photo of wall installation called “Freed Spirit” at a restaurant in New Mexico

“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” ~ Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

“You must learn one thing. The world was made to be free in. Give up all the other worlds. Except the one in which you belong.” ~ David Whyte

Despair. Defiance. Determination. Deference.

Who knew that ‘liberation’ could conjure such a range of responses?

Pain. Platitudes. Perspective. Perseverance.

All this, and more. Written in 20 minutes around a table of a half dozen women committed to a weekly 90 minutes of focused, deep listening to one another and themselves. Inside prison… Determination. Perseverance.

By the words you speak, a world is born.
Insults can leave the insecure scorned.
You are a vessel, this life is the sea.
Stop sitting on the shore
living in your misery. You can’t even imagine
what this world has to give;
behind the walls of your entrapment
there’s a different way to live.

Wise men tell stories, philosophical quotes;
they don’t get all their wisdom from sailing their own boats.
They’ve walked plenty of day in someone else’s shoes,
they know what it means to be tattered and bruised.
They’ve met misery on their own steps,
been sunk under water in unfathomable depths.
But they don’t let that fear keep them silent.
They don’t let the abuse turn them violent.
They simply dust it off and walk away.
Tomorrow is a brand new day.

I don’t know about you, but they seem fine
by simply leaving the past behind.

– MGa


LIBERATION (excerpt)
I need liberation from my mother because she’s never put me first, ever, in her life. It’s always been the other way around. I’ve always had to take care of her and my grandparents, and it weighs heavy on my shoulders…



DREAMS (excerpt)
… To show and say,
YES, I CAN! I don’t need your judgments, persecutions or approval for that matter, because I believe in myself; and despite all my mistakes, I am better than you may perceive me. Your opinion does not matter to me anymore. I am going to choose to turn from your evilness and walk in the direction I so choose. I am letting go of you. I am tearing apart the seams that you seem to think bind us together. You can’t have me no more, I belong to Something Greater now and I choose better for myself because I am capable of so much more than you give me credit for. So I am done with all your unfaithfulness. I am choosing to dream a bigger dream for myself. It doesn’t include you. I’m letting go finally because you are not included in my dreams.

– MS


In this world we are in,
so much happens that
we feel we have no control.
Excuse my grammar, but
shit happens
and it weighs on you.

You were expecting a simple, but
Happy Day.
You woke in good spirits,
the morning seemed perfect; but
then your phone rings, and
all you hear is complaining
and gossip.

You feel like you should listen with empathy,
but instead
you say, I’m so sorry, but today is not good.
You hang up and
decide, Not Today.

You sip your coffee,
sit in the yard.
The birds are singing
a favorite song of mine.
I’m a groupie, I thought
and the music I hear
is my sweet inspiration.


autumn unfolds

Credit: Jim Hester

Toward the end of October, we had a sweet writing circle in which we reflected on the subtle changes that occur as Autumn unfolds. The prompts included what is being asked of that which is changing; or what is being let go and what is becoming in this season of change? Women chose a wide variety of ways into the writing — fond memories of Halloween, the challenges of dysfunctional families at holidays, personal in-turning with the darkening season, moving testimonials of the natural world.

Yet, assembling a poem from each woman’s written lines has created a completely unique reflection filled with hope and tenderness alongside the often harsh realities of the past. The following poem is the product of lines from 15 different women’s writings:

As Autumn unfolds,
from dusk to dawn
falling off slowly,
wind weaving through what’s left.
Time to wait.

Autumn unfolds –
fat lady, geisha, lady gaga, rapper,
tootsie roll and ladybugs;
vampire, princess with a plastic pumpkin
spiders hanging off her dress;
robot, clown, zombie –
how scared their faces were
running house to house
living with the skeleton in her mother’s closet.

Autumn unfolds;
beautiful moon full and high in the sky
the memory that comes to mind.
Trees show their bony limbs.
After two hours it started to snow;
no more leaves to look at,
cover up, hide
our sweet greed.

Autumn unfolds
change for the best, not the worst. Continue reading