Start Where You Are - A Call to Healing Artists
by Cassendre Xavier
I am writing this for anyone who has ever thought of creating work for the purpose of healing or motivating self or others. If you've ever wanted to write, record, perform, or be a practitioner of healing in the fields of personal growth, spirituality, prosperity, health, recovery, creativity, and/or other topic(s), I would like to share my experience with you. I do so in the hopes that you will be encouraged to begin pursuing your dreams and use your creative works to assist those on the healing path.
May this writing assist you on your own path of self-actualization as you become clearer on what you need to heal yourself, and make the contribution you came to make.
At the time of this printing, I am 41 "moons" as some might say. In recent months, I have been feeling more secure about my work as a writer of personal growth articles and recording artist of guided meditations and spoken or sung positive affirmations for healing, self-actualization and transformation. Although I am not yet gainfully employed in this work, I feel I am doing at least part of my world service and am fulfilled not only by the act of creating my works, but of utilizing my works myself, and most especially, by the feedback I receive from those who benefit from my works. I recognize, finally, that I do not have to be perfect in order to produce these works, and, to my most enjoyable surprise, I've learned that doing so helps me tremendously!
Sometimes I feel self-conscious about the fact that I write articles about financial abundance, and am not yet completely comfortable financially, or about health and weight loss, and I struggle in those issues as well. I write about the importance of maintaining a high and positive emotional set-point to wo/manifest your desires (the basic teaching of Law of Attraction), but many times I struggle just to feel one tiny level up from anger, sadness, frustration, hopelessness or resentment.
I know that I create works perfectly designed to assist me on my journey of healing, self-actualization, and transformation.
There really is something to this notion I've heard bestselling personal growth author and artist Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy (who works under the name "SARK") say: "Please yourself first." I create work I need for myself. When I struggled against past programming, and eating disorder and other issues stemming from incest/child sexual abuse, I began a support group for my sister survivors who also had eating disorders. I also created a line of guided meditation affirmation recordings for survivors on the issues I dealt with, beginning with self-love, and spirituality (the forthcoming recordings on life skills and sexuality will complete the series). These are some examples of my work, which have led to the personal growth articles I began writing recently for online publication and to share with the members of my personal mailing lists.
I am grateful to now feel worthy and self-fulfilled as a creator of this work, regardless of whether or not it pays the bills, because I recall when I had the desire to create personal growth works, but not the confidence.
I am also aware that another possibility is that this work may never be a significant stream of income, but assist me in developing the skills I need to strengthen my music or other divinely create another, unexpected career path to that desired result.
My desire to be a personal growth artist began when was around 26 and working at a popular chain bookstore in Center City, Philadelphia. I would often browse through the self-help sections of the bookstore, poring through titles I was well familiar with, as an avid reader and one who significantly benefited from "bibliotherapy". I was also introduced to new titles on recovery and relationships by authors I hadn't heard of previously. I became familar with, and was helped by the works of Louise L. Hay (You Can Heal Your Life), Ellen Bass and Laura Davis (The Courage to Heal), E. Sue Blume (Secret Survivors), Julia Cameron (The Artist's Way), Sanaya Roman (Creating Money; Living with Joy; Spiritual Growth; Soul Love, and others), Shakti Gawain (Creative Visualization), Melonie Beatty (Codependent No More), Dave Pelzer (A Boy Called It), Ann Catherine (Boundaries), and many others.
I also fell in love with certain publishers, most notably Health Communications, Inc. (HCI), Hay House, HJ Kramer, and New World Library - some of the nation's leading personal growth and recovery publishing houses, most of whose titles and authors I seemed attracted to, of all others.
I very much wanted to write self-help books. I knew that's what I wanted, but I had many fears and doubts. Looking back now, I see that I had enough information and experience at the time to pursue my dream, to begin writing, to create and submit book proposals to publishers, or to even self-publish. But at the time, I had many self-limiting thoughts, some of which I'll list here, along with new answers I have now, and didn't have years ago - new possibilities I offer for you to consider in your own life.
(Limiting thought): I don't have a college degree or other typically accepted training for my chosen field(s) of healing work.
(New possibility): A college degree isn't necessary to create and/or sell self-help/personal growth etc. print, audio, or video material. Research online and you'll find that some of the bestselling author/producers in the fields(s) in which you wish to create never went to or graduated from college. If you really would like to see PhD after your name, enroll in one of the many online, expedited college degree-granting programs, some of which even allow you to include and utilize part of your life experience as credit (which is great, given than many of us on this path have had quite some life experience!). For much less time and money than the standard in-class method, you can receive a degree and proudly display your new credentials, which may increase your income, improve your visibility, and most importantly, make you feel more accomplished. As for the other training, you can always enroll in courses for certification. Many of these are offered online as well as in your community's spiritual bookstores, alternative healing schools, community colleges, or nearby similar institutions. One of the fastest growing fields which offer certification is life coaching. Like many new fields, however, certification isn't legally required, nor as important as having a charismatic personality, a following or audience of potential clients, and relevant, well-produced work that attracts attention. And you won't know if you have all those qualifications until you do your work!
(Limiting thought): My life isn't nearly what it "should" be in order for me to begin preaching on a particular subject. I am obviously imperfect and/or struggling with the very same issues of which I wish to deal in my work.
(New possibility): You're exactly where you need to be in order to begin this work, otherwise you wouldn't have the desire to do it. And, you won't be "preaching", you'll be sharing your journey, offering comforting and motivating words and ideas, as well as creating solutions or practical systems of healing and transformation for yourself and your audience to try. (Good examples of this dynamic are some relationship authors whose books are very successful, but who have been married many times.)
Many people need self-help, recovery, and personal growth books so much that they don't seek to approve the personal resumes and life experiences of the works' creators. They're too busy trying to make their own lives work and relieve themselves of long-standing despair or less-than-satisfactory conditions to mind whether your life exactly matches your suggestions for living.
No one will judge or criticize you if your work resonates with and assists them. And if you are judged and criticized, hopefully by then you will have learned to shrug it off and focus on making the contribution you came to make, and focus on your own healing as well. Hopefully, the work will be financially viable, or at the very least, personally fulfilling enough to distract you from the critics.
Also, consider that this work is an essential tool of your own self-healing. In the tradition of "physician heal thyself", "write what you know", and the "teacher is student/student becomes teacher" dynamic, the doing of the work may well be a major pathway to your life's transformation.
I've definitely found this to be the case for me. For example, I struggled as a raw vegan/live foodist, so I decided to be a leader in the raw food movement. This way, I could teach, and be held accountable to manifest my own success as a raw vegan. This decision and commitment has led to my writing about the diet and lifestyle, and receiving letters from people interested in weight loss or healing themselves of life-threatening dis-eases. I'm not a physician - just a person who has been raw, lost weight, and healed similar issues with food. That qualifies me to teach it, and doing this work creates resources and support networks for my struggles as a food addict. I'm clearly not perfect, but I've found a tool that works. And it helps others.
Additionally, I recently wrote about not waiting to accept the universe's abundance - not delaying when you receive money, to immediately deposit and/or make use of it. After I wrote that article, several people wrote to me saying they moved much more quickly to deposit checks they'd received in their work, as a direct result of my article, and they thanked me. And as a result of having written that article, the other day it took me less than one hour to deposit a check I had received for my work, whereas I'd waited over a month to deposit the checks I'd received previously.
Doing the work provides its creator with healing and project-specific tools for transformation of self and others. You can feel better about being imperfect when you focus on that, and on the fact that others are helped by your creations, which sometimes feels like its own reward - seeing your work used and appreciated by others.
(Limiting thought): There are so many subjects I want to focus on in my work. I'm overwhelmed and have no idea how or where to start.
(New possibility): It doesn't matter which topic you start with first. What matters is that you've begun. Make a list of the topics you would like to create work about (Holistic/Alternative Health, Spirituality, Abundance/Prosperity, Relationships/Sexuality, Recovery/Abuse/Addiction, etc.) and pick one that speaks to you more than the others. You also have the option of beginning several projects at once. You don't have to do just one. As you work, the projects themselves will begin to take shape and lead the way. Some will have the energy of movement and others will stagnate. Some will attract interest and others will not. Simply begin anywhere, any way, and let the work guide you and answer your questions.
I have faith you will at some point be moved to take your first steps on your journey as a healing artist, as I, and many others were. We all (you included) need, and are eagerly awaiting, your work and how it will impact the planet.
Cassendre Xavier is an award-winning multi-media healing artist and community organizer. A first generation American born citizen of Haitian and Chinese heritage, she coined the term "renaissance negresse" in 2002 to describe her work as a musician, author, visual artist, and actress. Cassendre sometimes works under the names Amethyste Rah and Amrita Waterfalls, also identifies as a lightworker-in-training, and has been involved as a producer of books, audio and video (YouTube) recordings, as well as a peer support group facilitator in the personal growth, spirituality, and recovery movements since 1991. She is the founder and excutive director of Philadelphia's 7th annual Black Women's Arts Festival, an acclaimed, inclusive community event at which all respectful persons are welcome and encouraged to attend or volunteer. For more information, please visit http://cassendrexavier.com.
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