Lisa A. Kramer

Author, Speaker, Theater Artist, Creativity Facilitator

Celebrating Our Unique Powers: Towards a More Loving, Connected, Joyous Me by Mandy Traut

I only met Mandy when she contacted me about contributing to this series, but as soon as I read her post I knew she had to be part of this. The more I work with people who have disabilities of any sort, the more I see them as truly powerful and courageous people. As I wandered over to her blog Aphrodite Blossoming, I discovered a woman who is truly living life on her own terms--a phrase that has become my own personal motto in life. While her choices may not work for everyone, I admire her strength of conviction and wonderful attitude. I only hope I can learn to embrace that motto as bravely and confidently as Mandy--and discover my own path to a more loving, connected, joyous me.
"Musical buff, blogger, and freelance writer, I am sex-positive Generation Xer in love with life and my partners. Creative and passionate, I genuinely love to share my experiences, reflections, and random musings on sexuality, relationships, spirituality, and women power. Now, having recently moved to the Bay Area, I am looking forward to adjusting to this new home and getting connected with others. When I'm not writing for my personal blog,, I write bi-monthly guest posts for "Heart & Soul E-Zine" and "Indie Chicks" online magazine. In the future, it is my dream to be a contributor for the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" anthology."

Exciting Update!  Mandy achieved her dream and has her story "I Believed Despite the Odds" in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Possible (publication date Oct. 6, 2015)


Mandy, better image

I have always been very hard on myself. I was born with a physical disability and believed I had to prove my worth. I did this by becoming extremely determined and receiving my Master of Arts in Psychology. Not surprisingly, my Masters degree, my memberships in two different Honor Societies, and my beautiful marriage to my life-partner was not enough to make me feel worthy. All I saw was that I had a seizure disorder, and my medication made me drowsy and unable to focus. All I saw was that I could not dance like my beautiful mother who had her own ballet studio when I was a kid. All I saw was that I spent extra time learning basic life lessons. I had a lot of catching up to do. Then, I had a couple of huge life transitions that 1) shifted my views on relationships, 2) relocated me to another State [still adjusting to our move], 3) made me question my overall career goals. One sense stood out above the rest - I yearned to write from a transparent, open place. I wanted to share my authentic self to the world. But, I was creatively and emotionally stuck as long as I was living in self-doubt.

A few significant relationships in my life are helping me shift my perspective. As I said, I am married to a life partner who has always loved and supported me. More recently, he and I have opened our relationship up to another special person. We never imagined this would happen. That said, we both are smitten for this individual who has changed our lives for the better. Once that happens, there really is no turning back. She reminded me recently that I was “an amazing, strong, caring person.” The sentiment was then echoed by my life partner.

Firstly, knowing that I am that loved is so precious to me. Secondly, it is almost profound when other special someones are able to stand you in front of the proverbial mirror and show you who you are deep down.

I just moved to San Jose, California from Seattle, Washington. I left behind a community of dear friends and family. Leaving Seattle really was the end of one life phase and the start of another. We relocated after my husband got a job at Google. I, however, am still job searching and trying to connect with others. Where once I was certain I wanted to be a counselor, I find myself questioning my future career goals? It feels like I’m standing in an open, expansive field of grain with infinite possibilities. It is both exciting and terrifying.

Given my circumstances, it is vitally important to rise above self-doubt and embrace my unique, amazing gifts. As a result of living with a disability and weathering multiple life cycles, I have shown great resilience, as well as the ability to overcome great obstacles. Likewise, I strive to have a positive perspective - to never give up on hope. Every person that knows me says that my Spirit epitomizes hope. Every person that knows me also says that I am lovable and trustworthy. I am starting to recognize how the aforementioned strengths are related to my creativity, writing, advocacy work, and desire to connect. Ultimately, I think I have a lot to offer, my family, my friends, community, and world at large.

I remember some of the words of wisdom I’ve received from dear friends and mentors over the years: Overcome self-judgment by harnessing curiosity and compassion; Let go of anxiety; Seize the moment; Let love win over fear.These words of wisdom are my compass. I can only live my unique gifts when I let go of fear, anxiety, and doubt. With the power that I see within me, I know that I will be amazing and unstoppable!


If you are ready celebrate your own powers (or someone else's), consider contributing to this series.  Read this post and then contact me at

Read more about empowering yourself and others in P.O.W.ER.

For each book sold, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to causes that support women and children around the world.