Life is not a straight line. It's a downpour of gifts, please – hold out your hand

Thank you for being here. I'm so glad you're here.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

No Such Thing As Other

No Such Thing As Other

It is a perfect evening for a walk. You
and the river by my side—trees,
birds, breath, sky
filling us with color and song.
As we walk by the old homeless
couple, sitting on the riverside
bench, the woman points to my sandals. With words
I almost can’t hear, she says—I like your shoes.
Her smile reveals only a handful
of teeth, tiny rotting apples just about
to fall. The old man doesn’t speak with words
but with a grin that splashes everything
warmer, lighter.
I want to know their story, want to know
how, even without beds or roofs or bank accounts
or titles or stylish new sandals,
they show us that come as you are
is the truest meaning of beautiful.
After we chat about the upcoming
weekend weather, she says,
Happy Mother’s Day. Words that feel
more like thank you and—
we’re in this together.
We walk away with bigger
hearts—doors swung open
to let the other in. Four people sharing
the same breath and sky, filled full
with something that feels like
the truest meaning of home.
I am still floating in their warmth, bowing
to every mile walked in their old,
tired shoes, thanking them for inviting us
to sit for a while by their fire—for reminding
us that there is no such thing
as other.
©Julia Fehrenbacher

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

My Heart Can't Contain It All

"I will not die an un-lived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom, goes on as fruit." ~Dawna Markova

I used to, on a very regular basis, share my writing here in this space. I openly shared about the beauty and difficulties of being a mom to two little girls, about fear and doubt and overwhelm and presence and courage and love. I had a few beautiful followers who read what I wrote. 

I wrote and shared here in this space for many years. And then, I mostly stopped sharing my writing here. 

This morning, I'm thinking about why I stopped and I think one of the reasons I stopped is that, even though I had been sharing for years, it started to feel too vulnerable. And I started developing this fear of appearing narcissistic or too this or too that. Fear of not being a "good enough" writer. I remember there was this mean, bully voice in my head that said, "It doesn't matter if you share your writing, no one cares anyway." And there was a comment by someone very close to me about how my writing made them nauseous. (Yes, that one hurt.) 

After listening to the most beautiful Rachel Macy Stafford share some vulnerable truths via her incredible online class "Soul Shift," I felt the nudge to re-visit this blog space. Under "favorite posts," I found the below words, words I wrote and shared back in 2012. As I read the below words, something in me stirred and a big, full love for myself rose up. A love for the woman who had the courage to keep using her voice, who kept putting herself out in the world, even when it appeared no one was reading, even when her hands shook each time she clicked "publish." 

I've decided I want to be more like the woman who kept showing up no matter what. I've decided there is nothing more painful than containing what is no longer containable. I've decided that this world is in deep and desperate need of people who show up with their whole, authentic, love-filled, flawed and beautiful, truth-telling selves.

So, today, in honor of her, I pulled these words out of hiding and will share them here again. Thank you for taking the time to read. 

If you haven't yet read the above words, please read them now. Very, very slowly. And then, maybe read them again. I have a word for the year (peace) & a motto (doing it differently). This quote, I think I'm claiming it as my very own for all the rest of my days. 

I will not die an un-lived life. 

I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. 

I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise.

You know how sometimes you feel like your heart might burst? Like, the love that you feel in there is running out of space because there is so much of it and you can't possibly contain it all?

I feel that way right now.

For all who live and breathe. For all that is.

For the soft, purring cat and the old, old sweet dog who are curled up and snoring beside me. For my beautiful, one-of-a-kind, precious sleeping little girls. For the seagulls that squawked all around me this morning, especially the one who tucked his little orange beak into his tail feathers and so trustingly closed his eyes. For the shadows and rocks and feathers and broken shells I found in the sand today. For the deep, deep breaths of all that fresh salty sea air. For the tiny granules of sand between my toes. For those brave, strong, moss covered oaks that grow in my backyard. For the moon that glows golden outside my window. For the messages and synchronicities that come at exactly the right time. For these miracle fingers that tap and tap. For LIFE that is so very fragile and so very strong and so very, very precious. For wounds that heal and love that grows and grows and grows some more. For my husband, my family, who continue to love me no matter what. For prayers that get said and prayers that get answered. For dreams that get dreamed and dreams that come true. For our sun that continuously, tirelessly shines and warms and lights and creates and breathes life into us all. For this heart that beats and beats - so strong, so alive, so full, so overflowing.

For the precious, beautiful ones who sob and hurt, who hurt so deeply, who are afraid and doubt. Who don't know why. Who keep putting one foot in front of another despite, much.

I want to stand at the very tippy top of the world and shout and sing and whisper, and hold every single one of your hands and hearts in my own and gently, gently whisper...I LOVE YOU.

To the whole wide messy, beautiful, just right world, I want to say-


To you, beautiful heart.

And you.

And you.

And a bazillion other yous. I want to say-

I love you.

You are so beautiful.

You are so brave.

You are so absolutely, gloriously, perfectly, preciously, uniquely YOU.

There is not a single other like you. Please, please don't ever be any other way.

You are just right exactly the way you are. 

You are just right. You can relax. You can just be.

I love you.


Namaste to the whole wide precious world,


"Selfie" taken on the Oregon coast on February 2, 2012

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

It Could Be

It Could Be
a smile or a poem. Or new day light
that finds you through open
window. Or, perhaps, remembering 
that tomorrow
was never promised
It could be the scent
of baking bread, the first chill
of autumn that has you reaching
for your favorite
wool sweater. Or maybe
it’s the noticing of how easily
red maple becomes
and lets go
It could be taking today off
to be still, to un-know, to notice —
to practice loosening
your troubled grip
because grace can never
be gripped or grabbed
It could be choosing
softness in a world grown hard
because you’re tired of hurting
and being hurt and mercy
is the best kind
of medicine
It could be an invitation to gather
around the listening table
where every color is beautiful, where
there is no blame,
no shame — no them
no other
It could be any of these things
or no thing at all
that remind you that, really,
only a few things matter — 
Food. Trees. Words. Love. Mostly love.

©Julia Fehrenbacher 
Image found on Pinterest

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Breathing My Way Back

I am in the kitchen
peeling sweet potatoes, chopping
the onions she grew from her own 
rich soil, gently holding one avocado
after another until I find the one
that is the perfect age
of ripe. 
Hands are busy peeling
and chopping, while mind
skips wildly from one terror
to another — cars and houses drowning
in water, forests on fire, monster
winds that rip roofs off hearts
and homes. People running
from war
to more war.
Fingers painted in soft green
avocado now, feet stand
on the hickory floor, mind 
and trying
to outrun
the fires,
the floods
of too much.
I remember —
to return. To breathe
my way back
to where the body
I remember that instead of scrolling
and chasing and running, I can
roll out the yoga mat, I can
bow to every tree
that has ever stood. I can
feed myself so I can be
one of the ones who helps
rather than hurts.
For now, though, I am still here
in the kitchen, peeling
sweet potatoes, chopping
onions, making a meal
so my family and I
can sit gratefully
around the table
and eat.

©Julia Fehrenbacher
Image found on Google images

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

This Thing In You

This Thing In You

will not take no for an answer.
This that somehow
shines strong
beneath the heavy hard hurry
of your conveniently
noisy life. This shapeless
something that shows up
everywhere –
even when you forget
to notice.
It does not
understand safe
or sensible, will not let you
get away with half
hearted, lifeless
It’s that wordless
that does not know how
to be quiet. It will continue knocking
until you throw open
the door. Until you become –
Ablaze. Awake. Madly in love.
The dazzling artist
of your own
wild life.

*Photograph by the amazing, Christa Gallopoulos 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Rebel with a Cause

Bombs blame belittling bullying 
won't get us anywhere but further 
more divided
puffed up and scared
more full of mean. We teach our children 
to be kind, accepting, humble - 
to be fair, to share, yet 
our wannabe leaders are throwing sticks 
and hate.
Hello world
are you listening? Would you 
join me in being a rebel? A rebel 
whose only cause is to soften, to open
to inch closer to one another, to reach across
miles, masks, colors, borders, labels, parties
to see the other, despite - despite 
Our world is begging us 
to rebel against hate, to set down 
the sticks and run toward 
love - to vote for the only cause
that will save us

*Photo found on Pinterest

Monday, November 23, 2015


UPDATE:   The winners of my B R E A T H E giveaway are Beeara Edmonds and Judith (who left a comment below). Thank you so much for playing along, everyone. Judith, I will add you to my BREATHE list - you will get a welcome email/video shortly and will get week 1 in your inbox this Sunday. Judith, could you please send me your email? My email address is or, you can just share it in the comments here (if you're comfortable with that). Love to you all. xoxo

"Julia’s soul-nourishing, gorgeous new offering, BREATHE, is a gift for YOU. It is a gift of self-care, a deep breath, a warm hug, a reminder that you are so worthy of love." Jenna Whittaker

I wanted to let you all know that I'm doing a giveaway for my new online program "B R E A T H E: A deep breath for your spirit." 

B R E A T H E is an eleven week, (self-directed), deep breathing, creative recovery retreat for your spirit. Each week, for 11 consecutive weeks, you will receive a poem of mine, a writing prompt and a simple invitation to "Dive deep. Be brave." This program is all about mindfulness, slowing down - finding the holy right where you are.

"B R E A T H E, to me, is a life-giving combination of fullness and wide open space. It is the gift of simply being still, of embracing just where I am, without a need to DO anything but simply *be*. It's an offering of Julia's poetry that speaks to deep places, an outpouring of her wisdom that reminds me over and again that who I am is beautiful and lovable and *enough*, and her invitation to let those words live out in an active expression that daily reminds me of truth and light. Julia's BREATHE prompts the most grace-filled opening to write... through a doorway held lovingly open for my soul to dive deep, and be held." -  Robin Oesterwind

I will enter all who leave a comment below - (either letting me know what your favorite poem of mine is or you can leave some words about why you feel called to BREATHE, or if all of that sounds like too much, just leave a heart or a word of your choice). And please, if you know of anyone who could benefit from a deep breath right now (just on time for the holiday season), consider sharing this post so they can enter themselves for the giveaway. If you're already signed up for this program, consider entering anyway (with the idea of gifting this to someone) will choose 2 winners (randomly) on Thanksgiving day (and will announce them here, as well as on my Facebook page).

To read more about B R E A T H E, click H E R E.

Sending so much love,


PS: My new poem "RISE UP" has been published over on The Huffington HERE to be taken to that page

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


You think you don’t have anything 
to say, that it’s been said before
that it doesn’t matter, that you’ll get mocked 
or ridiculed, that someone won’t like it - that it 
is not good enough. That you 
are not good enough. You think 
you’re too young, too old, too tired,
too broken. You hide 
scared-silent behind 
your too much, your not enough. 

You let littleness win. 

Meanwhile - another war 
on something begins. Bombs 
explode. A child loses her mother 
a mother loses her child. Teachers hide 
children in closets to save their lives. Killers kill
in the name of “God,” in the name of mine
in the name of not enough. Division 
division division.

Mommy, I don’t understand

I thought God meant love
in every language
in every religion

Blood soaked shirts
the searing burn
of judgment. 

Dear Child, 

Listen. Rise from the tight walls of your troubled thinking. 

Take your message of love, 
of gentleness, of unity, and, please -
please speak it. 
Write it, paint it, dance it
sing it. Look up and smile 

when another walks by. Toss love
around with wild abandon. Listen 
to trees, sky, the tomatoes that grow ripe 
and red and brave and beautiful 
out of the burn pile. Rise up.

Stop letting littleness win.

That nod of gentleness, of - 
could mean everything. It could 
mean one less bomb, one less 
war, one less mother 
or child or country 
on their knees.

Dear Child,

Put your weapons down. 
Love fiercely. 
Rise up - please.

depends on it.

*   ©Julia Fehrenbacher
*  Photography by Christa Gallopoulos

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Story I Just Have to Share

Dear you,

I have a story that I just have to share with you. 

A couple months ago, right after my girls went back to school, after a very full, nonstop-busy (but mostly very good) summer, I was home in the middle of the day cleaning. Scrubbing toilets and sinks, vacuuming dust balls off the long-neglected wood floors. Washing and folding and washing and folding. After hours of what felt like the worst kind of grind, I started feeling completely depleted/frustrated/angry at someone I couldn't identify. Actually, truthfully - after hours of this, I put my entire life up for question. Doubt crept in a little bit at a time. What started as thoughts like: 

What the hell am I doing in the middle of the day on a Tuesday cleaning?

Quickly went to:

What the hell am I doing with my life? I have nothing going for me. I'm a loser.

You know, the typical stuff the mind loves to throw at us when we're on the ground and when we give it permission to run free and wild.  Minds are so not unique in the way that they love to throw shit at us.

After a little while of thinking these kinds of thoughts, I became so heavy in my body, I could hardly move. But I knew I had to move. That very-hard-to-hear voice inside me was insistently whispering: 

Go for a walk. Go for a walk. Get outside and breathe.

So, quickly - before I ended up paralyzed on the couch for the day, I grabbed some water, my good walking shoes, my good dog, and my heavy-with-blah self, and heading out the door to my favorite forested walking spot.

Once in the woods, I started saying urgent prayers. Prayers that went something like this:

Please, please guide me, show me the way, show me how to serve. Use me. Show me that my being here has purpose. 

Since there was no one anywhere near me, I said these prayers out loud to the trees, to the cushion of pine needles beneath my feet, to the big sky above me, to the oblivious-to-my-pain singing birds. 

After a few minutes of this, my cell phone, which was in my back pocket, made its little chiming sound (indicating an email). I don't always check email in the middle of the forest (usually I make a point not to do this) but, in this moment, I knew I needed to. As I stood there with all that beauty around me, all the heavy-questioning inside me, this is what I read:

*               *               *

Dear Julia,

I wanted to let you know that I have been reading every poem on your blog and each one has moved me deeply.

I'm a rabbi in the midst of preparing for the Jewish New Year, a time of deep reflection and transformation, and I am always looking for poetry to open up the hearts of those who come to my services, as well as my own. My favorites have been Hafiz, Mary Oliver, Kim Rosen, David Whyte, etc. This year I may be using your poetry exclusively, with your permission. 

I want to thank you for being so bold and generous and vulnerable. It is truly an inspiration--a deep and healing breath for the spirit.

I hope our paths cross someday.

In gratitude,


(Shared with permission from this beautiful man)

*               *               *


I stood there reading and breathing, almost-not-believing what I was reading - saying thank you over and over again - to the trees, to the sky, to the oblivious singing birds - thinking:  

Really - does God/Source really respond this quickly? 


I felt like something hit me over the head (in a really beautiful way) - something that wasn't going to let me stand there in my self-doubt bullshit lies for a second longer. It was one of those moments that felt like all the lights got turned back on and I could see with total clarity that there wasn't a problem. That all I need to do, ever, is show up as me in the fullest, most love-filled way I know how. 

In that moment I could see with such clarity that my self-absorbed, self-attacking doubt wasn't serving anyone (least of all me). In an instant, I was washed clean and a deep faith in Grace, in life, was restored. I could feel my own Light and breath again. 

This isn't to say that I don't keep forgetting, but I have this beautiful moment to go back to, this moment where I could see with crystal clarity that Grace/Love is REAL. 

And once something has been Seen, it can't be unseen. 

I wanted to share this story with you, because I want this message, this beauty, to reach you too. I want you to know that beneath the layers of doubt and insecurity and tired and perfectionism and scars and bruises and shoulds and self-bashing and your thinking you need to prove your worth - there is this great, grace-soaked Light. 

Pure light that is always right there, right here, waiting for you to open your eyes. 

I send you so much love today,


PS:  If you haven't already heard, I have created a new 11 week, self-paced online program called B R E A T H E. I've got many beautiful ones who have already signed up. If you feel like you could use a deep breath, a splash of poetry and writing and art-making, click H E R E  to read more about it. It's open enrollment so you can sign up anytime. This is an offering straight from my heart - I would so love to have you along.

Monday, October 26, 2015

B R E A T H E : A deep breath for the spirit



Ready to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you? 



is an eleven week, (self-directed), deep breathing, creative recovery retreat for the spirit.

It’s an offering from the deepest, most tender, real place in my heart, to the deepest, most tender, real place in yours. It’s my hand reaching for yours, saying:

Shhhh, let’s get quiet, let’s slowly, bravely - with deep wide open breaths, breathe away that which drains and covers and tugs and clouds and pulls you away from that which is real and true. And take a brave (feeling the fear and stepping anyway), wholehearted, unapologetic step, together - toward. Toward love. Toward Beauty. Toward True. Toward enough. Toward the treasures that are hidden within. Toward the truest, most bursting-with-enough version of you.

B R E A T H E 

▪ is an invitation to slow way down - to pause, to notice. To take a break from the do-doing of this busy, full, often-overwhelming world - to question the mind that thinks it’s all a great big emergency (it isn’t).

▪ is an invitation to accept your messy, perfectly imperfect self, finally and forever. It’s a nudge for your spirit to start to LIVE with unapologetic brightness. To move, even with the fear, to even (imagine this!) befriend your fear. To quiet the noise in your tired, nagging head, to splash a little water on your sleepy face and wake up to you just as you are, to life just as it is.

Abundant. Messy. Spilling with beauty. Just right. Enough.

▪ is an invitation to stop measuring success by how much you get done in a day, or by how many people you please or by whether someone else thinks you're a success. Or by how much money pours (or doesn't pour) in. And to start measuring it by how much holy W O N D E R you feel and whether you're brave enough to follow it.

is oxygen for your tired, trying-too-hard parts.

▪ is a quieting, a holy hush, that will help you hear that deeper, wise, knowing voice within you.

So this, I believe, is the central question which all creative living hinges: 'Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?'" Elizabeth Gilbert



This is how it works:

 Each week, once a week, for 11 consecutive weeks, one of my poems, along with a writing prompt and a special weekly invitation (to dive deep and get brave), will land in your inbox. *NOTE - There will be some bonus surprises as well (that involve me sharing many of my very favorite things).

▪ Once you sign up, you will receive a welcome letter/video of me introducing myself and this program (within 24 hours). All "lessons" will be delivered to your inbox on Sundays (at the same time each week). You will receive week one's lesson the Sunday after you sign up (to begin on 10/18/15).

▪ B R E A T H E   is self-directed, to be moved through in your own time, at your own pace. To the rhythm of your own deepest breaths.

▪ You will be invited to slow way down, to take a step back from this cluttered, often too-much world - to breathe. To write. To create. (I can't wait to introduce you writing practice and intuitive creating - two of my greatest loves.) To play. To lighten up. To have fun. To stop focusing on trying to be "good" and to start following your curiosity and wonder. You will be invited to baby step (or leap) toward the YESes that are calling you, that have been calling to you for a tired eternity. One brave step at a time. Just one.

My intention is that you will come to the end of this eleven weeks quieter, standing more rooted and tall & unapologetic in your YOUness. Braver. More accepting of the messy-beautiful ISness of it all.
More willing to say YES to that which is calling your name. Clearer about those treasures hidden inside you. Breathing more deeply. Accepting more fully the all of who you are (imperfections included).

Ready to begin to uncover those treasures? Or expand upon that which you've already been brave enough to uncover?

Ready to B R E A T H E ?



(Pssssst: it's only $44.00)

I would be deeply honored to have you join me.

With so much love,