Interview With Author Don Shetterly

Author, pianist, and a licensed massage therapist, Don Shetterly overcame a mysterious condition called conversion disorder.  Sharing his experiences of being molested and tortured as a child through books he has written, blogs, and workshops he has led, Don endeavors to help others unlock the full potential of healing in their own lives.  Since graduating from Educating Hands School of Massage, he has trained under Dr. Paul Canali, a pioneer in trauma healing, has been a guest on the 200 Male Survivors Oprah show and appeared on Dr. Drew.

Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

I am a person that has been through a tremendous amount of trauma and torture in my life. Through those experiences, I have learned a great deal about healing. Many told me early on in the condition I had that I would be fortunate if I ever worked another day in my life. I proved them wrong!

About three years ago, someone asked me how I healed through the mysterious condition I found myself in at the time. I really didn’t have a good answer. Although I knew that I found my way through something that many don’t, I could not articulate that well.

So, I sat down and started to write. At first, I thought it was going to be a blog post and so I titled it, “Writing Something.”. It had no more form or purpose at that time. I had no expectations of writing a book. However, as I kept adding to this and trying to explain what it was that I did to heal my life, the document grew longer.

With time, it became apparent that I definitely had something more than a blog post.

The book is about my healing journey, Overcoming A Mysterious Condition, but it doesn’t stop there. It invites the readers to learn from my experiences many concepts that apply across the board. My condition was one that is rare, but the concepts I used to heal my life have far broader implications for the world at large. It provides a basis and groundwork for healing trauma, abuse, torture, and the mind body connection.

How has your creation process improved over time?

One of the things I have found is that as I write more, I’m able to more effectively communicate what I need to say. It helps me to improve how I do this. There are always different ways to say the same thing and finding what works is an art. Different people understand and read concepts in vastly different ways, so trying to find that middle of the road way to state it so more people understand is worthy of my time.

I constantly try to learn all I can about writing. In the writing process, I have found that it is more important to get my thoughts down, then go back and edit how I say things. If I try to focus on the mechanics of writing, my words fall flat. If I allow myself to connect with that deep creative space within me, I usually connect more with the reader. It also helps, though, when people edit my work and help me say more clearly what I’m trying to say. The more I write, the better I get and the better I get, the more my words connect with others.

What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?

One of the things that I found most surprising while writing my book was the progression of my healing journey. I know when you’re in the middle of the journey, it isn’t always easy to see it in a big picture view. It feels more like a painful process, than one of healing. It often feels like more confusion and despair than taking steps.

As I wrote the book and started piecing things together, I could more easily see the journey I went through and how I healed. It became much clearer to me, even though I drew a blank when someone asked me how I healed originally.

What role do emotions play in creativity?

Emotions are critical for me in writing or creating music or just about anything I do. Without the emotion, I’m not connected to the words and if I’m not connected, my readers aren’t either. Some of the best parts of writing come out of very painful or high energy emotions. It is in those moments that my writing helps find clarity and a voice. My words become my therapy because they help me process what my mind is trying to understand and resolve.

Do you have any creativity tricks?

There are two excellent times when I write the most and where my writing becomes effortless. One is when something in my life kicks up my own frustration. It is when things are unresolved, and they surface to the top. Generally, they touch my anger and make it impossible for me not to sit down and write. My writing is not about the anger, but the anger leads me to discover and learn from what is showing up in my life. When I do this, I uncover so much more because the writing is my way of processing what is happening in my mind.

Another creativity trick I have is that I sit down and allow myself to just write. I don’t try to manage it, or corral it into what I think it should be. I don’t try to force it into a pre-made concept of what I should be writing. In those moments, it is about me letting my words come forth and letting them speak. If I can step out of the way, my creativity, whether in writing or music, happens on its own. In those moments, it is like my soul opens up from its depths and creates some of the most beautiful works I have ever done.

What are your plans for future books?

I believe that what I wrote lays the groundwork for what is to come in my future writing and endeavors. In Overcoming A Mysterious Condition, I write about the big picture. My hope is that from this point forward, I can take the individual points and expound upon them in greater detail. While this book shares a lot and is all encompassing, there is so much more I can share about each individual chapter. The mind body connection is not completely and accurately understood today and so anything written with that understanding is a step in the right direction. Humanity as a whole needs to find healing from not only the adverse experiences in life, but the toxic stress that is overwhelming in this day. Too many of these topics are not fully discussed in the open and they need to be. I hope that as I develop this future series of books about the mind body connection, that it will help raise everyone’s understanding and help heal this world.





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