Emilie Hester Headshot

Hi, I'm Emilie 👋 Writing is how I make sense of the world in and around me. I created this space to explore the beauty, hilarity, madness, and mystery of this human experience and share what I find along the way.

Do Learn Grow is inspired by Mary Oliver's Instructions For Living a Life, Dawna Markova's I Will Not Die an Unlived Life, Elizabeth Gilbert's TED Talk, Mark Nepo's Encouragement to Sing, Megan Price's Pep Talk, and Mae Martin's Snow Globes.

Latest: Everything

  1. Image: Matt Hardy

    When you’ve gone under
    There’s a moment after you’ve made your way back to the surface
    That you know you are fully at the mercy of the ocean
    That if another wave were to…

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  2. Image: Elizabeth Gilbert

    “You are afraid of surrender because you don’t want to lose control.
    But you never had control; all you had was anxiety.”

    – Elizabeth Gilbert

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  3. Image: Sajjad Ahmadir

    Just a costume, this skin
    Look at me and tell me you’re in on the joke

    But it’s all so serious

    Entire lives ruled
    by words and labels we created

    Entire wars fabricated and fought

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  4. Image: Denny Müller

    Them: This is who I am.
    Us: No you’re not. This is who you are.

    Them: This is who I am.
    Us: It would make me more comfortable if you pretended to be something else.

    Them: This is who I am.

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  5. Image: Annie Spratt

    I want to be here.

    I want to remember
    how to feel


    May my mind and body
    meet again
    like two old friends
    coming home.

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  6. Image: Ramy Kabalan

    Am I coming or going?

    Is this staying or leaving?

    Why does healing feel like grief?

    It would be so much easier to grasp for one thing
    or the other

    It would be so much easier to drive a stake in the ground

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  7. Image: Emilie Hester

    Little One, you can come down now.

    But who will keep us safe?

    I will keep us safe. Come down.

    I don’t know how.

    One step at a time.

    I’m scared.

    I know. I’m not leaving…

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  8. Image: Emilie Hester

    I’ve tried meditation a few dozen times over the years.
    I was never really able to make it click, until I had to.

    Early last year my brain was stuck in overdrive and I couldn’t find quiet.
    So, with some…

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  9. Play - Image: Emilie Hester

    My Love, you notice so beautifully.
    But for fuck's sake, when did you start taking it all so seriously?

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  10. The Roar of a Gentle Heart - Image: Glen Carrie

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  11. Many of us know what it is to be swallowed by grief;
    may we also know what it is to be swallowed by joy.

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  12. Where in your life are you starving but accepting crumbs for yourself?

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  13. You will be too much for some people and not enough for others.
    Neither will matter if you’re enough for yourself.

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  14. We wake up the moment we realize that we are living someone else’s dream.
    And we are free the moment we are brave enough to live our own.

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  15. We can have our need to be right or we can have peace.

    I choose peace.

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  16. Hide and Seek - Image: Annie Spratt

    ⁣⁣⁣Perhaps one of the greatest ironies of what it means to be human is that we are equipped with both a soul that so desperately longs to be known and an ego that causes…

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  17. If you want to learn to swim, you can read about it, and you can watch other people do it, but at some point you have to jump in the water.

    The same can be said for living.

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  18. Swim - Image: Jeremy Bishop
    1. Some of the most painful moments of my life came from putting my unquestioning belief in things that we made up. Rules. Boxes. Labels. Shoulds. Shouldn’ts.​

    2. Freedom came when I realized I didn’t have to blindly go along with these things and that if someone was going to choose the meaning of my life, it was going to be me.​

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  19. Who are you with, where are you, what are you doing when you feel the most free?

    Who are you with, where are you, what are you doing when you feel the most constricted?

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  20. Reflection - Image: Emilie Hester

    I always find myself craving space and quiet after big life changes.

    When I’ve been standing too close to something for too long, it’s easy to forget that I’m only seeing…

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  21. Sunflowers - Image: Emilie Hester

    We are the only creatures that fight so hard against the truth of ourselves.
    Flowers bloom. Grass grows. Mountains rise.
    Humans hide and shrink and pretend.
    We live a…

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  22. Me & Gary - Image: Emilie Hester

    Maybe it was the unbearable thought of him dying alone
    Maybe it was that I never saw his body
    Or that I didn’t get to say goodbye
    But I could not make myself believe he…

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  23. Run Free - Image: Emilie Hester

    The thing is…
    This life is short and you, My Love, are pure potential.

    Don’t just stand there blowing in the wind, mistaking motion for action.

    Dig deeper.
    Grow taller.

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  24. Be Still - Image: Robin Church

    Tender wavelets wash my happy feet and
    the still soft sun kisses my
    morning face in silent benediction;
    alone except for crabs scuttling in
    and out of their sandy holes,

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  25. Blank Page - Image: Kelly Sikkema

    We hold up our history like a crystal ball
    letting our past predict our future.

    But what could we do?
    Where could we go?
    If the potential of each moment
    was it’s own?

    What would we be capable of
    if yesterday’s couldn’t
    didn’t automatically become
    today’s can’t

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  26. Image: Olive Paaske

    I see you there
    Your hands filled with rocks
    They’re cutting into your skin
    Your body is exhausted from bearing their weight
    But still your fingers stretch wide to wrap…

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  27. Being Formed - Image: Quino Al

    I am in love with the idea that here we are, these endlessly pliable creatures, ready to take the shape of whatever we repeatedly ask ourselves to become.

    The change we…

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  28. Through the Cracks - Image: Joe Dudeck

    The best I have to give doesn’t come from my strength. It comes from my cracks.
    It comes from where I’m weak, vulnerable, worn, real.
    It comes from the places where life…

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  29. Wolf Moon - Image: Emilie Hester

    What if you were to come out from hiding?
    What if you were to live fully out of your heart?
    Would you wear it on your sleeve like a badge of courage and love?
    Could you…

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  30. Choose to Grow - Image: Emilie Hester

    Challenge yourself every day to do more than you think you’re capable of.
    When you want to quit, don’t.
    When you think you can’t, try.
    It’s not about perfection.

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  31. The Deep - Image: Christian Palmer

    There’s a place inside of us that I call The Deep. I think most people likely give this label to their hearts because when something true and pure lands inside us, it…

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