“The Life I Love”: A Palimpsest

For Aaron Davis, Nathan Jones, and Matt Kramer

If one becomes a writer when one writes something, then I can say that I became a writer when I was 12 years old and in the 6th grade. I don’t know what made me do it, but I distinctly remember walking into my bedroom, closing the door, finding a notebook, and writing a poem about eyes called Change. It was about how in a single moment, in the blink of an eye, everything can and sometimes does change. Divine revelation, I know, but this thought to the 12-year-old version of me, I think, was rather dramatic. Within days, I wrote another poem, and then soon after, I met Kathy Crawford, and a whole torrent of words and emotions spilled forth from my prepubescent pores and brain about love, life, friends, and dreams. Ever since that last time I blinked before I wrote something, the thoughts, ideas, and visions have kept coming. So, too, has the need, for some mysterious reason, to share it with others. I can’t explain it and don’t quite understand where it comes from, but I find it nearly impossible to look at the world and not have something to say about it. Whether people want to listen, now that’s an open debate. 

But 34 years later, the faucet is still running—my mind, still racing, my body, still reaching, my spirit, still searching. I don’t know if I’d want it to stop if I could make it. Regardless of whatever else I’ve been doing in my life, whether as a camp counselor, grocery stock clerk, or professor, I see an artist when I look in the mirror. I see a creator

Recently, I consumed Rick Rubin’s book, The Creative Act: A Way of Being (2023). It was a gift from my longtime friend and collaborator, Aaron Davis, a multi-instrumentalist songwriter, band leader (Grilled Cheese, Furthermore, Global Review, Screen Door Porch, Aaron Davis & The Mystery Machine), and producer (Three Hearted Recording). I’ve been thinking and feeling a lot about creativity, influence and inspiration, intuitiveness, and practice. I always told my creative writing students that no one in the history of the world was ever born with a pen and paper in their hands and able to write fluent, well-crafted sentences that moved people to every extreme of emotion. The point was to suggest that developing an understanding of space, craft, form, and technique takes time. That it takes practice. So, there’s something to this that extends to all our lives and all of creation.

The big things in life usually take time. 


Those who find IT, whether in word, image, or act and can express IT to the masses, amaze me. I’m wowed by technical mastery, by folks who put in their 10,000 hours, and it doesn’t matter what the discipline is, as I find myself dazzled by professional prowess just as much in guitar playing as I do in woodworking. Sculptors, crafters, creators, we come in all shapes and sizes and produce in all forms. 

There is beauty in everything. It’s everywhere. 

I learned this first-hand during my freshman year of high school when I moved to a new town full of new people. I was miserable and alone. Already a fan of bands like The Who, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd because of a cool older brother, it took some solitude and isolation for me to discover Bob Dylan, but when I did, the floodgates opened. His voice, words, and ability to turn a phrase have never stopped moving me.

Fast forward a few years into high school; I was consuming not only Dylan, but going to see my heroes in concerts to experience it all live. Neil Young and Willie Nelson at Farm Aid, taking a college visit to go see Phish in Dayton. So many more. 

At about this time, too, a few of my close friends started playing instruments and soon our late-night rager jams, once filled with others’ music, were now full of our sounds and expressions. In On the Road Again, Willie sings, “The life I love is making music with my friends,” and it’s true. Now close to 30 years later, we’re all still moving and grooving—making albums, writing books, performing, the works. We recently convened at Three Hearted Recording in Hoback, Wyoming, to record my upcoming ambient spoken word meditation album, Palimpsest. For four days, there we were, as old school as it gets, forging forward, making something new. Collaborating. Listening. Laughing. Experimenting. Sharing. 


A palimpsest is often defined as a manuscript or something similar where the original writing or impression has been effaced or erased but where some of the original traces remain. It comes to us via Latin from the Greek palimpsestos, from palin (again) plus psestos (rubbed smooth). That’s what we were doing in our time together. Taking ideas, words and phrases, beds of sonic sound, and scratch tracks from our pasts, our heroes, our dreams, and transforming it all into a story of feeling and finding, breathing, believing, and being, living and loving, from morning birds to campfire night—a journey to and through the layers of Self to the cave of the heart in the center of the center of Source. And no matter how many circles there are, there is always still a center. Layer after layer, impression upon impression, still, a center to it all. 

The steps in this adventure are of course our own, but what I’ve learned over this time is that we are never really alone. Angels, guides, ancestors, ascended masters, friends, and teachers, all are a part of you, and you are a part of them. We come to that place together, that seat around the fire, where all things are one. 

And we are free. 

By Ryan Allen & Meghan Nelson

Lumin Therapy provides integrative health and education for the mind, body, and spirit to those who are suffering or struggling to step into and live their heartfelt mission and purpose. Through the practice of physical therapy, medical therapeutic yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and resiliency mentoring, Dr. Meghan Nelson, DPT, and Dr. Ryan Allen, PhD, bring their over forty-plus combined years of knowledge and experience serving individuals, families, and organizations to learn and heal and live without boundaries.

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