Hi! I'm Nadia Colburn—writer, teacher, yogi, activist

What to Do with Difficult Stories–and Why!

Published 4 months ago • 3 min read

Dear Reader,

I’m writing from Colorado where Eric has flown out to meet me. It has been really great visiting our daughter, Simone, and spending time with friends new and old in a number of cities where I've been giving readings. There's much I've been enjoying and relishing–including the snow-capped mountains and clear Colorado skies.

I've also been noticing that many of my conversations have been turning to really difficult topics. Many people are feeling uneasy around the political situation with climate change–the effects of which we’re seeing all around us–and many people are confronting very challenging situations in their personal lives, in their health, or in the lives of their family or close friends.

And having these conversations has reminded me again why I write and why I teach writing in the (unconventional) way I do.

Let me back up for a moment: I used to walk around with a ball of nervous energy at the pit of my stomach and a general sense of dread and doom.

I had many things in my life that were meaningful and wonderful and that I really appreciated. And yet that sense of always being on the edge of a cliff was something I carried with me almost all the time.

I eventually came to understand why that was–I was carrying parts of my story in my body and psyche in ways that hadn’t been processed.

It was only when I began to do my own healing–working with my own story and bringing together mind and body–that that energy really shifted.

On my healing journey, I learned that in order to do the real work of integration and come into wholeness, we need to know who we are, and to know who we are, we need many modalities.

Writing is one of the most important–and often overlooked–forms.

Through writing–through crafting the unnamed experiences into language that has shape and beauty–we can come to witness, understand, and resolve our past hauntings.

But this work is not of the head alone because our stories, our experiences, are stored primarily in our physical bodies.

So it was only when I brought writing together with meditation and embodied practices that I had all of the tools I needed to unearth and fully heal my own story.

If we don't get resolution on our own story, we will always be spending half of our energy trying to submerge it. If we don’t get that resolution, whenever we confront a challenge, it will always bring us right back to our weakest point, and we’ll be off balance again, uneasy again.

Sometimes people are worried that in revisiting aspects of their past, they’ll get stuck. But when we have agency in looking at our life, rather than getting caught, we actually gain more flexibility, more freedom.

As a result, this kind of integrative healing work energizes us and makes us more resilient to confront whatever happens and more able to take action–not only in our writing but in every area of our private and public lives.

Over the next weeks, I’ll share a few essays I’ve written about how I came to understand and make peace with my own difficult story, and how the work of doing that freed up lots of new energy for me.

In the coming weeks, I’ll also be opening up enrollment for The Four Steps to Healing Our Stories: A FREE Holistic Writing Seminar as well as my signature 12-week Align Your Story for Women holistic writing course with in-depth literary study, writing, yoga and meditation, which will start in early April.

Align Your Story is not only for women with trauma (with a small or big T), but also for writers of any genre who want to:

  • come into greater alignment and energy;
  • make something beautiful out of the confusion and complexity of life;
  • bring mind and body together;
  • find a greater sense of agency and direction…

Join the waitlist here to be notified when enrollment for Align Your Story opens–and align your story in 2024.

with love,

PS: If you’re in the Boston/New England area, I have some upcoming free readings/workshops and would LOVE to meet you in person! It’s been a real treat meeting members of this community at readings around the country :)

  • Next week 2/28: I Say the Sky: Poetry, the Natural World, the Climate Crisis, and Connection: A Reading and Workshop. Wednesday, February 28th at 7pm at Brookline Village Library in Brookline, MA: Free. Learn more here.
  • 3/14: An Evening of Poetry with Nadia Colburn, Sasha Steensen, and Melissa Dickey. Free. Thursday, March 14th at 7pm ET at Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, MA–and LIVESTREAMED: Learn more here. Access the livestream on the store's YouTube channel here.
  • 3/15: An Evening of Poetry with Nadia Colburn, Sasha Steensen, and Eleni Sikelianos. Friday, March 15th at 7pm at RiffRaff Bookstore in Providence, RI: Free. More details to be announced here.

Hi! I'm Nadia Colburn—writer, teacher, yogi, activist

Author of The High Shelf and founder of Align Your Story writing school.

At Align Your Story Writing School, we bring traditional literary and creative writing studies together with mindfulness, embodied practices, and social and environmental engagement. Join a community of over 25,000 other mindful writers. Get the tools and community to write your best work.

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