Recovery

Befriend Yourself This Year

One of the recommended “cures” for loneliness is writing your memoir.

Writing about yourself in a journal or in a memoir writing class will soften feelings of isolation by putting the focus on you, according to AARP Magazine. 

Befriending yourself and appreciating your feelings and accomplishments is an affirmation of your life.  That’s important.  Once we see how much we matter, we see the rest of life more clearly.  We start to pay attention to the sensory details around us – color, touch, taste, smell, sounds – which results in a joyful feeling. 

When I’m most in touch with the good in me, I feel happy looking at the sky, plants and trees, and the rest of nature.  This joy opens me up to appreciating others. 

Plus, if you share your writing with family, friends and others, they will benefit from the lessons you’ve learned and the tales you tell.  I’m grateful that my father wrote a memoir before he died.  There are wonderful family stories that he never told me…or that I had forgotten.

This winter I’m offering two opportunities to write about yourself.  The first is a new 6-week memoir writing workshop at Sausalito Books by the Bay in Sausalito, CA.  The second is Reinvent Yourself After 50 at Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA

“Writing your Story: A Memoir Class”  – 6 Tuesdays from 9 – 10:30 beginning January 28, $180.  To register call  (415) 887-9967 or visit this website for more information:

https://www.sausalitobooksbythebay.com/2020-events 

You’ll have a chance to do some journal writing in “Reinvent Yourself After 50”, Sunday Feb. 2, 1-5 pm at Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA.  $110.  Call 415-927-0960 or sign up:

https://www.bookpassage.com/event/class-lynn-ryder-reinvent-yourself-after-50-0

I hope to see you in one of these classes.  If you live outside of Northern California, we can arrange to come to your town.  Email: lynn.ryder@gmail.com

Have a happy, healthy, loving, abundant New Year!

Renewal and Reinvention after the Sonoma County Fires

A year after the devastation of the Sonoma County, California fires, friends who have lost their homes and most of their material possessions spoke to me about gratitude – gratitude for the outpouring of gifts and support from both friends and strangers.

It doesn’t erase the pain of the loss, but one friend shared that small events will long be remembered, such as gong to community garage “sales” where you are told to take anything that fits or is useful…maybe a new pair of earrings or a sweater or even a bicycle – for free.

I recently spoke with a Sonoma artist at a local art festival.  He lost most of his paintings when his studio burned in the fire.  I looked at photos of his lost paintings and then felt exhilarated by his fresh, new paintings.  He has worked through the trauma and come out the other side with stunning, gorgeous images.

My friend Annie calls this “getting pruned.”  She says it’s like cutting back a rose bush and being rewarded with even more stunning rose blossoms.

This metaphor reminded me that in the 1980’s I lost my home in a mudslide in Sausalito, California.  I’m grateful I got out alive and was able to rescue some possessions.  I realize now that the loss and trauma was a turning point for me.  It forced me to re-evaluate my life and eventually led to a better romantic partnership, and work in coaching and training that was more aligned with my values.

In fact, one couple I know announced their engagement shortly after she lost her home in one of the fires.  Maybe they would have announced it at that time anyway, but experience tells me that after facing the possibility of losing your life, some decisions become very clear.

Another friend told me that when the fire destroyed her home, she decided to move closer to San Francisco where most of the family works.  The shorter commute has resulted in greater family togetherness, which she loves.

I certainly don’t want to minimize the pain and trauma of major loses; however, as we remember the fires, it’s good to recognize that sometimes life calls for us to reinvent ourselves…and that can be a good thing.