Monthly Archives: March 2018

A bit of spring memoir inspiration + a giveaway

I’ve been blogging about my life for almost five years and just the other day was attempting to articulate with my book launch team the special ‘space’ that blogging creates in the world — for my readers (hopefully) as well as for me.

I won’t lie, there’s a voice in my head tries to mess with me… I’m sharing too much. I’m not sharing enough. I’m damaged beyond belief. It wasn’t that bad. What am I even talking about? But I know from emails and conversations with all of you that by sharing my truth, just a little, I’m opening up the door for someone else to see themselves and in turn share their truth too.

It’s powerful stuff. So as long as I’m (mostly) not creating hurt for my husband and (always) not creating hurt for my kids, I’m going to share. I heard years ago, “we’re only as sick as our secrets,” and exposing my secrets has freed me and hopefully freed others as well.

Which is why it’s so exciting for me to work on the release of my memoir, To the Moon and Back: A childhood under the influence this fall. It’s probably not any surprise to you that my coffee table is buried under stacks of memoirs that I’ve read, loved, studied, and learned from while I worked on To the Moon and Back. I’ve been inspired to share my own truth just from reading the stories of others. And while my hope is to give back a bit with my book, I thought it would be fun to share a list of a few of my favorite memoir inspirations … and to literally give back. Be sure to read to the end, because I’ll be giving away the whole set to one of you!

PriestDaddy

If you know my story, you’re probably not surprised that I picked PriestDaddy for this list. Author Patricia Lockwood grew up in the shadow of the Catholic Church, one of the largest organized churches in history, with a father who was a married Catholic priest. Not quite normal. I grew up in the shadow of the Messiah, in one of the most infamous cults in history, with a father who was a swearing, pot-smoking, bartending hippie. Not quite normal either. Of course I love her book. It’s about family. It’s about faith and religion. And it’s about being real. It’s funny, painful, and raw. If you haven’t read it, you should.

Hallelujah Anyway

I’m not sure about you, but I think that there are two kinds of folks in the world. Those that get Anne Lamott, and those that don’t. Her writing is inspirational, warm, and (importantly) funny. With the volatile times we live in, it’s no wonder that she took on the concept of mercy in her last latest book. As I read Hallelujah Anyway, I felt my head nodding and heard myself thinking, “yes, yes, yes.” I simultaneously wanted to underline full paragraphs so that I could come back to them and remember to (as always) up my compassion and my self-compassion and be my best self. If you’re looking for a good chat with a girlfriend about how to navigate tough concepts like forgiveness and just being your best self, Hallelujah Anyway will show you the way.

Art of Memoir

Mary Karr has been writing memoirs and teaching the art of memoir for decades. and She is the author of the extremely popular memoirs, The Liars Club and Lit, two crazy poignant memoirs that urged me to write To the Moon and Back. I chose her how-to manual, Art of Memoir, for those of you who are thinking of exploring your story through memoir. It’s written, as everything Mary writes, beautifully and will inspire, educate, and entertain you. If you’re thinking of writing a memoir, this is the book for you.

So these are my top picks for memoir inspiration… and they could (literally) be yours! To kick off the launch of To the Moon and Back we’re celebrating with a giveaway. It’s very easy to enter, and I’m looking forward to the fun! We’re offering more than one way to enter — just click below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Categories: Writing

I distract myself

The other day a dear friend asked me what I did when I was upset at something, or someone. When my anger or sadness was taking over every minute. How did I handle it to stay calm and okay?

I paused before answering. (Did I mention we were running, and I always have to pause to get enough breath to answer?) “I look at what’s good,” I told her.

“Oh,” she replied. “Do you mean you look to see all you have, and how many awful things could be true for you that aren’t, and you realize you should be grateful rather than upset?”

“No,” I answered (again after trying to catch my breath). “I look for things that feel good right now. I distract myself like I would a toddler.” Another pause.

“I notice the trees against the sky.” (As I’ve written here often.) “The sound of seagulls.” (I was just in Portland, Maine.) “I hug my kid.” (Or anyone who will let me.)

I distract myself.

I no longer believe in covering up or denying my feelings, and I certainly no longer believe in beating myself up because I’m sad or angry or struggling. I’ve learned to allow those feelings to be – and to be part of me. (The anger was the hardest one to accept. I had learned real well not to get angry.)

But I’ve also learned that “I’m more than my feelings,” and “Feelings, not facts.” I’ve learned that I don’t have to stay in my anger or hurt or pain any longer than I want to. And I’ve learned that the best way to lighten my load is to lighten my load. 🙂 To look for situations or experiences or sensations that will ease my heart or relax my body.

To distract myself.

I’ve learned that if I look up – literally and metaphorically – I can usually find something to smile about. I’ve learned (and I teach) that when I smile, my brain somehow thinks I’m happy. I wouldn’t be smiling if I wasn’t happy – I’m not that crazy – so I must be happy. I use this to my greatest advantage.

It’s not that I have no right to complain because other people have it worse than me. My pain still hurts. It’s not that I shouldn’t feel pain, and I need to shut it down right away. Sometimes feeling – and leaning into – my pain and suffering is what I really need. It’s not that I need to be stronger, or better, or more resilient. I am (quite) strong enough, good enough, and resilient enough. And sometimes things just hurt. Or suck.

But I can lift myself out of my pain and suffering when I’m ready to be lifted out of my pain and suffering. And sometimes it’s as easy as just distracting myself.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Categories: Resilience, , , Tags:

What will ease my heart?

The weirdest thing is happening to me.

As I’ve written here, I am becoming more and more able to identify my false tapes as they surge into my head. And to breathe and ease them away.

“You deserve to die!” they scream inside me.

“Breathe, Lisa. It will pass,” I reply.

“You’re a worthless piece of s—t,” they counter. “You deserve to die.”

“Breathe sweetie,” I remind myself. “Breathe, and it will pass.”

And it does.

I breathe. I look around me. I remind myself – as quickly and as much as I can – that these are false tapes. Lies. Complete mistruths carved into my psyche through my misinterpretation of all that happened to and around me.

My parents split up. Must have been my fault. My mom left us for God. Must have been my fault. I hated that my mom left us for God. (Well, I’m assuming that I hated it, because I certainly never let myself feel it.) I am evil and deserve to die. Sexual abuse. I am damaged and deserve to die. I cry when I leave my mom. I am evil and undeserving…and deserve to die. The Messiah banishes me. I am absolutely sinful and deserve all of this…and deserve to die.

My ingrained gut reactions and thoughts aren’t pretty. I now know they’re not true. And I now know that they will pass – through me and out of me – if I just breathe and ease my heart.

So what will ease my heart? What will bring me back to love? I’ve learned to know that and to look for it.

It’s always the sky for me. The trees against the sky. It’s the flowers trying to break through in early spring or the snow piled on the bushes after the storm.

It’s always my kids for me. I know I’ve healed my heart through loving my kids. I know I’ve learned that I am love…and that I am loved…and that I am lovable.

It’s feeling my feet on the floor. My butt in the seat. My fingers on the keyboard. It’s grounding myself in the present and reminding myself of all the beauty and love in my present. It’s breathing deep and feeling inside my heart – for all the love, all the acceptance, all the new truths I’ve absorbed to replace the false truths I entrenched in my mind while I was growing up.

There are so many things around me that can ease my heart. There are so many things inside of me that can ease my heart. They’re there for the noticing and focusing and choosing.

And it’s working.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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