This Is Both an Offering and Invitation to You

by | Jun 9, 2024 | Transitions - General | 7 comments

One of my earliest sources of inspiration was the diarist Anais Nin. As a teenager, I was compelled by how she wove psychological insights and wisdom throughout her personal journal entries, sharing deeply of her life while offering the reader insights into themselves. When I later learned about some unsavory elements to her story, I turned away from her, but I still regard her diaries as some of the earliest templates that would inform my life as a writer and how I show up in the world.

The diary has long been regarded as a female writing form. I’m not quite sure the nature of this regard, to be honest. Through the lens of the male-dominated publishing world, it seems that the diary has generally been seen as an inferior genre, not exactly “real” literature. In all of the English courses I took in high school and college, we may have read one or two diaries by famous writers like Virginia Woolf, but I remember those as afterthoughts to the great canonical works of “real” books.

But, regardless of how diaries have been regarded in academia or by the New York Times, we are returning to a recognition of how deeply we need stories. Humans have always been storytellers. We can see the fragmented rudiments of story on the walls of caves in the form of pictographs, evidence that we’ve needed, even from our earliest days, to express ourselves through image and then word. We know that most cultures have rituals around storytelling where time-honored stories are passed down through the elders to the young people around the fire. We hunger for stories, and when one of our own elders dares to share a slice of their or their ancestor’s past, we drink it in.

Thresholds: A Collection of Stories

Thresholds: Reflections at Midlife is, at the core, an audio collection of stories read to you in my voice. One of the great invitations of the very long portal of midlife – which can begin as early as 35 and run into mid-60s – is to reclaim the lost and vital parts of our young selves that we submerged into the sea of adulthood. For me, this includes the part of me that was birthed in early 20s that has always longed to write from a more personal place.

As I share in the introduction:

“This is a book birthed from dreams, from journal entries, from poetry, from my own labyrinthian journey across the portal of midlife. It’s a book that reveals aspects of my personal journey through parenting and panic attacks, as well as musings on archetypal places that I hear about every day in my work, and feel myself. It’s a personal book with the hopes that, as Carl Jung taught us, when we plumb deeply enough into the personal layers, we touch the collective. It’s the book I thought I would birth when I was eighty, sitting on a chaise looking out at the gardens and my grandchildren while reading through my hundreds of journals, deciding which entries called to be shared.

“But in the months around my fiftieth birthday it became clear that the book doesn’t want to wait until I’m eighty. It wants to be birthed now.”

This book called to be offered only as an audio. (If you’re hearing-impaired, I’m happy to share the PDF; email us with the receipt of the audio purchase and we’ll send it to you). As I shared in the Gathering Gold episode on midlife in anticipation of this release, I sense a hunger in the collective for the human voice as evidenced by the popularity of podcasts. We long to listen to other people discussing interesting topics. We long to listen to, not just read about, ideas. For the child that lives in all of us, the longing to be read to never fades.

An Offering and An Invitation

Thresholds is both an offering and an invitation, for in sharing my stories and insights into the nature of life I’m also encouraging you to share your own. We all have a story to share. We all carry wisdom. I know that this is especially true in this special community, as evidenced by the thousands of brilliant comments on my posts over the years, the mind-blowing wisdom that shows up on my forums, and the creative outpourings that I’ve been joyously sharing in the Community Garden.

And the truth is that we need your stories more than ever. Like the mycelium network that lives beneath our feet, like tree roots and branches, there are veins and arteries that remind us of our interconnectedness, to the place of oneness. It’s so easy to forget this place, We forget every day. Stories, poetry, and creative expression are some of the ways that we remember. The world thrives on many things, and one of them is our personal stories honed by the inner wisdom gleaned by the highly sensitive person. That’s you.

You can learn more about Thresholds here. I encourage you to listen slowly and pause to reflect on the prompts. As much as this is a personal offering, it’s also an invitation for you to reflect, no matter how old you are and what stage of life you’re in. I look forward to hearing about where it lands for you: What stories are birthed from the listening? What young parts are ready to be reclaimed? Let’s share this journey together.

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7 Comments

  1. Lovely, thanks so much for this. I’ve been keeping a diary for over ten years (not that I’d dream of publishing any of it!)

    I agree with what you say about the power of stories. In fact, I recently had a poem published which tells the story of my family, as refugess and immigrants. You can see it here:

    http://joshuaseigalpoet.blogspot.com/2023/11/here-we-all-are.html

    thanks again

    Reply
  2. I am so excited to listen to this audio collection, Sheryl! And having written my dissertation on women’s psychological growth in relation to their personal journal writing, I am especially intrigued! : ) Thank you for sharing so much from your heart and for continuously encouraging myself and others to nurture and express our creativity!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much, dear Cindy ❤️. Oh, yes now I remember your dissertation topic; so wonderful! I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Thresholds.

      Reply
    • That sounds amazing Cindy! Will you transform it into a version to be published as a book? I would love to read that!

      Reply

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