who we have become

surrender - susie scarborough copy

mandala by Susie Scarborough

I believe the lasting relation comes from deep changes in ourselves which influence our collective life. – Anais Nin

Life is change. Growth is optional. – Karen Kaiser Clarke

At our final group during Women’s History Month, we synthesized material explored in the first four. The model for our approach was May Sarton’s ‘Now I Become Myself’ along with the epigraphs listed above. We ended the group with collage-making. And our weekly ‘soul cards’ in which we share reflections about the evening’s group. One in particular stood out – from a participant who will be leaving this week. She wrote:

I have truly enjoyed this class. Please continue your great work. I feel that I have been able to look inside myself, not just inside but deep within. I have written things that I am proud of and shared one that I wrote for my mother called “Security” She told me it made her cry. Mom’s never change. Thank you again, DN

What powerful closure to a month honoring the women who have gone before, on whose shoulders we stand, to whom we owe such a debt of gratitude! The strong, the invisible, the challenging – all impact us and influence who we in fact become.

Read on for a sampling of writings from the 17 inmates in the circle.


What have I become?
a number

What have I become?
an animal
chow, come and get it.

What have I become?

I once was a girl
but I was scared to go to bed.
I once was a teen
but I got scared about the epidural.
I once was a mom
but I got scared they’d feel my pain.
I once was a carpenter
but I got scared of success.
I once was a booster
but I got scared of getting caught.
I once was a dealer
but I got suspicious of everything.
I once was an active addict
but I got scared of death.

I once wasn’t scared of anything
but I got to grow up. Continue reading

the battle within

Some evenings when we write inside, the energy is palpable around the circle. Hands punctuate animated conversation. Side chatter resists slowing to whispers. Bodies bounce and squirm. At other times, the group files in as if under directive of solemnity or worse. This week was like that. Depression fairly seeped from fingers and hair follicles. What little energy reserves were in the room before group were used up so quickly we needed to end early. But for one writer. MG was so energized by the writing prompts, she had to be stopped after 20 minutes of focused scribing, her letters firm, determined, clear. She had something on her mind and this was her chance to share it:

I see a person who appears at ease; yet there are tunnels that lead to spiritual beings who are in a discontent – maybe sad or angry. It could mean a couple of different things. For one, it could be a diagram of how outside forces are always there attempting to bring you down and drive you into mayhem.  Yet all the while I experience this and maintain my composure, let nothing that is negatively oriented gain a lead on my psyche, allowing myself to fall into a trap. Continue reading