Chingonas, Strong Women, Uncategorized, Writing

A Community of Writers

On my first evening here, I stood outside of my casita at 11:30 p.m., and waited for the Perseid showers to jet across the indigo New Mexican sky. The big dipper appeared to balance itself on a deep purple mesa in front of me. In that moment, I felt the celestial showers celebrated the end of my first day at Ghost Ranch in Abiqui, New Mexico.

My Casita at Ghost Ranch
My Casita at Ghost Ranch

In this moment I am grateful. I am in awe of the experience I will be blessed with during this week. Imagine, a community of 100 women from all over the world gathered here to write, share, listen. By that very act, the community creates, inspires, enlightens.

There’s nowhere I’d rather be than right here, right now. I’m on my second day of a weeklong retreat. Ghost Ranch is a magical place, not only because of its surrounding red and creme striped cliffs, purple mesas, and huge trees, but because of who is here-a community of writers and poets brought together by the A Room Of Her Own (AROHO) Foundation.

Imagine the visual beauty, while walking to the dining hall on a dusty path, while rabbits scurry and deer graze on the surrounding hills. Where the scent of sage, hay, and clean air visit.  While a rainbow leads the way.

rainbow over Ghost Ranch
rainbow over Ghost Ranch

After breakfast, we come together and hear soul touching poetry and words that sink into our bodies, lift us up or carry us away. More than once we feel the presence of strong women (bien chignonas), not in their personalities, but because of their passion for what they do. We carry journals and laptops, pens and little notebooks, jotting down words that fly around us, hoping to capture the feelings and presence of this experience. Others take photos, sketch or use watercolors to capture the essence of this place.

It’s good to be in community.

Chingonas, Encouragement, Parenting, Self Care, Stories, Suicide, Uncategorized

Stories We Tell Ourselves

Sometimes I shouldn’t watch so much CNN.

Another young girl committed suicide after she was bullied and tormented on Facebook. She was 14 years old.  After I said a little prayer and asked for her soul to rest in peace, the story stayed with me for a few days.

I thought about how the stories we tell ourselves are often from the words we collect around us. Story can be a narration of the events in the life of a person.  We are especially vulnerable during childhood and our middle years. Words we collect about our self, and tell our self, can often be untrue.

Words like fatty, four-eyes, dork, stupid, ugly, slut, loser, whore… These are like drops of acid. When a word is repeated, the impact is compounded and often difficult to undo. We can tell ourselves these are just words, but if we believe them they become words with meaning. Words we remember.

The good news is that we can give ourself  and others, nurturing, self building words. Words to edit out the negative and create a more truthful story.

What-if-we-told-1

Think about it, how would your life be different?

How would someone else’s life be different?