where we go from here



When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful. – Malala Yousafzai

It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent. – Madeleine Albright

You can be the lead in your own life. – Kerry Washington

Every week, we come together to write. Writing is a mirror to our own thinking. Of course, each piece is only a fraction of our own image – the corner of an earlobe, the tip of a toe, or the ends of our hair, but never the whole picture. Our shared work is to witness each other’s process as we each gather the pieces to form a whole picture. And with that picture, each of us can move towards a clearer future for ourselves.

For centuries, tarot cards and other similar practices have been used to provide this partial mirror. When we look at the cards, most often, we are told what we already know. This week, I brought in goddess cards and as we passed the cards around the table, each writer sighed a sigh of recognition. They said, “Yes, this speaks to a force in my life.” Each writer used their card to reflect on an aspect of their growth and used it as a touchstone to predict their own future.

In the pieces below, you will read the accounts of three writers and reflections on their cards – how each image gave them strength and inspiration to follow their path toward wholeness.


Change? Cycles? Both of these have so much in common with me.
I am and have changed so much in the last 8 months
that I have been locked up that it sometimes scares me! I used to
look for the drugs to take that pain away and now I look for my supportive
loved ones, people that care about me to help me through these times of pain,
to help me with the pain that I’m having. I have finally broken that cycle
of looking for the drugs, getting the drugs, doing the drugs, and then starting
all over again. This change and the break of the cycle makes me feel
so alive, so real, so human again; that I can’t believe that I gave so much
of my life to something so awful. Continue reading

listening inside

You have to find a mother inside yourself. We all do. Even if we already have a mother, we still have to find this part of ourselves inside Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees

We can have skills training in mindfulness so that we are using our attention to perceive something in the present moment. This perception is not so latent by fears or projections into the future, or old habits, and then I can actually stir loving-kindness or compassion in skills training too, which can be sort of provocative, I found.Sharon Salzberg

Our shared work in the prison is about writing and expressing but it is also about listening. Silence, space, nothingness, are often set in opposition to sound, form, something-ness. The latter is often considered the more real components of our experience. We emphasize the writing in writing not the page, margins, space between the letters that make it possible for the writing to be read. We undervalue the breaths between sentences that make it possible for words to be heard and understood.

By being silent, creating space, we allow room for others. We make it possible for others to become more of themselves. What’s more is that we may also offer that space to ourselves, going into spaces of silence to hear ourselves, to recognize ourselves and become more ourselves. This is the provocative, mindful, inner-mother space described in the quotes above. We practice this in our silent writing time, in the silence while others are reading, silence as we fill out soul cards at the end of each group.

Continue reading