Arriving Here is Taking Flight

This beautiful review from Reader Views assures me that Arriving Here is not only taking flight, it is serving its purpose. Reviewer Paige Lovitt writes, “This is a beautifully written book in which the author uses her gift for writing to celebrate her spiritual connections to nature and her family. As I read her exquisite writings, I could feel my blood pressure dropping and my muscles loosening where they had been tense from dealing with my mundane world.  By sharing her stories, the author inspired me and I felt a yearning to return…”

Read the whole review here:

“Arriving Here” by Lisa Steele-Maley

In March, I am inviting readers into conversation during a series of Book Launch/Lunch events hosted by Inn Along the Way.

During the Book Launch/Lunch series, I will share how and why I wrote this book and describe the insights and practices that guided each section. As I read excerpts from each section and invite participants into conversation, attendees will have an opportunity to begin to reflect on and reclaim the meaning in their own lives.

Bring a bag lunch and join us online for one session or all three.

Seeking — March 10, 12-1pm

Remembering – March 17, 12-1pm

Deepening – March 24, 12-1pm

Since this book launch is virtual, attendance is not limited by space or distance. Please join us if you can. Register here.

If you have any questions, email Sherry.

Frayed Edges


A few days before Christmas, I finally received 50 copies of my new book. When the box arrived, I was thrilled. I took one out and savored the beautiful cover and the sense of completion, holding at bay both the terror that a typo may remain and also the nagging truth that the birth of a book is only its beginning. Like a human baby, it needs to be tended, nurtured and supported to find its own way out into the world.

 Arriving Here: Reflections from the Heart and Trail is an invitation to readers to claim their own lives in new and important ways.

After the New Year, I began to write inscriptions to family members and the friends who had helped in early stages of the book. I was eager to get the books in the mail, beginning the process of announcing its arrival in the world. Then, as I was emptying the remaining 25 or so from the box, I noticed that one was smaller than the others. I began to look at the stack of books more closely – inside and out. They were different sizes. Many of the covers were tattered. Some of the margins were too small. In some books, the bottom margins were so small that the page numbers were literally at the bottom of the page. I leafed through like a flip book – none of the page numbers lined up. They were all at different heights.

How disappointing – after months of formatting, honing text and refining the cover, the first distribution of the book suffers from sloppy printing and cutting. I had enlisted support from a professional designer and two editors to ensure a polished presentation. Printing and distribution are the final stage of the process  – and one that I don’t have any control over. Perhaps that is a saving grace. If (when?) I find an editorial or design error that slipped through, I will blame only myself and I am sure I will be disappointed and discouraged in some outsized way… But this sloppy finish work, I find easy to forgive. Oh well, someone neglected to notice that they needed to sharpen the blade on the trimming machine. Oh well, their alignment was messed up. Oh well, these books don’t look as sharp as they could but the message is still strong and resonant.

I could return the books to the printer, pointing out their mistakes and requesting replacements. But that would take weeks and, worse, they would simply “destroy” the copies I return. Instead of contributing to that waste, I have kept the books and continued to give them away. I am beginning to embrace the imperfections as an important nod toward reality. The facades of our lives appear clean and straight and tidy; in truth the real lives underneath are a little messier. We are all a little frayed around the edges sometimes. We don’t always line up straight and sometimes we run right off the page. I can live with imperfection. I can appreciate the ways in which it teaches me to soften my expectations of myself and others. This feels like a good lesson in letting go for me.

That said, I hope I am not the only one buying my book! And I know that book sellers and customers will (and should) expect margins to be clean and crisp. The cover should jump out at you for its beauty, not its fraying edges.

If you have ordered books and found the printing or binding so irregular that it is distracting or if, like a friend of mine, you received a copy that was missing the last chapter and end pages, please let me know. That’s unacceptable and can be corrected. If you bought the book at a bookstore, return it there and point out the problems. They will return it to the printer for a replacement. Once the distributor has received a few returns from retailers, I imagine they will pay better attention to future orders. Learning from and correcting mistakes is as useful and important as forgiving imperfections and holding expectations lightly. The birth of this book is not the end, it is just a beginning.

 I am looking forward to hearing what the book has meant to readers. To bring the words off the page and into conversation, I will be convening an online book group later this spring. Let me know if you’d like to join us and I’ll send you an invitation. 

If you have read Arriving Here: Reflections from the Hearth and Trail, please let me know what you thought. And please help me spread the word. Leave a review at Amazon or Goodreads to help other readers discover the book. Share stories or poems with friends and family. Recommend Arriving Here to your book group and invite me to join you for discussion.

I am grateful for your support and encouragement in any and all ways. Thank you.

It Has Arrived!

My new book Arriving Here: Reflections from the Hearth and Trail is now available. Order a copy at your local bookstore, at Amazon, or by contacting me!

Arriving Here is a personal story of finding my way, finding my purpose, and living into the responsibility of honoring it. Arriving Here is also a universal story of searching for belonging and meaning, connection and value. In sharing my own journey, I hope to illuminate our collective story, a story that requires each one of us to claim our participation in this broken and beautiful world with attention and intention.

What others are saying:

In the powerful tradition of Annie Dillard, John Muir, and Rachel Carson, yet with her own unique lyricism, Lisa offers us a precious and wise handbook of both companionship and connection….

—Jacob Watson, author of Essence: The Emotional Path to Spirit and Enso Morning: Daily Meditation Gifts

Adopting an ageless pattern as a lens to make sense of her life, Lisa makes the subtle explicit and the mundane sacred….This book will warm hearts, ground us in gratitude, and raise our sense of responsibility.

—Robert Atkinson, Ph.D., author of Mystic Journey and The Story of Our Time

Being human is to live out variations on a theme, or a collection of themes….We seek to craft, from the twinkles of insight along the way, a coherent constellation of purpose. That’s what Lisa Steele-Maley has accomplished in Arriving Here.

—Aram Mitchell, Executive Director of Renewal in the Wilderness

Writing and publishing this book has been a journey of its own, bringing further clarity, strength, and purpose to my days. And, still, I have more questions than I have answers and more curiosity than decision. May it always be so.

Arriving Here: Reflections from the Hearth and Trail will be a wonderful companion for the nesting, daydreaming winter months ahead and a perfect gift for the seeker in your life. Learn more and order your copy(ies) at your local bookstore, at Amazon, or by contacting me!


Gifts of the Season

So much to celebrate! Samhain. Halloween. All Saints Day. Dia de los Muertos. We are turning into the season of darkness. The veil between the here and the hereafter is thin. The ancestors and future generations are mingling in my dreams. There is much to notice and honor.

For weeks, the world has been golden. The leaves on the trees had turned a deep yellow. Surely they reflected the sunlight but they also seemed to glow with a light of their own.

The sunlight has shifted. This is most obvious at sunrise which happens later and later each day and at sunset which surprises me by arriving earlier and earlier. But it is also less strong, casting a more indirect light on this corner of the planet.

Just this week, the earth and sky transitioned from this golden lingering of early autumn to the late autumn that portends winter. The morning frost is thick and a light skim of ice forms on top of the compost lid nightly. The ground holds almost as many leaves as the trees. 

I am grateful to join the season in turning inward. It has been a generative growing season. The garden yielded a summer’s worth of vegetables and we still have an overflowing basket of winter squash and bags of carrots. While the pandemic has grounded us at home, my family has found new strength in our connections with one another. And throughout the summer, I have finished my new book, Arriving Here: Reflections from the Hearth and Trail. It will be ready for release within a few weeks. The flurry of creation is coming to an end and the season to reflect and digest is arriving. It may be true always, but in this fall season, I am recalling a poem by Hafiz that reminds, “Now is the season to know that everything you do is Sacred.” 

I will share more about Arriving Here in the coming weeks — and I will certainly let you know when it is available for pre-order!

In the meantime, I had the pleasure of being a guest on Suzanne Radford’s podcast. A certified forest therapy practitioner and communication coach. Suzanne expertly guided our conversation from the present moment, to the past, and into the future. We explored the open spaces of awareness, the intimacy of connection, and more. Listen here – and consider subscribing to the Nature Pod for more opportunities to explore the gifts of the natural world with Suzanne.

Getting to Work

The blazing orange sun was low on the horizon when it caught my eye. But this flaming ball of heat and light caught my heart and imagination, not just my attention. Like a candle that has been touched gently by a match, I spring to life, a flurry of activity and energy. Not sure where to put it, I clean the house, literally. I know where this energy is intended to go. I am supposed to be writing this morning. But there is a hesitation and an anxiety that has to clear before I can settle into the keyboard. I have stepped away from my project for a week. I barely remember what I was working on or where I was going. “Do I really have anything to say?” “Will anyone be interested in this?” “Can I pull this off?”

 I trust that the self doubts and questions will subside as I move. Those nagging questions, all those versions of  “Am I good enough?” and “Who cares?” will give way. This is not about me. While my writing always emerges from my lived experience, it also always meets with the wider world in some universal expression. As I dust and de-clutter, I am not  “gathering my thoughts.” I am creating space for thoughts and feelings to arrive from beyond me. I am making space for wonder, inspiration, and ideation. I am making ready. Ready for whatever this creative spark of inspiration will become. Ready for whatever fire kindles to life within me. Ready to allow my own flaming energy to expand and rise to meet the flaming sun. The sun and I — we are two kindred spirits offering light and heat. In fact, we are all kindred spirits, balls of potential linked by a thread. Perhaps it is really a wick that runs between us. Once ignited, we need only to allow the energy to flow through us. We need to stop cleaning the house and sit down at the keyboard. Rather, I need to stop cleaning the house and I need to sit down at the keyboard. I am very familiar with my methods of procrastination and my self-doubt. They need to be acknowledged but I also need to be careful not to indulge them or fall too deeply into their grip.

I am meant to live in this time and place deeply, to notice, reflect, and share. This sharing is the work I am meant to offer. Gathering my thoughts, feelings, and questions into words that can be shared in blog posts, books, and poems is one way that I can cast heat and light back out into the world. I am grateful for the gifts of my life and I feel responsible for passing them on. Mary Oliver cautions, “The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.” I intend to not be regretful. I will give both power and time to my creative work. To do that, I have to remind myself to value it. I have to remind myself that it is the work I am here to do. And, sometimes, I need to procrastinate a little bit before getting to work.

I believe that each one of us has a role to play in the continually unfolding story of the universe. Do you know what your role is? Do you know what you need to do to allow your creative energy to burst forth? Is there something you need to stop doing? Or something you need to start doing? 

Those are big questions. Maybe they sound like more pressure and more expectations coming at you from the outside world. You probably didn’t need that from me on a Monday morning! Fortunately, these are not questions that require answers. But they are good questions to sit with from time to time.

Today, if you can, sit with them in the warmth of the sun for a few minutes. Allow yourself to open to possibility. Allow yourself to be warmed and nourished. Allow yourself to notice the heat that is within you meeting the heat that is coming from outside of you. Trust that you do know how and when to offer that heat and light to the world around you.

When you return to your day, may you return with a little extra light. And may that light kindle a flame in someone else who kindles a flame in someone else who kindles…

It Did Not Linger

The rain is turning the snow and ice to mashed potatoes today but our little corner of the planet was ice-covered and sparkly all weekend. Ice coated every nook and cranny of every surface — and the full moon and clear sunny skies illuminated it all day and night. Words and images can’t capture the incredible beauty, but I have to try anyway.

Waking at sunrise

After two days of stormy weather,

I delight to find an

Ice covered landscape.

With tips of light on every branch,

The trees seems frozen in wonder

And so am I.

I sense the pleasure of the trees,

adorned in frozen water.

They seem to radiate light,

cloaked in the very gifts

that sustain their lives,

Water and light.

I stand in awe at

This magical gift, this mystery.

I am witness to

a timeless beauty

That will not linger.

I rush to capture the beauty,

of how the light and water

marry to these earthly beings.

My eyes are not enough.

I want photos and words,

I want to document this glory

And share my delight.

But the glimmering light

refuses my efforts,

urges me to simply gaze.

It reminds me to enjoy,

Reminds me not to be greedy.

There is no container

for this awe.

I can simply

and only

Rest in it.