By Kay Newton
It was the arrival of an unfamiliar female voice – someone she had never met – that changed Lynnda Polio’s life forever, taking her from her executive job in New York City to becoming an award-winning author and holistic healer based in Sedona, Arizona.
Her 2013 novel, Trusting the Currents, tells the story of a 12-year-old Black girl brought up in the 1930s in the rural South at a time of ruthless violence and discrimination against Blacks in the United States.
Remarkably, Lynnda says the book was narrated to her by the ‘voice’ of a Black, female Southerner called Addie Mae Collins, who she says was one of the murdered girls in the 1963 Birmingham bombing.
The book went on to win 13 literary awards, and the writing process set the course of the rest of Lynnda’s life as a ‘Consciousness Doula’, who helps businesses and people “give birth to more expanded states of consciousness to create a more sustainable, happier world.”
Lynnda feels she has lived multiple lifetimes in one body. Born in a small town in rural New Jersey, her father was an alcoholic. Despite the chaos, there was always a lot of love within her family. “I was an unusual child,” she tells me, “very intuitive, compassionate and empathic. I communicated with animals and insects. My dream upon leaving school was to move to New York City. Once I did, I loved it, and had every possible adventure you can experience there.”
Workwise, nothing resonated with Lynnda until she decided to try advertising. “I was a natural at new business development and quickly rose to a senior executive role at a large agency, eventually leaving to start my new business consultancy.”
Estranged from her father for 17 years (after her parents’ divorce), Lynnda received a call to say he was dying from a massive heart attack. She wanted to say goodbye.
She narrates, “When I got to the hospital, he was unconscious. I used the skills I had learned over the years to do energy work on him – Reiki and therapeutic touch. To everyone’s surprise, he came out of his coma, and in a couple of weeks, he was home. As we left the hospital, Dad said, I just want one more year with you kids, to make up for what I did. In that year, he did not drink and I took care of him. As a family, we reconciled our ancestral trauma before he passed exactly one year later.”
Within days after her father died, Lynnda heard a voice say, Go to Sedona. She had never been there before but she had heard about the small southwestern American town’s New Age vibe with a global community of spiritual seekers, healers, artists and mystics, besides an ethereal landscape of red rock formations. Three weeks later, she was on a plane with no plan, trusting that intuitive impulse.
This leap of faith began a whole new life chapter. As she ate raw foods, detoxed her body and cleansed in nature, Lynnda reawakened her spiritual and conscious life. Lynnda had all kinds of mystical experiences and after five months of learning and healing, she returned to New York.
Lynnda recounts, “Once back in NYC, I became passionate about bringing what I call the human technologies of wisdom, intuition, compassion, empathy, forgiveness and gratitude into the corporate world. I got involved in conscious business practices. Most people thought I was crazy! Yet slowly, people began to listen. I became the world’s first Chief Consciousness Officer for a global futurist marketing consultancy. While there, I educated the leaders of Fortune 100 companies about the potential of consciousness practices, laying the groundwork for the future.”
Lynnda would work in NYC, make money and then head back to Sedona to study Shamanism, wellness therapies and spiritual disciplines. “I felt like a bridge between worlds,” she explains.
One day, while she was working on her computer, she suddenly began hearing the voice of a Black, southern woman. Although Lynnda says she had been receiving what she called “high knowledge” for much of her life, it was the first time the voice did not sound like her own. ‘It’s not what happened to me that matters’ were this quite different woman’s first words. It was such a shock, it stopped Lynnda in her tracks and she wrote down the sentence. It would become the beginning of her novel, Trusting the Currents.
“For two years, I wrote in a stream of consciousness, just as she spoke, never knowing what I was writing until I wrote it. At first, she came to me every couple of days, eventually every day. I would often fight the interruption and her insistence, but then something magical would happen. As I accepted the role of telling her story, more and more synchronicities occurred, and we became partners in an unexpected journey,” Lynnda shares.
The voice would not share her first name until almost a year into writing, when it was the anniversary of the 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, church bombing that killed four little girls. As Lynnda watched a news story about it on television, she saw an image of Addie Mae Collins, one of the murdered girls and knew right away that was her name. From that moment on, Lynnda kept a photo of Addie Mae Collins taped to her computer while she wrote.
During that time, Sedona became Lynnda’s ‘soul home’ and writing retreat. “When I returned to NYC, I posted Addie Mae Collins’ sister a copy of the first draft. I wanted her to know the influence Addie Mae had on me. A year later, Sarah called me out of the blue, told me it was a good book, and that Addie Mae would have been proud of the life I had given her – that as her sister, she could feel the love in the book. I can’t tell you what that meant to me.”
Yet Lynnda says she’d never expected to be a writer, let alone publish a book, so she put the manuscript away, and went back to her ‘normal life’. But several months later, Addie Mae’s insisting voice returned, and an eight-year editing odyssey began.
“No one I knew would read my book, not even my family! Some were highly insulted that I had written in the voice of a Black woman. I understood that anger and wondered the same thing myself. It was Addie Mae who calmed these fears, promising the book was ‘to show what two women from such different worlds can accomplish when they share the same compassionate spirit’,” Lynnda shares.
There are three different ways to look at the book, Lynnda explains. The first is the meaningful coming-of-age story of a young black girl in the rural South. The second is universal life messages woven throughout the story, and the third is energetic frequencies embedded in the writing that brings the reader into their heart.
Trusting the Currents went on to win the Nautilus gold medal in fiction besides many others for books that make a positive impact on the planet. The book also reached the number one spot in Inspirational Fiction on Amazon.
Lynnda’s experience taught her to have faith in the life process, even when it makes no sense. She asks that we listen to the small voices in our head – as it means life is leading you towards a more aligned destiny.
“This experience with Addie Mae and her family has shown me that women of colour are the heart and soul of our current global transformation. We should be supporting them in every way possible. They are rising from generations of struggle with courage, vision and wisdom. These women have gained superpowers that are the key to our future,” Lynnda avers.
She goes on: “What we believe is not truth. Belief systems are merely our social conditionings meeting our traumas. We are taught to fear ‘the other’ but in reality, ‘the other’ is us. When we become aware of this, we can begin to have the kind of heart-centered conversations that create resolutions and transform lives.”
“Sometimes, the only hope that exists is the one we create for ourselves.” Addie Mae
Kay Newton is an award-winning speaker, writer and midlife strategist. Follow her on KayNewton.com. Lead image: Sedona, Arizona (Photo credit: Angelica Reyn / Pexels)