I’m excited to share Laurie Whitesel’s work with you as part of the #LIVE2015 series, in addition to a giveaway of her new book, “What’s Right Here.” I’ll be sending it to one of you! To enter the giveaway, just email me and I’ll put your name in a drawing. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
I first met Laurie through her blog, Laurie’s Gentle Healing Notes. Laurie and I both have a background of an eating disorder and she has journeyed to healing through writing.
Laurie has studied and taught in the areas of early childhood education and dance. She earned a B.A. in psychology in 1995 and worked in special education classrooms for 12 years, before becoming a new mom. It was then, after a long struggle to recover from anorexia, that she turned inward to find peace and healing. She discovered, after searching outside of herself for decades, a place of stillness within that had been with her all along.
Here are some questions I asked Laurie to share with you.
1. Laurie, tell me how you first started blogging:
I started blogging to integrate all of the healing work I had done. I had spent time with healers, explored on my own, and healed myself from a persistent eating disorder. It had been quite a long journey, and I had absorbed and experienced much truth.
I wanted to share what I had found. It was a continuation of my own process and an offering to others.
2. Your poems and notes are so refreshing. How did you start writing in this style?
I followed what I was doing naturally. I had been collaging magazine photos for a long time. I started out with pictures to connect with what I was feeling and experiencing in the moment. I didn’t save my work at first because it was too much. I would just connect with my feelings and experiences and then let go of it.As I collaged, I practiced noticing what I was drawn to without thinking about it too much. I would move the photos around and take some away until I said, “Yes, that is it.”I had started taking black and white photographs, mostly with my cell phone. I had a young daughter, and I would take pictures in the moment while playing with her. I began to take more pictures wherever I happened to be, mostly of nature. It was like a meditation. It was a way to connect with myself and to the world around me.
After a while, I began to take pictures of moments (what I was experiencing) with words and combine them with the nature photos. I would get quiet and write whatever came and then move the words around like I had done with the collages. After a while, I dropped the pictures and allowed my little poems to stand on their own.
3. What are your hopes for your book and “healing notes?”
It is my deepest desire to inspire others to find the stillness within their own hearts. I want to show that healing can be a gentle, sacred journey back to ourselves.
4. How have you changed because of the writing journey?
I’m okay not matter what shows up. I’m okay in my own skin and in the world. I no longer have the urge or need to numb myself from painful experiences. There are still painful experiences, but I have a different relationship with them now. There is a silence inside that I don’t want to give up in order to go back. This silence is always with me now, no matter what is going on around me or inside. I have reconnected with the core of who I am.
5. What are your hopes?
I would like to remind people that it is possible to find a place of peace within, even when walking through illness or other very difficult challenges — that peace and wholeness — God — is not somewhere on the other side. I would like to remind us of a gentler way.
Don’t forget to email me at email@example.com to enter your name in the drawing for a FREE copy of her book! I’ll need your name and physical address and email address. Thank you!