Happy New Year everyone! Hope you’re looking forward to a great year of writing and reading — and hearing from great writers on the Word Journeys Blog, along with a variety of new features, stories and participatory activities to fulfill your writing, reading, marketing and promotional needs.
We open with a truly splendid author, the Laguna Beach, CA-based Christine Dwight, whose high-impact memoir Mended & Splendid is making the publishing rounds. Mended & Splendid is the heartfelt story of a woman who thought she had it all — twice — only to lose two husbands and face two different types of cancer battles. She emerged with a splendid, empowered outlook that was fueled by her many passions, from yoga to fashion and jewelry, from travel to cooking, from photography and art to collecting specific period pieces. Now, this High Jewelry Ambassador for Chanel and Certified Life Coach prepares to share her story and impart the wisdom attained through her remarkable life. Enjoy.
WordJourneysLiterary: Could you share the basic storyline of Mended & Splendid?
Christine Dwight: Mended & Splendid is one woman’s raw truth about finding beauty from the breakages in her life. My standing today comes after emerging from three major traumatic events, any of which were capable of impacting my life in a negative way for many years. I share how I moved through these experiences, the wisdom I gained, and how I circled back to the inherent beauty of things to heal into the splendid state I enjoy in my life today.
WJ: What prompted you to write the book? What did you feel was missing from many memoirs about overcoming personal tragedy and loss?
CD: I really want to share my story. It deals with prevalent issues people are faced with today. I want to let people know they are not alone. I am approaching all of it in an intimate way, bringing the reader on my journey with me. We stand side by side all the way, in good times and difficult times. I hope my experiences and realizations educate and inspire readers while they are on this journey with me.
CD: When I was sick and going through my divorce in 2012, I learned future visioning, including the start of my vision board, to see where I wanted to go, and how I wanted to see my life unfold. That was a catalytic force. From there, I increased my visioning and added meditation. When I started practicing meditation, I turned fear into love and started to get excited about the splendid life awaiting me.
WJ: If you were one of your readers — broken and not knowing what to do next — what advice would you give from your own experience?
CD: My first answer might surprise some, but the absolute top priority when you come out of something long-lasting and traumatic is to address your own health, physically and spiritually. They are equally important. If your whole world’s collapsing, if you’re not sleeping, you’re overweight and also sick, that’s no place to start. In silence, learn to listen to your inner voice, pray, meditate, and love.
WJ: How does your background in travel, food, fashion, art and fine jewelry figure into Mended & Splendid? What do you find these bring out in you, and other women, that motivate them to seek out their more beautiful, splendid and happy selves?
CD: My background is interwoven throughout my story. I am very passionate about all of these things, and have been for a long time. I am a life long student of the finer things in life. It is just in my DNA.
I grew up in a middle class family, but ever since I can remember, I have been mesmerized by quality, craftsmanship and the intricacy of well-made items. I have always been rich in my desire to learn more. Even if I was just dreaming about it, I would study and learn more. This knowledge helped motivate me to become a happier, more beautiful, splendid person.
WJ: You’ve been through the loss of a husband to suicide, and a marriage that included betrayal and unequal treatment. Tell us how you managed to emerge from both, because either outcome has crushed millions of women. What steps did you take? What did you celebrate about your own qualities — and how did you move them into your everyday life?
CD: I needed to ask for help, which I received. After that, I started taking the steps to a healthier life, both physically and spiritually. This takes time, so I needed to learn PATIENCE. This was not going to be an overnight process, my divorce wasn’t going to be wrapped up in a month, and my health would take some time, too. I knew the things I was dealing with had a time frame attached.
I started to celebrate my own qualities once I was able to forgive my first and second husbands. I realized I had to forgive them, so I would no longer dwell on the negative. I realize anger equalled a false sense of power. One cannot move forward in anger. Forgiveness set me free to move on in a healthier way.
WJ: Tell us some of the fun moments in Mended & Splendid, in which are dancing with life again.
CD: In December 2017, when I woke up alone on my 57th birthday, I sat up in bed and took a deep breath. My thought was that I no longer had to be perfect. From this point forward, I wanted to be present. I began by stating, to myself, “I love my life and I am so excited for my future.” This was a major turning point. As far as specific experiences of dancing with life, one moment that stands out is sitting under the Southern Cross, in central Australia, staring at the Southern Hemisphere sky and marveling at the beauty of everything around us.
WJ: Mended & Splendid uniquely appeals to women throughout, from those who can only aspire to have means, to those who already do but haven’t yet found their inner power and beauty. Could you speak to the inner richness your narrative celebrates, and how someone with and without means can draw from it?
CD: First, I’d advise us to educate ourselves on what we are truly passionate about. What stirs you just thinking about it? What continually draws you and excites you with its possibilities for your life at the same time? Even if you cannot afford to do something, learn and know as much as you can about it. As your hobby, become an expert on whatever you want in life. Between the internet, the library and other resources, not to mention your own appetite and passion, this will shift your energy into a more exciting place and draw you that much closer to your desires.
WJ: You present your story as a platform to inspire readers to do the mending and find the splendid in their own lives. What prompted you to add this subtle call to action within your narrative? How does your life coaching background play into it?
CD: While I was going through my divorce, I decided to sign up for an 18-month coaching program. I was learning how to assist others in mending, while healing and mending myself. Through the processes I learned, I was able to work past my own blockages and be in a position to mentor and help others do the same. It’s all about the process, as well as the work and results, when you’re coaching or being coached.
WJ: In part, you sell the feeling and experience of being splendid in your High Jewelry Ambassador position with Chanel. What do fine and high jewelry symbolize or emphasize in your personal definition of splendid — and how does your book convey that feeling?
CD: Chanel High and Fine Jewelry is happy, beautiful and magnificent, like museum pieces. These are gems I cannot afford to purchase myself, but it gives me tremendous joy and pleasure to show this art form. Eventually, these treasures find the right homes. I love the stories behind what inspires people to gift each other, or themselves. This is truly splendid.
WJ: How is Christine Dwight different than earlier in life? In what ways is you still the girl who enjoyed a happy childhood in sunny Southern California?
CD: I am marinated from experience and now have the wisdom, knowledge and education that I did not have as a young girl. In this memoir, I can share my story, and educate and inspire others.
I am still the happy girl from Southern California riding her Schwinn cruiser to the beach everyday in the summer. I learned early on from my fifth grade teacher to do three nice things a day for others, even if it means something as simple as smiling to three different people. I still do this religiously.