Creative Tools to Transcend Any Adversity

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Transcend by Gladys Mangiduyos

What’s it About?

Transcend is a book of unique style and structure about overcoming adversity and emerging a better person because of it.

How do you transcend adversity? How do you emerge a better person because of it? Gladys Mangiduyos answers these questions in her latest book, Transcend.

It’s not quite poetry and not quite prose either; it’s less of a traditional story narrative and more of a string of episodic images and metaphors. It’s the kind of book that’s so unique in style and content that it seems you can only describe it by how it made you feel. The kind of book that’s hard to describe in words — but let me try anyway.


The story begins with a letter to the author’s 12-year-old self about the adversities she braved over the last 40 years.

She then goes on to explore these various adversities and traumas through a series of poetic and lyrical episodes. These episodes address issues of isolation and depression, the complexities of the COVID pandemic (hospitalization, lockdown, etc.), and grief over the death of loved ones — to name a few.

But Mangiduyos doesn’t only reveal the traumas she faced — she reveals the process of healing, of transcending them. She continually references the importance of creativity and critical thinking and how they helped her open her eyes and gain clarity.

Criticality saves her mind from drifting away with the swift current, and maintaining this strong command over her thoughts makes her feel empowered and better equipped for any future hardships. Through her creative endeavors (like writing and cross-stitching), she is able to experience a form of catharsis similar to how music physically changes our brains.

“Power comes when we choose to be calm amid tempestuous qualms,” she says. “Create and write, manifest beauty in poetry, and design images in a tapestry.”

Images & Metaphors

Part of Mangiduyos’s healing process throughout the book are the images and metaphors used to portray her hardships.

She addresses the power of images and metaphors within “The Spine,” the book’s halfway mark. She references a number of psychology researchers and their findings on the ways images and metaphors connect with emotions. Then, she clarifies how to use them as a tool for healing from trauma. The method Mangiduyos uses, simply put, is to produce and share — creating the image or metaphor allows her to process the situation, and explaining it to others adds an extra layer of understanding and depth.

Mangiduyos draws inspiration from everyday human experiences, like riding a plane or dwelling amongst strangers. She also creates images and metaphors found throughout nature, exploring the importance of camels, the scientific process of rainbows, and the nature of spiders, wolves and olive-backed sunbirds.

The Transcendent

In the end, Mangiduyos reveals what she calls “the transcendent” — someone who has surpassed all threats, pains and hardships and now, equipped with grit, has become resilient. The “transcendent” believes the goal in life is to accumulate knowledge and experience (both good and bad), and through making connections to the world, offers their best to humanity.

Mangiduyos continuously encourages her readers by stating throughout the book that “the power to transcend any adversity is an inherent gift to all.”

In the end, Transcend is a book about overcoming adversity and emerging a better person because of it. It’s the kind of book that comes in layers, and you can uncover a new layer after each reading. Within its pages, everyone can find something that speaks to them — and they, too, can transcend their hardships.

This book is available for purchase here.

About Gladys Mangiduyos:

Gladys P Mangiduyos teaches at Wesleyan University-Philippines. She graduated from the University of the Philippines and De La Salle University, where she studied curriculum & instruction, and educational leadership, respectively. Her training from the Foundation of Critical Thinking has helped her gain more lenses in using creativity and criticality. She loves poetry writing and singing. She believes that the tremendous capacity to transcend any adversity is inherent in every person.

Transcend by Gladys Mangiduyos

Publish Date: 11/08/2022

Genre: Better Self, Memoir, Nonfiction, Philosophy, Poetry

Author: Gladys Mangiduyos

Page Count: 110 pages

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