Book Excerpt: "Remarkable Changes"

Jane Seymour, an acclaimed actress with more than 50 motion pictures and television programs to her credit, has written her third book, Remarkable Changes. Seymour says this latest work revolves around seven signposts of change — stops we all visit, and perhaps revisit, on the turbulent voyage of life. Read chapter one of Remarkable Changes.

Chapter One: Take an Honest Look at Yourself

Examine Your Roots

When everything seems up in the air, and I don't instantly know what to do next, I've found that if I take an honest look at myself and at my predicament, I have a stronger starting point from which to make decisions. If I do not, my decisions all seem to be off center.

Taking a hard look at myself isn't something I was born knowing how to do, but something I came to understand a bit of as I was growing up. However, I don't believe I fully understood just what this particular signpost meant until I was nearly forty years old, and I was faced with one of the most painful episodes in my life — divorce and near bankruptcy all at once. As my life crumbled in little pieces around me, and I found myself at a total loss as to what to do about it, I had no choice but to take that honest look at who I was, and then at what was needed.

Luckily, long before that, there was the groundwork lovingly laid by my parents, who helped me to develop an honest and positive image of myself — one that started with understanding and accepting who I was.

While I must admit I haven't always acted on that image, still, so many times it has proved to be the element deep inside myself that has allowed me to find a way to rise above even the most painful episodes.

I was the firstborn, and I came into the world a year and a day after my parents were married. When I was a child, I used to tease them, embarrass them in public, by saying simply that I was born the day after they were married, ignoring the year that had passed. Of course in those days it seemed very shocking. My mother, Mieke, who is Dutch and from the town of Deventer in Holland, was in her thirties, when she had me, and she was very beautiful, with dark, dark hair, high cheekbones, and beautiful eyes. My father, Dr. John Frankenberg, had jet-black hair and a little mustache, and he was often mistaken for David Niven.

After my birth in 1951, my two sisters appeared in rapid succession. Sally is one year and four months younger than I, and Annie is one year and two months younger than Sally. Our first home outside of London was very small, with just two bedrooms, a living room, and a kitchen, in the not-so-nice part of Wimbledon. My mother had a home business at the time, selling wine, tobacco, and other luxury items to the foreign embassies in London, so our tiny house was filled with people working all day. My two sisters and I shared one bedroom, sleeping in beds that folded up against the walls when they weren't in use. When all the beds were down, it was almost impossible to walk from one side of the room to the other! We had a long garden behind the house that led down to some railroad tracks — and we truly thought we lived in heaven.

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