In my life I’ve been blessed to meet and work with some incredible healers. You know those people who you think of and say “If not for them, I’d be…”
Laurie Wagner easily finds a spot in this crew. A year ago I found my way to one of her in-person Wild Writing groups and came into contact with a practice I think I’d been seeking my whole life. Because of Laurie and her teachings I have a way into my heart and mind when they feel impenetrable and cloudy. Because of Laurie I have the most profound understanding that I am not alone on this journey. Because of Laurie I have a way to tell my truth and circumvent my perfectionistic filters that too often scrub the good stuff out of a story.
For a long time you could mostly only work with Laurie if you lived in the Bay Area. Earlier this year that changed and she launched her first e-course Telling True Stories. It was such a success (I heard first hand how great it was from some of the students) that it’s launching again next week. I don’t recommend e-courses very often, mostly because I don’t learn well that way AND it goes without saying that Laurie’s course gets my total endorsement. I know her teachings and how they can crack you open. The fact that you now have access to them makes me endlessly joyful.
You know what else makes me joyful? Laurie’s words below. I think you’ll see that she didn’t “phone it in” as they say. She shows up here so authentically and real, like she does, that this long overdue Well-Fed Woman interview jumps off the screen.
What are you truly hungry for?
The freedom to trust, to move instinctively, to see openings and possibilities instead of boulders blocking my path. I’m hungry for a light step, a let’s-roll attitude that has me throw a little more caution to the wind, close my eyes, point my finger and go.
What’s a craving that you previously denied that you now happily satisfy? How has this impacted you?
Honestly, it would be a lie to tell you that I broke down and bought a croissant or a muffin. It would be a lie to tell you about how every summer when I get back to Hawaii I indulge in an Ovaltine Froth – this frozen, muddy, chocolate concoction that my Dad and my kids delight in and which I’ve never had the courage to order, but have always secretly wanted.
I haven’t always been like this. I came from a wild place with food, with men, and with art. I was a girl who drove drunk, a girl who turned up the music and filled water guns full of paint and shot at large pieces of paper. I was the woman who picked strangers off the street and took them home. I was lonely and I was hungry as hell. And then at a certain point, after scraping my ass on the rocks again and again…after waking up in stranger’s beds, after gaining the weight and losing the weight, and ending up always alone and ashamed and hungrier than ever, I started tucking it in and living within the lines. I started making a lot of rules to live by that had me feel safe – not necessarily happy – but safe.
So your question frightens and delights me. Yes I’m hungry to follow instinct, to trust, to say yes – but not in the same way I did in my 20′s and 30′s. And as hard as I’m trying to come up with a pithy answer that shows my growth in this area, I’d rather stick with what’s actually more true – which is that I don’t always know what I want in the moment. When I am not helping or serving or making something, I am sometimes lost. I can tell you that I crave the truth – from you – from me – from my experiences. I would rather have two honest to goodness words with someone than to be at a fancy party with movie stars, caviar and small talk. When someone says, “I need to talk to you,” I am all ears, my heart opens.
What are you a conduit for? What comes through with ease, meaning, and spark?
When I’m with people – there’s something about me that has them want to tell me the truth about their lives. Maybe it’s my eyes – which are bright green – like little flashlights. Maybe it’s how when people ask me “what’s up?” I’ll actually tell them. Maybe it’s my innate curiosity and the questions I ask people that have them open up to a deeper part of themselves. Maybe it’s that I am a story maker at heart and am always intrigued by how the language we use says so much about what we believe about who we are and what is possible.
When I work with writers, it’s this deeper story that I’m always looking for, and which, as it arises, I help to lift out of them like new-born babies. And something about being in the presence of what feels essential…something about being able to finish the sentence, “this is a story about…” really feeds me and it feeds other people too. We’re not just writing stories, we’re laying breadcrumbs of understanding along our path – a way to find our way home to ourselves and what matters.
This happens for me when I’m with people, and also on the page when I teach virtually. I’m a “pull,” a “magnet” for what’s real, for what’s essential. It’s like bone marrow to me.
Best bite in recent memory?
Mmmm….in late April I had some incredibly exotic, creamy mushroom lasagna – at least I think those were mushrooms. My daughter, who had ordered the meal, thought she was eating soil and worms – for me it was like biting into spicy wild nature.
But by biting I hope you also mean sinking your teeth into something, which I do a lot – just not with food. I sink my canines in when I’m on the racquetball court and there’s a tiny little ball flying right at my face. I took a satisfying bite into this interview because it took me a few days to find the right words to express something that was true.
To learn more about Laurie or to sign up for Telling True Stories visit 27powers.org.