Integral Life Coaching

Is Literature Essential to Create a Meaningful Life?

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(504 words – 4 min read)

I have been going through a very interesting phase of my memoir writing. Writing has been slow. I mean writing my book has slowed down but I have been writing in my journal almost every day. I needed to write to articulate my feelings. I want to call it self-discovery or maybe self-reflection.

In  the Oakland memoir writing conference, I was asked what the theme of my memoir is. I was not able to come up with one major theme but I knew there was one. I started thinking what is the main message I want to convey? Or what Is the theme of my life story anyway? I started thinking, self-reflecting, and reading to find it out.

An intimate period of self-observation showed me how hard I have been fighting with the negative feeling of “ I am not good enough” all my life. To this day, I face it almost every day under different circumstances, but I was proud to see I overcame it most of the time and I have tried to be at peace when I was not able to overcome it. I can say the emotional pain of feeling “I am not good enough” is always very strong and runs deep but my observation showed me I have become more experienced in coming out of it over the course of my life. I began to wonder how I survived all these years.  I wanted to know what I do to overcome this strong and negative feeling. With more self-observation, I found out reading literature and psychology, and writing about my feelings have been my survival tools to turn fear to love and hope when I feel down. I basically try to get more self-awareness from the negative situation.

I am moved and touched, reading Azar Nafisi’s books these past few weeks. She beautifully explains the role of literature and liberal arts in our lives. She makes it clear how reading books ( a lot of books) and seeing life through the eyes of each character in the books can help us widen our view on life, to be able to put things in perspective, and to learn to avoid black and white judgments.  Hanging out with each character of the book lets us feel their pain and relate it to our pain. Pain is an unavoidable part of life; it is our duty to turn pain to love.

Through my readings, as I relate more to the pain of each character or the author, I want to write more and more. When I read, light bulbs turn on in my head. The more I read, the more I write, and the more articulate my thoughts and feelings become. It gives me so much joy, reminding me about the infinity of life. It makes me feel liberated and I love those moments of being. It triggers my curiosity to learn more and that in turn makes my life a lot more meaningful. Indeed, literature has an essential role in our lives. Let’s read more and write more!

Celebrate life!


Editing Credit: M. Curtis

Picture Credit:

Author: Shabnam

Shabnam Curtis was born and raised in Tehran, experiencing the Iranian Revolution of 1979 firsthand. In 2004 she immigrated to the United States, where she now works as a passionate life coach and a writer. Shabnam is a certified Integral Coach with New Ventures West and International Coaching Federation. She offers one-on-one coaching sessions as well as workshops for groups. Since September of 2021, she also has been the life coach in residence for Dimension Science Bridges Non-profit organization.

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