Print Posted on 08/31/2017 in Doing Good

How Writing Became My Purpose and Passion

How Writing Became My Purpose and Passion

* by Lynda Dell 

As a teen, I was a “closet writer” with a rich fantasy life. I escaped to a world that I had penned, one where I had the courage of my convictions, I took initiative, and “do overs” were commonplace, especially replaying conversations or acting out scenarios in my head, which often yielded better results than in real life. Even my dark poetry was never exposed to the public eye, until my perspective slowly began to shift. 

Suddenly, I began to look at the world through a lens of gratitude, noticing and appreciating the beauty and the wonder of the world, and I shared my positive message with anyone who would listen, despite how things played out in my own life.  

Because now I was also able to capture and give color, shape, and form to my ideas and visions on canvas, or whatever I had on hand. Sharing became as natural as breathing for me. 

But my writer’s journey really began when I was given the opportunity to give back to my dear friend and mentor of many years in a personal, meaningful way. How do you begin to thank someone who changed the entire course of your life? 

She believed in me even before I believed in myself, recommending me for scholarships and presenting a multitude of opportunities for me to pursue. 

So when my mentor, Rita Siegel, was retiring as the education director of the same religious school that she established, before any curriculum was developed or books were purchased; I had to find a really big way to acknowledge how this visionary planted the seeds that would become Kol Ami Religious School. 

Step 1: Dream big, way outside of your comfort zone 

Before I even knew how this would play out, I found myself spearheading a school-wide project that everyone would contribute to from the youngest to the oldest students, including every teacher.  

I began to think of Rita’s vision as a tiny seed that bloomed into a mature jeweled oak tree, the jewels represented Rita’s students. Then I thought of the way that Golda Meir’s vision had shaped the modern state of Israel , which I symbolized with a full grown inverted cactus nestled in the oak tree’s core. Somehow I knew that a companion book would need to be created to explain how their visions took root. 

The easy part was fleshing out my vision because everything fell into place, and everyone whom I reached out to was willing to do whatever was asked of them. The hardest part was keeping this monumental project secretive for so many months. There were lots of diversions and informants who reported back to me. 

Step 2: Flow with the positive momentum, feel the excitement  

The interesting thing was the more I discussed my vision for the project, the more I began  to experience synergy—even the fabric for the tapestry came from trading a roll of canvas for a silk curtain fabric that the art teacher happened to have on hand. 

As long as I flowed with the momentum, somehow I knew that each time I encountered a challenge, of which there were many, solutions would present themselves to me, if I was open to shifting my perspective and possibly asking for help—never giving in or giving up.  

Step 3: Prepare yourself and others for the task 

In the companion book were two stories running parallel—Golda’s story then Rita’s, written like an adult fairy tale. But my third grade students had no knowledge of the formation of the modern state of Israel let alone who Golda Meir was. So together we took turns reading about her life—until they finally understood how this Ukranian immigrant who grew up in utter poverty rose above her circumstances to lead a great nation as the fourth prime minister of Israel. 

Step 4: Be courageous enough to share your dream 

At the end, the two stories intersected and became the design for the full-length tapestry, which I presented to her at a school assembly.  For me, although teaching had become as natural as breathing to me, large scale presentations were not. But it wasn’t about me, rather it was about giving the most precious gift that I possibly could to Rita. At least that’s what I told myself, when my stomach became queasy and my knees shook. 

She loved the tapestry so much that she didn’t want it to be framed to hang in the synagogue. Its rightful place turned out to be spread out across her dining room table protected by a layer of clear glass.  

While working on this art/ history project, I felt giddy with the excitement bubbling up inside of me. I experienced such a deep satisfaction that I had never felt before and longed to feel again by continuing to share my writing. 

Oh my God, I had chills, my heart sang out with joy! It had awakened a deep passion within me to share other people’s stories. And I knew that another door was opening just a crack, enough for me to slip through, and I did. By reaching out to everyday heroes in my community who were eager to share their stories, their moments of triumph punctuated by the daily challenges they had faced, I was able to get their stories published.  

Step 5: Discover your niche 

This led to becoming a voice for nonprofits who are transforming lives every day, to raising awareness for causes that I am passionate about, and most importantly to encouraging others to join their mission.  

Let me tell your story, share your vulnerabilities, hardships, struggles, and life’s lessons, and, yes, of course, your achievements.  Then we can build a community of dreamers, seekers, and doers. What’s stopping you? Are you stuck? Or have you figured things out? 

I encourage you to share, comment, and join this community of enlightened individuals. 

*** Lynda Dell is a Feature Writer & Columnist for several magazines; she is also a freelance writer who helps clients tell their stories thru bios, press releases, blogs, feature stories and more.   

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