Connection is an intention of mine, from a few different angles. From my perspective, connection with readers is a very dynamic experience. It looks like, as an author, that I am writing my book on my own, as if it is a solo task. And sure, often I am alone. However, the readers are constantly on my mind. While writing, I am always considering who the readers are, what is relevant and interesting to them and how can I meet them where they are? Furthermore, where can we meet each other? Obviously, we meet when my words resound within their minds as they read and what then? A blending of us, into something bigger, that integrates the two. Maybe my words sit on someone’s shelf. Maybe the book is opened often and greased by use during cooking. I hope so.
I want readers to get a sense of me, as I aim to gain a sense of them. I work hard to share myself, my story, but also my intention: that healing is a deeply personal and intimate process. Food is important and it is a gateway into so much more. When we look at our food choices and begin to make changes that benefit our needs we automatically uncover underlying issues related to self-worth, self-confidence, and self-regard.
So many people, and thus readers of my book Eat to Beat Alzheimer’s, are likely dealing with some amount of hopelessness. Infused within the book is a message to counteract that despair, a message full of practical education, and a message of hope. We can change the trajectory of our health. We can change our biochemistry with the food choices we make. We are not destined to live in fear, or in dis-ease.
I think that connection with readers in an area of this magnitude requires much more than quality information. Although quality information builds trust and integrity in the relationship. I will always continue to do research, and there is always new research emerging. I am not locked into a certain method, per say, but I am devoted to a particular mindset, which is the mindset of healing with love. So while, quality information is foundational, it is the willingness to dialogue about these more vulnerable areas that I believe, facilitates connection that is more long lasting, and in the end, sustains our wellness.
So many people want answers and instructions. I completely sympathize with this as I have been there and asked and hoped for the same. Just tell me what to do! It seems so simple, yet this demand is somewhat misguided. We live in a time that is asking us to take back that sense of authority from outside of us. While expertise is present and valuable, the expert is not mutually exclusive from you. In other words, there is an inner authority, or inner health advocate, that is alive and well and ready to work for us, if we are ready to listen.
It is my mission and my ethic, to respect this aspect of each one of my readers. As I am inspired to share knowledge with you, I cannot fill in all the blanks. And in fact, those “blanks” are your path to self-discovery. While the food on your plate may appear mundane, I can assure you it is not. We are not machines needing fuel. We are in relationship with everything and everyone at once, including the food we ingest. We are receiving and processing information all the time and our food is an area where we can be in charge of our health in an extremely profound way. We can transcend simple pleasures, and engage purpose, which has its own level of pleasure that includes the good feeling that comes from basic self-care. Health and wellness do not require deprivation. They are a consequence of caring for the self with the utmost awareness we can bring to the moment. The pleasure we receive from taking our needs seriously, being our own healthy ally, and responding with respect to our own body’s wisdom, is a sustainable good feeling in its own right. This is a natural antidote to anxiety, insecurity, and low self-esteem.
It takes courage to consider these levels and to talk about them publicly in the health and nutrition field. I find food very powerful, but it is not everything and I want to offer this deeper dialogue to readers, for their own growth and self-reflection. I believe we all want to be met in a larger way, in a way that includes all of who we are, and the inherent goodness of who we are. In a culture that tends toward the quick-fix or the glib response, I offer something far more holistic. It is my sincere hope that as I connect with readers through my book, or blogs, or otherwise, that my words can facilitate first a connection with self, that may have gone forgotten or unacknowledged in the past; that readers walk away with a sense of how much their information, insight, experience, and choices matter; that together we create a connection that is collaborative and evolving.
This post originally appeared as a guest post on Mari's Journal Writing Power blog.
Francie Healey is the author of "Eat To Beat Alzheimer's and has a Master’s Degree in Counseling and is both a Certified Health Counselor and Licensed Mental Health Counselor.practitioner.