Life continues to evolve, which means we also constantly change. One year we may think differently than we did two years previous. Change is a part of life. I feel that writing a memoir had a profound effect on my life. When re-hashing life situations it is easy to become nostalgic and then let the imagination wander with all these “coulda woulda and shoulda” scenarios. But for areas of life that I felt ashamed or sorrow, I believe writing a memoir was one of the best things I did for my life and wellbeing.
Regardless if the book is successful, I am beyond thrilled at where I am at in my life because of writing this book - Finding Om. This doesn’t mean that I wake up everyday with a smile and see rainbows and unicorns floating over my head, but it means that I’ve worked through some shit (again) and finally let go of some deeper things that I processed but never really forgave myself for my behavior.
Without further ado, here are some ways that writing a memoir liberated my soul.
I Found Freedom – Anyone who knows me, understands my soul’s yearning for a freelance lifestyle. Although I still work a part-time fitness management desk and training job, I work for an amazing boss who leaves me be. Part of this could be my life path, but I think part of it is the reality I’ve created for myself. I may not be financially rich, but my life is rich and abundant with experience, which gives me the ultimate freedom my soul has desired.
I’ve Become Detached – This goes hand in hand with freedom, but the best thing about writing and reliving my yoga training (all while living off of two suitcases of clothes in Germany) is that I’ve become detached from consumerism. I watch people and listen to women sometimes talk before a yoga class. People flushed with six-figure incomes (money that I can only dream about) are living paycheck to paycheck. Women chit-chatting about needing a certain pair of flats to match their new dress are consumed with their appearance. And those jet-setter, sometimes pompous douche-bags, needs to keep up with the Jones’s.
Now, I know certain industries like being a lawyer status plays a huge role in success, but I am SO FREE from worrying about what other people think of or see me as and I do not give two-shits if my flats are several years old or that I haven’t had my haircut since September 2014. I don’t believe in looking like a slob, but my point is that the less I worry about what other people think, or this need to fit in, makes me free from having to fit into any trend. I CREATE my life – and fashion and consumerism doesn’t guide or create me.
I can live on a minimalist life that is filled with experience not dusty shit sitting in a box in the basement.
I Forgave Myself – For a long time I’ve always felt bad about how my college relationship ended. During my time of writing this memoir, especially during the end, I had dreams that included my ex. In many of those emotional dreams, I continued to express my forgiveness to him. Between writing and dreaming, I re-realized my mistake, which leads me to the next point, but I became somewhat thankful for that mistake. Why? Because after that experience I never made it again.
I’ve Made Mistake, But Other People Have Done Worse – I really believe our early 20’s is a time of self-discovery. I was so ashamed over something’s I’ve done that it took me a while to forgive myself. When writing this memoir, I realized I made mistakes, but other people have made much worse choices throughout their life.
While young, I wanted to explore drugs, but some higher part of me didn’t do it since I wanted to find purity and love outside of being intoxicated. So I gave myself credit for the things that I chose NOT to do too. So I slept with someone else while living with my ex-boyfriend. At 22, if that’s the worst thing I’ve done in my life, I really think I’m okay. I would have been embarrassed to publically mention that a year or two ago, but now I am okay with it because I AM HUMAN.
I believe writing creates awareness and allows us to triumph above our mistakes.
I’ve Accepted Life’s Guidance – The coolest part of writing a memoir many years after the experience happened allowed me to connect the dots. For a while after India, I wondered, “Whatever happened to that man from Mumbai?” What I never TRULY realized until writing is that sometimes the best things happen to you based on life taking its course (and universal guidance). If I never met my husband, I never would’ve had the life experiences between 2008 through today. I may never have moved to Germany and if I stayed in India my life would’ve been drastically different.
This allowed me to accept the life challenges presented after India because without them I would not be where I am today.
Good, bad, happy and sad – it all plays a part in the growth of our souls.
I’ve Accepted My Life Choices – I realized that I really do love traveling. It’s a part of me that I hope never dies. Between writing and living in Germany, I’ve come to realize that I am dedicating a HUGE portion of my life to personal pursuits and self-discovery, which includes traveling. The more I travel the more I “find” things about myself and understanding of how the world works.
I always remind myself of what my guru says, “You are never alone” which we humans can be physically alone, but spiritually we are not.
I’ve Accepted Living an Unconventional Life – Unconventional maybe an understatement. I think it’s my soul’s work on this planet to have many experiences, which differs from the “normal” life. I never had the true urge to birth children and often questioned if I was sent here to guide and teach others.
Many years ago (2010 to be exact), I personal trained a lady who was a mother of four kids.
One day during our session, she said, “I just don’t get those women who don’t want to have children. There’s something wrong with them?”
My ego immediately wanted to react and say, “Well what the fuck do you think is wrong with me? I have a Master’s Degree and a shit ton of life experience, what makes me so “wrong” as a woman?” Now the mindset about life differed in 2010, especially in a small conservative town, but I accepted the differences of my life choices and path.
Maybe one day I’ll reach my mid-30’s and make a conscious decision to have a child, but I realized once again while writing that some of us are placed on this planet to be teachers, guiders, creators and mothers. I do believe my mom was sent here to birth kids. I believe for myself that I am sent here for a different reason and there is NOTHING WRONG with not wanting to live a “NORMAL” life, especially when you can benefit society with your gifts.
While rehashing my travels through my book, I said the same things at 20 as I do now at 31, but with more wisdom. Life is about choices and we can all choose the life we want to live. I sometimes feel my best while I am on the road.
Letting Go – The biggest thing I can express from writing a memoir is the letting go process. I kept a journal while I lived in Australia and re-reading that 11 years later made me elated to see how much I’ve overcome. Writing is a powerful tool - and so is yoga. I relived my yoga training, which reminded of certain lessons that re-conquered any deep-rooted fears that I had.
We humans are complex as emotions keep our minds spinning up, down and around all the time. The biggest lesson is to let go of what no longer serves you. Whether its dropping consumerism or forgiving my heart about my ex-boyfriend, letting go is necessary to ascend to the next step of life.
Because of this experience, I feel free and comfortable within my inner and outer world. Never in my life have I ever had such confidence in myself and trust with the universe.
Have you found writing or another tool to be powerful to liberate your soul? If so, please, I’d love to hear how you found freedom or liberation!
Elizabeth Rae Kovar is the author of Finding Om: An Indian Journey of Rickshaws, Chai, Chapattis and Gurus. Finding Om is a travel memoir about backpacking and studying yoga in India, Ebook and print copies are available on Lulu.com, Amazon (Kindle), B&N (Nook Book) and KOBO.
Any books sold now through July 4, 2016, partial proceeds will be donated to Yoga Behind Bars.