Letter from the Director – May 2023

Cultivating Peace

Confession #1: I don’t get enough rest. 
Confession #2: I haven’t tried very hard to alter confession #1.

Are you like me? Do you tend to push yourself to the limit, figuring sleep and adequate rest will happen when you’ve accomplished everything else? Do you wear the nametag, “Busy,” with honor, believing, in your secret heart of hearts, that being constantly on the go proves you’re contributing to your world in a worthy manner? Oh writer and friend, let me implore you to reconsider those thoughts if you have them. And, let me share a story that might help prove my point.

Two weeks ago, I got up very early on a Saturday morning to go on a long bike ride with a friend. We were starting at 7:00 am and the drive to the starting place was about 45 minutes from the colony. I got out of bed at 5:30 and was on the road by 6:15 am. This would have been fine ordinarily. I’m a morning person. Getting up early doesn’t phase me – except that particular morning, I wasn’t rested. I’d been babysitting my son’s puppy and the pup kept me up a lot for 2 nights in a row. Add to that a couple of hard days of work during the past week and you can guess my state of being. Tired. Overtired. 

I finished the 58-mile bike ride and got in my mini-van to drive the 45 minutes back to the colony. I was aware that I felt sleepy. I kept driving. I talked to myself, sang to myself, shook my head back and forth, and still, the sleepiness seemed to grow like a shadow in front of me. I promised myself I’d take a nap when I got to RWC. I was 3 miles from the colony, feeling like I had cheated a potentially dangerous situation. I was still awake. And then I wasn’t as I drove off the road and into a ditch, slamming my mini-van into a large drainage pipe and rock-filled culvert. I had fallen asleep driving. 

I won’t go into the gory details of what happened next. Suffice it to say I was very lucky. I was bruised, but not broken. The wreck cost my car, but not my life and not anyone else’s life. When I got home from the Emergency Room, I let the affairs of the day wash over me. I had experienced a significant event and it was my duty to learn from it. Sleep and rest are too important to our body and mind to ignore. I experienced a wake-up call, pun intended. As I continued to mull over things, I realized I was not just missing rest, I was missing peace, the sort of deep calm and serenity that makes rest more likely to happen. 

I’ve been considering how to cultivate peace ever since that day. I like the word “cultivate.” It infers gentle action, caring for something so much that you give it a sort of sacred tending. It would be nice if peace just happened, but that’s not been my experience. Sometimes, it requires a little effort. Here are a few of the things I decided to focus on in order to nurture peace in my life:
1. Walk while holding grateful thoughts in my mind
2. Read a poem a day in my inbox
3. Sip hot tea before bedtime
4. Sit for 5 minutes on the back porch listening to birdsong
5. Visit the creek
6. Draw in my art journal
7. Pick one flower to put in the bud vase on my desk
8. Meditate

I’m not so naive as to believe these eight small things would have saved me from having a car accident, but I can honestly say that making an intentional effort to cultivate peace has made a difference in my ability to feel settled, to experience the composure necessary for true rest. When we’re rested, we’re much more able to make good decisions which lead to better outcomes, which lead to the best scenarios for being the best version of ourselves in this sometimes crazy world. 

How can you cultivate peace in your life?


Letter from the Director – April 2023

Embodied Writing
(What in the world is that?!!)

A couple of months ago, as I was hiking on the Fern Moss Trail, I came across a big 8-point buck lying about 10 feet from the trail. It was dead. I first thought it had been shot, then wandered onto the property injured, and finally succumbed to its wounds. But, there was no visible sign of trauma to the body. No bullet wound. No evidence of attack from predators. In fact, the buck looked perfectly healthy and robust, other than the obvious fact it was no longer alive. Its body had not started decomposing. There were no flies or other insects, no scent of decay. This was a recent death, and by all accounts, a peaceful death – not the usual kind of death I envision for a deer. I stared at the body for a long while as if I had stumbled upon some sort of holy moment, as if I was a witness to a key turning in the wheel of life. It spoke of a natural occurrence: life giving in to death which would give in to another kind of life as fuel/food to the species that would consume it. 

I looked at the antlers and admired them. I’d started collecting antlers I found in the woods, placing them in various places on the Doorways Meditative Path. These antlers would be a valuable addition.  I knew I would not dishonor the body by taking them now. They were not mine to take; rather, they belonged to the cosmos, the natural universe which viewed ownership as a useless label utilized by the insecure. The deer wasn’t mine. The land wasn’t mine either, though somewhere on a government property website, you could find a deed that had my name on it. I was only a guest, a witness, and that day, kneeling beside a magnificent animal, not moving, not breathing, but still bearing the magnificence of its life within the body, I was a spectator with a glimpse of the eternal. I felt an emotion I was not prepared to feel. I tried to give it a name. Wonder? Awe? Yes, those, but also something else. Humility. 

And then, this thought came: How do you embody humility? A strange thought, yes? How can you give tangible form to an idea or feeling, especially one so foreign in our culture today? I have thought myself important at times, thought of myself as attempting to put good into the world by offering writers a space to write. Yet, here I was standing beside a dead buck and I felt small, unimportant. I felt it in my heart, in my body. 

How do you embody humility? I’m not sure, but I know it requires silence and space. I gave the deer a nod and went back to the farm. 

I couldn’t let it go. I had to keep checking on it to see if the predators had found it, to see if it was doing its job in the circle of life. For a week, it wasn’t touched. And then it was. And then, one late cold afternoon, as the sun sank towards the western hills, I rounded the turn of the trail and looked for the deer in its accustomed spot. It was gone, completely, except for a few small tufts of fur. No bones, no flesh. It was just gone. 

I looked around, confused. It was a big deer. It would take some doing to move it very far from where it lay, but there was no sign of it anywhere nearby. Buried? Perhaps, I thought. If it was, the diggers had done a fine job covering their tracks. 

I went back several times to examine the scene. Every time, I reached the same confused conclusion. I had no clue what happened to the body of the deer. Two months passed. One day, I rounded the corner of the trail and something white caught my attention. I nearly gasped aloud. There, about 5 feet from the original place the deer had died, was the skull complete with antlers. 

How do you embody humility? How do you embody awe?

I don’t know what natural magic occurred in that space near one section of the Fern Moss Trail, but I do know there was something pivotal happening in me. I was no longer so concerned about understanding as I was delighting in the gift of witness. And then, somehow, it made sense. Embodying any emotion or idea has to do with standing in its center and taking on its translucence, its spirit, and allowing yourself to be changed. 

I’ve often thought about living inside a poem or a piece of writing, taking on its form and message, until the lines that separate me from the writing become blurred. That’s when I know it matters, and when I feel the truest sense of belonging. If embodying is a type of belonging which is a type of soul connection which is a type of freakin’ miracle, then let us step outside of logic and into what lives inside the words. That’s what I wish for you and your writing: that kind of embodiment.

The buck’s skull and antlers now grace the start of the Doorways Meditative Path. Every time I see it, I think about its journey from body to fuel to gift.

Now, I’m contemplating how to embody gratitude. 


Letter from the Director – March 2023

Is it Sacrifice, or is it Commitment?

I was eating dinner with a friend a few weeks ago, sharing stories and ideas. I told him about our RWC Newsletters and how we were choosing a word to dissect each month. I shared that we were toying with the word “Sacrifice” for March, but finding it to be a little heavy on the tongue, and heart for that matter. It has so many connotations. I added that we considered what we would sacrifice for our writing, or for the writers’ colony. He looked at me.

“Is that sacrifice, or is it commitment?” he asked. 

I said, “More. Tell me more about what you mean by that.” Thus began my exploration into the nuances between those words. 

Sacrifice is the act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important. It feels like a loss, even though it’s chosen, even though it’s a decision. It has a kind of bitter taste. Western culture frowns on sacrifice. We shouldn’t have to give up anything. We deserve to have it all, right? Maybe that’s why the word felt odd to me. And yet, the more I thought about it, the more I believed it plays a part in a writing life and in the existence of the colony. But, then so does commitment. I began to see these two words as a pair, spiraling around each other to create a tight cord. 

Commitment is the state of being dedicated to a cause or activity. We’re committed to our writing projects. I’m committed to the success of the colony in order to secure this space for future writers. That notion seems acceptable. It’s a truth that feels settled and real.

And then came a storm – the kind of storm that bears wind gusts of 60 mph and driving rain. Our buildings are old and fragile. So are our trees. Every storm makes me grit my teeth with concern. Surveying the property for downed limbs or damage to wood siding, I looked towards the carriage house and noticed a large piece of the roof was gone. Where the green metal strips used to be, I saw only brown (and wet) plywood. Inside, I first heard, then found, water dripping from the ceiling onto the floor. 

A week or so later, a roofer walked across the top of the carriage house, surveying the damage. His report was not unexpected. Our 25-year-old roof, now damaged, and to tell the truth, long in need of replacement, needed to be . . . well, replaced. The estimate was also not unexpected, but it wasn’t in the budget for 2023. It would be now. (And before you ask, yes, we have insurance! We also have a high deductible!)

“Sacrifice or commitment?” I asked myself. 

If I’m committed to the success of the colony, then these random maintenance issues must be addressed. In some ways, it feels like sacrifice because I had other plans for that money. The Carriage House has to have a roof though, so I chose the more important item. We’ll work to rebuild the finances.

With your writing, you may feel committed to your work. You may even, at some point, feel like you’ve sacrificed something for the sake of your craft. I think the point is this: what we may give up in the short term can be countered by the joy we gain in the long term. You get to decide how much your work matters and where it lands in your list of priorities. 

I found this quote from soccer phenom, Pele: “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” 

The final word, which seems to pop up amid so many of my musings, is love. Do what you do for love and it will usually turn out fine. 


Letter from the Director – February 2023

Focused and Unfocused:
Why It’s OK to Be Both

A few years ago, I was very into photography. I even took a course to better grasp the language of the art: aperture, f-stop, focus, depth of field, exposure, ISO, shutter speed, etc. While I understood a lot of what was taught, there were some things that confused me. For instance, I couldn’t wrap my mind around f-stops. (A measure of the aperture opening in the lens defined by dividing the focal length of the lens by the aperture diameter. What??!!!) Then, cell phone cameras started improving and the ease of handling one device, as opposed to a camera body plus a variety of heavy lenses, made me rethink my budding interest. One term, however, remained a significant word for me, especially as I turned my attention to building a writers’ colony. That word was “Focus.”

We all know what that word means. In photography, it means a central point of attraction or attention. It’s important to the composition of the picture to have a focal point, to have an area of focus. I want to expand the idea of focusing and attach it to writing. In this context, focus means to concentrate or direct one’s efforts towards a particular end. If we focus on a writing project intently, chances are it will be completed. 

That seems very straightforward. Because my brain likes to complicate things 😉 I started contemplating what it might mean to our writing if we fell out of focus for a short time, if we allowed our thinking to blur – just enough to permit a different sort of “seeing” into our work. To me, this aligns with another concept I read about lately. It’s the difference between resting in certainties and remaining open to possibilities. 

This might seem counterproductive to our pursuit of finishing our writing projects, but follow me down this rabbit hole for a minute. If we have the answers, if every part of our work is unshakably in focus, if we have predetermined every outcome, then we have also limited our creative selves. Sturdy answers close the door to opportunities, to new thinking and new creativity, and to the magic of allowing a piece of writing to embody its own destiny. It reminds me of what my poetry mentor used to tell me: “Get out of the way of your poem!” I used to argue back, “But I’ve already decided what this poem needs to be!” He would reply gently, “The poem knows better than you do.” He was right.

I often think I have the answers and that I’m a powerhouse when it comes to focusing. When I allow different focal points, even areas of “unfocus,” to speak into my writing, my writing expands into places I couldn’t even dream of. This month, I challenge you to loosen the reins of your focus a little bit, to open yourself to the possibility of different answers, and to see beyond your determined plans into fields of vision that might hold something surprising and beautiful, something that even an f-stop wouldn’t be able to measure or control.


Letter from the Director – January 2023

Vulnerability is a Super Power

The year began unseasonably warm and I walked the trails through the colony’s winter-brown fields coatless. The ground was damp from past rain and the seep that joins the water of the top ridges to Flat Creek was flowing full. I squatted beside the small pond at the southeastern edge of the property and watched the stream surge from beneath a rock against the sun-warmed bank. My heart was hurting.
The water collects underground for many yards, filling a natural cistern before gushing out at this place. I found a seat on a thick fallen tree limb and noted the steady music of the flow. The sound was softer that I thought it should be given the force, almost as if the natural world sensed my ache and was tiptoeing around me. I folded my body, pulled my knees to my chest and breathed.
I don’t think there’s anything that can heal a wrong except time. There’s no antiseptic for unkindness, no bandage to wrap around emotional wounds. Nothing can really dull a gut kick, metaphorical as this one was. I had trusted someone. I had believed in them. I had allowed myself to be vulnerable and found a blade (also metaphorical, thankfully) stuck in my back. With the benefit of hindsight, one can hope to glean wisdom from such experiences, or at least to not make the same mistake twice, but I don’t know the trick to erase the pain. I think you have to lean into it, live in its skin, open yourself to it even more than the openness you offered to what caused the pain. Easier said than done.
The cost of vulnerability can be high, but I think there’s value in the purchase. You might not get what you want, but what you gain in understanding your own tenderness is worth a lot. Vulnerability is not weakness; in fact, it’s power. Brene Brown says, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” Poet David Whyte says, “Vulnerability is the underlying, ever-present and abiding undercurrent of our natural state.” This feels like power to me.
I think it also comes down to trust and openness. You can live your life with your heart locked tight as a vault or you can share the key code knowing there’s a certain risk that comes with that. There’s risk in everything – risk in loving, risk in trusting, risk in sharing, risk in daring to be your truest self. I think the worst outcome is not when we’re open and trust someone, even if it ends badly, but when we don’t ever allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to take the chance.
Isn’t it the same thing with writing? You can’t direct all your words from the safe haven of your intellect; indeed, some of them, maybe most of them, have to come from the heart. When you write, you’re trusting the world to hold your language carefully and kindly. You’re offering a piece of yourself. Believe me, I know the courage that takes. I know as well, how frightening it is to be vulnerable within a world so often harsh. I know the cost of risk. I think you should risk anyway.
By the pond, even as I was hurting, I watched the water from the land rush beside me. I felt its energy and purpose, its renewal. I felt a sense of my own deep waters, an undercurrent rising through me, independent of anyone else’s acceptance or permission. That’s what these words stand up for, and why, when I sensed the sun’s warmth on my shoulders, I pushed myself to my feet and walked back to the farmhouse. There was still a lot of work to do.
May you feel your own power in vulnerable moments. May you take the risk.


Letter from the Director – December 2022

Only the Gentle

I’m looking for a word to describe what I’m sensing and needing these days. The last week has been damp and the skies have held a blue-gray hue against the horizon. Days linger as long as they can until the hush of evening falls and the light slowly fades into darkness. What I see when I look across the quiet country fields in this early winter season is the soft glow of Christmas lights from nearby houses, and the trees lit up white and gold. I don’t think about the holiday bustle and busyness; rather, I think of how the light streams across the land like ribbons and how dusk glows with a sort of promise. It’s as if everything is settling into itself, bedding down with gentle sighs. Gentle breaths. It’s a different sort of season. 

Then I have it. The word I’m looking for is gentle. It’s not a word I typically associate with the holidays, but maybe it’s a word worth considering. I recently read the phrase, “Only the gentle are truly strong,” and I’ve carried those words with me through these chilled days. I’m intrigued by phrases like this. Both “gentle” and “strong” are fair words, good words, words we wish to claim for ourselves. Carry them together and the meaning shifts slightly. To be strong is one thing, but to show strength through gentleness is quite another. That demonstrates choice and control, and maybe more importantly, restraint. 

For me, December is the month for winding down the year, gathering the threads of experiences and weaving a cloth of remembrance. As I prepare for 2023, I want to honor 2022 for its lessons. I don’t want to impose judgment or label what was good, what was bad. Instead, I want to allow and accept, acknowledge the happenings of the year with respect and introspection. I want to treat them gently, and maybe through that gentleness find strength to move forward, make changes, and grow. I never want to be static. I want to be moving with intention towards something better.

With that in mind, I wish you, dear writers and friends, a holiday season of gentle strength and a time for gathering what you’ll need for the new year. We’ll be doing the same here at RWC as we close for 4 weeks and make plans to reopen the first weekend in January for the Writing Goals Retreat. We hope you take time to ponder what is gentle, what is strong in your life, and how those good words become better when carried together. 

Blessings and Happy Holidays,

Letter from the Director – November 2022

In Company

We just finished our third weekend retreat in a row. Whew! As tiring as hosting retreats can be, they’re also energizing. The retreaters who spend a weekend at RWC bring with them a unique light, a personal vitality that infuses into the atmosphere and adds to the overall verve of the colony. I’ve always believed that everyone who enters the farmhouse can feel a bit of the generous spirit of those who entered before them. That was true for me the first time I stepped through the kitchen doorway. 

I had been looking for a property to purchase for eight months. I had some specifications in mind (like private bathrooms for every bedroom!) but I didn’t have a solid idea of what might make the perfect colony for writers. I only knew I would know it when I found it. Imagine how frustrating that was for Kim, my real estate agent! She took me to properties all over middle Tennessee and I would say, “This is nice, but it doesn’t feel right.” She came to accept my “feel” for things, bless her, and didn’t try to reason it out too much!

When I walked into the kitchen at 6994 Giles Hill Road, College Grove, I stood in silence for a few minutes. I said to Kim, “This is it.” Kim said to me, “Don’t you want to see the rest of it?” I said, “Yes, we can do that, but this is it.” As we toured the property, the “feeling” only increased. At the end of our tour, Kim said, “Yes, I feel it too. This is it.” One month later, the purchase of the property was final. That was in March 2018.

I say that to attempt to explain a part of  RWC that is hard to put into words. This place is bound by all the hearts and spirits that have ever been here. We are “in company” with the generous and kind-hearted people who lived and worked and dreamed and loved here, in the buildings, on this land. I cannot count the number of times writers enter through the kitchen door off the main deck and sigh because they sense the innate goodness that has come before them. Some even cry. Some say, “I feel like I’ve come home.” 

I believe in the goodness of the past and try to add a semblance of goodness to the present and future. It is not a chore. It is a blessing, an opportunity to weave some tiny thread of positivity through the fabric of a world that can be challenging. It gives back far more than it costs. 

So, on retreat weekends, when I’m busy and tired and ready to have a day off, I remind myself that this opportunity to serve will benefit the colony in the end. It adds to the layers of love and life that sustain us. There is a company of spirits that have come before and left their energy and beauty for us to receive completely for free. That’s something to be grateful for. We gladly pass that on to you!


Letter from the Director – October 2022

Peace in the Parting

In 2019, I asked Williamson County Animal Shelter if they could give me a couple of barn cats. I took 2 cats home in plastic boxes with no idea of their color, sex, or disposition. I was told they had zero socialization and didn’t know each other at all. The animal shelter employee said, “Good luck” and handed me instructions on “what to do WHEN your barn cat runs away.” As I carried the boxes to my car, I thought, “What am I doing?!!”

That’s how Finn and Oliver came to be the Colony Cats. The inferred prediction of how they would do in their new home was completely wrong. OK, it took a year for them to settle, but these two cats have brought joy, wonder, and many photo opportunities to writers. And to me, they brought love in a time I needed it most. I thought they would live forever. Surely, the universe knew we couldn’t make it without them. 

And then the world shifted and Finn was gone. He died on September 28- suddenly, shockingly. At 3:30pm, we were at the vet. At 5:00pm, I was digging a grave. 

To be honest, this loss feels incredibly hard. Finn taught me how to be a cat person after a lifetime of being solely a dog person. He showed me that sometimes being aloof and distant didn’t necessarily mean being unbonded. He knew where he belonged and he knew he was loved. He greeted writers upon arrival. He sat with them on the front porch in the morning sunlight. If you were very lucky, Finn would lean into you and rub his head on your arm. With me, he would bite my hair – a sign of ownership. 

As I try to put meaning into a very raw event, I struggle, but whatever powers there are to remind me of past joys won’t desist. I remember the times Finn followed me up the trail, meowing the whole way as if to say, “Why do we have to go up here?” I remember the places Finn would doze during the day – on top of the grill, in the wheelbarrow, on the worktable in the garage, under the bench on the back deck. I remember his distinct meow, shorter and higher than Oliver’s, and how he would tell me he was coming when I called his name. In those memories, I can find a settled peace. 

We can’t replace Finn, but we can rescue other barn cats and give them a home and not take for granted the holiness of every small life. That’s the lesson here, I think. Every small life matters. Every small love expands beyond the borders of its contained body. That’s the way love works. Writers who know the value of words know also the value of spirit. I was blessed knowing Finn’s unique personality and doubly blessed by his love.

Goodbye, Finny. We will remember you. 


Letter from the Director – September 2022

Pause and Ponder

Anyone who knows me well knows I’m very active and busy. That’s my natural tendency. When I rest, I’m often thinking of and planning for the next burst of energy required for the next new project or idea. It’s hard for me to slow down. In fact, I rarely stop for long . . . unless I’m forced to. Funny how that works. When it’s necessary to pause, when I’m required to stop my busy enterprises, I’m pleasantly surprised at how refreshing it is to simply “Be.”

I had a triathlon race in Wisconsin this past weekend. I had a good swim and was at mile 15 of the bike when a pedestrian/spectator ran onto the bike course and we collided. The collision made me crash head-first into a parked pickup truck. The moments that followed were interesting. I was unable to say where I was or what my name was. I didn’t feel panic – just a sort of confused wonder at what I was doing on the road. I knew I was in a race, but I had no idea where. When someone told me I was in Wisconsin, I remember thinking, “How in the world did I get to Wisconsin?” Within a few more minutes, I remembered everything, and then I was whisked away to the emergency room.

I’m not badly hurt, but I will need a few weeks to heal from my injuries. It’s a forced pause, a slow-down to allow my body to heal and my concussion-addled brain to steady. Living in the still air of patience and acceptance is a lesson in a different sort of fortitude than the one I’m used to. It wasn’t in my plans to get hurt, but the hurt came anyway, and it’s my responsibility now to see what I can learn from it. Otherwise, the experience is wasted.

Here’s what I’m discovering from my forced “Pause.”

1. People matter more than anything else. So many people have taken the time to check on me and see if I need anything. Am I attentive to others’ needs when I’m in “Busy” mode? Can I take a moment every day to tune into another person’s heart and say “I see you, you matter?” 

2. Being still teaches a certain kind of balance which can lead to delight. I sat on my back porch yesterday and watched the afternoon fade into dusk. Two chipmunks were chasing each other from the porch to the grass and into the burrow under the shed. I felt like I was a crucial part of this scene. I belonged in an intricate way to the wonders of nature. I didn’t move or direct anything. I simply was there.

3. Letting go of perfectionism is the key to being satisfied. I was sorely disappointed I didn’t finish the race. I kept replaying the details of the wreck in my head over and over. What did I do wrong? What should I have done differently? Sometimes, stuff happens that we can’t control. Sometimes, we simply have to accept the drama of the day and move on with gratitude.

4. Beauty exists in every situation if you stay open to it. As I was being driven from the ER back to my hotel, I noticed the light glinting off the water of the lake, little cups of sparkle and glee. I thought, “how beautiful.” Back at home, I settled into my own comfortable bed with its floral comforter and sage green pillows and I thought, “how lovely.” Do I even notice this when I’m focused on all I need to get done?

When I think about my writing, I realize that if I get too focused on the achievement aspect and forget the beauty of each moment, I can miss the whole point of writing entirely. I write because I have something valuable to say. My writing comes from my soul, not my ambition. Remembering that is what will keep me at the page. 

A “Pause,” forced or chosen, can be a time of pondering and eventually, great insight. If we believe every situation has a purpose and a lesson, we’re more apt to let experiences teach us and take the lessons to heart. Yes, we learn a lot from work, but we learn equally from not working, from pausing our “Go” button, and simply allowing the universe to share its infinite wisdom. I would not have chosen to wreck in the race, but I AM choosing to ponder the Pause, the Moment, the Wonder of Being Here Right Now. 

It’s something I’m glad I didn’t miss.


Letter from the Director – August 2022

Wild Love

I like to walk beside the creek early in the morning before the rest of world stumbles out of bed and into another busy day. It steadies me, readies me for the work of the next eight hours, some of which is planned and expected, some discovered by accident and more reactive than proactive. The few minutes of calm is when I best practice the art of mindfulness, of seeing what’s before me, taking it in, reveling in appreciation and awe. 

One morning, I noticed a strip of blue bordering the creek, right where the water met the shore. It was bed of dayflowers (Commelina), those small weedy plants that have 2 ear-like blue petals rising on a slender green stalk. The wisp of color lasts only a day, but gathered in bunches at the edge of the creek, the impact was lovely. I stooped to look at one closely and noticed the stamens curved together, forming a heart – a perfect, tiny heart – tucked into the grasses. I felt like I had stumbled upon a secret, a nod from the universe that spoke love over the wide earth, that promised something more than what I might think I had earned. Love. Everywhere.

And then, indeed, it was everywhere. I saw hearts in vines, in leaves, in rocks, in shadows, in reflections, in the hazy shimmering waves of sun after rainfall. Everywhere. I took it as a sign that no matter how unloved or unlucky I felt at any given moment, love existed around me, inside me, above me, before me. I needed only to look at the wild world for confirmation that I was loved and part of a universe of love. The best part was the ability to give back the gift of love in return – to family and friends, to the land and environment, and to myself and my writing. 

Love always has a bit of the unconventional to it, but it’s at its most radical when applied to ourselves and what we do. We want to love ourselves, love our words and our writing, but for some reason, it feels conceited to say so. What if it didn’t? What if we took the world at face value and believed in the hearts all around us? What if the signs we dismiss as simply ordinary are really the extraordinary messages of a universe seeking our highest good? Why do we worry that we haven’t seen enough, done enough, been enough, when the whole world is waiting for us to just be fully ourselves? 

There is a world of hearts out there waiting for you to discover them. Once you see one, you’ll see many, so get ready to be bombarded with wild love. Then, pass it on to the people around you, to your own dear soul, to your own wild words.