Book Dedication • Define your Why by Focusing on your Who
Holy shit, writing my whole story, with my whole heart (meaning, writing without making up narratives that diminish my lovability, divinity, and creativity) is f*cking painful! Writing is painful. Reading it is painful. Reliving it is painful (as much as I strive to be present and not be sucked into the past). Editing it is painful. Filtering it for what is vulnerable (ie shareable) or private (ie not meant to be shared) is painful. So. Much. Pain.
If you're going through the same thing, I applaud your courage, stamina and resilience, fellow author or author-to-be!!! It's lke Brené Brown says, "Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do."
Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.
– Brené Brown
In an unexpected way, this endless stream of pain has deepened my self-compassion. It has helped me see that I can only go as fast as the slowest part of me; that this book will take as long as it takes; and that I cannot rush the alchemy of "pain juice" into gold.
Can you see this for yourself, for the business that you're growing or the creative project that you're launching? That you cannot rush healing, that you cannot rush greatness? (Well, technically you can, but there will be a SEVERE price to pay, such as burnout, permanent damage to you or others, infertility, depression, chronic anxiety, suicide ideation, and then some!)
With tsunami wave after tsunami wave of pain, I started losing touch with the purpose and the "why" of my book. I mean, all these stories of extraordinary grace and freedom exist within me. So why can't I just let them stay there and call it a day? Why do I have the unstoppable urge to share every story with you?
For two reasons. One, my life has no meaning if I am not of service. I came pre-programmed that way. No hardware, software or operating system upgrade will change that. And two, I deeply believe that:
One day you will tell your story of how you overcame what you went through and it will be someone else's survival guide."
– Brené Brown
I wish I didn't believe that because I'd be off the hook. I wouldn't need to write and I wouldn't need to go through so much pain, to come out the other side with 1.1 million words, condensed into a 75,000 word book. Sigh.
Brené Brown also said, "Unused creativity is not benign. It metastasizes. It turns into grief, rage, judgment, sorrow, shame."
Define My 'Why' by Focusing on My 'Who'
So I asked myself, "How do I remember my 'why' for this book?"
I did what I guide my clients to do: focus on the 'who,' on the people who will hold this book as a survival guide, like a traveler lost as sea holds onto a buoy.
So I dug up my book dedication, which I had given up on because I couldn't condense it into one or two tidy sentences. It turns out, I wasn't "giving up," I was simply giving it time and space to breath and alchemize into fine wine.
Ellany's Book Dedication
Michelle Obama once said, “I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them."
As much as it pains me to say this, I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are conditionally loved and minimally nurtured by people around them.
I dedicate my stories, the mountains I've overcome, and this "survival guide":
- to those who were raised to believe that achievement = love, so if you don't achieve you don't get any love
- to those whose gifts weren't nurtured because they were raised in drama, trauma or neglect
- to every child who lost their childhood under the crushing weight of raising their parents / siblings / families
- to every woman whose been crucified or hacked down to size for being too bright
- to every child who has had their inner sense of safety ripped from them
- to every girl / woman who has been violated because she was open, soft and kind
- to every woman burned at the stake for speaking the truth
- to every woman raised with no self-worth, chasing boys who hurt them, never having been shown what healthy Love is
- to every lone wolf who suffered a lifetime of chronic under-support, even to the point of trauma
- to every woman treated like a doormat because they weren't role modeled strength, dignity and sovereignty
- to every soul who drifted like an orphan, always "too much" for this group, but "not enough" for that group
- to every survivor of bullying
- to every innocent who thought of suicide but was resilient enough not to go through with it
- to all the loved ones and healers who protected the above innocents
- [This is where they'd cue the Academy Awards song and shoo me off stage, lol! I pre-told you I couldn't keep it concise into one tidy sentence.]
- to my mentor Brené Brown, the first person to ever tell me that I was enough
- to Monna for loving me that day on that bench, you filled my broken heart with such Love
- to Deanna for helping me realize that I mattered
- to my sister Joyce for being the catalyst to my mind-body connection and well-being
- to my sister Jill who would drop everything to come extricate me from an abusive relationship
- to Grace for being my protector, champion and "pineapple" checker
- to Mainey for sprinkling magic dust and holding me when my dad passed away
- to Carly for inspiring me to sign up for year long Co-active Leadership Program
- to my Llama tribe for holding me so lovingly that I felt safe to share my deepest secret
- to Sindy and Maria for gifting me a soft place to land and call home
- to Anne and Dani for being my constant reminders of fierceness
- to Tanya and Eli for being my greatest fans
- to Debbie for being my lifelong mentor
- and to my dearest clients for giving me a reason to live
I wish we raised children who didn’t need to recover from their childhood. Perhaps that's too fanciful a day dream...
To all those who lost their innocence or crumbled trying to hold up the sky, you can put it down now. We've built Guide to Grace as a sanctuary for you, where you can put your armor and weapons down, where you can safely crumble to pieces and cry your guts out, where you can lose yourself and be taken care of for a while. And from the ashes left by the flames of your tears, grief and shedding, you will rise anew as the whole and free phoenix that you are.
May this dedication inspire you to connect even deeper with your 'why' by way of your 'who'. Even if you're not writing a book or never will, give it a try, who would you dedicate your life's work to?
With infinite grace,
(First Published nov 27, 2019)