From the Archives: Creating Spaces for Grieving and Receiving by Anjeanette LeBoeuf

This blog was originally posted on April 26, 2020.

By now, all aspects of life have been altered or halted. The world as we know it has become radically different as we attempt to get a handle on this disease and stop the rising number of deaths each day. We are enduring trauma on a global and individual level. Trauma carries a myriad of emotions; anger and grief sometimes being the prominent two.  And with the rising uncertainty paired with the increasing amount of trauma and grief we are all experiencing, we need to find ways to talk about our feelings, share, and move forward.

As a global community, as a family, and as individuals we are impacted on all fronts. And the only way through this is that we must grieve. All people, even those that can work from home, those that continue to work ‘in’ the world, and everyone in-between. Everyone’s life has been altered in many ways and degrees. Expectations, plans, and standards of achievements have had to be put aside. We have had to adapt to a different way of life. Prom, tests, graduations, weddings, birthdays, holidays, and even funerals have had to fluctuate between being postponed, cancelled, or reworked to fulfill the lack of physical meetings. Currently over 22 million Americans had applied for unemployment benefits, countless others have seen their hours reduced, been placed on furlough, or sought employment at a company that is considered ‘essential business.’

Continue reading “From the Archives: Creating Spaces for Grieving and Receiving by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

How Rape Culture Grooms Us for Covid Safety Violations by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir

Imagine this scenario: You agree to meet with some beloved friends or family who are not in your Covid pod. You’re nervous about safety, but you have a detailed discussion beforehand of exactly what Plan you will all follow in order to protect everyone. You decide to meet outside, wearing good quality masks, staying six feet apart. If people want to eat or drink, or remove their masks for any reason, they will go farther from the group, more like 20 feet away. If anyone needs to use the inside space, such as the bathroom, they will be sure no one else is inside and will keep their mask on the entire time.

“We can do this,” you tell yourselves, “We are smart, educated, considerate, careful people who love each other and want to keep us all safe.”

You arrive at the gathering. You greet everyone, masked from the proper distance. You find your seats, six feet from the seats of other pods. Within a minute or two, a beloved friend or relative approaches to give you something, h/er mask hanging down on h/er chin.

Continue reading “How Rape Culture Grooms Us for Covid Safety Violations by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir”

Sleeping Beauty: An ancient tale for these challenging times by Diane Perazzo

Fairy tales are intwined in our imagination and our spirituality. As Jane Yolan writes, one of the subtlest and yet most important functions of myth and fantasy is to “provide a framework or model for an individual’s belief system.” (1)

In the Reclaiming spiritual tradition, we often use fairy tales in healing and self development work. These stories act as warp and weft as we weave and spin complex ritual arcs and other events that take place at extended Witch Camp sessions. In Twelve Wild Swans, Starhawk points out that fairy stories are “more than just encouraging and inspiring. They are also templates for soul healing from Europe’s ancestral wise women and healers. When the ancient Earth-based cultures of Europe were destroyed, these stories remained.” (2)

Continue reading “Sleeping Beauty: An ancient tale for these challenging times by Diane Perazzo”

Breathe with me by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir

Breathe with me.

I know. I know. I understand.
Breathe with me anyway.
It hurts. It’s scary. It’s horrible. It’s relentless. I know.
Just breathe.
Every time we breathe out, our bodies release things we do not want.
So breathe it out. All of it. Let it go.
Deep breath. However you prefer—mouth, nose—just breathe.
What do you need to let go?

For me right now, there’s rage.
All the people refusing the masks, refusing the vaccine, even friends of mine who have watched me suffer with post-COVID syndrome for almost a year, still blaming me somehow for my illness.
Breathe. Let it out. Don’t have to carry it anymore.
There’s fear, too — friends, family, fighting COVID, or taking dangerous, unnecessary risks.
Long, slow breaths. Release. Into the loving matrix of Creation-Life-Love. I can’t hold this anymore. I release it.

There’s grief. Loss. Suffering. Isolation. Pain. Oh, breathe, let the tears flow, let the breaths and the tears just be what they are.
Stress. So much stress. We’re all frayed, so far beyond our limits. Breathe it out. Breathe it out again. Deep breaths – make noise if you want. Moan.
She cradles us in breath, the Divine Womb. She is the Source of our breath, and She is always cradling us, always breathing with us.
Breathe again. Close your eyes. Let your Holy Spirit bathe you in its healing power.
But it doesn’t fix anything, doesn’t DO anything!
I know. But it is enough. Just let it be. Be breath breathing itself.
What if you deserve to let go?
What if you deserve to be cradled in healing Love?
What if you deserve just to be?

Breathe. It sometimes feels so nice. Breath in, breath out.
Your body is letting go of anything you do not want.
You can release it now. Breathe it out. It’s ok.
Anywhere you want to feel your breath is ok. Wherever you want it to go, just breathe it there, and then release.
There’s no way to do this wrong. It’s your breath. It’s your breathing. A gift your body has, a magical, powerful, simple, holy gift. Breathe however feels good and right to you.
No rush. Take your time. As long as you want. As often as you want.
What if you deserve compassion?
What if you deserve to be bathed in healing Love?
What if you deserve to rest in your breath?
Breathe, darling. Close your eyes if you like. With every breath, you are holy.

In my Methodist tradition, which focuses heavily on the Holy Spirit, we sing a breathing hymn I love. Here is my rewritten version:

Breathe on me, Breath of Love,
fill me with Life anew,
restore my soul with ev’ry breath,
to do what Love wouldst do.

Breathe on me, Breath of Love,
so shall I rest, secure,
cradled in Love’s bright healing peace,
and held in compassion pure.

Breathe on me, Breath of Love,
till I am wholly thine,
till body, spirit, all of me,
glows with thy Fire divine.

Breathe on me, Breath of Love,
until my heart is free,
and I perceive my ev’ry breath
is thine Eternity.

—Edwin Hatch (1878), revised.

Our world is so frayed right now. We are all at the end of our rope. We feel the same way most new mothers feel in capitalist patriarchies, in which motherhood means financial strain (or poverty), isolation, anxiety, constant demands, an inability to meet basic physical and mental health needs, and no escape from continuous, relentless emotional and physical labor. Women are expected to embrace this level of self-sacrificial stress in motherhood, as part of our female slave role in capitalist patriarchy, which defines our unpaid, unvalued labor as a natural extension of our biological sex. The burden on women is higher than ever these days, with women and even girls taking the lion’s share of extra household duties so that boys and men can continue in their education and careers. Women are suffering 100% of job losses as well.

In times like these, I keep turning to my faith for comfort and strength. In my tradition, the Holy Spirit is the Divine Breath, the Source of Life, which animates all living things and all Creation as sacred. It comes originally from the Hebrew “ruach,” a feminine noun. So when I take time just to breathe, that is sacred time, allowing my true, divine self to feel its divinity (as Methodism’s founder John Wesley might say). I do not take breathing for granted. After my COVID experience, how could I ever take it for granted again? So, for me, breathing time is holy — “set apart” as a communion, a Eucharist of Grace: life-giving, healing, restorative, and liberative. Almost every night for the past eleven months, I have spent time lying in bed just breathing: feeling the breath of the trees behind me in the woods, allowing their wellness to enter me, breathing out to them whatever I want to let go. In breathing this way, I am able to understand bodily that my breath is Goddess. Goddess who is ever birthing Love and Liberation. The Divine Source of All, who is every justice, every healing, every restoration. My breath is fair economies and safe respected female bodies; it is just relationships and female thriving. This is my breath. This is the Source of the Healing that rebirths every death into Life. This is Goddess.

So, breathe with me, sisters. And brothers. She is here, and we are the ones who breathe her. What if we deserve to be bathed in Healing Love? She knows. She understands.

Just breathe.


Trelawney Grenfell-Muir teaches courses about Sex, Dating, Marriage, and Work in the Religion and Theological Studies Department at Merrimack College and about Cross Cultural Conflict in the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. A Senior Discussant at the Religion and the Practices of Peace Initiative at Harvard University, she holds an M.Div. from the Boston University School of Theology with a concentration in Religion and Conflict, and a Ph.D. in Conflict Studies and Religion with the University Professors Program at Boston University. She currently writes articles, book chapters, and liturgical resources about feminist, nature-based Christianity.

Fierce Friendship and the Holidays by Stephanie Arel

It is the weekend before Thanksgiving, in the ominous year of 2020. The CDC urges people not to gather with others outside of the household on Thursday. COVID infections rise exponentially. Schools are closing, and in the much of the country, winter is foreboding.

If you live in a cold climate, Thanksgiving dinner outdoors is hardly an option. For, Chanukah, Christmas, and New Year’s, we will likely endure the same conditions. I have tried to center myself, mediate, do things to calm my nervous system, using some of my personal tools for stimulating the vagus nerve so as to not feel toxic. I think that is what the cortisol in my body is telling me: slow down, gather, go inward. But I also sense a missingness – a loneliness – alongside a desire to reach out, call people, and connect. (See the effects and remedies for social isolation here.) Away from people, traditions, anticipation of my favorite time of year, I brace for a deeper sense of loss. Continue reading “Fierce Friendship and the Holidays by Stephanie Arel”

Healing Uphill

These are trying times for all sentient beings. We are all carrying the intensity and stress in our bodies and spirits. I feel it. You feel it. In fact, we are feeling it together—sharing an experience even though interpreting and understanding it in our own unique ways. 

As a person of faith, I believe we are on a collective healing journey. As a feminist, I believe that journey continues to involve extended uphill challenges because of intersecting systems of oppression.  And that is how I understand this particular moment in time—a healing journey in a difficult uphill section on the path. As a human collective we are healing uphill. 

Healing uphill can feel like too much to bear sometimes. Healing uphill is the experience of having more and more challenges heaped on your back when you are already tired and struggling to keep going. Healing uphill is like trying to take care of yourself when you lose your job in a global pandemic and one of your kids gets sick and your landlord tells you that you are late on your rent and then your spouse comes home angry and blames you for all the stress and, well… you get the picture. Healing uphill is when you can’t seem to catch a break and things seem to just keep getting worse.  

Continue reading “Healing Uphill”

Embroidery in the Time of Covid by Esther Nelson

In her recent essay on this “Feminism and Religion” site, Ivy Helman wrote:  “Over the past few months, I’ve been struggling to write posts.  This month is no different.  I am currently sitting with four different half-drafts on three semi-related topics, none of which I seem to be able to complete…I write.  I erase.  I rewrite.  I copy bits of one into another to save for some other time.  I’m left with one sentence….”

I think all writers have this experience—writing, erasing, and then rewriting over and over again.  Writing during the current pandemic seems more difficult than ever.  Perhaps it’s because our dealings with the outside world have been drastically curtailed.  Writers need a variety of social interactions and experiences to sort out, reflect upon, and then create into a work of art that appeals and connects with an audience.  At least I find this to be so. Continue reading “Embroidery in the Time of Covid by Esther Nelson”

Sacrificial Gathering in the Long Covid Desert by Tallessyn Zawn Grenfell-Lee

I am a fairly private person; but I do like nice hugs. I grew up in a home that involved so much intentional love and affection that I came to see it as a normal part of any loving relationship. I’m pretty sure I startle my friends sometimes by saying such affectionate things; but they endure, and many of them claim to appreciate a nice hug, too.

I know there are plenty of people who have experienced unhealthy or abusive touch; in fact, I’m one of them. I also know that the way to heal those wounds is usually through healthy touch, in relationships of trust.

Continue reading “Sacrificial Gathering in the Long Covid Desert by Tallessyn Zawn Grenfell-Lee”

Abandonment Trauma: Facing the Pandemic With My Fists-up by Karen Leslie Hernandez

Content Warning: Mention of childhood abuse, abandonment, suicide, trauma and death.

I am a successful product of child abandonment.

Raised in an abusive home, my mother left when I was in 7th grade. From that point on, I spent an excessive amount of time alone, making decisions that a teenager shouldn’t have to make, making my own dinner, and eating that dinner alone, in deafening silence, time and time again. Doing homework sitting on my bed, unsupported, I remember thinking, Why bother … no one cares if I get this done, why should I? – which eventually led to dropping out of high school. It wasn’t until I was an adult and started serious therapy, did I understand how this trauma played into every decision I made. By all accounts and statistics, I should be a non-functioning adult. Although I am a high school drop-out, I am studying for my Doctorate and will graduate next May. Don’t get me wrong, I have idiosyncrasies and the physical aliment I suffer from the most is a volatile digestive system (controlled with a healthy diet) – a norm for kids and adults with abusive backgrounds.

Abandonment Trauma is real and unpleasant, to say the least, and it comes in many forms. I never really understood how it really affected me until my first trip overseas alone. And then the next trip and then the next trip. All would find me sitting in my hotel room upon arrival, terrified. Paralyzed. Unable to think. Confused. Feeling as if I lost someone, or, I was lost. Wanting to go home. Calling my then husband, crying, saying I couldn’t stay. It was scary and confusing, because I didn’t understand why I was so afraid. I had already lived overseas with my husband, so, why were these trips so frightening? Then a therapist finally helped me understand – they asked me what I envisioned when I was in those places – and I suddenly realized my subconscious had me sitting on my bed in silence, all alone, eating dinner – and all that came with that memory. There it was. The association to the horrible, lonely reality of my childhood, was what was driving my fight or flight as an adult. Continue reading “Abandonment Trauma: Facing the Pandemic With My Fists-up by Karen Leslie Hernandez”

Kamala Harris, the Democratic Vice President for 2020 by Anjeanette LeBoeuf

August 11th saw Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden announce his pick for Vice President. This pick broke open the history books; California US Senator Kamala Harris. Kamala has been steadily rising as a political force for over ten years. Her nomination is groundbreaking on so many levels. So, let us talk about Senator Harris.

Continue reading “Kamala Harris, the Democratic Vice President for 2020 by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

In Sight (Part 2) by Sara Wright

This post follows In Sight (Part 1)

Yet, I was content enough here wasn’t I [living part of the year in Abiquiu, New Mexico]? The desert was starkly beautiful, and I loved the place I lived, doing my best to create a home, planting trees and creating small gardens. I had escaped the too long winters, the heavy physical work associated with them. Yet questions gnawed at me. What did it mean to feel at home? Why the profound feelings of emptiness and lack of clarity? And what about the light?

I couldn’t escape the problem of light. One of the reasons I set out for the river in the dark was because I wanted these walks to end before sunrise. There was a quality of intense light present during the day in the too thin air that I found disturbing. Too much light, air, wind, and on the other extreme, too much stone. The crust of the earth held little in the way of new life in the desert. Survival of any plant species was precarious and dependent on the rains that rarely came. Almost everything I planted ended up dead. The desert had little to offer in terms of containment for people or plants. The sky gods ruled the desert, and did so with an iron will. Stone doesn’t surrender; it is incapable of receiving. This was not a forgiving place. Continue reading “In Sight (Part 2) by Sara Wright”

I Don’t Mean to Brag, But I Cry a Lot by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir

It’s true. I don’t mean to make you jealous, but lately, I have at least one long session of really great crying most days. What I call the “lovely cry,” where my face gets all red and swollen and puffy, my nose runs, I drool, and I make all kinds of noises. I’m so proud of my crying, so proud of myself whenever I manage to accomplish a really good cry, and so relieved. I get a bit worried if a few days go by and I haven’t had a proper cry. I try to remind myself how important it is, and give myself time and space for a healthy crying session.

Again, not to blow my own horn, but it has taken some work—decades of practice and effort—to get good at frequent, healthy crying. Mostly, it takes two things: 1) the courage to feel your feelings, and 2) the strength to reject our culture’s toxic sexism.

I’m sorry I can’t provide you with a well researched summary of how our culture decided that tears are shameful, weak, and feminine. It’s been a damned hard time lately, trying to recover from long-term Covid. I could also go on about my past traumas, deaths I am grieving, and fears from this pandemic and the climate apocalypse, etc. I’m sure you could, too. Plenty to cry about! Continue reading “I Don’t Mean to Brag, But I Cry a Lot by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir”

Living with Uncertainty by Sara Wright

I was deeply moved by Carol’s willingness to share deeply personal feelings about how her visit to the hospital , enough so that I decided to write about how the Covid virus has impacted my life and the lives of those around me.

Here in my corner of the world summer is a time to be outdoors, and so returning to Maine in the early spring has allowed me to be emotionally present in a joyful way for Nature’s turnings, first from winter to spring, and then from spring to summer. But I am a naturalist and only too aware that my love for the wild is not shared by everyone.

Because I have no family, the longing to be with loved ones does not pierce my heart in the same way it does for others. Continue reading “Living with Uncertainty by Sara Wright”

Lammas after Lockdown by Laura Shannon

Today, August 1, 2020, is Lammas, the Celtic festival of late summer, the ‘feast of bread’, time of harvest and of golden grain. Here in the UK, Lammas arrives just as we are emerging from our coronavirus lockdown. It’s hard to feel a personal sense of ‘harvest’ when most people’s lives have been on hold since the spring.

Confined to our homes, many people could throw themselves into tending their own gardens (if they had one), but most of us could not cultivate the symbolic gardens of our lives and work in the way that we wanted. Many have faced deep loss, the withering of seeds planted in the past which could not now come to fruition.

Despite the tragic times, the earth continues to dance to the sacred rhythms of sun and moon. The trees are full of fruit, the fields are full of grain. Although I too have had my share of sorrow and grief in recent months, today I feel moved by the season to look at what we can harvest from our experience of the coronavirus pandemic.

Continue reading “Lammas after Lockdown by Laura Shannon”

TikTok, the Pandemic platform for community, resistance, and activism by Anjeanette LeBoeuf

AnjeanetteIt’s July which means we have collectively endured 7 months of uncertainty, turmoil, darkness, and light. America, we are still battling all aspects of the virus: rising numbers of infected, those that deny its existence, those refusing to wear masks to help to stop the spread, and everyone else doing their duty by staying at home, washing their hands, and wearing masks. Yet, something else has added to the mix and the COVID19 pandemic; social media. Social media has taken on a whole new level for activism and resistance.

Continue reading “TikTok, the Pandemic platform for community, resistance, and activism by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

On This Fourth of July by Natalie Weaver

I woke up this morning with a terrible itch in my mind.  I want to sue the government.  I’m not a lawyer, at least not yet, and I know that governments have sovereign immunity that typically prevents them from being sued.  But, it didn’t and doesn’t seem right that I feel so lied to and unprotected during this pandemic.  What is more, I know I am not deluded.  Either it is bad or it isn’t. Either it is spreading and lethal, or it isn’t.  Either precautions help, or they don’t.  It can’t be that ambiguous from a viral-behavioral perspective.  Government leadership refuses to speak or model a consistent, truthful, and accountable model for the social welfare, leading to such absurd reductions (in Ohio, for example) as that each individual school child can decide whether s/he wants to wear a face-covering this fall.  So, what gives?  Why all the half-, mixed, mis-, and disinformation?

Continue reading “On This Fourth of July by Natalie Weaver”

No, I Don’t Fucking Need Anxiety Meds: The Covid Misogyny Epidemic by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir

“I think you should take medication for anxiety.”

This was my doctor’s response when I calmly listed my Covid symptoms, which had been going on for a month and had landed me in Urgent Care twice and the ER twice, once via ambulance when the hotline nurse thought I was having a stroke because my face suddenly went numb, and my blood pressure, usually below normal, had shot up to 199/113.

I had just described my previous month – two weeks of crippling fatigue, occasional sore throat, then stomach upset arrived day 17 along with fever and cough that sometimes worsened into scary difficulty breathing, then came the pricking and shooting nerve pains, numbness, and feeling that all my blood was cold and trembly and horribly uncomfortable, the metallic taste in my mouth, the painful glands, vicious headaches, a week of horrible adrenaline spikes and insomnia, bladder discomfort, two days of insatiable, continual, desperate thirst, conjunctivitis… hell, I’m sure I’m forgetting a few. Continue reading “No, I Don’t Fucking Need Anxiety Meds: The Covid Misogyny Epidemic by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir”

Look for the Helpers: The Sikh Community by Anjeanette LeBoeuf

AnjeanetteI struggled with what to write about for my May post. Would I write about the ridiculous notion which has countless Americans buying into the idea that COVID19 is a hoax? I could write about how it is fool hearty for us to even consider lifting stay at home orders when the number of infected patients are still rising daily. The list goes on due to the rising pressures, frustrations, and anxieties that are surrounding each one of us.

Yet what I really want to talk about is a shining example of the goodness and compassion of humanity. During times of utter sadness, fear, and the unknown, we need to keep talking about things that warm our hearts, remind us there is beauty and happiness in life. So, for the next few monthly posts of mine, I am going to be highlighting specific communities, organizations, and peoples that are doing extraordinary things during these uncertain and challenging times. The first community that I want to talk about is the Sikh Community.

Continue reading “Look for the Helpers: The Sikh Community by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

Forward, Upward, Inward: A Spiritual Response to Right Now by Rachel Hollander

Brother Francesco, known to the world as Saint Francis of Assisi, left us many sweet and lovely poems and songs. In “The Canticle of the Sun,” he wrote about the gifts of nature. Brother Sun, his light and radiance.  Sister Moon and Stars for their beauty.  Brothers Wind and Air, through fair skies or storms. Sister Water for her humility, purity, and usefulness. Brother Fire, who lights the night, is playful and strong. And Sister Death, whom no one living can escape. And, of course, he included: 

Praised be You my Lord through our Sister, Mother Earth who sustains and governs us, producing varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs. 

Mother Earth. We live on her, we eat what she provides, we use what wondrous supply she shares with us, and….

We are not the kindest of children. We are not always so Grateful for what our Mother so generously lends to us. Because it is a loan. Do not be mistaken. Mother Earth is not a bottomless well of giving. She is a Mother with expectations; a Mother who gives and then wants to see us give back.

These are tough lesson for humans; some humans, anyway. And never before have we been taught that lesson more clearly than right now. Continue reading “Forward, Upward, Inward: A Spiritual Response to Right Now by Rachel Hollander”

Fasting During Covid-19 by Jamilah Ali

My beautiful mask was made by my sister-in-law, Gloria

“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was to those before you, that you may (learn) self-restraint.” Quran 2:183“

This month of Ramadan 2020 is auspicious for me as it is my 30th year of fasting after I converted to Islam in late 1989. For those who do not know, Ramadan is a month of fasting which Muslims are instructed by God to observe unless sick, pregnant or traveling. We are allowed breakfast before dawn and then no food, drink or sexual intercourse during the daylight hours.  Fasting includes your speech; not to lie, argue or backbite.

The fasting hours in my locale this year are from 5 am to 8 pm.  The evening meal after the fast is called iftar and is usually a time to gather at the mosque or friends’ houses to eat together. During Ramadan there are extra evening prayers and the whole Quran is recited. Ramadan is based on the lunar calendar, so the date moves up by 11 days each year. At the end of the month we have community prayer, a sermon and a three-day celebration called Eid.

2020 is like no other Ramadan in memory. The irony is not lost on many of us fasting this year that God timed it this way. During the pandemic, quite surprisingly I am more connected than ever. Normally, as a Progressive Muslim the month is a little lonely for me. Usually my girlfriend is supportive, but not to the point of fasting with me. We had a group who met together to read Quran, but we never completed the effort in full measure due to logistics. We would meet for an iftar every year at a member’s home.  I may go at least once to break my fast at the traditional mosque. Usually Eid was the celebration we would look forward to, meeting with the whole community for prayer and then out to breakfast wearing our best outfits.

Continue reading “Fasting During Covid-19 by Jamilah Ali”

Community Immunity by Natalie Weaver and Nathan

My eleven-year-old son, Nathan, a fifth grader, is doing his best to deal with changes the coronavirus pandemic has brought to his life.  Before this time, Nathan’s biggest daily worries have been keeping his school papers organized and staying on top of his sometimes rigorous homework assignments. Nathan has ADHD, which poses certain challenges to his learning and behaviors, making some tasks that have many intermediary steps nearly intolerable for him.  Nathan’s learning is complicated by the fact that, while it has always been apparent that his learning style was different, his teachers and family (including me) have not always had the skills or patience to see Nathan’s exceptional gifts and insights from Nathan’s own point of view.  

While his ADHD is a challenge, Nathan has a more ominous, lurking, daily concern.  Nathan has a life-threatening allergy that has made him keenly aware that every visit to a strange house, every meal at a restaurant, every bakery product, every school treat, every friend’s birthday party, and even touching a doorknob or library book could mean a painful and terrifying hospital experience. Since his allergy was first discovered, Nathan has been keenly aware of dust, germs, and particles.  He washes his hands to a fault, both as a result of ADHD compulsive behaviors and his deep awareness of his vulnerability to invisible, yet deadly particle foes.  Nathan’s allergies also give him extremely sensitive skin, predisposed to eczema, severe rashes, dryness, and splitting, so gloves, soaps, and sanitizers are at once necessities and risks to the largest organ in Nathan’s body. Continue reading “Community Immunity by Natalie Weaver and Nathan”

La Llorona and the Dark Green Religion of Hope by Sara Wright

Picture of Sara Wright standing outside in natureI recently returned to Maine after what can only be called a harrowing journey from the Southwest. Grateful to feel beloved earth under my feet, I walk along the pine strewn woodland paths to keep myself sane. My animals have been ill, my neighbor was hospitalized briefly, other neighbors deliberately destroyed my garden wall crushing a baby balsam, and used this property as their personal ski slope, the threat of the C/virus looms – there are no words to describe this kind of exhaustion. As a PTSD survivor all my senses are on permanent scream. The simplest task has become monumental. And I am only one of so many…

Each day I attempt to feel gratitude for what is good in my life.

Momentary peace is found in the Dark Green Religion of Hope that I experience walking under every balsam, lichen, wet leaf, deciduous tree, listening to chickadees, phoebes, juncos, and finches, meandering along the swollen brook – Just to see clear mountain waters rushing to the sea reminds me that Nature’s rhythms are my own, and that most of the time I am not breathing with her – unless I take these walks. Somewhere along the way over these last weeks I have lost access to my body (PTSD). Continue reading “La Llorona and the Dark Green Religion of Hope by Sara Wright”

Redemptive Forgetfulness by Marcia Mount Shoop

MMS Headshot 2015Have you forgotten yet? Have you forgotten what it felt like to go about your life pre-pandemic?

My brain has switched to a different filter system. If I watch a movie or see an image from the pre-pandemic world, the first thing I notice is that people are standing too close to each other. Or I notice that they are touching each other. People are supposed to be in proximity to each other only in the boxes of Zoom or in the confines of their home or in a hospital where the staff has on protective equipment. That pandemic filter overlays itself onto everything now, even memories.

It’s hard to access the joy of greeting someone with a hug or handshake, because those things are something we must tell our bodies not to do. We have to resist that urge. We have to rewire our impulses. There are tiny threads of shared trauma in it all—how will we ever feel like we can be together again and not be afraid? Continue reading “Redemptive Forgetfulness by Marcia Mount Shoop”

Creating Spaces for Grieving and Receiving by Anjeanette LeBoeuf

By now, all aspects of life have been altered or halted. The world as we know it has become radically different as we attempt to get a handle on this disease and stop the rising number of deaths each day. We are enduring trauma on a global and individual level. Trauma carries a myriad of emotions; anger and grief sometimes being the prominent two.  And with the rising uncertainty paired with the increasing amount of trauma and grief we are all experiencing, we need to find ways to talk about our feelings, share, and move forward.

Continue reading “Creating Spaces for Grieving and Receiving by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

The Antagonism of a Pandemic – The Sacrifice of Our Lives by Karen Leslie Hernandez

Oh, America. We’ve all seen it in the media. Impatient people demonstrating to end the quarantine. Demonstrators claiming that their jobs are just as “essential” as those of nurses and doctors. Demonstrators blocking traffic in front of hospitals. Demonstrators claiming that COVID-19 is a hoax. In all this media frenzy, this picture caught my attention more than any other.

I stared at this picture for quite a while. I tried to find her name. I stared some more. I thought, Wow, how unbelievably heartless. And then I wondered, Is she serious? Can she really feel this way? Could anyone really lack compassion in that magnitude? I stared some more. Then, I wondered…Perhaps she is a “plant.” Perhaps she is intentionally stirring the pot.

You will notice, she is the only one in that group masking her face. She is covered enough to where only those who really know her, might recognize her. She is standing away from the rest of the group. She didn’t speak to the media. Thinking she may be a plant isn’t wishful thinking. For me, it is simply the realization that the antagonism of this pandemic, is alive and well, in every way possible. More, if a pandemic could talk, it would say, Here I am! You’re not escaping me in any way, shape, or form. I am here. Lurking. Continue reading “The Antagonism of a Pandemic – The Sacrifice of Our Lives by Karen Leslie Hernandez”

Fierce Grace in Frightening Times by Mary Sharratt


The Covid 19 pandemic had turned our lives upside down on a global scale. What we as a collective could not possibly have anticipated ever happening to privileged Western people has become our new normal as we are forced into lockdown and social isolation.

Ironically, apart from travel plans being canceled, my day-to-day life hasn’t changed that much. As a freelance writer, I’ve always worked from home and my workload and deadlines remain unchanged. In fact, many freelancers and remote workers feel pressured into greater productivity now that they are “stuck at home” with few other diversions. To me, this pressure to carry on business as usual amid a news stream of ever increasing infection and deaths feels sickeningly schizoid. Jocelyn K. Glei, in her brilliant podcast series Hurry Slowly, discusses this phenomenon of productivity shame. Continue reading “Fierce Grace in Frightening Times by Mary Sharratt”

When Life Hands You Lemons… by John Erickson

“When life hands you lemons, sometimes you have to make applesauce.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about something my grandmother would always tell me: “When life hands you lemons, sometimes you have to make applesauce.” I know, it sounds crazy, but life right now appears to be more on the crazy than the sane side.

We’re all in a state of uncertainty right now. The news is scary. Twitter is scary. Heck, even TikTok is losing parts of its humor. Everywhere we seem to turn, it’s more information about COVID-19, new cases, new lockdowns, and new things that we shouldn’t do for the foreseeable future. Continue reading “When Life Hands You Lemons… by John Erickson”

Community and Social Distancing by Gina Messina

Our commitment should be to the wellbeing of all; our own wellbeing is dependent upon it. This virus does not recognize borders or walls, nor racial or religious divides. Oppressive structures have caused our communities to crumble; and yet, it is only through a collaborative community effort that we can hope to “flatten the curve.” 

We are in the midst of a global crisis unlike anything we’ve seen during our lifetime. Admittedly, I gave the situation little attention, even when relatives were under forced quarantine in Italy and cases were piling up in California where many of my family and friends live. It’s typical; we often don’t realize the seriousness of a particular issue until it is one we experience ourselves — we can empathize, but can’t fully understand something that hasn’t hit home.

I wasn’t afraid when the NBA suspended its season, or when March Madness was canceled. When I received an email that a child at my daughter’s school had been quarantined, I told myself it was precautionary. Still, when a neighbor who is a nurse in an ER had provided care to a patient who tested positive for COVID-19, I thought how scary it must be for her — but assumed that nurses of all people know how to protect themselves from getting sick. 

Once school was suspended in my state and people started to panic, buying up every last roll of toilet paper and hand sanitizer pump, my concern was not COVID-19, but instead what I deemed overreaction. Nonetheless, I jumped on the bandwagon and stocked my pantry just in case…although I was too late for the toilet paper. Continue reading “Community and Social Distancing by Gina Messina”

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