You are invited to read along in this manuscript as I edit and share.
This is my working title:
Springboard or Quicksand?
Your Past – Your Life
Mary Jane Holt
Host of REACH to TOUCH
Copyright 2018 Mary Jane Holt
This book contains copyrighted material and other proprietary materials.
No one is permitted to use, copy, modify, adapt, alter,
or translate by any means whatsoever,
or create a derivative work or rent, lease,
load or distribute this material in whole or part
without the express written consent of
Mary Jane Holt.
Introduction – PAGE 7
Section I - YOU Are Somebody
unlocking the secret to the uniqueness of you
Section II - You ARE Somebody
understanding how the words/actions of others
do / do not affect who you are
Section III - You Are SOMEBODY
understanding how you influence the lives of those around you
Section IV - I Am Somebody, too!
where I’ve come from / who I am / why I can help you
Section V - Celebrating the joy of who we are!
understanding the value of an eternally present state of mind
recognizing the value of an attitude of gratitude
using your power to fulfill your purpose
realizing you are your truth
(YOU CHOOSE manuscript excerpt post number two o Facebook)
This is a Mind…Body…Spirit & HEART book. While the literal heart is at the center of our existence, and the body cannot live without its function, the metaphorical heart often is considered a combination of spirit and mind, and thus the seat of our emotions. Figuratively, the heart is thought to be the center, core or central part of a human being from which flows all feelings, like compassion, sympathy, empathy, sensitivity, sensibility, kindness, tenderness, affection or concern, and a lot of negativity as well.
For a better understanding of both the literal and metaphorical heart, I highly recommend you read “In the Country of Hearts, Journeys in the Art of Medicine” by John Stone, MD. This awesome collection of stories from both the pen and heart of a renowned poet/cardiologist friend of mine is not only worth the read, but worthy of a permanent place on your bookshelf.
Dr. Stone, now deceased, was at one time Dean of Admissions for Emory Medical School in Atlanta. He was one of many mentors who inspired me to believe in myself when I left nursing in 1986 to pursue a writing career. After reading an announcement in a Sunday edition of The Atlanta Journal and Constitution about a new book of his poetry that had just been published, I phoned him. I was surprised when he actually took my call. We chatted for a while and then he invited me to come hear him do a reading.
I went to the reading and not only was I blown away by his talent, I realized for the first time what great value there is in being able to hear the voice of an author as he or she reads their work. Even if you hear the voice only once, then from that moment on, every time you pick up anything written by that author the voice comes back and tremendously enhances your reading experience.
Beyond that quite poignant enlightenment, Dr. Stone did something else for me - something that would shape my life forever. He expressed sincere interest in me and my writing. He asked to hear some of my work. Not read it, mind you, but hear it. At first, I was embarrassed. I repeatedly explained that I did not have his talent or education. He recommended several books about poetry. I went to the Emory campus book store and bought them. I tried to read them. Oh, how I struggled to understand them! I could not.
Repeatedly, when we would talk, he kept asking me about the books. I put him off as long as I could, but finally had to admit that I just did not understand rhyme and meter, and all that poetry stuff. I simply could not hear in my mind what he apparently grasped so easily.
Following my embarrassingly painful confession he asked me to pull out several of my poems which I had not shared with him yet. I put the phone on speaker and began to look for a few. “Don’t struggle, just pick some at random and read them to me,” he said.
I did, and as I read, I was glad we were talking on the phone and not in person. I was trembling. He listened quietly, then he said, “Close the books you bought about how to write poetry and just keep writing. You do not need the books. You have a voice. Use it.” I believed him. Right then and there, I truly believed him because he believed in me.
If you read this book slowly and do the suggested exercises in the order in which they are presented, you will discover that you have a voice, too. But that’s not all! You will come to know you, like you never imagined you could be known, and you may come to love and believe in yourself like you never imagined possible.
prepare now to
Come From Your Heart.
The adventure will be worth the effort!
This book will allow you to take a guided tour into many corners of your heart where you have stored for years the countless experiences that have made you who you are today. But, this time, you will review those experiences with new perspective. You will take from them what you choose. You call the shots. You will be wise to make notes. I have left room for you to do that in this book. Astonishing surprises await you! Just relax because nobody gets to see what you discover unless you want to share.
So, take a deep breath, let it out slowly and breathe… as you prepare to come from your heart while you read the pages of this book. The adventure truly will be worth the effort if you see the journey through. I promise! If you have never resolved to honestly explore and express your own heart, please know that it is easier than you might think. You can do it and you can enjoy doing it!
Heart Thoughts eventually equal your personal truths and therefore who you are.
Once more: heart thoughts = your truths = who you are.
Do you want to know who you are and what you are capable of?
Do you want to accomplish important things?
Do you want to live a life of joy and purpose?
(YOU CHOOSE manuscript excerpt post number three to Facebook)
I have a varied personal and professional background which certainly has helped to lay the foundation for this book as well as my workshop and other supporting materials, but I strongly feel that the only REAL credential which makes me capable and willing to bring you this material is tied to a poem which I wrote years ago, and more specifically to a heart that does not know any better than to speak openly!
i do not know any better
than to just go barging in to peoples’ lives
when they’re hurting ‘cause i’ve been there
and i’ve wondered if somebody cared
so when i care i try to show it … or how will they know it?
i know there’s always prayer
and i could just pray that God would meet the need
and heed the cry of each aching heart
and do His part to make it all better
and i could ask Him to send somebody
to feed, clothe, comfort, encourage
but then there was that time i asked Him
to do just that for them
and He said to me
“you are SOMEBODY”
(YOU CHOOSE manuscript excerpt post number four)
In 2004, a small publisher in Florida published a Limited Edition printing of a collection of human interest stories pulled from my many years of newspaper column writing. The book was entitled “You Are SOMEBODY and I am, too!” (By the way, that actually was the original title of the workshop on which this book is based.) I closed that collection of stories with these words:
When I changed careers in 1986, and left my job as a nurse to try my hand as a writer/publisher, little did I know all the ways I would be permitted to continue to take the pulse of the people. It has been my privilege to not only take the pulse, but to almost touch the beating hearts of so many people with whom I have interacted over the years. To pick one person, or even make a short list of persons, who have most influenced me with the rhythms of their lives would be impossible. I can say but one thing with absolute certainty to all whose paths have crossed mine: You and yours have touched the lives of me and mine and we are all changed forever.
Thus it is in life. We touch one another daily, hourly, moment by moment. I suspect when it comes right down to it, life may actually be measured in seconds: the seconds that it take to smile, wink, laugh, give a hug, whisper a prayer, offer encouragement. Nothing is ever as complicated as we try to make it. It is enough that we live and love well. And what would be the secret to accomplishing that? Ah, to live well, that’s easy – all we have to do is do what only we can do and do it with all our might. Did you know that the “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” theme of the Christian faith manifests itself in every major religion? It may be worded differently, like “what you send out into the lives of others comes back into your own,” but it is there. To some extent, every faith teaches us to treat others the way we want to be treated. When we seek to love others the way we love ourselves, then you and yours, me and mine… we start to become one. The world will be a better place when we resolve to base our actions on that one common principle. To recognize the theme is a beginning. With such recognition must come a willingness to act on it. With you and yours, and me and mine, working together, there will be no limit to what we can accomplish. Ah, what a glorious adventure it is that awaits those willing to work together to do what only we can do.
(YOU CHOOSE manuscript excerpt post number five)
You can choose to let your reality teach you that not only are you
but there often is
that the SOMEBODY you are
can DO to make your world better.
Read it again: You can choose to let your reality teach you that not only are you SOMEBODY, but there often is something that the SOMEBODY you are can DO to make your world better. Believe this. Know it. Never doubt it. Hanging in my office (and in the Holocaust Museum), you will find these words:
Thou shalt not be a victim, Thou shalt not be a perpetrator,
But above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.
- Yehuda Bauer -
I am not a bystander. Like some of you, perhaps, I grew up knowing some degree of physical, emotional and spiritual turmoil. Over time, I chose to let that turmoil teach me that I AM SOMEBODY and that regardless of any handicaps or challenges I might have to live with, or confront (and there have been a few!), there often is something I can do to make my world different and better.
Amidst my growing and learning and doing, I eventually came to know well that I really am SOMEBODY special. But more than that, far more than that, I came to know so very well that you, no matter who you are or where you come from, YOU ARE SOMEBODY, too! And you and I, well, we make a difference every day in SOMEBODY’s life. By who we are, and what we do and do not do, we absolutely make a difference every day.
As you focus on you and your uniqueness. you will realize sooner or later
that we are all born to care for and about,
to interact with, serve, influence and enjoy
It is predominately our interaction with others
which makes life so rewarding,
though perhaps painful and frustrating at times.
(If you thought I was gonna show you how to go it alone, that’s not happening!)
As we consider how we make a difference and look at the possibility of not only learning to love and nourish ourselves well, but of actually loving others as we love ourselves, please focus on: your unique YOU-ness. While the eventual goal is to have quality and purposeful interaction with others, by the time you finish this book, you will be more comfortable in your own skin than you ever dreamed of being.
To some extent, all of life teaches the value of our treating others
as we would like to be treated.
In fact… The Universal Golden Rule
or the “treat others the way you want to be treated” theme
is central to every major world religion.
(YOU CHOOSE manuscript excerpt post number six)
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Having grown up in the bible belt, I was a young child when I first read a description of an exchange between Jesus Christ and an inquisitive lawyer of his day. To some extent, one part of that recorded conversation has been tied to the Golden Rule as phrased in the Christian religion. I often have recalled that passage and suspect it has influenced my life.
My concept of the teacher’s response to the lawyer has evolved over time, and in recent years I have come to place a great deal of emphasis on two seldom highlighted words that the teacher reportedly used in answering the curious lawyer’s question. The passage comes from Matthew 22:37-39 and I am paraphrasing it here, with emphasis being mine:
A lawyer asked, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
Thus we start with a focus on “…as yourself…” because these two thought provoking words have intrigued me for a very long time. During our time together (yes, as you read this book, you and I are spending time together!), you will uncover more and more of your own special individuality. As you do so, I’m guessing those two words may begin to intrigue you, too.
Regarding religion and faith, I did a lot of soul searching before I came to know what works for me. In fact, as early as my high school years I started reading about all the major religions. I grew up under Baptist influence, but I had to look beyond. Still, to this day, I look beyond and I have come to deeply respect the tenets of many religions. In fact, I have a great many friends and acquaintances, whom I deeply love and respect, who do not profess the same faith that I do. I also have come to believe that there is something lacking in any faith that does not permit or even encourage its followers to “look beyond.”
A school teacher (now a renowned college professor) who was once at her spirit’s end as to how to help a young child who was going through a horrible personal situation finally said to the child, “I do not know how to help you anymore. You have just got to find some kind of faith to help you get through this.” That public school teacher told me she knew her job could have been on the line for making such a statement. Yet, she did not tell the child what to believe or what faith she should choose. She just wanted the child to pick something beyond herself to believe in at a time when she could not believe in herself or any of those close to her.
Faith in self, faith in others, faith in tomorrow, faith in a deity, faith in something… is necessary if we are to make it through the trying times in our lives. That is what the teacher was saying to her pupil, but, too often, today, any reference to faith draws an inference that someone is trying to tell someone else what to believe when that often is not true at all. Sometimes we just choose any way we can to offer hope to those who so desperately need it.
Shakespeare wrote “This above all: to thine ownself be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” Well said, dear William!
(YOU CHOOSE manuscript excerpt post number seven)