me in Assisi, 2009

“I am someone who Loves.”

I spoke this declaration one day, after experiencing a feeling of being misunderstood.

“I am someone who loves.” Simple. Clear. This is who I am.

However, the more I took in this statement, the more complex it became.

Loves what? Loves who? How do I love?

What does any of this actually mean?

Fearlessly, I stepped into this statement and it was like falling into a vortex of memory. Faces, moments, choices, consequences, all of the encounters with love I have ever experienced. It was painful, scary, and — ultimately — enlightening.

When I emerged from the vortex, the clearest answer was staring me right in my face.

I used to confuse my being someone who…

Photo Credit Paula Woods, Cleveland, Ohio


It’s that time of year.

Actually, for me, that time of year starts around early September. That time of year that I can only identify as….Wistful.

The dictionary defines it as: “having or showing a feeling of vague or regretful longing.”

The thesaurus gives us words to describe it like: Contemplative. Mournful. Reflective. Nostalgic. Melancholy. Dreamy. Yearning.

September is the month my Dad died. It was sudden. I was young. It changed my life.

September was the beginning of the new school year. Hopeful. Filled with possibility. And a touch of dread.

October is harvest time, Halloween, candy corn…

Colorado River, Grand Canyon, taken by Rev Rachel 2010

There is a Buddhist story about a monk who wants to find a quiet place to meditate. After failing to find a quiet enough spot, he decides to get in a boat and go out onto the lake. No one else was around so he was sure he would finally be able to have some peace and quiet to meditate.

Then, out of nowhere, he feels something hit his boat. He opens his eyes — furious — and says, “Who disturbed me while I was meditating?!” He was livid that someone would crash into him like that. …

Stock Photos from Doctor Who (source: Google)

As I talked to myself, while washing dishes, something was said by someone that I thought was me. It didn’t sound like me, though. What that voice said was something that I had never said before. Something I did not even know that I knew.

It was a sentence very close to one I have said many times in the past, just slightly altered. Changed just enough that the new meaning stopped me mid-scrub. The dishes could wait. I needed to sit down.

The sentence that I used to say went something like this:

“Every time I have attempted a…

me and maggie, 2000

When I first moved to Anchorage, Alaska, I was hired on at The Alaska Zoo as a gardener. Anyone who knows me would laugh at that. I know nothing about plants, flowers, or anything related to gardening! I am challenged just keeping a houseplant alive. Still, I was hired and I showed up at the greenhouse on my first day, ready to, I don’t know, water something!

My supervisor, a young man named Aaron, showed me around, explained how things worked, and also became a good friend. I loved this gig! I had access to pretty much every area of…

Me, rowing a boat in The Grand Canyon

A long time ago, I wanted to be rescued from my life.

I was living with depression, not doing well. I was lonely. I was feeling un-seen, un-wanted, un-needed. I was afraid of the future. My future. I had no idea what was going to happen to me.

I just wanted to be rescued.

So, I fell in love.

And then I fell in love again.

And then, I did it again….Noticing a pattern here?

It’s not that I didn’t truly love the people I fell in love with. I did. I also, however, really wanted to be rescued. …

Seven years ago today, on August 6, my buddy Carl graduated from Earth School. Leaving me without my Guardian, my Brother, one of my great Loves.

They — you know, “they” — say that, at seven years, there is usually some kind of closure experience; a visitation of some kind, that helps the soul — and those left behind as well, I suppose — to move on.

I don’t know if I’m ready for that yet.

When I was in the midst of grieving Carl’s death — which came on the heels of the death of my Soul-Twin, Jimmy —…

Sharing stories from a lifetime of living with depression

Hollander Family Archives circa 1975

About six weeks ago, I decided to start a podcast to talk about how I live with depression. It has been a life-long companion, roommate, bully, and teacher. Choosing to talk about it, and how I have learned to navigate my life alongside it, seemed like a great idea. I could share my stories. I could help people. It’ll be awesome.

And then it came time to actually tell the stories.

Some of the deeper experiences I have survived have only lived as legends inside my own head. For as much as I share publicly, with friends with family, even…

taken by rev rachel hollander (nyc 2019)

All the while, the hum is there. Under it all. Never changing, never pausing.

From Pixabay on Pexels

The night my Dad died, he was playing tennis. It was totally unexpected. My mom got a call that something had happened and she ran out of the house to find him.

My sister and I waited at home.

When my mom returned home, she came through the front door and walked right past us. We followed her to the dining room. She turned, leaned against the wall, put her arms up into a shrug and, through tears, said, “He’s gone.”

I was twelve.

I had already been living with depression, without really knowing what it was called or truly…

rev rachel hollander

Hello! I am an Interfaith/Interspiritual Minister. With my faithful pal, Maddie, I navigate the waters of this life.

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