(definition): One who is experienced or knowledgeable

My name is Kristine Morris, and I am The Change Maven

Why “Maven”?

A Maven is someone who is knowledgeable, an expert in their field, and I am an expert in people.

By expert I don’t mean that I know all, that I have all the answers; I am an expert in people because I am a mirror in which they see their reflection. I am an expert in holding a space for people to consider a different way of thinking, a different way of knowing, and of finding their own course while minimizing the noise and distraction of the world we live in.

I am a student of life and a teacher of possibility. I am an empath and an energy builder. I am also a dynamic public speaker, a writer, and an awesome friend (just ask my friends; they will agree!). I am studious and unorthodox and zany and emotional and introspective and extroverted all at the same time.

From the time I was young I knew intuitively how to relate to people, what to say, how to support them. I used to think that everyone was like that, until I learned otherwise. As I journeyed through life, I came to understand that not everyone has this ability, and that not everyone is comfortable with you having this ability. For a long time I bought into the idea that I had to be a highly trained academic to claim my space as an empath, a communicator and a healer.

And so, at the age of 32, with a one year old at my breast and a two year old on my hip, as well as a spouse busy working 3 jobs to make ends meet, I launched myself into a Social Work degree, completing the program at age 39. NOW I could help people, NOW I could work with people in the capacity of change agent and use my gifts for good.

I learned quickly, however, that although I did sharpen my skills, I launched myself into a system of such high constraints and limitations that my abilities were stifled. I could not help people shift and pivot, not really, not in any meaningful way, because of the rigidity of the system around me. I continued to try. And try. And try. And it nearly undid me.

Diagnosed with Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder, I promptly went to bed, and did not arise for almost 6 months. My children were shattered, my spouse was stretched thin and my self-esteem was hidden somewhere under the sheets, along with my drive and motivation.

It was devastating. It was humbling. And it was life changing. I began to realize that those natural tendencies from my youth, of being able to relate to people, to sense their fears and pain, were actually my gifts as an empath. What I did not realize, until it was almost too late, was that without self-awareness and protection, this gift becomes a curse in the wrong situation. I can feel negative vibes from across the room. I sense violence before it happens and trauma rattles me like a freight train running over my bones.

As I healed, I learned to cherish my gifts. And to protect them. I was not doing anyone any good as a front line social worker. I was not able to affect any meaningful change. And I was, in the process, ruining my ability to be an attentive and loving parent to my own children.

And so I began my journey of discovering how I could best use these strengths that I was given. I refused to believe that they were for nothing, or that I was destined to suffer in an effort to help others. There had to be a better way; a better way of helping others, a better way of being true to myself.

At age 42, I took up running. This cleared my mind and for the first time in a decade I was rid of my constant migraines. I started to meditate. This gave me – and still gives me – the most amazing, heart opening experiences, where I feel like angels are singing in my ears and the sun is shining just for me. And I started to embrace my strengths for what they were – blessings – and figure out how to use them for good.

As we journey through this adventure called life, I will continue to share my experiences and insights with you. I promise to fearlessly and recklessly strip myself bare in an effort to help you do the same for yourself. And together we can figure this shit out.

Are you ready?

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