“What did you do this weekend?”

“Oh, I went on a solo retreat Upstate NY.”

“Oh, what inspired it?”

“I’ve wanted to go for a while now, and I’m finally listening. I want to validate if it’s something I really want.”

“How was it?”

“Good! I learned a lot about myself!”


But the truth of it all

is that I don’t know how to answer that question. What is the truth?

The truth is, I’ve been hearing a whisper inside,

A whisper in me that has been becoming a scream

“Be yourself, by yourself, and allow whatever comes

You’ll find yourself there,”

And then the whispers of doubt would always crowd in,

“You’re going to be bored,

You’re going to be lonely,

This is a waste of time.

You’re not thinking this through.

What do you mean, find yourself? You’re not going to find anything there.

What’s going to happen when you find nothing?

This is a mistake,” they said.

I packed my bags, drove up in a thunderstorm

Unsure of myself

A little frightened

When I arrived, it was a quiet room

I thrilled in the silence, the newness,

the balcony that overlooked the stars and the Hudson River.

I didn’t have a plan, really,

Only that I wanted to discover what I wanted to do,

Not anyone else.

I thought, maybe I’ll visit the town, and go hiking, or something.

And I went to sleep, hopeful,


wondering what I would find the next day.

On the first day,

I woke up

And I heard the voice that says,

“Look at you, sleeping in,

You’ve finally taken the opportunity to come out here,

And you’re choosing to miss out?

You’re going to come all the way out here and do nothing?

This is going to be a boring trip

Where you find nothing at all

You’re going to find out that everyone else is right

That you just aren’t doing enough with your life

That you’re just going somewhere to sleep, to do nothing, to be nothing productive

You’re useless, as usual

You must be depressed

Ugh, how did you end up here again?”

The voice speaks in whispers, in milliseconds that are difficult to grasp, but they are paralyzing,

I breathed into that voice.

Maybe that’s true, I thought,

But I’m here to find out for sure.

I’m here to choose to do what I want to do

And see what that feels like

And I slept an extra hour

And another

And I woke up at 10am, feeling

guilty for waking up late

and joy for allowing it

I decided to visit town

Without an aim

“You’ve been to Hudson, before,” said the voice,

“Why didn’t you pick a better place, where you haven’t been before?

What a poor choice in location to find yourself

At least you should be seeing something new”

I thought,

I am here,

and it is as good a place as any.

So I walked along Warren Street,

telling myself, when I could remember how,

That I had nowhere else to be,

Nothing else to do,

No one else to be.

This was the right place, at the right time

What was this moment teaching you?

I walked into a bakery

“Are you sure you want a baked good?”

“Now you have to buy something…”

“It’s going to be weird if you leave now after asking all these questions.”

“Might as well pick this place, what else are you going to find?”

“What if you get hungry later?”

“You never know what you want to eat, anyway… why don’t you just grab something and go?”

A minute, two,

Of fighting

I walked out

I sat down at a coffee shop.

I ordered something I didn’t actually want

I forgave myself

And for a moment, as I looked outside the window

I was stricken by the softness of existence

The silence of the moment

The greenery by the windowsill, the light blues of the paint

The knowledge that, somehow, I sat in a corner in the world,


In an unknown place with unknown people

And I felt, suddenly, touched


Tears sprang to my eyes

I wondered what the strangers would think

If I could explain, I would say,


I am crying and my soul is crying

We are meeting for the first time in this coffee shop

It is so noisy at other times”

I have met her before

But not quite so clearly

Not quite so intentionally as this

Not quite in the light of day, surrounded by others

I had never taken myself out like this

I felt like we were shy lovers

I felt like we were old friends

Convinced that distance had set us apart

And then the moment passed

So perhaps that is what they mean by finding yourself

But I am not sure I found myself in the moment

I expected revelation

Yet the revelation was not earth shattering

I realized, with equal parts joy and disappointment

I knew my soul

I knew myself

I have seen her before

I have been with her before

This is not a new place

You’ve been here before

And that’s okay

You can come back anytime

You just have to remember

I left early next morning, knowing I had found what I needed.