How many lifetimes have you lived?

“That feels like a lifetime ago.” A friend recently made this comment to me, but for some reason, this time it grabbed my attention. It’s a common saying that I’ve heard dozens of times. So what was different this time? This time it made me realize something fascinating: women live many lifetimes in their lifespan. And it's not until we step back a bit that we can see them.

A young woman approached me not long ago about writing her book to share her life story. And by young, I mean 23 years old. Young, right? I admit I chuckled at first, thinking life story? You’re still a child! But then I read her rough draft manuscript. And that’s when the concept of lifetimes took root for me.

Reflecting on my own lifespan I could see several lifetimes taking shape. My childhood, high school and college, my first marriage, my 30’s, 40’s. Each being shaped and punctuated by the experiences within that segment of life. Some were defined by the number of years I’ve been on this planet. But they all had some connection to what I was trying to accomplish; what I was pouring my energy and focus into at that moment.

My childhood lifetime was defined by my desire to escape my then-self and be someone else. My high school and college lifetime started out as my effort to figure out where I fit in this world. Upon finding no fit, it then shifted to my preoccupation with ending my life and leaving a world where I obviously didn’t belong. My next lifetime was spent in a brief marriage that I thought would fix everything. And of course, it didn’t. My next lifetime focused on establishing a career and succeeding in a man’s world; a theme that has woven its way through several lifetimes. And so on.

But what about seasons, you ask, aren’t they kinda the same thing? I don’t think so. I think seasons are experienced within a lifetime. For instance, when I think about my lifetime as a mother, I went through several seasons within that span as my children grew and matured.

Lifetimes are strung out across a lifespan like uncultured pearls on a thread. No two look alike. Each has distinct rough edges smoothed by the friction of the experiences that were endured. Some are brief, spanning only a few years. But make no mistake, they are lifetimes just the same. It seems the only thing they have in common is the thread on which they are strung. And that thread is me. And you.

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love recently posted what she called her Free 10 Step Writing School and Step #8 is pertinent to this conversation:

#8 - Remember that you’ve been doing research your whole life, merely by existing. You are the only expert in your own experience. Embrace this as your supreme qualification.

So what about you? What do your lifetimes look like? In the years that I’ve been helping women write their books, I’ve had a front-row seat to some of the most fascinating, inspiring, and unbelievable stories embedded in those lifetimes. Stories almost too unbelievable, too raw, yet very real. But one thing is certain; the pearls of wisdom born of those stories are far too valuable to leave untold and unpublished.

I’ve been using this tagline for a while, but the meaning is deepening: Don’t let a lifetime of wisdom wait a lifetime to be shared.

So which lifetime will you write about first? Email me - I’d love to know.

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