The Stories Your Body Tells

This month’s Soaring Solo blog focuses on “The Stories Your Body Tells.”

[NoHo Arts District, CA] – This month’s Soaring Solo blog focuses on “The Stories Your Body Tells.”

“The body is very wise. It knows how to heal itself.” -Louise Hay

As a solo theatre coach and director, I often try to help my clients by creating interesting writing prompts to generate compelling material. 

My prompts often ask the solo artist to bravely dig deep into their past, honestly examine their present circumstances and boldly imagine their way into the future. Solo theatre can be very cathartic, especially when it is autobiographical in nature. As we write about our lives, we revisit memories, decisions, people, places and times that elicit strong emotions and sometimes even physical reactions. 

With that in mind, in today’s blog, I want to offer an outside-of-the-box perspective that I hope will help to provide an inspiring point of view from which to write. Today we will tap into the wisdom and stories that our bodies reveal.

This month’s Soaring Solo blog focuses on “The Stories Your Body Tells.”

To support me in this exploration, I’d like to enlist the work of Louise Hay who was a self-help pioneer and guru, professional speaker and author of several New Thought self-help books, such as You Can Heal Your Life. Hay lived to be 90 years old before passing away in her sleep. She believed in the transformative power of thought. Hay claimed that she was diagnosed with “incurable” vaginal cancer in the late 70s, and it was her belief that by holding on to her bitterness about her childhood abuse and rape she had aided in its onset. Hay also said she refused conventional medical treatment and instead opted to begin a regime of forgiveness, therapy, nutrition, reflexology, and even colonic enemas. Her proclamation was that she eventually rid herself of the cancer by this approach.

Regardless of your personal opinions about Hay’s belief system, I hope you will go on today’s journey with me and see what content comes forth. You just might be surprised by what material manifests on the page if you are willing to consider your own body an entity where powerful stories, messages and truths are held.

I personally suffer from scoliosis and was curious to see what Hay would say about that condition. In one excerpt of her work, I discovered that scoliosis is related to carrying the burdens of life and feeling helpless and hopeless. From this assessment, I would ask myself, “When in my life do or did I feel helpless and hopeless? When do or did the burdens of life weigh me down?” After that, I would set my timer for 15 minutes and just freewrite about whatever came up.

I could take this a step further and allow my spine to become a character and talk about these moments in my life from its point of view. Personification is a powerful device and often brings out opportunities for comedy, dynamic character work, and can be an effective distancing device from traumatic or challenging content.

For example, in Naturally Tan, a solo show I was honored to develop and direct, written and performed by the beautiful and talented Tanya Thomas, we implemented this exact device by bringing her breasts to life as personified characters. The themes of Tanya’s One Woman Show center around body dysmorphia, and an overall lack of self love and self acceptance. Over the course of the show, Tanya learns through interactions with many characters (all portrayed by her) to see the beauty within and without. Through the portrayal of her breasts as characters with their own vantage point and opinions, she was able to express her own discomfort with their size, the judgment from people around her, and the societal pressures placed upon her to have desirable measurements.

I also had the pleasure of working with Janice Creneti on her solo show My Year of Saying No. This plot centers around Janice realizing she is mostly overextended in her life. Upon the arrival of the pandemic, she was finally able to start looking at her life and realizing the things she wanted to say no to and the things she wanted to say yes to. Her Body is featured as a character in the show who wants to be heard, respected and cared for. Through the insights and guidance of the body as a character, Janice finds a path to self care and authenticity.

Using these body/life correlations below that have been drawn from the work of Louise Hay, imagine what stories you might feel motivated to write about based on their application to your own physicality. Give yourself 15 minutes and freewrite. You may consider writing from the perspective of the body part affected by the ailment as well.

  1. Acne: Not accepting the self. Dislike of the self.

If you suffered from acne now or in the past, ask yourself is there anything about yourself you dislike or do not accept now or in the past? What stories come up surrounding this?

  1. Bladder Problems: Anxiety. Holding on to old ideas. Fear of letting go. Being “pissed off.”

Have you ever had any sort of bladder problem? If so, can you think of a time past or present where you felt anxious, holding on to hold ideas, felt pissed off or had a fear of letting go?

  1. Dry eyes: Angry eyes. Refusing to see with love. Would rather die than forgive. Being spiteful.

Are dry eyes something you have experienced before? If so, can you relate it to a moment in your life when you felt angry and refused to see a person or situation with eyes of love? Perhaps you felt blocked from offering forgiveness or felt spiteful.

  1. Ear issues: Represents the capacity to hear. – Ache: Anger. Not wanting to hear. Too much turmoil. Household arguing.

Have you ever had any issues with your ears? If so, can you call to mind a time you could not hear what was being said to you? Has there been a thread of anger, turmoil or arguing in your life at any point?

  1. Insomnia: Fear. Not trusting the process of life. Guilt.

Do you have trouble sleeping now or in the past? If so, ask yourself if you struggle to trust the process of life or if you feel afraid of life. Do you grapple with guilt?

There are many, many, many more examples like this from Louise Hay’s work that you can look into. Hopefully, today’s small slice of her teachings will help you to consider how intelligent our bodies are and what messages they might offer us in life and in art.

I trust that today’s blog has given you a new way into some stories you might have otherwise not thought of. Know that you have a wealth of intriguing stories to share from your lived experience as you continue to create and share your One Person Play.

Please continue to persist along on your solo journey. It may not be easy, but it is so worth it!

Jessica Lynn Johnson
Founder & CEO of Soaring Solo LLC

Enjoy these Solo Theatre Resources to further guide you on your solo journey!

Tune in and Support the Soaring Solo Community as we share our stories from stage!

Award winning Director & Developer, Jessica Lynn Johnson, hosts a slew of powerful solo show script readings and full staged productions addressing various impactful and inspiring topics.

This enticing lineup can be found by CLICKING HERE FOR MORE INFO.

Start writing your own Solo Show one Freewrite at a time with “FREEWrite Friday”!

Join BEST NATIONAL SOLO ARTIST WINNER Jessica Lynn Johnson for FREEWrite Friday!

Utilizing thought-provoking writing prompts, Jessica will lead you in writing exercises that are sure to assist you in the development of your solo show.

A one-person play is not typically written in one fell swoop. Rather, the Soaring Solo Methodology teaches that the creation of solo art is much like that of creating a Mosaic…one beautiful piece at a time.

All that is required to attend this inspiring event is a willingness to explore, having a pen, paper, or some other means of capturing your thoughts, the ability to access Zoom, and signing up on this page as your official RSVP.

We look forward to having you join the Soaring Solo Community in this event because your story matters!

CLICK HERE TO RSVP and obtain the Zoom link and password.

Attend the Soaring Solo FREE One Person Play Development class ONLINE!

No matter where you are in the creation of your solo show, idea phase, curiosity phase, full draft written, touring the festival and college market,BEST NATIONAL SOLO ARTIST & Founder of Soaring Solo, Jessica Lynn Johnson, will meet you where you are at and take you to the next level! All that is required to attend is a willingness to explore, a pen, and some paper. No previous writing or performance experience necessary, and no need to have written anything to bring to class. Each week Jessica will guide you in exercises to help generate and stage NEW material! So come and meet other creatives in a supportive space for expression and exploration! The class is ongoing and so you may pop in and out as you please as long as you RSVP by clicking here for this FREE ONE PERSON PLAY CLASS.

Schedule an Online Coaching Consultation with Jessica Lynn Johnson to discuss the possibilities for your solo show!

Jessica brings her 15+ years of solo theatre expertise to work privately with solo artists from all over the world on an as needed basis.

A one-on-one consultation is for you if…

-You are curious about creating a solo show, but you need writing prompts to help you generate material.

– You are tossing around ideas for your solo show, but you need some accountability and encouragement to commit those ideas to the page.

-You have already written some material, but you need expert feedback on editing, story structure and play formatting.

-You have a great first draft, but need guidance on how to utilize multimedia and solo theatre technique in order to make your show a dynamic piece of solo theatre.

-You already premiered your solo show and now you want some tips on how to tour colleges and festivals, and garner accolades and great reviews!

-You have heard great things about Jessica’s work and you’re curious about hiring her as a Director & Developer for your solo show, but first you want to feel her out and see if she is the right fit for you and your project.

Wherever you may find yourself on your solo journey, Jessica will help you overcome whatever immediate obstacle stands between you and your solo success.  If you resonate with many of the things on this list, then take the next step by emailing for more information.

Jessica Lynn Johnson
Jessica Lynn Johnson (Director and Developer) is a published playwright, recipient of BEST NATIONAL SOLO ARTIST AWARD, Advisory Board Member of the LA Women's Theatre Festival, and Founder and CEO of Soaring Solo LLC. Jessica has aided in the development of over 150 solo shows (and is still going strong)! As a performer, Jessica has “edu-tained” international audiences touring her own one person shows ZE and OBLIVIOUS TO EVERYONE for over 15 years. Jessica's projects have taken home awards such as TOP OF FRINGE, HFF ENCORE PRODUCER AWARDS, TVOLUTION BEST SOLO PERFORMANCE, LARRY CORNWALL AWARD FOR MUSICAL EXCELLENCE & several other accolades! Jessica was also nominated for the Female Director of Distinction in Theatre by Girl Trip LLC at the 2018 Hollywood Fringe Festival.