interview for VESSEL

I was recently interviewed by dear friend and girl boss Rachel Deluca for her blog VESSEL.

You can read the full interview here, or below. She asked such intentional questions and I want to share what came out of that beautiful conversation in this space as well!

Can you share a new or old piece of work? This is one of my favorite pieces that I’ve written, it doesn’t have a name but I love it: 

my body shakes itself. little earthquakes. giant soul-quakes.

rivers shower the dust off of this labored heartbeat 

i fall. the feeling of infinity. the knowing of hazard. 

before i cascade off the edge of my soul i delicately unfold my wings.  

my heart blooms. wide. open. everything opening. 

i hurl myself into this lifetime. this moments embrace. 

and wake up to a tender pink morning. 

valleys running off the earth’s edges like paint. 

hills that sprout hands and hold the sun as it rises. 

the softness of the world makes me melt. drip. surrender. 

out on the horizon i see salt 

that i will lick from my skin and flowers 

whose petals will make a home in my hair. 

gentle. this is so gentle:

the process of blooming. 

we are nectar offering the world to the bees. 

the universe sings. 

i dance. 

the universe dances. 

i sing. 

nature sings to us the incantations of our frailty. 

this fleeting moment. 

this fleeting lifetime. 

i think this is what joy is made of

so i give in to my laughter. 

this is so gentle: 

this process of becoming. 

How would you characterize the current season you are in?

I would call my current season a “transition season.” I recently graduated from college and am navigating what it means to show up in the world as a creative and an artist despite the pressure to pursue more traditional corporate careers. This is the first time in my life that life feels wide open… there are so many different paths in front of me that are accompanied by a sea of unknowns. I do my best each day to show up with gratitude and let my vision and passion drive my life, despite not knowing what will come next.  What has this season revealed?

This season is so strange. I have learned how fearful I am, of everything. And yet I have also learned how courageous and bold I am. My life feels like it’s hanging in the tension between dichotomies. I am lost and I am found. I am terrified and I am fearless. I am meek and I am bold. More than anything, this season has revealed how much is gained from being uncomfortable. The growth found here is incomparable.  What would you write to someone currently in the same season?

Keep going. No one is going to come hand you your dream life. You have to work for it, and more than that, you are deserving of it. You are worthy of the life you imagine for yourself. It may feel like an impossible dream, or like your goal is a million miles away, but only you can decide to take that first step and inch your way closer to holding your most fulfilling and authentic life in your hands. If you’re uncomfortable it means you’re doing something right. 

What are some routines that ground you or fuel you?

I love this question. I am a huge advocate for routine. My morning routine keeps me sane and grounded… I would be lost without it! I wake up every morning and scrape my tongue, wash my face, and sip on warm lemon water. Then I light palo santo and journal for 30 minutes— doing morning pages has helped me find mental clarity and purpose. After this I meditate for 30 minutes and finish with light stretching and yoga. After this I make adaptogentic superfood coffee and begin my day! This little routine takes about an hour but it changes the way my whole day looks and feels. When I become anxious or overwhelmed I always come back to this routine as a way to ground and re-center.  What questions make you anxious? (which others ask or you ask yourself)

Right now I hate the question: “so, what do you do?” This is a typical question to get after graduating college and it makes me want to just absolutely shrink. I know what I want to do and have a vision for my future but it is hard to explain to people when 1) it is not my actual career yet, and 2) they don’t understand why I am not using my degree in a formal way. This question makes me anxious because it comes packaged with the assumption that I am ‘doing’ exactly what I want to, or am supposed to be doing. So much pressure is put on the title we wear, as if success can be determined by the title hanging on our office door. I disagree with this sentiment wholeheartedly. Success is determined by an internal sense of purpose and peace. It asks us if we feel whole, joyful, loved, and loving. Not how many connections we have on Linked in, what shoes we wear, or what care we drive.

Here is the thing: the expectation that we should have it all figured out the second we graduate college leads to crushing pressure. A better question would be “what steps are you taking to get closer to your dream?’ Or better yet, “what are you doing to become the person you want to become?’ This is open ended. Forgiving. Kind. Warm. We all need more of that, I think. 

How has your life informed your definition of beauty?

Mmmm. I grew up in the Colorado Rocky Mountains and found beauty everywhere I looked. I loved living where the plains met the Rocky Mountains. A harmonious kiss of landscapes. Beauty was grazing cows, endless fields of sweet corn, mountain sunsets, the smell of campfires swirling in late summer air. Being surrounded by natural beauty my whole life has halped me identify it within culture easier. Lovers reuniting, the unmistakable smile of joy inside someone’s eyes, dust being brushed off an old favorite book, the smoke of a candle going out for the last time. Beauty is everything. It is everywhere. In the sadness, the heartbreak, the melancholy. In the joy, the ecstatic, the love. Growing up in beauty taught me to look for beauty everywhere, even and especially, in the ugly. This has, and continues to, shape my life. 

Beauty is love. Love makes our lives full.  A song that currently sparks joy?

‘Walking Back to Georgia’ by Jim Croce.

A place that holds memories of growth?

Malibu, California. Somewhere between the sand and the mountains I found myself. I spent four years transforming and growing there. I will always keep it close and think of it in a spirit of gratitude. 

How do you navigate the concept of balance in your life?

I will be the first to admit that I am not a very balanced person. Once I get an idea in my head I will work until it’s accomplished. It has been a fault of mine my whole life and I am constantly learning how to cultivate balance. A couple things that help me are: keeping strict guidlines surrounding phone and technology use. I turn my phone off at 8 pm and do not turn it back on until 8 am. This gives me two hours at night to wind down and release myself from working or writing. I read a book, sip on tea, and spend sacred time with my love. In the morning I go through my morning routine and welcome myself into the day without the interference of technology, emails, or to-do lists. I also prioritize self care which helps me keep my work weeks balanced. I love going to yoga, cooking a meal for my Lucas and myself, unplugging, and spending time in nature. 

Building a business from the ground up and being a freelancer means that there is ALWAYS work to do. Balance to me is knowing the work will get done and gifting myself permission to enjoy little simple moments without thinking about or being pre-occupied with work. 

How has your concept of identity shifted through work, setbacks, seasons…

I believe my identity really began solidifying 3 years ago when I decided to go through a 200 hour yoga teaching certification. Before this, I had been interested in health and holistic healing remedies but mostly in a superficial and surface level way. Going through the training really pushed me to evaluate the way I move through the world and started what would be a 3 year journey of asking myself before doing anything: “is this nourishing to my authentic self?” I began exploring healing through food, ayurveda, meditation, pranayama, plant based living, and herbs. Shedding deeper layers of self is what really led to my writing. I began writing as a way to process the healing that was taking place in my own life. By the time I started sharing my writing publicly I had basically a whole book of poems that chronicled my self-healing journey. This journey really allowed me to stay grounded through setbacks and difficult seasons and was constantly there to remind me who I am and who I am becoming. 

Now, I find my identity as a writer by profession, but I think at the core it is still a form of healing. I am a healer. I long to help people move through their pain and find joy again. To help people process their trauma with acceptance and vulnerability. Each time someone reaches out and shares their story or explains how a piece of my writing made them heal in some way, my whole body feels electric. It is such a beautiful sense of knowing that I am doing exactly what I am here to do. This is such a humbling journey and I am just grateful to be apart of other women’s journeys in this way. 

in gratitude,

morgan rae

about my new book 
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© 2023 by Morgan Rae Hoog​