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Do you remember the feeling you had writing your first blog post? I do. It’s such a strong memory still even though it is now just over nine years since I first pushed ‘publish’ on WordPress. If you are thinking of starting a blog, you might wonder how it feels to put out that first post.

When I went to Kerstin Pilz’s writing and yoga retreat in Hoi An, Vietnam last September, we worked on a writing prompt on ‘firsts’. We wrote a list of firsts and then chose one to write about. I chose ‘My first blog post’.  As often happens with writing of this type, I stepped straight back into that time as if I was there. All the feelings and memories flooded back as if I was in the moment.

So here is my piece from that session. I’d love to hear what it brings up for you! And if you’d like help with your blog or other writing, see below too for ways I can help you.

My first blog post

It had been a long time coming, setting the framework for placing my voice into the world. Danielle LaPorte calls it her “digital temple“. That captures the sacred creative feeling that the word “blog” misses. It’s a space, digital and precious, all at once. I adorn it, I shape it, I frame it. I create the scaffold, the name, the brand.

I call my first blog ‘Transcending’ because that’s what brought me here. The turiyamani moments from my yoga teacher coming forward to crystallise in real life. The name he gave me meaning “transcendental jewel“. I’m learning to sparkle like a jewel, transcending from the deepest grief. I’ve cried miles through the national park as I’ve driven alone time after time. I’ve found all the drafts of every poem I’ve ever written over more than thirty years and put them into draft order, alphabetical order. Structuring my creativity as a way of finding some sort of order to make a new life in the wake of tragedy.

I’ve learnt how to make a website, a blog, create a cathedral for my feelings and thoughts, a sacred container I can hold and use as a way to share emotions and writing. I’m not a person who is used to this. I write behind closed doors. I still find the idea of a writer something that I can’t entirely understand. Rarefied.

So I listen to others, follow their path, learn how to be vulnerable like them online in the wide open world. I see that them going first helps me to see what is possible. Ink on My Fingers is one blog title. Attracted to it, I learn how to also be more daring with my ink reaching the outside world.

I’m ready. That day feels like a threshold, stepping into something so wide open My voice, suddenly reaching out beyond the room, beyond the page, beyond paper and pen to I don’t know where.

I announce myself like a bride, carrying myself through the door of my creativity with some kind of virginal white all around me. It’s all about what I intend to do, what I stand for, how I am writing to transcend, living transcending and I feel like I’m howling into the wind.

All those words crafted slowly and with such care hurled into space, published with the press of a moment. And I’m howling like a wolf, loud and quiet all at the same time, wondering what I’ve done. It’s all intent. All vulnerable. But I know it’s the right thing to do.

I sit and wait for a response as if someone reading might save me. Hands folded as if in prayer, intent on arriving into the next phase of my life, transcending through writing this first blog post, this first initiation into the sacred temple of my creative life.

There’s a morning-after feeling, all that pent up thought out there. I could take it back but I don’t want to. It’s somehow delicious, like a coming together, and I follow the tracks of arriving there into the distance looking out.

Thought pieces

You might like to read my first blog post and another early one where I write about feeling like I’m howling into the wind!

My first blog post – published 2 May 2010

The value of howling like the wind – published 23 May 2010

They are from my first blog Transcending which I have kept intact inside Quiet Writing for now. I love seeing the progress over time. That’s what my early blogging felt like to me – you might relate!

Love to hear what blogging felt like to you when you started or what it feels like to you now. Or what you’d like to achieve by starting a blog.

Support for blogging, writing and creativity

And if you’d like some creative support with blogging and writing, I’m here to help. Pop over to my Work With Me page. A free 45-minute Discovery Call is often a great place to start. You can book a call here. I have worked with many clients around blogging, writing and other creative endeavours and I’d love to help you with your vision and the practical steps to achieve it.

Creativity and writing can be lonely so I’m also starting up a Group Coaching program in September focused on creativity, writing, blogging and community support. More on this soon. So sign up to Quiet Writing for updates on this and to be the first to know. You will also receive your free Reading Wisdom Guide for inspiration. Keep in touch via social media too. More on this below.

You might also enjoy:

I blog

Making blogging easier: a note to self

How to write a blog post when you have almost no time

20 practical ways of showing up and being brave (and helpful)

Keep in touch + free Reading Wisdom Guide

You might also enjoy my free ‘Reading Wisdom Guide for Creatives, Coaches and Writers‘ with a summary of 45 wholehearted books to inspire your own journey. Just pop your email address in the box below.

You will receive access to the Wholehearted Library which includes the Reading Wisdom Guide and so much more! Plus you’ll receive monthly Beach Notes with updates and inspiring resources from Quiet Writing. This includes writing, personality type, coaching, creativity, tarot, productivity and ways to express your unique voice in the world.

Quiet Writing is on Facebook  Instagram and Twitter so keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. Look forward to connecting with you and inspiring your wholehearted story!

The post Writing my first blog post – my recollections appeared first on Quiet Writing.

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This guest post from Kamsin Kaneko looks at learning to live on the slow path and shifting focus to creativity and the little things in shaping a wholehearted life. 

This is the 19th guest post in our Wholehearted Stories series on Quiet Writing! I invited readers to consider submitting a guest post on their wholehearted story. You can read more here – and I’m still keen for more contributors! 

Quiet Writing celebrates self-leadership in wholehearted living and writing, career and creativity. This community of voices, each of us telling our own story of what wholehearted living means, is a valuable and central part of this space. In this way, we can all feel connected on our various journeys and not feel so alone. Whilst there will always be unique differences, there are commonalities that we can all learn from and share to support each other.

I’m delighted to have Kamsin Kaneko as a ‘Wholehearted Stories’ contributor. Kamsin and I met via Instagram and shared interests in creativity, writing and gentle business. In this story, Kamsin shares how her focus has shifted to living in a slower, more focused, creative and wholehearted way in a different cultural environment. Read on!

Living life in the ordinary everyday moments

“Let’s eat out on the balcony,” my husband suggests. We are in the wine section of our local supermarket. It is a warm Sunday afternoon, and we’ve come to buy ingredients to cook dinner as a family.

“Sure. Sounds like a good idea,” I reply. One reason we bought our apartment was the spacious balcony. But we rarely sit out there to eat or use it for anything other than hanging washing out to dry.

This small act of cooking together and eating at home is one of the many small lifestyle changes we’ve been making. We’ve always wanted to do things like this, especially since we have a little boy who just turned five. But we haven’t always made the space in our lives.

We had got into the habit of going to the local sushi place on Sunday evening, which isn’t nearly as glamorous as it sounds in the context of urban Japan. You can wait 45+ minutes to be seated, it’s a popular family choice at the weekend. It’s cheap and easy, even if the quality of the food isn’t the best.

Nothing is better than a home cooked meal

We are home from the supermarket. There’s homemade pizza cooking in the oven, and the wine has been poured. We decide to move the dining table outside. As we’re doing so, our neighbour is taking in her washing. She laughs when she sees us.

The sun is starting to set over the trees and mountains behind our balcony and beyond; the light is perfect, and it is pleasantly warm. The inflatable paddling pool my boy was playing in earlier is still full of water. Alfresco dining by the pool, I quip.

A short while later and the food is on the table. My little boy closes his eyes, puts his hands together, and declares “Itadakimasu” (I gratefully receive this food), with energy and enthusiasm. My husband lifts his wine glass and smiles.

“I’m so happy,” he says.

Shifting focus

If I focus my attention on the thick, ugly pillars that support the balconies, I remember this is still in urban Japan. Power cables criss-cross the sky everywhere you look, and people crowd around us on every side. I grew up in the countryside, at times I miss the wide-open spaces which are so hard to come by in Japan.

So, I focus instead on the food, the table, my family. With my attention focused on the things I love, we are nowhere but right here and right now. Exactly where we want to be. We have created space in our day, and in our lives, to enjoy the little things which had felt so distant in our busy urban lives just a year or so earlier.

Until recently, I felt like I was always making compromises. I didn’t want sushi or a “family restaurant” every week. It meant being stuck in traffic, having to wait to be seated, and a noisy eating environment and unexciting food choices. It wasn’t lighting me up inside.

Our eating choices weren’t the only area we were making compromises. But food is so fundamental to a well-lived life as a family. So why had we been living like that? And how did we get from there to here?

Looking for the answers right here not over there

I grew up attending church and evangelical Christian groups. I no longer believe the fundamental doctrines that they taught me. But I experienced something of the divine, and I wanted more.

I can remember singing songs about loving God with all my heart, all my soul and all my mind. But I felt that there were parts of my heart that were locked away and I didn’t have the key. How could I love God with my whole heart if I didn’t know how to access what was inside?

Over the years, my understanding of faith crumbled and evolved. I am less concerned with trying to name or understand what those early spiritual experiences were. At the current stage of my life, I am more interested in learning to trust and believe in the divine within myself.

Gratitude and moving on

I remain grateful for the community and the guidance and the love of people in those groups. But I no longer believe that God can only be encountered through a specific understanding of Christianity.

Perhaps I thought that I would find God somewhere “over there” in the setting of religious groups and Sunday services. But God was never there. S/he was always here in the space between our intertwined lives. We had to learn to slow down before I could even see that.

I stayed a part of the church even though it had long since stopped meeting my spiritual or emotional needs. We stopped going about a year ago because my heart was longing for more space and more slow simple Sundays. And my husband wasn’t feeling the same connection to the church anymore. 

Learning to listen to the longings of my own heart

In the last four years, I have been learning to listen more carefully to the whispers of my heart and act on what I hear. I’d got out of practice in doing that somehow. Through writing, journaling and mindfulness meditation, I started to find an answer to the question of how to access the locked places in my heart.

I was no longer going to give my time to anything which didn’t help my heart to keep expanding. I had wanted to spend more time with my husband and young son. I wanted the rhythm of Sunday as a day of rest.

The irony that by attending church, I wasn’t getting this wasn’t lost on me. But I thought because we lived in Japan, I would never have the slow Sundays I remembered from my childhood in England. Besides, times have changed, maybe no one lives like that anymore.

But we were living on autopilot rather than making conscious choices about how to spend our time. Now we often spend Sundays in our neighbourhood playing outside without any particular plans. We cook a homemade meal together and our little family has never been closer or happier.

Our slow and simple Sundays are one example of the ways that listening to what I want and need has led me into a more wholehearted life. Slowing down and believing that the longings of my heart can be achieved if I approach them with an open mind wasn’t as easy as it sounds.

Learning to believe in the possibility of a wholehearted life

The first step was learning to notice the places in my life where my behaviour did not align with the things I said I wanted. I had to learn to do that with self-compassion and let go of any judgment.

I was tied up in a long list of “shoulds” and “ought to’s” all of which caused my heart to be locked up tighter than ever before. But I started to believe that I had choices about how I spent my time. I could say no to what I didn’t want and yes to what I did.

I had to find processes to gently allow me to listen and believe I could act on what I heard. Journaling and meditation and carefully chosen books, podcasts, and safe spaces online are showing me how to do that.

I had spent too long allowing other voices to drown out the voice of my own heart. It takes time to learn to tune in and act on what you hear.

How writing and early motherhood changed everything

When I was in my early twenties, there were three things I wanted to achieve in my life. One was to travel and live abroad. I’ve lived in China, Japan, Bosnia, and then Japan again. When I married a Japanese man, Japan became my home.

The second was to become a mother. I’d given up on this idea for a long time, but it happened five years ago when I was thirty-eight. It wasn’t an easy process through miscarriage, medical error, and 2.5 years of trying to get pregnant. But my son is the most delightful little person on the planet.

The third was to be a writer. And it was that final goal which has proved to be the hardest. I took my first writing class as an undergraduate back in the mid-’90s and others on and off over the following twenty years. But it was only after my son was born that I began to unpick the places in my heart which had been standing in my way.

Motherhood in Japan was the key to unlocking my heart

As a new mother in Japan, I was stressed out and struggling so far from home. I felt like I was drowning in cultural norms and expectations, which I was never going to live up to. But I wasn’t about to settle for a slow descent into bitterness and resentment, which seemed to be where I was heading. I wanted to enjoy my little boy and life as a mother. But I needed help.

I began to meditate through the Headspace App. And when someone gave away their copy of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way I began to keep a journal. Something I hadn’t done consistently for years.

Through these two activities, I found the key to access the locked up places in my heart. I’d felt that wholehearted wasn’t something I would ever achieve all those years ago singing about loving God with all my heart. But over time, all the things which had been leaving me feeling overwhelmed, including unhealed trauma from childhood started to feel more manageable.

Writing is leading to radical transformation: that’s why it’s so hard 

The more I wrote, the more I understood that I’d neglected the craft of being a writer and I had a lot to learn. Through online writing classes and working with tutors and writing coaches, I started to understand how to create a scene and a character.

I had a background in academic writing. But to tap into my neglected creativity, I had to bring my writing into the world of sensory detail. I had to connect the emotions and the details that ground a story and bring it alive to a reader.

And that is that process of getting out of my head and into the sensory details of everyday life that is allowing me to unlock my heart. In powerful writing, it is often the little details which bring the most magic to the page. The same is true in our everyday lives.

Writing through the dark to find the light

But I didn’t want to feel the painful things. I tried to go straight to being grateful and finding positive affirmations to help me overcome writers’ block and self-sabotaging habits. I didn’t want to feel the painful things that had been locked up inside of me. But the only way out was to go through.

Thank God the Universe provided me with gifted teachers in the process. This time last year I took an online writing course by Martha Beck; there were guest lectures from Elizabeth Gilbert, one of my favourite writers, and it was completely transformative. Hard work and painful but amazing.

The course comprised the most incredible set of lectures which blew everything I thought I knew out of the water. The writing exercises were designed to take you into the hell of your worst moments and keep writing until you brought everything out into the light.

As I wrote, I kept finding feelings of being unworthy, and crippling fears of never being good enough. A numbing fear that if I spoke my truth, I would be judged, criticised, and rejected. I was so good at avoiding those feelings I’d been unaware of how much they were driving self-sabotaging behaviours like procrastination and perfectionism.

I could only learn to be wholehearted by looking at those feelings of shaky self-worth in the eye. And writing through them to find the validation I need within myself. Perhaps I will never believe that I am good enough to be a “real writer.”

But I have learnt to trust the voice inside of me that says I need to write. And if all I ever achieve is to heal the fractured places in my own heart, it will be enough. I pray also that I can gift my readers a tiny bit of courage to continue on their own wholehearted journey.

Key book companions along the way

The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron

Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert

Martha Beck – Finding Your Way in a Wild New World

Loving What Is – Byron Katie

And the poetry of Mary Oliver

About Kamsin Kaneko

Kamsin Kaneko is a writer, mum, teacher, and traveller, not necessarily in that order. She writes about living a wholehearted life of depth and meaning. You can find her on Instagram most days capturing small moments of beauty in the urban sprawl of her home in Japan. Get your free gift: I Believe in the Magic of Everyday Moments. Kamsin Kaneko’s website The Slow Path can be found here.

Photographs #1, #2, #3 + bio image by Kamsin Kaneko, used with permission and thanks.

Photograph #4 of pen on page by Debby Hudson on Unsplash used with permission and thanks.

Read more Wholehearted Stories

If you enjoyed this wholehearted story, please share it with others to inspire their journey. You might enjoy these stories too:

Year of magic, year of sadness – a wholehearted story

From halfhearted to wholehearted living – my journey

The courageous magic of a life unlived – a wholehearted story

Dancing all the way – or listening to our little voice as a guide for wholehearted living

Tackling trauma and “not enough” with empathy and vision – a wholehearted story

When the inner voice calls, and calls again – my journey to wholehearted living

Maps to Self: my wholehearted story

The Journey to Write Here – my wholehearted story

Ancestral Patterns, Tarot Numerology and breaking through – my wholehearted story

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This guest post from Lisa Dunford looks at how her year of magic and change was also one of sadness, the two coming together to weave a wholehearted story.

This is the 18th guest post in our Wholehearted Stories series on Quiet Writing! I invited readers to consider submitting a guest post on their wholehearted story. You can read more here – and I’m still keen for more contributors! 

Quiet Writing celebrates self-leadership in wholehearted living and writing, career and creativity. This community of voices, each of us telling our own story of what wholehearted living means, is a valuable and central part of this space. In this way, we can all feel connected on our various journeys and not feel so alone. Whilst there will always be unique differences, there are commonalities that we can all learn from and share to support each other.

I’m thrilled to have Lisa Dunford as a ‘Wholehearted Stories’ contributor. Lisa and I met via Instagram and share interests in creativity, coaching and travel. In this story, Lisa shares how her year of magic also incorporated times of immense sadness. How often do these two elements come together in life especially when we make major changes? So often. Lisa shares how magic and sadness have become key compasses on her journey. Read on!

Year of magic and sadness

The year 2016 was a magical one. I’d stepped back from writing travel guidebooks for Lonely Planet full-time to pursue a more personal growth-oriented path – both in my writing and in my life. It took a few years of stops and starts, but by 2016, I finally felt like things were beginning to flow. Along much of this incredible journey, the inspirational talks and writings of Martha Beck kept me company. I found the book Finding Your Way in A Wild New World particularly influential. I’d always been good at following my gut for big decisions. But Wild New World opened me to the idea of everyday connection and magic.

The more I read Martha’s books and essays, the more I wanted to learn. I took online workshops and listened to her lectures. I branched out to workshops and lessons taught by Martha Beck Institute (MBI)-trained life coaches. I hired a coach myself, and before I knew it, I’d become fast friends with a number of other MBI coaches.

Walking the walk

In spring, with just one month’s notice, I committed to walking the last 100km of the Camino de Santiago in Spain organized by three MBI coaches. Saying yes was a big deal. I’d fallen completely out of shape while living in two car-oriented, pancake-flat places. And I didn’t usually take on anything I might fail at. But a series of serendipities urged me on – Paulo Coelho’s book The Pilgrimage falling off the shelf as I considered, a friend asking me to edit an essay, that turned out to be… about her Camino trip. I embraced my willingness to fail, my willingness to be wrong about failing. Taking even the first step was a win. When I managed to walk every one of the 100 kilometres without getting in the support van, I knew I hadn’t done it alone.

It’s not like the trek was easy. Every morning I had my blister-covered toes sewn up, and I popped pain relievers like candy. But the Divine was there every step of the way: in the unusually unwavering support from my spouse, the unexpected inspiration from nature and faith, and the very practical advice and assistance that arrived from friends and co-walkers exactly when needed. I had accomplished what in my mind was impossible. It began to be hard to say what I couldn’t do.

Being led

“Ok, so if you could do anything, what would it be?” asked a life coach friend. That was easy –  go to Africa, I answered. It had always seemed like too big of a dream: too much money, too much distance. I continued writing, I went to retreats, I followed my path. Four months later, out of the blue, another coach asked if I wanted to take her discounted place on a South African safari she’d already paid for, she couldn’t go. Um, let me think about that… YES.

I realized I wanted to learn more of the tools taught in the MBI training, go deeper into self-discovery, into self-belief. In September 2016 I began my own life coaching nine-month training. I’d gone in thinking I was doing it for myself. I planned to use the techniques to inform my life, to help with my writing. Much to my surprise, I really loved coaching. It felt as if I was following magic breadcrumbs to a life I loved.

Things happen

And then halfway through the training, my mom died – suddenly, at the very young, very healthy-seeming age of 71. She collapsed in my father’s arms and was dead three hours later. They’d just gotten back from mom’s first – her last – post-retirement, cross-country driving trip. I was home for an extended visit from where I lived abroad. She and I talked for a long time the night before she died. She went into the tiniest detail about her trip. We made lunch plans for the following week. The next day I left for California and my MBI life coach training meet and greet.

I walked onto the LA car rental lot and discovered they’d assigned me a white Ford Crown Victoria. I was not really feeling the old school, cop car vibe. When I asked to change, the rental guy was more chipper than most. “No problem, I get it,” he said. How would I like a cherry red Mustang convertible for the same price instead? Um, sure. At the time I didn’t think about how much the car looked like the little red Mazda convertible Mom used to drive.

Feeling connected

Some nice lot attendant came out of nowhere to help me as I struggled with the seats and the top. “No, no, no,” he said. I couldn’t possibly take the freeway at this time of day. He was insistent, I had to take the Pacific Coast Highway. “Ok, ok,” I said. I agreed and he sent me on my way with a “Have a Blessed Day.”

As I inched up the coast in traffic, the late afternoon sun sparkled off the ocean waves. I alternated between watching the dancing light show on the water to my right and the orange and blue and yellow wildflowers dotting the hillside to my left. Mom would have loved it. She was the big driver, not me. I was almost to San Luis Obispo when I got the call.

I couldn’t quite process the information. After the heart attack, Mom had been life-flighted to a nearby hospital. We’d figure it out, I told my dad. In the background, I heard the alarms and shouting that meant Mom was coding – again and again. I didn’t understand. I said I would come back right away, we’d take care of her. We patched my sister into the call. We were all together, in a way, when the doctor told dad the news. She’d never regained consciousness. I did the math. She’d been with me on the drive after all.

Going deeper

I’d meant to go deeper with life coach training, but I hadn’t really known what that meant. In the aftermath of Mom’s death, things I thought I’d understood suddenly became clear. I felt everything more deeply. I cried not only for the amazing and infuriating and incredible mother I’d lost but for everything, everyone’s pain. Though I’d never had children, I could better imagine the depth of my friend’s loss as she sent her son off to college (and for mom’s when I first went away). I could imagine the incalculable pain of someone’s miscarriage (of which mom had had three). But I also saw beauty and felt gratitude more deeply. When I returned to Africa the next year, I was more – and less – of myself.

Mom had been fierce and fun-loving, but she had also been an anxious person. After her death, I had the strong sense that she was immediately free of all that. And that if she could be free in one minute, I could be. She would want me to be. So I doubled down on the life coach training. We all have thoughts, habits and patterns that are no longer serving us. I became very aware of how important this work was – freeing myself, so I could help free others. Even if I only helped my sister or my nieces break the chain, it would all be worth it.

The next steps

I would love to say that within six months after mom died, I finished my life coach training and established a thriving writing-coaching-creating business. But that’s not always how things work. And that’s ok. I took time to grieve. I was committed to feeling my feelings, to allowing intense gratitude and sadness to sit side by side. We had other setbacks in my husband’s family, a hurricane that targeted our town in Texas. We had more loss in my mom’s family.

But there’s a big difference now. I have tools to use and a community to turn to. I’m much less hard on myself. I’m not panicked that I haven’t accomplished as much as I think I “should”. I had other things to do, other things to learn. I’m still writing, still using my coaching. I’ve continued to study tools and techniques to help others as a coach. I’ve begun to build my business and a website to reflect that. And I’m still doing my own inner work because it’s a process.

I’m immensely grateful for so much from the past few years – the lessons I’ve learned, the friends I’ve made, the experiences I’ve had. But mostly I’m grateful for an amazing mom, a woman who inspires me every day to dig deeper and do more, be more, help more.

Key book companions along the way

The Pilgrimage – Paulo Coelho

Walk in a Relaxed Manner: Life Lessons from the Camino – Joyce Rupp

Finding Your Way in a Wild New World: Reclaim Your True Nature to Create the Life You Want – Martha Beck

The Joy Diet – Martha Beck

Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live – Martha Beck

Born to Freak: A Salty Primer for Irrepressible Humans – Sarah Seidelmann

About Lisa Dunford

Lisa is a traveler, a writer, a creator and a..
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I’ve been so thrilled to attend and present at the British Association for Psychological Type (BAPT) Conference in Milton Keynes in the UK last week.⁣⠀

⁣The theme of the conference was ‘Pearls of Wisdom’, celebrating BAPT’s 30th anniversary. A perfect theme for me to engage with.

When I knew I would be heading over to attend, I was very drawn to submit to present. I developed up a submission to present a session on ‘Learned Wisdom: Journeys in Type and Transition‘. And I was so excited when my submission was accepted.⁣⠀

Learned Wisdom + stepping up in my professional practice

Here’s what I spoke about and shared:⁣⠀

  • how having a framework including psychological type can help us positively manage times of transition and major change.⁣⠀
  • my learned wisdom, using myself as a case study, reflecting on the last few years of transitioning to self-employment as a life coach and psychological type practitioner⁣⠀
  • a model I created for managing transition with psychological type, body of work and self-leadership as key aspects.⁣⠀
  • a practical way to apply this model to personally and professionally negotiate major transitions.

The experience of sharing learned wisdom

I spent many hours drawing together my personal and professional experiences and learning, and crafting and trialling the presentation in Sydney. Following my presentation, I was honoured to receive very positive feedback about the insights gained from my presentation. This was from attendees with many years of psychological type experience. ⁣⠀

Sometimes we wonder about all the hours we put into something like this. But for me, this was such valuable work in so many ways.

Firstly, I stopped to pull together the story of my transition over the past 2 plus years in a very deep way. Then I put it into a ‘learned wisdom’ framework, a model, that incorporated a number of aspects:

  • definitions of learned wisdom
  • looking at transition and change and the differences between them
  • reviewing my personal journey as a case study
  • creating a model for others to use personally and professionally with three key elements: body of work, personality type and self-leadership
  • situating this within a personal transition framework.

And of course, in all of this, I stepped up into my work in new ways as a speaker and a personality type practitioner. This was in the context of presenting to a highly skilled and experienced group of type professionals. It was the kind of pressure that makes us grow and stretch in new ways and realise what we have learned. It’s the kind of pressure too we often wonder about putting ourselves under! But I am so pleased I did. From this experience, I’ve gained confidence and learned tips and tricks to help with similar experiences in the future. I look forward to sharing this learning with you too.

Reflections on sharing learned wisdom further

I’m reflecting further on the process and experience in line with my INTJ type preference! I know that I have a body of work to share in many ways, via coaching, writing and social media. I plan to:

post further detail here soon, working my way through the presentation in stages.

write a paper distilling my presentation. ⁣

share the info via in-person and online workshops combined with personality type coaching, where I support people to identify their best-fit type and learn about personality preferences.⁣⠀

share about the experience of stepping up in new ways in our work in the world including pushing through the upper limit problem we often impose on ourselves.

Next steps in learned wisdom

At present we are travelling in the UK, currently heading to Scotland. My plan for this time is to get back to blogging and writing here in shorter, more frequent, bursts. I plan to share the ideas from my presentation ‘Learned Wisdom: Journeys in Type and Transition‘ over a few posts here. I’ll also share my learning from the ‘Pearls of Wisdom’ conference generally – it was an excellent conference! As well, I’m focused on getting back to posts on writing, blogging and creativity and travel – a topic also in my mind at present as I combine the two.

So look forward to more instalments here on Quiet Writing about Learned Wisdom. And check out Personality Stories Coaching via the link in my profile for more information. I welcome any questions or suggestions you might have!

Keep in touch + free Reading Wisdom Guide

You might also enjoy my free ‘Reading Wisdom Guide for Creatives, Coaches and Writers‘ with a summary of 45 wholehearted books to inspire your own journey. Just pop your email address in the box below.

You will receive access to the Wholehearted Library which includes the Reading Wisdom Guide and so much more! Plus you’ll receive monthly Beach Notes with updates and inspiring resources from Quiet Writing. This includes writing, personality type, coaching, creativity, tarot, productivity and ways to express your unique voice in the world.

Quiet Writing is on Facebook  Instagram and Twitter so keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. Look forward to connecting with you and inspiring your wholehearted story!

You might also enjoy:

Personality Stories

How I fulfilled my vision to become a Personality Type Coach

Never too old – finding courage and skill to empower your dreams

Life Coaching – making meaning in times of transition

Shining a quiet light – working the gifts of introversion

Personality skills including how to be the best you can be as an introvert in recruitment 

Being a vessel – or working with introverted intuition

The post Learned Wisdom: Journeys in Type and Transition Part 1 appeared first on Quiet Writing.

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This guest post from Emily Lewis looks at the journey of moving from half-hearted to wholehearted living.

This is the 17th guest post in our Wholehearted Stories series on Quiet Writing! I invited readers to consider submitting a guest post on their wholehearted story. You can read more here – and I’m still keen for more contributors! 

Quiet Writing celebrates self-leadership in wholehearted living and writing, career and creativity. This community of voices, each of us telling our own story of what wholehearted living means, is a valuable and central part of this space. In this way, we can all feel connected on our various journeys and not feel so alone. Whilst there will always be unique differences, there are commonalities that we can all learn from and share to support each other.

I’m thrilled to have Emily Lewis as a ‘Wholehearted Stories’ contributor. Emily and I met via Instagram and other creative connections. In this story, Emily shares how she is embracing uncertainty and imperfection and questioning the “shoulds” in her life. In doing this, she is moving from half-hearted to wholehearted living. Emily also shares her brilliant photographs. Read on!

I’ll admit that when I first agreed to write a post here I didn’t have any idea what I would say.  What is wholehearted living anyway?  In the Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown says:

It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, no matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.  It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.

I’ve read Gifts, and other definitions, but somehow the guideposts never really stuck with me.  I’m not terribly compassionate or patient, I have no idea what it means to play instead of work, and I’m terrible at cultivating consistent gratitude.  I’m not sure if I have any faith in a higher power.  I tend more to be grumpy, bitchy or bitter, frequently irritated or anxious and feeling guilty on top of it since overall my life is not at all bad.  I am certain all of those things are what wholehearted is not.

I think, perhaps, I’ve been living half-heartedly, living according to a series of “shoulds” and being more concerned with what the world thinks of me when I actually do follow what is in my heart and gut.  Many of the people who voiced their generally well-intentioned opinions throughout my life were not wrong in their assertions, but that did not mean they were right for me.

Impacts of living halfheartedly

I never wanted to move to Maryland.  I never really wanted to be a landscape architect either. But during his time in academia, my father had seen too many students struggle to make ends meet after graduation and thought it would be a good direction to pursue.  It was clear during design school many of my professors didn’t think I had what it took to make it in the profession. And in a way, they may have been right.  The skills that most of the top students had – graphics, site design – were not where I excelled.  I preferred a combination of natural resources and liberal arts but was determined that since I started the program, I should finish it.  Then I’d figure out what to do.

Before I moved to Annapolis, I had been to the state all of twice.  I thought I’d stay a couple of years then join the Peace Corps or go to grad school somewhere far away.  I tried to leave after a few months, but the recession hit and nothing materialized.  When I transferred offices to work on a major project, I vowed I’d finish out my role, no matter what. Much like I vowed to stick with my major in the first place. Because good students and good employees finish what they start.

That project finished and I should have felt free. But by then I was marrying my husband, who was new to the area and didn’t want to move again. So instead of applying to the University of Oregon or Pennsylvania for a Master’s degree, I looked into local programs where I could continue to work full time.  We bought a house and the day the bank approved our offer I cried because now I was stuck. Once we realized we really did want to move, we decided to be responsible and try to pay off all our student loans before doing so.  Twelve years later, I’m still half-heartedly living in a place I wanted to leave after six months, struggling which what I “should” do instead of following my heart.

Being done with “shoulds”

Somewhere along the way, I paused and realized how deeply unhappy I was.  In December 2014 I was at a bookstore looking for a Christmas present for my dad when I saw a book called Paris Letters. The author, Janice MacLeod, asks the question “How much money does it take to quit your job?” and then moves to Paris.

It started a process of slow consideration over the next few months of asking myself a series of questions. What am I doing here?  Why am I staying in this job that hasn’t helped me grow in four years, just left me with empty promises and fits of crying every morning before I get out of the car?  Because I “should” take advantage of the money they are giving me for grad school, at a program I enrolled in because I “should” work full time while I go to school, because I always felt obligated to follow a particular career direction?  What if I changed?  Who might I become?

I remember the exact moment when I first decided I was done with the shoulds.  I was in the bathroom of an airplane somewhere over the Rocky Mountains looking not just at myself in the mirror, but down at my whole life, laid out 10,000 feet below me, and I asked myself “What the hell are you waiting for?”  I was reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed on that plane ride, a story about picking yourself the fuck up and DOING something with your life, and something started to crack slowly inside of me.

Small cracks to big cracks

Have you ever noticed that a small crack inevitably leads to bigger cracks?  It’s why we design sidewalks and buildings with control joints, to tell the crack where it will and will not go, but we can’t design our own life that way.

I didn’t know on that plane ride, or in that book store, that this tiny crack would split wide open in ways I could never imagine over the next four years.  That it would include two job changes, three transAtlantic trips, depression, infidelity, a friend’s suicide, and that I would eventually stop trying to patch myself up, like a slipshod repair job, but rather go all the way to the deepest part of the wound and learn to heal from the inside out.  I didn’t know that this was the process of becoming whole, that it’s an ongoing process and I would keep finding new places that needed to be healed.  Sometimes these things fester until something happens to bring them to the surface.

I had a moment in the early fall of 2015, while out in the woods measuring trees for a stream restoration project when suddenly I knew I wanted no part of the path I had been following.  Not the job, not grad school, not Maryland.  I had been trying so hard to plan every bit of my life and you can’t live wholeheartedly if you are willing your life to stick to a plan.  In that moment I broke down and spiralled into a depression that lasted for months, where not a day went by that I didn’t weep out of hopelessness and despair and consider ending it all.  There was no more plan.

Forgoing the shoulds

Slowly and tentatively I began to talk to select people about how I was struggling.  A friend sent me the book Let Your Life Speak by Parker J Palmer who eloquently described what I could barely grasp at:

Sometimes the “shoulds” do not work because the life one is living runs crosswise to the grain of one’s soul.  At that time in my life, I had no feeling for the grain in my soul and no sense of which way was crosswise….Had I not followed my despair…I might have continued to pursue a work that was not mine to do, causing further harm to myself, to the people and projects with which I worked, and to a profession that is well-worth doing – by those who are called to do it.

I decided to forego the “shoulds”.  Maybe I should have stayed in that job longer, but I knew I was done and I didn’t want to look to the past or the future but rather stay in the present and what I needed in my soul at the time.  Maybe I should have quit the volunteer Board of Directors position, but those people have become the closest friends and family I’ve known and can rely on.  Maybe I should quit traveling so much and stay put a little more often; I’ve gotten used to people questioning how much I travel, but it what makes me feel alive.

When others question me, it is their own fears they vocalize and too often I let that hold me back or put up my defences, determined to show them that I am right.  Everything from what I majored in to where I lived to what I did in my spare time was a “should do” for far too long.

What do I know

With so many unknowns, what do I know?  I know that while there have been parts of my life that have been wonderful, there are also parts of it that have been toxic to me.  I often wonder, if I stayed at home more, physically more, would it be better?  Would I be happier?  But WOULD I ever actually stay here more, even if I were less busy, less committed to friends and family and adventures around the country?

Perhaps part of me will always feel the need to be on the go and doing something.  Do I leave because I don’t want to be here or do I not want to be here because I always leave?  Am I still trying to be someone I am not, that I feel I should be?  I posed this question to my husband, Todd.  He responded, kindly, “I think you will always want to be on the move.  If you tried to stay in one place you wouldn’t be you.  You were born to wander.”

So where am I now, emotionally and physically?  That’s a complicated question, but I think I am getting closer to the answer, part of which is “I don’t know.”  But I do.  And I don’t.  This chapter of my life is closing, and like all good chapters, it’s emotional, like the end of Deathly Hallows before the Epilogue when you know there’s more to the story but you’re not ready for this part of it to end.

What I want

I want to fully love and live and mourn this chapter so I can wholly move into the next one.  I don’t want to allude to things anymore.  I want to be real.  I have been halfheartedly living in the Chesapeake, trying to be something I have never felt connected to on a soul level.  I’ve tried for 17 years to convince myself I could do this particular work and live in this particular place and I can’t.  I want to feel alive and I feel alive when I am around art, around animals, in nature, in the mountains.  Less people, less frenetic pace of life.

I’m not a “hustle” mentality.  I want to equally work hard and play hard and rest hard and love hard and I don’t have room for that when I’m full of irritation and stress and anxiety in this place.  I’ve never really felt healthy or whole here and it’s devastating to say that out loud, especially when I don’t yet have the answers to what’s next.  I’ve always wanted to completely plan out my life and I don’t think that’s in the cards.  I’m scared as hell and want to weep and leap for joy at the same time.

What is next

I’ve always wanted to pack up and just go and see what adventure is waiting around the next turn.  I’ve secretly always wanted to stop being so damn responsible and just take a risk. Fear and obligation and what I “should” do stopped me every time.

The Green Mountains have been calling my name since I crossed the state line into Vermont in late May nine years ago.  I remember a coworker saying they weren’t sure I was going to come back from that trip and part of me..

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This guest post from Bek Ireland looks at the courage and magic of exploring a life unlived.

This is the 16th guest post in our Wholehearted Stories series on Quiet Writing! I invited readers to consider submitting a guest post on their wholehearted story. You can read more here – and I’m still keen for more contributors! 

Quiet Writing celebrates self-leadership in wholehearted living and writing, career and creativity. This community of voices, each of us telling our own story of what wholehearted living means, is a valuable and central part of this space. In this way, we can all feel connected on our various journeys and not feel so alone. Whilst there will always be unique differences, there are commonalities that we can all learn from and share to support each other.

I’m excited to have Bek Ireland as a ‘Wholehearted Stories’ contributor. Bek and I met via coaching and I had the pleasure of guiding Bek through a coaching series. We worked through deep wholehearted story work and Bek focused on getting back to the essentials of what was important. In this story, Bek shares how she has moved courageously into living that life unlived she imagined. It takes brave and sometimes unorthodox steps, but that’s wholehearted work. Read Bek’s journey of working through embracing her natural personality and living her life unlived!

Come in, come in, I’ll show you around.  There’s a table, which also serves as a desk of course (excuse my laptop, notebook, 2019 diary on it!) and a gorgeous little kitchen, with coffee and tea and breakfast stuff.

In here’s the bathroom, with ‘Who Gives A Crap’ toilet rolls (love it). Here we have the bed (built high so you can store your suitcases or bags under there). The comfy couch is opposite the television, although we both know that’s not going to get turned on while I’m here, don’t we?

That’s one of the very reasons I’m here!

This is the third time I’ve stayed at an Airbnb in the last few years.  It’s interesting that trips are stored in the app – my first time was June 2017, then June 2018, and now January 2019.

I rent them for two nights usually, but I don’t stay overnight.  All three have been within a 5-minute drive of my own house.  I come for the afternoon on the first ‘night’ and then the full day of the second ‘night’.

The first time was one night, because my daughter, who was nine at the time, had gone to a friend’s house and was possibly going to stay the night, depending on how she felt. I would’ve stayed the night if she’d stayed at her friend’s, but she didn’t. So I was only there for a few hours in the afternoon and evening.

Reclaiming sovereignty

The bliss of it though! The no-TV, no-power tools, nobody talking to me.  Not even offering me a coffee – so, still interrupting, still intruding on what I was beginning to understand was an innate need for uninterrupted time to myself.

When you’re a people-pleasing INFJ like me, going against the grain of 40 years and trying to establish some boundaries with scant practice is hard work. Being interrupted with the offer of coffee is excruciating. Because yes, they’re interrupting when you’ve asked politely that they not talk to you, but for an ostensibly nice reason.

It’s all too much and you give up and give in and swallow yourself and go watch TV with them.

But not if you’re in a space of your own.

The second time I told my daughter and her dad that I was going on a two-day writing retreat, which was true. But it wasn’t until it was over that I explained I’d been the only one at the retreat.

I went for walks, I wrote, I read.

I didn’t talk.

I listened to cars driving past, blokes playing sport on the oval up the road.  The sounds of birds, the wind, insects.  I thanked the thoughts of guilt when they came, then let them dissolve.

Agency and guilt are two of the balls I juggle as I stretch my wings to test their strength.  Please excuse the clumsy metaphors.  Done is better than perfect, as they say.

Wings to fly

So those two were a year apart.  That’s interesting.  Come the Junes had I had enough?  Did I need some counterbalance mid-year?  And what was happening at those times?

I quite like the wings metaphor, let’s think Angelina-Jolie-in-Malevolence type wings.  So, in June 2017 you might say I was feeling the nice itch and burn of them under the skin on my back.  Perhaps they were starting to protrude a little.

I’d been six months in an assistant manager position at a company for whom I’d worked, on and off, for over 20 years.  A company, by the way, that in Year 12 I had sworn I would never work for.  Careful what you feel strongly about is my advice to you!

If you ask me where I would have planned to work at that age, I couldn’t have told you – and I guess the universe just fills in the blanks for you sometimes, doesn’t it?  Which can be good, or not so good.

Strength and the validation it brings

Anyway, I digress.

By June 2018 my wings had sprouted.  Not long after my first brief, blissful sojourn, I had completed a semester of a combined English and Creative Writing/Secondary Education degree.

I deferred the following semester while I held the fort for my boss, who had been promoted to a new role.  I absolutely did not want her job – leading a team of 17 across three states – but I was happy enough to fill in till they advertised her job and found someone new.

And to be honest I had gained confidence, having met a kindred spirit in Terri and benefiting from a series of coaching sessions with her; with doing well at my studies; and by being considered competent enough to be the acting manager.

And here we are, six months later, in this glorious tiny space.  I would love to sleep the night, but again, juggling with agency and guilt, I find it difficult to justify staying away from home when I’m in the same town.  I travel a bit for work, to Adelaide and Sydney, and of course, I stay away from my daughter then.  But I have no choice – because I’m so far away.

Here, I am only five minutes down the road.  And having the whole afternoon and then the whole next day to myself is good enough, for now.

But as soon as I got settled in this one, I was already planning my next stay.  And I won’t even wait six months this time, let alone a year. The first time this is available again is two months from now.  The only reason I haven’t already booked it is that I don’t want to seem too weird.

Remembering who you really are

Creating time and space for solitude is symbolic of my journey along the path of wholeheartedness.  Believing I deserve to create this time and space for myself.  Acknowledging its importance.

e e cummings said,

To be nobody-but-yourself – in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

Or condensed for modern times by Danielle LaPorte:

Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?

Getting away, stepping outside the realms of my normal life, into the magic of a life unlived, if only for brief periods of time, helps me remember who I really am.  It is there I find myself.  I have been there all along, but sometimes I am hard to find under the accumulated detritus of the world which does its best to make me (and all of us) everybody else.

In the majesty of silence, I can recalibrate, recharge, rejuvenate, rejoice.  Quietly.

I remember thinking of Virginia Woolf and her room of one’s own. It’s a recurring fantasy of mine to rent a house of my own and semi-reside there.  What riches could emerge?  How might the fabric of the universe stretch and shimmer in those circumstances?

Trusting yourself and honouring your instincts

I also often long for a beloved, wise mentor.  Someone who knows me, who sees me, who could guide me on the path. What’s the next right thing?  Tara Mohr has an exquisite guided meditation, (you can find it here) where you journey to meet your future-self.  I highly recommend it.

The last time I did it, my future-self lived alone (probably with a cat too) in a humble, funky, uncluttered small abode not far from the sea.  She had wavy grey hair, and she was fit and strong.  Her days consisted of long walks, reading, writing, and conversing with a community of like-minded folk from all over the planet via the world wide web.

I can see now she would live a waste-free life.  She would cultivate vegetables and walk or ride to the local farmer’s market each Sunday to buy fruit and catch up with local friends face to face.

Besides solitude, reading is like breathing to me.  I also love learning about astrology, and like many INFJ’s, have a wide smattering of interests.

Waking up

I have however recently acquired a new focus: climate change.  I can’t believe I got to 43 knowing basically nothing about it.

In October 2018 I attended a local TEDx event.  All the speakers were inspirational, but a talk by Darren Lomman of GreenBatch really stood out. He’s working to create the first plastic recycling facility in Perth, Western Australia because at the current rate, it’s predicted that there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had just released their latest report on the state of the planet and Sarah Wilson (of I Quit Sugar and First We Make the Beast Beautiful fame) had posted a summary of it on her blog.  I love Sarah’s no-nonsense take on things, and read her views with interest.

Since then, I have been learning about carbon dioxide emissions, what ppm means (parts per million), who the planet’s largest emitters are and how we can avert the potentially catastrophic consequences of our mindless pursuit of economic growth.

I have bought cloth pads and a menstrual cup.  I am trying to reduce, reuse, or refuse single-use plastics. I have a large bowl in the sink to save the water that would normally go down the drain when I wash my hands and rinse dishes. I have a bucket in the shower to capture a portion of the water that washes over me.

It makes me think about others that I share this incredibly beneficent earth with, others who do not have toilets or disposable pads or tampons.  Others who walk miles to get water.  Others who have as much right as I do to feel the itch and burn of newly growing wings under their skin.

Courage to grow

And I am delving deeper into the science and political history of the climate emergency we face, because I want to do more than aspire to waste-free living; I want to help drive policy change.

I need to educate myself, because as much as I’m growing, there’s a saying I still tend to live by: better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

I find myself noticing moments of quiet with more frequency now, and recognising that creating quiet – and solitude – for myself is a necessity, not a luxury. Quiet and solitude allow me to work out what it is that I think, how to apply the ideas I generate, and how to be confident that when I do speak, it’s from a space of considered knowledge. Reading Greg McKeown’s Essentialism guided me to figure out what was essential for me, and to live that.

I believe though that most of us are trying to raise our awareness, and knowing that I am part of a community of brave souls, finding the courage to test our wings and raise our voices, gives me hope.

With such hope, it’s delicious to imagine how the fabric of the universe might stretch and shimmer.

Key book companions along the way

Here are some books I love that have supported me:

Presence – Amy Cuddy

Essentialism – Greg McKeown

The War of Art – Steven Pressfield

The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion

Writing Down the Bones – Natalie Goldberg

Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott

The Hate Race – Maxine Beneba Clarke

Autobiography of a Yogi – Paramahansa Yogananda

Anything We Love Can Be Saved – Alice Walker

Quiet – Susan Cain (my first realisation that I was introverted, and not only was that a thing, and okay, but it brought incredible gifts)

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

Salt – Gabrielle Lord

This Changes Everything – Naomi Klein

Eaarth – Bill McKibben

Requiem for a Species – Clive Hamilton

About Bek Ireland

Bek Ireland leads a team of specialists helping communities build their financial capability.  Bek loves reading..
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‘Mystical Interludes II’, collected and edited by Emily Rodavich, takes us into the world of ordinary people’s mystical experiences. Read on!

A mystical interlude, which resonates in the heart, can remind us of our spirituality and our connectedness to each other. This is why it is meaningful to take heed.

from Mystical Interludes II by Emily Rodavich

You might sense a theme emerging in Quiet Writing lately.

Independently, books have come to me that focus on mystical experiences. These books arrived in various ways and means, all dealing with people having extraordinary experiences. It was quite surprising. Coincidence? I think not.

These mystical experiences are called different things: mystical interludes or NOTEs, Non-ordinary Transcendent Experiences.  Some involve a specific life-changing moment like a Near Death Experience. Others are a kind of synchronicity or meaningful coincidence, involving signs or symbols. Sometimes they are everyday occurrences with enormous significance beyond the moment. They could be events that connect over the decades. Or an experience that manifests through increased sensitivity of some kind.

It was clearly time for me to look closely into this realm of reality and reflect on my personal experience of the mystical. For it is something that just about everyone experiences and encounters if we pay attention. Often, it’s an occurrence that yields rich rewards of transformation and growth. This is especially the case if we honour the experience, feel able to talk about it and share it more publicly with others.

Reading Mystical Interludes II

I was delighted to have the opportunity to read Mystical Interludes II by Emily Rodavich to enrich my sense of ordinary people’s stories of the mystical. The backstory of this book is fascinating. Emily Rodavich wrote her first Mystical Interludes: An Ordinary Person’s Extraordinary Experiences as a memoir. Covering a series of lifetime mystical interludes, Emily seeks to make sense of encounter after encounter. These experiences include a near-death experience at 18. With the door opening to this aspect of experience, it seemed to usher in other spiritual experiences.

Emily reflects on her mystical interludes with this life wisdom:

I’ve come to realize that those powerful experiences have been extraordinary gifts that should be shared rather than closeted. It’s my hunch that the world is full of ordinary people like myself who have been surprised by similar incidents. It’s time we come forward and share them with each other and the world around us.

Mystical Interludes

So to put her weight behind this, Emily issued an invitation at the end of her memoir. She invited people who experienced a mystical interlude to submit a description of it for a new book. Mystical Interludes II is a collection of stories that came forward from ordinary people from that invitation and in other ways.

Emily speaking at a book talk

Ordinary people’s extraordinary stories

The quality that I love most about Emily’s Mystical Interludes II is that it is very much ordinary people telling extraordinary stories. You sense as you read that each author is continuing to make sense of what happened as they write. The overwhelming feeling is of everyone being right back in that moment even if it was many years ago. The details are sharp. It’s as if time stands still in the moment and everything is super-charged. The senses are activated in the story and in the telling.

Nancy Aloi in ‘Love from Beyond the Veil‘ describes a series of encounters defined by intense smells including tobacco and freshly baked bread. Smells that she connects with her late father, his spirit seemingly shepherds her through a difficult time.

Canela Michelle Meyers describes the expansive, light feeling of a Near Death Experience in her story, ‘Into the Blue’. The moments when Canela is ice-skating before she has a catastrophic fall are told in crystal clear detail. It’s as if the whole day and series of events are frozen in time.

Time after time, I marvelled at being in this house, in this hospital, in this room, on this street – in ordinary places with ordinary people having extraordinary things happen to them.

Overwhelming openness to experience

Each author reflects on these extraordinary experiences as a gift. They provide insights and learning that open the heart. Even when the experience was difficult or hard to understand, it resulted in a spirit of being more open.

Beverley Golden shares an “almost unexplainable experience with a past-life regression” in her story, ‘Answers from Another Place and Time.’ She concludes:

One thing I do know is that the experience has kept me open and willing to receive answers to questions, wherever they come from.

These ordinary people share conclusions from all kinds of extraordinary experiences. Conclusions about loved ones always being with us, living past lives, life beyond death and the power of mystical signposts to bring people together over time and circumstance. Each story has the effect of opening up your own experience and insight in the telling.

As Emily says in the introduction:

Just as each of us is an original one-of-a-kind being, each story is a unique, authentic revelation. The common thread throughout these narratives is that they are real. That reality is evidenced by their influences on their writers’ lives.

Extraordinary encounters of ordinary people

The authors are a rich mix of people. They include retirees, authors, physicians, integrative health practitioners, neighbours, teachers, artists, intuitives, psychologists, musicians. Authors of Quiet Writing Wholehearted Stories are contributors to this volume including Penelope Love and Maura McCarley Torkildson. Most of the authors I don’t know and some authors choose to remain anonymous.

This broad range of contributing authors reinforces the message that many people experience mystical interludes. I reflected on my own mystical interludes whilst reading this book. When reading Nicole Gruel’s book, I had an encounter experience around rainbows, a recurring symbol in my life. It’s as if in the reading of such books, our awareness is raised. We review the mystical experiences in our lives. Or they start to occur!

Suzanne Giesemann echoes this in her Foreword:

I know from my own research that simply by reading other people’s other-worldly experiences, we are more likely to experience such events ourselves.

The gathering of books and connections coming together on this topic in my life might be my own Mystical Interludes story! A whole series of personal connections has intersected during this past month or so of reading about mystical interludes. Chance and random encounters between people connected around mystical experiences. New connections made like it’s a web that extends between us. It has been an extraordinary light-filled time.

Connecting with Mystical Interludes

This is the real power and spirit of Mystical Interludes II and Emily’s collection of stories. The groundswell of interest in transcendent experiences is made richer by these detailed accounts of ordinary lives suddenly taking on another form.

We know from Emily’s gathering of these 39 stories, as well as Nicole Gruel’s research, that many people have such experiences but they may not talk about them. The stigma and the feeling of not being believed means many people have stayed quiet. Clearly, as these stories show, the immediacy and impact of these experiences does not fade with time. The retelling of them gives life and energy to the spirit of the experience.

I encourage you to read Mystical Interludes II to embolden yourself to think about such experiences in your life. And to share them with others. You might find yourself reflecting on your mystical experiences – past or present – as I have. If you have had a mystical interlude of your own, you might consider contributing your story to the forthcoming Mystical Interludes III.

Emily sharing her experiences via a book talk

Leadership in telling stories

The leadership of Emily Rodavich in telling her story as a role model and inviting and supporting others to tell their stories is powerful. It would be easy for these ordinary people to shy away from telling their stories. But in Emily’s very wise and inspired hands, these stories are dusted off, shaped and gathered together into a volume that speaks volumes about the nature of mystical experiences.

Emily’s book opens with a wonderful quote from Anthony de Mello:

Story-telling to shed light and share truth is what this book is all about. These are quiet stories, gently told, as they narrate momentous happenings. It is wonderful that more authors are choosing to write and share their mystical interludes story. It’s exciting too that Emily has stepped up to provide leadership to gather, honour and help voice the experiences of others.

I feel indebted to Emily and to all the authors for taking the time to share their stories in such detail, often from hidden or long ago places. I’m sure many readers will feel this same sense of respect and honour in witnessing these long-held stories of the heart and spirit. I encourage you to also witness these stories, their brave telling and what they might teach us about ourselves and our place in the world of spirit and the mystical.

Book Giveaway

I’m hosting a giveaway of Mystical Interludes II on Instagram and Facebook! Let’s celebrate ordinary people’s mystical interludes in the light of the Virgo Full Moon!

Working together with Emily Rodavich and Citrine Publishing, we have one printed copy of Mystical Interludes II to give away, sent to you anywhere in the world.

So make sure you are following me on Instagram and/or Facebook and follow the instructions to win this book in my posts on Tuesday 19 February AEDT. Good luck!

Thought pieces + footnotes About Emily Rodavich

Emily Rodavich, retired English teacher, mother of three and grandmother of four, had a near death experience at age eighteen. That extraordinary event opened the door to a lifetime of spiritual happenings. Unable to share those mystical experiences with most friends or family for fear they’d think her “strange,” she kept them to herself. In recent years, realizing the ways those various mystical happenings had shaped her concept of reality and her character, she wrote her memoir, Mystical Interludes: An Ordinary Person’s Extraordinary Experiences, which chronicles ten of her stunning interludes. Believing that everybody experiences mystical interludes to some degree, she invited readers to submit their stories for publication in this, her second book, Mystical Interludes II: A Collection of Extraordinary People’s Extraordinary Experiences.  

At the end of her speaking engagements Emily found that people wanted to hang out and talk about their experiences.  The result was the formation of the Mystical Interludes Discussion Group (MIDG) starting with eight members who met in her home for the first time in March 2017.  Today the group of fifty members rents space for their monthly meetings. Emily’s mission is to do her part to support our collective spiritual evolution by bringing personal mystical events out of shadow into the light. In so doing, she foresees a day when mystical interludes will be accepted as normal human events, rather than strange or weird occurrences.

Connect with Emily by visiting the Mystical Interludes website. To express your intention to write for the next edition, click on “Share Your Experience”.

Reading Mystical Interludes II

You can use the below Amazon affiliate links to access and read Mystical Interludes II if you choose with no additional cost to you.  I receive a small commission to help keep Quiet Writing efforts, book reviews and giveaways flourishing.

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This guest post from Olivia Sprinkel is a letter in response to Heidi Washburn’s wholehearted story: When the inner voice calls, and calls again

I am so excited by Olivia’s response and the dance between ideas and readers she invites!

I welcome any other letter style responses to wholehearted stories here on Quiet Writing any time. You can find out more about wholehearted stories guest-posting here. The links for all the stories are at the end of this post. How wonderful that we can share our stories of wholehearted living and what it means. And respond to the experiences of others as we shape our own journey. It truly warms my heart!

Enjoy this beautiful dance of ideas and how Olivia responds to Heidi’s wholehearted story!

Dear Heidi,

I read your article ‘When the inner voice calls, and calls again – my journey to wholehearted living’. I immediately wanted to respond and say ‘thank you for writing’ – and also to share my own reflections in response.  I am now that woman in my mid-forties in New York that you were 30 years ago, listening to the call of my inner voice to give up my corporate job and to live life with my whole heart. It was so reassuring to read your story, and know that you had the courage to listen to that voice and to create a wholehearted life for yourself. It provided confirmation that a different way of living than the conventional one that is presented to us is possible, if we choose to follow that path.

The best piece of advice my father gave me

Writing this now, I remember that my father always used to say “Listen to your little voice”. It was probably the best piece of advice he gave me. He used to tell the story of how he had enrolled in Berkeley, as that is where his father and mother had both gone. But when he got there, his little voice told him, ‘You want to go to Stanford’. And he went and knocked on the door of the Stanford admissions officer, and ended up graduating from Stanford.

You write of how your little voice spoke to you so clearly and powerfully. It can only speak clearly if we are tuned into the hearing of it – you were ready to hear it. I’ve had a couple of other occasions when my little voice has spoken to me and my ears and body have been open for the hearing of it. There have been other occasions when undoubtedly it has spoken to me, but I have blocked it out because I didn’t want to hear – and things haven’t turned out too well.

Taking responsibility for listening to the little voice

I didn’t feel as if I had any choice but to listen to the little voice that spoke to me to send me on this particular journey. When this voice spoke it was giving me the gift of a creative idea or a creative mission. It spoke to me and said ‘Write a book “A history of the future of the world in 12 trees”. Or 10.’ (It was giving me a little bit of wiggle room.) And why did I choose to act on this, to give up my job, my New York apartment, to pursue this journey? I think it was a combination of the clarity of the idea, and the clarity of my listening. I felt that I had been gifted this idea and it was my responsibility to act on it. Not to do so would be irresponsible – both to the idea and to myself.  And I am in the position to do so, with no responsibilities of family to take care of.

And writing this now, I wonder, ‘who is behind that little voice?’ As writers, we often speak about ‘finding our authentic voice’. Is our little voice that authentic piece of us that we can hear when we are tuned to the right channel, when we have done that preparatory work, that opening? I’ve had my little voice speak to me  – and I’ve listened – in yoga and when I am out in nature. That morning when the idea for my tree journey appeared, I was sitting at my desk, but I had spent the weekend immersed in the beautiful woods of the Catskills at Menla.

Elizabeth Gilbert has written of how ideas are gifted to us, and if we don’t declare an interest in them, they will move on to someone else. She writes in ‘Big Magic’ of how an idea she didn’t pursue then moved on to Ann Patchett, who did act on it, and wrote a book based on the idea. This suggests that there is something larger than us that is seeking to communicate with us – and which knows us well enough to make only appropriate suggestions. I am sure whole philosophy books have been written on the subject, and someone more well informed than me can answer that question. But perhaps that is the authenticity of wholehearted living – that we are open to receiving information from the ‘whole’, rather than from a limited subset of ourselves.

Stepping into the dance

It also reminds me of a dance. That when we open ourselves to the dance of life, then we can dance in step with the universe and be open to being led by her, and be twirled and occasionally flipped head over heels and still land gracefully. I’m reminded of the dancing metaphor as I used to have a blog in the form of letters that a friend and I would write back and forth to one another, pondering life’s questions. The title of the blog was ‘Dancing All the Way’, which we decided on as we doing a multi-day walk and we wanted to dance all the way of the walk. And then Terri’s theme for the year is ‘Dance’ – so perhaps this is just a small example of how the universe wants to dance with us.

Seeing your life story as a Hero’s Journey

It’s not an easy thing to follow your little voice, as you know. You write movingly with the example of your accountant of how we are not always ready to do that. I believe that the call to a wholehearted life really is a Hero’s Journey, as Joseph Campbell has described, and which is the foundation of great myths as well as our ordinary extraordinary lives. There is the call to action, and we can choose to act on it or not. And if we do choose to accept, there will be setbacks, there will be temptations to distract us along the way, we will need to overcome challenges. But if we persevere, we will come back with a gift to offer our community. Thinking about my own story in this way helps to give me perspective. It is also reassuring for me to know that this journey will be repeated many times on different timescales, as well as providing an overarching arc for our lives, if we are fortunate enough to live into an old age and be able to look back over the distance that we have travelled.

I am at the beginning of this next stage of my journey, heading out into the unknown. All I have is an idea, and a rough itinerary. And, hopefully, my little voice to continue to guide me and ears and heart to listen.

I wish you well as your journey continues.

With love


About Olivia Sprinkel 

Olivia Sprinkel is a sustainability strategy and communications consultant, writer and photographer. She has advised some of the world’s largest companies on sustainability strategy, and been based in both London and New York. She is also a writer of poetry and creative non-fiction, and a keen photographer. She is now embarking on writing a book which brings together her sustainability expertise and creative skills to tell stories of a changing climate and nature connection. You can connect with Oliva via Instagram and her website.

Photographs by Olivia Sprinkel and used with permission and thanks.

Read more Wholehearted Stories

If you enjoyed this wholehearted story, please share it with others to inspire their journey. To submit your own story, you can find out more here. You might enjoy these stories too:

Tackling trauma and “not enough” with empathy and vision – a wholehearted story

When the inner voice calls, and calls again – my journey to wholehearted living

Maps to Self: my wholehearted story

The Journey to Write Here – my wholehearted story

Ancestral Patterns, Tarot Numerology and breaking through – my wholehearted story

Message from the middle – my wholehearted story

The journey of a lifetime – a wholehearted story

Gathering my lessons – a wholehearted story

Grief and pain can be our most important teachers – a wholehearted story

Breakdown to breakthrough – my wholehearted life

Embracing a creative life – a wholehearted story

Becoming who I really am – a wholehearted story

Finding my home – a wholehearted story

My wild soul is calling – a wholehearted story

Our heart always knows the way – a wholehearted story

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

Keep in touch + free ebook ’36 Books that Shaped my Story’

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The post Dancing all the way – or listening to our little voice as a guide for wholehearted living appeared first on Quiet Writing.

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This guest post from Maura McCarley Torkildson explores tackling trauma and feelings of “not enough” with tools of empathy and vision in her unfolding wholehearted story.

This is the 15th guest post in our Wholehearted Stories series on Quiet Writing! I invited readers to consider submitting a guest post on their wholehearted story. You can read more here – and I’m still keen for more contributors! 

Quiet Writing celebrates self-leadership in wholehearted living and writing, career and creativity. This community of voices, each of us telling our own story of what wholehearted living means, is a valuable and central part of this space. In this way, we can all feel connected on our various journeys and not feel so alone. Whilst there will always be unique differences, there are commonalities that we can all learn from and share to support each other.

I am honoured to have Maura McCarley Torkildson as a ‘Wholehearted Stories’ contributor. You might have seen my review of Maura’s book, The Inner Tree, all about intuition here on Quiet Writing. Maura and I have connected via our mutual interest and explorations into intuitive ways of working and being.  In this story, Maura shares how a vision helps makes sense of intuitive, evolving life-long learning around tackling and calming trauma. Read Maura’s journey of working through trauma and feelings of “not enough’ with various tools that you can draw on too!

I met Mama Anaconda in a vision recently. What she showed me ultimately calmed my trauma. But I get ahead of myself…

The trauma of not enough

About a year ago, I realized that I had been steeping myself in “not enough.” I liberally doused myself with this tea in just about all areas of my life. I couldn’t see it. In my mind, this tea was the truth of my life – not enough money, not enough clients, not enough discipline, not enough experience, not enough recognition, and the list is endless.

Bullying and rejection from my peers in childhood formed painful memories and impacted my self-worth. Born whole, I became not enough. In many ways, I was a fortunate child, and yet rejection is one of the most hurtful experiences a human can face, belonging is so important to our well-being. A sensitive child, I was an easy target. Being teased and rejected hurt, a lot. Fast forward that into adulthood and my brain constantly looked for confirmation of rejection.

I am resilient, however, and determined. My focus on self-awareness and growth over the years meant that I worked these issues, sometimes inside and out. I sought therapy. I cultivated people who really cared about me.  I worked with a mystic. I sat with trees. I cultivated presence awareness. I attended workshops and hired coaches. Sometimes I spent thousands of dollars. So how could I still be so stuck in the trauma, lack of self-worth and endless thoughts of not enough?

I wanted to be fixed. The underlying assumption was that I was never good enough, that belief an ingrained pattern in my brain. I overcame in one area of my life – only to find new areas to heal. One area healed…next, then next, then next? Truly it is wearying to feel the path to wholeness is never-ending.

Trauma and clairsentience – a fraught combination

I hadn’t realized how much I steeped myself in thoughts of not enough. Sometimes I wasn’t even aware of my pain – my gut twisted into knots, the intense forces constricting my heart, the pressure of tears behind my eyes at the slightest provocation. I am good at pushing through and denying. That method of coping perfected and served me quite well in earlier years. No, I wasn’t always in this state, but often enough to be worn down by it. Denial takes its toll. Secretly, I often wondered what was uniquely wrong with me.

I learned a thing or two over the years about what was “wrong” with me. One, I am an empath. Two, I have trauma.

As an empath (otherwise known as clairsentience) I am an extremely sensitive being. I feel deeply, and I have noticed the depth of my feeling often scares others. People shy away from my intensity. Furthermore, my body picks up on the feelings of others. It is a magnet for emotions.

I didn’t know about clairsentience until much later in life. I often felt confused about why I was feeling what I was feeling. Accused of wearing my feelings on my shoulders and judged for not being able to just move on, I hurt. I tried to hide my hurt unsuccessfully. I have the opposite a poker face. What was wrong with ME, I wondered.  Our culture’s war on feelings left unquestioned as I learned I wasn’t supposed to be feeling so much. Feeling wasn’t rational. One had to buck up to be successful in life, showing and sharing feelings risked belonging.

The path to embracing my unique gifts and challenges

I finally figured out the clairsentience. Whew! What a relief to know it wasn’t all me. Being an empath is a gift and it is a challenge. The state of the world has high impact on this sensitive being. I grieve a lot and that grief can quickly transform into rage if I am not careful. I limit my access to news and stay vigilant about the direction of my thoughts. Thankfully I have learned many tools to manage both my emotions and sensitivity. I need protection.

I learned to embrace grief. Grief is the core feeling under all the challenging emotions, as they all have to do with loss. Embracing grief led to wisdom around what it means to be human. To be fully present to my emotions became grounding for me. I examine the physical manifestation of emotion and the emotion becomes guidance for my life. If things get unbearable, I tap (Emotional Freedom Tapping) and feel the energy release through the top of my head and shoulders.

Understanding trauma

I have trauma. We all have trauma. Understanding trauma is necessary for wholehearted living. I am not alone, nor is my trauma extreme. Trauma is not just the result of an injury or abuse on our body. Trauma is a reconfiguration of our nervous system. It is a pattern of hypervigilance and/or complete shutdown. It is avoidance of feelings that are overpowering and can be paralyzing.

My childhood experiences of rejection, repeated shifts in employment, toxic workplaces and financial insecurity are the root of my trauma. My brain actively looks for all the ways “not enough” shows up in my life. I became hypervigilant for “not enough,” especially after losing my job in 2012, struggling to find work in an atmosphere of ageism and trying to forge my path as a solopreneur. It all took its toll.

Trauma is our fear system gone wild. I learned that trauma gets stuck – or rather our nervous system gets stuck in these patterns and we can’t just think our way out of them. Contrary to popular sentiment – changing one’s mindset will not work unless trauma is addressed. Healing trauma can be accomplished most effectively through somatic techniques and therapies.

Becoming vigilant and shifting my consciousness

I remember the day I realized my brain was stuck, a day I almost charged another $2000 of debt, placing my hope in an external person to fix me. Fortunately, I asked for time to think about it. Setting down my phone after, I went to my oak tree in our backyard and prayed. An answer came – the realization I was steeping myself in not enough. At that moment, I finally understood no one could fix me. I needed to change from within.

I became vigilant about shifting my not enough habit. Every time not enough came up, I consciously stepped into gratitude. This practice helped me notice the good things – the abundance in my life – the beauty of my garden, the depth of my friendships, the way I somehow had just enough money to stay solvent. I built awareness of the nuances of feeling enough in my heart. Gratitude relieves the pressure of those forces which restrict my heart. It becomes feather-light and expansive.

Being conscious of gratitude is not enough to clear trauma, but it helps. Trauma gets entrenched. I needed to be vigilant. Some days were good, some not so much. Any disappointment threatened to knock me out of gratitude back into old habits. This is how trauma operates.

I used my tools – Presence Awareness, a practice which serves me by simply stopping any train of thought and rekindling my connection to Eternity and Love. When I get triggered, I reach out to friends. I found a tapping group and learned how to use tapping effectively. I discovered that tapping brought my trauma to the surface where I could see and acknowledge it, then release pent up feelings.

Vigilance is work. Tools require remembering to use them. I wished for flow. I wanted more.

Maura McCarley Torkildson

Recognizing the courage to be here

Bottom line, being human can be very challenging. We need stability and belonging. We need all those things Maslow identified on his triangle for reaching peak state. Those things are not guaranteed in this world. Loss hurts, it can be excruciating. We can easily become inured in a pattern of traumatized response to events in our life, sapping our natural joy.

And yet, I have experienced salvation so many times and so many ways. Salvation is the reminder that I am always whole, always nested in the Divine, no matter what happens here in 3D world.

The human in me struggles, will likely always struggle. I have great compassion for her. Discomfort IS the path to growth, our soul’s mission here. It’s not easy. I envision us as excited spirits descending into the womb for this experience of 3D life. Coming out of the womb a shock, as the realization of where we’ve landed hits. I imagine us screaming at God, the cries of the newborn, No…I want to go back home, but please don’t make me die to get there!

It takes great courage to be here. I think we all long for our home. The level of trauma on this planet has led us astray into perceived disconnection. I am not sure where it all began, but I am convinced it was born of trauma. Yet bliss is always right there beside us too, if only we remember to be present to it.

Enter Mama Anaconda

Mama Anaconda slithered into my visionary state. I dreamt of her a year before – an unforgettable dream that stuck with me. In that dream, she undulated her way into my bed, slid along one side of my body, around my head and down the other. I never felt frightened. I felt embraced. She made her home in my room. I knew she had chosen me for a reason. I knew I was hers.

Fast forward to my vision. Mama Anaconda arrived in technicolor vibrations matching the Digeridoo playing in the background. Surrounded by a vibrating rainbow of color, she slithered up a magnificent tree much like she had slithered along my body in my dream. Here in my vision, the reality of her more powerfully present.

Earlier in this same visionary state, I saw the structure of our lives crumbling, dissolving quickly around us. We are in the midst of collapse. I have known this for a while. This awareness is also a source of my trauma. My love for the beauty of this world and its creatures runs deep. I grieve each loss on our planetary scale extinction.

Messages from Mama Anaconda

To my grief, Anaconda said, “It is only the changing of skin,” then showed me the black viscous fluid of life force. Impossible to fully capture with words, this fluid always moves and is at the same time always completely still. A black void creating vibrating form along its edges, it makes crusts of light and color which grow and dissolve, expand and crumble as it vibrates outwards. It constantly creates a skin of light and then constantly breaks through it. I watch with awe and calm.

Next, she showed me insects and lizards shedding their skins. She showed me planets and galaxies forming and disintegrating. She said, “This is the way. Change, destruction is just a shedding of skin, nothing to be concerned about.”

I felt Her Love, I soak in it. Her love calms my trauma, soothes the grieving child in me. Creation is forever creating, and creation destroys as it creates. She exists always within everything. She is within us and we are within her. Form is ephemeral. She is eternal. I am eternal too if eternally changing.

My inner knowing is my faith. I forget to remember my faith from time to time. Salvation has come to me repeatedly in my life. Each time in different form, but always the same. I am steeped in Love, as are you.

Key book companions along the way

These are some resources that have supported me:

Daring Greatly – Brene Brown

Rising Strong – Brene Brown

The Spell of the Sensuous – David Abrams

The Body Keeps Score – Bessel Van Der Kolk

Bridging Heaven & Earth: A Return to The One – Leonard Jacobsen

Women in Praise of the Sacred – Jane Hirshfield (Editor)

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek – Annie Dillard

The Fall – Steve Taylor

Return of the Divine Sophia – Tricia McCannon

The Presence of the Past – Rupert Sheldrake

The Lens of Perceptions – Hal Zina Bennett

The Once & Future Goddess – Elinor Gadon

About Maura McCarley..

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I have skilled up in personality type to fulfil my vision to become a Personality Type Coach. Read about this journey and what it can offer you.

I’m attending the British Association of Psychological Type (BAPT) ‘Pearls of Wisdom’ Conference in the UK in April. I’ll be speaking on ‘Learned Wisdom: Type and Transition‘. This will focus on personality type in my transition from corporate employee to life coach, writer and personality type practitioner. I will be sharing how I help women negotiate major change with personality type as a compass. Very excited to be heading to the UK, I look forward to sharing this learned wisdom.

A central part of my journey has been becoming a Jung/Myers-Briggs Personality Type Coach and practitioner. So I share more here about that journey, what it means and the wisdom it can offer.

Learning about my own personality type preferences

Becoming a Personality Type Coach and practitioner has been a key pillar of my professional identity journey. Learning about my INTJ personality preferences made all the difference in the world for me. I realised that I am a rare bird, with people with INTJ preferences making up about 1.5% of the population. INTJ women are even rarer at 0.5% of the female population, one of the rarest gender/type combinations. This helped me to understand I might naturally be and feel different. Learning more about my introverted, intuitive, thinking and judging preferences helped me honour these parts of myself.

I learnt more about my preferred cognitive processes and how I approach the world as an Introverted Intuitive (Ni). And I learnt about how this interacts with my preference for Extraverted Thinking. Strongly logical and structured, I also have intuitive flashes and a sense of knowing what to do. This can be a tricky combination I don’t always understand. I’m not naturally good at explaining my vision to others; I’ve had to work on this. I need to get out of my head more and into the bush or the ocean, swimming with fish. I’ve been able to do this in recent years and I feel more balanced because of it.

INTJ Leadership card from Pocket Personality Cards

Becoming a Personality Type coach

I wanted to learn more about personality type and share this wisdom with others. So the three pillars of my life transition and identify shifts were becoming:

  1. a life coach
  2. a Jung/Myers-Briggs personality type coach and practitioner
  3. fluent in the intuitive art and symbolism of tarot

I achieved all of these goals and in this piece, I focus on my journey of becoming a Personality Type Coach. You can read about my journey of becoming a life coach here.

Beginning the journey

There are many ways to become a type practitioner with a number of assessment instruments like the MBTI®. Some people begin this journey earlier in their careers, weaving it into human resources roles.

My journey began later in life when I was in my mid 50’s. My passion for Carl Jung and his writings has been a long-term personal interest. I was keen to formalise this passion through learning about type as the heart of my evolving professional work.

I began by enrolling in a program to build type assessment skill. The coach I worked with had trained with Mary McGuiness, a Sydney-based type practitioner, trainer and author of many years’ experience. So I chose to train with Mary and gained my certification in the Majors Personality Type Inventory instrument in 2016.

This journey coincided with becoming a carer and companion for my mother who was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. I supported her for many months until she passed away in late 2017. At the same time, I faced redundancy from my job of 30 years in a government organisation. This all happened concurrently with training and practice to become a life coach. So I sought to develop my new skill-set quietly and deeply at the most uncertain and challenging of times.

Gaining a broader perspective

You don’t actually need an indicator instrument to work out personality type I have since discovered. It’s just one source of information and this needs to be checked against other information in a coaching context. But you certainly need a deep knowledge of the theory and practice of type however you develop this rich information. And that was my focus in becoming a type practitioner – deep work and deep knowledge.

Gaining the basic skills in personality type assessment via an instrument is a great place to start. I embarked on my learning with passion and fascination. The preparation, training and follow-up were intense.

I see a parallel between the depth of skills in becoming a personality type coach and practitioner and that of understanding your personality type. Both take an investment of time and money and being open to deep learning.

As a person learning about your own personality type preferences, a free online test without the necessary background or knowledge to interpret and apply the learning is only going to take you so far. And possibly in the wrong direction.

Likewise, I can’t imagine how anyone can do the initial training to become a type practitioner without deepening their practice in an ongoing way to provide quality insights to clients.

As Roger Pearman says:

In the hands of a knowledgeable and artful user the theory and instruments are like a Stradivarius. Unfortunately, and for far too many learners, they tend to be played like a dime store violin.

A clear vision and deepening my learning

I wanted to be playing in this personality space with skill. I had a clear vision of my offerings for personality type right from the start. It’s been a long journey to put the pieces in place as I concurrently upskilled as a coach and dealt with challenging life circumstances.

I took my learning about personality type seriously, researching and writing about type, guest-posting in various places. I updated my accreditation to include the Majors Personality Type Elements instrument, again with Mary McGuiness. This training and tool provide deep insights into the hierarchy and interaction of cognitive processes at play for individuals.

Looking for community

A priority in launching a new professional identity and becoming a personality type coach was connecting with community. I embarked on a search for this, joining the Australian Association of Type (AusAPT) and attending their inspiring conferences. The key value I’ve found in AusAPT and international connections like BAPT is a sense of community.

For me, this also means contributing to the community. I offered to help AusAPT with social media and now co-ordinate this in a pro bono capacity. I’m the NSW representative on the AusAPT National Committee. I’ve connected with BAPT, attending webinars at the crack of dawn here in Sydney through the power of technology. It’s been great to connect too with US-based APTi and with CPP, now The Myers-Briggs Company, in Australia.

Learning from experienced type practitioners

I have been privileged to connect with the most generous type practitioners locally and abroad. The professional exchange and opportunities are there if you seek them. The type community has many excellent teachers who want the community to grow in learned wisdom. They invest their time and energy for those who wish to take up the opportunity.

I’ve had the opportunity to work with and learn from experienced type practitioners and mentors. Apart from Mary McGuiness, these include:

  • Dario Nardi – learning about the neuroscience of personality and brain-savvy coaching
  • Susan Nash and Sue Blair – learning about whole type and the three lenses of type
  • Jane Kise and Ann Holm – learning about saboteurs and self-sabotaging patterns based on type preferences
  • Peter Geyer – custodian of the AusAPT Type Research and Practice Collection, advisor and mentor to me and many others

I’m currently working through a Type Coaching Mastermind with Susan Nash and Eve Delunas. We are looking at evidence-based ways of identifying type and follow-up coaching strategies.

1. With Susan Nash at AusAPT Conference Brisbane, 2018 2. Undergoing brain EEG with Dario Nardi, AusAPT Conference Sydney, 2017 3. With Dario Nardi working on neuroscience of personality and brain-savvy coaching, AusAPT Conference 2017 4. With Ann Holm and Jane Kise in Brisbane for AusAPT Conference 2018 working on saboteurs

Shaping my vision

I’ve read many books and articles and written and reflected. It’s been a process of evidence-based life learning that includes writing 442,000 words in a year, coaching others and being a gatherer of women’s wholehearted stories. These stories, alongside mine, are about women’s key life transitions with personality intersecting and weaving its way through.

So in becoming a personality type coach and practitioner, I’ve developed a deep knowledge, a community and skills of writing about this knowledge. I’ve created my personality type offerings along the way. My vision was to offer personality type coaching to women in a deep way so I could share the same insights I experienced. And that’s what I’ve put into practice.

Developing the Personality Stories coaching package

Personality Stories, is a unique coaching package I’ve shaped, using technology and balancing ethical type approaches with modern opportunities. My coaching clients are women all over the world. I work via Zoom video conferencing and other media including blogging, ecourses and social media.

I have trialled the coaching package extensively with fellow coaches to ensure it meets women’s needs. In this way, I have continued to grow and apply my deepening knowledge of personality type in practice. This is a process I intend to continue in partnership with my clients, teachers, mentors and community.

As Jane Kise comments in this article about the depth of personality type learning as a practitioner:

Yep, the theory provides that deep of a well—I’ve been working with it for 20 years and am still gaining new insights.

I gain new insights every day. I’ll build on my knowledge for many years to come with this rich community and my clients as partners.

What’s in the coaching package?

The Personality Stories Coaching Package includes:

  • online personality assessment via the Majors Personality Type Inventory
  • an online ecourse on personality type preferences and whole type, also a tool for self-assessment
  • a copy of ‘You’ve Got Personality’ by Mary McGuiness
  • a 90-minute coaching debrief 1:1 via video-conferencing to look at information and insights about client type preferences.
  • a follow-up summary and reflections workbook on type preferences

My years of teaching and adult education experience, as well as coaching skills concurrently developed, made this possible.

So, true to type, I created the vision and framework. I skilled up over time, applying my preferences and also the concepts of Cal Newport’s book, Deep Work. And I now share this learning in a deep way with other women.

I’ve been lucky too to work with a global team of fellow coaches through our ‘Creative Hearts’ Mastermind. This co-created group has supported me to apply my personality knowledge practically. Their loving support and time has enabled me to enact my vision and road test it with their feedback. Some of my coaching clients too have been part of the first run through. Their feedback has been encouraging and invaluable. I am so grateful for all of this support.

Creative Hearts Mastermind Group in action via technology

Living my personality in my offerings 

My way of becoming a personality type coach and developing my offerings has been INTJ in orientation. It reflects my strengths: envisioning, creating, scaffolding and structuring. But I also connect, network and road test, taking on feedback, evolving my learned wisdom. My connections are deeper with increasing insight and self-leadership combined with community learning. My professional journey and the products I create embody my personality learning about myself. Importantly, they involve data and others’ input in the process as well as my vision. They will evolve with further deepening learning and practice.

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