Who I am

Standing on a balcony at a mountaintop retreat in Vermont, loving the wind and the surrounding mountains.

Standing on a balcony at a mountaintop retreat in Vermont, loving the wind and the surrounding mountains. Link below.


I’m a survivor of incest. That makes me a warrior. I lived through racism in a society that held my brother responsible for Pearl Harbor, even though he wasn’t born until five years later.

I witnessed my brother succumb to schizophrenia and childhood abuse. I took care of my mom as she struggled with bipolar disorder with periodic episodes of psychosis.

I made a ton of mistakes as I wandered through life looking through the filters of my dysfunction, but I kept moving forward no matter how many times I stumbled and fell for the gaslighting and usury, even over my own self.

Still, my persistence has made me much happier in my later years, and brought me here to you.


I’m an author and activist. The creative process is my everything. I show up at protests and vigils with poetry and song.  I believe in people, in humanity as a whole and as individuals. I believe in you.

Even if we haven’t met, yes, I believe in you! In the earth we both stand on, in the potential we possess. Why? Because most people want the same thing — to live in peace with our family and loved ones and each other.

Inequity and injustice throws us at each other, and the ones who incite and create the conditions for it are the ones who benefit from our misplaced rage and hate.

This must stop.

Your dreams calls to you, no matter how distant they may seem to be.

I believe in the power of dreams

I think the events of the first half of 2020 show that we are all faced with deciding whether we will ultimately walk toward healing or disintegration. I choose healing. I start with where I am and what I know.

And what I know is the power of dreams to uplift and transform you — even the ones that haven’t come true yet, even the ones that may not.

Your dreams call to you, no matter how distant they may seem to be. I understand there may be extenuating circumstances and personal obstacles. Maybe you’re dealing with survival or oppression. But that doesn’t mean your dream can’t live in your heart. As painful as that may seem, living a hopeless life hurts you even more.

That little bit of hope

So much of my life as a child, I had to shut down, turn off my emotions to keep pain at bay, so that each proceeding year became grayer and grayer, until I was just emotionally flat-lining — except for one tiny area of creativity, where I could write or sing. Or in a quiet moment of nature’s beauty. Something that reminded me of something I had forgotten and couldn’t quite remember, but it gave me hope, nonetheless.

Even that little bit of hope can be the difference between losing yourself and finding your way. That’s what keeping the dream, your dream, can do for you. There’s power in holding a dream or letting it touch you. A gentle brush of its hand can wipe away your tears or gift you with a tender sigh.

The dream in you is beautiful. I know that, because you are. What we don’t yet, is how that beauty will express itself. That’s for you to reveal.

It is not the time for any of us to be silent.

I believe in finding your voice

This is an important time to use our voices, to speak our truth. Because everything is so volatile, so uncertain.

But sometimes we need to find our voice and then listen to the truth of who we are, before we can speak out. I’d like to help you with that.

Not by liberating you with my wisdom, because if you’re counting on that, you may be sorely disappointed. But by walking with you, together, side by side, sharing our experiences together, lifting each other up. I don’t think we’re meant to go through this alone… and this is me talking, super introvert.

The lies say we’re not good enough or worthy enough or powerful enough to make a difference. But we are.

More than ever, we need to know this — our world really needs us to know this — so we can add our presence to turning the tide.

The transforming energy of the creative process…

I feel it when I write, when I sing, when I bring a song or story to whomever it was intended for. It feels like love. It’s the way I heal, and if I’m honest, it’s the way I worship — which for me is connecting with something bigger than myself, and allowing myself to feel loved, to be loved, despite myself.

This blog is a creative space for me to use my voice, to share my journey as authentically as I can, which means sharing the darker sides of my inner world at times, as well as the light. No one skips along the entire length of their journey, not this one. So when I stub my toe, or fall flat on my face, when I plunge into depression or am filled with anger or defeat, I will give voice to that as well.

If the healing journey is anything, it’s about becoming whole. Not all the scattered pieces of myself are going to be gold. But learning to embrace them with compassion and accountability is priceless in the healing that affords.

You’re not alone

Artists, dreamers and travelers on the healing journey often feel like they’re alone. We’re not. We just have to find one another. Of all the therapy that’s available, I believe connection is the most powerful. So here we are. Somehow you found this blog, and if these are the only words of mine you read, then I am grateful for your short presence. It makes a difference.

But if you want my company on your journey, then here I am. Together, we can learn how to give voice to our pain, song to our strengths and resurrect beauty from our wounds.

Thank you for sharing this leg of your journey with me.

~ Demian Yumei,
Keeping the Dream

[Thank you to Marianne and Bob at Above the Clouds Retreat in Vermont for gifting me with this writing retreat and nourishing of the soul. ]

View from my writing table on a rainy day at Above the Clouds Retreat in Vermont

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