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A close-up of a newly opened delphinium flower (Summer 2013).

Monday, June 20, 2011

Learning from Shania Twain

When everything goes without a hitch,
where's the challenge,
the opportunity to find out
what you're made of?

~Shania Twain 

One of the many gifts I received on my birthday from my hubby, Deane, is Shania Twain's memoir, From This Moment On (buy it here). I had placed a hold of this book in the Nose Hill Library but there were 373 people before me, and even though there are 18 copies to go around, it would takes months before I can finally read it. I am grateful for Deane's loving thoughtfulness.

I have started reading Shania's book which detailed her early childhood.  I am now in Chapter 7, where she described 1978 as the worst year of her life. She just turned 13. Extreme poverty, her parents' constant marital conflicts (which oftentimes turned violent), her mother's severe depression--all this has caused fatigue and stress in what she calls her "dysfunctional home". In this chapter, this young teenager narrated how she helped her mother and younger siblings escape to a shelter for battered women to put an end to the domestic violence in her family home.

Shania Twain, whose real name is Eilleen Twain, is one of five children born into poverty in rural Canada. Her family often didn't have enough food that she sometimes would go without breakfast or without lunch in school. In -25 degree Celsius she would go outside during recess despite wearing only worn-out rubber shoes with plastic bags over her socks to keep her feet dry.

What can we learn from Shania Twain from the first six chapters of her book? 

Living a frugal life. Shania never complained about eating goulash (boiled milk poured over broken pieces of dry, white bread and topped with brown sugar) most of the days. Looking back, she saw the benefit of a simple diet with little meat as a better choice to fattening, synthetic, refined foods.

Lesson: To live a frugal life is to live simply. Why buy more than you need?

Being resourceful. Even when Shania's family had enough to eat, they would make food last. Shania learned how to ration food and prepare meals just enough to go around with nothing left over. She was able to make things last and to make something of value from simple things. 

Lesson: When you don't have the resources, you can learn to be resourceful, thus empowering you to be more self-sufficient. 

Following your dream. At age 7, Shania learned how to tap melodies on a cheap electric keyboard. At age 8, she learned to play the guitar. At age 10, Shania started writing lyrics for songs. Her music became her savior. She began to perform during house parties of relatives. Although she was petrified being on stage, she would muster enough courage to sing. Her dream was to write songs and sing as a back-up singer. Guess what? Aside from being a five-time Grammy Award winner,  she is now a best-selling artist in Canada, having sold over 80 million albums worldwide. 

Here are a couple of my favorite songs: Forever and For Always and You're Still The One.

Lesson: Find those dreams you have tucked inside you and bring out your best, magical self by going in the direction of your dream. It's a risk but it's worth it.

The power of Shania's book lies in her ability to write about her life in an honest way. In her introduction, she hopes that her life story will serve as a guide or as an inspiration to others who are struggling to find meaning in their life.


I will continue to read this book and will share what I have learned from it next week.

Until then, leave your comments below.

Have a wonderful week, my dear readers!