It started with the young man working in the post office who, when I asked him how he was, looked up at me with bright eyes and said, “I”m evolving.” And how I cocked my head and wondered if he were speaking to me directly, like some bodhisattva planted in the post office to jar me, to get me thinking about my life.
Or maybe it was random, something he said to everyone, which, as it turns out might be true, because one of my students who lives in town, told me he said the same thing to her. And why not? Our own little Yoda getting a whole town of people to go home and have a little think.
I’m evolving, he told me, as he stamped my packages, and sent me out the door.
And maybe I am evolving too, since evolving means change. Maybe we’re all evolving, whether we’re ready for it or not.
Like that moment last week – I have no idea what prompted it – as I walked through the kitchen, then stopped mid-stride, frozen, my hands flying up to my chest and to my belly, and how the words, “My god, my god,” flew out of my mouth involuntarily. How in that moment, I was instantly aware of 61-years of body trauma, self-consciousness, and shame erupting out of me like some pent up geyser that had nowhere else to go, finally.
“My god,” I gasped, as this visceral awareness sprung up inside of me, in the middle of the day, in the middle of my life. Out of nowhere, this whoosh of compassion for these strong legs, these sturdy haunches, this mama belly, these hips, and breasts, too big, too small – a lifetime of feeling that I should look different, that I should change, that it was my fault, my failure. My god, I thought, as I opened to the totality of it, the toll it has taken, the energy it has robbed me of, and the realization of how alive it is inside me, still.
And the next morning, as I sat down on the toilet to pee, my hands flew to my heart. “I forgive you,” I said out loud. “For what?” I asked myself. “For everything,” I answered.
For the friends I have let down, the business decisions that might have cost me, the tight jeans because I’m ravenous, the prednisone for the poison oak which changed my brain. For the car accident back in July and the note from the insurance agent who said the older man who’s car I hit had hired a lawyer.
I forgive you, the kindest part of me said. For everything.
For being taught how to work, but not how to rest. For striving and not knowing how to slow down, and for the question my old friend Lisa asked about my work, “Is it inspiration or compensation?” she wondered. And I sat with that for a long time.
Forgiveness for that. For habits created during the pandemic that have been comforting, but also isolating; iPhone as a portal to the world via email, instagram and Facebook. For the nightly crawl into bed as I head to a place called Schitts Creek where people’s failures make them more lovable, more accessible, more human.
“My god,” I told myself. “I forgive you. For everything.”
For this pandemic, and for the exhaustion, and sometimes hanging on by our teeth. For the Zoom call with my three siblings, where one sister started the call in tears, letting us know she wasn’t well, that she was drinking more, that this year has been too hard. It was for the forgiveness and the love, the way we listened and nodded, and how by the end of the call she was with us again, smiling and laughing simply because she got to speak it, and let it out.
Gratitude then, for this family, and for daughters who pick up the phone when I call, and who edit mama’s blog posts. And friends too, who read and who, when I ask “will this embarrass me?” encourage me to say more, to never hold back.
And to the man at the post office who is evolving. “Me too,” I’ll tell him the next time I see him. “Me too.”
Listen to Laurie read this post …
Join us now for the …
Wild Writing Family
I have created a Wild Writing membership course which includes:
- Three short videos a week to keep your practice going. They will include poems, thoughts about writing and jump-off lines. This is a self-paced practice. You will write on your own, there is nothing to turn in.
- Alternating weeks will feature a live community Zoom call with me where we will write together and chat about the practice. These calls will be every other Monday morning from 8am – 9am, Pacific, but will be recorded for those who are unable to attend live.
- Discounted monthly A La Carte classes where you can polish your Wild Work, turning these pieces into poems, essays or blog posts.
- Twice a month Campfire Reading Series where we will gather as a group and read our work aloud to one another.
- Access to our private Facebook group where you will be invited to drop work in, read the work of others and share with the community.
Image Credit: Passing Linear Time, by John Nieto | Instagram: @john_nieto | Website: johnnietophotography.com
oh laurie this is so good. thank you for going first again and again.
this started my day. keep going.
teary here. you got me Laurie. Love it. Thank you
I love you
What Grace said. What everyone said. Most of all, what you said. 💜
Thanks for helping me remember to be forgiving.
Oh those places on my body! Home! Heart. Belly. Yes. THIS Body mine. Gratitude for your expression of self forgiveness, which reaches in and nudges my own. I am evolving.
Oh, Laurie. This is exquisite, as always. Such beauty and truth. ❤️ Thank you for the way you live it and say it.
I have LISTENED…💜… I HEAR you…💜
It’s how I know that YOU know…and…
How you know that I know…
Me too… 🙏
So moving, Laurie. And yes to evolving!
Reading this, Laurie, I can feel that same hand on my own body, calming down every single one of my cells. Often, I tell myself, “I’m doing what I can, in this moment.” Sometimes, that’s enough. Maybe it always is. Big love to you, and gratitude.
Beautiful. In tears. 💕
Mmmmwah. Your articulated forgiveness gives us all permission, compassion, and grace. Gratitude for you.😘
“For being taught how to work, but not how to rest…” Yes. And here were at last, teaching ourselves and learning. Evolving even. I’m so grateful to be in the deep end with you. Thank you for all the truth-telling.
I’m evolving because of this wild writing work. Thank you!
I love your writing. I feel like I’m right there with you in the post office. Thank you for sharing your words with the world. You’re an inspiration. 💜
Beautiful, Laurie…thank you for this. Aren’t we all in this place, this space? What a wonderful reminder to thank ourselves for simply being. What a treasure we all are.
True and beautiful. Thank you.
Thank you 🙏 and me too. So much love to you!
Thank you for so many invitations. The invitation to forgive. The invitation to deeply dive in–to ask myself, “where does my body, my soul, need forgiveness?” The grand and generous invitation to be kind, gentle, compassionate and loving to This One (pointing to myself). Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. What a guide you are!
“I forgive you, for everything.”
Simply and yet not so easy, yes.
Thank you, Laurie.
Thank you thank you thank you. Reading this was a good way to start my day.
Yes to everything here, especially forgiveness and the evolution of our own truths. Thank you…………….as always, grateful for your wisdom and sharing Laurie.
Such a hard thing to say to ourselves, ” I forgive you, for everything.” That line had me in tears.
ahh, love this!
So touching and honest. We all relate, each in our unique way, to your words of self forgiveness.
ps I loved hearing you read the piece!
Thank you, Laurie, for this beautiful, raw, vulnerable and courageous post. I so appreciate what you offer our writing community!
Brilliant. Thank you.
What a touching blog post, Laurie. I do find if I meet the day with an open heart and all my senses receptive, the prompts just keep on coming (kind of like “the hits just keep on coming” from 60’s AM radio). Thank you for your open, full-hearted sharing.
Thank you for your honesty. Not easy I’m sure – to feel it or to share it. It opens something in me, like a well placed pause in a Haiku.
Love this. Love you.
Oh, yes. We must forgive ourselves and be courageous enough to allow those hidden and under recognized parts to surface. Thank you for being our beacon, Laurie 🙏
Utterly breathtakingly wrenchingly true and beautiful. Thank you. XO
Laurie, you’ve changed all our lives, again and again. Love you in so many ways. Thank you for modeling how to be human, over and over.
I relate. Finally, after years of living in a larger body that our culture has deemed not beautiful, not acceptable, not okay, I am learning to let it live (me live) in peace inside it. Inside this body the way it is right now.
I love this, Laurie. So honest and human. Thank you for sharing!
“For being taught how to work but not how to rest.” And every other line……so inspiring, Laurie! Forgive everything! Yes!
Thank you! Your words are such a gift. YOU are such a gift! 💜
Beautifully articulated. From the inspiring post office yoga to a lifetime of feelings~ your journey, our journey~ we evolve together and the stakes have never been higher.
Your hand on your heart. Your hand on our hearts. Forgiveness indeed is infectious. As is evolving. Grace. Back to you.
“There are only two ways to have a peaceful conscience: Never do anything wrong, or learn self-forgiveness (Pro tip: first way’s impossible).”
– Elizabeth Gilbert.