The Gathering

Inspired by Bruno Pirecki’s debut novel Town Lawe as well as Ben Franklin’s Junto (which later became the American Philosophical Society), I decided to start my own communal gathering. Both the examples listed depict people coming together to discuss ideas and pursue wisdom. And that’s what I wanted to do.

As someone who naturally resonates with the lone wolf archetype, I am often drawn to self-sufficiency out of fear that the need for community is based in weakness. But ultimately humans are communal creatures, and the cultivation of a healthy community can be incredibly life giving. I reached out to some friends individually to pitch the idea to them: I wanted to start a weekly gathering to build community and to pursue wisdom through the discussion of various topics.

Some people attend once and others come every week; I usually provide a charcuterie board of sorts so no one needs to leave hungry. Through my commitment to set aside this time and space on a weekly basis, a small group of about three or four of us meet to talk, often late into the night, about our questions, observations, frustrations, and celebrations in life. Sometimes the conversation doesn’t go very deep; other times I find myself revealing vulnerable truths I wrestle with as I search for growth and healing. The whole process has felt like a necessary part of leaning into what it means to be human, at least for me.

And as I have sought to offer value to others, I have found that blessing returning to me as well. There have been times I felt exhausted, and a friend furnished and prepared the snacks for me so I didn’t have to. As I have attempted to cultivate an environment of trust for others, so I have found I am able to express more vulnerable parts of myself and allow others to speak encouragement into my insecurities. This, I believe, is part of what it means to pursue wisdom.


Little Girl

Little Girl, what do you need from me?

I need to feel safe. I need to feel loved. I need to know I won’t be neglected.

How can I make you feel safe? How can I make you feel loved? How can I assure you you won’t be neglected?

By holding space for me. By nurturing me. By continuing to show up and not leave me alone.

How can I hold space for you?

By listening to me when I need to cry. By rocking me gently back and forth. By helping me to breathe again.

How can I nurture you?

Tell me a bedtime story in the evenings. Greet me in the morning with a yummy breakfast. Let me wear bows in my hair and necklaces made of dandelion chains. Feed me when I’m hungry. Wrap me up in blankets during thunderstorms. Light candles when it gets dark. Let me dance and twirl and have tea parties and eat ice cream.

How can I continue to show up and not leave you alone?

Keep asking these questions. Spend time with me. Ask what I need. Take care of me.

Little Girl, how do you feel right now?

I feel tight in my chest.

Can you take a few breaths? Can you tell me what’s wrong?

I feel scared. I feel sad. I feel abandoned.

Why do you feel scared?

I’m scared I’m going to go hungry. I’m scared I’m going to be ignored. I’m scared I’m going to be laughed at.

Why do you feel sad?

I’m sad because I don’t feel cared for and that hurts.

Why do you feel abandoned?

I feel abandoned because I have been forgotten. I am overlooked. I am invisible.

If I take better care of you, do you think you can be visible again?

Yes, I think I can.

Little Girl, what is one thing we can do right now that will make you feel good?

Let’s cuddle up in blankets and fall asleep.

We can do that. Will that make you feel safe?


Will that make you feel loved?


Will that make you feel like you won’t be neglected?


Okay, Little Girl. I’m here; I’m going to take care of you. I’m not going to abandon you.

Anticipating Summer’s End

Can you feel it?

The air shifts as the light of the morning sun softens to a honey-yellow, the early temperatures hinting at a release from the grips of summer’s stifling embrace. The seasons are changing once again; autumn is on its way.

In Gaelic tradition this shift is commemorated by the holiday Lughnasadh; in Christianity, Lammas Day; in astrology, the Lion’s Gate portal. Regardless of what we name it, this period of time is sacred, inviting change, anticipating something different from our current reality.

As with each shift and transition in life, it is during these days I feel drawn to look inward, to reflect on where I’ve been and where I’m going. I am not the person I was at the year’s inception, nor will I likely be the same at the year’s end as I am today. I am ever-evolving, stretching upward, yearning to grow.

I look to my inner child as a guide: What do you need to feel safe? How can I best provide for you? These seemingly simple questions have been the cause of much agony, forcing me to face my insecurities and past traumas in attempt to heal, to move on. Just when I think I’m “over” an issue, I find myself in the darkness once again, peeling back even more layers of myself that are asking to be seen, to be acknowledged, to be let go.

In the garden of my soul I uproot only what is needed to make room for what is to come, yet the uprooting process is excruciating. Still I tend to it, knowing that in due time my work will bear fruit.

I find this inner journey manifesting itself in external ways as well: the purging of my closet, the washing of windows; cleaning house to make room for the next chapter, whatever that may entail. Change is coming; can you feel it?

Low Power Mode

“Low Battery. Switch to low power mode?”

This message appears on my phone all too often – a sign it’s getting older and will eventually need to be replaced.

As I’ve been learning to better care for my body and overall self, I’m realizing I’ve been living life in a sort of low power mode for a long time. I’ve spent so long hibernating, trying to preserve my energy, because I’ve had so little of myself to give; and even what little energy I did have became depleted all too quickly.

As part of my commitment to taking better care of my body, I recently received a massage that helped bring this concept home for me. It had been awhile since I had received my last full-body session (and as a massage therapist, it’s important to receive work regularly). I didn’t realize how worn-out I was until my practitioner stood by my shoulders, slowly and methodically working out tension my body had been longing to let go of. It was as if my body was saying, “I feel seen and heard. Thank you.”

Not only did I feel more calm and more myself after that session, I also felt excited to then go and help other people feel the same way. I returned home with a fresh vigor for life and a desire to serve. This I believe is a glimpse of what human flourishing looks like: having my needs met so then I can help meet others’ needs out of my own abundance.

The healthier I am (physically, emotionally, and spiritually), the better I can serve others. I want to remember this lesson as I continue my journey to living life to the fullest. Life is not meant to be lived on low power mode.

Getting Ready to Launch

I have received my approval from the board of health to begin my practice as a licensed massage therapist in the state of Tennessee.

This is beyond exciting for me, and I’m incredibly grateful for and proud of how far I’ve come. I didn’t publicly chronicle the journey, though after the challenges I faced to get to this point I’m filled with a sense of relief and quiet determination as I begin this new season of life.

That being said I wanted to share some logistics here: I plan to be updating my website very soon to include the details of my massage practice, and it’s possible I will be changing platforms. Since I’ve never done this before I don’t know how much information will transfer from the old site to the new site, and you may need to “re-subscribe” to my blog once everything is set up. I will do my best to convey any necessary details of that once I have more clarity on it myself.

In the meantime, thank you to my readers who have encouraged me throughout my journey, whether you knew what I was up to or not. I look forward to sharing more of my adventures with you as I grow. Until next time, take care.

A New Season

I’ve kept it quiet from most of the internet for awhile, but I think I’m ready to announce something I’ve been working on for the past year and a half.

In a few weeks I plan to graduate massage therapy school and start my own practice as a licensed massage therapist. I have been attending night classes after work for the past almost 18 months and this season of life is nearing its end. I can’t begin to express the depth of the challenges I faced just to keep myself going in the midst of balancing work, homework, and battling my own inner demons along the way. One thing my school has emphasized throughout my journey has been the importance of addressing my own inner wounds so I don’t project them onto my clients. They talk about Carl Jung and the shadow self, about setting appropriate boundaries, about keeping myself healthy so I can better assist my clients in their journey to wellness. I have learned many lessons on this road.

In a few short weeks I will have a whole new set of challenges to take on: that of studying for the state licensure exam, setting up my business, finding a commercial space to rent, marketing, and more. I’d never seen myself as wanting to be an entrepreneur, and yet here I am. I have no idea where this road will take me. It may turn into a side business while I pursue something else, or it may be my livelihood for awhile. One thing I am certain of, and that is I’m excited to be nearing the end of my work-school-work-school hustle. To say it’s been exhausting would be an understatement.


Dance Partner

Once upon a time when my aunt was younger, she had some extra spending money and was trying to decide whether to buy a color tv or ballroom dancing lessons. She chose the dance lessons and met a man there who, lo and behold, possessed two color tvs. They fell in love and the man became my uncle.

I always thought that was a romantic story and thought it would be cool to find my partner in dance classes. While I’ve taken a few classes in the past, I don’t quite have the budget for it right now. But it’s something I plan to invest in a little farther down the road.

I was thinking recently about the importance of dance in my life, and how relevant it would be for my romantic partner to be able to / want to dance with me. And I realized that for me, dance isn’t just about physical exercise or a fun hobby. It’s a fundamental perspective on life.

Life is, in and of itself, art; and every movement, every step, every molecule of my body, every breath I take is an act of worship. I may not be a painter, but I believe that my very movements are a way of creating art with my body. So when I do yoga, or give a massage, or hug someone, or shift my weight from foot to foot as I walk heel to toe, my very being is an expression of art. I would hope that my partner recognizes and shares a similar belief in the sacredness of the body. I believe in dancing through life, and I am looking for my dance partner.

I don’t even know a lot about dance. Sure, I’ve dabbled in it here and there, but I’m no expert. I plan to train more formally and become better one day. I don’t expect my partner to be a professional. But it is a way of life I would hope we could share together. Not just because of the physicality of it (which is beautiful). But because of the meaning it holds for me, the idea that the body is sacred, and self-expression is an essential part of who we are.

And maybe I won’t find a partner. Maybe I’m meant to dance alone. But that won’t keep me from dancing nonetheless. Life is too beautiful not to.

The Sacredness of a Coffee Shop

The other day I was eating brunch in my favorite coffee shop when I noticed a couple of young women sitting nearby, one of them processing what sounded to be like a recent breakup. Not wanting to eavesdrop, I tried not to pay attention to the details, but from what I heard it sounded like the grieving woman did what she believed to be best by separating herself from her ex, and yet it was still hard to sever the connection.

I thought about my own anxiety that had brought me to the coffee shop: a need to get out of the house and process some of my thoughts on paper, working on planning out some of my financial goals for the next year. Somehow writing out my concerns, hopes, and fears helped me feel better.

I don’t know the story of the woman sitting near me, but I thought it a beautiful thing, how a place of common comfort – over lattes and cappuccinos – could become a place of common growth. She was working on her story, and I was working on mine. I’ll probably never know what will become of her. From what it sounded like, she was doing what she needed to be healthy, and because of that I’m sure she’ll be okay. And I think I will be too.

Where to Call Home

As I entered the airport after a weekend of visiting my family, I couldn’t help feeling a little emotional from saying goodbye. The place I had grown up in – and the people I had grown up with – were no longer my home. I have a home of my own, far away, and yet in that moment, when I was between the two, it felt like neither place was my home.

I remind myself that I belong in the present moment, and as long as I can stay present, I’m right where I’m meant to be. Sometimes the present moment is lonely. I’m not where I used to be, but I’m not quite where I want to be either. I have nostalgia for the past, but I do not belong there. I have an aching for the future, but I do not belong there either.

And so I must content myself with being okay where I am, and that can be hard to do.

The Pursuit of Wisdom in Relationships

I have two pursuits in the forefront of my mind during this season of life: to contribute to the healing of the world, and to pursue wisdom.

I have often wondered what the pursuit of wisdom looks like in the midst of personal relationships. In many situations I have felt healthier being single than I have dating, mostly because I haven’t always pursued the most healthy of relationships. Looking back over those situations I would usually feel a sense of freedom when they were over, because I could finally reconnect to myself again, and I’ve wondered if I’ll ever feel like myself when I’m with another.

That being said, because my goal is wisdom rather than a relationship, my philosophy has been that I’m going to continue pursuing my own growth, and if someone wants to join me in that journey I welcome the company. It can make for a lonely journey, though. The healthier I become, often the more isolated I feel, because not everyone is pursuing the same things. We are all at different points in our journey, and it can be hard to find people to relate to. That’s when I begin to wonder if I’m actually healthy or if I’m rather missing something crucial by not being in closer community with others.

I crave community. I crave closeness. And yet I feel like I can’t hear my own inner spirit if I don’t spend enough time by myself. It’s a constant tug-of-war, trying to figure out what the optimal balance is. Maybe it will take a lifetime to figure out.