Memories can be healing, revealing, scary, upsetting, fun and a whole lot of emotions in-between. Every experience creates a memory in the library of your soul (what some people call the Akashic Records). When you come to write a memoir and walk into that vast room, you may not know where or how to start.
Personally, I think that when you start the journey into memoir the most important thing is that you allow. What I mean by that is you allow yourself to wander through the library and enjoy the process of connecting with your memories with new eyes. Also allowing whatever needs to arise in the moment.
Often I am confronted with something that triggers a memory, it seems at first disconnected to the memoir, personal story, book or blog that I am writing. And then just like that, it starts to make sense. In that sense-making process, I believe that we can create a sense of freedom.
Only this morning I recalled a story from when I was 16 and left home somewhat disenchanted to live rough for a while. Not on the streets but in a series of rough places to stay. The memory reminded me that there are guardian angels everywhere and often in the strangest of forms.
To create a good story it must start from within. Our beliefs about something seem so deeply ingrained, yet when we explore with new eyes and open our hearts to the message that lies beneath we start to liberate ourselves from self-imposed tyranny.
Now I am not saying you will be jumping for joy when you are reminded of events. You may be happy and equally, you may cry. The important thing is that you allow, acknowledge, accept and then take some small action.
Let me give you an example.
Back in 2017, I went to a party, nothing unusual in that, it was New Year’s Eve and a time when people like to get together and see in the New Year. Of course, some don’t, preferring the peace of a roaring fire and perhaps dinner and a film.
The music played, people danced, and the DJ opened her deck so that anyone could request a personal song. There were some songs that I wanted to lose myself in, taking me back to a time when I too would have been on the floor dancing all night.
A few years ago I’d fractured a rib and didn’t know that my spine was also damaged and stuff like dancing hurt and so to protect myself I don’t dance. But then a very curious thing happened.
Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs and Woolly Bully came on. And that was it.
Suddenly I was transported back in time to my parent’s parties. I wanted to dance. I asked a friend who wrinkled her nose at my suggestion, and then I was surprised by another friend who I’d thought wasn’t into dancing coming onto the empty dance floor with me. It was wonderful. I wasn’t at this party, I was back as a child twisting and laughing along to the music.
When we sat down I told him the story of mum and dad’s parties and how this song made me feel. The conversation meandered into how I’d loved to dance and enjoyed the parties on the RAF camp where we lived. I explained how when the guys I’d danced with discovered who my dad was they freaked. I’d never really understood why. Dad was as far as we knew ‘just’ a fireman.
My tale veered off to a discovery I made2 years ago. I had posted a picture of dad on Facebook. Someone privately messaged me about my dad being a rock ape. Firstly I had no idea what a rock ape was and secondly, I (or mum) hadn’t known he was in the RAF Regiment. When mum and I first discovered this we pondered about how little we had known about my dad. Who was this mysterious man who scared my potential suitors away and who might not have been just a fireman?
Though I think that in the olden days the fire service was attached to the regiment. I could be wrong.
Later, I also discovered that my last husband was and had been for all of our relationship living a double life. How little I knew about who he really was too.
It seems to me that we spend our lives not only trying to find who we are but discovering that others, often are not who they say they are.
This coming August I start to edit my book Finding My Wild. It opens with my first awakening – the double life husband and then takes the reader on a journey through discovering self-love and what I call my wild (all will be revealed).
I am reminded that when I edit I must look beneath the stories and memories that make this memoir and to let whatever arises. It seems to me as I write, that this is another call from my soul to release more.
For me, writing in any way is cathartic. Memoir is especially so. When we write stories they reveal so much more than just the story. Writing helps me to find inner freedom. I surrender to the pen and then reflect on the challenges, lessons and gifts.
You may think you are just writing a memoir, but in effect as you work on your book you are creating a pathway to inner freedom.
For you to ponder, as you wonder about your memoir…
What is the core message of your memoir?
We always come back to the core message. A memoir is not just a story, there is a learning point or points in every chapter, which comes back to the core message.
In Finding My Wild I am on a journey to self-love, self-discovery, healing and reconnecting with my wild, this is my books core message. However, as a coach, the bigger message for me is to inspire you to be brave enough to go on a journey of self-discovery and healing. I hope too that I can inspire you to write your book as well.
What do you still need to let go of?
When you think about your core message, what else can you learn about you? Are there any fragments that you still need to let go of so that the real story can emerge?
No matter how you feel about your story right now, there will always be something that pops up to remind you to take note. What are those things? Your reader will probably experience stirrings of emotions as they read – what might they be? Our experiences may be similar but how we process them is often different and we each need to find our way. Just take a moment to consider how your reader will feel as they read your book?
Which way does inner freedom lie?
Writing has always been my saviour. When we step beyond the thinking mind and allow whatever needs to arise come forth then I believe we can find freedom.
Freedom comes from inside. When we allow ourselves to write without limitations, we are telling our souls that its ok for it all to be laid bare. In becoming a witness we can learn so much about who we are.
I say write for freedom and edit for your reader. What I mean is write the memories, flow with them and surrender to your pen. Take the time to explore and adventure with what comes up. When you come to edit, you will know what is for you and what is for your reader. Then edit like a pro.
My invitation today is to ask you to reflect on your yesterdays with a kind and compassionate heart. Where do those thoughts take you? Let go of limitations around writing your memoir and just write.
This is a new chapter, and if you could give yourself the freedom to write your memoir, what would it be called?
When you are ready to start your book, let’s chat.