formerly Diane's Addled Ramblings... the ramblings are still addled, just like before, and the URL is still the same...
it's just the title at the top of the page that's new

Friday, October 31, 2008

Lifesavers and Life's Work...

Seven years ago, I was hurting. Struggling. Sad. I was holding it together, but just barely. Every ounce of positive energy I had was poured into my little girl, just two-years-old at the time. I was still grieving for my dad, who died when I was pregnant. I was married to a man who didn’t have any idea (or interest in) how to provide emotional support and who was absent most of the time, busy with work and school. I finally broke down and admitted I needed help and I did two things which truly saved my soul.

The first thing I did was seek out a wonderful therapist to help me deal with the grief I’d tried to ignore for two years. The second thing was to find something for myself; something that would be just mine; that would separate Diane from Mommy and Wife. I signed up for a writing class at a local college. The class I wanted, however, was cancelled, and since I had to find one offered on the same night (my husband was only available to watch our daughter one night a week), I settled for a ‘journaling’ course. I didn’t expect to get a lot out of it, as I figured everyone knows how to keep a journal, right? But I soon came to understand that the Universe was smiling down on me the day I put my name on that class roster.

The course was taught by an amazing woman named Maureen Ryan Griffin. Maureen quickly became my mentor, my coach, my friend. What I love about her is that she doesn't try to teach you how to write. She teaches you how to find your voice. When I met her, my voice was gone... or I thought it was. She showed me it was only hiding... cowering in the dark, sad and sick. She showed me how to bring it into the light; she helped me to heal it. And in doing so, she helped me to heal.

In the last seven years, I’ve taken many of her classes and I've left every one feeling energized, motivated, positive, at peace, and reconnected to myself, my creativity, and a larger community of like-minded creative people. The feeling is… immense.

But... I moved away… and Maureen wasn’t willing to leave her family in Charlotte and trek five hours north with me just to make sure I got my ‘fix’ (go figure!). I try to plan visits to Charlotte around her classes but it’s not enough. I miss the classes… I miss her… and I miss me – the me who exists and writes and thinks and lives in her seminars.

A while ago Maureen and I talked about how maybe I should start a writing group here; how maybe I should offer classes similar to hers. I’ve been a corporate trainer; I’ve taught classes to adults for years; I write professionally and though it’s of a technical sort, words are what I do. And I know how her classes make me feel. I want to – and believe I can – do something that will make other people feel that way... I want to do something to help other people to find their voices. And I think maybe I need to do it.

When I was thinking about my bucket list and finding my life’s work the other day, I was thinking in big terms – big all-encompassing career-changing terms. But I realized I don’t have to make massive changes to do something rewarding. My current work actually suits me. I help people; I use my inherent talents and honed skills; I make my own schedule; I get to work in my pajamas. OK, so, it’s not always terribly challenging or creative or completely fulfilling, but I’m not prepared to give it up. Yet.

Taking that first class seven years ago saved my soul. Maybe facilitating classes is just what I need to feed my soul. And isn’t that what ‘life’s work’ is supposed to be about?

19 comments:

Ronda's Rants said...

Such ideas...does life begin at 50?

Ronda's Rants said...

I am 50 ...not you!!

anita doberman said...

So true - life's work is supposed to be about that - about feeding our souls.....
thank you

Andy said...

You should definitely teach a class. I bet you'd find it as rewarding as when you are a student...

Also- thanks for not giving up your blog crush just because I wrote about cannibals

Protege said...

It is like with giving and receiving gifts; although I LOVE receiving gifts more than anything in the world, giving gifts to others holds satisfaction beyond words.
I bet you would teach an incredible class! I would be the first one to join, would I not live 5000 miles away.:)

rachael said...

what a wonderfully reflective post!

Miss Caught Up said...

I think you should do it!!

I need those types of classes right now. Maybe it's the weather, maybe it was my midterm, but I just feel.. pooped.

Great post! And you deserved the "Superior Scribbler Award"! Congratulations!

Jane! said...

I'm sure you would be awesome at it because you write so beautifully. I would definitely go if you were in my neighborhood.

Solei said...

Oh girl, I've missed you and reading your posts. (Not that you've been gone, but me) I just looooove the way you put all these words together and make it sound soooo profound, and intellectually appealing to the eyes (if that makes any sense, lol)

I'm glad you found such a great person when you needed it the most, and what a great idea of you being able to pass on that great gift to somebody else that might need it as much as you did back then. Kudos to you girl!
=0D

Mel said...

Yeah, when are you going to come down for a class? You get Maureen, you get me, you get good shows that I dvr and save for you....

Heather said...

I think teaching a class would be a wonderful way to help others find their voice, passing that joy and sharing your gift with others who may be suffering. It sounds like a WONDERFUL idea. Can I be a student? :)

The Odd Duck said...

It's a hard thing to do, "finding your voice". I say go for it. As someone who writing saved, I truly believe you could make a difference with this.

- Kendall

Sam_I_am said...

I feel inspired to find my voice, just from reading your entry.

Heinous said...

That sounds like a great idea. I'd take your class...well, except the commute would be rough. That and I seem to have found a voice. It may or may not be mine, but it's likable enough for me.

Shanna said...

If you start a class you have to put tips and things on your blog! I would love to hear some of the things you plan on teaching and also what Maureen taught you. Sounds like a lot of fun!!!

Anonymous said...

You know you want to do it, you know you need to do it...and you also know that others would benefit hugely from it....so, as the saying goes...Just Do It!

A woman as intelligent as you, so knowing, would have no problem ensuring that others profited from your classes!

I look forward to hearing about that first class!

Love,

Col
xoxo

Diane said...

Thank you all so much for the encouragement! This is something I'm definitely going to do. I'm going to work on the 'curriculum' for my first class and then get it started after the first of the year. And I've talked to Ryan about how something like this would be received by kids she knows... 4th and 5th graders. She liked the idea and says she knows a bunch of kids who are creative and would enjoy it. I've always loved working with kids, so I'm going to see about doing that as well.

Stu Pidasso said...

I feel immensely better when I am writing. Glad that you found your voice.

I howl my mighty "YAWP!" for all to hear!!

Damn that felt good!!

GB!!

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