping and holding
  • Listen to your inner wisdom
  • Clarity on your needs, desires, feelings, etc
  • Get fired up about something you’re excited by
  • Calm yourself after a challenging situation
  • Feeling seen, heard, understood
  • Practice communication
  • Creative flow

Wish to try? Check out this free 7 day challenge to connect to yourself through writing.

When you struggle to be heard

Have you tried asking others for advice, only to end up feeling scattered by contradictory opinions? You struggle to be heard. Maybe nothing anyone says or does feels right.

When you feel like all you’re needing is someone to listen and validate you, it’s really frustrating when it seems like no one is able to do that—offering unwanted advice, suggestions, or feedback instead.

when you struggle to be heard
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

There are times when you need external support, and times when what you really need is your own presence. Perhaps you know that only you have the answers to what you truly need and want… but you’re in your own way.

Compassionately listening to yourself allows you to hold your feelings, needs, desires, and goals as valid and important. You can make space for all that you are, even the parts that no one else knows about.

Seeing, hearing, and understanding yourself through writing can ease the weight of feeling invisible in your suffering.

I invite you to try a free 7 day writing prompt practice for listening to your own inner wisdom.