"I sometimes forget that I’m in a group workshop and not a private class because Melissa's really able to connect and empathize with me on a personal level while doing that with everyone else at the same time." —Mason Hernandez, Orange, CA

"One of my problems was letting people walk all over me. Writing helped guide me with structure on how to communicate with people—friends, family, coworkers—without having to have an awkward moment or any kind of aggression in the conversation." —Samantha Jimenez, Corona, CA

“I was introduced to this workshop by my son during a very troubling time in my life. I was amazed at what I learned and how it has helped me make changes. I have done two different workshops and each time learned more! All the information that is shared regarding the process and benefits of journaling are amazing, which makes the process so much more beneficial. The actual process we learned for journaling was equally beneficial, as I became aware of methods to writing methods to use that have different purposes. I now have journals for gratitude, one to relieve anxiety and also a journal of forgiveness! This is a lifelong skill—a gift from my son that I really needed, and a gift from Melissa that has changed so much for me.” —Olga Hernandez, Corona, CA

"I experienced how meditation improves the flow of creativity in writing my thoughts and feelings. I will use meditation, even short ones, to enhance the creative flow in my writing." —Gitabai Heater, MFT, Nevada City, CA

“Learning how to process my memories through expressive writing provided just the new skill I needed at just the right time. Melissa is enthusiastic and was very informative. I'd love to work with her again. I recommend this course for all people wishing to heal and gain deeper awareness." —Dawn, Nevada City, CA

“In this workshop, it was very helpful to learn how to slow down. It was also helpful to learn how to use expressive writing and meditation as a tool both personally and professionally as a way to process and release traumatic experiences. I will definitely use techniques learned in the workshop.” —Diane Gudmundsen, chiropractor and yoga teacher, Hillsboro, OR

"The best part of the class was how open everyone was and all the energy that was felt. I liked being able to open my soul to others and be welcomed. What I found most helpful was meditating then writing. I also loved the energy of the group. Everyone was so warm and welcoming. Melissa was amazing. She really created an open environment for everyone, and was very open and loving. She helped me become comfortable with disclosure. —Sienna Vargas, Forrest Grove, OR

"I liked sitting together and meditating best about this class. I found compassion writing and the introduction section on the handout the most helpful to learn about. Melissa's presence speaks volumes." —Kirk, Encinitas, CA

"What I liked best about the workshop was the open forum in which people could participate, explore and express insights while increasing their awareness. The most valuable tool I learned was the different ways of journaling. I love the presenter’s spiritual focus, chants and meditations that enhanced the process of experience. Beautiful presence, knowledge, wisdom and compassion. Thank you, Melissa, for offering your love and service, for sharing your wisdom, and for creating a peaceful afternoon of awareness and inspiration." —Anke Banderski, Encinitas, CA

"The best part about this class was to get in some actual writing experience based on the guidelines given. The most helpful part was the guidelines Melissa gave that provide new ways of looking into the ongoing development of my journal from past experiences. Melissa was enthusiastic about her topics, which makes the experience fun. Also, I found the personal story Melissa wrote and shared to be rivetingwell-written. For just the few hours I was here, I enjoyed myself so much that I was surprised how quickly time elapsed." —Stephen Hopson, Portland, OR

"What I liked best about this class was Melissa—her style, stories, gentleness, no pressure on students to share. What I found most helpful to learn in this class was the great handouts, which will be useful, as I do plan to implement what I learned in small chunks until it becomes routine." —Amy Cimas, Encinitas, CA

"I loved our journaling group and I am leaving so much lighter than when I came. It has been an awesome experience. What I found most helpful was learning how to journal, and the necessity, frequency and depth of it. I learned the importance of disclosure and am going to incorporate that aspect in my journaling. I loved it! Melissa’s strengths were very evident in all of her teachings. It has been an amazing experience. She is extremely lovely in her way of teaching—very supportive and kind, very gentle and strong at the same time. I’m very grateful for my time with her. I’ll truly miss our time together." —Debbie V., Forrest Grove, OR

"What I liked best about the class was the opportunity to slow down. Writing things down and being able to look at my thoughts created space to explore and cultivate deeper awareness. What I found most helpful was the intention-setting writing. It’s been helpful to practice the cultivation of self-awareness. I really liked the addition of mantra and asana in the workshop. I liked how organic the overall retreat felt." —Kathryn Hussein, Salem, OR

"What I liked best about class was Melissa’s ability to lead the class in a way that each student was able to contribute and be valuable to the group. What I found most helpful to learn was putting attention on being centered before writing by meditating before, and after writing as well. I loved every moment. Melissa is a natural! She is flexible, yet organized. She connected with the class in a way that every person, or at least I, felt valued. The workshop was very enriching." —Annonymous

“Melissa has created a life-changing program that I believe should be instated in any institution that is serving its community. Her methods and outlook on journaling and the power of writing is empowering. I highly recommend taking a step out of your comfort zone and joining the Inner Awakening Writing Center!” —Ariana Kornblau, Los Angeles, CA

“I noticed Melissa’s journal book was always somewhere near her. In the car...everywhere, always sitting nearby! That’s an example of ‘live and love what you teach,’ and is why this journaling program is special. You’ll experience it and benefit tremendously from the classes. Mind and heart are complex things, and sometimes a paper and pen can reveal and crystallize things about your Self that weren’t known to you before.” —Hesam Samimi, PhD, Los Angeles

“Melissa has an exceptional gift for transforming her students and helping them to overcome obstacles that they have struggled with for decades! Highly recommend!” —Chris Gordon, Portland, OR

“Melissa’s kind heart and passion for journaling has inspired me to dig deeper into my journaling practice. It is such a joy to see someone practicing something they love!” —Katie Roberts, Newport Beach, CA

“Awakening our highest self through meditation before and after writing affected the nature of how I experienced the writing and how I could more easily attune from a higher perspective the feelings and reactions I was experiencing from the day. The meditation helped me write from a place of less distraction and clearer feeling.” —Jayashree Alvarez, PhD, Portland, OR

“Meditating before and after journaling was quite novel. I appreciate Melissa’s passion. And the course was perfect!” —Marilyn Rose Utovac, Los Angeles, CA

“Incorporating meditation in the writing process was extremely helpful in bringing to my consciousness a topic on which to write. Following writing with meditation helped me to resolve my emotional conflicts, and to end the session with clarity and a sense of calmness." —Julia S., body worker, Springfield, OR

"The component of using meditation for further and deeper reflection was invaluable. Honestly, I can’t imagine introspective or creative writing without it. Thank you, Meera!" —Indra Kaufman, web designer, Assisi, Italy

"The best part of the workshop was the presence Melissa brings forth into the environment. It affords the deepest introspection, and subsequent writings reflect a purity, truth and transparency most useful for receiving the greatest benefits of journaling. Melissa is such a gift and a living example of 'living dharma.'" —Casey Hughes, Encinitas, CA

"The best part about this class was that it forced me to think about things that scare me. It was most helpful to learn about gratitude writing. I plan to think about these things everyday and add to my gratitude list each day. Melissa was very welcoming and warm. She made me feel comfortable, which encouraged my expressive writing." —Hayley Moen, Rainier, OR

"What I liked most about the workshop was the 'Writing and the Brain' section, and the new and different types of journaling, and having meditations with Melissa before and after journaling. Melissa was nice, sweet, friendly and helpful." —Tia Dobi, Los Angeles, CA

"My favorite part of the class this weekend was I enjoyed the various techniques offered to deepen my journaling and meditation practice. I also enjoyed the physical component, which helped my release blocked energy. Melissa made the course very user-friendly and broke down meditation and journaling into very doable activities. I feel much more confident in my abilities to write and do meditation. I wish the class was here where I live. So much to learn! I appreciated how openly, honestly and freely Melissa shared her information, as well as personal life experiences with the group. Her ability to be open and vulnerable with us created the space for openness with the participants. Thank you, Melissa, for your energy and dedication this weekend to teach us about journaling. You are oozing with passion for your topics and it was contagious! It really meant a lot to me that you organized the kirtan event on the last night. I was moved by the experience—I can definitely say I got a lot more out of this weekend than I expected to!" —Ari Friedman, Cottage Grove, OR

"What I liked most about the class this weekend was meeting like-minded people and learning new ways of writing down my innermost thoughts." —Liam Kearney, Manchester, England

"This is an amazing program that is helping lots of people. I highly recommend it to anyone who is seeking a way to express themselves but may not know where to start. With Inner Awakening Writing Center's programs, you will be among like-minded soul friends—a safe place to learn and grow." —Jacqueline "JLove" Jackson, Nevada City, CA

"This is an amazing program that is helping lots of people. I highly recommend it to anyone who is seeking a way to express themselves but may not know where to start. With Inner Awakening Writing Center's programs, you will be among like-minded soul friends—a safe place to learn and grow." —Jacqueline "JLove" Jackson, Nevada City, CA

"I'm feeling much gratitude and deep honor to Melissa and her 'Fall 2015 Inner Awakening Journaling Introspection Workshop!' Its highlights and motivating features for me: the inviting and intuitively presented assignments...I felt a deep trust in both her both professionally and as a soul guide of sorts; the camaraderie and connection of the group; Melissa's use of multiple teaching tools; her outstanding attentive follow-up and responses, her compassionate soul and heart humor! It catapulted me into my focused, intuitive, creative best, enabling me to finish one important business goal that had an unmovable deadline. It awakened some clear direction ideas that I've seen come to fruition in last two months. And it planted many seeds of compassion, joy and grace in my heart." —Cynthia Horne, Phoenix, AZ

"I'm feeling much gratitude and deep honor to Melissa and her 'Fall 2015 Inner Awakening Journaling Introspection Workshop!' Its highlights and motivating features for me: the inviting and intuitively presented assignments...I felt a deep trust in both her both professionally and as a soul guide of sorts; the camaraderie and connection of the group; Melissa's use of multiple teaching tools; her outstanding attentive follow-up and responses, her compassionate soul and heart humor! It catapulted me into my focused, intuitive, creative best, enabling me to finish one important business goal that had an unmovable deadline. It awakened some clear direction ideas that I've seen come to fruition in last two months. And it planted many seeds of compassion, joy and grace in my heart." —Cynthia Horne, Phoenix, AZ

“Melissa has formulated and indeed, I believe, been a channel of Divine inspiration to bring journaling, introspection and meditation together. Her program and leadership of that program have the potential to bring help and change to all levels of society. This program is proven to help those deeply troubled by trauma, or those who just need to be able to focus on their goals or finding out what their goals are.” —Prem Das Sills, Nevada City, CA

“In this course, I found it most helpful to discover the importance of releasing trapped energy from both positive and traumatic experiences. It was also my first experience with the term ‘expressive writing’ and the element of inner integrity in writing—being completely honest with oneself. But now I am going to start journalling again. I gave it up because I thought that it was just a way of dwelling on past events rather than living in the now and moving forward in life. I see now that it could help me reveal patterns that are keeping me stuck. And Melissa is awesome. Her passion is obvious and she shines with enthusiasm. She is interactive, and encourages questions and participation. ” —Nila, Truckee, CA

“In this course, I found it most helpful to discover the importance of releasing trapped energy from both positive and traumatic experiences. It was also my first experience with the term ‘expressive writing’ and the element of inner integrity in writing—being completely honest with oneself. But now I am going to start journalling again. I gave it up because I thought that it was just a way of dwelling on past events rather than living in the now and moving forward in life. I see now that it could help me reveal patterns that are keeping me stuck. And Melissa is awesome. Her passion is obvious and she shines with enthusiasm. She is interactive, and encourages questions and participation. ” —Nila, Truckee, CA

“Taking Melissa’s class has influenced me in so many positive ways. Learning how important and how strengthening journaling’s effect is on the brain is life-changing. I have been able to make more informed decisions and be a better leader to my colleagues at work. I recently completed my first semester of graduate school while working full-time—journaling allowed me to express my fears and anxiety, and ultimately make it to the other side of this challenging time. I love journaling and meditating, and now they’re part of my daily life. Thank you so much!” —Natalie Deshotels, Orange, CA

“Melissa has changed my life for the better! Her dedication, passion, and drive to helping improve the quality of life in communities are exemplified through this amazing and insightful program. What I liked best about this class was the meditation before and after our journaling. It allowed me time to ask for guidance and a safe space for my emotions to flow. The closing meditation allowed for closure and forgiveness of those feelings. I was able to step out of my ego, which allowed me to distance myself from my own point-of-view. This encouraged me to explain more of my story more in-depth. Thank you for providing this wonderful opportunity to help me reach my highest and truest self!" —Clare Mackie, Boulder, CO

“For me, the most helpful aspect of the workshop was meditating after writing. That helped to move through the emotions that writing stirred up. Also, it was very helpful that the workshop materials were so clear and organized. It was great to have the techniques spelled out and give more direction and focus to my journaling.” —Andy Neal, PhD, Portland, OR

“Writing used to be intimidating to me, but this course and learning to structure my writing helped ease my intimidation. Melissa is very passionate about writing and meditation, and her presentation is relaxed yet professional, which makes for a very safe learning environment.” —Heidi, Maryland

"Mediating after and before writing for sure helped me to recognize some emotions and process them. I will use the techniques from class! It was really inspiring. Thank you, Melissa!" —Benedetta, Assisi, Italy

“Great program by a great person! Highly recommended!” —Myles Tufts, Burke’s Garden, VA

"The best part about the class was the instructor’s love of the material practiced. Her personal wisdom and experience was very inspiring. I found the experiential learning aspect most helpful to learn. The instructor was full of so much grace, compassion and wisdom." —Terra Bliss, Portland, OR

"I loved the lovely meditations before writing and the sweet energy most about this class. Very nice! I found it most helpful to learn to give myself permission to choose words, beautiful words." —Jeanete Biasetti, Encinitas, CA

"I loved the handouts the best in the class. I especially liked the 'Writing and the Brain' section. I found it most helpful to learn the different types of journaling and descriptions, and I plan to use what I have learned! Melissa is warm and provides an open environment. She should be proud of the positive energy and work she is doing to help our world." —Julia, Carlsbad, CA

"What I liked best about this class was the writing activities combined with meditation. This helped me pass through a worrisome case of writer’s block. What I found most helpful to learn was taking the time to make my writing more vivid and personalized. Melissa is a wonderful facilitator with a warm, loving presence. It’s all kinds of vibey, super-feely and overly awesomea lovely experience. Melissa, thank you for the opportunity to get more in tune with the writer within me." —Ryan Marlowe, Carlsbad, CA

"The best part about the class this weekend was the meditation, chanting and other energy practices before the writing. I feel renewed and re-energized to get back into my daily spiritual practice. Melissa was an excellent presenter. Very in-tune with the group energy." —Margie Kurko White, Mt. Shasta, CA

"I liked the different writing activities and overall introduction to journaling. What I found most helpful to learn was that writing can help improve health and attitude, similar to the way meditation can. I think Melissa is a great presenter and articulates her message very well. She keeps the class fun and engaging. She is a beautiful soul. This was a great class. I’m really looking forward to applying this to my daily life." —Steve Mondelli, Carlsbad, CA