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…

Thank you for coming

Our first Monday back at the start of 2019 was a celebration of language and culture, as well as an offering of gratitude for diversity. Sarah brought with her a poem she had written called, “Thank you for coming.”   I had invited a woman I met at a gathering hosted by a refugee friend…

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 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…

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…

How do you honor a person with no name?

I recently published a piece about the importance of recognizing and honoring individuals whose ideas have inspired your own work in order to ensure they receive acknowledgment for their hard work and innovation. I wrote mainly from the creative and academic perspective, but this concept certainly extends to all realms of innovation and discovery. Since…

The best is yet to come

In January 2016, I began volunteering at a refugee asylum center near the center of Brussels. I did a lot of research and contacted many places and organizations before happening upon one that gave a positive response to my request to offer songwriting from stories. When I participated in an entrepreneur accelerator program in Lowell,…

Sous la pluie

The woman who wrote the song from a couple of Mondays ago was very inspiring. She was reticent to sing, as most people tend to be. I had asked the group already if anyone was feeling brave and the men had shied away entirely. She wasn’t sure what to sing, but as soon I started…

Jingle all the way

I believe that every person is an artist and a musician. I have witnessed people subconsciously tapping their foot along to a song after insisting they had no sense of rhythm or musical ability. I think responding to music is a natural part of what it means to be human on this earth. Melodies and…