Sunday, June 5, 2016

Where To From Here?

Once you write a book about your journey, or a portion of your journey, what’s next?  From Lemons to Lemonade is complete, poked, prodded, reworded and finally delivered into the world. So what now? 

Well, I could roll back the clock and look into other areas of my life:  I could write the story of my moving from addiction to a path of healing. I could share the tears, sadness and even funny moments of my mom’s journey through Alzheimer’s. I could talk about the absolutely hilarious year that I spent in New York City—just the stories of living in the middle of a frat house will make you spit your coffee out. I could document what’s going on in my life right now--what’s happened in the two years since Ted and Lateef died.   Or I could get out my crystal ball and peer into the future, looking for what might be coming in the future.

My gut says there’s more to be said but what and why?  Will anyone really care?  Will anyone be helped?  Why am I writing anyhow?  What is my intention? My burning desire is to help and if that translates to helping even one person, my goal will be accomplished.  I remember when I was in corporate America.  I pretty much was all about getting the job done.  I hated the intrusions of meetings, trainings and impromptu visits from my boss.  What I learned about trainings, though, was that if I learned one thing—just one thing, from a training session, I could consider the time well spent.

As I’m writing this today, I am just realizing that I use the words “I remember” quite often in my writing.  Remembering is very important to me.  I remember telling Ted how I felt about my scrapbooking hobby.  “Ted, when we’re old and gray and can’t remember anything, we’ll walk through the pages of these scrapbooks and see our life’s journey.”  I remember the feeling of loneliness as my mom was descending into the depths of Alzheimer’s—my trying to remember all of the stories of her life that she’d told me throughout my life.  Kicking myself for not thinking that those stories were important during the telling—being an impatient teenager—then young woman, wanting to get on with my life—wishing I had those moments back.

Except for a short period of time when it was all about me, I’ve always loved stories. My mom listened to story-telling radio throughout the night and Ted and I did also—My favorite podcasts today are This American Life, Snap Judgment, The Moth and Story Corps.  Everyone has a story to tell.  A life remembered is a gift. With all of it’s tears and joys—it is a gift—a chance to grow, a chance to help others.  A life remembered is a blessing.  It is a way to shed the skin of any pain experienced and morph into the beautiful butterflies we all have at our core—a way to examine our past and try to do better.   Once we’ve made peace with the past, it’s safe to remember.  A life remembered is a lesson in mindfulness because we’ve taken the time to live and relive the moments of our life—the corridors we’ve walked down.  What we do with those memories and experiences is completely up to us.  Live the same life or let our experiences change us for the better?

Have you ever visited a place and wondered about the people who lived there before?  Wondered what their stories were? I have.  Always inquisitive, I’ve been steadily upending the boulders and small rocks of my life, examining, making sense of, and reading the stories of others who have done the same.  Why?  Because there are opportunities to grow, live compassionately and give to others each and every day for the rest of the days that we are blessed to remain on this planet. 

Do you have a story to tell?  It doesn't matter if you tell it to the world or if you tell it to your journal as long as you tell it.  

So, where to next for me?  We’ll see.