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the moment came when I realized what was worth fighting for and it came barging through into existence like a runaway freight train. The importance of love. Tangled up in the mountains, streams — the breeze. Swirling around me. Possibility. Expansion and opportunities awakened. Gratitude for the lightning, thunder and trees tangled up in heaps, piled at the base of something big and not all beautiful and still full of tenderness and newness. What I needed was to feel this again and even though familiar, it was different and secure and emanated from me — outward. Instead of the old other way around. Shining out. Reaching. Arms outstretched and sun on my face. Warmth. Self love, first.


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On top of Ravenrock in a moment of lift and looking out at White Rock, Shiprock, The Gallery, to the Sleeping Ute and beyond to a place I call home. This course area that used to appear so large to me, now seems smaller and connected and like the neighborhood I grew up in. Familiar. This snowy, rugged desert, mud caked and prickly is familiar. It pulls at my scars and heartstrings equally. It pisses me off and pushes me down and lifts me up and challenges my beliefs about myself and shows me the truth in my strength. …


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Putting feelings into words. Slowly. And, grief and mourning and what that looks like, feels like, tastes like and smells like. It’s a big brick laid on your chest that already has issues inhaling and exhaling. It’s like knowing your capacity to love is bigger than your body and not having any place to send it, keeping it inside — hard to breathe with all that trapped in there. Suffocating a little. It’s different for everyone and yet relatable. A common language. Change, when it comes has looked like a chameleon in my life. Never the same colors. Sometimes it’s a tornado, red, sometimes a walk on the beach, blue, sometimes a wave, light purple, sometimes thunder and lightning, blue black, sometimes a forest fire, burnt orange. Fire speaks to me in heat waves. When there’s fire, I listen, I look, I pay attention or I burn. And, sometimes I burn for a bit before I realize it. I am in awe with how fires can be out of fucking control one moment, and then need to be tended to stay lit a few moments later. Moments in regards to a fire are unpredictable. Fires destroy and just as impactfully, they create. Lodgepole pinecones May remain unopened for years and burst open only during a forest fire. I feel like I’m bursting open slowly, then all at once — like a damn pine cone. In the bursting, there’s discomfort. That shell, meant to protect, is cracking. Coming alive in the fire. And, with the cracking and bursting comes feeling. Feeling hard emotions and sitting in that and not numbing or distracting. Even though, it’s so much easier to numb and distract. …

Natalie Jo

Lover of words, community and connection. Formerly, Wilderness Therapy, Basecamp and SoundCloud. Currently, living in the wilderness.

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