Anne Lamott is one of my favorite writers. She has published 18 memoirs and her book, Bird by Bird, is an iconic book on writing. It was one of the first books I read when I decided to start writing. She is passionate, funny and thoughtful.

Her view of writing is right on the money. To quote Anne Lamott, “Books are as important as almost anything else on earth…unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

I have come to writing later in life. I am the same age as Anne Lamott. She has been a writer her whole life. She also has moments of writer’s block when faced with that empty page. She tells a story of her younger brother having to write a paper on birds and he waited until the last minute. He was close to tears overwhelmed with the huge task ahead of him. Her father, a writer, sat down next to him and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

I recently applied for a scholarship for an online writing course. Not knowing what to expect I figured I would write the reason why I want to take the course. I wrote as I do in my blogs, from the heart. Needless to say all of my doubts where right on the surface. I figured it was now or never. Out of 1900 entries from around the world they chose sixteen people and I was one of them. Yep, at 64 I am on my way. Who knows where it will take me. But as Anne Lamott’s father once said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”


The meaning of the gut when used as a noun is in reference to a feeling or reaction based on an instinctive emotional response rather than considered thought. Having a monkey mind I have many considered thoughts.

The Gut used as a verb is when it causes (someone) to feel extremely upset or disappointed. It guts me to think they were not being truthful.

I wanted to believe that the situation couldn’t or wouldn’t happen but my gut told me otherwise. It also pertains to having a gut feeling about a person. I have a bad habit of thinking that I am overreacting or being too sensitive or just not wanting to believe that my gut is telling me the truth.

My fear many times keeps me from trusting my gut. Because sometimes the truth, not my truth, but the truth is a hard pill to swallow. I don’t want to think the worse but sometimes that’s just the way it is. And I am now trying to really look at THE truth regardless of how hurtful it can be to me.

When I don’t feel good about myself it’s usually because I have to deal with the outcome of not going with my gut. I have to say in all these years my intuition (which I think is a good synonym) has not let me down. I’ve been the one who hasn’t been strong enough to face what the real deal is and not my idea of what I would like it to be.

My career always tests whether or not I am listening to what my inner voice is saying. Making the right decision for what is best for my own welfare and not making the decision for others. I did that a lot when I had to take care of my family even though there were times when I didn’t want to put myself in an awkward position.

Co-dependency challenged my gut many times and I usually listened to the voice that told me to buck up and be a team player even when it wasn’t for my best interest. Don’t get me wrong. There were decisions I made which helped me as well but I paid the price on the back end.

Going into the situation seemed to be “not so bad” (what we tell ourselves when we know our gut is saying NO!) and in the end wasn’t the right direction.

What not going with my gut has taught me is to learn from my mistakes and try not to make the same ones again. I guess what it comes down to is trusting yourself and…age. Yep, never thought I would go there but chalking up years on this earth has helped me to step back, listen and let things sit. Patience. Trust. Stillness. Still a work in progress. Hopefully, I have lots of years to practice.

What does my gut tell me to do now? Write, sculpt, sing, paint, listen, laugh, cry and just trust whatever comes up. To not let fear dictate what is in my head but to embrace what’s in my gut…and in my heart.


I have practiced yoga for many many years and have had my ups and downs with my confidence level. When I was younger, I was more agile, stronger and flexible. What I never really had a problem with was balance. Man, have times changed!

I was never great at tree pose where you balanced one foot against your thigh and raised your arms up high and strong like branches. Some days I would hold the pose for a long period of time without wavering and other times I could barely keep my foot stable for a few minutes.

But now even the simplest poses seem to allude me. I find myself falling over and feeling like a klutz. How is that possible after practicing for forty-eight years?! I feel weak. Not to others but to myself. I am reminded that my body is not what it use to be. I am still a size six and climb forty-seven steps up to my house numerous times on any given day. But balancing from right to left can be ridiculously challenging.

When I find I can’t practice the way I use to it reminds me of how other things in life are not as easy. I don’t mean physically. I mean the day to day living. The balance of life.

There are days when my balance is totally off. When no matter how I remind myself of my good fortune, I have doubts as to whether I will be able to handle all of the unknowns that await me. Sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming. All the self-help books, affirmations, and meditations just don’t seem to alleviate the restlessness I feel. I can tell you I don’t know all the answers and wonder how other people swing the life balance in a positive direction.

One definition of balance is a condition in which different elements are equal or in the same proportions. So my goal then is to try to balance the quiet with the noise. To counterbalance the worry with the same amount of security knowing that everything is going to turn out ok. In fact, even better than ok. Because at the end of every yoga session is Shavasana. It might look like a nap at the end of your yoga practice. But it’s actually a fully conscious pose aimed at being awake, yet completely relaxed. Now that’s my kind of balance.