Hello, I’m Nicole Parsons (aka Cole or Coco to family).

I have a few credentials1 but the truth is that almost everything I know I learned from stories: books and gossip, journalism and the tales of family and neighbors and saints. I suspect that every little, seemingly ordinary story is a fractal, a miniature replica, of the saga of the Real’s pursuit of us and our pursuit of the Real.

In my writing and my spiritual direction practice, I’ve come to see myself as a folk-art maker of little word-shrines. In podcast and print, workshops and individual coaching, I’m a bit off the beaten track, using whatever is at hand (sometimes spare parts, sometimes the very heart). I try to pay attention to the ins and outs of where we are, because the more lovingly we notice what’s here, the more we become the truest versions of ourselves (and the more our work becomes the truest version of itself, too).

Why a Shrine of the Real?

In these times of pummeling information at incomprehensible speed, we’re wearier than we realize, and we don’t always remember how to rest. I think we could use more roadside restorative spaces, more holy rest-stops.

And — I think that making and tending a space like this, a Shrine of the Real, is work I might be made to do: to craft a humble, quiet place so you are given every reason to rest with what is real, and then continue on refreshed.


Credentials include an M.A. in English Literature, Certification in Spiritual Direction, and an M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction. My writing has been published in Ruminate Magazine, short-listed for the Glimmer Train fiction prize, and is forthcoming in Image Journal. In 2017, I produced the podcast series, Wet Mountain Valley Dry Goods, which also aired on my local radio station. I am also an Associate of the Order of Julian of Norwich, a contemplative Benedictine Episcopal Religious order. I live and listen in a tiny town in southern Colorado.

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A reason to rest and listen to ordinary things that radiate substantial truths. Written and narrated by Nicole Parsons


Nicole is a certified spiritual director with an MFA in Creative Nonfiction, but everything she knows she learned through stories. She lives and listens in the Sangre de Cristo mountains with her husband and dog.