Listen

Listen - By Empowered Wanderer

Dear Reader,

I write to you from the hills of a National Forest, surrounded by ponderosa pines, hints of fall colors, and a setting sun.

I am assisted by my phone’s wifi hotspot.

I sit, hauled up in Luna’s front seat, slightly sideways with a pillow behind my back and my laptop perched upon my legs. That’s my life these days, a little sideways, but equally magical.


Last night I soaked and camped at a magical retreat: Summer Lake Hot Springs outside Paisley OR. (Pictures will be posted this weekend when I reached better Wifi.)

Interestingly enough, my plan had never been to stop in Paisley. It was a tiny, middle of nowhere town. Hardly on the map. But all of Thursday morning as I packed up camp in Sister, OR, I was called to Paisley. Nonetheless, I didn’t listen. I couldn’t make sense out of the calling.

Instead, I hopped on the road and told a friend my plan to drive south. Said friend, stopped me dead in my tracks when they said, “Stop in Paisley, if you can. There’s a hot springs.”

And with that I knew why I had been so called. Thank goodness I had someone else to help me listen.


My entire drive to Summer Lake Hot Springs (just outside Paisley, OR) lit my soul on my fire. I blasted Alanis Morissette and sang at the top of my lungs. I pulled my car off to the side of the road about a million times to gaze up at the clouds. And in those moments, I wondered, what my day would have been like if I hadn’t listened to my call?

When I arrived at Summer Lake I was greeted with a smile and wave to come into the office ($20 to camp and soak, plus hot showers and toilets, I was sold!). The woman at the front desk told me that at least 9 solo-roadtripping women had come in today. Goddess energy was in air.  

I spent my afternoon exploring the BLM land that borders the property and settling in. Not surprisingly my evening was spent soaking twice...and twice again this morning -- how could I resist?

Last night, in between soaks I scribbled away in my journal, filled with inspiration and realization.

While I feel a little uneasy sharing my journal writing with you all, I think it is important to do so. What I wrote feels valuable. So for two Feminist Friday’s in a row I am choosing to be vulnerable. I am choosing to speak out. I am choosing to be heard.


I cry out

in fear

in anger

of not being heard.


“Listen!”

I call out,

listen.

Hear our voices

our stories

our heartbreak

and abuse.


We need to be heard.

I need to be heard.


Listen,

I beg,

again

and again.

And one day,

I realize,

I am not listening.

I cannot hear her.


What is she saying?

How is she feeling?

What does she need?


She calls out,

Desperately,

in agony.

Begging me

to listen.

“Hear me”, she says.

I need you

to hear me.


But I don’t know how.


She is small.

She has been pushed away,

shunned

silenced.

Her voice isn’t small.

but I have made it so.

She isn’t invisible,

but I have made her so.

Because it hurts,

to listen,

to see her,

to hold her,

to hear her

pain

abuse

loss

and heartbreak.


To allow her to speak, means

I will know

everything

that happened to me

But it also means

I will know

myself.


So, I listen

softly,

timidly.

In fragments.

I place my hands on my chest

my womb

my belly

and I feel

sadness.

I feel longing,

to be held,

loved,

and protected.

I feel a little girl left alone

silenced, for too long.

I feel a woman,

wounded

and raging.

I feel so much,

it overwhelms me.


So, I sing

Alanis Morissette

Sheryl Crow

And Gretchen Wilson.

I drive through mountain towns,

with the bluest skies I’ve ever seen.

I blow kisses to cows

roll my windows down

and breath.

I dive in hot springs,

with water like silk

and lovingly pet the fur on my legs.

I walk trails,

as sun dances on my cheeks.

And I write,

to process,

and love,

and listen some more.


And, today, I am okay,

I am alive,

I am learning.


Today, I am loved,

lovable

and worthy of being heard.


Tomorrow and the days that follow,

will be okay too.

I am learning,

to hold myself

with pure love,

curiosity,

and gentle care.

I am learning to listen.


So, today may we all listen to ourselves, to our needs, our wants, and our stories. May we treat ourselves with ease, and love.

It’s a hard time, it’s an important time. It’s a time for change. For us to be heard. But in order to do so, we must first hear ourselves.


With love,

Annalise



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