BodyLogos Blog

Story Telling Can Change the Story’s Meaning

A chameleon changing to meet her environment

I was told that telling a story while you’re still bleeding from it puts the audience in the seat of the therapist, or at least, not the receiver. And while I fully hear that and can’t disagree, I was determined to tell the story that prompted my book: The Art of Strength.

After many practice sessions through tears, my coach said I may not be ready. Maybe you should pick another aspect of your story? But he stood by me and guided me through the maze of my emotions finding the places that would anchor me.

When in my final preparations for my book’s signature talk, I passed it by a director friend of mine. His response after listening was, “Beautifully written and beautifully spoken, but I don’t think you want to be pretty. You want to have authority so people take action.” He continued with this instruction, “Underline every verb and pop those verbs whenever possible.” So, I did.

This note was incredible. Accenting the verbs changed the meaning of the story from something that happened to me to something that I owned about me. The ownership peeled back another layer of the proverbial onion of healing.

Without challenging myself to speak the story with authority, rather than as a victim/survivor, this layer would not have surfaced. The surfacing, was messy; but cathartic. In that last 24-hours of preparation I was so blocked I was forgetting the entire talk, not just lines here and there.

My body needed to scream it out of its muscle memory; cry it out of its mental beliefs; laugh it out of its heart’s survival strategies. So, I did.

I screamed, cried and laughed so hard I thought I may not have a voice left for the talk! My body let go of so much emotional tension that I literally felt transparent. As if you could have waved your hand through my body.

“One feels as if One is dissolved and merged into Nature.”
Albert Einstein

My personal tension template had become fragmented. And for the next day’s talk reorganized; and for future talks restored.

I had to own my story FOR my audience, something I had not yet been able to do for myself.

There may be more layers? In fact, there’s no doubt in my mind that there are. But speaking was a prompt to heal myself for the world.

In this way, my audience was my therapist.

Thank you.

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Redefining Strength

I want to change our perception of strength. Strength is the ability to meet resistance and influence an outcome without compromising ourselves. And we already have it.

Strength is not an attribute; it’s a state of being. Gladiators, bodybuilders, and football players demonstrate strength through brute force, sheer willpower, muscle mass, and relentless pursuit. But we’re also quick to identify dancers and martial artists as strong. Their medium taps into a sense of vulnerability, balance, alignment, controlled power, and grace—but no one can deny their strength. Strength may look different on each of us, but it is an inherent part of who we are.

You are not weak by nature; you are stronger than you think. Your strength is not something you need to kill yourself to gain—it is already within you, waiting to be excavated. The key is to stop chasing something you already have and tap into it, so you can manifest that strength in your everyday life.

Because we don’t think we’re strong, we approach resistance with the idea that we’re not enough. We throw everything we have at it and push past our physical, mental, and emotional limitations. We see strength as domination, but it’s not.

When you learn to listen to your body’s divine wisdom, you cultivate a sense of where your body is developing tension instead of standing in its strength. You end the vicious cycle of unrealistic expectations, injury, and self-criticism and learn how to consciously embrace responsible growth. You stop compartmentalizing your strength into emotional, physical, and mental pieces and operate from the strength of your being at all times.

You learn how to align yourself with gravity—instead of working against it—so you can channel your strength to meet life’s resistance. As you meet resistance with equal parts power and alignment, you transform tension into strength

As in the sword dance above, the power lies in bringing just the right amount of force—not too little and not too much. By meeting the sword’s weight, I meet gravity. I am tapped into a larger source of energy, free of tension, and discover a strength that is wholly and uniquely mine.

About Tammy Wise

Tammy Wise is a widely respected mind-body fitness expert based out of New York City, owner of BodyLogos, Inc. author of The Art of Strength: Sculpt the Body ~ Train the Mind. A former Broadway dancer turned Tao minister, Tammy was voted the Best of Fitness by Time Out New York and has appeared in Martha Stewart’s Whole Living magazine, New York Magazine, Natural Health, Shape, and Thrive Global. She’s a Transformational Authors Contest Winner and regular contributor to Honeysuckle magazine and Medium. Visit her at bodylogos.com.