Monday, November 12, 2018

Compassion and Mercy In 'The Year of the Woman'

This past week was a big one for women. More women and women of diversity are headed to Congress—a lot more. It’s an exciting time to be a woman. It’s an exciting time for women sharing their stories, their voices…celebrating our differences and our similarities.

I believe in the power of our stories to create a new conversation, a new legacy of empowerment for women to value, share and trust in their stories. This has become increasingly evident to me over the last decade facilitating writing workshops and circle read arounds for women. Each woman has a unique talent and distinctive voice and, yet (this is very important), we only grow as writers when, in sharing those stories, we offer love and support.

Dialogue and conversation are held in good faith with the understanding that instead of just reflecting back what I believe, it might cause me to move out of my ignorance.

As the holiday season approaches, keeping the conversation—the dialogue—open to compassion, mercy and love moves our stories forward in this, the year of the woman.


We’ve all spent a morning going through our junk drawer...tossing the unnecessary, the things we kept over the years that are collecting dust... and thrown them out. The writer’s job is similar. We cull our "junk drawers" and settle in on themes that draw us to our center. We delete the side trips, the unnecessary details and focus in on What is my story about? 

It's  important to try and discard thought habits locking us in. Instead, there’s often a tendency to go to a lower energy state, to confirm a bias. Why? Because it’s easy. 


I’m reading Anne Lamott’s Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy. It’s a neat little primer of how mercy offers a pathway to “feeling free and fully alive,” as she puts it, despite all the horrors and evils surrounding us on a daily basis. A devout Christian, Lamott writes: "Mercy is radical kindness.”

This past weekend, I attended two choral concerts, one an all-women’s chorus, the other men and women, singing Broadway tunes and songs written with messages of Carole King's "Up On The Roof." Both concerts were held in churches. As I wrote last week, "when this old world starts getting you down," the writer seeks that place of serenity… steps back, takes a rest, remembering that compassion and mercy move our stories forward in this, the year of the woman. 

How about you? How do you find ways to move out of biases and thoughts that may hobble your writing?

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