About Sandra Mitchell
It started with learning how to read.
I clearly remember when it clicked for me. I was a round-faced, pony-tailed first grader. Sitting cross-legged in one of the orange and green living room chairs (what can I say? it was the 70’s), a Big Little Reader version of Peter Rabbit in my lap, I had a deep knowing that I got it – that I was reading. READING!
After that, if you couldn’t find me in school or at the public swimming pool, I was stretched out on the basement couch with a book. Writing quickly followed – I figured if I could read, I could surely write.
By the time I was eight years old, I was composing stories and poems. I wrote in a small white diary with a janky lock on it. It just felt…right.
In high school, I took all the English classes. I aced essay exams. In my senior year, I took home the class award in English and wrote and published my first editorial for the local paper. In college, it was a given I’d be a staff writer for the college paper.
A writing internship the summer between my junior and senior years of college gave me my first paychecks for doing something I was not only good at, but also loved.
Writing opened the door to marketing and I started on a trail of positions that led me from the nonprofit world, to the business arena, to corporate healthcare, and back again. I learned print layout. The world wide web exploded and I learned how to design and manage websites. When social media blew up, I was there to make it happen for many an employer.
In between freelance writing and marketing gigs and the inevitable real-world jobs, I continued journaling. I toyed with the beginnings of a book off and on for years.
But somewhere along the line, I lost focus. I lost heart.
I stopped writing and creating unless it was for someone else. While all exactly what I wanted – marriage, house, family, dogs, travel, many friends – I somehow couldn’t find my way back to the writing. Real life showed up in a way I could have never divined. With addiction at its source, my family of origin began unraveling (read about it here). My first marriage ended (read more here).
Then my once beloved career took a bad turn with the arrival of a new manager. I got sick. My faith disappeared.
I shut down nearly every life-giving practice I had – yoga, journaling, gardening, meditating. At the time I may have told you I was fully living. I may have even believed this mistruth. After all, life went on. My son was well-adjusted in spite of his divorced parents. I owned a house all on my own. I met a new partner. I was traveling. I took a new job – one I worked hard to receive and that I convinced myself I really wanted. I married again and gained a stepson.
Less than 18 months into that new job I claimed I really wanted I was downsized. In the five minutes following the news that I was without employment, I went from horror, to anger, to relief. Before I was even out of my former employer’s parking lot, I had called my new husband to deliver the news, which I followed with, “If it’s all the same to you, I’m done.”
I drove away knowing I was about to do something life-changing.
I spent some months doing odd freelance jobs and driving out to Lake Michigan where I’d spend hours reading and journaling. I applied for a graduate program at a nearby university thinking I wanted to be a therapist, but then deferred after receiving my acceptance.
One night over a bottle of wine, a friend delivered a much-needed ass-kicking when I mentioned I was thinking about becoming a grant writer. Having known me for the better part of 20 years, she announced to me that I was no effin’ grant writer (no offense to those of you who are!).
“You were called to higher consciousness,” she declared. And I thought, huh, I’m not sure what that means, but I want to figure it out.
So I put my hands on a book my friend recommended - Debbie Ford’s Dark Side of the Light Chasers. At the beach, I read and highlighted and dog-eared this book’s pages. I completed each exercise at the end of every chapter. That life-changing thing I’d been contemplating - but couldn’t name - when I drove away from my last employer was about to happen. I enrolled in The Ford Institute’s coach training program.
And, in the best possible way, nothing has been the same since.
For more than 25 years, I worked as a writer and marketer for corporate healthcare, higher education, nonprofits, and small business. Now, as a contractor offering writing, marketing, and mentoring services, I am most gratified when collaborating with those who nurture heart-centered wellness practices, good causes, and soulful entrepreneurships.
Specific experience includes designing and managing websites and blogs; writing content for online and print publication; designing print materials; leading social media efforts and paid search campaigns; and much more. My degree is a bachelor of arts in English from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
In 2015, I began training as a coaching professional at the Ford Institute for Transformational Training. I spent a full year in intense study, training, practice, and supervision. In addition to earning my coaching certification, I am a client of coaching. I also take time for self-study, which includes practicing yoga, meditation, reading, journaling, and talking with my therapist.
Combining my coaching background with my experience as a creative, I am able to offer creativity coaching as well as facilitate writing circles. In these capacities, I give to you infinite loving-kindness, attentive listening, forthright feedback, and an ever-expanding discernment of creativity and coaching principles. It is always my intention to provide clients and fellow creatives a safe space to explore, make sense of, and find freedom from that which may be holding them back from the creative process.
With life as my smartest and most influential teacher, I have experience in marriage, divorce, single parenting, and blended families, and have family members challenged by mental illness issues and addiction. This body of mine, which is living with and healing from both thyroid and celiac disease, has called me to learn about nutrition, mindfulness, and self-care.
In my free time, when I’m not hanging with my guy and my kiddos, you can find me chasing live music, researching my next travel destinations, walking with my wildly cute and naughty puppies, reading, writing, practicing yoga, and streaming way too much TV. Planting flowers, hugging trees, and beach sitting please me, too.