With a little help from our (plant) friends...

You know those days when trying to focus is like herding cats? When you’re feeling disconnected, discombobulated, like your head and your body are floating on opposite sides of the room? 

Whenever that happens to me, I go for the nearest flower, open window, bottle of essential oils, stick of incense, or richly scented cup of tea.

Why? Because scent, baby. It’s a powerful ally when we're trying to shift our presence back to the present. 

The infusion of scent into my awareness coaxes me back into my body - where my fierce lives.Then I can focus again. Be who I choose to be. Do what I choose to do.

What’s so special about a cluster of invisible fragrance molecules? 

“Good question!” says the aromatherapist. (Hang in there with the upcoming nerdy science stuff if that’s not your thing. I promise it all makes sense in the end.)

As you inhale an aroma, the odor molecules dance across your olfactory receptors - tiny nerve endings just behind the bridge of your nose. The receptors identify the scent (“Ooohhh chai!”), and nerve cells send this information directly to the brain’s limbic system. In fact, the sense of smell is the only sensory pathway that opens directly into the brain. All other senses are filtered in some way.

How fast does this happen? FAST! Some theories say your brain registers aroma twice as fast as it does pain. 

The limbic system is a cluster of functions throughout the brain. It’s networked to your autonomic nervous system - the part of your nervous system that controls stress responses (among many other things) - the “fight or flight” or “rest & digest” reactions.

Once scent reaches the limbic system it can trigger memories and influence emotions and behavior. 

See? This is why scent - and aromatherapy - can be such a great ally when we are trying to change patterns or interrupt behaviors we’d rather not be doing.

The limbic system also works with the nervous system, respiratory, circulatory and immune systems of our bodies. All places where the physical repercussions of our emotional beliefs show up. More goodness!

Everyone has a unique response to scent. 

It may be related to our spiritual tradition, many of which include scent of some kind. (White sage in some Native American traditions, Frankincense incense in the Roman Catholic church, Sandalwood in Hindu traditions…)  Our reactions to fragrance can also be related to scents we have experienced in our past. Remember, scent is one of the strongest triggers of memory.

One of the things we tend to forget is this: our sense of smell is one of our most primal survival senses. We once used it to find food, to sense predators, to predict weather changes. Infants still use it to find their mother’s breast - their source of food and nurturing.

During the nearly 30 years I’ve been teaching and practicing aromatherapy, I’ve witnessed people experiencing states of unity consciousness and feelings of deep presence brought on by inhaling a scent. I’ve witnessed anxious people teaching themselves, with scent as their ally, to find their center, and seen people immobilized by depression work with scent to rediscover their inner fire. I’ve seen women terrified to speak in groups find solid ground and take a stand.

Because of how it works on the brain, scent touches us back into our wildness -- into our pulsing, beating, breathing, hungering, sensual bodies. And who wouldn’t want to experiment with that?

Curious? Have a groovy scent-related story? Please share! Have questions about how to do this for yourself, connect with me.

The strength in our differentness.

Did you know that the kinds of life that flourish in ecotones (narrow Places on the edges where different ecosystems meet) are often unique to that small space?

The denizens tend to be flexible, hardy, innovative, and especially resilient because they have adapted to thrive in the borderlands between different environments. 

Being highly sensitive, multipotentialed, body-wise, womxn of deepening years, these are all traits that place us firmly on the edges of what society names "normal." As womxn with these traits, we spend most of our lives in social and cultural ecotones. 

We are different. I love that about us.

We're good at adaptability, innovation, flexibility... It is the water we've been swimming in, after all. 

For example, I'm a poet and a mentor for womxn of deepening years. And, yes, they're linked. 

Becoming a poet is an ecotone adaptation to the rigid, linear, thought-only based approach shoveled into my child mind in early life.

Rigid, linear, thought-only ... I am none of those things. I sense. I feel. I think holistically. In spirals and spheres and fractal systems.

Writing poetry lets me circumvent acculturated behaviors and invite in my sensitive, body-wise, multipotentialed ways of knowing.

It helps me stand in the strength of my differentness, and hold fertile space for other womxn of difference as they discover their own adaptive, innovative strengths. 

And that, my amazing friend, is how mentoring and poetry are linked.

Different site graphic (1).jpg

Why is this important?

Because you may have something similar happening. A creative adaptation that seems unrelated to your work or to what you’re trying to create in your life, yet may be one of the best tools to help you stand in the strength of your differentness.

It would be good to know what that/those is/are, right? It would be good to understand how interwoven your interests and explorations are so you understand how they weave webs of knowledge, support, perhaps even healing for you.

So, maybe take a moment and think about it...

Was that an "Ah-ha!" I heard? (With any luck, we’re both wearing cheeky grins right now.)

driven by the ache

Life has turned me upside down these past months, keeping me up deep into the night. Pulling my focus in too many directions. Challenging the ways I’d envisioned my life being at this time.

It feels like I’m a woman out of time, out of synch, out of rhythm. It’s a strange and lonely feeling. So, of course, I wrote about it to try to make sense of it. Or, at least, to move it through my body and ease the restlessness…

restless mind

roams and prowls

like the restless

steps of the ginger

cat pawing at the 

faded ivory door

this night is 

scratchy with 

cricket song and 

katydid calls

rasping itself across

my awareness

prodding me toward….


its urgency is 

both endless 

and obscure

I wish I knew

what it wants

but I don’t speak

sodden night

or cricket

or katydid


maybe that’s 

the sand rubbing 

at my soul

maybe this language

I’ve lost - these night

songs whose meaning

I can feel at the 

edge of my 


but not translate

maybe that’s the

loneliness the 

bleeding loss

the ache of missing

that’s tangled in 

my stumbling fingers

pushing me to

keep trying to

keep typing to

keep flinging 

words onto 



maybe there’s 

no maybe 


maybe soon

I’ll remember

driven by the ache © 2019 Tracie Nichols | all rights reserved

Join the Rising!

It all started whenI was trying to write a clear, sensible description of this project for you. And then this bit of blazing (and, a bit salty) honesty fell out…

“This culture is epically fucked up and I'm done with living under and watching other womxn live under these conditions. I've bled fiftyfuckingseven years of my life into the sucking pit of patriarchal need that passes for society in this country, and I'm not giving one more drop of my blood, sweat, creative and emotional energy. Not. One. Drop. More. And, I'm going to do my damnedest to see that no other womxn does either.”

So now you’ve caught a glimpse of the fire in my belly that has me creating a project exploring the power of older womxn when they break free from the expectations and limitations enforced by society.

And, calling myself - calling women like us - rebel crones starts to make a whole lot of sense. 

This community project is about sharing powerful stories from crone or soon-to-be crone womxn who are living and working outside the boxes ageists and the patriarchy want to put us in. It’s meant to inspire, encourage, and offer a feeling of solidarity to womxn approaching and in their crone years. To help us refuse the aching, confusing, enraging, socially imposed isolation and invisibility we experience as silvering, softening women of deepening years. 


A bit about Ageism and Rebel Crones...

One of the first bits of information I uncovered while down an ageist-keyworded rabbit hole last year was this: we internalize the age stereotypes of our culture at a very young age - often as young as 4 years old.

So, before we’re even able to fully understand who we are as people, we’ve absorbed and internalized that when we reach a certain age we will become whatever the cultural myths tell us we must become. In this culture? That’s not something life-affirming.

Ageism is both insidious and pervasive. Disentangling from it takes walking each day - hell, each moment - with presence, self-kindness, and good people to lift us when we inevitably falter.

The more I think and write about this, the more womxn I talk with about it, the more I realize that circles of womxn moving in solidarity are key to instigating change for us all. Key to taking back our culture, making it a more life-affirming, nourishing, respect-filled place to live. 

Being a rebel crone is as much a feeling as an action or an attitude. 

It’s the bone-deep memory of council fires where wild and woman voices wove to create wellbeing for a community. 

It’s the echo in our cells of 13.8 billion years of growth and change and resilience. 

Being a rebel crone isn’t just about redefining how aging or eldering is viewed in this culture, it’s writing an entirely new story about what these years mean and how they can be lived. 

It’s about each womxn defining her cronedom for herself. The rhythm of it. The ease and joy of it. The service and responsibility of it. The sacred space of it.

It’s not accepting ANY of the current myths or stereotypes for 50-ish women like...

--- we must somehow stay eternally youthful

--- we must quietly fade to invisibility as spent, useless husks

--- we must be sweet, cooking-baking, there for everyone, no sense of self grannys

--- the changes in our bodies make us less innovative, creative, courageous…

Coming together. Witnessing each other. Sharing our stories. Defying the invisibility imperative. That’s the antidote. 

You and your story are the antidote


What we’ll be doing...

Sharing stories and conversations throughout September 2019 meant to: 

  • nurture a truly thriving ecosystem of womxn, who are learning together, supporting each other, trying new things, creating and innovating, bringing unique dreams and perspectives into a world that might have otherwise lost these contributions.

  • expand community for all of us involved. This can look like

    • pooling our audiences and getting more eyes on our work and people on our mailing lists for the business owners among us.

    • making connections and founding a local or virtual crones circle.

    • feeling supported enough to start a project or take the first steps toward actualizing a long-held dream.

    • finding the solidarity necessary to share your own rising crone story.

Basically, starting on Sunday, September 1st those who sign up will begin to receive emails from me featuring rebel crones sharing their stories or some aspect of their stories. The stories could be written, told in images, a short video or audio…

Something luscious and inspiring to go with a morning cuppa. Something we can let settle into our bones and lift us throughout our day.

At the end of the project, I’ll weave together all of those stories into a shareable, downloadable ebook for us all.

Ways to join in...

The best thing for you to do is click the button below and pop your email address in the form - that way you'll get each crone-womxn’s offering delivered to your inbox in September. You can join in at any time and at the end of the project you'll receive a beautiful shareable, downloadable ebook.

—> You can join us in the Facebook group where we’ll be having conversations about the day’s rebel crone story. You’ll be able to meet sister crones or crones-in-waiting. Maybe find some solidarity and good folks to walk with…

—> Hop onto one of our Zoom calls to dive in - live - to some of the themes and questions emerging from our conversations in the Facebook group and on Instagram. So much can happen in a good conversation! (Call details will be announced in the Facebook group.)

—> Use #rebelcronesrising when posting about what’s making you feel like rebel crones these days.  

Understanding what I need to stay vibrant

Today, I find myself using my oh-so-vivid imagination, hovering high above the terrain of my life looking into and across the threads of events over the last six-ish months. The view is .... well ... very instructive.

It's an exercise inspired by a wise woman friend who invited me to do the same with the physical terrain of this ecosystem where I live, so I could better understand this land and her needs.  

_600 x 200 body compass TTW.jpg

Understanding what I need - what this crone-woman body/soul needs to stay vibrant and vital - feels urgent.

As if the promise I made to Life to place thoughtful, heart-kernel, bone-truth words into the hands/hearts of the world will go unfulfilled if I don't get better at spotting patterns, nourishing myself, and defending my time, space and energy. 

longest threads - feynman (1).jpg

From this hawks-eye perspective it's so clear that the events/times/moments where I have been connected with truth, willing to see and listen deeply, are as solid as stepping stones.

When I lose track of the pattern-making threads - usually because I've let go of the willingness to see clearly and listen from my bones - that's what causes ruptures in my truth/clarity continuity.

That's when I see myself tumbling in murky water at the mercy of "should" and "must" and assorted other absurd external or internal expectation currents.

That's when nature-informed, flight-borne, rebel crone words come second or fifth or twenty-seventh to everything else.

That's when my joints hurt and I stop sleeping and I crave sugar and I stop moving from joy and start moving from restless emptiness and ache.  

said no wanted yes TTW.jpg

What I'm realizing from my cloud's-eye perspective -- discerning patterns is where our crone years truly shine as a gift. We've lived a lot of life. Had the chance to see those longest threads used by nature weaving. Watched as they appear again and again. Noticed patterns, even if we didn't know we were noticing.

As introverted women, we've likely spent time in solitude with what we've noticed, integrating it into our worldview. Making new, more thoughtful meaning with it. 

As highly sensitive women, we've not only been observing and integrating events, we've also been picking up subtle, non-verbal information and processing all of that deeply. As Elaine Aron says about how we make decisions, "HSPs simply process everything more, relating and comparing what they notice to their past experience with other similar things. When we decide without knowing how we came to that decision, we call this intuition, and HSPs have good (but not infallible!) intuition." 


As sensitive, introverted, crone-women, we've essentially spent our lives honing our pattern recognition and intuition, whether or not we realize it. Using these skills, we're resourced to choose for ourselves and be decisive in implementing those choices. So, the best ways to nourish ourselves, creating boundaries, initiating creative habits....these move from "wouldn't it be nice" wishes to doable practices.

Being body-wise

I believe being body-wise is a state of being anyone - HSP or not - can cultivate.

Most importantly, it's a state of being, like being highly sensitive, that can feel both deeply beautiful, and deeply vulnerable. 

The beauty...

Those days when I'm holding space for a client or class (this works virtually and in person) and I feel like a tuning fork ringing my unique tone ... alternately leading, following and harmonizing with the other tone(s) in the room ... creating a symphony of insights and shifting perspectives. 

The vulnerability...

The days when I feel as if the world is ringing my body like a giant cathedral bell, knocking me off center, leaving me wobbling and swaying along a path of someone else's making. And that’s so disconcerting…

A body-wise womxn knows how best to support herself because she feels it in her bones.

  • But, what if the world is so loud you can't hear your bones?

  • Or what if you're sick, or overstretched, or overwhelmed? 

  • What if you wake up and realize you're wobbling along a path not yours?

Nature, once again, is solace and companion.

Anchoring our tuning fork bodies into an earthy port opens space for being and belonging. For knowing we are innately interwoven with our ecosystem, part of a planetary system of support, never alone with the intensity of how we perceive.

And, once anchored, we are more resilient. More resilience means more experiences of body-wise beauty.

Being HSP

I recently sat in a room with 25 women who identified as HSP. It felt extraordinary. Literally, outside the ordinary. 

Only 20% of the population carries the trait of high sensitivity. I was sitting in a room full of women of difference. 

Each woman carried in her own experience of living with high sensitivity. Experiences covering territory from enjoyment and appreciation to extreme discomfort. 

As I listened to the stories of discomfort, I felt an echoing tremor in my bones.

Sensory Processing Sensitivity is a complex gift to live with. 

On one hand, we experience beauty intensely. In our marrow intensely. It can be breathtaking. We are also uniquely tuned to be exceptional leaders and changemakers. The world needs this aspect of our trait so much at this point in history.

On the other hand, in certain situations we can feel like our nerve endings are being sandpapered. Like there's nowhere we can find relief. Exhausted and utterly out of place. The discomfort is visceral. Sometimes relentless. 

Eighty percent of the world doesn't get the experiences we have. It's not malicious. They literally cannot understand what we are feeling, sensing, or experiencing. Frankly, we weird them out a bit.

So, to participate in our families, workplaces, and communities we're put in the position of choosing to do the emotional labor of educating skeptical people, or hiding our perceptions, squelching our insights, and trying to fit in. 

Community where we are seen - like the room full of 25 women - becomes essential. In community, with support, we can discover ways to resource ourselves and develop greater resilience. 

And, remember, community doesn't just mean human community. HSP's are especially responsive to time spent with more-than-human community. So, hug a tree. For real. And find some women of difference to spend time with. 

Take up space ... please!

I'm slowly reading - or maybe experiencing is a better word -  Margaret J. Wheatley's book "Who Do We Choose To Be?"  It's one of those books that offers unglazed reality so wisely, with such compassion, that I cannot rush through, nor can I stop. I keep going back to read bits over and let them sink deeper into my body. 

The words are jiggling loose unconscious assumptions - the kind that have been keeping my choices small and meek. Cracking my little bubble world more and more open. Holding up uncomfortable truth with such clarity I find myself drawing closer, rather than turning away. 

Her subtitle really gets to the heart of what she explores in this work, "Facing Reality. Claiming Leadership. Restoring Sanity."

The world has been feeling like a pretty intense and insane place lately.

That's why I'm asking ... encouraging ... imploring you, body-wise, highly sensitive, multipotentialed folks to take up space. 

Let me explain...

The more intense the world feels, the more likely we are to retreat - anemone-like - into ourselves. Staying present feels hard. Taking up more space than usual - harder. It seems to be the opposite of what feels safe and looks sensible. 

Yet, our ability to sense underlying emotions, to observe and absorb information others are not seeing, to deeply process and integrate all that input and see long-range possible outcomes not obvious to 80% of the world -- that's the role we play for our species. That's what we're wired to do. 

So especially now, when western cultures are locked into extremes of behavior and beliefs, retreating into lizard-brained survival mode, now is when our trait is deeply needed. When our leadership is deeply needed. 

Taking up space becomes both revolutionary and evolutionary. Literally evolutionary, in the biologic sense.

Janine Benyus said, "Life creates circumstances conducive to life." Ecosystems - and human communities are absolutely ecosystems - respond to threats to life by evolving new resiliency strategies...by foregrounding the members who enhance life-affirming acts. When we take up space, we're creating circumstances conducive to life.

We love, we empathize, we feel what’s happening to our communities in our marrow. AND…we are uniquely qualified to midwife small, local changes that will make a difference.

We do it every day when we use the gift of our differentness in our practices, easing people who are suffering. 

"So much is possible if we consciously and wisely choose how best to step forward as leaders for this time." M. Wheatley

(If you find taking up space daunting, let’s have a (free, no pressure) tea….)

When even self-care gets hard

Recently, I saw a social media post about self-care steps someone was taking after coming through an intense few weeks, inviting folks to talk about the ways they were taking care of themselves.

Not surprisingly, an impressive list of massages, nature rambles, spiritual experiences and the like followed.

What was surprising to me was the mixed set of reactions I felt when reading them. 

There was my usual surge of “Go you!” appreciation for people truly caring for themselves. I also felt exhausted and overwhelmed at the thought of trying to attempt any of these truly beautiful self-care practices myself. And then came an ache of aloneness and an alarming pulse of shame. (Shame?)

You see, my life right now is a storm of worry and off-the-charts stress. There are hard, hard things happening for two people I love. Two people who are inextricably woven into the fabric of my daily life. People for whom I have a foot - and a heart - in the role of caretaker.


I'll pause here to let you (deeply kind, so very compassionate and caring folks) know I’m OK. I know you’re all wise in the ways of healing and self-love - and - I’m not asking you to do the labor of offering advice (with gentle appreciation for any who had that impulse). I simply offer this snapshot of my life to give you bit of context so what I’m saying next about self-care makes sense.


Since a lot of my work centers around helping people cultivate resilience, my aversion reactions to this post gave me this ghostly sense of being an outsider in a space I typically call home.

That pulse of shame? She's there because "I know this stuff and I should be doing better." Which is hogwash, of course. But - as I'm sure you know - when our resilience is stretched rice paper thin, that's when our inner monsters stage their coup. 

Hello monsters.... Nope. You don't get to take over...

So right now....

--- because it’s all very intense and utterly beyond my control
--- because it's swampy with all the feelings, especiall grief
--- because my time isn't my own - or doesn't feel as if it is
--- because the weight of this is bringing me to my knees - sometimes literally
--- because massages and painting classes and long walks and silent retreats feel mythical. Unreachable. A climb up Everest in flip flops.

...my version of self-care looks like

  • Remembering to eat.

  • Breathing a quiet “yes!” when it’s veggies rather than donuts.

  • Wearing the softest, most comfy clothes I own.

  • Embracing unplanned naps.

  • Stopping by a park for 10 minutes between transportation runs, rolling down the windows and breathing. Getting out of the car optional. Walking optional.

  • Wrapping my hands around a warm cup of tea. Breathing.

  • Letting plans - for my business and life - go dormant for a bit.

  • Holding schedules - for my business and life - gently and loosely. 

  • Whispering "I love you. You've got this." when I catch a glimpse of myself in random reflective surfaces. 

  • Kindness and patience when none of these work. 

  • Kindness when the patience fails. 

  • Retroactive kindness when the kindness fails. 

So, here's my invitation to you this time: Take a moment to notice the state of your resilience. And, if it feels nourishing, whisper "I love you. You've got this." when you catch a glimpse of yourself in random reflective surfaces. Savor how that feels. Build yourself a sweet well of self-love to draw on when life gets hard.  

Finding belonging off the beaten path

Wherever I am, whether it's a shopping mall or a local park, I notice how I look for places where people are not, and go there. How often I am literally off the beaten path. How I simply have to be in the places that other people don't go.

Today, I am on a muddy trail running through underbrush full of new young poison ivy. Five yards to my right I can see a nicely paved trail. But, not two yards to my left the broad creek is murmuring. A pair of Mallards are floating past, chuckling softly to themselves. And I can see, through the sparkle of sun on water, algae-furred rounded stones lying on the muddy bottom.

Yesterday, I almost lost a shoe in that mud's cousin out here on the bank. And it didn't matter. Because the experience of the creek from here is magnificent. The experience of the creek from here reminds me that I'm alive.

There is such infinite peace here. My edges soften and blur and take on the contours of tree and stone and murmuring water. I am, simply, home.

This desire to be off the beaten path…

…rises from so many parts of me. Rises from my multipotentialed curiosity, from my highly sensitive self needing the space and the ease of natural spaces to recover, from my introverted self for the same reasons, and for my Crone-woman self.

The more years I spend on this Earth the more aware I become of how essential these spaces and experiences are to reminding me of why I'm here.

I am a being of experience and senses. For me in particular, translating those experiences into words and sharing them…

that's part of why I'm here.

I'm rambling on muddy trails so other people will be inspired to do the same. I'm laughing about almost losing shoes in the mud, so other people will laugh about muddy near misses, too. And so people will fall in love with this place, with this Earth. Perhaps we can rediscover our sense of belonging, and work to ensure that all species, including humans, thrive.

But it's not just to be in service to the Earth that I am here off these beaten trails…

It's also to be in service to women like me.

Women who have walked so much of their lives feeling like they were skirting around the edges. Like they didn't belong. Like they didn't quite fit.

When I wander a new trail, even if it's only new to me, and share that experience, I like to think that it inspires women like me to do the same. And when I share how these out-of-the-way places, these trails that are often unpeopled, help me to find a deep sense of belonging, then my hope is that women like me - women like us - will recover their belonging and start to share their own off the beaten trail experiences.

But it's also about courage. It's also about developing our capacity to navigate unknown terrain despite being scared, or worried, or anxious. Unknown external terrain and unknown internal terrain.

Because, if we're being ourselves, if we're following the urge that takes us to these off the beaten path places, there's a lot of unknown terrain to navigate.

Can you imagine how much richer our culture would be if women like us shared our experiences rather than discounting them?

Terrified and hopeful

Recently, driven by a restless yearning for thinking of substance and concern for the future of this country I call home, I've been drinking in great gulps of Terry Tempest Williams' "The Open Space of Democracy."

It started because I’ve been trying to stay present and engaged in the events of this world and that’s tumbled me like a river stone and deposited me into a space both terrified and hopeful. I’m qware of systems - natural, social, and political - collapsing. I can smell the salty tang of evolution in the wind.

My wild she-who-remembers-her-interconnectedness self understands what’s happening. My indoctrinated-in-separateness human self wants to panic.

When I take several steps back and look from the outside, this divisive and chaotic mess looks like the decay it is. In our collective ecosystem, diseased old trees are beginning to fall. Space in the canopy is being cleared for sunlight to reach through. Soil is being made. Fertile places are being prepared for new systems to set their roots. It’s death so rebirth can happen.

Seen through the eyes of one fragile human who depends - or thinks she depends - on the collapsing systems for survival, it's hard to remember this. Hopelessness and apathy stalk me, snarling softly.

So I turn to the words of one who has walked this trail before me, finding both solace and warning.

"Expect anything.
Patience is more powerful than anger. Humor is more attractive than fear.
Pay attention. Listen. We are most alive when discovering.
Humility is the capacity to see.
Suffering comes, we do not have to create it,
We are meant to live simply.
We are meant to be joyful.
Life continues with and without us.
Beauty is another word for God."
- Terry Tempest Williams "The Open Space of Democracy"

Image credit: Unsplash


Work-at-home nomad

I’ve become
a work-at-home nomad.

No longer
desk sitting
(at least not exclusively)

to the places
where I feel
the land calling

places where
my body’s presence
pulls me to
wild communion

body leading -
mind and heart
scribes illuminating
muscled semaphore

making wordscapes
from a wordless
of Place and

© 2013/2019 Tracie Nichols


riding life's
currents requires
a wider stance

a lower center
of gravity


rubbing along
life's twists is as
comfortable as
tender new skin
abruptly meeting
sharp, shifting
gravel shards

sometimes life's
molten, shaking growth
spurts ask us to be
something we've never been

that's OK

every mountain
and river and valley
was once a flat and
easy walk

think how glorious
they are now...

sometimes - © 2018 Tracie Nichols

Poet's Rebellion

Despite having blogged fairly prolifically over the past decade, lately I haven't wanted to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) in that way. I mean, the aversion has been almost visceral. I haven't even wanted to journal. And though I've never been wildly consistent about journaling, it's always felt like home.

Trusting my voice, my internal guidance system, has been an unfolding and daily practice throughout my life. So, it took a bit for me to realize that I wasn't just being lazy or crazy, or avoiding writing. My body wisdom was adjusting how I move through my days to meet my emerging, changing creative rhythms as a crone. I didn't want to write the way I had been writing because my writing needs to take on a different cultural role.

An oh-so-wise pre-crone friend reminded me that, as crones, we've moved outside the confines of patriarchal attention and expectation. We've been dismissed, therefore we're off the radar. Which is bullshit, yes. Their loss, definitely. And...it also offers us maneuvering room those still being tracked don't have. We're in a position to be uniquely subversive.

When I finally wrote again this morning, what flowed from my heart to my fingers was a poem I've called Poet's Rebellion. Because confining my words to well-regulated structures? Yeah. Not happening.

constraining my
words to structures
breaks me a little
each time

to confine them in boxes created
by a culture gone mad
with categorizing and naming and
keywording and tagging


each word
each breath-infused
is a tiny fragment
of livingness

and yes life,
she has rhythms and
patterns and
life-giving structures
that teach unfolding
generations how to
create life anew

but - oh my aching heart -
they are life-giving structures
not the stranglehold of
stagnating expectations found
in so many corners
down so many virtual alleys
in this conform or
be shunned culture
in this conform
and die slowly

to type letters
and coalesce them into
wordscapes meant to free
is both smile-inducing gift
and shoulder-bowing responsibility
to give them life
then shackle them to
the weight of “musts” and
tangle them in the bindweed
of “isms”


Poet’s Rebellion © 2019 Tracie Nichols

The Answer to Upheaval

Spring - any seasonal or life transition really - brings it's measure of chaos. 

Facets of life are being shuffled and redistributed. Whether by your hand or by the fine fingers of the Universe.

Chaos, while productive and essential, can become frustrating…annoying…exhausting. Sometimes, you just need the craziness to give it a rest.

I get that…so much right now.

When I need life to give it a rest, I plunk myself down in the middle of the mess, take deep breaths (lots), and counterintuitively open my heart wide. I become a well of stillness and compassion in the middle of the spinning life facets. I just refuse to spin with them anymore.

And then I listen for the rhythms, synchronicity, patterns that will weave everything together into it's new form.

Once you see the pattern it's much easier to deal with the lolloping looniness. It may not all settle into the pattern(s) you've discerned, but you know it will. And that helps. A lot. (For me, anyway.)

You are not at the mercy of anything

You are not at the mercy of anything

The most interesting stuff happens when I’m showering. In my head, I mean. This morning, for example, this cloud of mosquito thoughts dodging around the periphery of my brain came together finally and handed me this insight:

No matter what I think has been happening lately … I’ve been acting like a victim. In my life, and in the relationship I have with my business. (I can’t tell you how many time the phrase “at the mercy of….” has shown up in my journaling and during the hundreds of silent conversations I have with myself throughout a day.)

Applying nature’s wisdom to social change work

Applying nature’s wisdom to social change work

I have these groovy cards (kinda like flashcards) from Toby Lynn Herzlich of Biomimicry for Social Innovation.

They talk about applying nature’s wisdom to our social change work.

To restructuring leadership and organizations as living systems so they are more effective.

To making organizations function as living systems based on the principles of life so they are creating conditions conducive to life for all life. Human, more-than-human. All of us.

Why do things feel so.. off?

Why do things feel so.. off?

Cicadas are singing again, here in the edge-of-wild suburban ecosystem where I live. The thunderstorms are wild. Breezes are more water than air. Heat lays in visible-to-the-eye curves over soft hills and valleys.

In the northern hemisphere, summer is nearing her mid-point.

The ferocious growth rush of spring and early summer is settling into a long, lazy wander toward full fruiting and harvest.

In response to nature’s signals, I can feel lulling energy pulling at me. Thoughts curl in lazy spirals. Doing has less meaning. Being centers itself in my awareness.

Facing Reality

Facing Reality

Looking at my inbox this morning there were two more.

Two more emails from wise, compassionate people talking about ways to survive the intensity of the world while still doing our work and living our lives. I’ve lost count of how many similar emails I’ve received (and sent, over the years).

Admittedly, the capacious number is down to both the kind of community I’ve built and the expanding number of incomprehensible events slamming into our collective awareness almost daily.