Kind Kindred : Jen Lee

Well hello there! I hope your day is going well so far & that you’ve got a smile nestled inside your heart. If you don’t, I think Jen Lee‘s post will put one there! Here’s the thing about Jen — she’s got The Gift. She’s an amazing photographer, a poet that touches your heart, a storyteller that draws you in without you even noticing. That’s what she’s sharing with us today — a story. Peace to you, every single step of the way. – Jenn

In the Company of Each Other

It was a couple autumns ago, when the cold and dark was creeping in and dragging winter close behind, and I was in my studio overlooking a sleepy street. There was a story in me that I hadn’t been able to reach for months. I knew it was going to be a gift to my dear friend, Hula, and I knew it had something to do with the love of a mother, which made it hard for me to reach. Every time I tried, my complicated year with my own mother was there, my own inability to see my way through.

But on this morning, someone I know online posted a link to this Stars video, which I hadn’t seen before or heard. I can’t explain why or how, but something shook loose deep inside when I heard this song. I cranked my headphones up, closed my eyes, and without looking I let the story come out of my fingers while tears came down my face. There was just Hula and my mother and everything that I needed to know to find my way through, all to the beckoning of that beat. That piece, “Nothing But Love”, would appear in Fortunes many months later as it again found its way out into the world.

When you stop and think about it, no one HAS to tell her story. No one has to sing her song. I am sure that all of us have more hidden lives that woo us, that beckon us to stay quiet, to stay small or to mind our own business. Lives that look easy, paths that tempt us when fear turns up the heat.

And yet, I walk my days in the company of artists. I hold stories that can’t find their way out until I hear just the right song or story to dislodge them from my psyche and pull them out. I read words and see films that show me who I am, before I even know myself. Every lyric and melody, each chapter and scene and verse is an extraordinary kindness that urges me to keep stumbling in the dark of my own creative work, or lights the next small step before me.

So consider, the next time you’re thinking of staying quiet or minding your own business, that your voice, your story, your painting or your song could be the spark of inspiration that breaks someone else through into her own self-expression. Every time you share yourself, with one person or with the world, it is a grand act of kindness, ensuring that we can always walk our days in the company of each other.

Jen Lee is a Brooklyn-based writer and a regular performer in NYC’s storytelling scene, including The Moth Mainstage. Jen is also the author of Solstice: Stories of Light in the Dark, Fortunes, and Take Me With You: A Journal for the Journey. Jen offers workshops and classes on storytelling, writing and the creative life. Her upcoming retreat, Integrate in the Rockies, is a three-day journey to excavate the parts of yourself and your voice that have been eluding you and pull all your parts into a strong unison. You can follow her on Twitter, read more of her work or contact her at


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