When the Past Returns to the Present

The Journey
By Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew 
what you had to do, and began, 
though the voices around you 
kept shouting 
 their bad advice–

though the whole house 
began to tremble 
and you felt the old tug 
at your ankles. 
“Mend my life!” 
each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop. 
You knew what you had to do, 
though the wind pried 
with its stiff fingers 
at the very foundations, 
though their melancholy 
was terrible.

It was already late 
enough, and a wild night, 
and the road full of fallen 
branches and stones.

But little by little, 
as you left their voices behind, 
the stars began to burn 
through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice 
which you slowly 
recognized as your own, 
that kept you company 
as you strode deeper and deeper 
into the world,

determined to do 
the only thing you could do– 
determined to save 
the only life you could save. 

Rest in Power Mary Oliver, a womxn whose writing touched my heart, inspired my mind, connected me to myself, others and the natural world around me. I am grateful for your words being in the world and in my world. Dear community, 

In high school I thought I knew what I wanted to do with my life…write for Rolling Stone. I was a huge music fan and editor in chief of the school newspaper. I loved writing, I loved being a journalist, and I decided to major in Journalism in college.

In high school I thought I knew what I wanted to do with my life…write for Rolling Stone. I was a huge music fan and editor in chief of the school newspaper. I loved writing, I loved being a journalist, and I decided to major in Journalism in college.

By junior year of college I realized I had not written anything for publication in 3 years. I was still writing for myself, but not for anyone else. I also realized the classes I enjoyed most were Psychology. I declared myself a double major and thought I would probably never put that journalism degree to use. 

Fast forward almost 20 years to my first article in print coming out in Yoga Therapy Today! I wrote a piece called, Yoga Therapy Beyond the Koshas: Examining Unearned Privilege and Oppression.  

Writing has always been a healing process for me. I love writing these newsletters to you each month. I love sharing parts of myself with others with the hope that it will offer some support and/or connection. My writing can feel personal and vulnerable at times, and through my writing I understand myself more deeply. It is a big step for me in the beginning of this year for my words have a further reach. That in itself feels vulnerable and humbling, and I am grateful for the opportunity. 

This past year I also received my first rejection to an on-line magazine as well as to a writing residency. I took myself on my own writing retreat and was not sure I had anything to write. I ended that retreat with over 10,000 words written and 15 hours of writing.

Many times it is difficult for me to envision how life will unfold or intersect with other parts of my life. I made the assumption that writing was something in my past. In reclaiming writing it feels a bit like a homecoming to part of myself I didn’t know wanted to exist anymore, and I am grateful for some wonderful people and painful life circumstances that put writing at the forefront of my life again. I was challenged to write when I didn’t want to, and in that challenge I reconnected to the love of it. 

In 2019 there may be more writing, and I am also not setting goals for myself. I am going to approach writing with pleasure and inspiration rather than the old ways of deadlines and getting space filled, which is probably a couple of the reasons I stopped writing all those years ago. I am currently shopping a piece around to different publications and would love to hear the publications YOU like to read. There are so many amazing authors and publications around I am unaware of!

In closing I want to acknowledge and thank some of my favorite writers: Reagan Jackson, adrienne maree brown, Father Gregory Boyle, Cheri Huber, Ijeoma Oluo, Brene Brown, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Desmond Tutu, Nischala Joy Devi, Shelly Tochluk, Kavitha Chinnaiyan and Eli Claire. 

With love and gratitude,
Laura