Her: Holistic Health

Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?

In Uncategorized on June 19, 2011 at 8:00 pm

I have been carrying around a line from the Mary Oliver poem, “Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches.”

One of my favorite yoga instructors read a bit of this poem at the end of class and a line has resonated within me for months. It became the title of a blog post that sat unwritten for just as long and today I answered Ms. Oliver’s question with a resounding


Lately, I am breathing deeply, breathing into my body, breathing into home but most importantly, I am breathing into friendship and connection.

There was a time in my life, when I thought I couldn’t make new friends. I lived in a story that said my world would remain tiny because what I had to offer was meager and unimportant. I thought that if I slipped out of the room, no one would notice and there was such sadness in me because more than anything what I wanted was connection and friendship.

Then one day I made a simple phone call.

I had been reading through the archives of blog I had just begun to read and there was this offer for a free portrait session with the blogger. All I had to do was call and arrange a time. I impulsively dialed the number and then there were arrangements, there was a portrait session and now there is this friend. The thing about it was that she was unlike anyone else I had known in my life and I worried that I did not have much to offer in return.  Looking back, I was incredibly intimidated but I wanted connection more than I wanted to run and hide.

The thing about wanting is that wanting makes you vulnerable, it makes the connection matter and sometimes, when something matters, it is so easy to hold back, to hide, for fear that the story of meagerness is true. Sometimes I wonder how she saw me in the beginning but realize that it really doesn’t matter because now we are friends. The beginning don’t matter after awhile because it is the middle, the guts, the heart of the story that holds the promise.

Inspired by that phone call and our deepening connection, I have leapt, I have tossed, I have pushed and shoved myself into many new places and circumstances. Slowly I am prying open the bars around my heart, creating a space large enough to let myself be fully seen and in return I shattered my story and have befriended so many amazing people who I am proud, humble and grateful to call friend. Today, after a phone call with five nurturing souls who have come together expressly to become a soft place to land for one another, I look around and notice that I am no longer breathing just a little, but instead stand with my head thrown back, arms wide open, lungs filling to capacity and claiming this as my life.

So to all of the beautiful souls in my life, to each and every one of you who I have yet to meet and particularly to that friend who asked me to make a phone call and who gives me such gifts, including the sweetest surprise ever

For Valerie from Kate Swoboda on Vimeo.

I humbly say thank you, thank you for seeing me.

  1. I’m SO grateful you made that call to Kate
    Otherwise I wouldn’t have met you and wouldn’t be able to call you a dear friend!


  2. I am so glad your journey has brought you to this place. Your spirit shines, your voice and heart create a place of warmth & acceptance, even if just over the phone (for now). I am honored and grateful that our lives have intersected. Breathing deeply with you.

  3. such hope here Valerie! such hope!! i love having you in my life and I look fwd to sharing so much more. and the video from Kate was the sweetest ever!! i love the energy i get from coming here. thinking of you!! xo

  4. ~ ~ That call, and everything that came after it, has opened up my heart, too. ~ ~

    And for what it’s worth: What I thought of you that day was… “What a fantastic person to become friends with.” 😉

  5. I am so incredibly grateful for you, and for Kate, and for all that has come to be in my life…including each of those nurturing souls. My heart is as full as can be, and you are a big part of that. xo

  6. wow. you are so brave. and inspiring. period.

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