Refilling the Well

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, New Mexico, April 2017

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, New Mexico, April 2017

My time has wavered between chronos (sequential) and kairos (indeterminate) time the past five or so weeks. I am in the midst of a leave of absence from my work as a hospice chaplain. There was the “preparing to leave time,” which was focused on easing the transition for my co-workers and patients during my absence. A drop into a vacation to New Mexico for ten glorious days, which at times felt other-worldly. Home to the relief of not having to return to work “right away,” which seemed to send the message to my body to let go of all I had been holding onto, for I was sick for several days. The last week and a half I’ve been dancing in the space of contentment, spending days at home with no plans to attending gallery events, book launches, workshops, connecting with friends. I have heard it said it takes at least two weeks to decompress from work. That has been true for me. It has also allowed my mind to wander into creative space—in “being” space. For now, I am more connected to the human being of myself than the human “doing.”

I have started writing this blog post, both on paper and in my head, several times that last ten days. First to share the profound experience from my time in New Mexico. Then I wanted to argue for embracing more time off in our busy lives to get away. Of course, after those thoughts, I realize I was blessed to be in a space I could take the time due to my long period of employment and having savings, which comes back to my thoughts from previous posts on my own privilege. I would just start spinning and not know where to start. I still don't know that I am clear and perhaps this post won’t even make much sense.

Which brings me to this: I just needed to dive back into my blog (and trust me, part of me wants to hit delete because it isn’t “polished.”) Perhaps I will tackle one or more of the other topics soon. Or my squirrel mind may be off somewhere else. I do know I am deeply grateful for the four weeks of rest that continue to unfold. My well was close to dry before I began this time of refreshment. I am nurturing my own journey. How can you trust me with your stories if I am not nourishing my own spirit? What are you doing today to nurture your journey? Please, check the water level of your own well and do what refreshes you.

I have two Grief and Loss workshops scheduled this summer (June and August. ) Check the workshop schedule ( to see if one works for you. Also, stay tuned for a weekend retreat in early November--finalizing location. More to follow!


In my last blog post, Love After Love (,) I invited readers to write from a prompt and I said I would offer my unpolished piece (see below.) I didn’t get any responses via my blog or FB, but I did do this exercise with a woman’s circle I am part of and one of the dear women has allowed me to share her poem (thank you Jacinda!):


I lose my voice. I find my voice.
I lose it . I find it.
Sometimes it is discovered found or missing.
I have lost it many times already in these past moments.
Erased by the delete button.
No no no no,that's wrong.
That's not what I want to say
that's not how I want to say it
that's stupid
makes no sense
think of what they will think
don't write that.

I lose my voice as I try to grab it on its way around the corner.
A trickster it is.
Beckoning me then running away,
laughing and feeling very pleased with itself.
I don't want to chase it anymore.
It needs to come to me.
In trust and willingness to be heard.
I will sit here and wait.
Here in this grassy spot
by the stream
with the white horse grazing near by
tree tops above
trunk behind
and a daisy crown resting upon my locks.
My gaze shall remain strong and my silence to be broken
only when my voice is found.

© Jacinda Phillips-Tyler

Changing Photo

This stranger who was myself looks back at me,
    photos of a blonde toddler, blue eyes
    drawn center-ward by an invisible string
    looking at the world askance.
        She seeks soft grass, ants,
        dandelions, Bougainvillea to hide behind,
        hints of salt air tug at her voice
        asking her to sing—
        she simply smiles.
    Staying close to her mother’s hand,
    watching her older brother race ahead.

Southern CA, 1961 with my Mom

Southern CA, 1961 with my Mom

Who was she, formed in those early years?
This stranger longs to reach through
    the layers of Kodachrome
    untie the white shoes and tug lace socks off
    let her feet be bare.
    Slip on denim shorts and a t-shirt.
        Urge her to let go of her mother’s hand,
        run on ahead,
        whirl on the merry-go-round
        scream into the wind,
        skin her knees,
        stop traffic with her song.
    You are no longer a stranger to her.
    Together you raced to the park.

And when you close the album,
the face has changed
I am a stranger to myself no more.

© anne richardson

(confession--not polished, but not unrefined either.)