My husband, Gene, and I recently visited the small northern California town where we used to live. Those years were very “out there”. Filled with four teenagers, multiple pets, vocations, and avocations that included my first foray into writing. At a large party we attended during our visit, the differences between my former life and the one I now lead in Colorado were brought into humorous focus by a smiling woman who asked, “Didn’t you used to be Sue Thoele?”
Yep… Still Sue Thoele. Just an older, quieter, and calmer version. Generally speaking, I used to be more extroverted than introverted, more talkative than quiet, more restless than content, more driven than satisfied, more self-critical than self-loving, more needy than grateful, and busier than a cranberry merchant at Christmas, as my dad put it. Thanks to a combination of age, intention, and circumstances, life is simpler now and I am more gentle with myself and others.
Writing made me sit down and shut up, and that allowed me to become aware of my yearning to change an over-busy lifestyle into a more contemplative and balanced one. I was forty-five when the Muse grabbed me by the back of the neck and wouldn’t let go no matter how much I resisted. And resist I did! But, The Courage To Be Yourself seemed to have a mind of its own and simply would not let me rest until I was totally committed to it. By the time the original book was published, I had discovered a passion for writing. Having had a private psychotherapy practice for many years, it felt natural to write about issues similar to those with which my clients and I grappled.
I am incredibly blessed to be able to do work I love and have the support of Gene, without whom I would never have become an author. We—well, really he—self-published The Courage To Be Yourself, stacked the first 5,000 copies in our itty bitty leaky garage, and hand delivered two and three copies at a time to local bookstores before the book was eventually picked up by a “real” publisher. To this day, Gene is both the brains and brawn for the business end of this work. He is my rock…. and he makes me laugh.