EDWARDS — Ten years ago, Kristen Moeller was looking everywhere for a rainbow. She and her husband had lost a baby and dashed their chances at parenthood — the one event in life Moeller had always seemed destined to fulfill. It had taken a year to get back on her feet emotionally. Building a perfect cabin in the mountains near Conifer filled Moeller up for the time being. But she was still searching.
“On the anniversary of the loss of the baby, I decided to read Jack Canfield’s ‘Success Principles,’” she remembers, feeling like the man who wrote “Chicken Soup for the Soul” might have some words of solace for her, too. “There I was outside of my dream home, sitting in the hammock, letting myself really create, really envision, what I wanted to do.”
And while she read and reflected on a new vision for her life, she decided she needed to write a book of her own.
On Friday, that author will share her story of self-doubt, discovery and growth at The Bookworm in Edwards.
‘Words to heal’
And don’t get any ideas that Moeller only has one story to tell. Because after publishing her first book and launching a new career as a writer, this longtime counselor experienced another tremendous loss. Her home, along with all of the therapeutic memories it had provided years before, was burned to the ground in the 2012 Lower North Fork fire, which started from a controlled burn.
“I just let everything go,” Moeller said. “And what I turned to was my writing. Every day I wrote and wrote and wrote. You see, there are lots of resources to turn to when you lose a person, or when you’re faced with illness, but there’s not much out there about when you lose a thing.”
Moeller used words to heal, connecting with other victims of wildfire almost immediately via her blog, “Walking Through Fire.” She had scored a deal for a second book just months before the flames struck her home, but in the aftermath all she could think about was loss. In fact, ten thousand words of loss.
“I was seriously questioning whether I could write the book my publisher wanted me to write,” she said. “How could I be true to what I wanted to say? But I made a decision that it was worth it, that it was good for me, that it would stretch me.”
The result is “What Are You Waiting For? Learn How to Rise to the Occasion of Your Life,” a blend of memoir and self-help, filled with kick-starting prompts to get readers engaged in the very first chapter.
“We are all waiting for life to make sense, waiting for perfection,” she said. “I looked at how much self judgment I still had, and I realized how much I was still waiting, even after the fire. This book is about our relationship with ourselves, about not excepting ourselves, and the reality that, as the days go on and the wrinkles appear, we have even less perfection than we did before.”
And life, according to Moeller, is one realization after another. So why not learn from loss? Why can’t you just live the life you dreamed of?
For Moeller, the journey involves some disciplined efforts, including a commitment to write every day, to be held accountable for the promises she makes to herself, and to stick with the structure that she has come to cherish.
“The first book was challenging because I didn’t know I could do it,” she said. “The second book was challenging because I was so depleted.”
Both have taught her to rise to the occasion. And now, she chooses to help other writers stay the course and complete the telling of their own stories. She currently partners with other writers in a compilation of essays about the grief women experience when they lose their homes to fire.
And she urges anyone who is interested to listen to the gentle knocks on the door of life. “Your wake up call doesn’t have be a wildfire, or a diagnosis, or a divorce. Maybe it’s just a gentle knock that prompts you to change your life.”