How do people ever come to understanding of each other?
I’ve pondered this question since receiving advice to exclude references to faith and spirituality from descriptions of my memoir. It is clear that many people use the same words and give them vastly different meanings.
These past few weeks, I have been in a process of clarifying how to approach marketing my memoir. I’m new at this marketing business and I join many other authors who dislike it. We have to make our peace with doing it anyway.
During this process of discernment, I realized that I had lost clarity. Feeling buffeted by all the e-mails from marketing gurus and listening to others more experienced than I, I tried to do it “right.” As a result, I sidetracked myself.
I emphasized the context in which my journey takes place (the medical mystery surrounding the undiagnosed disease in my family) instead of the journey itself (my growth in wisdom and strength). I have only myself to blame for the “boxed in” feeling I wrote about in my last blog post.
I am clear now that the most important aspect of my memoir for me is the spiritual dimension.
And, in writing from a spiritual perspective, I do not preach or promote certain beliefs at the expense of others. I find connection and dialogue more powerful ~~ listening deeply to the meaning people give to their experiences. For that reason, in A Long Awakening to Grace I share my experience, what I learned from it, and how it changed me.
It was through my experience of being gifted with grace that I came to know myself as Divinely loved. No amount of preaching could have accomplished that.
Writing about my experience forced me to reflect at a deeper level for the wisdom contained in my most painful experiences. I grappled until I awakened to the deeper meanings in the suffering I experienced. That gave me a whole new perspective on my life. I experienced transformation.
I believe this process of introspection and reflection is crucial. Harvesting the wisdom in our life experiences gives us a window into how to make a difference in the lives of others.
Readers will find references to a Divine Presence. I am careful in the way I refer to The Divine so as not to communicate any one image as correct. I share vulnerably how this seminary student and ordained minister wrestled to make sense of her experience of being simultaneously abandoned, guided, and called. I leave it to my readers to visualize The Divine in anyway meaningful to them.
I have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from readers representing a vast spectrum of religious beliefs and spiritual backgrounds. I believe my emphasis on experience rather than concrete beliefs is the key to having written a universally accessible story.
I met with my entrepreneurial mentor yesterday and approached her from a position of strength ~~ I know who I am and what is important to me. It made all the difference. She and I connected at a deeper level than in our previous two meetings and she radiated more excitement about who I am and what I’m about than in our previous “business-like” meetings. I can’t help but smile at the difference.
I am officially out of the box!