Sunday, April 30, 2017

A business from my heart to your heart

We all want our lives to have a purpose. We want to feel valuable, like we matter. And we want to belong by being part of something. Otherwise we feel like butterflies banging up against a glass door. I’ve felt that way more times than I care to acknowledge because 1, 2, or 3 of those qualities were missing from my life.
My kids grew up, moved out and moved on, and as much as I like to deny it, it left a gap in my heart and soul that I had to find a way to fill. My identity was ‘mom’. When that no longer seemed relevant, I was nothing. You’ve probably felt something similar in regards to a job or a relationship. Sure, it leaves us with LOTS of free time to travel, have the bathroom to ourselves, and buy more toys. But when the trip is over and the thrill of the toy wears off, all we have left is ourselves. And sometimes that doesn’t seem enough.
As baby boomers we have lived through massive world changes … probably more than any other generation throughout history. We learned a LOT. We overcame challenges and grew as individuals in so many ways. But what good is it if we can’t share our gifts of wisdom and knowledge with others?
For about 4 or 5 years I was a spiritual mentor to a prisoner. He was eager to learn all he could about being a better person, the person he knew inside himself to be. And I was bursting with knowledge and wisdom to share with someone who was hungry to hear and learn. It gave me purpose. I felt valued and like I had a place in the world. I was the first person he called when he got out of prison. I heard from him a couple times after that, then he disappeared under the radar and I lost my purpose and felt empty again.
When I pulled myself out of my downward spiral, I realized there were a lot of people experiencing exactly what I was going through. My mom was one of them. Last year we lost my dad. Mom had been his caregiver for the last many years and at age 94 she suddenly had to find another purpose that gave her life meaning. I encouraged her to start writing her life stories as a way of beginning the next chapter of her life. I helped her get started and knew it could be an ongoing project she could continue on her own. I’ll admit I also had some self-serving interests. I wanted to preserve her stories for me and my daughters.
When I was working with mom I saw how she became alive again. She was eager to research world events that happened in particular eras around the time of her stories. It added interesting bits of history and gave context for future generations. Let’s face it, our kids and grandkids probably can’t imagine a world without cell phones. So how can they know what it was like to live with a party line? Do they even know what a party line is?
The point is, mom was excited because she found purpose in telling her stories and recording them for us kids, her grandchildren and her new great-grandson. She wanted to tell them and we wanted to hear them. It gave me purpose to help mom find purpose. And I know storytelling can do the same for other people.
So I spent the last year creating a business to help people bring purpose, value and belonging back into their lives by showing them how to write and record their own life stories. We’re not talking about a whole big, long, all-consuming 500 page memoir that makes you run for shelter at the mere thought of it. Nope, the online course I created is focused on all those mini life memories. The stories you tell around the dinner table at a family gathering. Or the ones you share with your grandson to help take away a childhood pain he is experiencing with friends, siblings or at school. And, although the course is suitable for everyone, I tailored it specifically to grandparents, because we are very special members of society. We rock!

Keep it real,

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