“While they were saying among themselves it cannot be done, it was done.”
– Helen Keller
The purpose of art is to illuminate the possibility for transformation. The goal of memoir is to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.
We’re talking about miracles here. Making the impossible possible.
Coal transforms into diamonds. Ugliness is made beautiful, simply by reframing your relationship to the situation. Chaos becomes stillness. Fear turns into love. Misery transmutes not into a tolerable situation, but an ecstatic inner knowing.
Memoir has the power to take your reader on a journey that leads to a transformative experience.
You become a tour guide to our collective inner life. There is something you know, through your unique set of life experiences, that has the ability to shed light on our common humanity . . . to set us free.
But here’s the dilemma.
While your story already lives fully and completely within you, it doesn’t exist at the level of your conscious mind.
At least, not yet.
It resides somewhere in your subconscious. Yes, the facts of your life, that endless series of anecdotes you whip out in therapy or late at night in quiet murmurs on a shared a pillow with your beloved – these are the stories we play over and refine, as we search endlessly for an answer that never quite seems to come.
It feels like an itch we can’t scratch.
The act of writing your memoir is where you scratch the itch.
In the same way a grain of sand agitates the oyster to become a pearl, The 90-Day Memoir offers a guided path to explore the truth that lies beneath the facts.
Einstein said, “You can’t solve a problem at the same level of consciousness that created the problem.” In other words, it is literally impossible to make peace with your current struggle, be it your controlling in-laws, your misogynistic boss, or your own addictive impulses — based on your current approach.
The reason is this: You only think you have a problem. You don’t. What you have is a dilemma. A dilemma is a problem that can’t be solved without creating another problem.
There are two ingredients to a dilemma.
1) A powerful desire
2) A false belief
I often joke with my students that the difference between writing class and therapy is that writing class guarantees you a transformation, because all you have to do is imagine it.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge,” according to Einstein.
I’m not talking about fantasy. Living in reality is the only way to truly liberate yourself from the shackles of victimhood, those unconscious hobgoblins that can wreak havoc on your daily life.
The 90-Day Memoir takes you on an inner journey. As I write this, I’m sitting in the dentist’s office watching a screen of salmon swimming up river, leaping from the water to ascend a waterfall. Guided by an instinct for survival, they are playing out their role in a journey of evolution.
When you resolve your dilemma, your problem vanishes, not because you get what you want, but because you reframe your relationship to what you want. In effect, you are transformed. This doesn’t mean that you are forever without doubt and confusion.
But this happens: Life becomes precious, despite your circumstances. Your intractable problem becomes something workable, and you experience something unexpected.