Posted by: scintillatingspeck | September 16, 2018

Inner Wise Woman says…

Photo by Artem Bali on Unsplash;

Tonight I developed a sudden fixation on searching for and compiling every reference I’ve ever made to Inner Wise Woman on Facebook.  It appears that she first started speaking to me in late 2014.  (To be clear, Inner Wise Woman is me, and I am her.)  At some point I noted on Facebook that I had made a shift away from an internal voice I called the Crazy Love Lady and instead felt more of a resonance with Inner Wise Woman.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that that happened in 2014.

Re-reading these Facebook posts of mine has felt… intense.  But there you go.  The times I have called upon Inner Wise Woman have usually been intense times.  What would Inner Wise Woman do, or say? I would ask myself in moments of despondency, anger, confusion, self-berating, and insomniac anguish.  I don’t think I needed to call upon her when I was feeling peaceful or elated.

It is strange to see these all compiled in one long list.  I don’t expect that many people will read this all the way through.  But if you are one of those dedicated readers, or if you read any part of this at all, thank you for accompanying me.

“We’re all just walking each other home.” —Ram Dass


December 26, 2014

Hey, Jen: you are very tired, you seem to be coming down with a cold, and you are kind of emotional. Inner Wise Woman says you don’t have to do anything more tonight and should go to bed wicked early. She thought you’d appreciate it being put in your Face here.


December 27, 2014

Inner Wise Woman says, Jen, turn off the Facebook. Read a Book.


December 28, 2014

Inner Wise Woman says: hey, you wrote something. Isn’t that surprising? Be glad. Now sit quietly with a cup of tea. Then sleep more. Yes, more, kissed and held by midwinter darkness.

Good night, loves.


December 29, 2014

I am such a space cadet today. And emotions wobbling and swerving all over the place. Inner Wise Woman says: here’s your chance to regard yourself with kindness and forgiveness.


December 30, 2014

Inner Wise Woman says: Stop this nonsense. Fry an egg and eat it. Put warm clothes on. Then go walk. You have an errand to run, which will be a 3.5-mile walk round-trip; do it.


February 8, 2015

I am avoiding something LIKE CRAZY. I know this because I have been busying myself with astounding feats of distraction. Inner Wise Woman, who is very, very wise, posts on Facebook to get my attention: Jen. Hello, Jen? Notice, baby. Breathe into it. Cry if you want. One step and then another. Let’s redirect your eyeballs and your focus. Your heart is a scaredy-cat heart but it’s going to be okay.


February 17, 2015

Wow, I’m really getting better at this “recognizing stuff that sets me off.”

Inner Wise Woman says: You know what? When people reject you, or seem to validate only small pieces of you and not other parts? That’s their stuff. Let them keep it. You just be you. If people don’t like you the way you are, the real you, let them go.


February 24, 2015

I’m in a somewhat odd mental state but I think I recognize my body trying to take care of me. I think I went into some empathy overload with too many people simultaneously, some of whom are under tremendous stress. Not to mention my own stressors. Inner Wise Woman says, “That’s right, sweetheart. You can lay it all down. No more conversation, no more thinking. No resistance to the sweet tug of warmth and love that accompanies you everywhere. No striving to Do or Achieve or Fix. Only curl into sleepy embodiment.”


March 29, 2015

Inner Wise Woman says: hey, Speck! Holy cannoli, you sure know how to fall down rabbit holes. Here, let me show you the escape route, along the underground river, that exits in a burbling spring. You are a very lovable nut. No fixing, okay? Heart-listening only. That will be sufficient. Remember you are still sloughing off decades of accumulated crud-insanity. Geez, you think you could give yourself some credit for what you’ve already done? That anxiety-paralysis, just let it melt, melt, melt in the tumbling water.

I suppose it could be strange for someone to stumble on Inner Wise Woman’s soliloquies out of context, but that’s an acceptable risk.


March 30, 2015

I have barely begun to integrate all that has happened in my life in the past four years. Inner Wise Woman says, it’s no wonder you’re still gasping and your brain feels tangled. Consider that you may not be able to Do a whole lot (in the conventionally recognizable sense) until that integration has a chance to weave, until you get a lot more practice being quiet and still. Consider that the inner work you have been Doing is necessarily invisible to almost everyone. Consider that you can forgive yourself relentlessly.

I could rest. It could happen.


April 17, 2015

Inner Wise Woman says: Things like yawning and feeling your eyelids droop are signs that you are tired. Guess what: you’re home now, and Lily is happily watching a movie. Take a NAP, Jen. NO, do not second-guess me even one little bit.


April 18, 2015

Inner Wise Woman says: Go forth and disengage from the electronic device. Eat something, and savor it. Examine the tasks at hand and begin. Don’t stress out about whether you are doing the right things in the right order.


April 18, 2015

I was taking my five-mile brisk walk (along the bike path and looping around Look Park and back) just now, basking in the warm air, adoring the fact that I was wearing my favorite red tank top and soaking sunshine into my arms and shoulders and face. (Oh, and pants, I did remember to wear pants.) I was admiring the bird songs and brightly greeting passers-by, feeling exhilarated by the shedding of winter melancholy. One older woman walking her dogs returned my morning greeting and then laser-beamed my breasts with an unmistakably disapproving look. What the heck was up with that? And I realized: it was because I wasn’t wearing a bra, and clearly the sight of CLOTHED NIPPLES was so OFFENSIVE. It could have been that telltale bouncing of unbridled boobage, too. This silent shaming maneuver irked me, deeply. I considered demonstrating the effectiveness of her tactic by taking off my tank top entirely, but decided I didn’t feel like getting arrested. Inner Wise Woman said, “Jen, getting arrested would really suck on a beautiful day like this, when you have all this momentum to exercise and get things done and get organized and write. You can always rant about it on Facebook later. Don’t let Shame Lady wreck your day.”

How did I end up living in this culture?! Why am I not a bonobo???



April 27, 2015

Inner Wise Woman says, “Ask for help.”
I wrote out what Inner Dervish-Brained Gremlin had to say about that, but it’s too agonizing to post. Argument ensued. Guess who won?


May 19, 2015

Looking at Facebook is making me feel deeply alienated. I know you are still loves, though. It’s all in my head and I want out. Inner Wise Woman says, “Don’t expect things of this medium that it can’t provide. Go to bed. You are always good enough.”


May 20, 2015

Facebook leads me into stupid thoughts, like:
a) most of the people I’ve ever met (or “met” virtually) don’t give a crap about me;
b) I must be totally boring and/or offensive and/or repulsive;
c) everyone else is busy being normal.

It’s okay, you don’t have to leap to dismantle these stupid thoughts. I know, I know. You don’t have to say “I give a crap,” either. It just feels important to document what this “environment” does to me.

Inner Wise Woman says, “Pixels is pixels is pixels. Everything you need is already in your heart. Get out of the labyrinth. Those walls are made of nothing.”


July 12, 2015

I think my angst got lost somewhere between the berry brambles, the garden, the dogs, the rabbits, and the small, singing human. I just can’t find the angst anywhere.

(Inner Wise Woman says: keep this Facebook visit down to 5 minutes and you have a better chance of the angst staying lost.)

Also: if I loved you before, I haven’t stopped, in case you were wondering. (If you are now wondering if I loved you in the first place, I suggest you check in with your Inner Wise Woman.)


August 23, 2015

Inner Wise Woman says: Yeah, you have stuff to do. But quietly observing yourself with love and gentleness is important. You will get to the other stuff. Right now, go walk some solitary miles, clear the noise in your head, and listen to your heart. Don’t try to stuff upwellings.


August 24, 2015

Inner Wise Woman says: You had damn well better notice how much ground you put under your feet in record time, Love.


August 25, 2015

Inner Wise Woman says (in the midst of my scrambling in preparation for hosting a discussion/potluck): Your house does not have to be perfect. You do not have to be the hostess with the mostest. You do not have to be gorgeous and witty, your floors do not have to shine immaculately, and your grass does not need to be neatly mowed. Welcome people and enjoy them. Now go finish your preparations.


August 26, 2015

Inner Wise Woman (should I give her a name?) says:

Now is the precise moment when you should plan your evening and head off as much affliction as possible, i.e., do some focused work for a set period of time, then wind down with reading and herbal tea, then make sure you go to bed. Put time parameters on these things. Yes, sweetheart, it would be nice if someone were cuddling you and murmuring lovey things. You could ask for lovey things.


September 14, 2015

I need to get a grip, and I’m not finding much that’s grippable.

Inner Wise Woman says: Slow it all down, love. Slow. it. down. Make a cup of calming tea. Don’t listen to your head. It’s wacky in there. You could eat a peach, or write a letter. Or cry. Or not. You could maybe question the story of your aloneness. You could throw a stick in the wheels on their rutted track. You could be startled into quietude.


September 14, 2015

Inner Wise Woman says: could you please notice the following?
a) you are sneezing a lot and probably allergic to something(s);
b) you didn’t get nearly enough sleep last night due to writing that blog post and are consequently quite exhausted;
c) you didn’t eat anything until mid-day;
d) you made a cup of tea and it is waiting for you on the counter, so pick it up and drink it.

Yes, she talks to me through Facebook, since this is where I am right now. She’s so smaht.

She adds: Ahem. So. Close the laptop, lovey. You need to rest. Now. Yeah, I know, you are secretly hoping that someone will read your blog and surprise you with All The Answers. Ain’t gonna happen. You’ll get closer to a glimmer of a sliver of a partial answer if you take a nap, though.

Why does IWW frequently sound so much like a mom?


September 24, 2015

I am not feeling very patient with this sickness, but it doesn’t care.

Meanwhile, since I don’t seem to be improving quickly, Tom has kindly offered help, and I am taking it.

Right now I would like to remove my entire ailing head and throat but that seems unwise. (Yes, Inner Wise Woman says, Don’t remove any body parts. Maybe take everything you have in the house to knock yourself out into sleep.)

I’m cranky but I love you.


September 25, 2015

This makes me think of Inner Wise Woman and whoever that crazy lady is she’s in charge of.

[with meme attached that reads: We are each of us a wise guru in charge of a mental patient . -Jamie Catto]


September 27, 2015

Inner Wise Woman says: Rock the silly.


October 4, 2015

Inner Wise Woman says: I know it’s hard but you should probably tell some people that you’re struggling.

Inner Freaking-Out Girl says: That’s a terrible idea. Nobody will want to be near me. I suck. And I can’t deal with people at all. Don’t make me deal with people! They are scary! And I am impossible!

IWW: Yeah, you’re going to keep thinking that and feeling awful until you have some actual contact.

IFOG: Why do you want me to do these things that feel impossible?

IWW: Because I love you.

IFOG: People will just tell me to “get help” that doesn’t help.

IWW: You should do it anyway. Maybe someone will offer some oasis-moment of kindness. You don’t have to follow any advice that isn’t helpful. The more you tie yourself up in knots in dark caves all by yourself, though, the worse you’re going to feel.

So, um. I don’t feel good and I don’t know what to do and I don’t know if I want any advice or any attention but I’m just saying this anyway.


December 29, 2015

Inner Wise Woman says: it’s all sufficient, love. And you’re making kale chips, to boot.


January 2, 2016

Inner Wise Woman reached into the recesses of memory and pulled this out as a sort of consolation.

“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

~ Macbeth, Wm. Shakespeare.


January 17, 2016

Inner Wise Woman says: It’s okay to sob with relief at one friend escaping to freedom—it’s like the whole world just got saved. That’s what we get: moments of salvation, not global salvation.


February 18, 2016

Inner Wise Woman says: You are upset. It’s 1:15am. Get off the computer. Go to bed. Seek solace within.


February 19, 2016

Why do I ever visit the news feed?! I don’t know what bothers me more, seeing unfriends (i.e., “friends” who dumped me) commenting on mutual friends’ threads all friendly-like, or seeing people I am still technically “friends” with on Facebook who I once thought were really good friends but who now ignore me totally and have probably unfollowed me.

Inner Wise Woman says: You have actual, real friends. You are, in fact, dearly loved. The ones that can’t or won’t be there? Let them go. Then let them go again, and again, and again, as many times as it takes. They do not get to determine your worthiness. Their rejection or inattention does not mean you are dirt. Spend a good, long time thinking about the people you love, who love you back. Think, too, about the array of benign acquaintances, with whom no rancor is exchanged.


February 26, 2016

Today is better.

Inner Wise Woman says: Yep. Just keep surfing.


February 27, 2016

Inner Wise Woman says: Go for a long walk in the woods and breathe, Jen! More respiration, less aspiration. It’s good to be alive.


February 27, 2016

Inner Wise Woman says: Slow it down, love. Your agitation needs some counterbalancing gentleness. Forget accomplishing. The priority to “accomplish” is to chill out and be kind to yourself. If you get other stuff done tonight, fine, but it doesn’t matter.


March 1, 2016

Inner Wise Woman says: Get off the internet and read the book that finally arrived through interlibrary loan instead, “Changing the Subject: Art and Attention in the Internet Age” by Sven Birkerts.


March 2, 2016

Inner Wise Woman says: Where are you? Why have you been on this repeating loop of running away from your own heart? What are you afraid to witness in yourself? Can you close your eyes, stop distracting yourself, and let whatever is, be?


March 10, 2016

Inner Wise Woman says: don’t believe everything you think. Also: keep petting the kitty. Also: make some soothing tea, and trust that what needs to happen will happen, and not on any timetable you can control.


April 16, 2016

Inner Wise Woman says: When in doubt, go outside.


April 17, 2016

Dear Universe,

I would like to stop being awake at 3AM, please.

I would also like to have my own personal assistant to tell me things like, “Jen, love, don’t look at the news feed on Facebook. Just don’t. You know it will hurt.” Or “Don’t think that thing that you habitually think even though thinking doesn’t make it even a tiny bit better, and probably makes it worse.” Or, even better, stop having Inner Wise Woman fall asleep on the job.

I’m sure IWW would say something like: Here, I’ll tuck you in bed. Let go, baby. Lay it all down.


September 21, 2016

Inner Wise Woman said: Sweetheart, this anger is making you sick. Go do some research on how to handle rage.

Turns out there is a lot of useful information on the internet. I feel more empowered and less volatile at the moment, although much remains unresolved.

(I wasn’t acting out, in case you are concerned about that; it was all internal.)

Someone is watching out for me, namely me.


September 24, 2016

Inner Wise Woman says: Probably nobody else will recognize you for having difficult conversations in the most mature and emotionally-tempered way you can manage, but I do.


October 24, 2016

Inner Wise Woman says: Pry yourself gently but firmly out of the chair and put one foot in front of the other until you reach your bed. Then lie down in it. Get cozy. Replace the onslaught of thoughts with the steady awareness of love surrounding you. You are so loved and loving. Sink into the warmth. Allow sleep to kiss you.


November 6, 2016

Inner Wise Woman says: Turn off the Facebook and immerse yourself in petting the purring kitty.

G’night, loves.


November 8, 2016

Inner Wise Woman says: for Goddess’ sake, stop looking at the election results. Read a book or something.


November 9, 2016

Inner Wise Woman says: I love you, honey, and I’m sorry your every neuron has been flaring danger.


November 9, 2016

I read the news today—oh, boy.

Last night I stuck to the advice of Inner Wise Woman and got off the internet. Instead, I was reading “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel van der Kolk, which is about trauma and its effects on our minds and bodies and some ideas about how to heal.

It was the best thing I could have possibly been reading.

May we receive this day as a catalyst, no matter how sickened, terrified, and angry we may feel.


November 10, 2016

Inner Wise Woman says: All you have to do right now is recognize that you still feel punched in the gut. Also, hello, you’re exhausted. Go to bed, baby. Your vigilance is not going to fix a damned thing right now.


November 15, 2016

Inner Wise Woman says: You need to check in with yourself in a deep way, love. What do you notice?

My “Self”: My head hurts. I haven’t been sleeping well. I feel disoriented a lot.
I was glad I asked for affectionate words, and received so many. I wish I could hold onto them in a lasting way.
I think I’m scared but staving off the fear through some automatic numbness.
I’m scared of moving. I’m scared of not moving.
I wish I could connect with people more consistently.
I’m restless and flailing in mind and heart.
If only I could be of more use.
When I do sleep my dreams are terrifying.
The past is bleeding into the future and time is very non-linear.
I need more relational anchors than I have. I feel like I’m not very good at creating and maintaining such anchors.
I feel the pain of others so keenly, and feel frustrated not to be able to touch them or heal them at all.

Inner Wise Woman: Okay. Sit with that and breathe.


November 21, 2016

Feeling all the violence and hatred going on in the world like relentless punches to the gut—it’s making me sick. I need to find a way to be strong and do my part. It’s hard when all my relations and my own heart are being so assaulted.

Inner Wise Woman says: Your part can only be done by you. It may take some time to fully discern all the details of what that part is, but I know this: you have been doing it all along, and you must keep going.


November 23, 2016

Time to put myself to bed and end the not-sleeping-until-sometime-after-3AM trend. Much is percolating in my mind about individual and collective trauma, disturbing current events, and the agitation of What To Do.

Inner Wise Woman says: Start with sleep, love. You’re alone in your bed, but not really. Sleep in the arms of all who love you, and hold them in return.


December 1, 2016

Inner Wise Woman says: Falling asleep at 2AM, then 3AM the next night, then 4AM the next night, is not a good thing for you, love. You need to notice. You also need to notice your compulsive playing of Minesweeper, and your compulsive eating, and the fact that you have feelings. I’m not here to berate you; I’m here to soften you. It’s not discipline you need; geez, you COULD whip yourself into compliance and good-girl-ness, since you still have a mastery of that, but you need to go deeper than that, sweetheart. I am sorry there are so few witnesses and real arms to hold you.


December 14, 2016

A few supportive murmurings requested. I’m in pain from dental work earlier. Inner Wise Woman nudged me and said, “Hey, you could actually let people know and ask for support.” About 10 hours ago, when my anesthesia was wearing off, I told Lily I was in pain and she looked at me sympathetically and lovingly and massaged my scalp for about 10 seconds.


December 27, 2016

Lily and I walked to the post office to get a stamp for a letter she wrote. It’s 52° outside. I found myself thinking, “Why do I feel so cruddy? I’m with my beloved child, the weather is warm, I’m fed, there are no bombs falling on our heads, I’m not imprisoned,” etc. Sometimes that’s enough to make me feel better, just to look around, feel the air, feel my body inhabiting space. Right now it’s not helping.

Inner Wise Woman says: It’s okay to feel cruddy. You don’t have to fix it. You don’t have to be able to explain it.


January 5, 2017

Still not sleeping. *&%@&!

Say something, Inner Wise Woman!

Inner Wise Woman says: Take your inwardly-squalling-baby self and be sweet to her. Lie down, in bed. Make sure you’re warm. Put on extra socks. Curl up. Now vividly imagine being spooned by everyone you love all rolled into one, huge, furry animal, tenderly stroking and holding you. Breathe slowly and deeply. Focus on taking in the love.


January 11, 2017

Inner Wise Woman says: Staying awake when you are exhausted is not the answer, no matter how much the drumbeat of vigilance continues. Go to bed, in the dark, with your eyes closed. Not later; right now.


February 13, 2017

I was thinking earlier about how my incipient move to the border of Wisconsin/Minnesota feels like evidence that I have failed in my many attempts to create a viable situation here in western Massachusetts. Over 12 years of trying to develop a sense of community, a sense of home, a sense of rootedness and belonging, and it seemed like every attempt failed, and it was probably entirely my fault. I couldn’t stick it out; I must be insufficiently committed. You can see where my thoughts have been going, as I feel the pieces of my life here being dispersed, rearranged, cancelled, and before the reality of relocation has set in, before I can focus on getting my bearings in a new place.

Inner Wise Woman had to pipe in, of course. She said, “You know, you could draw a parallel with the idea that the success of a relationship should not be measured by its longevity. That is, people break up, but it doesn’t mean their whole relationship was a failure just because they decided to part ways. Maybe your relationship with western Mass. was not such a failure, just because you decided that you and Lily really need different circumstances at this point.”

I think I need to spend some time writing about what these years living here has meant to me, ways that I’ve shifted and grown and changed, things that I’ve learned, sometimes the hard way.


February 23, 2017

I feel anxious. I want to handle everything well and not make mistakes. Ha ha ha ha ha. Inner Wise Woman says, “Are you kidding me? Oh, right, you’re not. You still have this idea that you can’t make a single misstep or all hell will break loose. Listen, I need to tell you: you are going to make mistakes. You are. And probably most of them won’t be terrible. Please be compassionate towards your humanness. You are not an abject failure.”

Yes, I need to talk to myself like this all the time.


April 5, 2017

Inner Wise Woman says: You are okay, even if you feel anxious. It doesn’t matter what happens next. You will roll with it.


June 4, 2017

Someone please tell me it’s okay not to do All The Things instantly, like explore every nearby town and city, and try to make friends with 500 people, and go to every cool-looking activity and meet-up, and instead take plenty of time to settle in and then slowly poke my nose around. I frequently experience competing desires to be, on the one hand, very engaged and stimulated and on the other hand, calm, relaxed, and not overwhelmed. The reality is I am quite easily overwhelmed.

Inner Wise Woman says: Slow it way down, as much as you can. You have already been massively anxious and overtired and experiencing upheaval. For crying out loud, you just moved halfway across the continent. Focus on the simple things and the necessary things for now.


June 12, 2017

Inner Wise Woman says: That boundary you set, it was right. You don’t need to keep subjecting yourself to situations where you have to keep up a pretense. You deserve to be welcomed as your whole, true self. And where that’s not welcome? Don’t go there.


June 15, 2017

Inner Wise Woman says: You did a brave thing today. You were truthful about your life, in some significantly vulnerable aspects, to a new acquaintance, and the sky didn’t fall. You have been worried about this for a long time, how you might be received here, and here’s the reality: some people may turn away from you, but YOUR people won’t. And that’s pretty much how you find Your People at all, by being real with them.


June 16, 2017

Inner Wise Woman says: Four hours of driving in one day is TOO MUCH for you. Cut it out. Slow everything way the hell down. I know, I know, you want to do All The Things, Right Now. Sweetheart, you can’t. Observe what an exhausted little zombie you are. There is this thing called rest.


June 27, 2017

OK, loves. I am going to write, right now. I’m in a Dunn Bros. coffee shop in Hudson, with its associated noises (the espresso machine, the women chatting, the cars outside, the not-terribly-loud music playing)—hopefully it will all turn into white noise.

I am nervous. I’m going to dive back into my book project, with a new approach, trying to push a big ol’ reset button. I am going to do this as a series of letters addressed to Lily. Real letters, not contrived letters, not merely a device for circumventing my anxiety about addressing the world.

Inner Wise Woman says: It’s okay, love. You can’t fail. You can tell your story without artifice or a need to Impress or Achieve. The ones who need to hear you will hear you. You can simply write until you feel done, however long it takes. This has nothing to do with commercial publishing success, absolutely nothing. It has nothing to do with gaining or losing anyone’s approval, either. Seriously—fuck that. You know in your heart what and whom you’re doing this for.


June 28, 2017

Me (post-shower, looking in the mirror): I am so lumpy and jiggly. Agh.

Inner Wise Woman (also Me): That’s your sacred body, the vehicle of your aliveness. You get to have a body! It’s a miracle! It’s all toxic culture, not you, that criticizes so. You are cozy and soft and sensual and delightful. The people you love love to squeeze you.


June 30, 2017

I am unreasonably upset that the deviled eggs I just attempted to make (to bring to a party/potluck tomorrow) turned into deconstructed deviled eggs because the eggs wouldn’t peel without falling apart in chunks. I wanted to yell and cry and break things, but didn’t. I made a sort of egg salad while feeling terribly hurt.

Inner Wise Woman says: Honey, it’s not about the eggs.


July 2, 2017

More unreasonable feelings welling up: Tom is on his way to Montana, and I am afraid he will die in a plane crash, drive off a cliff on some hairpin turn on a steep mountain road, or get mauled by a grizzly bear.

Inner Wise Woman says: It is highly probable that not only will Tom survive, he will have a great time. And you, my dear, must find some sweetly calming activities to do rather than this fruitless fretting. You know what’s driving your anxiety. Let your people love you up, and vice versa.


July 6, 2017

Inner Wise Woman says: How about you let me guide you away from the over-eating and rumination-gone-wild, and towards a glass of water and a good book from the library.


July 10, 2017

Inner Wise Woman says: How about you fall asleep now, at midnight, rather than 3AM like last night? Actually, forget I asked. Just take my hand and I will put you to bed.


July 13, 2017

Inner Wise Woman says: It won’t kill you to sit quietly with your own heart and listen to it. There is room for all the feelings. Really.


July 21, 2017

Inner Wise Woman says: Even if you are as socially awkward as you think you are, you still have friends who love you.


July 27, 2017

So many challenges today. It just hit me all at once, how many there were, all unexpected, all over the place. Deep anxieties and real fear.

Beautiful moments, too—connection, tenderness, food, friendliness, the lovely landscape of western Wisconsin.

Inner Wise Woman says: You are rolling with it as well as you can, so it will have to be good enough. I know how hard you try. You will never vanquish all the fear. You will never be able to keep everyone safe and unscathed. Remember that line from Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese”: “You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” Keep doing that.


July 29, 2017

Inner Wise Woman says: Go to bed, and imagine all the loving things all the people you love might whisper to you to help you sleep.


August 11, 2017

My thoughts are tormenting me. I feel such a chasm between me and the rest of humanity. Some nights even Inner Wise Woman can do nothing but cry.


August 20, 2017

I just did a thing I’ve been agonizing over for a long time, and feel totally unsure about it.

Inner Wise Woman says: Did you try to conduct yourself with integrity? Yes? Then what else can be expected of you? Why should you expect yourself to be anything other than human?


August 31, 2017

Inner Wise Woman says: If someone insists on communicating passively rather than answering your requests for clarity directly, do you really need to inquire further? Your heart knows the truth.


September 9, 2017

I’m not sure why my body hurts all over. Bah. Also I had a rare, long nap this late afternoon. I was feeling low earlier, for a bunch of reasons. Maybe I’m fighting off some virus or something. It always seems to take me a while to come to that conclusion.

Inner Wise Woman says: This is not the time to berate yourself for being unproductive. Actually, berating yourself for being unproductive may never be a good or practical thing.


September 16, 2017

Inner Wise Woman says: You are not responsible for the behaviors of others. Stop internalizing other people’s shitty behavior. I know, you always think everything is your fault. That is a delusion that you are going to have to drop. You don’t have that kind of power, to have everything be your fault—your true power is something else entirely.


October 20, 2017

Ugh. Confronting all these bundles of tightly coiled fear in me. Geez, Jen, you think maybe you could sleep at 2:46am instead?

Inner Wise Woman says: Fear, anxiety, shame, vigilance—these things are not exactly conducive to rest. It would be a good start to close your laptop and go lie down.


November 5, 2017

I hit a wall somewhere around 3:30, crawled into Tom’s bed where he was looking at his phone, and we both zonked out. I guess we both needed to nap. Now I feel groggy and disoriented because it got dark so early. Lily is flitting around singing and dancing and I don’t know where the energy comes from. I abruptly feel like I want to hide in a cave until spring and my inner bear is not pleased that that’s not an option.

Inner Wise Woman says: I know. You are exhausted. And you still have to keep going. And there is a lot that’s difficult and painful to do and confront.

(There is not much more to add to that internal dialogue right now.)


December 5, 2017

I get so tripped up by certain little things, or things that I think SHOULD be little but are actually a big deal to me. I wish it were not so. I hesitate to mention it because sometimes people say stuff like “just let it go” and it makes me very angry, because obviously if it were as easy as just letting it go I would have done it 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago. But I’m mentioning it anyway, because I want to invite in kindly reassurance.

Inner Wise Woman says: It is okay if you are tripped up by these things forever and ever. You never have to get over it. You can be sensitive and flawed all of your days.


December 20, 2017

Current activity: trying to talk myself out of a downward spiral. Fun times. Inner Wise Woman, where are you?


December 31, 2017

Inner Wise Woman says: No need to seek out parties tonight. It’s not necessary. You can stay home and be contemplative and cozy. For heaven’s sake, you’re still not completely well; I noticed that coughing even if you’re trying to ignore it. It is OKAY to be alone, wrapped in a blanket, reading a book. It’s okay to go to bed before midnight. Just because you are alone doesn’t mean you’re not loved.


December 31, 2017

Inner Wise Woman says: It’s okay to retreat a bit. It’s okay to not share everything. It’s okay to put up a few walls. They’re called boundaries and you get to have them. It doesn’t mean you’re marooned. You are still an intrinsic part of the universal pulse. Sink into your bed and focus on release and trust and rest.


January 4, 2018

Inner Wise Woman says: You are loving and loved. You are immersed in the river. Stop imagining you are stuck in the muddy bank. It simply isn’t true. Your feelings and thoughts and illusions are ephemeral. There is a deeper current and it leads to the sea. You don’t have to fight it. Or, go ahead, fight it—either way, love, it doesn’t matter. Sometimes you are just a tired baby and that’s okay.


January 23, 2018

Trying hard here to be energetic and upbeat, but my heart is so heavy.

Inner Wise Woman says: Just keep doing what needs to be done, and let your heart be.


February 20, 2018

I’m reading Johann Hari’s “Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression and the Unexpected Solutions” which was very recently published. I thought it would be powerful, but it’s kind of hitting me in the gut right now. And I already knew so much of what he’s writing about, both from personal experience and my own research. Agh!

I don’t want to be poisoned with rage but sometimes rage is really appropriate.

Inner Wise Woman says: Remember all you have done to walk away from that scandalous absurdity. Remember all that brought you back into the world of the living. You did that, you, with mentors such as trees, forgotten people, wafting music, otters. Serendipitous art on café walls. Sunlight. Rivers. Wheels on roads for thousands of miles. Pulling love close. Good work.


February 23, 2018

I feel anxious and sad and I wish it would stop but here it is.

Inner Wise Woman says: It’s not surprising. Don’t sweep it under the rug and don’t magnify it, either. It’s okay to just sit with it. I know, honey, I know, I know.


March 11, 2018

Note to self: ALWAYS check in with people if you are not sure where they stand in your regard.

In other words: I am proud of myself for NOT going into a tailspin over being unfriended, but instead checking in and not making assumptions. And what do you know, the unfriending was totally accidental. So relieved. But even if it had turned out differently, I’m still glad I stopped myself in my tracks and said, “Listen, you can speculate and be consumed with anxiety that you committed some horrible gaffe, or you can just ASK. Could you just f***ing ask?! Use your words! Be a grown-up!” And so I did.

And wow, am I hyper-aware of my biggest insecurities right now.

Inner Wise Woman says: Brava! You were afraid and you DID THE THING ANYWAY!


April 6, 2018

Inner Wise Woman says: You get to be sad. No need to run away from it. Be sad and know that you are loved through it. There is nothing illegitimate or shameful about your sadness. It counts. It’s real.


April 30, 2018

(accompanied by an image of a coffee pot with the words “YOUR WORTH IS NOT MEASURED BY YOUR PRODUCTIVITY”)

Inner Wise Woman says: Don’t forget. And if you forget, just keep on decolonizing your brain. You are worthy just for existing.


May 17, 2018

Trying to maintain perspective while going through some emotional crapola is hard.

Inner Wise Woman says: Oh, honey. For starters, you had very little sleep last night. You need sleep. You need to put yourself to bed early. Also, the emotional crapola is happening for good reasons. Have some soothing tea. Put away the laptop. Take a shower. Read a book. Remember that feelings are like the weather.



August 6, 2018

I’m noticing that I’m kicking myself for not getting more done today.

Inner Wise Woman says: Ahem. You wrote today. You went to the hospital for your TB skin test so you can volunteer there with the Threshold Singers (and thankfully you don’t have TB). You cared for your child rather extensively. You went to the garden and harvested veggies. You went to the library and checked out a documentary about Wisconsin called “Cheeseheads” to watch later. You went grocery shopping. You took Lily to a cafe and bought her a smoothie. You finished up the last bit of bookkeeping that needed doing. You coaxed Lily into trying on clothes that you picked out for her from the free table at FLC. You made lunch. You’re about to make dinner. You’re soon to go to rehearsal with the Threshold Singers. You know you will meditate for 15 minutes either right after you post this or later tonight. You will get around to the hour-long Scrivener tutorial either tonight or tomorrow. Could you maybe give yourself a break?


August 18, 2018

Inner Wise Woman says: I know you want to do All the Things, but you can’t. I know you are frustrated about not doing All the Things, but you are doing enough. I know you think you will never measure up, but you need to set aside that yardstick. Stop measuring. Your intrinsic worth is unquantifiable.


August 20, 2018

I have been trying to maintain a view of emotions as fairly akin to weather—they happen, they shift and change, they blow on through. I just wish some of them didn’t feel like an electrical storm combined with pounding hail the size of baseballs.

Inner Wise Woman says: When you are feeling fried and pounded, you should focus on soothing things. Ask for help identifying soothing things.

What are the soothing things??


August 29, 2018

Ugh. I feel like I’ve been scrambling all day and feeling an ever-increasing tangle of anxiety in my body. What did I even accomplish today? Anything?

Inner Wise Woman says:
Oh honey.
Yes, you accomplished things today.
You prepared all meals for you and Lily and washed all the dishes.
You went grocery shopping.
You ran other errands.
You went to your community garden plot and harvested kale, cucumber, tomatoes, green beans, and raspberries.
You got Lily fully set up on Duolingo to practice Italian and helped guide her through how it works.
You sought out and requested history and math books through the public library’s online catalog for Lily.
You responded to various emails, texts, and FB messages.
You continued setting up a Google calendar for Lily.
You looked at Scrivener again, reexamined part of the tutorial, imported more files into it, and created some initial folders for sorting material by theme.
You read a number of your past writings for the book, even thinking at a few points “hey, I wrote this? This is really good.”
You meditated.
You taught Lily how the lawn mower works and guided her in mowing part of the lawn (ending up doing half of it yourself, but, hey, she’s learning!)
You talked with Lily about all kinds of important things, at length.
You gave Lily suggestions about how to paint a shirt to be part of her Tonks costume (which she will wear at the next Harry Potter trivia event at the Duke & Dagger next week).

You prepped breakfast, lunch, and dinner for tomorrow as well as bags carrying various necessary items because you know it’s going to be a super busy day and don’t want to be tearing your hair out.
You wrote more postcards in support of John Calabrese’s campaign to represent the 29th district in the State Assembly.
Let it be enough.


September 15, 2018

Inner Wise Woman says: I know it is 5:26am and you haven’t slept a wink, but please just go lie down now again and see what happens. Put down the Facebook, get out of your chair, go upstairs, and lie in bed. No arguing.


  1. Love this! Such good acceptance and advice from Your Own Self!

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