living inside our bodies

Credit: BStarrArt

The majority of women we write with have lived through abusive relationships.

The National Institute of Corrections estimates that 52 percent of imprisoned females in the U.S. reported some form of domestic or sexual abuse prior to being jailed.

As a result, it’s not hard to imagine the physical, psychological and emotional traumas that a woman entering Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility bears.

We leave the deep work of unpacking those traumas to the mental health practicioners at the facility, for sure.

However, we do look for opportunities to have the women write about ‘living inside their bodies’ with mindfulness and respectful awareness.  We tread softly in our work, exhibit compassion, and allow the women to choose for themselves where they want to go in their self-expressions.

Last week’s writing circle began with the quote:

Be strong then, and enter into your own body; there you have a solid place for your feet.
–  #14 in The Kabir Book, translated by Robert Bly

CR wrote about her past as a body, with the parts being different ages or events, evoking a set of memories unique to herself.


My fingers, all 10 of them, have felt many things over the  years. The soft warm fuzz of my cat. The movement of his thundering purrs erupting from his body.

My hands, the two of them, have given many hugs.

My two arms reaching to my love, giving great big hugs as if I were trying to reach around a big oak tree.

My heart, the only one I have, has a couple of chips out of it from being pushed around. But the love that’s still within shines out every time I hear a bird. Remember the ones at home watching for me to return? Continue reading