I recently moved to bear country. I am living in a forested hill area that is covered by an umbrella of cedar trees and Douglas firs. The forest floor is carpeted in moss and the low growth of ferns. This is the type of country black bears love the most.
They evolved during a time when grizzly bears dominated the open spaces, so the smaller black bears stayed in the relative safety of the hills.
Because I have entered their home, I have been learning about this species, about both their...
Being who you really are is an act of undoing just as much as doing. It is undoing what you were taught about who you should be. It is doing the work of claiming who you really are, without apology.
It is undoing the belief that you should be quieter or less in the way. It is doing the work of speaking at your natural volume, owning your presence, and taking up the space you take up.
It undoing the belief that you should be normal. It is doing the work of being your quirky True Self.
I grew up in a family marked by addiction, narcissism, and abandonment. Because of this, and other things, I left my childhood with the firm belief that everything about me was wrong.
My thoughts were wrong. My hobbies were wrong. My frizzy hair was wrong. Everything I said was wrong. Everything I felt was wrong.
I wanted to be a writer, but I couldn’t write because that meant putting all my wrong-ness on a page and that hurt too much. Instead, I spent a decade sitting on a barstool...
Here’s the truth: I talk to trees. I sit and commune with them, and they commune back. We talk about life, self-expression, authenticity, and what it means to be a wild thing on this earth.
When I started blogging I thought this was the thing I most needed to hide about myself, because I imagined my readers coming after me with pitchforks screaming: “Talking to trees???? You’re insane!! That’s crazy!! You’re an evil witch!!!!!!” So I wrote helpful blog...
I was sitting on a green plastic lounge chair.
It was autumn, and I was looking out at a tall meadow of sumac, golden rod, and bee balm.
It was a foggy morning, not quite drizzling. I could hear the birds sing over the low rumble of distant highway noise.
I was especially enchanted by a birch tree at the edge of the meadow.
I loved her gray-white-papery bark.
I loved her lilting leaves in the breeze.
Though I was seeing the leaves move, it was more like I was hearing...
In my quarantine life I am spending a couple months with a dear friend and her family, who live in the woods.
I had planned on visiting her for a few weeks in March to help as she had her second baby.
Quarantine started in the middle of those few weeks, and so we all decided to extend the visit. This is much better than staying in my small apartment in the suburbs that has no yard.
I am grateful - overwhelmingly and incredibly grateful.
While I am here I decided to make a project of getting...
I've been having dreams lately where in the dream I ask a question.
I ask - "What is my spiritual practice?"
Whoever I happen to be asking responds by saying - "Mantra. Mantra. Mantra. Mudra."
These are words related to yoga and meditation.
A mantra is a repeated phrase you say again and again. A mudra is a hand position you hold either in meditation or as part of a yoga posture.
Here's how this dream message can be translated - "Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Hold."
I've gone through a lot of...
Here is a photo of me with my dear friend's new baby.
Babies are amazing threshold experiences, meaning they are experiences where you can mark a clear before and after with no turning back.
There is the day before labor, where everything is one way, and the day after labor, where everything is different.
Joseph Campbell said every story has a threshold, a place the hero embarks on an adventure and life is never the same again.
I've had many threshold experiences in my life.
Dear Writerly Woman,
Just in case you've forgotten, I want you to know:
You get to write the story you want to write in the voice you want to write it in.
Your story gets to be short or long.
It gets to be well-researched or not at all researched.
You can go for traditional publishing, self-publishing, or no publishing at all.
You get to write it as a memoir or a novel or a private diary.
You get to write it on a blog, as a poem, or in a Zine.
You get to...
Dear Writerly Woman,
What was the first story you remember loving as a kid?
Mine was Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel.
In fact, my love of Frog and Toad led me to one of my most egregious acts as a kid. I checked it out of the library and never brought it back!!!
To understand the true impact of this, you must understand that I am an epic rule follower. When I was a kid I got a knot in my stomach any time another kid broke a rule or did something dangerous.
I absolutely did not want to get...