Friday, December 28, 2012

Focused Memoir: Write Your Spiritual Autobiography

by Deborah Wilbrink

“Write about what you know.” That is excellent advice for authors looking for a subject. Make the project even more worthwhile by writing your spiritual autobiography.

A spiritual autobiography focuses on the spiritual influences and milestones of one’s life, set in chronological order. For example, my own autobiography might include high school and then college graduations, a career path, and marriages, births, and divorces. But my spiritual autobiography includes revelations and epiphanies! It features a kind minister who was run out of town by hypocrites, propelling me to leave the church as a teenager; and a transcendental experience that sent me in search of a guru. The career path becomes an instrument for service and for meeting influences. The failed marriages become, not a tale of naiveté and woe, but preparation for real and lasting love.

Writing about your personal spiritual path clarifies what you have learned and where you have been. The intent, creation and review inherent in spiritual autobiography make it a cleansing process.

To write yours, begin with your current spiritual practice such as a prayer or meditation, stating your intent. Create a brainstormed outline, noting the events in your life that changed your attitude and philosophy. Did you find a new path after an especially troubled time? Next, remember those who influenced you for the better. Did someone give you a spiritual text, with love? Did someone reach out to you and help you over a hurdle? These memories will soon begin to flow. Later, come back and write the stories around your outline. Stay on the path of what influenced you spiritually. If you work best visually, you may draw a map or timeline instead of outline; remembering music or speeches can be a tool for those whose listening ears are important conduits for the spirit.

Your spiritual autobiography may be briefly stated, sketched, or evolve to book length. Finishing your account will bring peace of mind and a readiness for the next step. The very fact of this reflection and seeking attitude will attract what you need to grow spiritually in the coming time. As you encounter experiences you will be adding chapters to the document, or starting another volume.

As a genre, spiritual autobiographies have inspired readers for centuries. Today anyone can adopt this method of spiritual exploration. You will enjoy the valuable process of spiritual autobiography. It may be helpful to others; it will always be helpful to its author. It’s at your fingertips, and in your soul. Why wait?

Deborah Wilbrink is an editor and ghostwriter with Writers in the Sky, specializing in personal history and memoir. She offers creative writing and life journaling workshops. Deborah was an English teacher, video producer, Senate aide, journalist, and cemetery manager – all in this lifetime! Visit Deborah’s blog- Perfect Memoirs and you can Contact Deborah here.

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