on integrity & personhood

photo by Forrest Elliott
photo by Forrest Elliott

When I was in college I took two semesters focused on the essays of Montaigne. Yes, two. Are you surprised that I was the only one registered for the second semester? Really? Doesn’t everyone want to immerse themselves in the stream-of-conscious scribblings of a 16th century French aristocrat who is in chronic pain from kidney stones?

Oh, okay- just me, then.

Seeing as it was just me and the professor, the class became more of a rather intense tutorial which was a total gift since I was ravenous for all things philosophical back then.

Flash forward and, oh wait– not much has changed.

I am still partial to essays, reflections & meditations
on how to best move through the world–
one thing I have learned along the way is
that it helps enormously to connect with
people who see you, who get you.

Like enormously. Like bigger than all caps.

Case in point: above is a photograph that I have been wanting to share with you since December when the most gorgeous handknit cowl arrived with my name on it. Kati Mohr designed it and knit it especially for me with a loving nod to Oliver. (She named the pattern “mister, mister” because during one of the videos last spring in The Magic of Myth Oliver wandered on camera and I got him to settle down by whispering to him).

It came with a beautiful letter that — despite the fact that she lives in Germany and we have never met, nor ever spoken on the phone — confirmed our deep connection and mututal understanding of the wild, often challenging terrain that comes with walking through this world.



Yesterday, after a week of deep snow, Mercury in retrograde, boxes that won’t unpack themselves and bitter temperatures– you know, a big life change in the midst of winter in New England– there were two packages waiting for me in the mail.

Both were extraordinary in their thoughtfulness.

Both made me feel so seen, understood and appreciated.

Just like the comfort I get from wearing Kati’s cowl which is infused with such magic and intent– the messages in these gifts helped root me down more deeply into my core self.

Elizabeth, little do you know,
you often inspire as much from
your integrity and personhood as
from your offerings. xoxo, Jessica


Oh man, were those words ever the perfect tonic for my soul! I have no idea how Jessica decided to send them to me or knew to write them– but god, do they ever brighten my world. (see below where I have washi taped her card into my shelf of spirit stones & talismans 🙂


It’s easy to get knocked off center. It’s easy to get worn down when a commitment to authenticity, honesty and personal integrity seems downright absurd in a world that often rewards the opposite.

It’s not that I ever lose touch with my truth, but I do sometimes wonder if my choices and actions are ever witnessed, seen in context. And then something like this delighteful box of wonder rolls up to shore and I fall back on my heels and shake my head in amazement.

Happy amazement.


Box number two was sent down from my New Hampshire soul sister and Squam angel, Terri Dautcher.

In it were the door handles I uncovered in her woodshop that will go into my new kitchen —


plus a pair of the most perfect dishtowels that are exactly the right color! How is that even possible?

Is she psychic? Is it true that she was once abducted by Ancient Aliens?


And, a hand-made heart garland that is already hanging in the guest room . .

As I settle into this new home and see the objects of my life find their place around me, as I dive deep and then still deeper into the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the Bhagavad Gita — I think back to my 19 year old self pouring through Montaigne’s essays in search of wisdom, clues, keys to the meaning of life and I want to tell her she can relax, there’s no rush, she’s on the path – we all are. All the time.

And soon enough, there comes a moment when all the pieces begin to fit together, when the curtain of mystery lifts just long enough for you to see that the clarity you have been seeking has always been within.


bisous, e

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