Writing from: the OHSU Writing Circle for Women Healing from Cancer & from the Writing Circle for adolescent & Young Adults healing from cancer
Sabrina Norris McDonald
Find quiet places and listen to your own thoughts. Listen to them no matter what they are. They do not have to be noble or exalted. If others fail to provide you with what you need, go and find it or make it yourself.
No matter if you believe in God, the Great Spirit, or any other divine form. You come from life and are made of life. Your body contains actual stardust, elements from the cosmos, the earth, the ocean, the sky. Because you are alive, you are holy.
Therefore, walk tall. Hold your spine straight, and feel the weight of your feet as each of your steps lands on the earth and the gravity receives you. Feel the great magnetic core at the center of our Earth holding you to the land, and the great magnetic core of your heart holding you to your life.
All that matters, my love, is that you live with openness and abundance. Give wildly of yourself to whoever and whatever you love and trust. And guard carefully that which is sacred, quiet, private – it is no one else’s but your own.
What if you knew in advance, my love, that your life was valuable – no, invaluable, beyond measure of value – and that the work of your hands mattered? Could you release yourself from that obsession with counting our merit that steals so much time from our precious days?
If I could teach you one thing, my love, I would teach you this: your life is of the greatest, most holy and precious value, the work of your hands is your expression of that value, and that, to me, you are the greatest gift.
There goes the kidWalking down the streetWith her new shoes on her feetSometimes fastAnd sometimes slowHappy on her way she goes
At sometimes fast we’d run, with the rug almost sliding out from under us against the wood floor as we careened around each corner. At sometimes slow we’d walk in slow motion, trying to be as slow as humanly possible without falling over
It was definitely silly, but we took this tradition very seriously for a very long time. New shoes simply could not be worn outside the house until they had been properly sung in. My sister is at a sleepover when I want to wear new shoes? Better wait util she’s back and we can sing those shoes in as a family and choose a different pair for today!
The tradition started to break down when we moved to Southern CA. I was 17. My sister was 15 and my brother was 12. We were all at an age where a new shoes song seemed overly corny and in a new place it was easy to drop old routines.
Every once in a while though, the new shoes song gets a reprise. If my family happens to all be together in one place and someone mentions getting a new pair of shoes, nostalgia will take over! Put them on! Put them on! With lots of eyerolling and laughter the new shoes will come out and get inaugurated into use with our whole family singing together, “there goes the kid…” Even though the youngest “kid” is now in his 30s, the shoe song never fails to bring back happy childhood memories.
Writing From: The Women's
Thursday Morning On-Line Circle
Being human calls us allTo sit in circle with bothThe sacred fireAnd the dancing imagesProjected into the night.
Let us listen to the storytellers That are willingTo talk of good and evil In new ways.
We are all heroes whether we know it or not, With Angels watching usFrom our couches and CloudsGathering above our heads.
Hold your penAnd dive into the fiercenessOf feminineTruth-telling;
Let the Moon’s dreamingLift your eyes to another perspectiveThat calls outTo profound optimismRooted inLife’s quirky passage. June 1, 2023
May 30, 2023
I am wrestling with smallness and largeness. COVID, the tiny virus that is currently reforming our entire culture, is playing in my body right now.
Insidious, creeping through every body symptom, tap, tap tap! Tapping on every system - asking can I lodge here? Or perhaps here?
Alexander the Great, great conqueror of cultures was toppled by a virus, the tiniest living organism. This fragmented piece of life brought the great man down.
What drives us? Is it largeness or smallness?
Is it power or powerlessness?
Is it darkness or light?
Surely it must be the dance between the two. That’s where aliveness lives - that’s where the snake moves.
Stop-Listen-Respond / stop - listen - respond.
Put your left foot in, take your left foot out,
Put your right hand in and shake it all about.
We are not dead and we are not alive.
We are living - we are dying - we are being reborn
constantly - Are we doing this with conscious awareness or have we succumbed to the illusions that dance to their own music?
Take a moment to stop, listen, respond.
Let the music of Life carry you through the highs and the lows.
Let the music hold you and rock you
With Beauty, Wisdom, and Guidance.
There is reddish dust in the air from all the feet trodding the serpentine paths of the County Fair in Veneta. We all wind the paths, a wave of red clay dust covered feet, a snake of humans in all skins and paints and tattoos. Feathered headdresses wave more dust into the air as the parade with trumpets, clowns and stilt walkers passes.
On the hottest, driest Fair weekends, you can see the dust motes thick in the reddish air. People wet cowboy red bandannas and cover their children’s mouths and then their own. The dust sinks into the pores, so the people are one with the dust of the forest floor. The crews come with water sprayers to tamp down the dust, but it doesn’t last long. The dust wants to dance with the people, to laugh in their throats.
“Dust thou art and dust thou shalt return” is no longer a negative, just a truth. The dust travels into our bodies to be one with us. It becomes part of the universal force where we are all connected. Dust is alive.
I am a knife-edge-walker.a death doulaI straddle here and thereI seek out the razor-sharp edgesBe careful don't slipOr go ahead, slip away,let the river carry you.
It is your fear that keeps you smallthere is no balanceonly balancing.So teeter away on that knife's edge,that space between trapezes where falling is always on the tableFalling is always on the table.Falling is always.If we are not too afraid to allow it.
And so I don't tell you I love you because the words would feel forced.And so I do tell you I love you because you are a piece of my heart walking in the world.And in spite of your sunshiney soul, you will suffer, you will be wounded.And so I do tell you I love you even as I fear for your life,that they won't understand,that their fear will make them act out of anger and spiteand they will spew violence over you.And there is no one more authentic than you.You are you.You live on the razor sharp edgeand you dance there.
Perhaps I have taught you something.
And you, Mama, I love you too. And the knife's edge I walk with you is the straddling of anger and vulnerability.How to hold on to my compassionate self when anger and grief swell up with such force.Alok says compassion even when we don't understand.Maybe I have found a new mantra.Ours is not always to understand.
The anthem of the evening loonBeckons me to the side of the lake,And calls me to climb into the canoe.Delicately, I make my way through the water,Edging ever so slightly closer,Fearful that I might scare the beautiful creature away.To whom does the ghostly song call besides me?My soul hears and responds. As if turning homewardI inch, pulled by the invisible lineThat joins me to him.The keening of his callLands deeply within,Marking me as his.It feels naturalThat I am the object of his choosing.Or, perhaps, I only imagine it so.My stroke quietly quickensAs I rush to find him.The sad notes slip across the surface of the lakeTelling me that he is searching for me too.