put down the weight of aloneness

all alone

credit: ashwini shrivastava

“We shape our self
to fit this world
and by the world
are shaped again”

We always open our writing sessions inside Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility with a well-known poet’s words to signal our appreciation for words, to help ground us in the writing circle, to offer inspiration for our own written words to follow.

Sometimes the poems are seasonal, offering opportunity to reflect on changes happening in the natural world that are often mirrored within each of us as if set by biological clock.

Other times, the poems are humorous, to lift the mood and encourage everyone to shake loose some seriousness.

At still other times, they are purely inspirational, drawing on the deep well of divinity and wisdom each of us carries within, often unbeknownst to us.

This past week, words of poet David Whyte opened the circle. His words are deep and piercing. He is both a highly spiritual man (it’s hard to think of him without recalling his close friendship with the late John O’Donohue) – as witnessed in his own poetry; and a pioneer in the world of work over the past 20 years, “building a critical mass of executives and leaders who have learned through his work, the language, metaphors and urgent necessities of conversational leadership.”

To witness the impact of his words on a circle of 14 incarcerated women gathered inside a dreary windowless room of an evening is nothing short of breathtaking. This week’s poem with its associated writing invitations is posted for your own reading and writing challenge. Below, one of the many deep writings penned by MS from inside:

“Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the conversation…” –David Whyte

Stop feeling pity upon yourself
and come out of your shell
start making responsible
risks in life, start doing things
that will improve your lifestyle
and do things that will make
you feel better about you.

Remember there is always an
open door at the top of the stairs,
an opportunity for you to grow
and change and to be the best.
You, you can take the challenge
and climb those stairs to the
future and never look back
at the past for that is over with,
and there is nothing you can do
to change that, but you can make
positive steps in your life by
climbing those stairs into your
future.  So put down the weight
of your aloneness and ease
into the conversation.


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