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

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)



Forgiveness is the answer to the child’s dream of a miracle by which what is broken is made whole again, what is soiled is made clean again.

–Dag Hammarskjöld

J5M for Today

If you could wave a magic wand and find that all was forgiven, forever, how do you think your life would change? 

Good wishes as you write away, Joanne

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.

It’s Time

Life Writing for Transformation is the title of a writing for personal development program offered at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre in Birmingham, England that I have had the privilege to develop and facilitate with Eleanor Chornoboy since 2009.

Today I decided that it is time to start a blog where we can share information and keep inspired to write, at least just five minutes (J5M) each day. I developed a system of Transformative Writing in 1998 that includes 25 tools for powerful personal change–five minutes at a time.