Since 2010 I have published three books ~ a food memoir about my maternal grandmother, an instructional book on the journaling process and a short memoir about a sweet Mallard duck I raised. Often, when people hear the list, they say things like, “Oh, what an array of subjects!” or “Those are so different from one another.” And I am always stymied by such comments.
I have never viewed my writing as disparate. I am the common factor of my books, not only as the author who put pen to paper, but the subject of my experiences and insights. I am simply sharing aspects of the prism of my life, my many selves.
In the memoir about my grandmother, The Work of Her Hands, I share my expression and experience as granddaughter, daughter, sister, cook, nature lover and observer of Life. The instructional book, Your Journal Companion, is a summation of my professional research on the process of writing and personal experience of journaling for over 30 years. In this, I am student and teacher, mentor and advisor, seeker and mystic. And, my most recent publication, My Son Dave (the Duck) reveals me as mother, wife, caretaker, animal communicator and lover of all living things.
These are not disparate, they are all aspects of me, many of which overlap as the felt experiences of my life thus far.
In my work as a coach and retreat facilitator, and in the curriculum of my online classes, I frequently ask people to make a map of the roles and responsibilities they hold in, what I call, the 4 main quadrants of life: career/work, relationships/family, health/self care and recreation/creativity. It is a opportunity to acknowledge the many different ways we function every day and to look at how these roles link or overlap in what may seem like very separate areas of life.
The truth is, we bring the totality of who we are to everything we do, so by heightening awareness of our many roles, skills and talents we can integrate and use them more broadly across the invisible but seemingly impenetrable boundaries we often create between, let’s say, career and family, or recreation and work. I feel that my books are examples of how one opens up such boundaries as I have, with intention, worked to integrate my talents into every quadrant of my life.
In the end, I have written about my experiences because I want to share stories that move me ~ and, I hope, you ~ into greater awareness about what has meaning in our lives. What is important to me may not be so for you, but in the reading may you and your senses be stirred to discovering what IS meaningful and then to recall and share your own stories … with yourself, in your journal, with your family for fun and posterity, or with the world to inspire.
Come on now, explore the many aspects of yourself, acknowledge your gifts and your talents and honor the stories that rise from what you discover!