Archive for June, 2014

Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) was a Protestant pastor who

spoke out against Adolf Hitler and and the Nazis.  He spent the 7 years in concentration camps at the end of the war.

Here is his oft-quoted poem:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

I have watched several movies this weekend, including the Book Thief, and several documentaries and will be writing about them this week.

I was reminded of this poem after watching the movies and then reading about these crazy metal or cement spikes that are be placed in areas that are often places the homeless frequent in articles on the internet.  According to a couple of things online, (yes, I am going to do some more research into this) there is a war on “cleaning up” desirables… the homeless.  No one seems to be out there fighting for our aging society, for small business owners, for our children, for education, for women.  I don’t know if I see more hatred out there or if it is just in our faces because of the evolution of media and social media.

Though, let’s admit it… hatred, xenophobia, scarcity mentality, and sociopathy.  Go back in literature, watch movies, television shows.  We’ve been blood thirsty, we’ve been nationalistic, taken sides with religious fervor.  In our country alone, we killed African American males by giving them Syphilis, we robbed and massacred First People’s, fenced in Asians, sterilized those who are disabled, and laughed when AIDS was spreading through the “gay community”, etc.  Now, we fear that the government will take away our arms and leave us vulnerable rather than thinking about the innocents that are being shot or could be shot on the playground, park, or Target store.

Who will we be someday?  Will we hide someone in a basement?  Will we give up our bread?  Will we watch on the net and televisions as peaceful Occupy protestors are beaten?

We all sat and watched in horror the events of 9/11. . . disgusted that someone’s hatred could take so many innocents. . .  what about the innocents or helpless that are in danger today? Can we get past our fear, hatred, and trauma to see “the Other” as one of us?

Read Full Post »

I really fell in love with the community at WordPress, well, the community that seemed to surround me as I started writing this blog.  And this week has been a great reminder of that kind of love.

There’s something special about connecting, sharing, expressing, questioning, and communing in a way that is heartfelt but free from some of the attachments and “stuff” that we find in relationships with family, friends, and those who are near and far.

The comments I have received this week have been deep, lovely, and so soulful.  I’m glad that people have been moved to share and have wanted to connect intimately.

Deep conversations, like the ones I used to have with friends in college (as we sat by the Hudson River), can be so healing and foster new levels of understanding and connection.

I am deeply honored that you have reached back and shared.

As Namaste would suggest, I honor the light, love, perfection, flaws, and all that is within you, that is within me, and that is all that there is.

Peace, Jennifer

Read Full Post »

T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets

Section V.

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea’s throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails
On a winter’s afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple­tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half­heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always-
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in­folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

Read Full Post »

One of my favorite blogs

C PTSD - A Way Out


Fear is just a defense mechanism, tasked for the amygdala, initiated upon lethal threat.
Nothing fearful can be found in the mechanism itself, the chemicals secreted, the biological changes, the lack of emotional judgment.
Fear does not have an emotion, like anger or any prejudice towards us, “I”.
My old example: We stumble upon a mother bear with two cubs accidently.
She rears up in defense, growling, closing the distance between me and her, I am terrified, my chest feels a strong jolt, cortisol being dumped, almost paralyzing me.
Fear has prepared me for fight, flight or freeze.
Something distracts the bear and I retreat to safety.
Am I damaged, harmed, have I sustained any physical, emotional or mental injuries.
No, my breath brings me back, activates my parasympathetic nervous system, applying the brakes, depleting some of the cortisol…

View original post 89 more words

Read Full Post »

Look No Further

One of the things I missed most in my time away was Ben’s poetry.

Read Full Post »

I remember reading a poem at hospice memorial services and support groups every year that asked if you were a reason, a season, or a lifetime.  I’m reminded of this poem now because every so often I joke with a friend I work with that the reason for me being at this place, this time, this space has passed and that it’s time for me to move on.  And we kind of chuckle.

And yet I think there is something cosmically serious about the whole conversation.

Has it all just been random meetings. . . you know, over all these decades, meeting people and losing people, traveling from state to state, from place to place, and time zone to well, other time zones and back.  Was it “meant to be”?  Was it always going to happen anyway?  Was it just random coincidence?  Is it part of a grander scheme in the universe?  Does it really matter?  And, well, who cares?

There are two sides to me; I realize this as I get older. . . and paradox of these two sides is what I think can make life interesting.

The one side says to me, that of course there is meaning, purpose, reasons for things, for other sentient beings, for lessons to be learned, for experiences to grow from.  Now, I have no problem with there not being any “inherent meaning or inherent purpose” and that the reason for the journey is to create that meaning, that purpose in your life.

The other side, well, it just thinks, maybe all of this thinking and searching is a way to pass time, a way to create drama that doesn’t really need to exist.  You know, in stripping away all of the “stuff” from experience, and just being with what is.

I some times wonder if I can live those two paradoxes and then I wake up for a moment and realize that my life is the meeting of those two paradoxes and my life goes off the rails when I lean into one side or the other and not sit perched between the two.  And when I keep that as my daily mantra and let go of all of the other messages, meanings, song lyrics, crazy thinking, media nonsense, or the like, then I am free to wake up and be.

What about you?  Are you your narrative?  Your experiences?  Your genes?  Is each second of your life laid out in some fashion and your life is just a great labyrinth walk designed by someone else?  What are the paradoxes you hold as truths or as lies?  Are you your desires, impulses, latent drives?  Are you one cosmic being that has taken shape into a familiar archetype?  Are you just part of the generational stories in your family or your clan?  Are you only your behaviors that can be reduced to four basic functions, void of nothing richer than your actions?  Are you a being who is here to connect, grow, prosper, and thrive?

I think these are great questions to ask on our grief journeys and our life journeys.  Share as you will or not.  Ponder, fit on for size, reject, etc.  But whatever you do, make it your own!

In honoring your path, your journey, your love, and your sorrow.




Read Full Post »

I know, you are probably wondering, where’s Jennifer been?  She just disappeared.  So much has happened in the last 7 months and I am not really sure where to begin…. Maybe it’s been even longer than 7 months… I am not sure anymore…I guess, like everyone else, I should start at the beginning.

We tend to think about loss and grief when it is connected to the loss of a person, our great love, our children, our parents, our siblings…   And that’s not wrong at all…. It’s just part of the story of our lives.  Stephen Levine has written about this and has audio recordings about such everyday grief.  If you’re not familiar, check out some of his work.  He and his wife Ondrea are such amazing teachers.

I put this blog on hold when my full-time job got crazy.  I work in social services and in a sort of residential setting.  We had 12 admissions, all at once, and life was crazy for so long.  During this time, I was also teaching a psych 101 class at a local college; hired only a few weeks before the semester started.  There were so many other life changes, losses, regrets, and lost opportunities.  And along with all that, grief came.  Not a little, but a full-on grief journey.

I have always heard from clients that grief is an invisible wound, much like chronic illness, like Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, etc.   I get that description, of an invisible illness…  I mean I have understood that in the past, but it’s been very real to me in the past year.

“You look fine” because you learn to hide it or people just get used to you looking tired, being under the weather, or moving slow.  The “you” who they see every day has become the picture they have for you.  Not the “you” who you were 2 yrs ago, 6 yrs ago, or whenever it was that you were happy, healthy, or in balance.  They don’t get that this shell in front of them is not the “you” that you see when you look in the mirror.

So, I think that this may be a topic that I explore here.  The loss so great no one can see.  The daily losses that chip away at you and can leave you hollow if you have nothing to fill back in the space.  The losses that pile up so high, you realize you can’t see the sun, even when there was never a sunnier day.  I’ve listened to a lot of stories in the past year, had a few losses, journeyed with a few others, and got in touch with some people who I had lost and are found again.

Maybe you’ll join me as we take this leg of the journey.  Who knows where we will end up?  Wherever we end up, let us hope it is not in the place where it all began.  Journeys move us forward, even when we are standing still or treading water.  There is no “reverse” on our gear shifts because even when we think we are going back or can go back, we are never ever that same person in time or space.  I’d love to hear from you along the way and just remember, this is where we honor the light that is within you, no matter where you are, how much you’ve lost, or how far you’ve gone.


Peace, Jennifer




Read Full Post »