Looking Within: A Memoir – Overview

Credit: Oprah.com
Credit: Oprah.com

I am towards the end of finishing up my book proposal and it has been quite the experience! Writing the overview has helped me focus more and get a better feel for what I am trying to convey here. Being that it is a memoir, an outline would not be necessary , but the overview (that I am about to share), I think, served the purpose of the outline  and made my writing easier to work with. 

Here is the overview of my memoir: Looking Within: A Memoir.

 

 Overview

The manuscript will be divided into 4 parts.

1. Part I: The Meeting And Marriage. Many women are in enamored with the idea of getting married and living happily ever after. I was one of them. Shortly after meeting my ex-husband, we were married. While I was married, I was second in my life as he was the center of my universe. Needless to say, the honeymoon didn’t last as reality set in and love and nurturance became absent in our marriage. Problems ensued and a separation seemed imminent.

 A chapter will be devoted to this first part.

2. Part II. Emotional Healing. Shortly after the problems began, I withdrew emotionally and sought individual counseling. Slowly, I began to heal emotionally and I eventually I separated from him. All alone, I began to nurture my spirit as best I could. Soul searching and a return to my passions of learning, traveling, running, and writing became part of my recovery. This emotional healing part encompasses four sections that include emotional detachment, the separation, self-nurturance, and more changes that were in store for me.

A chapter will be devoted to each of the sections in part two.

3.  Part III. Spiritual Healing. Spiritual healing eventually replaced my emotional healing. Changes in my beliefs and a series of unexplained events began happening to me such as moments of peace and an increase in intuitive abilities. As I began to awaken spiritually, I began to understand that my problems were mere illusions. In time, I began to practice spiritual principles of compassion, kindness, patience, and gratitude, among others , and I simply became happier.

   A chapter will be devoted to each of the sections listed in part three.

4. Part IV. My Purpose in Life. I started to live in the present moment and the consistent peace that I longed for, as well as happy life, awaited me. After endless questioning, I found both my inner and outer purpose. I began to co-create my life as I intended it to be and found joy and miracles in my everyday life.

 A chapter will be devoted to this section in this part.

I’d love to hear what you think!

 

 

Chapter 9 Summary: A Happy Heart of My Own

ImageI am finishing up the chapter summaries for the book proposal. Here is the chapter summary of the chapter that I will be submitting. This chapter in question has to do with that ever fateful question of what is happiness. For some time, I pondered and pondered about what happiness meant to me and I came up with a very simple answer. For me, happiness is your zest for life and I believe that it is attainable by staying in the present moment. Being present has brought me peace, and this peace has in turn given me harmony, and, of course, happiness. In order to be present, I had to do one thing and that was to suppress my ego. In the summary below, I talk a little more about this chapter and what I needed to “let go” in order to be happy. 

Chapter 9:  A Happy Heart of My Own                                                                           “Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.” ~ Democritus

            Being happy most of the time would have been something that I wouldn’t have admitted to in the past. Thankfully for me, I learned to be happy regardless of what was happening in my life. In this chapter, I give my take on happiness, and for the most part, staying in the present moment has brought me peace, and that peace in turn has brought me happiness. Learning to let go of material possessions (as this isn’t true happiness), as well as letting go of fears to follow my heart has also contributed to my happiness. Suppressing my ego was key to go in the direction of true happiness for myself. In his book, The Power of Intention, Dr. Dyer lists the 7 Steps for Overcoming Ego’s Hold of You and they are the following: 1. Stop being offended, 2. Let go of the need to win, 3. Let go of the need to be right, 4. Let go of the need to be superior, 5. Let go of the need to have more, 6. Let go of identifying on the basis of your achievements, and 7. Let go of your reputation. In this chapter, I list each one and I give specific examples as to how this manifested in my own life. Finally, I discuss the dependence society has on antidepressants, including myself, to achieve a state of happiness. The end of this chapter concludes with a quote from Ernst Shurtleff Holmes’ book Creative Mind:

As it’s given me to perceive,

I most certainly believe

When a man’s glad plumb through,

God’s pleased with him same’s you.

 

What makes you happy? 

 

 

 

 

 

On Being Happy…

Happy
Ever since I can remember I have always been curious about many things in life and I am constantly questioning everything. This has included happiness.  In this post, I include what I believe happiness to be and what friends and family have told me what happiness means to them. This is an excerpt from one of my chapters from the memoir: A Happy Heart of my Own.

“In general, I knew certain pleasurable experiences not only made me joyful, but others, as well. I asked friends and family what they considered happiness to be and their answers ranged from playing their favorite sport, to helping others, or simply being in nature. Marcos, a friend of mine, began his response with telling me that happiness to him meant ‘not being stressed.’ And I couldn’t agree with him more. Since when does stress and happiness occur simultaneously? It doesn’t.  One of my family members, Karina, answered by saying, ‘For me it’s when I run and feel the presence of the Lord and I have this immense feeling of gratefulness for everything in my life.’ Another family member of mine, Gloria, very humble began with, ‘I can’t explain true happiness” and added, “all I can say is that I know it when I feel it. Family, friends, humanity, humility, gratefulness, waking to another day, thunder, lighting, the sunshine, a smile, a hug, even nothing can make me feel happiness! But, I can truly say that I experienced true happiness when I learned self-love, when I leaned in to clear my mind and let peace take over. So, happiness to me turns out to be LIFE itself.’

This same harmony, joy, and peace are seen in my friend Carlos’ definition on happiness. He says, ‘For me, happiness is akin to knowing that I am alive. There is something so special going on this planet of ours, something that we’ve yet to discover anywhere else in the universe and most of us (again, particularly in industrialized nations) act as if we couldn’t care less. We have to stop every now and then and take a step back in wonder and amazement. Put things in perspective and take life, with all its glitches, and treat it like what it is: the best, most unique gift in the world.’

What a beautiful combination of different interpretations on happiness. As each expressed what happiness meant to them, I understood and felt it as a rejoicing in all that proved to be of profound delight in their hearts. What was salient in their takes on happiness was a feeling, a connection, and an alignment with spirit: a complete and selfless, unconditional love of life and love for oneself.

After my family and friends expressed what happiness meant to them, I was left with an unwavering desire to define happiness for myself. I questioned whether mere instances in our lives would be the only defining moments that made us achieve this state or could we live happily all the time?

Here is my take on happiness:

“In many ways, the result of this search for my own happiness led me to believe that it is as simple and as sweet as one’s own joie de vivre. I can’t recall the exact date when all this started to happen, but I clearly remember a consistency that came with waking up day after day and being content and filled with gratitude for the light of another day. Not to mention, how truly blessed I was for seeing my life as beautiful and, even more, living it as such. The great and late pianist of the twentieth century, Arthur Rubinstein, once said, ‘I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.’ Pure and simple. I can think of no better way of expressing this sentiment of a constant state of happiness other than to see life as beautiful and to love it. For me, this has translated as living life to the fullest with joy and peace in our hearts because this is what we feel and have within us; it’s who we are. And when we radiate this love, it follows that we not only see our environment and others in a different light, but we also take pleasure and delight through the benefit of receiving love in return. And, for the first time, I wasn’t seeing my life through rose-colored glasses. Happiness wasn’t the result of luck as I had once thought, but it was the result of my unyielding pursuit of it. I had come into harmony on my own accord and I was truly happy.”

What makes you happy? What do you define as happiness?

What’s the book about?

Memoir

“What’s  the book about?” Of course, this is the follow-up question that I get asked when I tell others that I am writing a book.

The book that I am writing is a memoir that I started  back in May 2010. I went through a devastating divorce a few years ago that lead to the desire to heal emotionally. Inspired by the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, I pushed fear to the side and I did something similar to what she did. I sold my house, I quit my job, and I decided to go to Spain as a student in the fall of 2007. A much needed and well-deserved break was in order and I am very fortunate and grateful to have had this opportunity.

My life has been one continuous wave of change since then. Upon my return, I did not have a job and I substituted for a couple of years to make ends meet. Also, I decided to go back to school to get a Master’s in linguistics and a T.E.S.O.L. (Teaching English to Students of Other Languages) certificate because I had loved Spain so much that I wanted to go back and teach adults English. This plan didn’t come through as I had a change of heart when I finished school and decided to stay in L.A.. About a year and a half after completing school, I got the opportunity to teach ESL classes to adults in Northern California with a non-profit organization. A little afraid of this move, I pushed fear to the side again and I would be there 7 months. After this, I moved on to high school! It’s been interesting to say the least, but I am grateful to have had this opportunity. I don’t regret a single thing that I have done in my life and I would do it all over again. To say that I have learned a lot from my experiences is an understatement.

In the memoir, I write about these changes and many other events that have transformed me as a person.  I’m currently writing a book proposal for a chance to win a $10,000 advance and to have my book published with Hay House Publishing.

This is the premise of the book:

Our life purpose is to develop our spiritual selves, which entails being happy and peaceful. The purpose of this book is to tell my story: a story that begins with a divorce and goes from emotional healing to spiritual healing. As a result, an imminent spiritual awakening and spiritual transformation was in order, and I began to create my life as I envisioned and desired it  with every day miracles.

The memoir has ten chapters and these are  the titles of the chapters:

Chapter 1: In the beginning…

“A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.” ~Jane Austen

Chapter 2: Emotional Detachment

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” ~Winston Churchill

Chapter 3: On my own again… The Separation

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Chapter 4: Nurturing my Spirit ~ A Well Deserved Break

“Fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the mind.” ~Dale Carnegie

Chapter 5: More Changes: Going Back to School – August 2009

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell

Chapter 6: Back home and the ‘Bumps’ in the Road

“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents, and I lay them both at His feet.” ~ Gandhi

Chapter 7:  A Happy Heart of My Own

“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.” ~ Democritus

Chapter 8: A Semester with Adults with Sprinkles of Kindness and Compassion

“Our main goal is to help others. If you cannot help them, then at least resist from hurting them.” ~Dalai Lama

Chapter 9: And a Dash of Gratitude and Patience – The High School Year

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” ~ St. Francis

Chapter 10: Coming Into my Own

“Our Creator would never have made such lovely days, and have given us the deep hearts to enjoy them, above and beyond all thought, unless we were meant to be immortal.”

~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Have you ever thought about writing a book?  What is your book about? What are your ideas? Everyone has a story. What is yours?