awakened body

tree woman

The awakened body takes initiatives, is no longer content to receive or “put up with.”
When we live in our body, we give body to our life
.  –Therese Bertherat

To love yourself as you are is a miracle and to seek yourself is to have found yourself. For now. And now is all we have and love is who we are. – Anne Lamott

The body itself is a dwelling place, as the Anglo-Saxons knew in naming it banhus (bonehouse) and lichama (bodyhome), and the homeliness of its nature is even livelier for a woman than for a man… Through writing her body, woman may reclaim the deed to her dwelling. . .  From Remembering the Bone House, Nancy Mairs

With May comes spring – at least we continue to hope so in the chill northern clime of Vermont. So we pair the notion of the awakening of earth’s spring body with our own. Not an unusual comparison in these parts. Winter signals a complete in-turning – layers of down, chirping log fires, warm cocoa and a really good book …

But spring? It often comes/goes so quickly it seems we leap from winter to summer in one short jump. This year it has come/gone multiple times in spurts of heat and return to damp chill. Of course we know of earth’s penchant to return season upon season. It’s just a matter of when. Our firmly-held stories about our own bodies seem to hold equal constancy, with less of the change from season to season.

Our opening poem – ‘homage to my hips’ by lucille clifton – is a bawdy all-out-brag on independence and sheer pleasure of the power of the physical body. Kind of how spring makes me feel with its rush to push all manner of life into view. Writers inside have an equally wide range of reactions to share in their words:

‘To love yourself as you are is a miracle and to seek yourself is to have found yourself.’
What do I love about myself? I have always compared myself to others and tried to be like this one or that one. As I have grown up, I am more comfortable in my skin but do not think I will ever love my skin. Talking about myself is hard, it makes me vulnerable and I do not like to feel vulnerable. 

I do love my insides, though and can talk about the qualities I possess within.

I have always been told it is the inside that matters, and don’t judge a book by its cover. This may be true, but that does not stop the girls sitting across the room from talking about others’ flaws. I always say I don’t care what anyone thinks but that is far from the truth.

I struggle to fit in more than I will ever admit.



To love yourself as you are is a miracle. Some of us can do it. Some of us are incapable. To love yourself as you are is so profound whether you’re alone staring in a mirror, or in a room with people staring all around. To love yourself as you are says a lot even if you feel extremely ugly, or so, so sexy, burning hot … To love yourself as you are is more than just an image. It is that feeling on the inside, it is the soul you were given. To love yourself as you truly are can be such a task. That’s why so many of us fake it, cover it up and put on a mask. But to love yourself is to be yourself. So please, trust me on this one. Never give up, continue to move forward in getting to know yourself!



Green hazel eyes,
so beautiful and kind
Green hazel eyes
the shape and size
long lashes to be seductive with.
Green hazel eyes
see the beauty in all evil things
see the pain in all broken beings,
see all the agony of the most beautiful human beings
the forsaken angels who wander this earth alone
like herself and her mate who found each other by fate.
Those green hazel eyes
have seen all that is divine,
the trees, the flowers, the most beautiful
happily ever afters,
beautiful disasters.
Green eyes
full of beauty and broken fantasies.
Green hazel eyes
envy of beauty
one of my favorites things.
However, all of my being is surrounded by beauty.

all possible change

Each new day offers possibilities and promises that were never seen before.  – John O’Donohue, Anam Cara

How strange that the nature of life is change, yet the nature of human beings is to resist change. And how ironic that the difficult times we fear might ruin us are the very ones that can break us open and help us blossom into who we were meant to be.  –Elizabeth Lesser

I was numb, but it was from not knowing just what this new life would hold for me. – Jamaica Kincaid

In the spring, we find joy in change. The crocuses come up from the ground with no particular urgency. The leaves open when they are built to. Everything comes in its own time and we are grateful for it. At CRCF, writers write and ask themselves about change. They want to change themselves and their lives. In writing, talk about taking responsibility in order to effect the change they want to see in themselves.

What does it take to change? It takes many things: inner strength, guidance, safety. In their experience of prison, sometimes not all change is good. If there are cultural shifts, the writers hope that they will bring more therapeutic and wholistic support. They hope it will  help them toward rehabilitation so they have the resources they need to grow and change.

Recently, writers have been reporting the opposite. Rather than greater support, they get less. Rather than more respect, they get less. In moments where they are at their lowest, they hope for, ask for help and get anything from a helping hand to discipline or even a cruel remark. This spring, while things green and change on the outside, things stay harsh and cold on the inside and our writers lack the space and support they need to grow.

Continue reading

rites of spring

Demeter embraces Persephone

It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.Rainer Maria Rilke

Whatever the weather outside, it is spring in Vermont. Many of us looked out the window to see a thin layer of snow with green spears of crocuses poking through. This is the way with spring: a space in between, imperfect beginnings, some struggle, some the growth toward the green. To blend these ideas with our monthly theme of sisterhood, at group this week we told the story of Persephone and Demeter, two women separated by the cycles of the seasons and who rely on the passing of time for their freedom and reunion. 

The story of Persephone’s descent into the underworld has been told for centuries. There have been so many tellings and interpretations, there were a hundred  ways for each member of the group to feel connected to it. Our writing centered around these characters, the journey through and out of the underworld, what knowledge can be gained there, and beauty of spring in the eyes of writers and the loved ones they remember sharing it with. Cycles like the seasons or those described in the story open doors in time, open up new possibilities for any of us. Spring brings renewal.

In the stories below, you’ll read of this renewal, hopes for the future, and record of self-discovery as each of us walked through our writing toward spring:

My Feet Remember

It is spring, but today there was snow
On the ground.
As I looked out my frosted window,
White covered the dead glass,
When will you turn green?
I am waiting patiently.
I want my feet to feel the soft blades.
Coming out of the earth.
I can’t wait for my feet to feel
Soft white beach sand.
Fall and Winter are now a thing
of the past.
Unfortunately, my feet didn’t have
The chance to walk on crunchy
Autumn leaves.
My feet wanted to feel the fluffy
Cold flakes of winter.
That didn’t happen either.
I do feel a glimmer of hope
That this spring and summer
Will be different.
This could be a pipe dream.
I believe there is still a chance
For my feet to be free again
For they know the
Seasons by heart.
A legend of four winds blowing
Belong to me and you.
Patiently, we wait for another world to start.


I Walked in A Summer Twilight Searching for My Daughter

I walked in a summer twilight searching for my daughter.
Along the path I remembered the times when we
Would go on walks holding hands and laughing.
Searching for my daughter, I had to remember
She is no longer a little girl but a young lady
And the world had more meaning for her now
At this age.

It was there in the beautiful pasture, surreal
By wild flowers she sat just taking in the beauty
And fresh air.

It was then that I sat with her and placed
My art around her, looking at the beauty
Of all things and once again another day
Of happiness with my daughter and a memory
Never to forget.



Am I legendary only in my own mind? In synchronization with each deliberate thought and self affirmation. I was not built to withstand the hands of time but rather to leave an echo in the wake of my existence that whispers my name. Whether my accomplishments are noted, or forgotten, their existence will have been a product I manufactured. However, when I think of myself, it is not my face that I see behind my eyes. Those eyes seem to hold a destiny that was never meant for me. I remain walking, it seems propelled in the direction of uncertainty. At least I have a direction and I am not walking aimlessly amongst the burden of nowhere. Scattered are my thoughts as I try to rise against myself, become what I see so clearly, the thickness of my skull must dull the reflection. The vision I see pulsing through my conscious mind, comes through the brown in my eyes, a fog. It is what others see I wonder. The people who matter to me, leave me wanting. Praying to a god I’m not sure exists for just one mere day. Do they see a legend? Do they feel the impact of my life on the inside of theirs? I hope so. Because that is where I want to be. In the hearts and minds of others. Attached to the fragments of a broken soul, healing the wounds, and mending the pieces. I want my story to be one worth remembering. That when the people I know are in a daze, reminiscing of me, and days past. An involuntary smile crosses their lips. And when they hear that stir of echoes, that sound of my name. They feel the breath of my presence and know that I am a legend.