Encountering Change at a coffee shop

How awkward to run into you like this.

Let me say something:
I miss your chaos.
You see, I can’t settle down
-can’t be settled.
I need you in my life.
I have been routinely and sure,
but also profoundly unhappy.
I owe everything to you.
So can I buy you a cup of coffee,
maybe a danish,
and we can talk about us.

Yes, us.
Even when I am convinced I don’t like you,
I think I’m actually in love with you.
I feel most myself when I’m with you,
So what do you say?
Can you abandon the leaves this Autumn?
Let them stay green and half golden!
Maybe let the wind blow only in one direction?
I want all of your attention.

Hear me out, I love you.
We make a great team.
Remember when we moved after college?
Driving across the country together,
watching mountains go by,
with Jenny in the passenger seat.
It was good.
We were good.

Yeah, you’re right.
Life has also been hard,
there have been a lot of challenges.
I am not a fan of last winter,
parts of the summer,
a couple days last week,
and this morning pretty awful,
but I believe in us,
don’t you?

Oh, you don’t.
You think I should just move on.
Funny you say that,
I have met someone new,
named Growth.
He resembles you,
but to be honest, he is kinder.

I won’t ever forget you, Change.
See you next season,
maybe when the winter wanders in,
I’ll wave at you from the window near my desk.

*To see the corresponding video to this poem, click here


Coffee Ritual

I approached the Altar
like everyone else does
at this early hour.

Pressing the tonic
I prepared stoically
and with eyes half-closed.

Rain crept into my windows
while Miles Davis
washed away sunrise sorrows.

I said thanks for my cup
and concluded the ritual
with milky white potion,
a dash of dust.

The magic meets  me
in the morning
and always gives me
what I need.

To see the video accompanying this poem, click here


Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

Ironically, I did not do yoga on day 30 of this project. Yesterday was spent mostly indoors and quietly observing my feelings fall down a little. And that’s all well and good.

I started September with the intention of using yoga to find God, to somehow awaken a new fervor for a religion that I had previously abandoned, and to restore my sense of identity in spiritual terms.
What actually happened:

The third week of this journey I crashed a little. I skipped a day and then was faced with an enormous sadness. I wrote in my journal, “I think part of this journey is letting go of a previous identity that just isn’t my own anymore. It’s a grieving process as well as an awakening. It’s deeply comforting and completely unsettling. I have work to do. I am learning so much.”

This past week has been equally as blue. I have not felt the closure that I told myself I would feel. Alas, yoga has not fixed it all. But it has made me ask more dynamic questions about my spirituality. Like, “What does God look like?”, “Who am I?” “Who is he/she?”, and “Does that matter?” And those questions rarely have answers. Yoga has not been magic, but it has helped me deal with the unknowing.

Being a seeker is not easy work. Today, I feel a little drained. Not practicing yesterday makes me also feel like a fraud. But I think yoga is in everything, kind of like God. So maybe the time spent in my dark room listening to rain “counted” for something. Who knows? I certainly don’t.

I will absolutely keep frequently practicing yoga. Moving forward, I want to be more willing to look deeper into my questions and my present instead of being so fearful of letting go of the answers I thought I knew and the past.

Thank you all for following along.
The light in me acknowledges the light in you.
Keep shining.


The night I began sewing, you asked to wait.

Blush-colored silk crepe
from the wedding gown
I never made
swayed on the line
as it slowly dried in November.

After, pink seemed to follow me.
Even in the woods,
stones and toes
blushed with sympathy.

What an exhausting Winter
spent crying in my car,
trying to remember
the perfection of new love
and reasons for leaving.

Not knowing what I wanted,
I hiked through Laurel Snow,
and watched water smooth
over silky black boulders.

Om Shanti-week one

There has been so much going on all around me (and I’m sure you, too) and I have been MIA. Wow, it is already September 7th and I am a week into a new month-long commitment. I have decided to do yoga every day for the month of September. This is not a unique challenge, by any means. However, the “why” of any task is what gives it its importance. Here are a few things I journaled after practice tonight on my “why”:

It feels a little silly to write this, but I honestly felt called to this.

For many reasons, I have not practiced the religion I grew up in for almost a year. In light of recent events and the world I live in, I felt frustrated with Christianity and hopeless in my faith. So, I said my goodbyes to my past life and escorted myself out of the culture that I had been so completely shaped by. Months passed, full of so much beauty, bitterness, anger, gratitude, and grace. Whether I liked it or not, the Divine was underscoring everything I experienced.

But I have also been empty and longing and I have recently come to terms with that. Like, tonight.

Rilke wrote that God is “the great homesickness we could never shake off” and that seems to be my truth.


All this to say, I think I started this ritualistic practice to open myself up to that world again and to prayer again and to the idea of God again. Maybe if my breath and body are intentional, every time I unroll my mat, I will be heard by the Lord. My sweat, the result of work full of gratitude. My balance, evidence of a quiet mind. My rest, the clear presence of a searching heart.

I am unashamedly chasing God during this journey. I will let you know what I find.



Thank you

I have spent the last month listing things I am grateful for every day. Honestly, I had read accounts of this process changing people’s hearts and lifting spirits. But I was still doubtful. I am here to tell you that, although I am not a completely new person, this practice is transformative. Gratitude is like a wave, with each thankful moment folding into itself. By the end of the month, I was wading in an ocean of gratitude.


Acknowledging all of the beauty and privilege that I experience every single day was humbling and moving. The ocean is vast and I have an incredible amount of things to be thankful for. I have kept up this practice because no matter how bad the day is, there is always something to be thankful for. It also gets me to clear my head for a few moments and get connected with the gifts that the Divine has given me.

I wanted to list everything I was thankful for this past month, but it was a very long list. So here are some of my favorites-


  • for this inkling of hope I hold on to
  • for strawberries on my salad
  • for David’s face near mine
  • for sun on my shoulders
  • for the song I sing in every darkness
  • for cold water
  • for Leon Bridges
  • for purple
  • for green smoothies
  • for feeling strong
  • for the pain that lets me know I am alive
  • for Jenny and young love
  • for forest park
  • for home made coffee
  • for my spirit being full and empty
  • for the train going by us through trees
  • for sleepy anticipation
  • for Tennessee rain
  • for flickering lights like stars or souls around us
  • for waking up at Anna’s house
  • for no more late nights
  • for intimacy at midnight
  • for sweetness at dawn
  • for You
  • for Me
  • for it All




Weekday Reading

Consider this a “state of the union” of sorts. At the beginning of the year, I resolved to read at least 50 books. My definition of what a “book” is is loose. I was previously writing little reports on what I liked or disliked about the book and key quotes. That hasn’t happened in a long time! I have not stopped reading, but I certainly have stopped writing about what I’ve been reading. So here is the comprehensive list (so far) with comments:


  1. Finding Ultra by Rich Roll: This is a delightful read if you’re into ultra racing or a vegan lifestyle. 
  2. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates: So so good and insightful and moving. Loved it.
  3. What do we know? by Mary Oliver: Lovely poems with a soft touch that only Mary can give.
  4. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson: Funny and informative. A must-read if you have hiked any part of the Appalachian Trail. 
  5. Three Stories by Gustave Flaubert: Short and sweet with some intricate characters. 
  6. Namaslay by Candace Moore: To be honest, I’m a little embarrassed about how much I enjoyed this book. It explains basic yoga asanas with a memoir-esque narrative sprinkled in. 
  7. Poetry Magazine “March Issue”: This issue was full of lyric poems and a selections from Max Ritvo-a poet who died before the issue was published. 
  8. What I talk about when I talk about running by Haruki Murakami: This book was a slow, meditative journey through Murakami’s experience with running. 
  9. One More Thing by BJ Novak: Such a good book to bring to work! It contains funny and engaging short stories ranging from 1-12 pages long. 
  10. Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron: This book is truly transformative. I loved it and plan to revisit often.
  11. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert: A collections of essays and thoughts on writing and living a creative life. Totally motivating and encouraging and I now want to be friends with Ms. Gilbert.
  12. The Feather Room by Anis Mojgani: It’s no secret-I love this poet. This is a magical collection that will take you through mystical scenes and real feelings. Sigh.
  13. Maron by Marc Maron: Though funny, this book definitely made me feel uncomfortable at points. I’m still iffy on about liking this curmudgeon. 
  14. Botanical Color at Your Fingertips by Rebecca Desnos: A beautiful how-to on natural dyeing and harvesting materials.
  15.  20. The first six books of The Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket: David and I have been reading these aloud to each other on trips and such. This is my favorite children’s book series (sorry Harry Potter people) and I forgot how fun and suspenseful it is! 

So there it is! I have 23 weeks to read 30 books. I am back on track and beyond excited. Now let’s get reading.


Mary Emily