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Courting the Mystery

Art and Writing from an Unchosen Life

Hello and welcome🩶

This site has come together as I’m turning a corner, but I’m not sure exactly what’s around that corner yet. What I share here comes from my reckoning and digestion of years of struggle. For close to 20 years, I was drowning in grief and trauma, but didn’t know a thing about either and neither did any professional I saw. I was overwhelmed by the impact intergeneration trauma was having within my family. I was in incredible pain over losing friends to family making, over my own grief of being single and childless. I was trying everything possible to stop the triggers, flooding and spiralling happening regularly and impacting all parts of my life and my sense of self. It was in 2018 after a number of events, that everything came to a head and I really got pulled into the underworld. It was challenging, rich and transformative. It changed me – changed the way I see the world, and it will always be with me. What I share here comes from all of this.

Although I feel like I’ve turned a corner, I can’t say that I resonate with some idea of an “other side.” I don’t feel like I’m drowning anymore, but l don’t identify with a sense of overcoming something or of some hero’s journey that has a magical transformed emergence that marks the end of something and the beginning of something new. For years, I was so attached to the magical ending or cure. I was striving towards a destination that doesn’t seem to exist. I no longer feel like the out of control freak that I did, and am so grateful for that. But life is still life. Most days have a simple contentedness. Sometimes grief visits. Limitations, disappointments, losses, fears, edges and insecurities are still here to have a relationship with, just as are joys, opportunities, invitations, the new, yeses and awe, and everything in between, Although I call my life an unchosen one, it is also beautiful (and honestly, I question how much of anyone’s life is chosen). The beauty doesn’t take away the pain. My wholeness and sanity depend on all being welcome. 

I have a natural inclination towards growth, purpose and meaning, but I’m critical of a culture that wants us to move as quickly as possible to them, or assumes that they are always the answer. They can be the thing we wrestle with, they can disappear or just not be important or relevant in the moment. During the years I was struggling, the pop psychology focus on growth, positivity and controlling ones thoughts; the new age obsession with manifestation; and the ascension focused spiritual world were all in some ways harmful to me. I’m not saying there isn’t a place for these, but they’re not even close to the whole story. I’ve become more interested in how we live in what Meghan Devine calls “the goo,” what David Whyte calls “that fierce embrace” or where Jeannie Zandi describes our hearts as being on the cross. Those places of love and limitation – impossible situations where we’re mastered, (heart)broken, adrift. I’m interested in how we move through these places, how we support ourselves and others here. I’m awed by the life force that somehow keeps us moving one step at a time at the worst of times. 

I live in nuance and complexity. I cringe a little using those words because they seems so trendy right now, but they really do speak to something. I had a prof in university who on our first day urged us to “complexity and problematize” everything. Those words rang true to me in a way nothing ever had before and they have been one of my guiding principles in making sense of the world. To me, this means stepping into the paradoxical nature of life – where there are no easy answers and where the seemingly conflicting can all hold true. 

The name for this site comes first from my utter fascination with the mysteries of life. Why are we here? Is there a purpose to it? Why are we each walking the path we are? Why are some walking paths of checking the boxes or seeming to be powerful manifestors or “masters” at life, while others are walking equal measure not and possibly facing some of Earth’s most devastating realities? Is there something more? I believe I came here for the journey I’ve had, it gives me strength and purpose, but I also love to sit in the ‘I don’t know’ of it. The mystery is also about the unknown and learning to live mostly from that place. ‘I don’t know’ has gone from the worst place ever to a soothing balm at times and a humbling reminder at other times. “Courting” comes from the work of Francis Weller. He says we must befriend and court grief, to care for it as a companion. I’ve learned to extend that level of care to whatever life is moving through.

I’ve realized that what I was yearning for and seeking for years, was wisdom teachers and guides. People who know how to live with what can’t be fixed with humility and grace. And I feel like I found them. Gratitude to V, B and D, and the many other therapists and healers who have supported me over the years. Gratitude to EM and the women in the art sangha who provided such a warm, compassionate and supportive space to create. Gratitude to Jeannie Zandi, whose teachings are woven through my words and art (and who I refer to as “my teacher” in writings). And finally, gratitude to the childless not by choice community, and especially the single women who are speaking honestly about their experience. Finding you helped begin to melt what felt like lifetimes of shame.