There’s only one true failure in life (Guest Post & Give Away)

Geeky Lady Note: I’m pleased to welcome Author Lorraine Ash to the Lit Lady Blog today as part of her Women on Writing blog tour. She has authored a guest post for us below about telling real life obstacles from the fake ones, a topic she explores further in her second memoir, Self and Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life. Keep reading to learn how you could win a give away copy of her book.

About the Author: Lorraine Ash, MA, is an author, journalist, and essayist as well as a writing teacher. Self and Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life is her second book. Her first memoir, Life Touches Life: A Mother’s Story of Stillbirth and Healing, was published by NewSage Press and has circulated throughout the United States as well as in the Middle East, Australia, Europe, China, Canada, and Mexico. Lorraine also is a veteran journalist whose feature articles and series have won seventeen national, state, and regional awards and have appeared in daily newspapers across the country. Lorraine belongs to the Association of Writers and Writing Programs and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, Bill.

There’s only one true failure in life | Guest Post by Lorraine Ash

© Jeffrey Thompson |

© Jeffrey Thompson |

My dad was a guy who knew his way around an obstacle. He grew up in Jersey City, New Jersey, destitute and largely unwanted. After being abandoned by his parents, his paternal grandmother, who spoke only Italian and had twenty-two children of her own, took him in. Life in her home was not terrific, but there was some love.

When I was kid, my dad told me stories about his uncles, who all told him to quit high school and shine shoes for a living. He never heard a word of encouragement for his dream of an education. In fact, it was derided. His goal must have seemed ridiculously unachievable in that context.

Yet education, to my father, meant escaping that context. It also was a steppingstone to a life in the law—a life of social justice fighting for powerless, voiceless people. My dad understood voicelessness.

When he was sixteen, his grandmother died. Soon after, he joined the U.S. Navy. The year was 1943. When he returned, he went to law school on the GI bill, living in a room in a YMCA and eating half-hamburgers at a local diner to get by. He opened his own small law firm, completing the dream. He succeeded.

Absolute need to speak

As a kid, it was powerful for me to live inside a story like that. Though I couldn’t have articulated it at the time, I was absorbing a lesson about the power of an inspired inner voice that refuses, absolutely, to be silenced. “Go the distance!” it says.

Somehow, that kind of inner will triumphs. Its power activates the mind, which does its job: it figures out ways in the outer world to conquer obstacles. That’s true of the human condition all around the world.

In Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, Immaculee Ilibagiza tells of her horrific time during the Rwandan genocide of 1994. She writes of being hidden in a four-by-three bathroom with other Tutsi women in the home of a pastor as killers hunted and murdered Tutsis throughout the region and even inside the home. In that little bathroom, she did what she could: she prayed, hard, so the divine voice of goodness would prevail over the voice of negativity that sometimes bursted into her thoughts, paralyzing her with fear.

Her inner voice directed her to tell the pastor to move a wardrobe in front of the bathroom door, so the killers would not find the room. It also told her to teach herself English in the bathroom, prompting her to ask the pastor for the only three English books he owned. The new language was crucial to her well-being after the holocaust ended. Again, the voice showed the way around the obstacles.

Conscience above all

Here’s the thing: the only real obstacle to living a meaningful life is allowing your conscience—that inner, insistent voice—to be drowned out or silenced when it urges us to be courageous for the benefit of humankind. It may speak and find resistance to its message. It may be censored, even ridiculed. It may ignite the public imagination modestly but not strongly. It may be expressed ineffectively, at first. That’s all evolution, not failure.

How the world responds when you act upon the wisdom of your inner voice is none of your business. What matters is keeping the genuinely divine inner voice alive and letting it guide you to do what may even seem impossible. That is the only business you were born to conduct.

Questions: Can you hear your own voice of divine guidance? What is it saying? When is the last time you acted on what it urged you to do?


Lorraine Ash Authorselfandsoul1500x2400Lorraine Ash, M.A., is a New Jersey author, award-winning journalist, essayist, book editor, and writing teacher. Self and Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life, her second book, is available in a variety of formats and online stores, all presented here: Reach Lorraine at, , or @LorraineVAsh .

Self and Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life Synopsis: Are you living a life of quiet desperation? Questioning what it means to succeed? Wondering if your efforts matter? In this uplifting memoir, Lorraine Ash uses her own life experiences to explore inner landscapes where the seeds of divine healing and insight reside. These are the landscapes on which we create our own meaning and find the resiliency to thrive in a changing and challenging world. Self and Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life became available on August 15, 2014 as a digital audiobook. Find it at and as well as in the iTunes store.

Geeky Lady Note: Comment below with your thoughts and you’ll be automatically enter to win a free copy of Lorraine’s book, Self & Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life.

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  • “To thine own self be true” still works, maybe more than ever in this 21st century world.

  • What a beautiful post. Your dad’s story is so inspiring. I also read the book by Immaculee. It is one of the best books I ever read. What an amazing woman. Thank you for this wonderful post and for sharing such a positive message with the world.

    I think now, more than ever, I listen to my inner voice, especially when it comes to my daughter and stepson. I am not sure if it’s my age or the mama bear, but I know that I have acted differently in many regards to them than I ever have before.

  • Margo, Thanks to you and the other Literary Ladies for hosting this positive message! And, Patricia, you may be right. More voices than ever reach us these days.

  • Words of insight and wisdom here. The older I get, the more I am listening to my own voice and trusting the Source. It’s led me to some very difficult life decisions, with sometimes overwhelming and sad obstacles, but the voice and faith has urged me on. I will check into this book, win or not. Thank you!!

  • This book sounds great. So often we get an idea of what we are supposed to do, but need that nudge. It takes a lot of bravery to go forth and do it against the odds.

So, what do you think?