A Girl Named Leney

THE JOURNAL

Posts tagged Writings From A Would Be Beatnik
Goodnight House

i feel at home within the stillness of a house at night

i rarely waver in the dark or quiet spaces of a slightly unknown place

for there is a lightness there

it is inside these spaces that i find my place

amongst tired floors and resting furniture

it is me and the small-slow creeping things

(unsure as i am if the dark impressions of motion are on the floor or inside of my mind—there is even comfort to be found in that too)

the creaks and groans are the tones of hidden hellos specific to these walls

the things heard are of my own creation or that of the inherent nature of the frame i’m inside of

it is on and under these sloped sleeping lines that i am able to recenter and remember my sense of self that is now and at once a mirrored home: the inner home of me

Across The Sky

The days begin with the slow saturation of the suns rays kissing and caressing the landscape gently awake, like you would your lover who’s still asleep next to you, deep under the warm darkness of sleep.

The sun always arises before the land. 

Dutiful in its routine. 

In the way that you too are always the first to awake before the form in bed next to you. 

A morning person. 


I wonder if the sun ever gets weary in its lonely trek across the sky, day after day, fated to a pre-planned path of journeying. Only able to have temporary, though distant relationship with the land and the things upon it. 

Too far to ever have much of a chance to get to know the moving things down below, though it’s impression in turn upon them is lasting.


But, I suppose it does have the moon, if only for a brief moment, to play for a time with at dusk on some days. When both the moon and the sun are parallel in the sky from one another. 

The moon is in fact the only one who knows a little of what it’s like to be the sun. 

More so than any earthbound thing. 


Two celestial friends. 

To Live Again

I am sitting cross legged on the earthen floor, thick patterned blankets between me and the dirt. It is dark inside the dome, which is made of 16 willow saplings tied together with cloth and string and covered in worn blankets and I am centered on the doorway, a square of piercing light that frames the fire a half dozen yards away where the fire keepers are excavating the lava stones, Grandfather, from the molten embers. 


“Mitakuye Oyasin,”


I am inside of a sweat lodge, the ceremony, Inipi which means “To Live Again” is to purify and place ourselves in a position of openness to send prayers for ourselves and those we love who are suffering.


“Nothing will hurt you here”


The drums beat and I feel one with the sound. My head is the drum. 
My body is heating up, thawing out from the cold of the Winter I’ve been living in for over a month.


“Pray hard”


It isn’t until the third round that I find the heat unbearable. 

It hits me in a wave then. 

I have never felt this type of heat before, it engulfs my body and seizes my lungs, making it difficult to breathe. I place the towel over my head, and the experience of having my breath from inside of my body feel cooler than the air outside is jarring.

The steam emanating from the pit in the middle of the dome which holds 14 new lava rocks from the fire outside. And the Mimi, sacred water of life, has been poured afresh, extinguishing their rolling red sparks. 


This is the Lakota way.


The door opens and the fresh air takes a while to reach me but when it does it feels life giving. 
The chanupa is passed towards me and I carefully take the bowl in my left hand and the lighter in my right. The tip is wet.

The fourth round starts and I feel as though my skin is on fire.
I work to suppress the panic that starts to arise in my body. 
Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

“You are under our protection now. 
Now you are family.”

There Isn't A Shortcut
Photo by Siobhan Watts of Bless The Weather

Photo by Siobhan Watts of Bless The Weather

I’ve been getting a lot of messages lately asking how I lead such a ‘different’ life.

How did I take the leap of faith to do ______?

How did I overcome fear or indecision?

How did I come to lead a life doing what I want to do?

How did I figure it all out?


And while I feel pressed to say that I absolutely do not have it all figured out and that you cannot compare your beginning to someone else’s middle... truth be told: I’ve always been asked this question.

Because I have always lead a different life.



I think to some degree it does come more naturally to me than most to live counterculture.
I must admit that I strive to be different to an unhealthy degree at times. But there are a lot of circumstantial things that have contributed to my counter perspective of how to live.

For example:

I didn’t go to college. 

I started my own business at 18.

I’ve lived and traveled alone much of my adult life.

I live minimally and slowly.

I don’t own or watch a TV.

I have never been in debt.

I refuse to use dating apps.

98% of my clothing is vintage/thrifted/secondhand/handmade.

I sold 50% of my belongings to live on the road for an undetermined amount of time with no real destination and no real specific reason.


Essentially, I go against the grain in regards to a lot of societal norms.


Hopefully I don’t have to state that if you do the opposite of any of these things I don’t think you’re doing it wrong or think less of you…. but if I do have to state it… well... I just did.

Everyone has a different path by which they choose to reach their goals and their desired way of life. I am not saying my way is the way, but because I am continually asked “how I do it” I thought laying out some of my personal history would help answer that question.

But in thinking more in depth about it, I do have some specific beliefs that I realize are major components in my lifestyle that contribute to me being able to live so differently more often than not.


  1. I refuse to let fear dictate my life.
    As soon as I’m scared of something I realize that it’s most often an indication of wanting to avoid a kind of vulnerability. However, it is within vulnerability that I grow so I try to embrace those opportunities vs. running away from them. 

  2. I purposefully put myself in new situations and environments.
    Especially alone. Because that is where I will grow, learn the most, and meet new people.

  3. I am always looking for new things to try.
    Because trying new things creates a resiliency when you inevitably fail at half of them. And having a constant stream of change in your life can help stimulate ideas and an open perspective which leads to paths you otherwise would never have been exposed to.

  4. I read. A lot.
    I don’t keep up with the news to be honest, but I read books voraciously as well as articles and other things of interest that come across my path. I think that having a constant source of things to read helps too in the widening of your openness to the world, and in turn, it’s openness to you.
     

  5. When I feel drawn to something, I go after it.
    I’ve learned to trust my intuition and recognize that most of those feelings are for good reasons that rarely lead me astray. 

  6. I see mistakes as stepping stones to the next right thing and live without a regret mindset.  


But most of all guys: There isn’t a shortcut. 


You just have to decide at some point to live the life that you want to live. 


Overall, I live with the idea that I would rather make mistakes by doing something than from not doing something.
Perhaps it’s an incorrect viewpoint, but I’ve always felt that action is better than passivity in most cases. Personally, I have a reoccurring theme in my life of passivity leading to seasons of unhealth. So when it comes to doing something vs. not doing it... usually I just do it.

But most of all, I want to put out the reminder that I didn’t just arrive here right off the bat, in this magical looking place, (and again, this feels like one of those things I probably don’t need to say but in case I do…. Instagram is not the whole story guys).
Behind this accomplishment or that goal is years and years of trying different things that did not work out, pursuing what I thought were open doors, only to have them closed in my face, getting my hopes up about opportunities that seemed like the right thing, only to be sent back to the drawing board. Everything in my life has built on top of itself and accumulated over a long period of time to this particular season of rightness. And even now, within this good place, there are imperfect and frustrating things because, well, that’s life.
Have I been handed certain chances? Sure. Have I had some opportunities fall into my lap? Of course. But I have also worked my butt off for a very long time, tried new things after failing old ones, continually gotten back up after being knocked down and not given up on myself or my dreams.

So please, please, remember to not compare your journey to someone else’s. That doesn’t do you, or the person pulled into your comparison, any good at all. But moreover, it doesn’t do your individual dreams any good. They were planted inside exactly you for a reason, so quit looking backwards and trying to figure out how someone else got to where they got to and put your energy into forward thinking and choose action instead of stagnation.



I would love to engage more in conversation about this topic though and hear your thoughts on it, whatever they may be.
Feel free to comment below, send me a DM on instagram, or shoot me an email.
I love having in depth conversations with you all and it’s so many of those conversations that have led to solidifying and expressing these personal beliefs which is something I’m very grateful to you for because it’s helped in my own growth and forward focus.


See more on

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook

When The Shadows Sleep

And I am watching now for the time of day when the shadows sleep.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
When there is still light in the sky but the sun has sunk low enough to put an end to the contrast of miraged skin.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
What is the exact moment in time that your body no longer casts a shadow onto the earth and if that moment had a name what would it be?
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The point of gradual desaturation before the gloaming sets in is an unnoticed thing to the naked eye. Perhaps permanently so, for how do you measure an intangible disappearance?
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Where does the secondary world of dark figures retire to? 
Isn’t it a kind of faith to know they will come back?
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Perhaps it is as my Father said: “nothing good ever happens after dark”
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
For bodies no longer have mirrored accountability of their actions.
The leaching of apparitions’ measured movements.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
It is a secret world that they go to—the shadows.
Frozen in an invisible realm until the sun rises just-so again.

Dawn

the end of this season is nearing. 

a year of flush faced wonder. 

of physical and spiritual mountain climbing. 

of stripping away and down to the bone, to uncover the essential facts. 

my mind offers up the familiar words i’ve often used to describe this past year, but i am reaching for more. 

‘more’ is perhaps not possible to describe this kind of living. 

this sussing out and stealing in.


the icy ground is verbal in its protest of my warm steps as i walk towards the placid liquid sky.


the night is what greeted me here the first time i called this place home. 

the dark wall of sky pierced through with needling white-light stars.

but now, now it is the mauve maw of dawn. 

Nostalgia
www.agirlnamedleney.com

this is actually a post i wrote back in the Spring but in an effort to share more of the many drafts i have on here, i am sharing it tonight.
all Summer it has been an idea that has held up for me and has been on my mind many times during the past few months. 
i would love to hear your thoughts on it, as always, if you feel like reaching out and sharing them. 


this is an idea that has been circling the walls of my mind all week. 
sparked by a late night conversation with a friend over beers and gin and tonics and black bean burgers (just kidding. there was only one black bean burger. mine...)
i don't remember his exact wording but he essentially said: 

well you know don't you, that the moments you are nostalgic for, that you remember with fondness in your mind, are the ones in which you were truly YOU. you were yourself, as you were meant to be. unhindered and uncaring about the world and others perspective of you. 

and for some reason this blew. my. mind. 
perhaps because i am one to always be searching for enlightenment/self actualization/knowing who i am in every new season and aspect of my life and i am somewhat of a junky for self help/tips on living your best life and discovering your truest self.
but so much of that learning and search can be clouded by the external voices of the world. 
i believe we were each born with inherent worth and value, unable to be earned or acquired by any worldly action or accomplishment, and yet that is not largely how i live my life a lot of the time. the reason for which is often because i have lost sight of who i am. 
and because the day-to-day moments and the now can often be clouded, rushed, confusing and hurried, it is often in looking back at the past that this clarity, this recognition of inherent self, is gained for me. 
(the age-old adage of hindsight being 20/20 of course also applies) 

and as my friend brought this thought to the table, granted, largely expanded upon and explored by my all-at-once anchored mind, i immediately had moments in my life that i recognized and indeed often go back to in just such a way. with just such nostalgia. and i see, with such precision and clarity that those are indeed the moments that i have been, and truly am, myself: as i was made to be. 

a young girl running around in the woods and arrested in thought by different shapes of individual blades of grass. 

the moments of peace and calm within my apartments in the fan. 

walking around Richmond in the evenings and observing the day exchange pace with the night. 

the linear travel and connection of curiosity and play that encapsulated my childhood in boatyards while my Father worked on his boats. 

the sitting in grass, in the arms of trees, on the worn decks of old houses, in the back seats of cars, all over the world reading countless books. 

being cross legged on the floor listening to my Mother read to me and introduce to me at such a young age a broader view of something more than what was my immediate and physical world.

driving alone on back country roads.

pockets of time in my room alone creating endlessly hour after hour in varying mediums and materials. losing track of time as i taught myself new art forms and lessons and allowed my curiosities and love for process to shape the outcome more than my expectations. 

these are who i am. 
largely strung together during my childhood and during my adolescence into adulthood (a topic we also discussed, the reality of the selves we were as children being our truest selves and most telling of who we inherently are)

i don't know why this feels so important. 
maybe it doesn't to anyone else but me. 
but i feel as though it is, and something in me feels that it is an idea meant for others other than just myself. 
so here is where i record it, as with so many other things on here that can be listed under the tagline: or so i feel. 

Goals: Sprints vs. Marathons

i am an extremely goal, list and dream oriented and motivated person (see the goals tag here on the journal for proof). i have stated that i am a process junkie, but i am also addicted to getting.shit.done.
i am the kind of person who will almost-always make their bed as soon as they get out of it, but if for some reason the whole day goes by without it being made, i will make it right before i get in it at night.
i am also the kind of person who will add three things on the “to do” list that i’ve already accomplished just so i can check them off, who will use every last drop of shampoo before buying a new bottle and who will absolutely under no circumstances leave the house with only one errand to complete.

i like efficiency, progress, organization and accomplishing tasks. i have a really hard time not feeling like i am getting things done because, well, i always have a list of things to get done. 
i also have a hard time not wrapping up my worth in what it is i do and separating that from who i am (but i digress). 

i recently got back from a two month road trip and needless to say i have been flooded with inspiration and ideas and motivation ever since. more on that another time, but the point that’s relative to this post is that i have had a lot of ideas since that trip. a lot of project concepts, goals and endless tasks i want to complete. 

last night i texted a friend: 

“do you ever feel overwhelmed by all of the things you're passionate about and all of your ideas and goals and all of the things you want to do?"

this, is a common problem for me. i have zero problems generating ideas. i am the ideas (wo)man. i am easily intrigued, curious, interested and fascinated by a wide array of things and as such my brain gets fired more often then not by the endless sparks i am coming into contact with. so it’s not ideas i have a hard time with, but the choosing of which ideas to act on. i tend to get overwhelmed with all of my plans and projects often to the point where i don’t act on any of them. it’s that paradox of the world being your oyster but you get too caught up in trying to figure out which side of the oyster to start from.
(and before you say "just pick one and start” it’s not that easy... i mean, completely hypothetical example, but if you wanted to build a tiny house, convert a sprinter van, gut an airstream, live on a sail boat and buy a teardrop trailer how would you choose??)

after commiserating with a “yea me too” my friend reminded me that there are different kinds of goals. namely: sprints vs. marathons. 

sprint goals are the things you can accomplish quickly and without much long term effort. things you can get done with just a short concentrated amount of energy in a small amount of time. 

things like... 
making your bed in the morning
starting a new instagram account
send an email proposal
start a newsletter
have a yard sale
sign up for an art class you’ve been wanting to take

marathon goals take more long term planning, are often step and task oriented and take dedication over a longer and more steady period of time. they still enact progress and forward movement but in a slower manner than that of a sprint. 

guys, i don’t know why but this helped me so much last night. my brain had been on hyperactive overdrive mode since Monday, i’d spent a total of 13 hours in two days just sitting in front of my computer working and brainstorming at my local coffee shop. and being able to further organize my already long list of goals and new project ideas, into something that felt more manageable and digestible was such a relief. 

however, all of that to say, being the dreamer that i am...



i have a lot of marathon goals.

Wildflower

you’re a wildflower though, you know? not one of those perfectly manicured and pre-planned pampered garden flowers. or secured and tended-to potted porch plants. 
no. 
you are a wayward side-of-the-road surprise, with a mind-of-your-own way about you. 
a varied find. 
unruly at times. 
often amidst weeds.
(you aren’t afraid to be in mixed company.)
here and there.
the nomad of flowers. and really it’s about time you embraced that. it really is. because most everyone else sees that about you. 
not that you need their validation to be what you were made to be. i’m only saying that if what you are is so obvious to everyone else, why are you pretending that it’s not obvious to you? 
embrace your roots. let your seeds sow where they fall. allow the wind to scatter and plant you where it may. for that is the way you travel. that is how you find your home(s): growing freely without intervention.
 

Waldeinsamkeit

Waldeinsamkeit (German): The feeling of solitude, being alone in the woods, and a connectedness to nature.

//

these words remind me of the ways in which i want to be like you, trees of the woods.
rooted. 
grounded. 
that is what i wish to be.
like you, with my feet in the dirt and my arms open-handed towards the sky.
for, like you, i too come from dirt. 
like you, i was made with a makers hands.
hands that fashioned my spirit and soul to intrinsically love being exactly here.
here, in-between and next-to your rough skin and the before-during-after of you undressing and redressing your arms and torsos with the garments of leaves and moss— according to the season.
here, amidst the light-to-dark dappling of the shade of your embrace.
here, where i am reminded of that beginning point of my creation and how i came to be.
here, that my solitude brings with it feelings of release, ease, tranquility and comfort rather than ones of loneliness, restriction, fear and isolation.
i love how being here in the depth and wildness of you brings me that gift.
of grounding in myself.
of connection.


images shot in 35mm film in Oregon's Mount Hood National Forest on the way to Bagby Hot Springs.