After the memoir is published, does the author die?
today at 8:00 am
So here I am, years down the road from the start of my journey to redemption. It took a while, but I’ve confronted and mostly overcome the obstacles that stood in the way. My white knuckle grip on the wheel has eased and I’m coasting comfortably in cruise control.
Along the way I wrote in my journal describing both the breakdowns and surges of power as I charted my emotional cartography. It made for a powerful story and when I reached the end of the challenging uphill climbs and perilous switchbacks that demanded my full commitment, I published the memoir as a way to share the adventure and perhaps help others with common backgrounds and enthusiasm for adding joy and meaning to the years that remained.
So what’s left to do? “Enjoy life,” you say, “With GPS laying out the route all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.”
And therein lies the pitfall, confusing the satisfaction and contentment of “being in the moment,” as rationalization for merely marching in place.
When I am aware, focused, my antenna raised, taking in the energy that pulses through the universe, it is fulfilling and rewarding. But it is a two-way process. We transmit energy as well as receive it. I must be wary of sitting in front of the buddha, being mindless rather than mindful! It’s easy to use my meditation as an excuse for leaving the bed unmade and the dishes unwashed, postponing the start of the day rather than welcoming it with eager expectation.
For me, the danger is slipping into a do-nothing rut and allowing that groove to grow deep, until – alarm bells – I’m stuck in the last chapter of my memoir. Which is antithetical to what that chapter describes – the joy of turning anxiety into anticipation and overcoming fear with the lure of unknown adventures. Years of mulling over the past led to a conclusion about what was driving me, but the end of the biography is not the end of the journey. To the contrary; it’s the terminus for changes in how I manage my life and recalibrate going forward.
I’ve added dimension to my quest for personal peace having learned to accept both ‘what is’ and ‘what is not.’ My goal is a clearly defined boundary protecting me from my arrogance in thinking I have the power to change the behavior of others, and conversely keeping me focused on what I can do; mainly, tell my story whenever an audience appears.
I am not thinking about ‘performance’ when I refer to audience; rather my willingness to reveal the path of my life and offer its lessons, so painfully learned, to any takers.
All of us have within us, a light to shine. Not as gurus or sainted persons, but as the authors of the lives we live, using the tutorial of the past as syllabi for the way forward. The book is not closed.