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Heal and Thrive: Chrisanthi Voukatidis on Using Writing for Self-Transformation

Life can change in the blink of an eye. No one knows this better than Chrisanthi Voukatidis, a massage therapist who woke up in the hospital with a broken body and embarked on a journey of self-transformation. Tune in to learn how she was able to heal and thrive through writing.

Show Notes | Transcript

“I had to really sit with it and say, okay, this is the truth, the reality of what had really happened emotionally, and to do the deeper healing work.” – Chrisanthi Voukatidis    

Chrisanthi Voukatidis’ journey is not only a testament to the human spirit, it’s a magnificent example of resilience and transformation. Following a deadly motorcycle accident, she was left severely injured both physically and emotionally. Chrisanthi spent most of 2018 learning to come to terms with her new reality. Her tenacity and faith saw her stand again, defying medical expectations. As a result, she transformed an adverse situation into self-discovery and growth, unearthing the therapeutic potential of writing.

In this episode, you will be able to:

  • Uncover the profound healing that can come from expressing emotions on paper.
  • Conquer your fears and grief, transforming them into driving forces for personal growth.
  • Understand the compelling power of love, and self-love, in the pursuit of a fulfilling life.
  • Experience life to the fullest through deep love and genuine engagement.

Related Live. Love. Engage. episodes you may enjoy:

Neil McKinlay: Healing Through Meditation and Community

Healing Power of Poetry with Brenda Bryan

Unleash Your Most Epic Life with Meredith Alexander


Connect with Chrisanthi at cvlambo (at)

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Live. Love. Engage. Podcast: Inspiration | Spiritual Awakening | Happiness | Success | Life


00:00:00 – Gloria Grace Rand
Namaste. I am Gloria Grace, the light messenger and creator of The L.O.V.E. Method, and women entrepreneurs hire me to clear the inner blocks, keeping you stuck so you can put yourself first and live the life you want now. And I am so delighted to have an awesome guest with us today who started her career in the family hairdressing business before embarking on a seven-year journey as a cruise ship guest relations manager. But then she kind of changed careers. So Chrisanthi Voukatidis now became a massage therapist and specialized in Hawaiian lomi lomi and Thai massage and studied the healing arts around the word. Then, you know, life always does this to us, doesn’t it? A life altering experience presented her with the ultimate challenge, which led her to heal and transform herself. And we’re going to hear all about that in just a moment. But officially now, I want to welcome Chrisanthi to Live Love Engage.

00:01:04 – Chrisanthi Voukatidis
Hello, Gloria. Good afternoon. It’s my pleasure to be here with you. Thank you for having me.

00:01:09 – Gloria Grace Rand
Well, I am really looking forward to this conversation because I have a feeling you and I have a few things in common. I know we already do have one thing in common and that we were discussing before we started the recording today, that we both grew up in Michigan and, in fact, not too far away from each other either, which is pretty cool. But I want to know more about. I always like to start these interviews asking our guests about the journey that brought them to the place they are now and doing the work that they’re doing now. So since I mentioned in the introduction a little bit about this life altering experience, I would love to know a little bit more about that and how that did enable you to be able to heal and transform yourself.

00:02:00 – Chrisanthi Voukatidis
Well, thank you so much. My life has been full of adventure and abrupt changes that have led me down some really fantastic paths. And the previous 20 years or so, 15 years, I was working as a massage therapist and just loving it. Loving, loving, loving that industry. And unfortunately, fortunately, as life would have it, I was going through a divorce that had been a 20-year relationship, and that had shaken me quite a bit. It took me a little while to get my footing on that, and I was just so thankful to have a profession that I adored. And as I was putting my life back together from that, I was starting to catch my footing and catch my stride and feeling good about myself and thinking, okay, I can do this now. And then one day, I left my apartment to go out for lunch, went out for a wonderful ride, and ended up waking up in an ICU. I had fallen 44 feet off of an overpass from the back of a motorcycle and broken my entire body from my collarbone down to my feet.

00:03:37 – Gloria Grace Rand
Oh, my gosh.

00:03:38 – Chrisanthi Voukatidis
Yeah. And the goal was to get me to the hospital alive. They said, just get her here alive. Well, I got there alive. They didn’t expect that I would ever walk again. They expected that I would be paraplegic the rest of my life and have all the challenges that came with that. And I ended up staying in the hospital for all of 2018. The accident happened in April of 2018, early April, and I ended up coming home the end of November of 2018. And when I came home, I came home to a new home because my family moved me and set me up in an apartment that was close to them because I needed around the clock care. And I did come home in a hospital bed with bags all attached to my body without the prospect of leaving that bed. And had I left that bed, I would have left that bed into a wheelchair. I had lost my hair. I had lost all the weight I had on my body. I had looked pretty much like anorexic on the verge of death. It was pretty horrific, really horrific and excruciating pain that I would cry night and day, day and night. So that had been wow, right? Tremendous surprise. And that’s what I have been dealing with the last five years, since 2018. Up until now, I have proved the doctors wrong. I do stand. I do walk. I’m not going to say I walk because I used to walk, okay? I used to really like to walk in stride. Now I hobble along with a lot of moaning and groaning. I hobble, but it’s a start. It’s a start.

Gloria Grace Rand

Chrisanthi Voukatidis
So I just had to come to terms with a whole new way, a whole new reality, a whole new reality, a whole new me. I had pretty much, at that point, lost everything that I thought was important to me. Previously, I lost my home, my marriage, all those things that I thought I had gotten over. And then like that, I lost my strength and almost my will to survive. I really did not want to survive. I survived for the love of my family. And also, I felt like it was disrespectful to God to even wish to not be alive, because I felt that by the grace of God, I was kept alive. So I felt guilty for wanting wishing death, although I did, because the pain was almost unbearable, and the fear for the future was tremendous as well, because I thought, how am I going to go on now? So it has been a very tumultuous five years. I have learned a tremendous amount. It’s like I’m a whole different person, really.

00:07:25 – Gloria Grace Rand
Well, I can imagine well, I can’t exactly imagine the pain that you’re going through, but certainly the transformation that you’ve had to go through. I mean, the fact that you have been able to be able to at least stand and as you say hobble a little bit. So was there anything in particular other than maybe your sheer will that enabled you to defy these doctors’ predictions early on that got you out of the bed, out of the chair, and to be able to do that?

00:07:58 – Chrisanthi Voukatidis
Yes, I believe so. I believe 100% in the power of prayer. I had so many people praying for me around the clock, praying for me. I prayed night and day. My mother prayed with me, her whole congregation, people I didn’t even know prayed for me. And also, I think that was the grace of God. And I figured if I should have died in that fall, the doctors couldn’t believe I survived it, so I should have died. I didn’t die. So I figured, why didn’t I die? I mean, some people die, they fall two steps off a ladder and you can die. So I was like, wow. So I trusted. I just trusted in God that there was a reason for it all. Who am I to know? So it was prayer, it was will, it was night and day, meditation, visualization, all the things I have learned throughout my years of massage therapy and the miracle of the human body, the human body. I am amazed at our body. We are miraculously and fearfully made, right?

Gloria Grace Rand

Chrisanthi Voukatidis
We are. And I clung to that. I really clung to that. And in my prayers, in my visualization, I would imagine, I would visualize the nerves shooting, I would visualize the blood flowing, I would visualize what was happening internally and call on the intelligence of God to do what was necessary to get me going, to get me going. And I believe in all of that. I mean, I believed it through massage therapy that our thoughts create our wellness, our illness, our intention matters. It all matters, I think.

00:10:34 – Gloria Grace Rand
Yeah, absolutely.

00:10:36 – Chrisanthi Voukatidis
So it was those things. And I’m really, really thankful that I did have that background in massage therapy because it gave me a better understanding of our anatomy. And I also had a very spiritual connection, very close relationship with our creator, and a tremendous love for my family that without them, I wouldn’t have survived. No way. No way. They didn’t leave my side. Not one day. Not one day. They didn’t leave my side. And they worked my body, they lifted my legs, they moved my arms, because I couldn’t do anything. So they did for my body what I couldn’t do. And it was so sweet. My sister, as she would lift my legs, she would say, Visualize. See it, see it, it’s happening. And we would say these affirmations out loud, and we did it for a year plus. And I think it was all those things combined. Not one thing, but many things.

00:11:52 – Gloria Grace Rand
I can clearly see that. And I was just thinking how blessed you were to have family like that who also were on that same wavelength to be able to encourage you to visualize because yeah, I’ve heard so many stories about that and read the power of that and to really help people who are going through some type of medical challenge to be able to, to be able to recover. Because I’ve also read lots of books about how the brain works and that there’s this neuroplasticity that we can rewire the brain and to form new connections. So in case anything was damaged. By doing that work, by doing that visualization, you are creating new nerve pathways and helping your legs to be able to function as they should. So that’s so awesome. Thank you so much for sharing that story. I just think it’s so inspiring for so many people. And you mentioned that you felt that, and I certainly agree with this, too. Is that the fact that you didn’t die, that God has a reason for you to be here. Have you started exploring? Do you have any ideas of what that is yet? Or is it still kind of still too soon? You’re still in your recovery period?

00:13:15 – Chrisanthi Voukatidis
Mystery, Gloria, it’s still a mystery to me. But I can tell you my whole life, since I was a little kid, I’ve always dreamed of living in a building with my whole family. I’ve always wanted to live in the same structure as my family was always my dream. I thought, how ridiculous that we grow up and we move away from each other. I never understood that. And with my background, both of my parents, their ethnicities, their family structure is that way, that the family stays under one structure. So I’ve wanted that my whole life. I didn’t know how it would come to pass, but I think, oh, gee, I wished for that. I got it. Except for one sister. I have one sister that’s in New York, but she’s regularly with me. Regularly. We’re back and forth quite a bit, but as of now, I mean, we’re a small family. I’m the oldest of three, and I live on one floor. My parents, my mother and my stepfather live one floor above. My sister lives one floor above at the other end. So we all have our own space, our own dwellings. But I can open my door and shout out mom, and she’ll hear me. And that is priceless for me to have time with my family, with my mom, that’s priceless. So I did get that dream.

00:15:01 – Gloria Grace Rand
Good. That’s amazing and wonderful that you were able to manifest that. That’s the word I’m looking for. Yeah, to manifest that. That’s wonderful. Now, one other thing we were talking about before we got started, and it’s actually how we connected through a mutual friend of ours who’s also named Gloria, that I understand that you are an author, that you’ve been, I guess, in at least one book, and I think you’re in the process of doing another one. And probably by the time this airs, it will be probably out there. So can you share a little bit about your journey, writing your stories and what that’s been like.

00:15:43 – Chrisanthi Voukatidis
Yes, that’s been a very interesting thing that also came. It’s funny. God is great, right? God is so great. I do believe things happen for me. For me, everything is for my higher good. Right. My greatest good or my greatest. You know what I mean?

00:16:07 – Gloria Grace Rand
Exactly. Yeah, I do.

00:16:11 – Chrisanthi Voukatidis
My growth. And it just so happened, I was scrolling through Facebook, and I saw a post saying something to the effect, do you have a story to tell? If you have a story, I would sure like to hear from you. And that was Gloria. And I responded back instantly. I sure do. I just don’t know how to tell it because I had never written before. I had never even considered writing before was the furthest thing from my mind. But before I knew what I was doing, I had already sent the text, and I was like, what? Then she called and we spoke a little bit, and I committed to writing. And then the fear came in. I was like, what did you do, lady? What do you know about writing? So it happened miraculously, I guess. Right time, right place, right everything. Right circumstance, that she fell in my path, and she came across my path, and I immediately I didn’t even think. I just reacted. Yes, I do. Yes, I will. Yes. Yes. Yes. And then when I got off, I was like, no. So that’s how that came to pass.

00:17:41 – Gloria Grace Rand
So what was that story about? Did you actually tell about, did you write about your experience then?

00:17:46 – Chrisanthi Voukatidis
I did. That story was about the accident and leading up until the accident, and not so much the physical aspects of the aspect of the accident, but the emotional, the spiritual, how I got through it spiritually and emotionally. That’s what the story was about, how I was able to overcome that level of a tragedy. And that had been healing in itself, because the whole time that I was in the hospital, I had left my body, so to speak. Really left it because it was so painful to be in that space. It was so dark and so painful that I left. And I focused on brighter things, wellness. I focused on love. I focused on wellness. I focused on beauty, focused on nature. I focused on God. Right? And all of his promises. So I hadn’t thought about what had physically happened to me for well over a year. I didn’t face it. And even when I came home, I didn’t face it. I just kind of left it aside and focused on higher things to keep me lifted because it was so sad. It was just so sad. And I couldn’t afford to be sad. I didn’t have room to be sad. I needed to be strong. So I needed to look outside of what had happened to me. So in writing the story was really interesting because I had to take a good look and find the words to express what I had been feeling emotionally and spiritually, because I hadn’t talked about that either. I mean, it was all in silence. It was all in silence. So I had never put language to that. So in doing so was like another form of healing in itself and also helped me tremendously when I would get really down and depressed. Because there’s those waves of depression I have to battle, fight to not stay in that space of depression. So when I do fall in a depression, I can read the story and remind myself, hey, you did it, you can do it. This is how. Because in life now, I’m not in a bed and I don’t have people taking care of me 24/7. I have to take care of my dogs, pick up the house, hobble around, doing whatever I do in daily life, right, my therapies. So I’m not 24/7, in meditation, in prayer, in visualization, and that’s not so good because I need to stay in that space as much as possible so that I do stay healing and uplifted. So writing the story reminds me when I do get down, to come back up.

00:21:28 – Gloria Grace Rand
Yeah. I was going to ask you a couple of things that are coming to mind, is what was the biggest challenge you found in writing? I mean, was it really having to get back into sort of facing those feelings that you had been not wanting to deal with? Do you think that was it?

00:21:54 – Chrisanthi Voukatidis
Yeah. Facing, facing, facing the fear of being paraplegic. There was a tremendous fear in that. At best, paraplegic, at best, we were looking at because I really only had function of one arm. My right arm was the only thing that worked. And my head, my neck up was not damaged, which I was so thankful for that I had my thinking abilities. I was so thankful for that and my right arm. So everything else, sure, we adapt, right? As humans, we do whatever we need to do. And I wouldn’t be the first or the last person to have to learn a new way of being, but I was so fearful of that. I was so afraid. I thought, who’s going to take care of me? How am I going to grow old? That was really tough to look at, to face the fear and the sadness. There was a lot of grief that I had to come to terms with, and I didn’t realize that so much. I mean, a little bit in the hospital, there was a little bit of grieving, but I didn’t let myself stay there too much. But there was a lot of grieving, a big grieving process, because I had considered myself a very strong, healthy person, very capable, and I was generally the helper and the doer and do this, do this to this, go, go go. And I grieved for that. I grieved for the dreams that I had and my life choices. I grieved for the kind of not grieved, but I think I felt guilty for the pain that I inflicted on my family. Willingly, unwillingly, whatever. Still they felt as much pain, if not more, than I had felt. Especially a mother. Can you imagine being a mother? So I had to deal with guilt and grief and all those dark emotions, fear that I had tried so hard not to address because I was focusing on the other end to get out of it. So then I had to really look at that and come to terms with it. And it’s healing, right? Because you can’t sweep it under the rug.

00:24:35 – Gloria Grace Rand

00:24:36 – Chrisanthi Voukatidis
Yeah. But I didn’t have the strength to do both. Either I was going to wallow or I was going to look up.

Gloria Grace Rand

Chrisanthi Voukatidis
I couldn’t do both. So I chose to look up. And then when it came down to writing was when I had to really sit with it and say, okay, this is the truth, the reality of what had really happened emotionally, and to do my best to overcome it.

00:25:07 – Gloria Grace Rand
Good thing that you did. And it definitely shows in that. For those of you who are listening, I’ve seen her moving her left arm, and so I’m glad that you have the mobility in that again, so that’s wonderful. We’ve kind of dealt with the challenges. But what would you say has been perhaps the greatest gift, maybe that has come out of this?

00:25:31 – Chrisanthi Voukatidis
Oh, goodness. The greatest gift. Isn’t it always love? I mean, it always comes down to love for me, the greatest gift. I have felt so much love, Gloria, that like I’ve never felt before in my life. Never had I felt this much love, so much care, so much love from friends, from family, and from God. I really felt the presence, I really felt being carried. I really felt the grace. Wow, it gives me chills. And just to have time, I mean, I had the gift of time. I had the gift of love. And I think just surrender, learning to surrender. I had to learn to surrender and to realize that I control absolutely nothing because I used to be a control freak. I still kind of am. I struggle with that, but I’m getting better because I have no choice. So I have learned to surrender and to let go and to know that, okay, nothing needs to be perfect. Nothing’s perfect. It doesn’t need to be. It’s not the end of the world. I’m not the boss of anything besides my thoughts. And I have a hard enough time with that. These things that don’t show, right. But these have been the greatest gifts. Love, love, love, love from God, from family, from myself. Loving myself for the first time, truly, truly, because I hadn’t really done that. I hadn’t really loved myself. I’ve always been so hard on myself. I still kind of am but I’ve always been really tough on myself. No, you got to do better. You can do better. You could do better. And I’ve learned to be kinder.

00:27:40 – Gloria Grace Rand
I was going to ask you, what does loving yourself look like?

00:27:44 – Chrisanthi Voukatidis
Yeah, looks like that. It looks like kindness. And saying, okay, it’s okay, and accepting my body as it is. Because this body of mine at first, in the beginning, my family would not even give me a mirror. I wanted to see what I looked like. And they wouldn’t allow a mirror in my presence, in my reach, wasn’t allowed to see a mirror. So that tells you already. Right. And then when I finally did, like a year plus later when I did see myself in a mirror, I just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed at how hideous I appeared to myself. Just hideous. And now my body’s changed since then. Now I look at it and I don’t see a hideous body. By no means. It’s not pretty, so to speak. Yes, it is. Some people would say no. Some people say yes. Whatever, it doesn’t matter. Now I say, thank you, you beautiful body, for getting me this far. So I’ve learned how to just be, I don’t know, I’m different. How could you not be? If you weren’t different after that, they would be like, oh, really? You missed a big chance. Missed opportunity. It’s been a lot of love, a lesson in love.

00:29:16 – Gloria Grace Rand
Yeah. And you have not lost your sense of humor, which is very good. So I’m glad to see that, and I’m very impressed by you. And so I just want to tell you that. So you are making tremendous progress. And keep it up. Keep up the good work. Which actually leads me to my next question. Let me phrase it this way. What are your goals now? What do you want to accomplish, let’s say in the next, maybe year to three years? I’ll just keep it like that.

00:29:57 – Chrisanthi Voukatidis
I would really like to offer hope to anybody. And so many people out there who struggle with depression, struggle with pain, can’t get out of bed, feel like they’re all alone in the world and don’t know how they’re going to make it. I would like to share that you can, that there is hope. There is a way. It may not be the way you envisioned it, or it may not be perfect. I’m still not walking the way I used to love wearing stilettos.

00:30:38 – Gloria Grace Rand

00:30:40 – Chrisanthi Voukatidis
I can wear one stiletto on one foot if I’m sitting on the couch and I’ve done that just to look at my shoe, sitting on the couch with one shoe on, just to say, there it is.

Gloria Grace Rand
That’s smart.

Chrisanthi Voukatidis
Yeah. But okay, it’s not the future I thought, but it’s a future. And I would like to share with people because I know what that space feels like. And when I was in one of the facilities that I was in, I remember the nurses asking me if I wanted to meet with a gentleman who had been through a similar experience that I had been through. And yes, yes, yes, yes, yes was my answer. That was so hopeful for me. That was like holding on to hope. It didn’t work out. I didn’t get to meet with him. But I do remember how I felt when she asked me, would you like to meet somebody who has been through it? And I thought, really? Yes. So if I could do that, if I could help in some way. I mean, I’ve always been into an industry of helping and people. I love people. Well, I can’t really say that because sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I’m a little sometimes it gets too peopley sometimes for me. But I mean, I have empathy for people suffering. That’s what I mean to say. I have a lot of empathy for all of us who suffer. And I think we all suffer at one time or another, different ways, of course. And if you look at me, if you see me out in public, you think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with me, absolutely nothing. Especially if I take time to get all dolled up and do my nails and jewelry and all of that. Nobody would think I have a problem in the world. And so it just goes to show we don’t know what our fellow brothers and sisters are suffering. And if I could just, it has helped me sharing my story. It has helped me to heal. So if I could help another person to heal to the same degree that I’ve helped myself, that would be good. That would be good. And I think it’s just in sharing that we do that.

00:33:20 – Gloria Grace Rand
Absolutely. Well, I’m sure that your story is helping someone today, listening to this or watching it on YouTube, because you are inspiring and I think it’s a testament to your fortitude and to your faith, as you said, that God kept you alive for a reason. And perhaps it is maybe, at least for now, that could be your reason for being, is to inspire other people. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. That’s a really good mission to have, at least for the time being. Is there anything else that perhaps I didn’t ask you about that you would like me to ask you? Or you can just go ahead and volunteer the answer. Anything else that you’d like to leave our listeners with today?

00:34:14 – Chrisanthi Voukatidis
I would say for us to never give up hope, which is very easy to do. And even I myself go through days that I feel that that’s challenging. But never give up hope because you never know what’s around the corner tomorrow there can be a new medication. There can be a new procedure. There can be somebody who reaches out for you to be gentle with yourself and to know that your thoughts and your words matter, especially when you’re alone and you’re quiet and nobody can see what you’re thinking or doing or anything. Nobody knows what’s going on there. But your cells know. Your heart knows. Your soul knows. So visualize, visualize, visualize. And do not speak foolishness against yourself. Do not speak against yourself. I’m guilty, just like I’m guilty. I have my moments because I’m hard on myself. But see? And I just did it now. I just did it now. But okay, course correction. Course correction. And move forward and lighten up. Smile, smile.

00:35:41 – Gloria Grace Rand
My mom used to say she would say, cancel, cancel, if she said something that she didn’t really want to say. It’s like, no, cancel, cancel. Let’s rephrase, reframe, rephrase, and come up with something more empowering and enlightening. So thank you so much. That is really good advice. Now, if someone listening to this today wants to be able to get in touch with you, maybe perhaps get a copy of your book, read your story, or maybe they want to book you for a podcast or have you come and speak somewhere, how can people get in touch with you?

00:36:18 – Chrisanthi Voukatidis
Email. My email is c-v-l-a-m-b-o All right.

00:36:34 – Gloria Grace Rand
Thanks a lot. Well, again, thank you so much for being with us today and sharing your story. I feel like I’ve met a friend today, and I definitely want to stay connected with you because you are a ray of light, and I’m glad that you’re here, shining your light in the world to inspire others.

00:36:56 – Chrisanthi Voukatidis
And you, as well, you’re creating a platform that we can come together and shine our lights on each other and for the whole world, so it wouldn’t happen without people like you. Thank you, Gloria. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for giving me an opportunity, giving me a place to share.

00:37:20 – Gloria Grace Rand
Well, it was my pleasure, and I again wish you all the best. And I also want to thank all of those of you who were watching and listening. And, in fact, I want to do a shout out today because this is fresh on my mind because I read a wonderful review on Apple podcasts from the UK from a lovely woman named Nina. So, Nina, if you’re listening, thank you so much. You made my day the other day when I saw that. So I appreciate all of you for watching and listening. And if this is your first time, I encourage you to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform. And until next time, as always, I want you to go out and live fully, love deeply, and engage authentically.

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About the Author
Known as The Insightful Copywriter, Gloria Grace Rand is also an inspirational speaker, author and host of the Live. Love. Engage. podcast. Prior to launching her SEO Copywriting business in 2009, Gloria spent nearly two decades in television, most notably as writer and producer for the award-winning PBS financial news program, “Nightly Business Report.”

Gloria turned to writing as a way to communicate, since growing up with an alcoholic father and abusive mother taught her that it was safer to be seen and not heard. But not speaking her truth caused Gloria problems such as overeating, control issues, and an inability to fully trust people. After investing in coaching & personal development programs, and studying spiritual books like “A Course in Miracles,” Gloria healed her emotional wounds. Today, she helps entrepreneurs develop clarity, confidence and connection to the truth of who you are, so you can create a business that has more impact, influence and income!

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