Pearls of Wisdom: The Power of Women’s Stories

Living Legacies has been a labour of love, and to date, Volume VII (2018) remains the final published volume. Stay-tuned. Perhaps a retrospective mega-volume or a best-of volume is on the horizon?! Certainly, I am still invested in the process, however uncertain of the ever-evolving platform.

This post is revised and updated from the introduction written for Living LegaciesA Collection of Inspiring Personal Narratives by Contemporary Canadian Jewish Women – Volume IV, published in 2015.

Pearls of Wisdom: The Power of Women’s Stories

storytellingImagine a world without history. Imagine a world without our stories.

I am passionate about sharing the awesome wisdom found in our history and regenerated in our stories, certainly a vital component of our personal and collective legacies.

Once upon a time, I was a facilitator working in long term care and the community; I had been facilitating personal storytelling — sharing narratives for many years. Eventually the time seemed right to collect some of these inspirational stories for publication for the benefit of the public ‒ ultimately prompting the genesis of the Living Legacies collection. Initially, I was drawn to themes commonly emerging in therapeutic dialogue such as “triumph over tragedy”, “harnessing the pain” , “the silver-lining” and our awesome “healing potential”. Gradually, the storylines expanded to include personal growth and transformation of many kinds; a collection of diverse stories crafted together producing a vibrant and textured tapestry — across the country. The sisterhood of the inspiring women featured in the Living Legacies collection now includes many volumes and provides a meaningful link between the authors and the readers.

My journey to sharing personal narratives has been a serendipitous adventure, crossing paths with many dynamic Canadian Jewish women along the way. And the amazing discovery continues.

Everyone has a story; some people love to tell their stories; many people enjoy stories told by others. Apparently, part of my story is guiding others in their storytelling journey and providing an expressive forum to share their personal tales. Perhaps I am a midwife / doula of personal narrative. I am honoured and humbled to have been a helping hand in delivering so many heartfelt and compelling narratives. The stories are unique, each voice offering a meaningful message with a fresh perspective. What’s your story?

The tagline for PK Press:

Everyone Has a Story. What’s Yours? Share Your Story‒Leave a Legacy.

Often I am asked to highlight my favourite stories I have published. Truth be told, that’s like asking a mom who is her favourite child. The simple answer is of course, I cherish them all, and I try to learn something from each featured author. The stories that typically work best for me are the personal‒professional hybrid-type. We simply are who we are; as women, we tend to not compartmentalize as much as men. (A strength of ours, I believe). Many happy and successful women are often seamless in their transition between their various roles (home, career, community) and that’s precisely why we encourage our kids to follow their passions. What really gives me joy is watching the journeys and ongoing successes of the contributing authors. Like parenting, I experience tremendous pride simply observing (and cheering) from the sidelines. Kvelling.

Of course I do have some favourite storylines; I’m impartial to music, actually all of the creative / expressive arts media, mental health and wellness, and travel. And food.

Along the way, I discovered my own voice for storytelling, revealing many smiles and tears, pride and inevitably, some heartache and growing pains.

Most genuinely poignant stories are in fact, bittersweet. For example, remember the classics? “Fiddler on the Roof”, “A Love Story”, and “Roots”, or contemporary favourite stories: Still Alice, Orange is the New Black, Eat Pray Love or Wild. And so many compelling Netflix docu-series. Ultimately, I came to appreciate that, authentic storytelling is not a spectators’ sport, rather a magical lens that enables compassion, introspection, imagination and of course freedom of expression.

Our lives are made up of highs, lows and in-betweens. We navigate our way through dark tunnels, jammed highways, shady neighbourhoods, winding roads, steep hills, slippery slopes, rough patches, confusing intersections, calm fields, vast valleys, spectacular summits and breathtaking landscapes. The path we travel in between, whether rugged or clear, forges an opening with a panoramic vista, allowing us to reflect back upon and to look forward toward the chromatic horizon, often beautiful and sometimes blinding.

Sharing stories, I believe, is a wonderful way to possibly make some sense of our sometimes confusing lives and of course, a priceless opportunity to see beyond ourselves and build cooperative communities and meaningful networks.

Why women as storytellers? Legacy writing is about harvesting the lessons of our life. Memoir writing is about transforming our memories and personal history into a meaningful story. We engage in this creative process for ourselves, for our loved ones and for our communities. We understand ‒ it takes a village (yes, I borrowed that tagline). Women, instinctively have so many of the traits vital to our storytelling journey including: nurturing, expressive, intuitive, sentimental, nostalgic, insightful and collaborative. Indeed, we all want to be seen and heard and noticed and remembered. I am passionate about supporting women in finding their voices and sharing their powerful stories. We can make the world a better place one story at-a-time (yes, I borrowed that tagline too).

Her story. Your story. My story.

Imagine the future with all of our wonderful and enlightening stories.

Please join me on this meaningful, rewarding and creative journey.

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