I’ve gotten to know Gwen Plano (so far) only through Facebook and visiting her website. I related to much of what I found on her website, especially her journal-keeping and wanted to get to know her better. So, I invited her for a blog chat. Now, more than ever, I look forward to meeting her in person one day. I think you’ll enjoy meeting her, too!
JAN: Because I’ve always kept a journal, I was drawn to the fact that you, too, write many of your hopes, dreams, joys, disappointments and prayers in a journal. When did you begin journaling and why?
GWEN: I grew up on an isolated farm where the only books available to me were books about the saints and Nancy Drew mysteries. This strange mix of religiosity and adventure, fed my dreams of travel to worlds unseen. I was just a child when I wrote about these fantasies, but with the passing of time, my diary morphed into a journal, which then included heartaches and loves imagined. I scribbled in notebooks and on scraps of paper as ideas or questions came to mind. And, I was particularly productive if I was struggling with a life crisis. I learned to wait for answers, and as these tidbits of wisdom emerged, I recorded them. Ultimately, my journal writing became a way for me to process life.
JAN: Do you still have your earliest journals? If so, what have you learned from them?
GWEN: I’ve kept many of my early journals and in fact, I reread them before writing Letting Go into Perfect Love. Walking through the pages of time, I was humbled and at times deeply saddened by what I found. The younger me was insecure, sometimes frightened and often felt alone. I wanted to embrace and reassure her that all would be well, but in the end, I simply let the tears flow. As I reread the volumes, I also noticed the threads of stories that ran through the journal entries—the longing for love, the fear of failure, and recurrent hopes and dreams. And, I saw that the writing process itself had helped me sort through the confusion of the day. It brought clarity and insight; and once there was understanding, I could better craft my way.
JAN: Why did you write Letting Go into Perfect Love? What do you hope your readers will take from your book?
GWEN: When I began writing, I expected to simply tell my story—of love found and lost, of terrors known and of joys discovered. As the pages unfolded though, I realized that my story was everyone’s story. Letting Go into Perfect Love is not a tell-all book; rather, it is a book about a journey—through life’s challenges and heartaches to the one love we all seek. As I wrote, I experienced compassion—for the young me who did the best she could, for the old me who has found peace, and for all humankind. This unexpected sentiment redirected my writing, and quite frankly, my life. My hope is that readers recognize themselves in the book. Though my journey is unique to me, the emotions accompanying those details are universal. We all know sorrow, fear, or regret; and, we all travel through life trying to make sense of it all. What I hope I conveyed is that we are never alone, every moment is imbued with meaning, and even the most devastating circumstance is held tenderly in the heart of love. My deepest desire is that readers feel hope as they walk with me through the pages of my book.
JAN: How do you define “perfect love?
GWEN: Perfect love is a love that has no limitations or conditions. It simply IS. Religions across the world call this love by many names, as it is all-inclusive. For me, though, perfect love is what I understand as God. And, I believe that what is not of love is not of God. I have found that the more I trust and let go into this love through prayer and meditation, the more I know peace. And with this peace, I have found joy.
JAN: If you could speak to any one person, living or dead, who would that be and why?
GWEN: Much of the turmoil in the world is due to conflicting understandings of God or religious texts. People justify killing because of their interpretation of the divine; they violently protest one cause or another because of religious texts; they imprison and torture others based on their beliefs. It seems that no facet of life is more divisive than man’s perception of the Source of all love. Though there are many religious leaders with whom I would like to speak, I would especially like to talk with Jesus. And, if I could do so, my first question would be to ask him if Christianity has faithfully represented him. He who lived among the poor, who healed the infirmed, who taught in the streets and in the temples, who forgave those who hurt him, who respected women and held them in a place of honor, he who died among thieves….this man is who I want to meet.
Gwen, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know more about you and I look forward to meeting you in person soon! Thanks for visiting with us today!
Gwen will be giving away a copy of her book, Letting Go into Perfect Love to one lucky person who leaves a comment. Drawing will be held at noon on Friday, July 11!
Here’s more about Gwen:
Synopsis of Letting Go into Perfect Love:
In Letting Go into Perfect Love, Plano recounts her experiences in a twenty-five-year abusive marriage, and as a survivor who came out of that relationship determined to start over, artfully depicting the challenges and triumphs of balancing the obligations of motherhood and career with her family’s healing process. Alternately heart-wrenching and joyful, this is a story of triumph over adversity–one woman’s inspiring account of learning how to forgive the unforgiveable, recover her sense of self, open her heart, and honor the journey home.
Facebook: Gwendolyn Plano, Author
Amazon: Letting Go into Perfect Love
Click here for Gwen’s Press Kit.
And the winner of Gwen’s book, LETTING GO INTO PERFECT LOVE, is . . . sustainabilitea!!
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, and thank you again, Gwen, for visiting with us on my blog!