IWIC Hall of Fame spotlight on Melissa Burch author of My Journey through War and Peace
What prompted you to write your book MY JOURNEY THROUGH WAR AND PEACE? What was the inspiration behind that?
I was on sabbatical after feeling burned out running a homeopathy school and clinic. I had just turned 50 and was inspired to look back at my unconventional life—the choices I made, the lessons I learned. My best friend and I decided we would wake each other up at 6 am to write whatever we wanted. As the months passed I found that I was flooding the pages with memories from my 20s when I was a war journalist in Afghanistan. It felt like I had fallen into a time warp and was reliving this very emotional period of my life all over again—just now, I could understand the choices I made from a much wiser perspective. The more I wrote, the more I wanted to continue exploring my story. At the same time, I also began to realize how both unconventional and universal the experiences I had and lessons I learned really were, which inspired me to share my story with other women who might be inspired or learn something about their own lives through my experiences and lessons.
You’re currently touring the US in a motor home and lecturing and talking as you go. Why? What are you trying to accomplish and what kind of feedback have you had as a result?
The journey started as a book tour for my first memoir, My Journey Through War and Peace. But the more people I met, the more I realized that my mission was much bigger: I wanted to inspire people to live their own adventurous lives, to get outside of their comfort zone and to connect to something deeper in them. In each place I visit, I share the tools, resources, inspiration and stories that have helped me lead my own adventurous life (which, if you’ve read my first two books, you know is as adventurous as they get!).
My husband and I meet people at our events, the RV parks, picking up food and just getting gas. There is a palpable excitement and an immediate connection when you meet people on the road, and this is where so many of those inspiring conversations happen. It’s amazing how many women can identify with their own heroine’s journey and the desire to be more courageous.
You are connecting up with the WOMEN’S MARCH ON WASHINGTON later this month – how does this align with your own personal mission and message?
After the election of Donald Trump I heard about the Women’s March on Washington and immediately wanted to participate. The need to stand for women’s rights is imperative right now.
When we denigrate women, we deny the feminine in both women and men which leaves us—as people and as a larger community—extremely unbalanced. The masculine principles are crucial to our success as humans and as a nation—they’re what help us get into action and make decisions. But the feminine principles of compassion, connection, deep questioning, intuition, spirituality and more are equally important. When we’re lead purely by masculine principles in a society that doesn’t value feminine principles, we end up on a slippery slope focused on taking action and acquiring MORE (more money, more land, more resources) which, historically, has led to most of the evils in this world: war, genocide, starvation, environmental harms and more. Which, unfortunately, is where I see us headed under this current Administration. I believe our first real step in healing this unbalance, protecting the rights of women and fighting to give value to more feminine principles is to March on Washington. I know that if women are treated with respect, then they and their children will be cared for and the feminine principles that are so crucial to our success will be valued.
What do you hope to achieve as an author and activist for women’s rights? What is your ultimate goal?
First, I want to inspire and empower women to reignite the deep connection they have to themselves and to the divine and to cultivate those feminine principles. In order to heal others and the circumstances around us, we first need to heal ourselves. And then I want to call attention to the need for women’s rights, the need for those feminine principles I mentioned above. Only by integrating the masculine and feminine principles can we do what really matters in the lifetime—care for one another, the planet and the future of the human species. That is what I call the Heroine’s Journey.