Tag: #community

January 23, 2018: Endless Cycle

Another school shooting has taken place in our country. This time at a high school in Kentucky. Children killing children, while we all move on with our lives: the latest trends, what movies were the best in 2017, what shows we’re going to watch tonight. School shootings are so commonplace in the US that it doesn’t even take precedence in the news anymore.

Gun control? Nope. ‘Too inappropriate to discuss’ our government leaders say, or ‘Now is not the time’. Wait for the right moment to address. Some time passes, weeks, months, and sadly, another shooting takes place again. Which begins the cycle of grief, loss, and avoidance once again.

Our children’s safety should not be placed in the back burner. Gun violence in schools has gone on for too long for our government officials to keep setting the issue aside. Families should not have to worry about sending their children to school, and wonder if they’ll come home that day. Our children’s lives are not an afterthought.

January 22, 2018: My Tribe

My Timehop from a year ago featured posts from a poetry therapy group I attended in Manhattan. At that time, it was the first group I took part of in months, since it was difficult trying to navigate heading to NYC after returning to New Jersey. As I mentioned before, I hold NYC dear to my heart, since it was in this city that I had the opportunity to discover myself, and what I wanted in both my creative and professional life. Leaving New York in 2014 was incredibly difficult, yet it was a choice necessary to make at the time.

My quest to maintain poetry therapy in NJ has proven to be very hard, yet I continue to value my NYC colleagues dearly. Currently a close friend and colleague in poetry therapy is enduring great hardship, and we must come together as a cohesive group, without delay. It’s vital for me to be available for my community, since they are my sisterhood, my tribe.

January 21, 2018: Reaching Out

This was a weekend of reaching out, taking steps to regain a sense of community for myself. I connected with my dear friends in my poetry therapy network, and my close friend from Puerto Rico. My conversations with these special people were not as long as I hoped, yet the urgency to maintain contact with them remains strong. I’m so tired of insecurities cloud the true nature of what’s really important, to keep a strong bond with those I feel truly connected with.

Today I also became part of a local interest group in my community. I moved to the central NJ area about a year ago, and I still feel fairly new to my surroundings. The person I spoke to today was very warm, and told me of opportunities to connect with other people within the local community. I confided in her that I’m a reserved person at heart, and she was very open to working with me in connecting with others within the group. I shared this with my fiancé and he was equally excited for me about future opportunities to connect with others.

Tomorrow begins another work week, and I’m in the process of gathering materials needed for classroom lessons. I have Monday planned out for my Twos (getting somewhere!), and the rest of the week will fall into place. The time is approaching to set up for next month’s theme in my classroom, so that will be a new assignment for me to take on. Here’s to not feeling overwhelmed, and to reach out to others when I need time to think.

January 17, 2018: Friendly Bonds 

I spoke to one of my close friends in the poetry therapy community. I’ve known her for almost 15 years. I remember when I first met this supportive circle: I went to a group in order to seek more information about using poetry as a healing tool. During this group session, I was in the presence of social workers and teachers who applied poetry therapy in many educational settings. 

I decided to pursue my path in becoming a poetry therapy practitioner, and I formed many bonds with such a close knit group. Although I now live quite a distance away from the primary meeting areas, I maintain contact to some of my fellow community members today. Distance can be a challenge, yet I’m thankful for different methods of interaction.

January 11, 2018: Shameful 

I come out of work and hear the news. Words, hurtful words were spoken from the supposed ‘leader’ of our country. The countless debates that followed afterwards, from the deeply offended to the truly shameful replies. How anyone can defend someone’s racist remarks is truly disheartening. As disappointing as it is, nothing will happen to his political standing. Unless we actively change our political landscape, he will feel powerful enough to continue shaming and berating his own people.

January 5, 2018

So, I did it…at work I voiced a concern that was really bothering me for a few days now. After the discussion, I felt a split second of regret, followed by relief. Speaking my mind at work was something that I would have never done a year ago. Doubt has taken up residency in my mind for far too long, and I’m tired of it.

While I still have many things to complete in my room, I’m relieved that I had the chance to speak. I can only hope that my opinion will be taken seriously.

East Coast Rainfall, Gulf Coast Disaster: August 29

“You must never despair of human nature’.
–Mahatma Ghandi

 

Outside my window, I watch the steady rainfall coating my central NJ neighborhood. All is quiet as I do routine tasks: closing a P.O. Box, paying bills, etc. The TV is off, yet earlier I watched News 12 and the Weather Channel, viewing the tragic stories that Hurricane Harvey unleashed in Houston and Southeast Texas. Watching the anguish in families’ faces as they’re rescued, the extreme sadness. Years of memories It makes me think of my region’s ordeal when Sandy struck five years ago. I lived near Washington Heights at the time, and neighborhood didn’t suffer serious damage. For many people, however, the damage was widespread, as they spent days in shelters, while others who stayed in their homes endured power outages lasting for days.

As I watch the coverage of Harvey’s wrath, I think about the sadness these evacuees are going through. How many of them were never told to leave their homes, only to watch water quickly take over their neighborhoods. While all of this is so devastating, many people are coming together to provide much needed supplies to those in need. People are doing their part to rescue the animals sadly left behind in Texas. In these distressing times, all we can do is come together and provide support to those in need.

 

–Cathleen
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