The Guest Blog: Paper Lanterns By Whitney

People ask me all sorts of questions as I roll out my yoga mat, eat at their restaurants, and crank my music as I pass through town.

Why am I taking a road trip? What am I hoping to find? What am I running from? Or running toward?

My iPhone is stocked with photos of friends and their kids, my family, and 1,001 shots of my beloved dogs. One of my favorites is of Irish Amy—one of the most talented, creative women I know—standing with a Tibetan paper lantern.


New Year’s Eve 2013, just days before I packed up my car and drove south, a small group of friends gathered in an apartment building and took to the roof, writing messages of what they wished for my future—what I wished for my future—or whatever filled their hearts in that moment. We set the lanterns on fire and watched them sail away into the city sky.

Quantify and qualify. Justify.

“Could it be so simple?” I thought, as I found myself about to turn 37, one dog killed and the other with days numbered, no house, no husband, no children, and a career that demands only my presence on email and my voice on conference calls. An untethered existence. I wanted to take advantage of it.

Could it be that after years of chasing doctors and practitioners, having every test run and every treatment pursued, that a simple analysis suggested by my chiropractor unearthed the root of my declining health, the reason that my brain and body had been rotting away for years? I wanted to get the lead out—one mile at a time—and not subject a roommate or some hunky lover to my two-year treatment plan that includes waking up every three hours all night long to swallow a handful of pills and early morning clatter as I whip up my daily dose of detox, the Green Earl. If you are going to be sleep-deprived, dazed, and crazed, you might as well do it alone and do it surrounded by inspiring scenery.

This Free Bird feels like flying and will continue to soar—wings unclipped—until she is called to nest again. A fiery Phoenix. A gentle Dove.

I recall a time early in the unraveling of my marriage. I sat with Irish Amy in her kitchen, this time dazed and confused. “What will you do?” she gently asked.

Trust Myself. I already know everything.

To read more of Whitney’s work, click here.

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