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. Continue reading