The Story Beyond the Book

Story beyond the book-eagle-illustration-birdlight-robin-blackburn-mcbride

“Build your faith in yourself, in whatever you conceive to be your creative source, and in the complete and perfect unfolding of your life.” – Birdlight: Freeing Your Authentic Creativity

I stand by this message, which is as much a note to self as to anyone else. As I completed this book a little over two years ago, I prayed to find a balance between “getting it right” and getting out of my own way so that whatever higher power chose to grace and guide this project truly could.

Writing has always been a humbling process, and a labour of love.

When I was finishing Birdlight, I imagined doing my best to put it into people’s hands because I believed, as I still do, that there are readers meant to find their own gifts in it. I loved how each chapter came on the wings of my decision NOT to give up on another book, a novel, which at that point had been rejected many times over.

Not giving up on dreams, even in the face of obstacles that in the moment seem insurmountable, gives us access to strength, clarity, and a degree of focus we might otherwise never have known. I knew that directly from experience, not only by staying the course this time, but also by having done the opposite in the past.

My intention with Birdlight was that readers serious about manifesting dreams would have both a practical guide and a self-help book infused with poetry, folklore and a touch of magic, too, as a beacon in all conditions – even, and perhaps especially, in rough times.

What I did not see coming as I completed that book, was my beloved aunt’s stage 4 cancer diagnosis. Suddenly we discovered she was dying, and we literally had weeks to find a care facility for my uncle who was by then navigating the advanced stages of his own chronic illness.

On trips back and forth between Toronto and Gatineau I resolved that, first and foremost, I would be the niece (and really the daughter) they and others in my family needed. Again humbling. Because there were things I wished I didn’t have to do, and things I could have done better. In some ways the path was simple, but it wasn’t easy.

At times my book project seemed like a bizarre footnote to everything that was happening, and I wondered if I should simply let the whole thing go. Once again, a voice in my head said, “Stay the course.” And then I knew two things about Birdlight. One was that it would be launched as planned, and I would celebrate that decision with my aunt because she wanted me to follow through. I also knew that if I was ever going to create the audio book it was now or never. And so, late in the winter of 2016, with the help of my step-daughter, I transformed my Toronto study into a makeshift recording studio, bought a microphone, learned GarageBand, and recorded the audio book over several sessions between midnight and 4 a.m., before the birds started singing (an irony that was not lost on me).

During my last visit with my aunt in late May of 2016, she implored me to carry on with the launch, even as we knew she was in her final days. In fact, she visualized that party with me. It was a part of our talk that lifted her spirits and made her smile. I promised that I’d bring her pictures on my next visit, even though we both sensed there wouldn’t be another visit. Lovingly, she gave me my marching orders. She was strong to the end. My aunt died one half-hour past her 73rd birthday, three days before my book launch.

Our decision to move to Gatineau followed shortly afterward, as did so many other things. My uncle lived for another 18 months in a province where, once again, he had family who loved him. For that, and so much else, I remain grateful; not just for me, but for my father, because in helping my uncle, we helped Dad, too. It gave him peace. Now, as he navigates his own health challenges, this sweet chapter of our connection is another story. Suffice it to say, more than ever I hold my elders dear. The most essential note to self? Cherish every minute with the ones you love.

I share this with you because it’s personal.

With each book is a story, both on and off its pages. Sometimes the story beyond the book is no less a part of the complete work. Just as the story of you, beyond what most other people see and know about you, is no less you.

“Build your faith in yourself, in whatever you conceive to be your creative source, and in the complete and perfect unfolding of your life.”

There are occasions when the “complete and perfect unfolding” is not what we originally had in mind, and in such moments, we can take solace in knowing that not one of us creates alone. You and I are, each of us, dance partners with this Universe. We can trust in the perfect unfolding, even when we can’t fully see or comprehend it.

Despite the release of both the paperback and audio book versions of Birdlight, I closed the book for months and didn’t promote it, as family and coaching came first. Only recently have I begun to pick it up again, and to reread and refer to it in my calls with clients and the vlog.

Because I still love and believe in this book.

If you are inspired to define and manifest your dream, to transcend challenges as they arise and sing your song while you are here, then I encourage you to check it out.

To dreams well dreamed and lives well lived.

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