what is saving your life?

Soul Card by Deborah Koff-Chapin

Soul Card by Deborah Koff-Chapin

Our writing prompt this week was direct and to the point: what is saving your life right now?

Another way to say the same thing – what keeps you sane at this moment in time or holds your world together? (In a prison facility such lifelines can be quite basic, like a hot shower or unexpected compassion from a stranger.)

I happened upon this compelling question recently while reading Barbara Brown Taylor’s memoir An Altar in the World. When a person posed this query to her, she likened it to (metaphorically) yanking the china-laden cloth off the table of her life – and making immediate room for truth.

Coincidentally this week in writing about what saves us, a column I penned for the National Catholic Reporter about our newly released book Hear Me, See Me: Incarcerated Women Write and the writing inside VT program came out in print. (Thanks Mike Leach for the opportunity!)

As I reread the article, it occurred to me that this weekly writing circle in Vermont’s sole women’s prison “saves my life” in very real ways from time to time.

I can think of two specific ways to start…

Participation allows me to enter a space with other women where truth-telling is paramount; where soul connections are of a high priority; and there is little-to-no room for slick and varnished appearances (something that can wear me to the bone).   Continue reading