BUY MY NEW TRANSFORMATIONAL MEMOIR RELEASED 6/18/19 NOW:
Amy’s transformational memoir explores the journey from despair to repair and serves an invitation to us all to understand the distinctions of an extraordinary life through the lens of resilience, compassion, and service.
At Amazon (above) or Balboa Press (below)
Picture the meat tenderizer mallet in my mom’s hands. Hear the thud of the mallet on the steaks on the counter. Again. The swinging and pounding of the mallet repeats, tenderizing the meat. The mallet penetrates deeply. It looks dangerous, but its purpose is to tenderize, to penetrate deeply, to make the tough meat palatable. As so it is with memoir. Thoroughly overcooked, my story sits, dried and tough. My past is marbled with drama and trauma; unappetizing yet intricately laced in the meat of the story.
Believe me, I tried to digest it all; I chewed and chewed, yet the blob stayed in my mouth, gag-reflex triggered. The undigested, flavorless meat, grey and unappetizing, bothersome at best.
I spit it into a paper napkin and throw it away; yet there is no away. Not with our life stories. They can clog our arteries and hurt us, or they give us the choice to tenderize our hearts and fertilize the space between.
“Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine,”
Mary Oliver reminds us.
Summers in Florida are hot. Period.
It all started as a moonshot.
It all started as a moonshot.
July of 1969, no exception. The forecast called for humidity, but no thunderstorms, a crucial piece of data for determining the moonshot. JFK’s imperative that man gets to the moon by the end of the decade generated internal heat for beings around the world. This heat, for many, had the flavor of mind-blowing, exhilarating optimism, and infinite potentialities. For others, the heat took on a more negative charge; resentment that funds went upward toward visionary aims instead of dealing with domestic issues down on Earth like poverty and crime, down here in America.
Thankfully, my parents, gathered with family and friends on the coast of Florida, celebrated the moonshot. They were in the exhilarated camp. This was indeed extraordinary.
Dad got the coals ready on the Coleman BBQ while mom pounded the meat tenderizer on the steaks. Steaks meant celebration. The neighbor, Susan, shucked the ears of fresh picked Zellwood corn. Always around, always helpful, Susan prepared the sides and desserts. More butter needed, always more butter needed, Susan and butter were hand in hand. My mom prepared the main dish. Everyone brought the booze.
My parents had, at this time, four children, ages 10 and under, who ran down the beach, lighting fireworks and getting high off the energetic buzz of excitement that historic night of the first lunar landing. The moon, symbolic of the unconscious, loomed high in the sky, no longer a hope and a wish.
We were, collectively, bridging the conscious with the unconscious. This took place at a pivotal time. The moonshot, the Apollo mission, was “the result of thorough research carried out by a successful team, whose strength rises from a common thought made up of simple ideas, growing and coming together in one dream, yours and ours.” I came across this description on an ordinary clothing tag recently, but it sums up most worthwhile endeavors in life.
It takes more than me. Simple ideas, common thought.
It takes more than me. Simple ideas, common thought.
The late 60s in American history, full of swirling energies of change and possibilities, the fertile ground for greater consciousness, was the birthplace of the moonshot, both for Neil
Armstrong and for my conception. Suspended in a moment pregnant with possibilities, my parents consummated this joy. The backdrop of the American culture, so promising and inspiring, had a moment to shine. Those in power advocated overcoming scarcity, fear, and negativity, and finding common ground. This climate of greater consciousness, of human advancement, bathed my parents as they made love.
The backdrop of my conception is creative non-fiction. I don’t know if they ate steaks the night man landed on the moon, but it certainly goes with the meat tenderizer concept. And you know what? It doesn’t matter. It works. It works because tenderizing my heart makes for a more palatable offering.
Where I’d like to be is offering you a tender, juicy, tasty offering of a life worth living, in order to inspire you to see, in case you haven’t already, that your life is worth living, extraordinarily so. I do not have to keep chewing the bland steak, the old overcooked story.
Where I’m from, I tethered myself back to the reality and power of love.
As I’m sitting here, a tender, powerful, generous woman, my history, my story, sits before me. My heart opens wider to a heart-centric life. I consciously choose to tenderize my heart on a daily basis, to cover it with love, and let that love spill out and make a mess. Tears come with tenderizing, and usually a good bit of snot, and sometimes an imploding headache. I take a deep breath and remember the wisdom of my body. The body speaks my mind, releases the pinch of constriction, lets the blood flow freely to the sore spots, feels it to heal it, and releases any issues stored in my tissues. I thank my body by taking another deep breath.
What matters most is embracing the magic of choosing love over drama, or as we say in Hawai’i, choosing aloha over pilikia, trouble of any kind. In the past, the troubles dominated my mental real estate, taking up the scenic landscape with high-rise pillars of doom. I lost sight of the clouds, the birds, the beautiful sunrise that happens every day without fail. In the past, what it was like was I was adrift, spinning out of control at times while exerting control in a grasping, constricting way. I trusted everything and then nothing. Trust bled to mistrust and I landed in a psychological hell realm.
One thing I can do is recognize I am 100% responsible for my life’s story, and as such, be source for a transformed world. I can integrate what happened in my life and see how my experience does not define me.
One thing I appreciate is that I’m on this incredible journey, this opportunity to live an extraordinary life of love, connection and commitment. I can get out of those scary places in my mind more quickly and with more grace than ever before. And truthfully, I don’t enter them as often as I used to.
This is what it was like. Losing trust in myself, unable to focus on what mattered most, creating wreckage and losing faith in the carefree feeling of youth. My adolescence fostered resilience in me. Resilience of staying alive, strengthening my soul and returning to love, despite trying experiences that tested my trust.
from Moonshot: What was it like living in a culture devoid of rites of passage other than binge and puke and spread your legs? Naturally, my heart hurt, my soul ached, and my spirit floated lost. From this place of intensity, I developed incredible resilience. This is what happened: settling into sobriety, grounding into gratitude, and cultivating a compassionate heart, my mind cleared, my heart opened, my spirit reactivated, and my energy expanded. This is what it’s like now: breathing aloha into every moment, recognizing our interdependence, and claiming responsibility as a source for transformation, naturally, my grateful heart has more blessings than I can say grace over.
“Equal parts lyrical, confessional, and practical, Amy Elizabeth vulnerably uses her own journey through addiction and trauma to inspire readers to move beyond limiting beliefs and heal from the past” (Alicia Munoz, author of No More Fighting: 20 Minutes a Week to a Stronger Relationship)
“Moonshot is an elegant and visceral memoir that dares one to question one’s own resilience and courage. Indeed, Amy Elizabeth is as transparent as she appears in these pages. Love the interactive curriculum and its usefulness” (Kekuhi Keali’ikanaka’oleohaililani, trainer, Halau ‘Ohi’a).
“This work is the bridge between despair and repair. It is an invitation for women to tenderize our own hearts and to craft a new heart-centric story, the true story of who we are at our core” (Kristen Noel, editor-in-chief, Best Self Magazine).
“Nature did not design us to be alone. Evidence shows that people who enjoy close, fulfilling relationships with others are happier, healthier, and more creative. If this does not prompt you to the wonderful Moonshot, please reconsider. Highly recommended!” (Larry Dossey, MD, author of One Mind: How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters).
“What an enchanting, captivating, beautiful, practical book! Based in personal experience and penetrating prose, Moonshot is meant for anyone who needs more love, empathy, and compassion in their life-and who doesn’t? Let Amy be your guide to a richer, deeper commitment-not just to others but to the world” (Barbara Montgomery Dossey, RN, PhD, FAAN, author of Florence Nightingale: Mystic, Visionary, Healer and Holistic Nursing: A Handbook for Practice).