Following Your Dreams

Tempus fugit

Following Your Dreams by Gail Harris –

When choosing an aspect of love that embodied the topic of this article, at first, I didn’t know which one to choose. Following our dreams certainly takes grace. Devotion. Respect. Responsibility… So many of them applied. Whichever one I chose, isn’t following our dreams all about love and loving ourselves, anyway?

I settled on Truth. After all, our dreams will only come true when we own them, when we make them our truth. Here’s a personal example:

For the past five years I’ve been following a dream, the dream of helping someone tell the story of how she followed her own dream. Both of our dreams came together in a book entitled, Finding Zoe, which was released last month after a long partnership and journey, and brought us offers from three publishers. A dream come true, for sure.

My co-author is Brandi Rarus and Finding Zoe is her memoir. Brandi is a former Miss Deaf America. When she and I first began working together she didn’t tell me that she was deaf. (Our early interactions were via email). She did say that she wanted to tell the story of her daughter Zoe’s amazing adoption. Brandi’s home was the 5th one that Zoe had lived in when their family adopted her at eight months old. I was drawn to the project, because I am an adoptive parent, too. Eventually, Brandi told me that she was deaf, explaining that she didn’t see it as relevant to the story.

After beginning the interviewing process (I interviewed Brandi and her husband, Zoe’s birth mother and birth father, and her first adoptive parents and foster parents, among other people) and then talking with Brandi, it became clear that Brandi’s—and Zoe’s—being deaf had everything to do with the story. As I continued on with the writing process, I marveled at how what might have been a lovely book about a serendipitous adoption had morphed into a saga spanning decades. It told of Brandi’s passionate dream of having a daughter, and how, even when she had every reason to give up, by being true to herself she found the daughter she had been waiting for her entire life, and her daughter found her true home. It spoke of Brandi’s deep struggle to find where she fit into the world, and that by standing firm in her own truth, no mater how difficult, she was led home.

Over time, as this fantastic story revealed itself to me, something amazing was happening. Just as Brandi’s incredible life had unfolded exactly as it should, so, too, did my experience writing it. A force pressed forth from within me, opening me, and like alchemy transformed a project into the dream of a lifetime, just like a first draft, worked on and worked on, is spun into gold.

Finding ZoeBook Trailer – Finding Zoe

Finding Zoe on Amazon

“Get to the Heart of Your Story” with Brandi Rarus & Gail Harris #CLBLive Google+ HOA with Christine L. Bowen

To be honest, at first, I didn’t quite understand what was happening. Why I was so consumed with a story and a book that wasn’t even about me? I wondered. For five years I talked about practically nothing else—at the dinner table, at parties, at networking events. I lived the story, I breathed it. My family and friends listened and listened. Once, after the book was already written, and I was the featured guest on an internet TV show, while reading an excerpt I found myself almost in tears. For goodness sakes. I had written that passage years before, and had already read it a million times. That wasn’t me in the hospital at six-years-old getting a spinal tap, about to lose my hearing!

As I’ve dwelled on my experiences writing Finding Zoe, I’ve discovered that the reason I was so passionate about telling Brandi’s triumphant story is because it is my story – in my own time, in my own way – just as it is your story, and it is all of our stories. To be a conduit for opening peoples’ eyes to Deaf Culture has not only brought me the joy of collaborating with Brandi, but also of collaborating with something so much grander than the two of us put together. That is my truth. Who knows where it will lead us.

Note: Brandi Rarus will be the featured writer in the January Living In Courage Newsletter.

photoLearn about  Gail Harris – Co-Author of  “Finding Zoe” & Author of “Your Heart Knows The Answer”

Gail Harris is an author and a storyteller who specializes in writing books for others. A story-teller at heart, Gail began telling stories for her clients as an award-winning advertising copywriter. She left Madison Ave. and, after a couple of stops along the way, including a stint at a yoga ashram, formed her own writing company. Her first book, entitled, Your Heart Knows the Answer, teaches us how to trust the true voice of our hearts by learning how to distinguish it from all our thoughts and the inner chatter we have inside our heads. She says that she wrote the book because “we teach what we need to learn.”

Her second book, co-authored with Brandi Rarus, a former Miss Deaf America is entitled Finding Zoe. The book is Brandi’s memoir, and tells of her not to be believed journey to self-acceptance, and to finding her daughter who she adopted who is also deaf.

The Forward by Academy-Award Winner Marlee Matlin.

Why would a hearing person want to read this story?   Read More………….