Courage, Resilience, and Hope


It's been a while since I last shared a 'blog' or newsletter from Legacy Story Coach. I'll admit there are moments when I grapple with imposter syndrome and the relentless internal critics that tell me, 'You're not enough.' My passion for personal storytelling, guided autobiography workshops, and aiding others in crafting legacy letters or books was ignited last October when I completed my Guided Autobiography Instructor certification. You see, creativity hasn't always been my strong suit, at least not in the traditional sense. My background lies in healthcare, which is not typically considered a creative environment, apart from the creativity required in caregiving and teaching students. I was a narrative clinician skilled at coaxing stories from those in my care. Some of these stories, filled with courage and resilience, moved me to a sacred place where I yearned to preserve and share them. Gaining access to another person's story is why legacy writing resonates with my heart and soul. It's a path to genuine connection and empathy. Yet, a tiny voice within my creative self keeps whispering, "You are not a writer; you are not good enough." Even after seventeen years, I can still hear the echo of my doctoral committee chair saying, "You are not a good writer; you rush and lack thoroughness and detail." These words may hold some truth, but I compensate for my deficiencies with unwavering passion and a profound love for personal stories.


I've recently stumbled upon a key that helps me conquer my fear and hesitation when creating and writing. It's simply listening to others who share similar struggles. These fears didn't hold back these creative individuals; they had to enter the arena. My mentor, Rhonda Lauritzen, an author, personal historian, and owner of Evalogue, encourages me to confront my fears and imposter syndrome, urging me to take a leap of faith and courage. The work is important, and I do possess a valuable skill set. I've


also found inspiration through two remarkable Substack writers/bloggers: Suleika Jaouad, known for "The Isolation Journals," and Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the bestselling book, "Eat, Pray, Love." Elizabeth hosts a podcast, "Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert," where she interviews artists who openly share their struggles, fears, and strategies for breaking free from creative blocks, embracing vulnerability, and unleashing their creativity.


Recently, I completed a legacy book for a remarkable woman in Montana. She shared incredible stories of her upbringing in the rugged mountains of Montana, raised by a single father with three younger sisters in a small cabin without electricity or running water. This woman embodies grit, resilience, and joy and has an open, loving heart. My next writing project is both sacred and challenging. I'm gathering immigration and refugee stories from adult English students at the local community college, where I teach ESL classes two nights a week. As I listen to snippets of their personal stories, I've realized that many have faced significant hardships in their journey to America. Using technology, I record their stories in their native language using a transcription program. I then use a program to translate these stories into English. Reading their powerful stories often brings tears to my eyes. What surprises me the most is the deep empathy that has developed within me for my students. I no longer view them in the same way; their stories have become deeply personal. I plan to collect several more stories and compile them into a book, complete with photographs that they proudly wish to share. I'm incredibly passionate about this project and determined to become a better curator of these remarkable stories. I've titled my book, "Crossing Boundaries: Stories of Courage, Resilience, and Hope."


Another exciting addition to my legacy writing repertoire is my upcoming participation in a Legacy Letter Writing course led by Rachael Freed, author and expert in Legacy Letters. The class kicks off in October and spans four weeks. Upon completion, I hope I'll have honed my skills in helping others craft legacy letters. In my Guided Autobiography workshops, this session is the most cherished by my students. Learning to write a letter to pass on to friends and loved ones sharing one's values, stories, and blessings is a priceless gift. Personally, I don't possess such a letter from my parents and never had the chance to meet my grandparents. How I wish I had such a letter to treasure! I can hardly wait to share this beautiful art with you. I'll offer Zoom or in-person three-hour workshops to teach and practice this long-lost art of letter writing.


That's all for now. I plan to write more as I continue my journey of overcoming my fears and inner critics. On a recent podcast with Elizabeth Gilbert, she shared two quotes that I printed and taped on my desk wall:


"Now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good." ~John Steinbeck


"Now that I don't have to be good, I can be free." ~Anne Sexton


Let's embrace imperfection and freedom on this creative journey together!