The Inspirational Quote
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our dark that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people don't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Marianne Williamson (from her book, A Return to Love)
The Inspirational Books
The Life Chronicler Project is dedicated to the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. A pandemic, a retirement, a one-year one-month one-week one-day odyssey, and three inspirational books later, I have written my first book. Here are the three books that inspired the concrete framework for this project.
The first inspirational book, “Life Is In The Transitions,” was written by Bruce Feiler, who set out on a road trip to meet people and learn their stories. In his data-driven self-help book, he wrote about how people handle the many vicissitudes that come our way in life. His data shows that we actually spend a considerable amount of time dealing with life events. Some are small or modest, such as a job change, while others are much larger, such as a personal tragedy. Regardless, he found that we intuitively generate coping mechanisms to find our way to the other side. His road trip concept inspired me to do the same for my project.
The second book was written by Dr. Dan P. McAdams of Northwestern University. In his data-driven book, “the stories we live by,” McAdams makes the case for how we create psychological constructs he calls “imagoes” inherently connected to our idealized self and that act as dominant characters in our life stories. McAdams derives his data from a structured process by which he has people, the storytellers, reveal their lives to him and his graduate students, the listeners. I intend to use his carefully crafted, multi-phase interviewing process as I talk to the people I meet on my journeys. Perhaps the two most impactful sentences in his book were found on pages 252-253 and reads:
“At the end of the interview, most people report that the experience of telling their stories was profoundly satisfying and enjoyable, even if they shed tears in the telling. They often ask not to receive payment for the interview, for they feel that they have already been rewarded by the experience itself.”
Powerful words! Although I don’t have the advantage of being able to offer an institutional stipend to the storytellers, I can only hope to become a listener who evinces a similar response.
The third book was Studs Terkel's, "Working." This 589-page tour de force published in 1974 was written about how ordinary people make their livings and their thoughts about the same. Imagine, a book about ordinary people becoming a best seller. Hmmm....