When I was in my formative years, death cast a shadow over my family and even at school.
My mom had a stillborn baby when I was almost 13. It stunned our entirely family and upset any sense of normalcy. Just two years later, my grandma — matriarch, wizard investor, master gardener, local school board member and my personal writing mentor — died at 59 of pancreatic cancer. And during high school, a young boy drowned during gym class. Though our family didn’t know him personally, his death mobilized my mother — who knew the oppressive pain of tragic loss — to help the community bring change and greater safety to the school.
Death and loss, especially when tragic and unexpected, causes transformation. To know life in a new way. To radically change perspective. To know that our time here on this earth is mysterious and oh so precious, and that life should be lived with purpose and meaning.
I am a writer and quite philosophically oriented because of these events. I knew at just 8 years old that I would be a writer. But through these difficult early experiences, I learned that storytelling is a powerful way to mobilize and change communities, heal and deliver wisdom when it’s needed. I wrote poetry and stories all throughout these events, and even shared some of it with my family. The storytelling we did as a family, sharing memories and perspectives between tears and often over meals together, seemed to help the most.
Life calmed down long enough for me to graduate from the University of Minnesota. I studied English and journalism there, and had a great experience working at The Minnesota Daily. After school, one of my mentors — a Pulitzer-winning journalist — told me I should find something else besides journalism that I love. That would bring balance to my life and depth to my work, he advised.
A year or two after he said that, I fell deeply in love with yoga, meditation and the healing arts. My mentor was right; these practices made my life better and gave me a depth of perspective. It also helped me heal unhealed wounds from the past. I have taught yoga and meditation at several studios and other locations around the state, including Eagan, Willmar, Winona, Burnsville and Sauk Rapids.
To all that I do, I bring depth, wisdom, and intellect balanced with compassion. I am fascinated and amazed by life, humanity and the world we live in. I love my work as a journalist and I have a love for other types of storytelling as well, such as poetry, videography, social media and short stories.
After all, storytelling changes — and heals — the world.