My #LinkYourLife Passion: Why I Keep Showing Up

A note from Shawna: I was chatting with Raymond Baxter, The Relationship Blogger, on Facebook when he began sharing the aspects of #LinkYourLife he most enjoys. He told me he has run support groups and that our Facebook group was what a support group was meant to be. That had me excited because the whole goal of #LinkYourLife from day one has been to connect on deeper levels, to support and raise each other by truly getting to know one another beyond the blog, beyond Tweets, and beyond Facebook shares.

I asked if he would like to write a piece as a guest (again-see his first guest post here) on The Honeyed Quill sharing his thoughts. He accepted and composed the piece almost immediately, much to my surprise. I’m not sure why I was surprised. Raymond always follows through and is 100% genuine. He has been an incredible friend since we’ve met via our mutual friend, who he mentions below.

I told him I wanted to put this piece up on a Friday, which is the day #LinkYourLife is most active on Twitter and Facebook. He agreed. Here it is. I hope you enjoy it and that you go find Raymond on his site across the pond from mine. He is very much worth reading.

I also hope you will join us online. In our Facebook group. We are currently doing daily video and image shares. On Twitter, we are supporting, reading, retweeting and going beyond the RT. Find us and say hello!

~~~

purpose

I tell you, meeting Shareen and Shawna was an absolute blessing. And I happened upon it by total chance. Probably one of the best chances I’ve ever taken. Skinny and Single is a lovely, lovely lady. She tries not to act it but I’m here today because of her. She was the one that introduced me to this group. As we were talking over something unimportant, she suddenly came up with this, “Ah, I think you’ll fit right in here. They’ll love you in there.” And she added me to #LinkYourLife Connection, the #LinkYourLife Facebook group.

At first, I must admit that I was rather tentative about the whole idea. This was a group that self-proclaimed the promotion of empowerment and inclusion. Yet all the other Facebook groups, writing or supportive, were usually bogged down my too many rules and regulations rather than support. Admins were too afraid to get their hands dirty and usually had themselves protected too much, on some high throne of wellness. So I was sceptical, to say the least. I was all for empowering and supportive environments. I had run them previously for three years in my last job.

Supportive environments are just that; They support and they empower people. I’ve run several groups in my time, each of them grown better than my initial expectations. As a group leader, I wholly recognise the dynamic of the group and know where my place will be as the group grows. If we have strong leaders in the group already, I tend to take a step back and let them lead us into new and exciting directions whilst being there to support the less confident members.

Yet, on the other hand, if I have a group of unconfident people then I lead strongly until a time that I feel other members are growing and outgrowing my leadership. And people tend to do that. The more confidence a person gains, then leadership can become a battle. One must learn to lead from the sidelines. It’s all very empowering and I used to absolutely love doing it. Watching people grow exponentially. Doing things they never thought possible. It’s amazing to watch. 

And this is why I LOVE LinkYourLife Connection SO much. The dynamic–it’s just like one of my groups. I didn’t even know Shawna and Shareen were the owners until at least the third or fourth day. If I look back, as a strong-willed, and confident young man it probably would have played on my ego to have someone immediately introduce themselves as “my leader”. I usually lead. I’m not accustomed to being led or forcefully led. I feel this was immediately recognised. My transition into the group was easy and immediate. I love the whole dynamic and the individualistic approach that both Shareen and Shawna have going.

It’s also really important to me that we’re not bogged down by a ton of rules and negativity. Like when God speared his rules into two tablets of stone with lightning whilst Moses stood there, quivering. “THOU SHALT NOT. . .” I feel that breeds negativity and uprising. Authoritarian just doesn’t inspire or help in my opinion. There are times when authoritarianism needs to be used, but not in an empowering and uplifting environment. You know what? I’ve never had or saw any rules pitted against anyone in a display of authoritarianism in there. It’s very relaxed and open.

And wow, they are open. People are encouraged to dig deep. We’re all writers in there and we are inspired by one another. A lady called Darla, she wrote an amazing piece on the Huffington post about her gambling addiction, which, in turn, had me sharing my worst memory, which in turn I feel had Charlotte sharing a tough memory about herself. We are being taught how to write to inspire, and it’s truly an amazing journey. My writing has improved ten fold since meeting Shawna and Shareen, and it’s been through their competitions and hints and tips that I’ve improved myself. It’s truly a thought provoking, and inspiring environment.

I’d recommend this group for anyone that wants to improve their writing, or truly write to inspire others. That was my main aim at the beginning. Writing to inspire. And I’ve been carried along on an amazing journey of self-analysis and learning. Which I really feel I couldn’t have managed if I hadn’t met these lovely people.

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What’s Your Problem With My Gluten-Free Diet?

There is a lot of judgment out there against those of us who have gluten-free diets. I’m not sure why. If your kid is allergic to peanuts, do you feed her peanuts? I’m gonna guess not.
Okay, I do know why. It’s an accommodation issue. When something is new or unexpected or foreign, it’s scary. There is a LOT I could say about accommodation, but not right now. This is going to be relatively brief.
TRUSTYOURGUT
I get it. It’s easier to serve kids crackers and cookies than carrot sticks. If I could handle gluten, I know which one I’d go for! And if you can eat gluten, why would you opt for a gluten-free cake? I know I wouldn’t.
To avoid being that annoying person who requires you to make a separate meal plan, I bring my own food and often send my kids to parties with desserts they can safely consume and share (unless the host/ess contacts me and says they’ve got something prepared knowing our restrictions). My family originally went off gluten for me, but it turned out at least 3/5 have a serious problem with the stuff. I accommodate us for the reason above, but mostly for the following two reasons:
1. I don’t want my child being left out/uninvited/succumbing to peer pressure by poisoning his body with a food it will take months to recover from consuming.
 
2. Unless a family is already gluten-free due to allergy/sensitivity, it is very unlikely they understand how to keep my child safe when it comes to food. Not a judgment. It took me a long time to get it right for myself and reach good health. I don’t expect others to intuitively understand the ins and outs.
I also: read all labels twice, research restaurants and review menus before going out, check with staff prior to ordering, pack all meals in the car for travel, and offer to make meals and bring snacks anywhere I might stay for an extended period.
Even though I don’t expect anyone to cater to my dietary needs outside my home, I do expect some understanding. Celiac disease is real and has required many families to shuffle their eating habits or completely build a new deck. I can’t claim to have that because I was unable to get a diagnosis. After recognizing the symptoms but finding no evidence via blood draws and allergy testing, my doctor told me to go off gluten anyway. I’m absolutely certain I would get the Dx now, but I can’t without going back on a food that will literally poison me for several weeks for at least six weeks prior to testing. Same for my kids. And that’s a shame, because without a doctor’s note people feel free to tell me I’m faking or that gluten intolerance isn’t real.
Here’s the other reason the public is so annoyed by gluten-free. Everyone and their neighbor has tried it out by “cutting down on gluten” for a little while. That’s a low carb diet, not a gluten-free diet. “Gluten-free” means no gluten at all and it takes about two months for the stuff to really work out of your system and six months for your body to get healing if you have a problem with it.

I love that guy. He knows what it’s all about.
While I find it hilarious when people tell me they are “mostly” gluten-free, I understand some are in transition. Lifestyle changes can be very hard. I try to support everyone where they are. Being GF (as well as dairy- and soy-free because my body hates wonderful things) is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a huge commitment. I’m grateful there is a bit of our culture that treats it like it’s awesome instead of cumbersome, but I wish it wasn’t coopted by so many. It makes it really hard for the rest of us who can’t get a diagnosis to be taken seriously. No Dx doesn’t mean no problem.
But the idea that one cookie is okay or “it won’t hurt you” is a problem. A BIG problem. I’m thankful for families like these who speak up.
 
True story: I feel rage when people say gluten intolerance isn’t real. It’s one of the few claims that actually makes me want to punch a person right in the ignorance. It’s practically equivalent to supporting Trump. Stop invalidating my life experience! #nevertrump 
 
Whew. Deep breath. Not everyone can function with intelligence or compassion. Back to your regularly scheduled reading.

Opting Out of Autism: The Way is Shut

After reading an article by another autism mama on whether she was spoiling her child versus accommodating his special needs, I sat down to cry. Here was a woman writing into my life, articulating her parallel parenting existence. And she was receiving positive feedback on her parenting! Imagine my surprise to discover we share not only the same struggles, but the same first name with the same spelling? When validation comes, it is unexpected. When it comes from a woman with my own name, it’s a sign. At least, I’m going to choose to interpret it that way. I’ll tell you why.

Our autism journey has been a very rough ride, and not because we face the challenges of autism the world has come to expect. My son is high-functioning. But what does that mean?

It means Noah doesn’t flap. He is articulate. He is athletically gifted. He is highly intelligent. Noah can make eye contact when in conversation. He has good handwriting. He has a deep friendship that has lasted years. He is outgoing and has no problem making new friends. In general, it is not obvious to the public that he is on the spectrum.

Opting Our of Autism-The Way is ShutSome people need it to be obvious. I want to talk about that–about the implicit and explicit judgment Noah faces as an individual and I face as a parent due to our autism not being popularized by media or light-it-up-blue blurbs.

“High-functioning” for us means, while Noah may have excellent gross motor skills, team sports or any competitive activity is a no. His thinking is black and white, so competition means enemy, and that frightens him and puts him into defense mode.

It means no crowds. The world is loud and full of terrors (i.e. smells, motion, lights, textures) , all of which Noah sees on high-alert and cannot sort. Have you ever had a panic attack? Imagine what the world looks like at its height and start there.

No leaving the house unless it’s absolutely necessary. This means no plays. No concerts. Very few movies as a family. Unless one parent is prepared to leave with Noah. This is what Noah and I did halfway through a sold-out-months-in-advance Yo-Yo Ma concert.

When we do attend any of these spaces? There is a “release” period afterward during which Noah is highly agitated and decompresses by running/dancing around wildly, shouting and/or hyper-focusing on a book or video. A lot of times it means a fight and him being sent to his room to calm down, which allows him the space he needs but also reinforces his low sense of self-worth.

Why? Because “high-functioning” also means separation anxiety. And the ability to see that he’s not quite doing things “right” but not how to correct course to blend in a neurotypical world.

It means the inability to accurately identify threats.

The continued inability to “love” more than one friend at once when all are in the same space. In the past, this has resulted in him identifying one friend as adversary, because if you’re not friends you are _________. Were you able to fill in that logic worksheet blank?

It means literal thinking about the real world.

It means adaptive thinking about video game worlds. Video game worlds have a specific set of rules that do not change. The real world offers no such security, so everything must be taken at face value in the moment.

It means sensory overload in public spaces, and that means high physical energy, anxiety, struggling to self-regulate, the need to get. out. And when it’s not possible to leave, the use of morbid verbal and physical threats to create an end to the situation.

I could go on, but there is no need. This list shows why my son is received publicly as “bad” and privately as “a nuisance.”

And it is why my hands-off, calm responses have been deemed “spoiling” or “enabling.” I’ve been condemned for “failing to discipline” my “brat” who deserves “his ass beat” by passing strangers rather than being celebrated for providing security for my child by not rejecting him when he’s overwhelmed.

I grappled with the topic of spoiling versus accommodation well before we gained confirmation that autism resides in our home. Over the years I have faced numerous rejections of both my abilities as a parent and of my child. These never stop hurting.

Yet the feedback I get from the team of professionals who work with my child in my home and in their offices is consistent: Noah is lucky that I am his parent because I pay attention and work to meet him where he is. I acknowledge that he can sometimes meet me and sometimes needs an escort. I have been told by multiple therapists “you are doing everything right. Most parents we work with don’t put half this much energy into their child.” I am supporting, not enabling.

I wish the world would do the same. Approach my kid as though he’s a person, not some broken thing to be fixed please. He doesn’t need fixing. He needs understanding.

Rejection of Noah’s failure to blend usually comes in the form of a snippy “I guess there’s no hope then” when I tick off the list of suggestions that do not work (as if the other person knows my child better than I do). I brush those off. The heavier reaction is a closed door. Entry denied.

This is the reason I cried. The other Shawna was opening a door simply by being another parent and confirming every child is different.

When someone closes the door, they are giving up on my child. Writing him off. I can grok but not accept that because I am intimate with the havoc autism can wreak in a home or business, but it never stops hurting. It is also a person giving up on me and my ability to parent. Giving up on understanding. Saying we are too much and so there can be no more try, only do not.

It is someone saying I am spoiling and they will not help me by enabling me further. “I can’t be party to that.” This has been stated directly. The person didn’t try to understand autism. They opted out.

It is a friend with a typical family saying in other words, “Autism makes my life too hard so I am opting out.”

It is a place of business saying, “You make us uncomfortable. We don’t care why. Don’t come back,” and opting out.

I don’t get to (and wouldn’t) opt out even though I support others knowing their limits and protecting their needs. I have had extremely low moments when I wanted to quit my family too. But failure is not an option, so I’m still here, still pushing, still adapting. I’m still opting in. Right now, I’m in deeper than ever because I’m realizing I know what autism is like from the inside, which makes those closed doors that much harder to face.

So. Validation from another autism mama who shares my name? I’ll take it. It’s a sign that I’m not alone even if the way is shut and I am told I shall not pass. I’ll find another way. And I’ll say thank you as I do. To her and myself. Thank you, Shawna.

If you would like to know more about our life with autism, click here.

It’s the 30 Day #LinkYourLife Challenge!

#LinkYourLife has just passed it’s one year birthday and our hashtag community is thriving. Thanks to Shareen‘s warm and fuzzy recruitment tactics, Fridays are hopping both on Twitter and Facebook. #LinkYourLife has spun off in many directions beginning with first Fridays of the month when we tag with #LinkYourCompassion. There are the #LinkYourLife #lovequotes many of us have been creating and sharing as a way to appreciate the people we read through #LinkYourLife.

lovequotes

We have worked to incorporate others’ tags  (such as the awesome #ShareInspireConquer from @BestowingFire) and promote all participants by engaging each other’s work, not just sharing it. And now there is the 30 Day #LinkYourLife Challenge brought to you by Devon Hall of SynDolly. Devon recommended this course of action, and since I prompt people for half my living, I jumped up and down, clapped my hands, and put my teacher brain to work.

“What should a #LinkYourLife writing challenge look like?” I asked.

Well, #LinkYourLife is all about taking connections deeper. My work and writing is about going deeper. The Honeyed Quill will soon formally launch #SurviveYourStory. Open Thought Vortex is a hub to support writers and artists as they dig deeper. As co-hostesses and #soultwin besties, Shareen and I are on the same page when it comes to meeting and greeting each other beyond the internet plane. This thirty day challenge should reflect the tenets of #LinkYourLife–the ideas from which our expanding community has formed.

Consider this challenge a syllabus. You can start it at any point. You can end it at any point. But the challenge is to engage the thirty prompts over thirty consecutive days. (Please note that the #LinkYourLife birthday cash giveaway is currently open to entry and writing on any of these prompts will count as an entry. Just tag @ShareenM and @shawnamawna on Twitter or link back to this post.) Here’s an image to grab and include with each post:

Copy of 30 day #LinkYourLife blogging challenge

Let’s get to it, shall we?

Day 1: Write a letter introducing yourself to the world as you are now.
Day 2: Write a letter introducing who you were.
Day 3: What do you do when you are offline?
Day 4: Explore a happy memory.
Day 5: Explore a troubling memory.
Day 6: Write a false memory.
Day 7: Give yourself a new name and profession.
Day 8: Describe what is outside the nearest window and how it relates to your life.
Day 9: Describe your child (real, imagined or inner).
Day 10: Write a letter to your mother/father/sister/brother telling them something new.
Day 11: Write a letter to a favorite blogger letting them know why they are important to you.
Day 12: Make a playlist of songs you grew up with. Don’t forget YouTube links!
Day 13: Share two truths and a lie in a video/image/blog post.
Day 14: What are you afraid of?
Day 15: What are you proud of?
Day 16: Where have you traveled or where do you want to travel?
Day 17: Coffee or tea? Why?
Day 18: Write a recurring dream you’ve had (or just a dream you remember). Make sure you tag @ShareenM on Twitter!
Day 19: How old were you when you had your first [fill in the blank]?
Day 20: What is something you’ve never shared before or never thought you’d share?
Day 21: We’ve all had an ugly sweater. What did/does yours look like?
Day 22: What is an aspect of yourself you are struggling to accept?
Day 23: Morning or night?
Day 24: Open a book and look at the third line. Write what this reminds you of?
Day 25: Where do you get stuck?
Day 26: Tell us about a pattern you are trying to break.
Day 27: What is a hidden skill you possess?
Day 28: How do you change the world every day?
Day 29: What is a personal goal you are working to achieve or are proud to have achieved?
Day 30: Write a letter to someone you met through #LinkYourLife. Only name them if it feels right to you.

When responding, you can use images, video or text to respond. These can be as short or as detailed as you like. It’s always a great exercise to try and set a scene. Make the bed for your reader and draw back the covers. But don’t feel pressured. This is meant to be 1) fun and 2) a way to get to know each other better.

Happy blogging!

P.S. Don’t forget to put a #LinkYourLife blog button up on your site. Find it here.

Make Every Day a Love Day

A couple of weeks ago, Shareen and I launched #LinkYourLife #lovequotes.

lovequotes

What blows my mind about this is that other #Lifers jumped on the bandwagon and started sharing quotes they love. Anyone can do this. Just read #LinkYourLife tagged posts. When you find a line you love, pull a quote, put it on an image and add #LinkYourLife #lovequotes.

Here are a few of the quotes floating around. Feel free to grab the images and share pass them on.

pablo (5) WTF lovequotes pablo (8) pablo (7) pablo (6) pablo (4) pablo (3) pablo (2) rachelquote pablo (14) pablo (13) pablo (12) pablo (11) pablo (10) pablo (9)

I’ve shifted toward making the quotes sized for Pinterest. If the images are easy to pin, they can be of greater benefit to writers. I hope you’ll join the #lovequotes movement and show your love for the lives you are reading on Facebook, Twitter and everywhere pages host hearts like those I have had the pleasure of hearing through #LinkYourLife.

Happy Friday! I Made a Video

I try to do something that scares me every day. Why? Personal growth. I’m a fan of it. So, true stories, videos of myself are very much not my favorite. But I decided to not overthink (FIRST TIME EVER) and make a video in one go that I would share. I’m happy the camera was pointed the right way and there were no wardrobe malfunctions. I tend to overcommit.

I hope you loved this. I’ll be making more videos. You can bet I’ll overthink it first next time, but it will still be fun.

Happy Friday! And if you haven’t already join us for #LinkYourLife on Facebook and Twitter.

P.S. The ipsy and Semplifi mentions were not advertisements. However, I will link you up with Semplifi in case you want to try the Style Plus spray. I really do like it. 

One Lovely Blog Award: I Was Nominated!

Rachel Hanson nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award. I’m moved because she is a lovely blogger herself. I’ve only gotten to know her work recently through #LinkYourLife (thanks to my co-hostess with the mostest Shareen Mansfield for talent-scouting this gem). What I’ve learned is that Rachel is tender, honest and compassionate in all areas of communication. I am so happy to be connected with her. So, thank you, Rachel! Squee!

OLBA image

Seven Facts About Me

  1. I recently gave up coffee. *gasp* I know. I’ve switched to tea. It’s been a great change, but coffee.
  2. I just finished a big project that I’m really proud of (again, with Shareen because we do all the online things together). See it here.
  3. I have THREE wonderful kiddos. You really only here about the eldest through my writing.
  4. That’s because I’m a very private person. I know that flies in the face of the memoir I share here, but I am very cautious about who and what I share as well as how. For example, I don’t write much about my husband. He prefers it that way.
  5. If it weren’t for our need of a service dog, I wouldn’t write about my eldest son either. I only did so with his permission and because, well, we need the help but people prefer to know who they’re helping. I’m glad we opened up on this though. I’ve realized several things about myself in the process.
  6. Like that I am probably autistic. I’m working on a piece that gets into this a lot deeper. There is much to  say, but first I have to mine my life much like I do others’ work.
  7. Of all the work I do, private coaching is my favorite. I love one-on-one sessions with clients and their words. I love that I get to do that with the writers at Open Thought Vortex thanks to Shareen’s generosity (yep, her again). I love when new clients email me for short coaching sessions. I love that I’m actually doing what I dream. 

Now for some One Lovely Blog Award Nominations:

This is kind of tricky because I need to choose three. That’s right. I’m capping myself. It’s for my own sanity! There are so very many of you who write wonderful pieces that I deeply admire. I’m going to choose from some new voices I’ve come across through #LinkYourLife and who I have not written about before.

  1. Tracy’s Truth. Tracy writes honestly on deep and difficult issues. I read each post and say at some point, “Me too.”
  2. SynDolly. Another deep experience writer. I am profoundly moved by the posts I find from Devon.
  3. New World Mom. Another amazing women empowering men and women with knowledge about what the struggle is like from the inside.

I hope they all appreciate their nominations, but I hope more that you choose to dwell in their pages for awhile. Thank you for reading. And if you are one of my nominees, here’s what to do next (if it feels good to you).

OLBA Rules

Thank you, Rachel!

 

A Gift for Mothers and Others

These events are currently canceled and will be rescheduled ASAP. All registrants have received a full refund. Stay tuned for an update.

For Mother’s Day, I announced that I am offering a gift for mothers and others in an update on our GoFundMe.

Mothering, this year, has been my most difficult balancing act. I have Noah home full-time, I am working, I run my household and I have been juggling the needs of our other family members, learning to be a dog handler and organizing fundraisers to make certain Appa’s training happens. I am also still in a very slow recovery from surgeries in 2014 followed by whiplash.

This road has been equally difficult and rewarding. I’ve learned there is nothing I won’t push through to help my child. I’ve also learned a new level of humility by reaching out for help. The most amazing piece of knowledge is how many are willing to help even though you don’t know us. You reach out to tell this mama, “You are going to make it.”

forMothersDay

I wish I had something beautiful to offer writing-wise this Mother’s Day. I’m exhausted. And while I’m hopeful, I can see there is a long way to go. I’m not referring only to fundraising. I have been trying to allow financial concerns to settle so I can focus on what I am able to solve on my own. That’s why this GoFundMe has been quiet. Not because we don’t need it or appreciate it, but because it requires a split of my energy to come in here with my fingers crossed and say, “Hey, keep helping us! We are important!” Especially when I believe YOU are important and I have been unable to give and support you the way I would like.

I’m reflecting on that as I parent followed by travel for training followed by other work repeat repeat repeat. Yes, I’m busy. Some days I feel like I’m being crushed under the weight of providing a service dog. More than once I’ve wanted to pull the plug just so I can lay my head down. Nathan sees how much I’m juggling. He helps as much as he can outside his own job and parenting and being an amazing partner, but even he has wanted to pull the plug. More times than I have, in fact.

But we have had Appa in our home, and in one month he transformed our child from a twisted, painful, self-wrecking anger machine into a laughing, joking, hug-attacking, merry-making kid. With Appa, Noah is a kid. Unafraid, centered, and joyful. Appa did that instinctively. Can you imagine what he will accomplish as a full service companion who can go with Noah anywhere?

Then Appa left for his next leg of training and I realized–I can’t do this without him. Not just because I’ve been stuck in nightmares every other night because he’s not here to wake me up. Not because I don’t have other support at home. This isn’t actually about me at all. I can’t do it because with every day that Appa is gone, I see the flailing come back just a little in Noah and I will do ANYTHING to create happiness in his heart. Over in Missouri is a fluffy white poodle who hops around like a rabbit and that furry bounce machine is the key to keeping Noah’s joy unlocked so that he can learn to stay open. Unafraid.

Appa "dancing" with Noah.
Appa “dancing” with Noah.

As Kate Sidun, the woman who found us Appa and set up his training (and will be completing his training herself), “A service dog is a tool.” Appa grounds Noah and puts him in an emotional space where he can learn the life skills he needs to return to school like he wants to do. Possibly even to play a competitive sport, for which his body is clearly designed. Certainly to grocery shop without an anxiety attack or play on a park when other kids are there.

But back to YOU, because that is what is eating at my heart. YOU, you mothers and other, are giving and I like to give back.

I am fortunate to have a great partner at home who listened to me first when I wanted to use my retreat income to cover service dog costs, and again when I waffled because what I really want is to make expressive writing for release and recovery available to everyone. Nathan supported me by suggesting I lower the prices to s low registration fee only so that these retreats can be accessible, even though I risk running them at a loss.

The thing is, I don’t consider investing in YOU a loss. I know there are many of you who have donated time and/or money who would love to join me in celebrating yourselves–in releasing what no longer serves you in a safe space. I want to give back.

If you’d like to learn more about my upcoming retreats, please visit honeyquill.com/registration. You are free to register a friend or loved one as a gift. (Body on the Page is $25 for an 8 hr retreat, Heart on the Page is $10 for a 3 hour retreat.) If they are unable to make it and you let me know in advance, I will pay their registration fee forward to someone who needs a scholarship. If you are registering to provide a scholarship rather than for yourself, please make a note with your registration. Unused scholarships, unless you note that you would like a refund, will be used to cover course expenses. As originally planned, all proceeds will go back into Noah and Appa’s fundraiser, so take a peek back after Memorial Day to see where we stand.

I hope you can join me. I’d love to share my time and energy with you, and to offer you skills that will continue to support you throughout your life.

Grounding Yoga for Writing Through Trauma

Yulia Azriel is a Bloomington yogini who runs Gentle Heart Yoga and Wellness in Bloomington, IN. She regularly offers wellness retreats along with her husband, Gabriel Lantz.

Yulia intended to lead yoga at one of my retreats, but our schedules didn’t match up. Instead, she created this amazing video so that all of my students can continue their trauma work from home with a reusable grounding tool. Originally, it was going to be shared only with class participants, but Yulia is the gentle heart she named her business for, and she asked if I would like her to make this public so that everyone can benefit.

Of course I would!

I will have an interview with Yulia on my site at a future date. For now, let me say that her yoga style brings you deep into body awareness and relaxation. Yulia always offers a safe space. When you follow her instruction, let go of self-consciousness and allow her to support you as you reconnect.

Use this video before and after any stirring writing session.

For another grounding option, see my post on relief objects. Feel free to keep an object or totem with you as you move through these yoga poses. Bring it to your writing space as a way to keep “grounding” with you.

How do you ground yourself when you write on difficult topics?