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“Heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with.” 
― Brodi Ashton

Happy August! With September around the corner, I have a great idea for your end-of-summer detours:

In my most recent TEDx Talk (watch it here!) I talked about how to become the hero of your own story through four “hard-core skills to resilience.” My favorite?

Creativity of course.

So find those back-to-school sales and buy yourself some Crayola’s –
that’s all you need…and a pair of kid-eyes to see things differently.
Need help? Check out my Huffington Post article with some great takeaways.

But just for my newsletter Detourists, here are some of my favorite, and super-basic ways to finding the creative spark to turn any obstacle into a hero’s adventure…

1.) Literally make a worry box/bubble/bag/container.
It’s amazing what a physical symbol can do in your life. Find something – even pebbles, to represent each worry, and allow your creative side to be messy and unpredictable, once the extra thoughts are put away. If you really need to think about them, just open the box at another time.

2.) Daydream
STOP. Say hello to one of your super-hero five senses and let it take you on a ride. Stare at clouds. Smell a cinnamon clove. Allow your mind to wander into a land that may not make sense…yet. Then doodle it. See where it goes.

3.) Take a walk
You’l find plenty of tactile objects and sensations to launch your daydream, plus, I find just physically moving helps generate those creative juices. (I know I’m crazy, but since I think best when I’m walking around, I’m currently finishing my book, My Beautiful Detour, walking around texting into my Google Doc app!
And if you get outside, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to…

4.) People watch
Make up backstories for the people you’re watching. They don’t have to know about it, so allow yourself to be as outlandish as you’ll let yourself. Then offer them a quiet smile as you pass. Maybe you’ll pass the creative spark onto them!

I’m sharing a dozen more easy ideas for August in my blog this week, so make sure you check it out!



I’ve been doing this art-making myself lately to work on my new play, Trust/Remembered:

Yep, I’m devising a new theatre piece through live art-making on stage – a new multimedia project based on my latest TEDx Talk – exploring healing from trauma as a warrior’s adventure through the archetypal hero’s journey:
Check out a behind-the-scenes peek at the process here:

What am I discussing as I paint?  Why painting is so therapeutic for anyone struggling with anxiety, or feelings they’re not sure how to express yet.  I explain it in my article with some helpful inspiration here: It’s Okay to Freeze.

Remember, you can just start with a doodle…and you’ll find the hero in yourself.

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, Make sure you thank the heroes in your own lives!

(THANK YOU doctors and nurses…)

Safe, silly travels, Detourists!


Need a hero’s journey refresher? Check out some worksheets to get your started on finding your own pathway through uncertainty….or DETOURS. And then write me about it!

As we speak, I’m bouncing between doctors like a ping-pong ball. It’s hard. It’s uncertain. 
My 27th surgery was almost SEVEN years ago…it didn’t go well, at all. And for seven uncertain years, I’ve flown all over the country trying to track down a doctor with answers. I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t discouraging. And I’m being honest when I say sometimes you wonder why you should keep looking for answers. You can’t just smile and be grateful all the time. Even with a musical I’ve titled Gutless & Grateful, life is nevver one-note. In fact, it’s as variegated as the canvases I like to paint.

And maybe that’s why art speaks to me.

Because you can’t be positive all the time.

But you CAN create.


Don’t believe me?

Stare at the sky.

Stare at the sterile, fluorescent lighting in the waiting room.


And let that be your beautiful detour for the moment. Who knows. It could turn into your hero’s journey.

Amy Oestreicher is a PTSD specialist, artist, author, global TEDx speaker, survivor, award-winning actress, contributor to over 70 publications, and playwright. She is currently touring Gutless & Grateful, and developing FIBERS, a play to honor her family’s survival through WWII and immigration to New York. Download a free e-book with secrets to getting a TEDx Talk at


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