I finally showed up.

VerbTribe has been an extraordinary journey for me as a teacher, and for those who have joined it. As we close our first 37-day journey into writing, I am featuring writing from VerbTribe members here on 37days. In response to a photograph I provided to the VerbTribe, writer Terry Lynn George offered us this moving look inside motherhood–and personhood–and showing up fully. My tears are red as my heart cried while writing this. The kid in the picture is my daughter, Becky, age 10. It is Parent Day at her school. She is saving the chair beside her for me. I am not there. I am late. Will I show up at all? My daughter, with her quarter inch length hair, shaved up around her ears and a V cut out in the back of her head. She won’t wear the pretty outfits I buy her but insists on wearing jeans and boyish clothes. She is a cute little girl but tries so hard to sabotage it. She is popular with all the kids. Everyone likes Becky. I try to protect her and avoid her at the same time. This is just a phase I tell myself and then remember she has been different since infancy. She did not like to be cuddled and as a toddler she did not play with baby dolls. At this stage in my life I could not accept that she was born this way and nothing anyone said or did was going to change her, not that anyone said anything, kind of like the elephant in the room. Oh how I wish I...

knowing another kind of waiting.

VerbTribe has been an extraordinary journey for me as a teacher, and for those who have joined it. As we close our first 37-day journey into writing, I am featuring writing from VerbTribe members here on 37days. Writer and artist Gwyn Michael offered us this look inside a new kind of stillness. Stillness So much of my time these days is spent in stillness. First it was the stillness of waiting, an oppressive, weighty stillness on the edge of too much. Waiting for the news that would tell me how to stay alive. Now I am in a new stillness. The stillness of knowing is another kind of waiting. Still because I cannot do as I am accustomed. My strong able body now threatens to break if I do not hold still. Only a few months ago life was buzzing all around and in me. Now, even through a mild winter I feel as if I am cloaked under a heavy blanket of snow. All my senses muffled and stillness all around and through me. My life as if veiled in a dream and I cannot wake up. Does the cancer know to be still? What chaos may be galloping through my bones while the rest of me remains so still? I know only what I can see and feel. This tells me to be patient with my body and enjoy the quiet time, as I lift my head and notice; it is not so quiet after all. I am alive. -Gwyn Michael [photograph by Gwyn Michael]...

her purse of intentions.

VerbTribe has been an extraordinary journey for me as a teacher, and for those who have joined it. As we close our first 37-day journey into writing, I am featuring writing from VerbTribe members here on 37days. Writer Jill Davis offered us this look inside her purse, and into her. Today is Jill’s birthday–happy birthday! Keep making strong offers into the world! This lady does know how to dump a purse. She is the one who cleans her purse by dumping it in a box, taking out what she needs, and postpones cleaning out the box unless she is looking for something. She has four plastic food containers from KFC because they are just right to store tidbits from expensive restaurants, she has actually never used them for this purpose. In her purse is an autographed copy of 12 New Steps For A New Millennium, by Dr. William Kent Larkin, and Brene’ Brown’s book, I Thought It Was Just Me. She has a checkbook with carbons because she will never slow down long enough to record an amount in a check book. The small blue purse holds her customer cards and frequent shopper cards. She never uses them because she always asks for another one and just presents ten Starbucks cards to redeem her free coffee. She seems to me full of intentions…hum….the purse itself she got out of necessity and was prepared to pay the 35 bucks on the tag, but when she got to the counter, found it was on sale for five bucks. -Jill Davis [Photo by Jill...

Is Sacred a Noun or a Verb?

VerbTribe has been an extraordinary journey for me as a teacher, and for those who have joined it. As we close our first 37-day journey into writing, I am featuring writing from VerbTribe members here on 37days. Writer Padma Ayyagari from Australia offered us this beautiful exploration about what it means to experience the sacred. “What does it mean to experience the Sacred?” Actually I came across this question raised by an inquiring philosopher Sam Keen. I am owning this question for now as my writing prompt. Raising a question like this is enough to put things into perspective. The answer is not as important as the question is, because for this one question there will be as many answers as the number of people on this planet. Is there ONE WAY of experiencing the Sacred? What is deemed Sacred in the first place? These are the two questions that seem to follow immediately. Of even more importance is the second question – What is deemed as Sacred? How and what do we define Sacred? Is Sacred something permanent, eternal? Is Sacred physical or perceived perceptions? What is Sacred? Is Sacredness an innate quality of all things? Can there be Sacred in Ugly? The synonyms for Sacred are “Blessed, Holy, Hallowed”. That implies that Sacred is an attribute I place on something or someone. Seen from that angle there is a judgment built into what I define as Sacred because perceptions are as many and varied as the 6.5 billion inhabiting this planet and each individual has their own definition of what constitutes Sacred. Is Sacredness a universal concept...

poetry wednesday : it might have been otherwise

I flew home from San Diego on Sunday after two amazing engagements there–a speech to the California Association for the Education of Young Children and a workshop that Jane LaFazio and I created, combining writing and art-making about grief. Full, intense, wonderfully tiring days. Then up early in pouring rain and whipping wind to take an o’dark-thirty flight to Houston. Then a flight delay from Houston to Asheville, arriving around 6pm on Sunday evening. I was exhausted, and so ready for a shower and bed that I could feel it, taste it. John turned to me when I met him coming off the plane. “Your brother is in the hospital. He’s had a heart attack.” There is no one in my family for whom those words don’t bring back memories of a father dying at 53 of a heart attack, the last of many heart attacks at a time when angioplasty didn’t even exist. Or memories for me of speeding through our small town as a teenager late at night stopping at no lights with my blinkers on and my father in the back seat having a heart attack, but refusing to go in an ambulance because they scared him. My brother, Mickey, was being transported from an hour away to the hospital in Asheville. It was a big heart attack. He was lucky to be alive. I went to the hospital, arriving 10 minutes after he did. Three days later, he has had bypass surgery–they planned for seven bypasses, and were able to do five and repair the others by cleaning the blockages. He is in Cardiac Intensive...