I want to live

This past Monday, we met several residents at the center. Since we have found that beginning by playing music can help to draw people in, Sarah posted the song we wrote the previous week, The hand that hurts can also heal.   As people came to join us, Sarah brought a blank piece of paper…

The hand that hurts can also heal

Yesterday’s poetry and songwriting session was magical and also very insightful for me into the inner workings of the creative process (at least, as I experience it). Several people from outside of the center joined us. One person who joined us was our friend Mahmoud, who had been a resident for eight months at the…

Singing in the new year

I have not written about Monday songwriting in a few weeks. It is ongoing, though there have been a few times I have not been able to join. The center itself has been in a state of transition since this past December, when the rules regarding the asylum process for Belgium were drastically changed and…

The meaning of life

So far as I can tell from my 37 years on this planet, the purpose of my life seems to revolve around creating empathy and understanding. Since I was a child, I wanted to care for beings who needed love and shelter. My parents allowed me to adopt animals whose owners had abandoned them. I…

Treasure the moment

At the refugee center, Sarah and I greet each other with joyful smiles and warm embrace. In all weather, we meet each other in the spot along the covered corridor by the wooden door. We have found that the tape sticks easier to the wood than the brick wall. We never know if we will…

In between

I love going to the refugee center each week. Every single visit is unique, and I always feel better about everything after spending time there. I highly recommend paying close attention to the experiences in your life that completely shift your being in a positive way. It took me a long time to find the…

All we have is this moment

I am often alarmed at the violent nature of enmity with which people respond to other beings. I recently posted a photograph of an enormous spider, which had bitten me when I had put my arm into my jacket sleeve, where it had been quietly minding its own business. At shaken as I was by…

Natareya

Something I love about songwriting is that each experience brings a new song into the world that didn’t exist before. During the summer, I do not generally go to the refugee center. My volunteer partner returns to her homeland of Scotland for a long visit, and it is a time to rejuvenate and refill my…

There is a day

A visit to Petit-Château is a kind of analogy for the creative process. I really never know what will happen on any given visit, and each afternoon reveals a unique experience. Sarah and I talk about this often, as we sit on the bench against the brick wall and wonder if today anyone will join…

Karma career

Since leaving my job as a park ranger to move to Arizona for love at the tail end of 2014, I have been reworking and imagining anew the possibilities for my role in the world and how to blend my passions and skills with the need for financial remuneration.   This is no easy feat….