Jan Haag offered a session on May 24.

Jan Haag has led AWA writing groups/workshops in Sacramento, California, for 15 years, including regular virtual workshops since March 2020. She taught Writing as a Healing Art using the AWA method as a college class for many years and retired this past May after a three-decade career as a college writing professor.


Befriending the Voice

by Kimberly Lee

“What if you thought of your inner voice as a friend?” My eyes snap open. I’m pulled out of the soft reverie the meditation instructor’s calm voice has created. I lean forward, thinking, then remember what I’m supposed to be doing and relax back. My body sinks into the pillow, the soft brocade of the sham enveloping me once again. I remember the soothing, resonant voice’s earlier words, about gravity and being supported by the earth, or in my case, the bed. He asked us to let go, to let every fiber of every muscle release. My awareness had turned to tension that accumulates in the most minute places—behind the folds of my ears, where my neck meets my collarbone, between my fingers. I let go.

Now I’m being asked to let go of another thing. Not a tense muscle, but a voice. The voice that pushes me, holds me to high standards, keeps me on my toes. Never a friend, more like a coach, one who gives a scathing, shaming locker room talk and a stinging pat on the back before ushering me out onto the field. Can I let that voice go? If I do, what will become of me?

“I know you feel sad about not getting to be Dorothy in the musical,” I tell my 11-year-old daughter, pulling her in for a hug. But the Scarecrow is gonna be so much fun! It has a fabulous costume and a great Michael Jackson song!” 

I think about the carefully chosen words I say to my children, designed to uplift and sustain. Encourage. The words that always find a home in situations where disappointment takes center stage. 

“You did your best; you gave it your all.” “You can always try again next time!”

“There’s something better out there that was meant just for you.” “It’s their loss.” “I love you.”

Words and phrases I rarely say to myself. What would it be like if I did?

“You did your best; you gave it your all.” “You can always try again next time!” “There’s something better out there that was meant just for you.” “It’s their loss.” “I love you.”

Thank you for joining us to Write Around the World!

For the rest of the summer, watch our blog! We are sharing writing from AWA’s yearly marathon fundraiser, which happened this year all-online throughout the month of May.

We offer this series in appreciation for the incredible community of writers and workshop leaders that sustain us. If you’re inspired and would like to be part of the fundraiser, please donate!

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