From the Pen of Dr. Tim Morrison, President and Writing Coach of Write Choice Services, Inc.
During the years that I worked as a naturopathic counselor at two medical centers and a chiropractic healing center, I wrote three booklets for the clients at those centers: Writing One’s Way to Better Well-being, Meditating One’s Way to Better Well-being, and Playing One’s Way to Better Well-being. Each of these modalities – writing, meditating and playing – can and does have a positive impact on anyone’s quest for healing, wholeness, and well-being.
I believe that many of my clients’ books emerge out of a longing for wholeness, even healing. My guess is that a few would agree, while most would say, “What?” Drawing on my own writing, I began writing Letters to My Sons: a Father’s Faith Journey in response to my sons, Joel and Sean, asking how I came to teach, preach, practice and live my faith, my theology. I realized along the way of that writing journey that I was engaged in a healing process in that I grappled with numerous experiences in my life that I recognized as shaping my faith journey, and, as such, the journey took on dimensions of healing. The stories shared in Letters may not have the sound or feel of being cathartic or healing to the reader, but I know “the rest of the story” that lies behind everything in that book. Writing the book took me on a journey to better understand myself and my faith and my work. It is in this sense that I believe what I stated in the first sentence of this paragraph – many of my clients’ books emerge out of a longing for wholeness, even healing. I state this very aware that the majority of my clients write about their area of expertise in their business, career, or as an entrepreneur.
Our guest columnist in this issue is Mechelle Stephens. Mechelle was one of my earliest clients. Together we had an amazing journey. She provides a glimpse of the stormy nature of the writing coach-client relationship in the initial stages of her writing journey. If you want to hear her tell it in her own voice, click on this link to the Write Here, Write Now interview I did with Mechelle (you will also hear my interview of Mishael Porembski). In this issue, Mechelle writes of a writing workshop that she and I will present in March. This event is for women only – sorry men, but there will be opportunities for you later in the year.
Mechelle and I know, practice, preach and teach the power of writing to help one’s self to heal, to journey to wholeness. To the readers of this publication, I challenge: Women – take time for yourself and attend the workshop event; Men – encourage the women in your life to take time for themselves and attend the workshop event.
If you prefer a more individual writing journey to express yourself, your ideas, your beliefs, your stories – each of which, all of which, can generate a feeling of healing and wholeness, contact Write Choice Services. Remember, Write Choice Services works with individuals to write the book they have always dreamed of writing. Write Choice Services also generates amazing, high quality resumes to help leverage your job search. Call us at 678-464-6702 or email us today so we can help you get started on that next portion of your life adventure.
By Mechelle Stephens
I want to help others tell their stories just as I have told my story. My first book, Unmasking, opened with me sharing deep, dark secrets of my past; pain and anguish I had carried for over twenty-five years. Then I wrote Unmasked and Unashamed, a workbook to accompany Unmasking. Through my writing I achieved a place of forgiveness towards myself, and towards those who had wronged me. Additionally, I have reflected upon and found the errors of my own ways and owned up to them. It is a place of liberty, wholeness and peace. I hope that those who read my book and work through the workbook will find the same liberty, wholeness and peace.
A lot of people have asked me why and how I wrote Unmasking. They have used words like, brave, transparent, strong. What is in Unmasking is the polished version, after years of slowly peeling back the layers of pain, embarrassment and myriad other uncomfortable feelings.
It was not a matter of being strong, brave or seeking fame, but a matter of necessity. I had to get on paper the pain that was pent up and bottled up and had stifled me for years. Truth is, when I thought I was sharing a lot of painful events in my life, I really wasn’t sharing at all. I was talking: talking in circles, in riddles, dealing only with surface stuff. I glossed over emotions. I glossed over reaching back in my mind to see the victim that I was in the past. I found out I wasn’t being brave, I wasn’t being transparent, I really wasn’t telling my story. I wasn’t unmasking.
I had even delivered my manuscript to a writing coach, who tore my attempt to telling my story to pieces. He was blunt. His words, “Mechelle, you do have a story to tell, but it is not in what you have sent me. I don’t know who told you this was good, but I don’t see what they see.” What? The nerve of him! Was he discounting my pain? Was he minimizing my hurt? I had been so fragile for years and didn’t he know that? Didn’t he know that was killing me, to be told that what I had already poured my heart and soul into for four years he just said “was not it.” Well, what was it? I was determined to find out what he saw that I didn’t see. So, I asked him to coach me. It took another two years of being coached to tell what really happened for Unmasking to be completed.
One of the most painful parts was adding descriptive adjectives to the story. Why? They put the exclamation to the event, where I’d originally put a period or a question mark. There were things that I had left unsaid, big gaps in my writing. I couldn’t get on paper what I saw in my head. Truth is, what I put to paper was what I wanted to be truth in my head. Truth - like it didn’t hurt to delve back and allow myself to entertain each emotion that came with an unwanted touch, the immeasurable pain of being cheated on when I’d given my heart to someone I thought loved me just as much. Truth like not really being as brave as I thought I could be by truly being transparent.
There was a point at which Unmasking was almost shelved and forgotten. I was asked by my coach to re-write the last fifty pages. I didn’t want to! I had had it, with my coach, with my writing, with revisiting the hurt. Then my coach, Dr. Tim Morrison, sent me a friendly email “Mechelle, you have overcome molestation, abuse, an abortion and you tell me you don’t have the strength to edit fifty pages? Do I have to come over there and rap you on the head with a two by four?” The book sat for months and no return email to my coach. I was done. He wanted me to give more than I thought I had. I thank God Dr. Morrison pushed me, not literally, but it felt like it. Pushed me to a place where I really told my story because Unmasking is being used for the purpose it was intended to help others heal: to let others know they are not the only ones who have had to deal with unthinkable, unimaginable, indescribable painful pasts, and that they too can be unmasked.
When we live a life behind the mask, we are empty inside. There is a void that we are forever trying to fill. Perhaps writing, just writing and not necessarily writing a book, will help you unmask.
Mechelle Stephens, a native of Georgia, is the daughter of Patricia A. Peeks and the late John Willie Peeks. Gripped by a sense of call from God, Stephens embraced her call to the Gospel ministry at age 37 and was licensed in 2002 and later ordained in 2003 under the leadership and direction of her current Pastor, Rev. A.L.Zollicoffer.
Recognizing the need to empower young Christians to demonstrate their abilities to lead, she implemented the Watch God Work Servant Leadership Award which rewards young leaders for their commitment to the service of God and humanity.
Mechelle has published two books. Unmasking is an autobiography in which she candidly shares her tumultuous journey in an effort to offer survivors the courage to stop hiding in the shadows of shame and live a meaningful, productive life. Her second book, Unmasked and Unashamed, shares her journey of unmasking from a life filled with guilt, shame, and low self-esteem. It was written with the hope that those who are bound by unmet needs, unhealed hurts and unresolved issues may learn to walk in liberty and to experience the unconditional love of God. Her desire is that by following these practical steps, your life can be transformed into a healthier mind, body, and soul.
Mechelle Stephens is a Certified Life Coach. Her passion is to facilitate growth and change through effective coaching and to transform lives by helping individuals discover their inner strength.