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…

We are bound together

After volunteering at the asylum center now for nearly two years, the repertoire of songs has grown tremendously. Periodically, I spend about a day going through photos and voice recordings. I try to keep everything organized by putting all of the photos and song files for each song in its own folder. This way, I…

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….