Hello beautiful writer.
Here we are, arriving at the holidays once again… creeping toward the end of the year. I know that this time of year can be complicated for a lot of us for all kinds of reasons (and is particularly difficult for many people this year), so I wanted to send you a note of encouragement and support. And this encouragement comes, of course, with a sliver of story. Bear with me; it starts out with a confession.
Those of you who know me personally know that the holidays are not my favorite time of the year. It’s dark in the PNW, which is difficult for many of us who live here, myself included, but for me the downer of the holidays is about more than just the rain. Growing up, the holidays were a time when conflict in the family typically escalated. Over the years, tragedies also incidentally have happened around this time of year. For example, one year our house burned down eight days before Christmas. Another year (actually many years) my mother’s marriage was on the rocks and the energy in the house I grew up in was full of grief and anger as my stepfather would storm away (or worse, return). There seemed to always be drama organized around Thanksgiving and Christmas.
As an adult, I tried to redeem the holidays the best I could. I would even say that for many years the holidays were “fine.”
But then three years ago, right before Thanksgiving, our family lost one of our young ones to an accident.
This event shook me beyond what I have words for.
Why am I telling you this sad story as a way of offering a “Happy Holiday” message??
I’m telling you because:
- telling the truth is usually better for everyone than pretending
- and anyway… the events of our lives create the themes of our lives
- the themes of our lives are the lessons we learn on this journey
- the lessons we learn are the stories we have to tell
- the stories we have to tell are the gifts we give to one another—in solidarity, in empathy, toward healing, toward NEW NARRATIVES
Here’s what I know because of both the hard moments and the joyous moments of my life. Here is how I live my life (ask anyone):
- CARPE EFFING DIEM!!!! Do not wait until the holidays to give someone the perfect gift you’ve found for them. Don’t hold off on doing the things you feel called to do.
- Every single good day you have is a gift—because there may be a hell of a lot of hard/bad/scary/tragic days in this life (and many people in the world are having such days now). So when you’ve got a good one, grab it! Love it! Enjoy it. Fill your heart with gratitude for it.
- Don’t be so careful. Write the book you need/want to write. Say the words you need to say. Decide the things you need to decide.
- This is YOUR life and it is YOUR story to write.
If you are a part of The Narrative Project community, you know we hold Story sacred. You know we believe that every story matters, that writing/telling our stories CONSCIOUSLY, looking for the transformational arc (this goes for fiction AND non-fiction), is how we make meaningful contribution to the collective consciousness (which is, BTW, how we change the world—by changing the way we think and inviting others into the conversation with us)!
If you are someone with a story you need to tell/discover/illuminate/enjoy/wonder about… stick with us. We are in this together.
Blessed Holidays, dear ones (whether these are some of your good days or some of your hard ones).
And don’t forget to join us at the beginning of the 2024 for our annual Write That Book Already virtual conference. It’s FREE. Invite your friends. We’ve got tons of encouragement, inspiration, and support for you to start your year with.
So much love… Seize the day! It’ll be gone tomorrow.