The Word Is Love by Allyson Clayton is a beautifully written memoir in which the author turns life’s tragedies into a wake-up call to see every moment as a gift, and to start a love affair with life, herself and what makes her happy. Lucky for us readers, this includes writing. It’s not easy to get a diagnosis of lupus, experience the pain associated with it and with fibromyalgia, to lose one’s self-esteem when it is based on a beautiful exterior and career success. But it’s not easy even for those without a disabling illness to feel self-acceptance and self-love. That Allyson achieves that and offers us her wise guidance is truly a gift we should gratefully accept. Oh yes, the author also covers the healing power of gratitude and forgiveness, all an expression of LOVE.
Losing her father, Allyson realized that “We have a finite amount of time to make our dent in the universe.” With this book, she has definitely made a dent in helping us all realize that every moment counts, and inspires all her readers to move beyond fear and reach for their dreams.
When talking of her journey, Allyson is exceptionally eloquent when she realizes she still has the chance to make a difference in the world. “As long as there is breath in you, never stop breathing. Never stop hoping. Never stop wishing.” What more can I say, but buy this book and live its message.
After nearly fifteen years living with autoimmune disease, a decade in the corporate world and enduring the loss of a parent, an assessment of her life led Allyson Clayton to her dream career: writing. With the loving support of her family behind her, she left her job, focused aggressively on her health, and began to write about her struggles and experiences. The beginning of this journey quickly gave her a sense of purpose, a belief in what is possible, and a realization of what is important. To connect with Allyson, and for an extension of her work, visit www.loveyourdash.com.
Here, Allyson answers the following five questions:
1. What is the underlying message of your book?
With the right perspective, the things that challenge us — illness, fear, unhealthy relationships, grief, career uncertainty, pain, disappointment — can deliver us to a place of love, peace, acceptance and gratitude. They can put us on the path to realizing our greatest dreams and the life we imagine. We just need to love ourselves, be open to the lessons and trust the journey.
2. What inspired you to write the book?
I had a passion for writing at a very early age, and that passion never left me. I dreamed of writing books, but as I got older my confidence was shaken. I didn’t think I had anything important to say. My father’s death changed everything. At that point I had been living with compromised health, lupus specifically, for twelve years. Those two things together served as my catalyst. I didn’t want to spend another moment feeling broken, and sharing my story was the answer.
3. What do you hope readers take away from your book?
If we have meaning in our lives, it will get us through those challenging, scary, unhappy times. What is meaningful? It can be your family, a cause you believe in and fight for, finally pursuing your dream vocation, or making time for the activities you enjoy. Meaning cultivates that sense of love and purpose we all deserve. Meaning brings us closer to knowing our worth. And meaning ultimately brings us closer to the things in this life that matter.
4. Where do you find inspiration?
When I am feeling particularly lost or challenged, I turn to nature. That is where I feel love from God. I carefully study a flower or a tree, an ocean wave or a handful of sand as it slips through my fingers; things so wondrous that they cannot be created by human hands but instead by something so much bigger than us. I then know, absolutely, that I am here for a reason and I have something to offer this world.
5. Any advice to others who feel they have inspiration to share?
What I want everyone to know is this: don’t think for a second that you don’t have something important to say. You are a unique, worthy and beautiful child of the universe; your challenges, your triumphs, everything about you has the potential to inspire. There are countless people out there just waiting to be graced by the wisdom of your experiences. Aim for truth. You will never fail.