15 years ago when I started this weblog, the fact that I am easily amazed was more evident in an effervescent and silver-lining kind of way. As a 26 year-old school teacher, it felt totally appropriate at the lunch table one day when a 9-year old student looked up at me with wide eyes of knowing and exclaimed, “Ashley, you need a tee shirt that says Easily Amazed!” I said, “You’re right!” as he had simply and clearly reflected back to me the passion and enthusiasm I had for life… and named this blog. I was quick to amazement in those days, awe tingling in my cells.
In addition to teaching at a Montessori school, I was in graduate school studying child-centered play therapy, school counseling, and transpersonal counseling. I was also having my own spiritual awakening (with all its own darkness and light) while being rather socially isolated living in Denton, Texas. Life was filled with reflection, depth, investigation, and I was in love with and curious about the unique expressions of being human, in awe of the living world, fascinated by our meaning-making, intelligence, and the unknowable, and excited by opportunities for connection and positive development.
Today, 15 years of life later, having followed the path of my calling and continued my inquiries into the ways of existence, I might say that I am more deeply committed … to truth, to healing, to justice, to love…. than easily amazed. My fierce commitment to seeing and healing from the truth has shifted my quick response from effervescent awe to a familiar feeling of heart-brake and bewilderment by the effectiveness and strategies of those who cause or perpetuate harm and inequality, and have been doing so for generations.
While my awe and reverence for life and the living world (which includes humans) and our interconnections is still a bright light within me, I definitely recognize that actively pursuing and facing truths that I was previously oblivious to has zapped out of me some of my effervesce… for now… and sharpened my ability to see more clearly what is going on around me. I trust that as I continue to wake up from the slumber that was socially granted to me along with my white skin and middle class socialization, as I re-ground and realize who I am, where I come from, and what it means to be responsible in this body and legacy I was born into and this purpose I am here to live, that as I root, my effervescence shines forth in new ways.
The other side to this anniversary that I want to mark is that today is also 15 years of my writing publicly. I remember the hesitancy when I decided to write a blog. What should I share? Who am I writing to? What is the line of what I share publicly, what is just for my own journaling, and what is for my intimate circle of relations? I know that at many stages of my life there were specific people in my mind who I wrote to. As I wrote, I would feel family members, loved ones, friends, colleagues, and people I didn’t know but whom I knew read my blog. I would imagine that I was writing to them personally, hoping that the time and effort I invested in bringing words to my perceptions and experiences would bring value to others in addition to myself.
In honor of this anniversary and journey of finding words that make visible the shapes and queries inside my head and heart, I want to thank some of the people who inspired and encouraged me in those earlier years. I have so much love and gratitude for the ways you helped me find confidence and commitment in writing — thank you, Chris Weaver, Thomas Arthur, Chris Corrigan, Christy Lee-Engel, Jeff Aiken, Meredith Krugel, Brandy George.
And thank you deeply from my heart to anyone who has read my words and let me know that you appreciate my writing voice.