As most people do, when one year closes and another is about to begin we spend a lot of time reflecting. We reflect on choices we have made, things we did (or did not do) and just a general stocktaking of our life. As I reflect upon 2010 I am reminded of the quote that says no matter how good or bad life is, it will change. We are always changing and life gives us so many opportunities to grow, to be and to become more.
I personally think this reflection period should be more than just as one year closes and another begins, but rather a daily (or like I like to do, a nightly) reflection. Reflect back upon your day and if you are not necessarily happy about it, what can you do tomorrow to make it better and how can you personally make a difference to another soul on this earth?
When writing memoir, I believe the best memoir pages include both perspectives: details of the event (for memory’s sake), and your feelings about the experience. When we document our experience and express our feelings in words on a page, we are doing more than a craft: we are telling our story, preserving our experiences for the future. And we are giving a glimpse of ourselves, the authors. The power of our words lives on.
Cheers and reflections to 2010 and may we all have a wonderful new year in 2011. May all your dreams come true.
Throughout my life, books have nourished and enlightened me. They are my constant companions. At their most basic level, books are simply the words of another person preserved on paper, but they can be very powerful. Books give us insight into other people’s minds and hearts and souls. They are gifts of intimacy and truth. Reading a book is like sitting down to a conversation. The author does most of the talking, but the reader’s mind is engaged and active: questioning, processing, appreciating, marveling. When we finish a good book, we have a great sense of ourselves.
Speaking of good books, have you read Imperfect Endings by Zoe Fitzgerald Carter? Not only is this such an excellent book, you will hang on every word, but she is one of my featured speakers at the Women Inspiring Women Conference on January 28-29, 2011. Make plans now to attend this great weekend!
The holiday season is always a great time to reflect on the memories of our youth. This season I was reflecting upon my youth and remembering all those times my sister and I would sneak into our presents before Christmas. I remember one year in particular when mom threatened us that if she caught us snooping she would give all of our presents away. Even those threatening words couldn’t stop us. Sandy, my older sister, was a great present sneaker opener-upper (is that a word??). That particular year of the threat we opened up presents that our grandparents sent us from Pennsylvania. The necklaces were beautiful and I couldn’t wait until Christmas morning to open them for real! On Christmas morning when I opened my necklace I began to protest that this wasn’t MY necklace!! Immediately my sister shot me a look and my mom said what do you mean, the tag had your name on it. My sister upon seeing both necklaces decided she liked mine better and switched the tags! I of course could not let my mom know we had snooped and was destined to wear the less prettier necklace!
Reflect upon memories from your youth and begin to write them down. As you begin to reflect more and more memories will surface, I promise! You may be surprised what you remember…just now I thought about our tradition of getting to open up one present on Christmas eve, how funny that it was always our new pj’s!
Even though we are surrounded by written words-advertising, magazines, newspapers, email, and blogs-we rarely put our intimate thoughts and feelings into words, let alone share our written expressions with another person. To some extent, we have lost the most meaningful writing of all: personal letters. Far from the mundane written communication of our daily lives, handwritten letters are expressive, personal gifts of time and feelings.
Memoir writing gives us the chance to write these “letters” to our friends and family. We have a safe place to pour out our hearts, to document the moments that move us, and to write love letters to the people who have shared these moments.
We are given the ability to perceive what is through our senses. But perhaps an even greater gift is our ability to imagine what can be-purposeful visions of what we, our lives, and the world can become. It is our privilege, and our responsibility, to nurture, shelter, and express that vision. Take your vision and make it tangible. As you write your vision, include not just what you see, but what you believe-your hopes and your values and dreams.
Today take a few moments and imagine your life the way you want it to be and sit down and write what you see. Now keep that in your mind as you go about your day and be mindful of how you can shape your present and your future.