I wrote this story for the Peninsula Gateway in Gig Harbor, Washington.
It was one of my first stories for a community publication. I was nervous to interview and write about a writer, but it was an experience that I look back on as a key moment in finding my passion for telling people’s stories.
From a cozy meditation hut nestled in the woods of Gig Harbor, a local author offers her readers a window into themselves.
Jody Doty — yes, it rhymes — is not a psychic or a mind reader. She doesn’t have a crystal ball or tarot cards.
But Doty is a cancer survivor, an ordained minister, a writer, dreamer and self-proclaimed “soul reader.”
“I see beyond the physical and right to the beautiful part that a lot of us miss that’s there within you,” Doty said. “I like ‘soul reader’ because that’s what I do. I see what’s beyond this, the pictures and the symbols in lives.”
Doty, who has been in remission from breast cancer for six years, said her experiences have given her significant insights.
“I’m a survivor in a lot of ways. I have had a lot of physical issues, and I think in some ways I had to redefine what beauty is because of that,” said Doty, who has also had skin cancer and undergone 14 facial surgeries.
“We’re not just this,” Doty said, gesturing to her body. “We’re the beauty within us, too.”
Doty said the challenges she has faced proved to her that there is a definite connection between the body and the soul.
“It really made me value my body and appreciate that life is short,” she said. “Something happens when you don’t pay attention to your soul and do what you’re supposed to do.”
Her cancers taught her how to let others help her, which allowed her to become closer to her soul and emotions.
“I think the lesson in that was that I was giving to a lot of people and not myself,” she said. “I was so used to giving I didn’t let myself receive. If we don’t deal with it on the inside, it tends to happen on the outside. That’s why I think reading the soul is so important.”
Doty, who holds a full-time job at Kitsap Mental Health Services, balances her professional day job with many other passion projects.
For instance, Doty is a featured writer for a newly launched national website, www.faverie.com, and is a co-author of a new self-help book titled “Beyond the Loss: Breaking the Stigma of Depression and Suicide,” which was released in early November.
In addition, Doty’s meditations are featured in another new book, “365 Ways to Connect With Your Soul,” also recently released.
“I let go of creative limits and the words just came,” Doty said of her entries on Faverie.com. “It’s a pleasure to share a little piece of Gig Harbor with the world on Faverie.com. I feel like a small town girl sharing herself with the world.”
Doty says she has developed her gifts through nature and nurture. She attended classes at the Church of Divine Man (CDM), which helped clarify and strengthen her spirituality.
“It’s a gift I’ve always had. It’s in my family,” she said. “I took classes and that was key to me being open to my gifts and really being able to help people with them.”
Often, clients want Doty to tell them about the past or future, she said. But helping people find their own way is what brings her the most joy.
“I like to bring people to their center and assist them in that calm place,” Doty said. “I love ‘a ha’ moments when people actually experience who their spirit is.”
In the future, Doty hopes to travel, finish a children’s book on which she’s working, and perhaps begin to do some teaching.
“I want people to know that there is beauty within them,” Doty said. “There’s so much beauty that we miss. I like to help people to see that and to see where they are and to let them know that they’re not just their body. They’re their spirit and their body, and how beautiful that is.”
Rhiannon Berg, a freelance writer and member of MediaLab at Pacific Lutheran University, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.