JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Patricia Gagne has been a teacher, writer, poet and photographer — now she adds author to her accomplishments with the publication of her book “The Heroic Self.”

It was not a book she set out to write, but when she was approached to do it, she found she couldn’t keep it bottled up. It is a book about facing life’s issues that we all face.

The slim volume is divided into 27 chapters, each with an essay on a single topic. Each also has an affirmation and one of her poems on the subject.

Some chapters are the ones with capital letters: Love, Death, Anger, the Power of the Universe.

But other chapters look at the other sources of life that energize us or sap our strength: mistakes, dreams, mother/father love, depression, divorce.

Then there are the chapters that are intriguing: the need for love and fear, the necessity of loss, the quality of grace.

Gagne said a book editor approached her to write the book after she had written her affirmations concerning life issues as part of a self-study course at her church. Then she would often write a poem inspired by the affirmation.

“In the end, I only had three chapters that I had not already written a poem for,” Gagne said. “So this is a collection of all of that. It’s dealing with what life brings to us both good and bad.”

As a teacher of yoga, she understands how the body is always in search of balance. The spirit is on much the same journey, she said.

“Most of us have a sense of spiritual resources within ourselves,” Gagne said.

For some, it may be prayer and connecting to a higher power, living in a community of worshippers and the solace or rituals.

Some use yoga and meditation to touch that “deepest self.”

The difficulty is learning how to tap into that reservoir of spiritual resources to serve in dealing with day-to-day living.

The path to personal healing and creative growth must come from within, she said.

Carla Burton, library manager for Ocee Library in Johns Creek, said she found much wisdom in the book.

“I found it to be both inspirational and introspective,” Burton said. “It is relatable to your life. You can tell it took a lifetime to accumulate the wisdom here.

“A lot of it may be things you have heard before,” she said. “But she brings a new voice and makes you really think about how you perceive nature and the experiences you have in life.”

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