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"Your Life is Your Story" Blog Archives
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Cyclical Nature of Things
December 29, 2021
Every year at this time I become more reflective than normal. And
that's saying something as I am a person who regularly reflects on life.
One of the things I've learned on my own journey is how everything is
in some way connected. We truly do live in a big circle of life. The
cyclical nature of things is all around us.
Take a look at nature to see this truth. Things grow and then die. But
it's not the end. Plants have seeds that in turn grow into new plants.
The decaying of organisms is also part of the process. The dead things
contribute to the growth of new life. This web of life is fascinating
and a metaphor for the many changes we all experience in our life
Some of you are familiar with the Wheel of Karma which comes from the concept of the Wheel of Life
from Tibetan Buddhism. Some people believe that everything you do will
come back to you in some way. It's a cosmic cause and effect philosophy
and I think there is something to it.
What I mostly have found in life is the truth that life is not about us
- we are about life! So the more that you are involved in life and the
more that you give of your love, encouragement and joy, the more of
that you will experience in your life. It is all connected and part of
the cyclical nature of things.
In these final days of 2021 I hope you find some peace, joy and
personal growth as you reflect on the past days and months. Every new
year is a beginning, but also a continuation. Big wheel keeps on
December 23, 2021
me there is no denying that there is something special, even magical
about Christmas and the holidays this time of year. It brings me back
to childlike wonder. Being open to the possibilities that exist in life
- even with things that might seem impossible.
In my latest newsletter, #188 - Impossible Possibilities,
I ponder this. I wrote in the feature article, "...there are
always things that are unexpected. It’s just part of life.
Sometimes we get pleasant surprises. Sometimes not so much. Some things
appear impossible. Still, sometimes the impossible becomes possible."
Once in a while we discover that things that seemed impossible become
possible. I guess we call those events or situations a miracle. Some
people do recover from what appeared to be certain death. Or people who
faced situations from which there seemed to be no way out suddenly have
a solution. How we view an “impossible possibility” is
personal. People who have experienced such miraculous events are
forever changed. Powerful and positive life changing events can and do
The Starting Line of Your Life Story
December 20, 2021
Writing about your life can be very intimidating. Coming up with
the opening line often generates anxiety or even fear. You might feel
like it has to be perfect. If you do, realize that is pretty typical.
And also not realistic.
But there you are - at the starting line of your life story. What can
you say that will draw in the reader? How to you start to tell others
about something so personal and intimate as the story of your life?
Well, first of all, I would say, be calm. Don't get too overwhelmed or
anxious. If you have done the initial work of creating a memory list,
researching some of your past experiences by turning to old journals,
letters and photographs, and even just thinking about your story, then
it will already have begun to take shape in your mind.
Nevertheless, there is the opening. You stare at that blank page (or
screen) and then tentatively, or perhaps rapidly, begin composing an
opening sentence. This is the hard and yet exciting process of writing.
Know that it is often messy, always difficult, and ultimately
rewarding. It can even be exhilerating. Writing, especially about
yourself, can be akin to painting, sculpture or composing music. Yes, a
work of art.
Before you embark on the writing of a memoir or life story I think it
is important to have spent time getting to know yourself. To a certain
extent you have been doing this, either consciously or subconsciously,
for some time. A couple of articles I've written that addres this are Finding Yourself In Your Story and Heart of Your Story. Find some time to read those and consider the questions and content there.
A helpful article by Jessica Majewski, How To Start A Story,
gives several excellent tips on ways to start a story. She is speaking
primarily of fiction, but the suggestions apply well to memoir writing.
She encourages you to think a lot about why you need a good start to a
story. And she offers several tips, from starting with a question or
some significant action, to charming your reader or giving them a new
way such as a surprising twist or perspective.
When you are at the starting line of your story keep in mind that no
one has to see what you have written until you are ready to share it.
So try some different openings. It is rare to have the opening gem at
first try. But you do have to give it a try. Or find someone to help
you or to do the writing for you (personal history coaches and
ghostwriters). Don't despair and consider it part of the great
adventure of your life story.
They Say It's Your Birthday
December 15, 2021
They say it's your
birthday (da da da da da da da da da)
You're gonna have a good time (da da da da da da da da da)
What is it about birthdays? Everybody has one every year. It's a day to remember and be excited
about living long enough to celebrate another trip around the Sun.
Birthdays are especially exciting when you are young. Children love to
tell people how old they are and that it is their special day. We had
pictures turned into posters when our kids - and later our grandkids -
turned two. Each child mugging for the camera while holding up two
We never know how many birthdays we will get. Some live long lives. Some get to middle age. Some die way too young.
Recognizing birthdays is a way to recognize the gift of life. It
seems to me that birthday cards are not as common as they used to be.
Probably because it is so easy to send a fun text or direct message.
But as a teacher I always try to make sure I give each student
a card on their birthday. Social media reminds us of our friends
who have birthdays. Do you feel obligated to wish your Facebook friends
happy birthday? If you have a lot of social media friends then you are
constantly getting the reminders. But I kind of like knowing who is
having a birthday.
Today I mark number 66. It's important as I can start collecting full
Social Security in a few months and I am looking forward to that. If,
like me, you have been paying into it since you were a teenager then
you want to be able to have some of that coming back to you. It's
something I've earned and not a handout.
Birthdays are also a good time to reflect on where you are at on your
life journey. I am fortunate to have lived long enough to look back and
see there have been many wonderful events, experiences and valuable
lessons. I know living is one day at a time. So I don't try to get
ahead of myself. But when they say it's your birthday, then like the
Beatles, agree "you're gonna have a good time!"
Bob Dole Honored
December 9, 2021
Former longtime Senator Bob Dole, a World War II veteran and
presidential candidate, lay in state at the US Capitol today. He was
being honored for his many years of public service to his country.
It's an interesting coincidence that Dole passed away just a couple of
days before the 80th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, an
event that brought the United States into World War II. The attack by
Japan galvanized Americans in a desire to fight tyranny. Most WW II
vets have died. Dole was 98. One of the last of the Greatest Generation.
Bob Dole was wounded in Italy during the war and he
with the results of his wounds all his life. Yet it did not dampen his
commitment to service to his country, nor his wry humor.
Dole ran for president in 1996 and lost to Bill Clinton. After Clinton
took office he honored some people for their significant contributions
to the arts, politics and service to country with the Presidential
Medal of Freedom, the highest honor bestowed on US citizens. Among them
was Bob Dole.
It seems that fewer and fewer men and women of great character are in
politics anymore. President Biden remarked about Dole, "He, too, was a
giant of our history." Today there is often too much divisiveness and
pursuit of power over the common good of the country. Maybe people will
pause at the passing of Bob Dole and consider how important it is to
put the good of others ahead of self interest.