left to our own devices

summer day under a tree


“The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.” Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.” Clarissa Pinkola Estés

As the doors closed behind us last week, we had no idea when we’d be let back in. We were left to our own devices, left the writers to theirs with the arts supplies, paper, and promise to come back when they let us. We sat in the lobby and waited, chatted about the state of the world and how official the CO’s looked. They were doing a fire drill at CRCF and all the volunteers had to be evacuated.

As we sat on the other side of the wall, waiting to be let back in, I thought about what I’d wanted to do with the group that night, what I had expected, and how strange it felt for the small world of the group to go on without us. We’d gotten a letter that evening from a former inmate. She wished us well and thanked us for the safe space. That was the space I wanted to be in. We were doing an art project that night, making paper doll representations of the intuitive voices that guide us. My voice called both from the inside of my chest and the prison, back to the circle of writers while the CO’s mimed fire and the women wrote and crafted.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes would call this wanting a door, my own device to be tinkered with until it revealed a lesson, a lack of presence, the cogs turning in my experience. It is a privilege to want to go in the prison knowing I would be let out, a privilege to be witness to another person’s words and process of struggle and growth. I’ve grown accustomed to the mechanisms of hope in their writing and conversation. I bring paper, pens, a handful words and receive their stories. By the time we were let back in, I was hungry for them, hoping to see what they’d made. We share something as nourishing as a meal in this emergent creative space. We can only make it together and, this time, I was barred from it.

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calling upon her God

Cupid & Psyche
by Antonio Canova

Brave souls, all, agreed to write this week about their personal connections to God (or the Divine).  We utilized the open-hearted poetry of Rumi to get us started.  TD moved many of us with the prayerful invocation she penned, calling upon God for mercy in healing her cocaine addiction.  She utilized the prompt, “God is an ocean of mercy….Collapse into God’s arms and you’ll weep like a child.”   Read on.

It is me, your daughter.

I am here, I am in your light.

Your grace has given me many blessings.

It is me whom you loved,

no matter the number of my faults.

I am here, broken before you,

ready to receive your glory.

I have taken many paths in this life,

and it has taught me not to fear you,

for you gave me breath,

you gave me life,

and through these many circumstances,

you let me live.

I am of love and have been forgiven.

Please, show me what it is

you want from me.

I am at your mercy,

I am on bended knee,

asking for you to hold me,

comfort me from the world.

Show me how to control my fear

of the world.

Give me the strength, the power

to rise from the bondage of my addiction. Continue reading