By Teri Breier
When it comes to triumphing over trauma, Marcia Meier may be the ultimate authority. Jaws dropped around the room at the September AWC-SB meeting, as our guest speaker described her experience of being hit and dragged by a car at age five—followed by 17 surgeries in 15 years. Decades later, in a one-year period, Marcia’s mother passed away after a long period of dementia, her marriage ended, and her popular Santa Barbara Writers Conference, which she ran for two years, was sold.
In the years leading up to this distressing period, Marcia earned a journalism degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, reported for the Santa Barbara News-Press, directed the Writers Conference and wrote two books. Among these books was last year’s award-winning Navigating the Rough Waters of Today's Publishing World, Critical Advice for Writers from Industry Insiders (Quill Driver Books, 2010). Despite traumatic setbacks, Marcia accomplished much and currently works as a freelance writer and poet, while also being a MFA candidate at Antioch University–Los Angeles.
Throughout her challenging journey as a child, teenager and adult, Marcia learned to confront and conquer the debilitating fears that stood in the way of achieving her goals. Besides demonstrating her own extraordinary courage and fortitude in the face of difficulty, her presentation, Overcoming Adversity and Living Fearlessly, provided a blueprint for traversing life’s roughest roads.
She shared some of the most important keys she regularly practices to overcoming fear:
- Acknowledge: Breathe, accept the situation, and realize you are in charge.
- Take care of yourself emotionally, physically, spiritually, and socially.
- Make a plan: Visualize/write how you want your life to look; don’t get discouraged.
- Check in with yourself on a regular basis, listen to your voice, and follow your heart.
Audience members were invited to brainstorm a list of the fears that typically block their own progress when striving toward personal and professional goals. Marcia then asked the group to each imagine a life that would directly reflect their wants and desires and to ask themselves, what it would take to achieve it. By the end, everyone in the room was inspired and well-armed with workable tools to move beyond fear to success.