How did I end up here?

A bare-chested man
flashed me a peace sign
while his lady friend
bounced to jams.

Ears plugged with song,
an older lady,
shuffling along
with her best friend,
missed my hello.

His rhythmic feet
pounding the pavement,
smiles exchanged
between a fit man
and me.

A slow-moving goose
didn’t seem to mind
my following –
as curious about me
as I was of him.

I am traces
of each of them.
I am learning
to embrace
all of me.


How did I end up here,
in a city that once held so much pain,
about to coteach resilient writing strategies
to others who use poetry
in their healing practices?

In the moment, I am lost,
but the profound contrast between then and now
is not lost on me.

I am in awe.
I am grateful.
I am overcome with emotion.
I am glad I am here
to help others heal,
not as the sad memory
of a lost girl.

I don’t do well couped up all day, so I found time to slip away from the poetry conference to a park, a few miles down the road. The stretch of open space did not seem to hold much promise for photos, but to my delight I found quiet scenes of activity. Inspiration is everywhere. ✨

A bit about my poem… I lived in Denver many moons ago. It was a difficult and dark period during my youth. I’ve been back since, but this trip, centered around the healing benefits of poetry therapy, has been particularly cathartic for me. That truth washed over me before strolling through the city park.

The National Association for Poetry Therapy (NAPT) conference is going well. Thursday was a teaching day, and Friday was a learning day (photo). I have connected with some incredible people from around the world and learned more about the organization as well as tools for teaching narrative therapy. Accomplished poet, Naomi Shihab Nye will be the keynote speaker today. Self-proclaimed the “wandering poet,” she has a long list of awards and literary achievements to her name. I am looking forward to her presentation followed by time with a Denver friend.

About NAPT: “The National Association for Poetry Therapy, Inc. (NAPT) is an international and interdisciplinary nonprofit organization promoting growth and healing through written language, symbol and story. NAPT members have forged an energetic community of healers, educators and other helping professionals who value the applications of words and language.

NAPT includes members from a wide range of disciplines, and writers of all styles, including poets, journal keepers, storytellers and songwriters. Our community includes psychologists, social workers, counselors, marriage and family therapists, educators, librarians/information specialists, nurses, physicians, occupational and recreational therapists, and clergy.” from NAPT website

To learn about the fascinating history of NAPT, that can “be traced back to ancient times,” click here.

Thank you for visiting and reading. Be well. 🦋 Michele

Welcome to National Poetry Month!

Conference photo: Sandra Marinella (AZ author & teacher), Robin Stone (NY counselor & author), me

Park photos are my images from Sand Creek Park

© 2023 MyInspiredLife

109 thoughts on “How did I end up here?

  1. Sounds like an interesting time. I occasionally think about going to events like these but had such a bad experience a while back at a local writing workshop, I’ve been reluctant to get back as an active participant in the writing community. Maybe I should look for opportunities to overcome that bad taste from that experience.

    Happy National Poetry Month to you as well.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I’m over most of my disgust as I realize the the “instructor” really had no business in running the workshop — he was more interested in fomenting strife than in building community, and had an inflated sense of his own quality and skill (I’ve seen other things he has done and he is a pompous jerk who considers himself one of the few “true artists” out there, and that everyone should be as lucky as he is to have so much skill).

        It was the ugliness he evoked in others that made it hard to see others in the local community as part of a positive support network. And, unfortunately, the negativity bled into other workshops at that location. So I broke away.

        Starting my own… Well, I’ve considered that off and on. The inclusive spoken word events in the 90s I orchestrated would be nice to replicate, but I don’t know how I’d find the time.

        Take care, Michele.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Fabulous poem and touching back story. Two favors: Would you agree to a written interview where you control both the questions and the answers? Would you write a guest poem for my blog sometime during April? Thanks for your consideration. Pat

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Tamara Kulish from

    I’ve had the opportunity to return to places or be around people who would have triggered me very strongly, and I knew I had done the incredible work of healing when I didn’t get triggered by them.

    It sounds to me like you have also gone through this process, for the old triggers didn’t sent you down the deep dark rabbit holes you might have gone down if not for your healing.

    This retreat sounds like it was very supportive and affirming to who you are at this point in time!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for sharing a bit of your healing journey, Tamara. 🌼 More than anything, being here, in this life, makes me grateful for having persevered through some dark times and for having the opportunity to help others do the same. I am sure you, and others, can relate. Have a beautiful weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tamara Kulish from

        Absolutely! Yes, there were dark times I didn’t think I’d come out of, but I’m glad I persevered. I’m grateful for the helpers the universe sent to me, to teach and to encourage during those times.

        You have become a helper and teacher to others walking through their own dark times, and they can draw encouragement from you and how you persisted!

        The work you’re doing now is sacred, for it helps so many!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved the photos, especially the photos of the goose! Wherever you are, there is beauty and joy to be found! ❤

    This is a very inspiring story, Michele. We all need to make peace with the traumas of the past and go forward. How gratifying it must be to help others in a place where you once were so unhappy! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Cheryl. I was thrilled to find some nature not too far and to breathe some fresh air. Beauty and joy… true! 💗 Making peace certainly helps us to move forward. Beautifully stated. 🙏🏻 It is an honor and privilege to assist Sandra with her important work. Best to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello, Michele. Thank you for sharing another of your wonderful poems. I’m so glad that you’ve been able to transcend the painful events of the past–so very grateful.
    Years ago, part of my “journey” involved driving past places that my wife and children had visited during some of our vacations. The pain threatened to tear me in half.
    God bless. 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Writing is a joy and important outlet for me. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. 🙏🏻 It does feel a blessing to be at this place in my life. 😌 That sounds a painful experience. Glad you stayed strong and rose above. Best to you, Art. Thank you very much.


      1. I’m glad that you’re at a good place in your life, Michele. So am I, and I think one of the biggest factors is because I know myself so much better. So much pain and suffering is due to confusion about what we truly are.

        I’ll be looking forward to your next post.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for sharing your moving poem and story and the photos with it. Glad you could slip out into nature, so healing. Sounds like a great opportunity to go to this kind of conference. Hoping the best for you as you help others in the healing journey. How wonderful about the conference. 🧡💚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love learning that. Thank you, Jeff, for acknowledging. 🙏 I resisted the urge to tinker with those lines. The conference has been a special experience for me. NAPT serves a meaningful mission. ✍🏻 Happy weekending and writing to you! 💖🌳

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Lovely poem and I am glad you are healed

    “I am in awe.
    I am grateful.
    I am overcome with emotion.
    I am glad I am here
    to help others heal,
    not as the sad memory
    of a lost girl.”

    Great photo, and a wonderful organisation that you work for. A great retreat for poetry and healing. You must be a fab teacher.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am grateful for your kindness. Thank you very much. 🙏🏻 I am fortunate to work with a dynamic author, who is also a compassionate teacher. NAPT is an amazing organization, I am learning. Wishing you a wonderful Sunday. 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Thattamma. And to you! ✍🏻🏻 It has been a special time of learning and connection. 💞 I am watching the sunset, behind the majestic Rockies. Gorgeous! Best to you in your corner of the world. 🌆🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Your poetry felt like going down some deep lanes while reading and your post gave the context to it – thank you for sharing your heart so beautifully. Poetry is a precious healing force, the conference and your contributions too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was happy to create a nice collection from what initially looked like a photographic bust. NAPT is an inspiring organization. I have enjoyed participating and learning more about their mission and connecting with conference participants. Very special! Thank you, Rebecca. Hope you’re enjoying your spring break!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve had a wonderful time, at the conference and with a dear friend today. Thank you, Terveen. I agree and sometimes places hold a piece of us that need to be acknowledged and returned to us, making us whole. 💗

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Very well written and well captured photos.
    Yeah as one said above “slip out into nature, so healing”, indeed. 🙂
    It brings brings “ammunition” into our well-being
    – often “problems are changed into just obstacles”. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a curious process, this thing called life. The conference has been meaningful, for many reasons. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and best wishes on your upcoming poetry collection. I am excited to read it!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. “How did I end up here?” A question I ask myself often when I look back on the roads I’ve traveled through life.
    Congratulations to you for this honor – to teach the powerful healing of poetry.
    Your poem, post and accompanying photos are a delightful way to begin this beautiful Sunday morning. Thanks for sharing them with us, Michele.


    1. Isn’t life amazing? A mystery! When we stop and think about choices, some seemingly minor, that led to major life changes. It’s all quite fascinating. It did feel an honor to teach at this conference. Thanks so much, Nancy, for your thoughtful understanding. Enjoy your Sunday!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, a thread of melancholy. Isn’t it beautiful how multiple emotions can exist in us at the same time? Much gratitude to you, Aaysid. I had your poem saved that I will be reading at the airport. The conference was enjoyable and educational and Naomi was incredible! Thank you! 💗

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Love your continue pursuit of growing and going back to a place that was challenging and re-creating the experience. Your poem is a shinning example of that Michele. What a wonderful opportunity to share your gifts and learn from the best of them Michele. Glad you got out for some fresh air! 💞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thoughtful and insightful, Cindy. Thank you. Sometimes along this writer journey that I’ve been on over the last three years, I feel a bit redundant with the healing aspects of the process, but along the way things come up, and writing about them helps me release and move forward. I suppose healing comes in pieces; one thing at a time snapping together. It is a beautiful and mysterious journey. I went down the rabbit hole a bit, didn’t I? 😂 I will wrap it up and go get some more fresh air. 🤣 Have wonderful week! 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

      1. An important rabbit hole I’d say and very insightful. You’re so welcome Michele. We have to revisit things as long as we need to and I agree with you, healing comes as we can deal with each little piece and let it go. Well said. Life is such a great journey and teacher. You do the same dear! 💞

        Liked by 1 person

  12. How did I end up here?

    Michele my Belle, this was such a delightful read. I love your summation in your poem:
    I am glad I am here
    to help others heal,
    not as the sad memory
    of a lost girl.

    Oh my dear, that lost girl is now found and she’s discovering more about the hopeful woman she has grown up to be. I love your flow of living and discovering, especially on this trip. It’s interesting how we can see something so different and inspirational in something that is so familiar. Hugs and smooches my Dancing Queen!!! 🥰🥂💃🏼💖😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That ending! That lost girl wrote that – she has been returned to me with a voice! 💗 Oh goodness me! Poetry, even in the most basic lines, has such healing qualities. You, Kymbelina, know that! You dedicated how many hours to writing a book about the benefits of poetry? So true about seeing something old with a new perspective. ✨ Oh yeah, had a full-on dance party when I got home – had to move some energy! 💃🏻 Thank you! 🤗😘

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh girlfriend, you are on it!!! 👍🏼 For sure! I am so glad you had an enjoyable and educational time at your conference. I know you did well with your teaching segment. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 And girl, with this last book of mine, it spanned across years of pain, agony and victory!!! YES!

        But honey chile…I am so glad you got your dance fever on! Cheers my dear and enjoy the rest of your “footloose” evening! 💃🏼🎶🕺🏼

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I really enjoyed your poem, Michele. The way we connect with nature and society is really interesting to think about. And, yes, we are a small piece of it all. Your conference sounds like a time of inspiration for you.
    This caught my attention: Ears plugged with song,
    Seems many have their ears plugged these days. It does hinder social interactions, just as tintend windows in the car keep peopel seeing you wave at them as you go down the street.
    Have a great time at your conference. Once a teacher… always a teacher! :>)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am really glad. Thank you very much, Dwight. We are all connected, aren’t we? That line got your attention, but I could not get hers. 🎶😆 I love listening to music when I walk, but I do my best to say hello and make eye contact with those I pass. Many things distract us these days, or allow us to hide behind, as you described. Covid restrictions amplified that reality. Seems some of us are learning how to be social again. Maybe social interactions have permanently shifted. 🤔 Always a teacher… absolutely, yes! Although, leaving the HS classroom was a most difficult decision, I’ve learned there are many ways and opportunities to teach. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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