Recently a very dear friend of mine asked me this question: “Why do you write?” I was delighted and touched that she would ask me about what motivates me to write these blog posts. My answer came easily — I want to help others and make a meaningful difference.
I believe that when we share our stories and experiences with each other, we find common ground and build strong connections that help us through all of life ups and downs. We can be a source of courage and inspiration when times are hard. Celebrations of life’s joys and milestones are also sweeter and richer when shared.
As I delved into mindfulness and personal growth in my sixties, I was motivated to share my “aha” moments with others in a way that would be relatable and encouraging to others.
There were many times that I wished that I had known about the tools and skill sets of both mindfulness and meditation much earlier in my life. I could look back without judgment at decisions I made in my 30’s, 40’s and 50’s and see more clearly how my insecurities or learned behavioral patterns from childhood impacted my life.
I’d enjoyed creative writing since I was young and I had a strong desire to share the benefits of mindfulness. After some brainstorming with friends and family, I decided to blog. Admittedly, I found it a little uncomfortable at first to share some of my past personal experiences in such a public forum yet I came to understand that many people share similar life stories and we are all looking for ways to heal, to grow and to gain some wisdom. Comments from my followers and meaningful conversations with friends continue to encourage me to keep writing.
There have been quite a few chapters in my life story so I have many experiences to draw upon when listening to others as they open up about their own histories. Though I have always been a compassionate and empathic person, I now believe I am a better friend and confidante because of all the personal work I have been doing over these past few years. I recall learning that we practice mindfulness not just for ourselves — but for others too — so that we can be much more aware and open to all that another person might share with us.
A small example of this is when a friend is telling you how she feels about a big disappointment she’s facing. From where you sit, her life looks pretty good — great husband, nice house, fun vacations, adorable grandkids. In an effort to boost her mood, you tell her she shouldn’t feel that way — look at the long list of good things in her life. Well intentioned, but not really helpful. No matter what, she feels what she feels. It’s so helpful instead to acknowledge what she is feeling and to genuinely listen with an open mind and heart.
I had a counselor do this very thing to me once after a relationship breakup and although I had to agree that I was better off being out of that relationship, the hurt I was feeling was very real and I needed help to process that. I remember leaving the counselor’s office feeling worse than when I went in. I then worked with a mindfulness therapist and had an entirely different experience. I felt heard and understood for what I was feeling in the aftermath of a broken relationship. It took time to process it all, but it was incredibly healing and enlightening.
This brings me back to why I write. Very few people will get through life without facing challenges or adversities. We need to be there for each other and to pull each other through with kindness, with thoughtfulness, with awareness that others feel and process differently than we do.
My hope is that I can help others earlier in their life than I learned (at 60+) about being authentic, having boundaries in alignment with your values, building emotional control, and asking for help when needed. I wholeheartedly believe that when we bring our best selves to any relationship, we can make a meaningful contribution to others.
I shared with my friend the Starfish Story and how it has been my motto for most of my life. If sharing my life story and the many silver linings along my journey can help another, then I am all in.