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This series will be held on Wednesdays from 6pm-9pm for 5 weeks from Oct 18th to Nov 15th at the Iowa Writers' House. Working in partnership with Energeiathis interconnected series of classes explores the power of writing as a tool for self-exploration, personal healing and transformative growth.

What's Your Story...

What's your story?

Have you ever considered your own story and that it has the power to support and transform yourself and the lives of others? It does. Everyone has a story. Humanity has a story. 

In partnership with Energeia, the Iowa Writers' House is launching our first ever series on 'The Power of Story.' Together we will explore and access our own stories, revealing the power they have to transform us an individuals, as a community, and as a culture. 

Now more than ever, we need to learn how to be with each other in forms of empathy and vulnerability to change the societal narratives. We need to understand the power of our stories and to begin to tell them.

Let's start with yours...

Together we will explore topics ranging from the science and energy of story to the power of story as a tool in processing grief, and we will examine how reframing the understanding of one's life can lead to self-healing and personal transformation. Finally, we will explore how to unlock wonder in the stories of our lives that contribute to the betterment of the world. Each class will offer you the means to identify, interpret, and incorporate all of these concepts in a way that will open new avenues of personal transcendence and emotional empowerment. 


Course 1: The Science of Story: 

Gypsy Dolgos kicks off the Power of Story series by grounding writing as a tool for self-transformation in a scientific approach that demonstrates how the power of story can change our chemical makeup and repair emotional scarring on a cellular level.  She will explore with you the science of emotion, how it manifests in our physical bodies, and discuss inherited traumas that are inscribed on our genetics and that influences our ability to live healthy lives, emotionally and physically. The Power of Science provides a way to redefine our stories from what seems to be a given trajectory influenced by forces beyond our control, to embracing the  empowered state of being the author of our own lives. 

Instructor: Gypsy Dolgos is a Clinical Laboratory Scientist and Reiki master whose work and research connects our knowledge of modern medicine and biology, with physics and energetic healing practices.  Her work has provided scientific grounding in the transformative practice of journaling, memoir writing, and explains how language and emotion manifest in our physical bodies. 


Course 2: The Energy of Story: 

The energy of story helps you begin to understand how to access the unconscious stories that influence our conscious decisions.  Learning to listen and express these stories from a personal place allows the release of shame around trauma and begins to move us to a place of response versus reaction. This gives us the power to author our own stories within the context of the larger familial and cultural stories that surround us.  

Instructor: Jai Westgard is a professional energy healer and certified Reiki master and Akashic reader. She has studied energy medicine and metaphysics for over 25 years and leads write-to-heal circles that guide women in self-healing practices around their sexual and societal traumas. 

Jai is the founder of Energeia, a locally owned energy studio offering holistic practices for self-healing. She is dedicated to personal and cultural empowerment and social reform by imparting knowledge of energy-work, emotions, and empathy, while supporting the foundations of sustainable living. 


Course 3: The Healing in Story: 

This class focuses on what happens after we find the words that let us connect ourselves to our memories and to the larger world around us. We will move beyond a core memory or event toward a story that promotes an openness to futures that we would desire. In this way, we are able transition from a place of hurt toward a path of healing. Because such writing involves the grieving process it demonstrates the need for editing and the ability to shape our stories by expanding the context. Editing our stories is not simply excising events that we wish not to remember, but involves adding moments, scenes, and contexts that provide a character arc of an autonomous self. Even in stories where characters lack autonomy, the writer / editor is able to alter how events are told or experienced in ways that liberate characters to more choices in the future.

Instructor: Alesha Packer is a writer and certified grief recovery specialist. Since 2001, she has taught composition, creative writing, literature at Indian Hills and Kirkwood Community College. She also teaches English workshops at the University of Iowa’s Belin-Blank Honors Center. As a student of the Poetry Workshop, she studied with Pulitzer Prize winner Jorie Graham and poet / novelist James Galvin.

She has also practiced and taught the healing power of writing and works with Energeia as a leader of the write-to-heal circles and weekend retreats. As a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist her areas of expertise include childhood trauma, depression, suicide, divorce, and infertility.


Course 4: The Power of Wonder: 

Daniel Boscaljon focuses on how traumatic and difficult events can also be interpreted as ruptures that open (rather than close) future possibilities. Looking at the power of wonder, the class will explore the work of the imagination to describe how such ruptures can make us more capable of being aware of the surrounding world and thus more able to pursue the lives we wish to lead.

Instructor: Daniel Boscaljon received doctoral degrees in Religious Studies and in English, with emphases in existential philosophy and narrative theory and has taught religion, literature, philosophy, and critical thinking for almost 20 years.

Much of his teaching emphasizes not only questions of narrative and identity but also the work of the imagination and creativity as it emerges through horror and wonder. He is also a co-host on The Sacred Profane, a podcast focused on critical inquiries into contemporary culture.


Course 5: The Power of Reframing: 

In this course, Andrea leads us through a reflective journey into the self; guiding creative methods of self-authorization and purpose finding. The participants will learn ways to translate complex emotions associated with significant events in their lives into a written form of storytelling that is safe, supportive and appropriate for a broader public. 

She discusses how individuals can anticipate narrative arcs that allow us to live as the characters we wish to become. Such public forms of writing are crucial as a way to bear witness both to the mercies and the travesties of the everyday world—it can help others learn the language necessary to give voice to their own experiences.

Instructor: Andrea Wilson is visual artist, writer, and storyteller, and the founder of the Iowa Writers' House. She believes that creativity and expression define the beauty of the human experience. She has lived or traveled in over 25 countries across the globe in an effort to gain greater perspective. Her writing focuses on distilling the humanity from everyday experiences and finding the strings of connection that lead us to back to each other and to our own reasons why. 


All course information is sent to participants upon registering including confirmation of workshop times, location, and materials. 
Our workshop cancellation policy can be found here: