Hello and welcome to Five Sisters Wellness!

This blog was created out of love for story and art in their many forms and from a solid belief that deep understanding, compassion, and healing manifest in our mind, body, and soul when we open ourselves to holistic, artful living. To considering a different perspective.

I grew up with masterful storytellers – my artalleypaternal grandma, mom, and many more. Grandma considered the stories of her youth in Scotland as special as the many heirlooms she passed on to her five granddaughters. Through her stories, we learned how to gather strength (she was a competitive Highland dancer), how to adapt and persevere in the bleakest conditions (during her stint living in the Shetland Isles pre-WWII), and how to hold on to faith when all appears lost (she was a practicing Christian and wife of an Episcopal Bishop, my granddad). My mom taught us these things, too, but from a different perspective, as the oldest of eight poor farm kids in rural Iowa on the tail end of the depression. She’s shared many stories of her youth and young adult life with us, but she taught (and continues to!) by simply bearing witness to the wonders of life.

Throughout my entire life, I’ve sought out story to understand. From the books-on-tape of my childhood and my older sisters’ high school dramas, from the hollow space of sea shells and the wind whispering through countless soft pine needles, I’ve kept my ears open to some magical intelligence. I’ve collected golden threads of dialogue overheard in forgotten thrift stores and what was said by the muddy boot of an old sheep heard. When I visit my mom in Northern Idaho, she tells me the stories of all her plants and how they’re doing, gives me the full tour. All these stories, all these collected lines and images hold power in my life. They offer me context, perspective, and oftentimes, a lesson.

Jungian psychoanalyst and author, Clara Pinkola Estes lyrically illustrates we learn through story in her landmark book, Women Who Run with the Wolves. This is venerable wisdom. Most of us are taught, in some variation, to be careful what we wish for (The Red Shoes) and that all is not as it seems (Bluebeard) as kids, right? But as we grow into our teen and early adult years, we discount this wisdom or forget altogether, to our detriment, only to find later in our adult life, “Oh, that’s what that story was about. I get it now.” Click. A-ha. We’ve gathered context, perspective, and many lessons.

We learn through the myths handed down from generation to generation – common fairy tales and cautionary tales to our own families’ tales. Maybe, to those more attuned to hear these things, we hear our grandmother’s whispers and songs when we’re considering something not right for us and wisely decline. We have no foothold without our stories. No foundation. We have no context or connection to the past or even present without our stories to guide us, warn us, enlighten us, or just make us laugh. As Leslie Marmon Silko said, “I will tell you something about stories. They aren’t just entertainment. They are all we have to fight off illness and death. You don’t have anything if you don’t have your stories.”

So, I will share stories. Sometimes it’ll be about aromatherapy or botanicals. Sometimes it might be about writing or publishing. I may transcribe a conversation I overheard or post pictures of a street musician or a work of art. I’ll probably interview writers, artists, astrologists, and other colorful folks for their stories – whatever is true that offers something useful to our community. What I’ll never do is discuss something I haven’t personally had experience with or tell you how your book can become a New York Times bestseller (I have no idea and, frankly, some of the finest writing I’ve read has never even been published, let alone landed on a bestseller list).

My sincere hope for you is that you can find at least one story or source of inspiration here that will help you in some way bear witness to the wonders of life. We’re surrounded by love and support. We are living art. Sometimes it takes the light of others to help us see it.

Thank you for being here with me. I appreciate your eyes on this page and your heart in this space.