by Ellen C. Warren

When you meet your neighbor Mari Lynn, please don’t call her Mary. “My mother’s name was Mary. I thought Mary was such a boring name. And I have an aversion to being boring,” she explains, but continues with, “And yet, I have been living my life, lately, so boring … it’s quite remarkable actually.” So, what does boring mean to her. “Well, bland … or lacking color.”

A different interpretation would be to describe the experience of going inward, versus the outward that most of us are familiar and comfortable with. Later in our conversation, Mari Lynn admits, “My life can appear, perhaps, to many as being really boring, but actually on an inward level it’s very rich. I think I’m reclaiming the color.” She points out that the pandemic provided an environment, an opportunity to change focus. “Going inward isn’t for everybody. I certainly didn’t think it was for me,” she says. But that is, indeed, what happened for the last few years. And in the end, she realized how much she has grown through this time.

Mari Lynn

There have been several factors that have contributed to the “Quelling of the angst.” One is her study of The Michael Teachings, some of which she shared in a presentation at the Jazz Gallery, which maps the stages we experience in the aging process. This time in her life (and all those in the mid 50’s to 70’s) is about a recreation, a re-creation of oneself, a re-set into the next phase of one’s existence.

Another contributing factor is the study of astrology. “It has been an incredibly difficult time for many people, myself included … Astrology has really helped because when massive confusion occurs I want to know more about it. I want to delve deep, because my nature is to delve deep,” she explains, “helping me to know and understand something. And to prepare.

“I would not call myself an astrologer. I follow some very reputable astrologers and I’ve started to be able to assess and analyze charts. Using astrology as a map is not for naught. It’s been really helpful. If you sort of know the map, know the terrain it can feel a little bit less awful. Sometimes we have to turn down the noise out there in order to get a sense of what the terrain is trying to tell us.”

During the pandemic period Mari Lynn was aware that much was being affected by the movements of Pluto, the planet which deals in death, rebirth, and transformation. She was, perhaps, a bit more ready to deal with the reality of the deaths of two of her siblings in that period.

Early in her career as an Occupational Therapist in Psychiatric and Rehabilitative settings Mari Lynn found herself blocked from creating the art she wanted to. It wasn’t until her experience of living in a tent in Montana for five months and working with gifted healer and psychic, Virginia Fidel, that she was guided to a more expansive view of her life. “I was more or less, on a spiritual sabbatical … that really was the turning point for my life changing profoundly,” she says, adding, “Nothing like therapeutic breath work to clear out lots of stuff you didn’t even know you had.”

Mari Lynn then moved to San Diego for ten years, working as an O.T. While there, she also studied massage. Her massage work branched out further when she trained to be a Myo-fascial Release practitioner. This very specialized form of massage has been of great help to her as well as her clients.

Back in Milwaukee, in her little Riverwest cottage, Mari Lynn is mama to a furry, seventeen-year-old feline boy named Symba and her beloved Clancy, the Celtic Transgender Turtle. The Midland Painted Turtle, Clancy, turned out to be a girl after all. She came as a gift to Mari Lynn almost seven years ago, and the learning curve for turtle care proved gargantuan. There is so much to know about turtle husbandry.

Along the way, this mostly aquatic creature has offered Mari Lynn many life lessons. She shares some of them with us:
Go inward when you need to.
Bask in light.
Shed your old skin and don’t look back.
Eat your greens, fruit, and vegetables (Clancy’s favorites are blueberries).
Don’t eat so much protein.
Don’t be afraid to experience solitary existence.
Maintain your habitat but don’t be afraid to rearrange the furniture.

When questioned about Riverwest, she says, “I certainly couldn’t see myself living anywhere else, primarily for the creativity, the diversity, the more relaxed vibe. One can be … eccentric (and I do consider myself an odd duck — I’m not for everyone’s palate). I can be as unusual as I care to be and it’s not necessarily going to be questioned or hassled by others. I like that I can go grab a beer or walk to the Co-op or walk to the Jazz Gallery. I don’t have a car so just being able to have certain amenities close by helps. But particularly (I appreciate) the diversity of the people who live here, and over all, I’d say there’s a friendliness that is not present in other parts of town.”