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Also by Jamie K. Reaser for Hiraeth Press

Huntley Meadows:
A Naturalist’s Journal in Verse

Courting the Wild:

Love Affairs with Reptiles and Amphibians

with Susan Chernak McElroy

Courting the Wild:
Love Affairs with the Land

for changing the world
from the inside out

Jamie K . Rea ser

Hiraeth Press
Danvers, Massachusetts
Copyright © 2011 Jamie K. Reaser

All Rights Reserved. This book may not be reproduced, in whole or

in part, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or
by any means without permission from the publisher, except by a
reviewer who may quote brief passages.

Hiraeth Press books may be purchased for education, business or

sale promotional use. For information, please write:
Special Markets, Hiraeth Press
PO Box 416,
Danvers, MA 01923

First Edition 2011

Cover and text design by Jason Kirkey

Cover photograph: © Elena Ray

ISBN: 978-0-9799246-9-9

Published by Hiraeth Press

Danvers, Massachusetts
For those of you who want to
change the world for the better
and have the courage
to start from within.
Note to Self

A Note from the Author viii
From the Inside Out xi
Introduction xii
Be Brave 3
Callings 4
Doe, A Deer 7
House of Cards 11
No Fear 14
Purging Anger 17
Remove the Shackles 21
Stop Holding Your Breath 23
Stop it Now 25
The Crayfish 28
The Hook 30
The Meadows of the Dead 33
The Price 36
The Puppet Master 38
Understanding 41
When Dreams Dry Up 43

Awaken the Dead 47
Blue Feathers 49
Courting the Viper 52
Emergence 55
Mada-Rua – Red Fox 58
My Voice 59
Pandora’s Box 61
Quietude 65
Receptivity 66
See Kayaker 69
Seeing 72
The Ache 75
The Door Way 77

Jamie K. Reaser

The Moment 79
You Have Not Been Abandoned 80

Be-Loved Gaia 83
Bird at the Birth of the Sun 84
Bless the Children 85
Departing Rome 88
Parental Advice 91
Pipe Dreams 92
Singing to Monsters 95
The Candle Snuffers 98
The In-Between 102
The Totem Pole 105
What I Do Know 111

Are You Ready? 115
Becoming the Next Me 116
Bloom 118
Courageous Vulnerability 120
Daffodil 122
Note to Self 123
Praise 125
Solstice Moon 127
The Beloved’s Breath 130
The Hickeys on My Cheek 131
The Rising Times 134
The Time Will Come 137
The Unveiling 138
The Wind and the Young Heart Warrior 139

A Special Note of Gratitude 142

Acknowledgments 144
Dedications 145
About the Author 146

Note to Self

A Note from the Author

If you have picked up this book, chances are that some part of you
is deeply longing for more. Not more as has been defined by the
constructs of “western civilization” – more possessions, more privi-
leges, more power over others – but more in terms of a greater sense
of authentic personal expression, of belonging, of being intimately
connected to something far greater than self. If this is indeed the
case, it is you these poems have been seeking.
The process of becoming fully human is a risky endeavor. It is
a journey that requires Homo sapiens to cross long-held boundaries,
descend repeatedly into darkness, face countless fears, and sever ties
to everything that no longer serves the evolving Self. It is a journey
of deaths. And, if one “dies” well enough, it is a journey of births
– a process of emerging again and again on the other side of the
trials and tribulations with a more open heart and mind, as well as
a greater sense of inspiration, creative force, deeply rooted peace,
compassion, and an unyielding desire to celebrate, to court, Life.
Our indigenous ancestors held initiation rites – trials of the
ego and soul – in order to facilitate the transition from adoles-
cence into an authentic adulthood. Elders provided guidance to the
young people. Today most of us in “western civilization” lack true
elders – people who have traveled far enough along their own hu-
man journey to have embodied the wisdom and skills necessary to
guide others, individuals or communities. We have to find our “soul
guides” in other ways.
My soul guides often emerge out of The Great Mystery as po-
ems. Sometimes the poems show up during meditation, sometimes
in dreams, often like lightening bolts that demand everything else
be immediately put aside. Each poem in this collection has been a
soul guide for me. Some of them, Callings for example, have been
guiding me for nearly a decade, unveiling new insights over time as
I grow in my capacity to receive them. This is not a collection of
poetry to be met with the intellectual mind of reason and English

Jamie K. Reaser

construct. It is a collection of poems to surrender to. If you are

lucky, these poems will work their way beneath your skin and pry
you loose from your old form of being.
Nature plays a fundamental role as conversationalist and mirror
in many of the Note to Self poems. Not only does this reflect the
depth of my personal connection to the natural world, but I believe
it is imperative – that is to say that humans cannot become fully
human absent a conscious relationship with Nature. It is my hope
that as you embark upon your own journey, you will increasingly
make a place for the other-than-human in your life.
The attentive journeyer will discover unique gifts, deeply hid-
den within, along the way. It is the process of offering one’s gifts –
devoutly – in service of something greater than Self through which
we can change the world from the inside out.
And so, these poems are an offering…

Jamie K. Reaser

Jamie K. Reaser

From the Inside Out

Letting go of what no longer serves

Recalling and embodying the core truths

Living in service of something greater than self

Rejoicing in The Great Mystery

Note to Self


Sit down and

cordially introduce yourself
to the one you
have been running away
from your entire life.

is how
to begin.


Be Brave

Die to what
you believe in.

Sob your final goodbyes

onto the red clay,

tear after tear.

Step up.

Put your one

true Life on the line.

Wiggle your mud-caked toes

above the precipice,
and look down.

The dark abyss longs to

free your essence
from its small storied form.

Step off the edge.

Let yourself fall,

heart first,
into your fear
of falling.

Your future
will catch you.

I promise.

Note to Self


Do you hear yourself being called

to places that are far away,
beckoned by landscapes
intimately known and unimaginable?

Does it feel as if only strangers

can speak your name?

You must leave home.

You must leave HOME!

Escape the walls of your

upbringing any way you

Caterpillars do it.

Travel far and wide,

get lost,
be robbed,
over and over again,
realize that the world is big,
you are small.

Forget who you believed

yourself to be ,
who you thought
others thought you were.


Become someone who can’t

answer simple questions like,
“What do you do?”


Totally and completely fail

to reach your intended destination,
though carrying a map and compass.

You are where you need to be

the moment after you
give up on all the landmarks.

Sit down and cry out

all of your laments.

Cry out the laments

all your ancestors
feared to cry.

You are indeed walking

in circles,
along a path marked
“Grief and Despair”
that leads directly
to Soul.

You have arrived.

Note to Self

Arrived at the place

you began
that it killed you to leave.

There is no entrance,
nor exit.
Never was.

When people ask you to tell the

story of your travels,
your journey,
of the road you have taken,
do so by living your Life,


Now you are human.


Doe, a Deer

Doe, a deer,
a female deer
standing in ironic be-wild-er-ment
amidst a still-screaming clear cut.

Have you seen

the big yellow monster
that destroyed her home?

Blades that have never known

the ethics of a Ninja.

She now has PTSD

and is too numb
to grieve,
to dash,
to join the stumps in their collective shrieks
of amputation.

My eyes catch a glimpse

of a single flower that made it through –
Podophyllum peltatum –

Eternal hope.

I’ll ask you again:

“Have you seen

the big yellow monster
that destroyed her home?”

Note to Self

It dwells within you,

you know.

The Destroyer –
That part of you that takes more
than you need.
That takes everything you need.

Look! She’s moving,

shifting her head so that
her big brown watery eyes meet your eyes.

She can See that you are human,

but she just doesn’t get it.

And neither do you –

And neither do I –

despite the long practiced walk and talk.

How is it that even those of us

who have awakened to the consequences of
our actions still largely
partake in hypocrisy?

It’s all about the fuel that goes into

the Big Yellow Monster
of You
and Me:



These things drive the harvest rates

of that which is Beautiful –
both within us
and outside us.

So, it is time All,

that we call for an alternative energy source:


We start not by monkey-wrenching

The Destroyer,
but by bringing The Destroyer into
ecstatic relationship with The Creator.

I’ll say it again:

“We start not by monkey-wrenching

The Destroyer,
but by bringing The Destroyer into
ecstatic relationship with The Creator.”

Her udder is becoming painful

as it swells,
and there will be no relief.

Note to Self

The twins were dismembered

and disembowled
as they did what ancestral memory
told them to do –
place your lovely white spots
in the glitter of leaf-sieved sunlight
and be still.

Two Mothers will mourn

and someone else
will refer to these and other casualties
simply as “negative externalities”
of Progress.

Look within.
Go within.
Redefine Progress
for yourSelf and
for our species
before you fuel your
next outward step.


House of Cards

Let go,
It wasn’t meant to last –
Nothing but true love is.

The instability that you’ve

been witnessing
is a sign –

Gravity wants to help you out…

It’s time for The Descent and grounding.

Fall to your own knees

if you must –

Humus, humility, and human

share the same origin.

Oh, please –

Be the wind
confident across your lips
that says,

“I will honorably destroy

that which I created
and bare witness
to this loss with the
fullness of my heart.”

Note to Self

Only the Creator

has the Universal Blue Print –
This you should Know.

Let your personal

house of cards come
tumbling down
in majestic chaos.


Garner the courage to

turn your tethered struggle
into a holy offering –
Candle light,
and a nice glass of wine –

Feed the Holy your

untimely attachments
and you’ll both be
fully satiated.

I want to watch your

heels fly high as you
dance the mythos
of security to
death –

like a passion-drunk


That’s right.
No more investing your energy
in the fallacy of indefinite stabilization,
snatch the most pivotal card
and invite the child of you
to toss it in uproarious play.

Be sure,
absolutely sure,
to revel in the multi-story crash –

For a long while if you will…

Bring your tears and party hats.
Severance, my friend,
is a passageway to Joy –
This you should Know.

Let go.

Let go,
It wasn’t meant to last –
Nothing but true love is.

Note to Self


Deep gratitude to Jason Kirkey and L. M. Browning for serving

as the heart and hands of Hiraeth Press. Your colleagueship and
friendship are greatly appreciated. Thanks also to a gaggle of dear
souls who have blessed the poems in this collection with their
heartfelt presence and words of support: Nuzhat Ansari, Beth Anne
Boardman, Joel Clark, Michael Clark, Sarah Dawson, Vara Dionne,
Andrea Freeman, Richard Heilbrunn, Brandi Katherine Herrera,
Dana Levy-Wendt, Cia Malia, Mirela Matecic, James McDowell,
Mary Ocampo, Frank Owen, Todd Akira Morikawa, Peggy Peter-
son, Ky Woolf Scott, Uma Sivaprasad, Maggie Stultz, Jane Vieira,
Alyce Walker, Stacy Stall Wills, and Bob Wyfells.
Jeanine Canty, Bill Plotkin, Larry Schweiger, Nina Simons, An-
drew Soliz, and Christopher Uhl read advance copies of the book
and kindly offered words of endorsement. I am so greatly honored
by your contributions, and your presence in my life. Each one of
you is a source of inspiration.

Doe, A Deer and Be-loved Gaia were first published in Written River:
Journal of Eco-Poetics Vol. 1 No. 1, pages 10-11.

Jamie K. Reaser


Cia Malia
The Ache

Kari Ardolino Rutgers & Cheri Goldstein

Bless the Children

Dana Levy-Wendt
House of Cards

Frank Owen
What I Do Know
Courageous Vulnerability

Joel Clark
See Kayaker

Ky Woolf Scott
The Totem Pole

Todd Akira Morikawa & Vara Dionne

The Meadows of the Dead

Note to Self

About the Author

Jamie K. Reaser has a passion for bringing people into their hearts,
inspiring the heartbeat of community, and, ultimately, empowering
people to live with a heart-felt dedication to Mother Earth. She
received a BS in Field Biology from the College of William and
Mary and her doctorate in Biology from Stanford University. She
has worked around the world as a biologist, international policy
negotiator, environmental educator, and wilderness rites-of-passage
guide. She is also a practitioner and teacher of Neuro-linguistic
Programming (NLP), ecopsychology, nature-based spirituality, and
various approaches to expanding human consciousness, as well as a
poet, writer, artist, and farmer. Jamie makes her home in the Blue
Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Please visit her poetry blog at: www. We invite you to follow the
blog on the Talking Waters Facebook page.

We are passionate about creativity as a means of transforming con-
sciousness, both individually and socially. We hope to participate
in a revolution to return poetry to the public discourse and a place
in the world which matters. Of the many important issues of our
times we feel that our relationship to the environment is of the most
fundamental concern. Our publications reflect the ideal that fall-
ing in love with the earth is nothing short of revolutionary and that
through our relationship to nature we can birth a more enlightened
vision of life for the future. We believe that art and poetry are the
universal language of the human experience and are thus most ca-
pable of transforming our vision of self and world.

Visit us on the web at:
P.O. Box 416
Danvers, MA 01923

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