Words can’t express how excited I am to have today’s guest here today. I was introduced to her by a mutual friend who thought she and I would have a lot in common, both with our views on life as well as some of our experiences. Plus, we’re both Winnipeggers! Author Kim Malchuk is one of the bravest souls I’ve met in a long time for many reasons. She’s gone through one of life’s most difficult hurdles, the loss of a loved one, and learned so much from it. And if that’s not enough, she shares the valuable lessons she’s learned with the world. How incredible is that?
We’ve been trying to connect for awhile, ever since I got my hands on her fantastic book, Tasting Rain back in December. I’m happy that we finally got the chance to chat for a bit and so thrilled I can share it with all of you.
I hope you enjoy meeting Kim and our chat as much as I did. So, without further ado, grab your favorite beverage, get comfy and get ready for one amazing journey.
CHYNNA: Kim, welcome to ‘The Gift’. We are so excited to have you here. Please introduce yourself to our readers.
KIM: I consider myself an ordinary woman who made the choice and took a chance by self-publishing my story in the hopes of making a difference in other people’s lives. The overwhelming positive response since releasing Tasting Rain has fueled my ambition, determination and belief that if this ordinary person could achieve something extraordinary then it is absolutely possible for you too!
Sometimes we either have to hit rock bottom or have something tragic happen to us in order to find our purpose in life. My tragic rock bottom was the death of my soul mate/husband, Mel. Death will force you to either appreciate life or continue to take it for granted. Learning first-hand that our time can be taken away in an instant, I thankfully chose to turn my personal tragedy into an opportunity to reclaim my power, give back to others, reawaken my spirit to love, laugh and to live a life of inspired purpose.
Whether I am at a book event, speaking on stage or being interviewed on radio programs, I proudly share my secrets of success openly that define hope, happiness and healing. I firmly believe that the role our thoughts play in governing the direction of our lives is critical.
CHYNNA: That is so inspirational. Now, I know that you are an avid journaler, and we’ll talk more about that in a bit. But is that how you got into writing or have you always written?
KIM: I innocently stumbled into journaling to help me cope with my thoughts, feelings and emotions during the last month of my husband’s life. When I purchased my first journal, I kept it by my side while living in Mel’s hospital room for almost 5 weeks. I would only write in it when Mel finally went to sleep or when I couldn’t sleep. After Mel passed away, writing into my journals became a daily ritual bordering on an obsession. Sometimes I wrote for hours and then there were days I only jotted down a few lines but there was hardly ever a day missed that I did not write in them.
My journals saved me. I know that may sound melodramatic but it’s true. They helped me to grieve and heal in my own way and in my own time. But they also taught me something I never knew about myself. I was passionate about writing. I never imagined when I bought my first journal that it would open up a whole brand new world to me…the world of storytelling.
CHYNNA: Fantastic! And that’s sort of how it happened for me too. HA! Okay, let’s delve right into your amazing and inspirational book, Tasting Rain. Why was now the right time to tell this story?
KIM: My world was turned upside down when Mel passed away. I was trying to make sense of it all by writing about it in my journals. I was asking myself a lot of questions surrounding the word ‘why’. Why now, why so soon, why him, why us, why was I given a taste of true love only to have it for a very short time, etc. In my journals I not only was asking the questions but I was trying to also come up with logical answers to help me understand and come to terms with my loss.
When I was slowly emerging from my grief and carefully coming back to join the ‘real’ world, I was able to see that others were also asking themselves the ‘why’ questions about their hardships in life. One night, while lying in bed feeling sorry for myself, my inner voice told me to stop being a victim to life’s hardships and to do something positive that could possibly help others. It kept whispering ‘think about your journals and write your story.’ I listened and surrendered to that voice. The very next day I sat down and started to write our story. That was almost 3 years ago and I have not stopped writing since.
CHYNNA: And I’m sure there are many out there who are glad you haven’t stopped. Let’s start with one of the first difficult topics you brought up: forgiveness. I’ve talked about this many times but I love how you discussed it in your book. Tell us about your view of forgiveness and why it’s so important to our functioning.
KIM: Forgiveness starts and ends with ourselves. If we can learn to forgive ourselves for whatever it is that is keeping us from moving forward in life that is the greatest gift we could ever give to ourselves. If we cannot forgive ourselves then we will not be able to truly forgive others for their wrong-doings.
Forgiveness does not mean that you accept or condone what another person has done. All it means is that you are finding the strength within yourself to let go of the particular behavior/actions/words and leave it in the past. What’s done is done and it cannot be taken back nor do we have the ability to change the past. All we are in control of is what is happening in the moment. By letting go of past events we are lightening the load that we carry around with us every day. Forgiveness, to me, is another word for freedom.
CHYNNA: So true. I am so glad you talked about this, Kim. I hope our readers keep your words close to their hearts on this subject because it’s true. When we can’t forgive, we are truly holding ourselves back. Thank you. Now, you and Mel showed us the power of the mind. On page 52 you started talking about how just changing how we think about things…to a positive…can help us reap many rewards. Let’s talk about that.
KIM: I cannot say it any simpler than this, ‘thoughts are pure energy in action.’ Focusing on what you want is what you will get. Throughout my book I give real examples of how our/my thoughts gave us exactly what we were thinking.
If we say we can, we will. If we say we can’t, we won’t. It’s that simple. If we want positive things to come into our life then we need to get our minds and thoughts on board with us. Our thoughts need to be our own personal cheerleader instead of the schoolyard bully who is always trying to keep us down and out.
CHYNNA: I cannot agree with you enough. And after reading that section, I started paying closer attention to my ‘inner tapes’ (as I call them). Negatives attract negatives and positives attract positives. Period. Let’s go back to our earlier touch on journaling. On page 89, you started talking about your journaling ritual. It wasn’t just something you turned to in coping with what was going on with Mel, was it? It meant, means, so much more. Please talk more about journaling and how it has helped you. Why should we take up this practice?
KIM: I had dabbled with journaling in the past but was never really committed to the process. As I said earlier, I turned to it out of desperation, and O.M.G. what a gift journaling has been to me.
I probably could write an entire book about the benefits of journaling but I won’t do that to you or your readers. What I will do is give you some proven documented stats as to what the medical/clinical professionals have to say about the benefits of journaling.
Journaling allows us to get all our thoughts out of our heads and onto paper. We can organize, explore, solve and prioritize all the craziness in our busy lives. It helps with cognitive thinking. It helps clarify thoughts, feelings and emotions especially if we are going through a traumatic or life-changing event. Journaling has also been credited to improving a person’s health by reducing STRESS, helps to calm breathing (great for people who have asthma or lung conditions), can alleviate chronic headaches or migraines and it can strengthen the immune system that will help to ward off bugs or viruses. Best of all, it can save us hundreds of dollars in therapy (hahaha…but really, it can)!!!
CHYNNA: LOL! No, I totally agree with you. I’ve been journaling since I was in my single digits and it has gotten me through some very tough times. There’s just something about getting those thoughts and emotions out of our heads and into a safe place we can go back to when we’re strong enough that’s so comforting. Thanks for delving deeper for us on that subject. One of my favorite sections in this book is your discussion about choices. I can honestly say this had a profound effect on me—personally and professionally. Please talk about the power of our choices and how it can change our lives significantly.
KIM: The majority of us have the freewill to make our own choices. I believe that choices are not good or bad, they just are. Every time we are faced with a choice we decide what path we will take. We choose our jobs, partners, friends, clothes, food, exercise, home, etc. If we want to change something in our lives we have the choice to do so (or not). For example, if you hate your job, your choice is to start looking for something else or to continue to go into an office everyday to work at something you hate. It’s your choice.
Choices are all about habits and actions. If you keep picking the same partner/friends/jobs that don’t make you happy, then perhaps it’s time to break the habit and choose something different. If you want any change in your life, it’s your choice to take action to bring change into your life. Wishing or wanting it isn’t enough. You need to do something or anything instead of nothing.
CHYNNA: Phenomenal advice, Kim. I can’t stress to our readers enough how true this is. When I started paying attention to my choices and how what I was choosing (nor not choosing to do) was affecting everything and everyone around me, big things started happening…in a good way. Okay. Let’s move onto another tough subject you covered thoroughly in your book: Grief. OMG! How difficult is it? I still mourn my precious grandparents every day and they’ve been gone for twenty years. Let’s talk about dealing with grief and what’s okay and what’s not. Walk us through how you dealt with it and why it was so effective.
KIM: Grief is different for everyone because every person and death is unique. There is no right or wrong way to get through it. You may never get over it but you will learn, one day, to live with it.
The one thing that really helped me move forward was to celebrate, focus and be happy with what I had as opposed to what I lost. I chose to remember how Mel lived, not how and why he died. I also think it very healthy to talk about them and say their name as much as possible. By doing that, we are honoring their life, memory and what they meant to us and to others.
The only thing I would say ‘not’ to do is to medicate or drown yourself into numbness. Antidepressants only mask and delay your pain and alcohol is a depressant. If there is anything a grieving person does not need to add into their life, especially during this fragile time, is more depression. The danger with both antidepressants and alcohol is that they can be highly addictive and could lead to more serious personal health issues.
You need to feel what you need to feel in order to heal. Tears are so healthy so let them flow. Tears are the flowing words that your heart simply cannot find the strength to say. Crying is a great pain and stress reliever. Don’t hold them back and never be embarrassed for them. Tears and grief are the price that we pay for loving deeply so how could that be wrong?
CHYNNA: I am so glad you brought up not turning to self-medication. You are so right in that we must feel what we need to in order to heal. It can be tough, some days are worse than others but it is imperative to feel, to live to keep moving forward. And I so agree with you about crying. There was a time in my life where I refused to cry but now I have no fear to. How can I expect my kids to understand that crying is a natural way to express our feelings if I am scared to? Living uncomplicated. Please describe what this is and why it’s so important (there are many out there, myself included, who could learn this lesson.)
KIM: Mel and I did not have any control on what the future would hold for us. All we knew was that we were in control of our today, thoughts and actions. We were determined to squeeze out as much life and love as we possibly could. We knew that we wanted to travel and visit places that we always wanted to see while we had the time. With this desire in mind, we needed to get our priorities in order to make this happen.
We downsized and went from a large house to a condo. We got rid of a lot of unnecessary gadgets and recreational toys because they were just things. We were able to dramatically reduce our living expenses without depriving ourselves of living a comfortable, safe and pleasant life.
With all the extra money we were saving we were able to really enjoy life. We travelled, entertained, never went without and we were still coming out on top. Not having financial stress hover over our heads gave us peace of mind which I believe in turn gave us more time. Giving up size and all the unnecessary stuff enabled us to gain something you can’t put a price on: financial freedom.
CHYNNA: That’s so amazing and truly inspirational. Thank you for sharing that insight with us, Kim. That really is a very important point I think all of us need to analyze more closely. How happy do all of those…things make us? One of the many things you and I have in common is the effect that the movie Forrest Gump had on us. I’d really like for you to tell us the story of why this movie means so much to you and why because I think it is the base of what you are all about.
KIM: This movie depicts how beautiful life can be when we live a simple, uncomplicated and basic existence. Forrest Gump clearly shows that you don’t have to be a genius or come from wealth to live a very full and rich life.
Forrest Gump, even though a grown man, had the IQ and characteristics of an innocent child. After seeing this movie for the first time I imagined what our world would be like if we all looked at it through a child’s eyes. Walk through our everyday life with no filters, judgment or prejudices. Love, accept and be grateful for the life we have and especially for the people we choose to invite into our lives to share it with us. To me, it would be Heaven on Earth.
CHYNA: I totally agree. I was affected the same way by Forrest Gump then it became an even bigger reality for me when I had my kids. As our readers know, I have kids with special needs. Until you have these kids who don’t just see the world a different way but have to so they can learn to function within it, you haven’t really seen the world. My kids have taught me that there is more than one way to do things, to view things, to say things and that we should all learn to look beyond the surface, being grateful for who we are and what we have to offer the world--just like sweet Forrest. Kim, can you give us the top three things that you want people to take away with them after reading your amazing book.
KIM: 1.Our thoughts clearly define our path in life. If you want a good life ensure that your thoughts are good ones and then watch the magic unfold.
2. By hanging on to the past it is taking up valuable real estate for your future. Letting go of the old allows room for the new and exciting things to come into your life.
3.We are our life’s choices. We can either choose to live it ‘as is’ or decide to take action to introduce change into our lives. It’s your choice. It always has been and will continue to be.
CHYNNA: Well, I felt those takeaways and many more. Thank you! Do you have any upcoming speaking engagements or signings? Where can we find you on the World Wide Web?
KIM: For 2012, I have personally decided to cut back on public events so that I can concentrate on my two current projects: finishing school and writing my second book.
Tasting Rain has been a god-given blessing to me because it has opened so many doors of endless opportunities. From reader feedback and talking to people I have met from speaking at public events, I have often been asked if I do any form of personalized coaching. It never really occurred to me that this would be a profession that would allow me to fulfill my goal in wanting to give back to others in a sustainable and on-going basis. In early summer, I decided to go back to school to obtain my professional certification in solution focus based and systemic coaching.
Writing still continues to be a great passion and I am in the process of writing my second book, which I hope to have it released by late summer or early fall of this year. Another exciting writing opportunity has just come my way that I am seriously considering. I am not able to discuss any details at this time because we are only in the early stages of discussing the project. I will definitely be posting information on my website with the latest and greatest developments as they occur.
At this time I do not have any public speaking events planned but I will be guest speaking at two private events in the month of April and June. I love doing live radio interviews and will be the guest on a few upcoming broadcasts in the very near future. I was also asked if I would consider covering for someone’s vacation and co-host two shows in May on blog talk radio. Of course, I said, YES!! If you are interested in seeing my event calendar, please visit my website http://www.tastingrain.com/ and click on the events tab.
If social media is your thing, you can also visit me on my Tasting Rain page or on my inspirational page ‘It’s Your Life ~ So Why Not NOW? with Kim Malchuk’. I would love for you to join our amazing community of friends on both of these pages. You won’t be sorry!
CHYNNA: I encourage all of our readers to venture over and check out Kim’s work. And I can’t wait to see your new book projects! Kim, we’ve come to the end of our chat (awwww…LOL!) My final question is one I ask every person who drops by here on ‘The Gift’ and I think your response would be so meaningful. Do you have any pearls of wisdom you’d like us to take away with us?
KIM: I would love to end off our amazing time here together by sharing a quote by Maria Robinson that inspires me and I believe speaks to us all.
~ Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. ~
Those are some fantastic pearls. In fact, I think I’m going to write that quote on a stickie and put it on my mirror. Kim, I am so happy we were finally able to connect and you had a slice of time to join us here on ‘The Gift’. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your insight, your pearls of wisdom and sharing your inspirational words with the world. Please come back again. You are always welcome.