"I cannot live without books."
~ Thomas Jefferson
October is National Book Month. What a good time to expand your awareness and love for books and reading. Together, let's celebrate books. From a mental health standpoint, reading has many benefits such as improving mental stimulation, energizing the imagination, improving vocabulary, strengthening memory, and making you a more interesting conversationalist. This month, consider buying a book for yourself and someone you love.
October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 2022 marks my 21st year as a breast cancer survivor. Many of my life experiences seem to inspire me to write. It's my way of healing, but more often than not, it's also my way to help others who are navigating similar journeys. My book, Healing With Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey
was published in 2010, nine years after my diagnosis. While going through my cancer journey I journaled my experience, but only years later after some colleagues suggested it, did I consider writing a book on the subject. I remind my memoir students that it's difficult to write a memoir while going through difficulty, but journaling is always helpful and the material can be used in a forthcoming memoir. What sets memoir apart from other genres is the perspective we bring as we reflect on our experiences.
Challenging times in our lives are also reminders of what's important. For me, it's love, compassion, and kindness. We also learn who we can count on and who will be there for us. While we never really walk alone, there are certainly times when we feel lonelier and more vulnerable than others.
If you know someone is going through a challenge, extend your hand, offer your ear, bring food, maybe a gift, and connect often. The little things become very important. As an aside, I am an Enneagram 6--the loyalist--who is loyal to a fault. I work hard to build strong relationships and I have some that have lasted long-term. I also need to know that I can trust others to support me. I am practical and make intuitive decisions, which have served me and my loved ones well. It's been said that my super power is intuition and protecting and caring for those I love.
If you're interested in learning more about the fascinating science of the Enneagram and want to take the test, click here.