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…

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…

Embrace the positive

I got home late last night and tossed and turned for hours, reflecting on a difficult experience with a friend I had traveled with to a yoga retreat in the UK over the weekend. Somehow, her interpretation of my actions and a misunderstanding of something she thought I had done but hadn’t actually done had…

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…

Ride the creative wave

I recently wrote a song from my friend Mohammed’s story. The song was derived from a very small portion of the much longer story. We filled several large sheets of paper before beginning to work on the chorus, and it was only a few phrases that made it from the story to the finished song….

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…

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,…