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.

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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?

Yes.

Will that make you feel loved?

Yes.

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

Yes.

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

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.

Welcome!

Welcome to my new website! I was able to keep WordPress as my blogging platform after all, which hopefully means a seamless experience for my readers who have been with me since before the change.

I have officially launched my website, KatherineHill.com, and am working on developing my brand as a massage therapist and holistic entrepreneur. My goal is to have a place to connect all my creative outlets into one cohesive brand, hence my Music page as well as links to my YouTube channels on my About page.

I want to thank my readers again for your following throughout the years as I have shared my journey of growth, healing, and ultimately learning about myself. I’m excited for this next chapter and to share how I’m growing in the process. Take care.

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.

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.

Finding My Life Purpose: An Exercise

Seven years ago I came across Mark Manson‘s Life Purpose Guide, an 11-page article with step-by-step instructions on how to write out one’s goals and find direction in life. How I stumbled upon it I cannot remember, but in the summer of 2013 I found myself writing out the biggest bucket list I had ever attempted: ideas and thoughts of all the things I would love to do before I die. Anything from getting married to singing on Broadway went on the list, no matter how unrealistic, trivial, big or small.

I don’t remember if I actually followed Manson’s guide exactly to determine my purpose in life, but what the exercise did do was help me begin a journey of figuring out what I wanted to do, how I wanted to live.

Many successful speakers, researchers, and coaches advise people to write lists to help with productivity and accomplishing tasks. Since I love to journal, it wasn’t a far stretch for me to begin my own system of list-making. Now, besides regular to-do lists I write for cleaning the house or grocery shopping, I have a running bucket list of certifications I want to obtain, places I’d like to visit, or other goals I’d like to accomplish. And over the years, that exercise of list-keeping has helped me grow as I find my sense of direction, purpose, personhood.

At first the idea seemed almost selfish – focusing on what I want. But in a way, writing out everything I want helped to get myself out of the way. If I got myself out on paper, I wasn’t stuck in my head and I was able to focus on living my best life. I could see clearly what was realistic or not, and I didn’t have to feel ashamed of my thoughts. I was able to create a roadmap of what to pursue and how to get there. And in so doing, I could create the clarity I needed to free myself up so I could be of service to others as well.

Awhile back I created a post that listed what I would do on an ideal day. It was a very basic list, but it gave me a starting point to help define what I enjoy and what I value. And if I know what I value, I know how to live.

The Passion Conversation, Continued

I discovered a few years ago the idea of cultivating a passion instead of finding it. The article on the Minimalists website explaining this idea brought validation to the struggle I felt so strongly in college to find something I was passionate about so I could be like my peers. During one lecture in college the speaker even asked, “What are you willing to lose sleep over?” as an exercise to determine what we get excited – or passionate – about. But the silent answer I came up with was that I’m not willing to lose sleep over anything because sleep is important. It’s important to live a balanced, healthy life.

And so my journey of personal growth developed over the years. I still love sleep every bit as much as I did in college, and I become vexed if I can’t have my sleep. As I have explored in many of my previous posts, I have many interests and many things I love to learn about. However, I only love to explore them if I can do so in a healthy way.

As I’ve grown, I’ve realized I do indeed have passion within my being, just not a traditional, 21st-century type passion. My passion is not for a particular career or cause, but for life itself.

Living Without A Passion; A Yoga Practice

These are some thoughts I began to write a couple years ago. I have often felt insecure that I didn’t feel passionate toward a particular career or cause like many of my peers did. This is a snippet of my mental process.

Reflections from February 2018

I bow my head, palms together in a prayer-like position. Close my eyes; breathe. I do not feel a particular passion toward anything.

I reach my hands up to the sky – feel a gentle pull in my muscles as my body awakens. I do not have a dream job, only varied interests.

I touch my toes; my head pulled down by gravity. I accept what is. I have a bucket list of things I’d like to try, but more importantly I just want to be.

Weight shifts onto my hands as my feet shoot back to land in a plank. I am strong; I work hard. I pay my bills and reduce debt. I am learning to purge my possessions to live more simply.

Lower onto the belly. I enjoy cleanliness and wellness. I like simplicity and natural products. I diffuse essential oils and buy bamboo toothbrushes. Arch my back, feel the stretch in my throat. I enjoy animals and nature.

I raise my body up until I’m in an inverted “V” shape – my hands and feet on the ground with my hips toward the sky. I’ve often wondered if something was wrong with me because I don’t feel a passion toward a singular career. I just want to live a balanced life. I breathe in, breathe out. I let go of my insecurities.

I walk my feet up to my hands and slowly rise to standing again. I long for more in life, but I am also learning to become one with the present.

Lighting the Inner Fire

Every so often, my spirit goes through cycles – periods of light and shadow much like the passing seasons. 

Recently I found myself in a shadow. Disconnected from my sacred Essence, I felt lost and alone. A heaviness settled on my chest as I found myself stuck in an isolated darkness.

I do not have a formula for how to escape these shadows. For this particular storm, reading an inspiring book to remind myself of my inner flame was enough to rekindle the fire within. But still the heaviness remains. Some days feel lighter than others. I walk a sacred path and I recognize the value of my solitude. When I can, I connect with others to share a kindred flame, strengthening myself for when I am alone again.

My journey is one which no one else can walk for me, and that is hard. Keeping my soul fire lit is a lifelong learning process, although (simply enough) it is best fueled by love. Sometimes I forget that. But today I remember. Today I am connected to my soul fire, however faint the ember.