“Peace” be with you

Seneca Coordinator shares travel experiences and life lessons in new book

While it was cold and brisk outside, Erin Lawler Patterson was describing her time in the warm, green areas of Italy to the people in the Seneca High School Media Room. A bunch of eyes were focused on her while she shared her life experiences to those who had attended her book signing. Paterson’s book, “Peace Love and Goodness: Lessons from the Drug Lady,” chronicles her personal experiences and the life lessons it taught her.

“It has been in the works for the past two or three years,” Patterson said. “My goal was to publish a book before I was 40, and I was getting close to that mark. I talk to kids about setting goals and making them happen. I wanted to set that example. I cracked down and made it happen.”

In the book, Patterson, who is an avid traveler, tells stories about traveling abroad. Some areas she went to included not just Italy, but areas of Eastern Europe and other parts of the globe. Her sightseeing led her to meet unique people around the world, many of whom shared their stories with her.

“It opened my eyes to how fortunate and blessed we are in our country,” Patterson explained. “It opened my eyes to different needs of people, whether it was our country or other parts of the world, and just how traveling is a life lesson itself with the different people you encounter. If you allow yourself to listen and to grow, it can be just a spectacular journey.”

Patterson, who is the substance awareness coordinator at Seneca, hopes this book leaves an impression on whomever reads it, no matter what age or level of experiences someone has had.

“I think this book targets anyone who has a desire to travel, who is raising a teenager, has somebody in their life that they care about that they are willing to grow and learn,” she added. “I think this book applies to anyone as a reader, and I come from the angle of being a traveler and a parent, as a college kid to a counselor. I feel that we all can learn from each other. My hope is to shed some light on different issues that I learned as a counselor and as a backpacker, two totally contrasting experiences that are very similar.”

There were many people on hand to have their book signed. Two of the people on hand for the event were Juliane Saiia and Cindy Lee.

“It is fabulous,” Saiia said. “Erin has done a lot and has been a lot of places. She truly is inspirational. Our kids love her here at the school. It is just a good book. You get a good feeling, and you come away thinking about your life.”

“Her stories are amazing,” Lee added. “The things that she has done, you laugh in the book and you cry at some of the sad things. It is a great book and it is full of ‘Erinisms.”

Patterson’s message and motivational words have traveled not only through the halls of Seneca; it has spread globally. She writes columns for mental health websites in the United Kingdom and Australia.

Patterson is already in the process of writing her second book. She mentioned during the discussion of her book about everyone having a finite time how they can leave an “imprint” on someone else’s heart. She hopes she leaves an imprint that other people she has come in contact with would like.

“My hope is that when I am no longer here … my impact has been on the hearts of other people, instilling selflessness and compassion and living recklessly in the sense of just loving and caring for people that have no strings attached,” she said. “I think life is fleeting and we can live for ourselves, or we can live to make a difference. As I walk through these halls every day, or if I am in Cairo, or if I am in Portugal, am I applying my words to my life? My hope is one day when I take my last breath, that is not remembering me because that doesn’t really matter. It is remembering the lessons and the insights and letting life change you.”

“Peace Love and Goodness: Lessons from the Drug Lady” is on sale now on Amazon.