HAPI Guide Summer 2017 | Page 12

HEALTH ARTICLE Writing to Heal and Transform: Finding Meaning Through Story By MJ Schwader Last year, after years of writing my memoir in those precious moments of time I found between coaching writers and editing their books, I finally came to a point where I needed to read through my entire manuscript. T hinking I was close to finishing, I thought it would only need a final polish and I’d be ready to hand it to my editor, with publication soon to follow. Imagine my surprise when the nar- rative started to repeat a disturbing pattern: in nearly all of my stories, I realized that I had posi- tioned myself as a victim. Someone or something else was almost always the cause of my pain and suffering. In my stories, I had rarely taken account- ability for my life’s choices. That realization rocked my world. It was profound- ly apparent to me that I really didn’t like the person I was reading about, and therefore, there was no way I could publish my story as it was. If I didn’t like the character in the stories, why would other readers be any different? So, instead of putting a few final touches to my 12 | HAPI Guide