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…

We want to live in peace

There are themes that seem to resurface time again in the time I have spent, volunteering at the refugee asylum center. When I worked with a woman from Macedonia on her song, I asked her to tell me her greatest desire. She responded, I want a peaceful life for my children. In several songs, people…

Once a park ranger…

This week was an epic adventure in songwriting and in life. My experience in life is that I often make plans; those plans then take on a life of their own and generally turn out quite differently than I anticipated. This shift can lead to the unexpected, which can be uncomfortable at times but often…

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 power to overcome

In my life in Brussels, I try to keep things as simple as possible. This is a tall order for a short person, as my husband reminds me time and again that I always wind up creating situations that are more complicated than need be. Well, I’m only human.   With regard to simplicity and…

The birth of a song

It was legitimately cold on Monday when I met Sarah at the refugee center. We posted papers on the wall and invited people to join us. That morning, I had texted Sarah a few lines from a Robert Frost poem, “Fences make good neighbors.” She suggested that we write them at the top of the…

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…

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…

Don’t wait, Create!

A cold snap has fallen over Brussels once again. After experiencing a mere 10.5 hours of sunlight in the month of December, I was quite ready for spring, but it seems that spring may be a ways away yet.   Every Monday afternoon, Sarah and I set up for poetry and songwriting along the outdoor,…

Migration Collection Day

This morning, Atticus and I headed out early (if not bright) to the center of the EU in downtown Brussels. We live on the very outskirts of this international city. When my husband first arrived and was tasked with deciding which commune we might enjoy living in, he chose Boitsfort (strong forest) because he knew…