Legacy: Your Easy Guided Autobiography with Flora Brown. Ep. 50

In this episode, Jim interviews Flora Brown—author, speaker, publishing coach and guided autobiography facilitator. Flora conducts guided workshops, structured on the philosophies of the famous Dr. Jim Birren, (be sure to read the eulogy to Jim B.) to assist baby boomers through the process of creating and sharing their life stories. The heart of this exercise is to give baby boomers an opportunity to open up about their life story and provide the most honest, unembellished version that they can. The hope in this is that those listening—children, great grandchildren, and even peers within the workshop—can learn from one another and come to the realization that we are not that different after all. Tune-in as Flora shares some of the pivots she’s had to make in her own life and why Wayne Dyer got it right when he said: “Don’t die with the song inside you”.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

    00:36 – Boomers often leave their children and grandchildren their hard earned inheritance, which the children tend to cash out in a jiffy. What will be left of your life and the history that you retain?

o      1:27 – This episode is for people who care about the gifts that they give to their children and grandchildren

o      1:38 – Today’s theme is in continuation of Episodes 27 and 28, where Jim expresses regret for not asking about his Great Aunt Helen Proust and Great Uncle Jonny Proust about their lives, 45 years ago

    02:02 – Get tips and tricks for writing heartfelt letters in Episode 48

    02:17 – Get easy, smartphone video tips for writing about your legacy from Jon Daly in Episode 49

    02:24 – Jim introduces Flora Brown

o      02:25 – A baby boomer who has just published her 11th book, Color Your Life Happy: Create Your Unique Path and Claim the Joy You Deserve

o      02:47 – Conducts a class called, “Writing your life story two pages at a time”

o      03:28 – “Life Story” involves writing 2-page anecdotes about your life’s memories

    05:00 – Rarely do we have information about our parent’s lives

o      06:12 – Sharing our life story with a group of people often renews respect for our parents, develops self-respect and builds confidence

o      07:19 – Get empowered to look at your goals and life in a very different way

    07:45 – Get encouraged to share some of your family’s uncomfortable history that you have been hiding inside of you

o      08:28 – An environment of trust and the knowledge that your information will never leave your writing group encourages you to share the truth

    09:13 – A workshop encourages you to share a pure, unembellished version of your story—it is not ego-maniacal at all

    10:13 – Give a chance to your great grandchildren to know you through your life story

    11:19 – Flora regrets the facts that she never got a chance to know her grandparents and great grandparents who were slaves

    12:30 – Reading about our parent’s struggles often makes us realize that we are in a much better position than they ever were

    13:20 – Your life story can be two-inch or a two-page book

    14:41 – Donna, Jim’s wife’s grandmother, passed on a cookbook which was made into a booklet for the entire family

    15:29 – Flora’s grandmother left behind her recipes on 3 by 5 cards

    16:13 – Flora’s AH-HA moment

o      16:13 – In spite of having a Bachelor’s in English, Master’s in Reading and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, Flora never got around to writing her own life story

o      16:50 – She tried different techniques but to no avail

o      16:58 – Leveraging on the social factor of being in a writing group under a trained leader made it really easy for Flora to write her life story

o      17:36 – Richness of a story was enhanced by being a part of a guided group

    18:03 – A peek into Flora’s guided writing methodology

o      18:03 – Activities before actually writing help you trigger your memories. For instance, Brenda asks participants to prepare a life timeline with five-year gaps

o      20:08 – Subsequently, people are asked to pair up with a partner and share their memories

o      20:22 – Next, participants pick up a theme from 14 options—Flora terms this part of the process as “branching themes”

o      21:21 – A five-week course where you will be meeting for 2 hours every week

o      22:26 – Concept originally designed by Dr. Jim Birren

o      23:48 – Workshops are offered in libraries as well as private homes

    23:53 – A group in Connecticut has been writing for two years now

    24:25 – Most people give their notes to their families alongside their will

    24:47 – Realization that we are not very different once we hear each other’s life stories

    25:30 – Writing stories is a great starting point to create a video interpretation

o      26:01 – Great idea to add audio or video in addition to the written version

    26:45 – Flora’s mother was a musician. Flora grew up with music at home, church, and school

o      27:09 – Flora’s favorite music: Oklahoma, My Fair Lady, Chances Are by Johnny Mathis, Temptations, Unchained Melody by Righteous Brothers, Michael Jackson

o      28:32 – Flora favorite church song: ‘If I can help somebody as I pass along, my living will not be in vain

    29:24 – Having lost her 40-year-old son, Flora realized that life is uncertain and the only thing certain is the inevitability of death

o      30:47 – Flora cites Wayne Dyer, “Don’t die with your song inside you”

o      31:14 – Wishes to die fulfilled and having done all she could do in this lifetime

    32:06 – The pivots in her life

o      32:06 – Having grown up in St. Louis, Missouri, Flora is grateful for having moved to California at a young age

o      33:03 – Grasped opportunities and took risks

    34:47 – Connect with Flora through her website

    35:00 – Check out Coloryourlifehappy for details about Flora’s books and access to her blog

    35:10 – Get your book published by logging on to Coloryourlifepublished

    35:35 – Key takeaway: If there is something that you want to do in your life, then start it today

    36:45 – Jim Enright’s sign-off message:

o      36:45 – Be stellar, and live life lively

    37:04 – Spread the word with your baby boomer friends in person and on Facebook—Teach them how to listen to podcasts and how to subscribe

3 Key Points:

1.       Writing and sharing your life story is an excellent way to connect with your children, great grandchildren and your peers; we realize, once we hear our stories, that we are not that different from one another.

2.       Share the uncomfortable truths that you have been hiding within you—it is a part of your legacy and gives insight to the next generation about what you’ve been through.

3.       If there is something that you want to do in your life, then start it today!

If you enjoyed this, please tell your baby boomer pals and show them how to subscribe and review Planet Boomerville in iTunes.

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