Neeeewwwww website



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Here is your official welcome to: *heartspace*IMG_6336

I have shifted my energies over to my website: *heidi at heartspace* where I will continue to blog, but I also have more content to share with you. You will find information about who I am, what my mission is in my community, and what services I offer.

I am passionate about providing a safe place for women to transform, and this looks like a circle. Many of us just need a quiet spot to land for a little while, to gather ourselves, to check in, and to breathe–this is what I provide with a little twist. Currently I offer two types of women’s circles: reading and writing. It is very helpful to have a focus for our discussion and to tease out what it is we need to say, which is why in one circle we read a book in a month and in the other circle, we respond to memoir-based writing prompts.

My goal is to support interfaith dialogue in my community by coming together and having time for prayer/meditation on a monthly basis. I am also working on starting another circle series specifically to support spirituality; and in this circle we read a book, share our hearts in discussion, and spend some time in silent meditation/prayer.

The main thing I want to stress is that any work you do with me has these components:

  • confidentiality
  • being heard and listened to in an authentic way
  • no fixing, platitude giving, nor unwanted advice giving
  • an environment that cultivates presence and awareness
  • peace to help you land in your heartspace


All of this spells safety to me. In order for us to unravel and to really hear what our heart has to say, we have to feel safe. Welcome to *heartspace*.

I am also continuing my work as a Transformational Life Coach with women both in the Athens-area and beyond. If you are interested in working with me individually or in a Circle, visit my website and reach out, or schedule your one-on-one session here. I also put out a monthly newsletter, which you can sign up for here.

Much peace and many blessings to you.

The day after Mother’s Day…


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white daisies - messed withMy thoughts become a little clearer today… because yesterday was Mother’s Day.

Where does one go when a holiday rolls around that celebrates the joys of motherhood–the love that so many receive from their mothers and all the hard work they pour into their children? Where does one go when her own mother poured in things to her child that has taken therapy, prayer, and distance to heal? I’ll tell you where that person goes: to her (or his) heart. Yesterday I woke up so sad. I often do on holidays–especially holidays that celebrate normalcy and family.

My first response is sadness
because I must mourn before I can rejoice.

Let me be clear, I have much to be thankful for: I have found my voice, I have learned life giving lessons, and I have married into a family full of adult siblings and in-laws who love me wholeheartedly.


Yet. I must acknowledge my sadness before I can celebrate. I must acknowledge the dark before I can step into the light. That is my way to get “to the other side”–to get to the other stuff–I must be present to THE ALL OF IT.

So, yesterday morning. I woke slowly, I lingered in bed, I rolled around and felt the deep sorrow of a day when I cannot celebrate a woman for her motherliness. I will honor her and respect her, but I will not celebrate. Slowly I got up, moved around, kissed my kids and husband, and found my way to my chair in my study. I curled up in it. Matt brought me coffee and breakfast and let me be.

That’s what love looks like to me:
offering sustenance to a sad heart and giving her space.

Later on my people found me still in my chair, showered me with love and third grade poetry, and then let me linger in that space; orbiting around me just far enough so that I felt tethered to the here and now. I was able to get out of my chair after I sat with my sadness. Of course it gurgled to the surface throughout the day, but it required much less of my attention had I ignored it.

This is what I want to say: honor your sadnesses, look at them, allow them to be what they are, turn them over in your hand, and allow them to bless you. For they are a part of your journey–but they are not THE ALL OF IT. You are more than the sum of your parts.

May peace be yours this day and every day as you walk on your path to freedom.

I write to know what I am thinking…


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I like to write. As Flannery O’Connor once stated, I write to know what I am thinking. What I have learned over the past several years, is that I am fueled to write deeper more honest words when I am writing with other women.

What does that look like, you may wonder.

Heidi's journal

My journal

I facilitate a circle for women on Wednesday nights for an hour and a half, and we write. I find that this fuels my personal writing, as during circle, I am able to check in on the page, respond to prompts, and in the process I burn off the top 500 layers. There have been so many evenings when I return home, say hello to my people, tuck in my boys, and then sit down and continue pouring my heart on the page.

To be clear, I am not writing a novel, I am simply writing to write… to get it off my chest and out of my head–all those thoughts, feelings, all the processing I do intentionally and unintentionally throughout my day, through conversations, meetings, other circles, etc. Writing is how I know what I think, what conclusions I’ve come to; it is where I process my thoughts.

I can get there from writing for three minutes on “window”, which was one of our prompts last week:

He sat in my chair with the light from the window at his back. The gauzy curtain with circles allowing the overcast sky’s dim light to eek into the dining room. he set up his station, opened the first bag of popsicle sticks, found the glue gun, plugged it in, set the base on a top of white paper towels, and began. Scorching his fingers only twice and not badly. His attention to detail slays me. He placed the glue gun, when not in use, on a small square of cardboard. My dad would do that. My son has so much of my dad in him. I need to be sure to tell him so.

What came from this short prompt brought me to the edge of tears unexpectedly, but I needed to go there. I needed to feel the burn in my throat because I had pushed aside the need for release and redemption.

I write to be reminded to cry, to feel, and to remember all the stories I contain. I write to be reminded to talk to my children about my stories; to tell my husband my stories–to pass along who I am in bite sized moments where I breathed, lived, and loved.

If you are interested in joining a writing circle whether as a one-time thing or for an ongoing series, let me know. I’d love to have you!

Quotation: Life as Story


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Every person is born into life as a blank page — and every person leaves life as a full book. Our lives are our story, and our story is our life. Story is the narrative thread of our experience–not what literally happens, but what we make out of what happens, what we tell each other and what we remember.

We make our lives bigger or smaller, more expansive or more limited, according to the interpretation of life that is our story. Whether we speak or write these stories, we constantly weave life events into narrative and interpret everything that happens through the veil of story.

This unceasing interplay between experience and narrative is a uniquely human attribute. We are the storytellers, the ones who put life into words.

by Christina Baldwin, from Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives
through the Power and Practice of Story



Poem: “Ode to Ironing” by Pablo Neruda



Poetry is white:
it comes from water swathed in drops,
it wrinkles and gathers,
this planet’s skin has to spread out,
the sea’s whiteness has to be ironed out,
and the hands keep moving,
the sacred surfaces get smoothed,
and things are done this way:
the hands make the world every day,
fire conjoins with steel,
linen, canvas, and cotton arrive
from the scuffles in the laundries,
and from light a dove is born:
chastity returns out of the foam.

Pablo Neruda

flower b and w

the benefits of a writing circle


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I have learned so much about communication and presence by writing with other women in a structured way. I joined a women’s writing circle many years ago, and I’ve been forever changed. I took some breaks, but I keep returning to the page, and I can’t help but be reminded over and over again as to how this type of showing up has made me a better version of myself because I’ve gotten the chance to process my life on the page. Here are some of the benefits I continue to experience as I circle with women and write:

    • I’ve learned to communicate with myself: I can synthesize what I am feeling, thinking, experiencing, whether it be in my physical, emotional, or mental self. If I can’t write in a moment when I really need to express myself, I turn to the page in my head, and I automatically relax because words come to me in this state.
      One handy writing prompt I like to use is: What I want to say is….
    • I am a better verbal communicator. I do not have so much stuff piled up, waiting patiently, or not-so-patiently, for me to open the door. I say what I need to say because I am a frequent writer, so I get things off of my chest regularly. When I get stuck in a conversation, I return to a familiar writing prompt and it unlocks my lips.
      My husband and my children get the benefit of me often saying, “What I really want to say is…” and it’s coherent.
    • I can recognize my inner editor, and she doesn’t just hover over the page–she’s in my head, too. I am very familiar with her as I work around her on the page all the time. I can feel her shadow as she moves through me, and I can see her, invite her to share her side, and then move on about the business of buying a swimming suit….
    • I am able to notice my physical body when I write and that translates into non-writing awareness. When my hand gets tired because I am gripping the pen, I have to pause and check in with what is going on in my heart, and I dump it onto the page. I have begun noticing and checking in with my body away from writing. My physical body is such a barometer for what is going on internally, that I try to use her and listen to her instead of ignore her!It does not interest me
    • I have developed a writing practice that sustains me. I always knew I was a writer, but now I recognize that the benefits of writing outweigh the weight of considering myself to be one–a published one. I like to write; therefore, I write. I write; therefore, I am a writer. See how easy that is? I don’t have to publish a book before I can call myself a writer.
    • I have found freedom. I am who I am in any given moment on the page, and I have learned about the grace involved with the journey. I no longer feel the dichotomy between the journey and the destination. I don’t have to “arrive” anywhere to be free. I show up on the page, Grace meets me there, and we carry on with hands joined.
  • I notice the details in my every day life–especially how tiny gentleness is, the beauty of a simple moment, the peace in a shaft of sunlight. I’ve learned to write about morning rituals, the color red, the memory of a sound–in perfect detail. Instead of locking me in, these details release me because I see how gorgeous a heaping spoonful of coffee grounds is, and I long to savor each moment as I do when I am remembering on the page.

If you are interested in joining me in Circle, reach out. I’d love to have you. I’d love to write with you. I’d love to get to know you. A new Circle is forming in March and another in April, 2015. Feel free to get in touch with me if you want to find out more.

Photo credit: Nina Matthews Photography / / CC BY

A Poem: The Invitation

Bits of this poem have surfaced over the last couple of weeks… I feel the pull to sit with this poem and to see what comes…

“I want to know what sustains you when all else falls away…”
“I want to know if you can sit with pain mine or your own…”
“I want to know what you ache for…”

These would be great writing prompts:
I am sustained by…
What pain or ache am I sitting with right now?
I ache for….

Photo credit: Stuck in Customs / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

~ The Invitation ~
by: Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own

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Poem: “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver


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If you have not had the opportunity to hear Mary Oliver read a poem, please use this as an invitation to do so. Here is the link to her reading “Wild Geese”:

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

 Flying Geese

Practical Steps to Change


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We are officially in 2015 now; our feet are firmly planted in the New Year. What is coming up for you now? Are you beginning to feel a slide back into 2014 behaviors, routines, or modes of living? Perhaps you are still feeling the shininess of possibility with the new year stretching out before you….

Whatever it may be, now is a good time to examine your approach and your relationship to change.

Regardless of whether you make resolutions for the New Year or set intentions to dream in the next season of life, we are all in need of change on some level.

But change is a slow process. It requires that you set an intention, observe yourself with compassionate awareness, and make small, deliberate adjustments.

Here is how sustainable change can happen:

1. Identify the behavior, or thought pattern that you would like to be different. Hold space for what or how you’d like to be. Set a goal and visualize how achieving this goal would feel, look, and be like.

2. Recognize that change is in fact a series of tiny steps and noticings, so start small Sneakers on a Pier3and simple as you watch yourself go about your day. Begin listening to your thoughts, when you are thinking about making a choice, what it feels like, what comes before a choice, when you make your choices, etc. Hold all of this information in a compassionate light. You are on your own team, so view all of your observations about yourself with judgment-free awareness.

Perhaps you choose to eat a sugary treat late at night. When does this decision usually occur–what time of night? What comes before the decision? How are you feeling? Is there something that is gnawing at you, and sugar sounds like it would soothe the ache? Do you feel like you are missing something? Start here and take care to be kind with all of the information you gather about yourself.

3. Start choosing a small, but deliberate gesture, step, or change that will derail the old thought pattern.

If you know that you will begin to crave sugar after you put your children to bed and around the time you sit down to watch TV, change a step in your routine. Is it possible to do something else to unwind that will engage you in a different way than watching TV? Is there a craft, a book, a subject that you want to spend some time focusing on or learning about? Is there someone you want to reconnect with after your day; your partner, spouse, a friend, a family member? Do you need to sit down and write a few lines in a journal or write a note to a friend? Perhaps you need to brush your teeth, get your PJs on, and then do something that helps you relax. Allow yourself to naturally settle down into your evening and to usher in a good night’s rest.

Make a deliberate adjustment to tell both your body and your mind that you are walking toward your vision of how you want to be, in a sustainable way. It may feel really insignificant to brush your teeth and put on PJs earlier in your evening, but you are changing a habit that takes some time, energy, and a new approach.

The most important thing you can do when you want to make a change, is to open up space for this change to happen. You want to be ready to take the steps necessary to make this change stick, and to approach this entire process with compassion and acceptance.

After all, you are your only *you*!