Be Aware, and take care out there

Careful, Corduroy

© Joanne Klassen

Quote of the Week

Awareness is Power; the power to choose, the power to change, the power to create, and the power to appreciate. –Heartspace Writing School Motto


What does awareness mean to you?  What words might you use to describe awareness? What do you think makes awareness a powerful force?


When my grandson Ben was a toddler, his mom, my daughter Tiffany, would read to him each day.  A favorite character in his library was a little bear named Corduroy who was very curious.  Corduroy had lots of adventures and found himself in scrapes such as getting lost in a department store; losing a button on his overalls.  The narrator of the book would say, “Careful, Corduroy.”

When Ben was learning to climb down stairs, Tiffany cautioned him, “Careful, Corduroy.” He heard her, paused and proceeded with caution.  I watched and decided that this was “news I could use.”  I began to slow myself down to be more aware with the worlds, “Careful, Corduroy,” as if giving a reminder to my own curious, and often unaware, inner child.

Recently I was rushing to a meeting and feeling tense.  As I tried to fit my car into a small parking space on a busy street, I told myself, “Careful, Corduroy.”  This moment of awareness allowed me to smile, relax and glide into the parking space.


I see awareness as a doorway that opens up new possibilities for me.  With this gentle little phrase I become aware, am able to choose to proceed with caution, change my frame of mind and appreciate the moment.


  • Writing Exercise
    In what area of your life could you use a “Careful, Corduroy,” reminder today?
  • Write Freestyle for J5M (Just 5 Minutes). Notice what you become aware of.
  • Is there something you can choose to change to create a different approach, one you can appreciate even more?

Good wishes as you write-away,

Joanne Klassen, November 15, 2011

Winnipeg, MB Canadajklassen@write-away.net  www.write-away.net   ransformativewriting.wordpress.com

Springboards to Insight

Springboards to Insight

© Joanne Klassen

Quote of the Week

Write your pain–it will subside.

Write your pleasure–it will grow.

Write your name on every page

Write when it is the last thing you should be doing.

  ~David Elias, Writer, Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada


  • What is the best thing that writing does for you?
  • What propells you to the page to write?
  • What keeps you from taking time to write?
  • How can you trim time from routine tasks to free up time to devote to writing?


Once upon a winter time, a few years ago, I had grown positively cranky about how little time I was finding to write–which is one of my favorite activities. There were Christmas cards to buy, write, and mail on top of all the family preparations for the holidays.  Then I saw a sign I had made peeking out of a stack of papers waiting to be organized.  It said:

Who says I have to do this? These words were a springboard to greater insight about the things I do without examining their relative importance in my current situation.  My mother had sent Christmas cards to over a hundred people each year. Did I need to follow in her footsteps?  My husband read the daily newspaper each morning, but did I need to continue the habit in my own routine? The answer to both these questions was NO.

When I gave myself permission to stop buying, writing and sending Christmas cards, my husband Ted and I co-wrote a holiday letter which we each emailed to the people we wanted to stay in touch with at the end of the year.  We have continued this and my stress level around the month of December is much less.  I also stopped reading the daily newspaper and devote that extra 30minutes to writing most days. I am more cheerful and productive with something I value. There really has been no downside. In fact, we stopped getting the newspaper delivered and Ted reads it on the computer, so the trip to the recycling box is another task that doesn’t need attention.

Consider several versions of the sentence that I used as a springboard to insight:

  • WHO says I have to do this?
  • Who says I have to do this?
  • Who says I have to do this?
  • Who says I have to do this?
  • Who says I have to do this?
  • Who says I have to do this?

This sentence triggers insight that me to see patterns in my behaviour and routines with a more expansive eye to possibilities for change.

The motto for Heartspace Writing School, home of Transformative Writing, is AWARENESS IS POWER: The power to choose; the power to change; the power to create; and the power to appreciate. Springboards are like the diving board at the deep end of the pool, they can propell our thinking away from the safety of remaining on the board, into the water where where we enter the swim of things that are much more rewarding than hanging out in the safe zone.

Writing Exercise
In what area of your life could you use a  reminder to re-evaluate the importance of time consuming, “not terribly rewarding,”  safe or routine activities or tasks?

  • Write Freestyle for J5M (Just 5 Minutes). Notice what you become aware of.
  • Is there something you can choose to change to create a different approach, one that will give you more time for important things–like writing?
  • My best wishes as you write-away,

Joanne Klassen, January 13, 2012Winnipeg, MB Canada

jklassen@write-away.net  www.write-away.net   transformativewriting.wordpress.com See Tools of Transformation, by Joanne Klassen at amazon.com.

Where do you find inspiration?

Lake SuperiorI’m not sure why, but my clearest thoughts, broadest visions and greatest flashes of inspiration come when I’m near large bodies of water.

Do you have a particular natural setting that opens these channels for you? 

For just five minutes (J5M) write about a natural place of nurture or sanctuary you have known, a place where you have found inspiration. Begin with a single object or sensory detail.

What?  So what?  Now what? – Full Circle Writing

I believe that each session of Transformative Writing  can offer us a gift, or the potential of “news we can use.”  The first five minutes probably covered the first of the three questions Full CircleWriting, the question of What. 

To extend the personal value of the writing you just did, write about the second phase, So what?  Here you explore the significance of the image or memory you wrote about to your life today. What might this be a reminder of or a link for deeper insight or understanding to something happening in your life now?  

Now what? This is the last phase of Full Circle Writing in which we examine the gift in what we’ve written and how we will use this gift to enrich this moment, this day, this particular time of life.

A Personal Example

WHAT? – There is a rose quartz boulder on the shore of Lake Winnipeg near Belair, Manitoba, Canada that is my naural sanctuary.  Larger than my old orange VW camper van, this rock was my place to stretch out and lie spread-eagle, completely surrounded by water with the upside down blue bowl of sky overhead, pine trees fringing the lake shore and waves lapping from my fingertips all the way to the horizon,  miles away.  I call my rock The Grandmother.  Here I was cradled, as if in my grandma’s arms.  Held tight, rocked, accepted, comforted.  Here I could cry, howl, laugh, ask questions and in the stillness, always the world began to make sense again, often with far-reaching visions of new possibilities. I could return to the shore buzzing with optimism, resolve, re-newed energy, or whatever I needed most.

One of the most potent, recurrent messages I received on a visit to The Grandmother were these words, “Now is the time for remembering. Now is the time for the exchange of gifts.”

The work I am strongly called to is building pathways to greater understanding, acceptance and peace; within, among, between and beyond people, especially in cross-cultural relationships.  This message brought several aboriginal elders into my life in ways that allowed for strong bridges to be crossed for many people, including me.

SO WHAT? – Today I am entering an new phase of my life.  I wonder what gifts I have to exchange with others?  What do I need to remember–or is it re-member?  I want to continue to add my energies to those of others who are creating a world in which it is safe to love and accept ourselves exactly as we are today, and in which it is safe for us to also love and accept others who are different from us in some perceived way.

NOW WHAT? – The moon outside my window is full tonight and so is my life.  My life overflows with opportunities to find sanctuary in moments of natual solitude–in every season.  This new season in my life cycle matches fall, a time of harvest, of bountiful memories and people who offer gifts that dazzle my senses. I embrace the gift of remembering and of exchanging my  gifts with those I encounter, however briefly, and I give thanks.

Joanne Klassen, Winnipeg, MB November 10,2011 8:58 p.m.

Guest House


The Guest House

 by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.



(The Essential Rumi, versions by Coleman Barks)

Welcome from Joanne

Welcome to Life Writing for Transformation

If you are interested in writing as a means of gaining clarity about your life, finding memories that can enrich your life today, making sense of competing demands, or finding inspiration, my hope is that our blog will be one of the places you find what you’re looking for.

This is a place to exchange the gifts you carry–with those of others, whether through your own personal writing, a quote, a writing exercise, photo or other creative ways that will feed the writer in each of us.

Welcome home.