Illustration: The Magazine of Yoga
Founder of Wisdom Within, Ink
Goddard College TLA Practitioner in Action
BY MAGAZINE CONTRIBUTOR TIFFANY MONIQUE
Conversation: Ruth Farmer
Practices: Josh Pollock, Goddard College IMA scholar
Practices: Tiffany Beard, Goddard College IMA scholar
Practices: Bridgette P. La Victoire, Goddard College IMA scholar
Practices: Eric Dalke, Goddard College IMA scholar
Practices: Sed Dickerson, Goddard College IMA scholar
Website: Goddard’s IMA Worlds of Change Blog
Transformative Language Arts Practitioners are a brave community of artist and facilitators. They study and use words to change the world. Joanna Tebbs Young, a Graduate student at Goddard College, calls herself a Creative Change Coach due to her unwavering belief that, through personal expressive writing, one can “make the changes you want to see happen in your life”. As a certified Journal Writing Instructor she facilitates training and workshops.
Young took time out of her busy schedule of facilitation and family to talk to me about her creative passions, and how she is promoting change through them.
Tiffany Monique Wisdom Within, Ink is your own business, now going into its third year, where you help others as a creative and expressive writing coach. How did you make the decision that this kind of therapy was what you wanted to pursue?
Joanna Tebbs Young I don’t actually do “therapy” in the mental health sense, it is rather self-discovery. And I don’t think I did decide, it was decided for me! I started by just wanting to help others (just women at first) start to write a journal. I designed my own workshop called Wisdom Within, and while researching I happened upon the Center for Journal Therapy. I didn’t know there was such a thing as journal instruction classes, let alone journal therapy!
Tiffany It sounds like that was a wonderful door to open for your life.
Joanna It felt like a validation of what I had unknowingly been doing for myself for so many years.
I was raised in a dogmatic, Self-denigrating religion and I believe writing (among other mind-quieting practices) is a path to self-understanding, self-confidence, and peaceful inner contentment. When I began running workshops I knew this was what I was meant to be doing. I love working with others; showing how powerful deep, personal writing can be. To watch someone’s reaction when they suddenly realize or “get” something through writing is a thrill.
Tiffany That is an amazing realization about yourself, and it’s wonderful that you want to share it with the world. Speaking of which, you’ve had an amazing few months, even going so far as teaching at Kripalu Yoga Center in Lenox, Massachusetts. How does that tie in to your feelings about the work you are doing?
Joanna It is further validation of not only the field I have found myself in, but of my own path. I have questioned my sanity at times attempting to start my own business teaching journal writing – of all things! But each time I’ve taught or run a training I know I cannot give up.
The recent acknowledgments, like being asked to teach at Kripalu, have further convinced me that I am doing the right thing. I am following my bliss and so even the difficult days are better than any day working in the corporate world where I used to be.
Tiffany Sacred Feminine is a term that you have mentioned wishing to understand. Your Graduate work is an exploration into the silenced voice of the sacred feminine. How will that continue to play out in your work (coaching and written works)?
Joanna I haven’t fully integrated the Feminine into my work with the public (up to this point) but I know that it will not remain this way. It would not be authentic on my part. I know this is important to individuals, our society, and the world at large. Whether it will be forming women’s circles or helping to teach young girls the beauty of their own bodies, I will use writing to help individuals invite the Feminine back into their own lives.
Tiffany Wow. That is quite an undertaking.
Joanna I am struck by just how imbalanced this world has become, on every level, from the depths of the oceans to the depths of our hearts. Everyday I interact with people who are inherently out of tune with their true Self. They judge their own (and others’) emotions and dismiss intuition, to their own detriment. I hope through sharing my own journey I can inspire others to listen for their own powerful inner wisdom.
Joanna Tebbs Young is based in Vermont, where she lives with her husband and two children. Her passion and practice proves she is one of the pioneers of TLA.
You may read her creative writings and journal prompts at www.wisdomwithinink.com.
We may publish any content, comments or ideas sent to us.
Name may be withheld by request.
© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.