Tag Archives: Writing as Healing

Finding your inner voice…some tips from the author herself

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I first met Kate in my yoga teacher training. Something about her laugh and voice drew me to her right away. Turns out Kate is a writer and knows a few things about humor and voice. She recently e-published her first book called, Tips for Earning Tip$: A Humorous How-To on Serving Meat, Mojitos, & “Minnesota Nice”. Mandala Reflections is so lucky to have her as one of our voices on the blog. Read on as she humorously shares tips on how you can find your writers’ voice and in the process maybe find yourself.

“Bazinga!” When you hear this word, who do you think of?  If you said Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, you are correct.  How do we know this is attributed to him?  We know because this is his “voice”.

The same way that we recognize Sheldon’s voice is the way we recognize writers’ voices.  When writers use voice, they have some special attributes and vocabulary that makes them distinguishable from others.  To write with voice, you have to be unafraid to be your own person.

I first started writing in the second grade.  I won a young author’s contest because of the voice I used in my writing.  I started a story about my first sledding experience with, “Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!”  From then on, voice has been my strength.

My newest piece of writing is written completely in my own voice.  How did this newest piece of writing come about?  I found myself in a situation where I was the outsider at work and I didn’t know how to cope with that.  One night after my shift, I came home and started writing down my waitressing experiences from that evening.  It started off as therapeutic journaling and then, a few entries later, it morphed into a humorously helpful book for waitresses or people being immersed in a different culture than they are used to.  Writing and humor is the best combination to help get you through a situation that is less than ideal.

Inner voiceHow do you find your inner voice?  I look at it this way.  The way in which you talk to your grandmother, your teacher, and your best friends differ, do they not?  When talking to elders and respected professionals, we are taught to speak in an intelligent and sophisticated manner.  However, it is the way we tell stories to our best friends that brings out our inner voice.

When I began my book about waitressing, it was because I had all of these crazy stories to tell after every shift.  I would call my friends and tell them about my customers and how difficult people were throughout the evening.  When my friends asked how work went, I would tell them, “Oh my word.  I dropped a margarita on this dude and later the dishwasher asked me to go home with him for a few beers.  I think I need to rethink this whole push-up bra thing.”

When my grandmother asked the same question, I said, “It went well.  I made good tips and only dropped one beverage on a customer.”

While both answers are true, the first one depicts my spot on inner voice.  Speaking with my friends doesn’t make me feel like I have to be professional in any way or censor what I’m saying.  It is a completely “Kate” depiction of the evening.

I started writing down these work stories.  When I was writing them, I didn’t write with any particular limitations.  I didn’t need to be professional or serious.  It was me writing for therapy; for meDue to the authenticity of my inner voice, these journal entries ended up as a book.

Writing with voice means that I am putting my own unique signature on my work.  If I wrote like everyone else, what would be fun about that?  The uniqueness of an author’s inner voice is what will get him/her noticed as a writer.  The way that an author uses and accesses her/his voice through writing says a lot about who the author is as a person.

We all have the potential to find our inner voice.  Whether the inspiration for this voice comes from a bad job, an old love, or pursuing your dreams, the ability to write passionately in a storytelling manner is within each of us.

3 tips to help find your voice:

1) Don’t agonize over semantics on your first draft; just write down your feelings.
2) If you need to curse, curse. You can always take it out later or replace the words.
3) Read it out loud – if it sounds like you, it’s written in your voice.

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Kate Robertson is a writer. You can find out more about her and her writing on her blog. You can also buy her book, Tips for Earning Tip$: A Humorous How-To on Serving Meat, Mojitos, & “Minnesota Nice” on Amazon. Kate grew up in Nebraska and has lived in Minnesota for two years now. She is studying to become a professional writer and a yoga instructor.

February Happenings

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Mandala Reflections provides space for thought, dialogue, learning and community that involves ourselves but also includes the collective experience. While a blog can offer a lot to some people, a lot of us need to experience something in “real life” to reap the full benefits. With that said, each month, Mandala Reflections provides a list of various low-cost happenings occurring in the Twin Cities Metro community that contribute to Mandala Reflections’ ongoing discussion about life, health and wellness and how it relates to our stories. Please send me an email prior to the 1st of each month if you have a wellness event you would like to share.

Listing of events does not indicate endorsement by Mandala Reflections.

Day Time Events:

Tuesday, February 7, 11am, Location:  Hamline-Midway Library, St. Paul, Yoga class, taught by Collen Dooley, CMT-RYI, Beginners are welcome! Cost: FREE and open to public. No registration required. Bring your own mat.

Evening Events:

Thursday, February 2, 7pm, Location: Your home, call 866-906-0040, code: 7946397. Balance Beam: Whole Nutrition for a Happy Life, a brief telephone seminar by St. Paulite, Katie Jasper.  Reconnect with a deeper sense of balance and health in your life. Call will cover 3 key elements potentially missing from your diet, how nutrition impacts mood and cognition, and how to balance all of this information and make it work in your life. Cost: FREE, but register fast because seats for the call are filling up! To register email katiejasperhealth@gmail.com and put “attend” in the subject line.

Friday, February 3, 5pm, Location: West 7th Library, St. Paul, Lady Griot Blues Storytelling, In honor of Black History Month, Lady Griot will connect people to the “blues with resonance, poetry and dramatic flair. West African griots, praise-singers who immortalize family lineages and retell ancient poetry, are vital sources of themes and rhythms that bring a crowd into chanting and dancing communion.” Cost: FREE, a children-friendly event.

Monday, February 6, 7-8:30pm, Location: River Market, 221 Main St N # 1  Stillwater, MN 55082, Movie Night Monday: Forks Over Knives, This film examines “the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods.” Cost: FREE. Registration required. Call (651) 439-0366.

Tuesday, February 7, 7pm, Location: Nina’s Coffee Cafe, 165 Western Ave. N., St. Paul, Community Health Talk Series: Thyroid Conditions, Brought to you by O’Keefe Matz Functional Health Clinic. Cost: FREE. For more information call 651-292-8072, otherwise just grab a seat and a cup of joe.

Tuesday, February 7, 7-8:30pm, Location: St. Anthony Park Library, St. Paul, Auditorium, Women’s Human Rights Series: “Sin by Silence,” “From behind prison walls, a group of extraordinary women is shattering misconceptions of domestic violence. ‘Sin by Silence’ profiles Convicted Women Against Abuse (CWAA), the US prison system’s first inmate-initiated group. CWAA has changed laws for battered women, raised awareness for those on the outside, and educated a system that does not fully comprehend the complexities of domestic abuse. A discussion follows the film. Presented by The Friends and The Advocates for Human Rights. (Please note: some graphic images of abuse appear briefly in photographs during the film.)” Cost: FREE.

Wednesday, February 8, 6:30-7:30pm, Location: Lakeview Hospital, Stillwater, MN, Don’t Let the Winter Blues Get You Down, “Do you get the blues during the winter months but feel better in the spring and summer? You may have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Dr. Jeff Virant, Stillwater Medical Group, will address SAD, its causes and what you can do about it – whether it’s you or someone you know.” Cost: FREE, Advance registration required, (651) 430-4697.

Thursday February 9, 5:30-6:30pm, Location: Healing Waters Health Center, 2705 Ensloe St., Hudson, WI, Qigong practice, Come try out a qigong practice, no experience necessary. Cost: FREE. Please pre-register by emailing Denise at denise@healingwatersqigong.com or calling the center at 715-381-8123. For more events from this center check out their calendar.

Thursday, February 9, 7-9pm, Location: Waldorf School, 70 East County Road B, St. Paul, Movie Screening and Discussion: Play Again and What a Girl Wants, The first documentary “follows six teenagers who, like the ‘average American child,’ spend five to fifteen hours a day behind screens and are unplugged and taken on their first wilderness adventure – no electricity, no cell phone coverage, no virtual reality.” The second documentary “presents, in teen girls’ voices, another glimpse of how the media diminishes the value of young women.” Cost: FREE. Register and RSVP here.

Weekend Events:

Saturday, February 4, 10:30am-12:30, Location: Heritage Meeting Room, Dakota County Library at Lakeville (Heritage), “Writing as Healing” Writing Workshop, “Join Roxanne Sadovsky, freelance writer, teacher and psychotherapist, as she discusses how writing can heal. Explore the differences between personal writing and writing for an audience, and discuss what makes each healing story unique and universal. Develop your writing skills and learn about current healing memoirs to add to your reading list.” Cost: FREE.

Sunday, February 5, 5:30pm, Location: Blue Nile Ethiopian Restaurant, Minneapolis, Big Veggie Night!, “If you’ve never had vegetarian African before, you’re in for a treat.” Cost: Must pay for meal.

Sunday, February 12, 7pm, Locaton: White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church, 328 Maple St, Mahtomedi, Green Fire: Aldo  Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time, “The Green Sanctuary Committee of the White Bear UU Church, in collaboration with Pheasants Forever, presents this public showing of Green Fire as the initial event in a project to strengthen the connection between spiritual practice and Earth consciousness.” Cost: FREE, registration required: 651-426 -2369 or email danaleep@q.com.

Sunday, February 19, 4pm, Location: Ordway Center for Performing Arts, Minneapolis, Witness: In the Spirit of Being, concert featuring the work of artist, Hannibal Lokumbe, “Music is community.” “Be part of a transformative journey as he lifts up our spirits and shows us the miracle of life, bearing WITNESS to our connection to the past, the future and each other.” For more information and to reserve tickets visit Vocalessence. Cost: $10-40 depending on seats

Saturday, February 18, 11am-1pm,  Location: River Market, 221 Main St N # 1  Stillwater, MN 55082, Digestive Health, What is your gut feeling? presented by Dr. Daryl Cooper, D.C. of Hudson Spine and Wellness Institute, “Constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis, diverticulitis, Celiac disease, and Crohn’s disease are examples of digestive issues related to diet. This workshop will explore the latest scientific information regarding the newest testing for gluten sensitivity and villous atrophy (leaky gut syndrome). We will also discuss the relationship between the gut immunology and brain function as well as other organs affected by digestive health, leaky gut syndrome, and gluten sensitivity.” Cost: FREE. Registration required. Call (651) 439-0366.

Saturday, February 25, 9am-3pm, Location: Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota Food and Nutrition Expo, put on by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, There will be cooking demonstrations, vendors selling the latest “healthy foods” and experts on site to answer your questions. Cost: $7 per family OR FREE for each person who brings a non-perishable food donation for Second Harvest Heartland.  For more event details, visit the MN Dietetic Associations’ website.