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With a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction degree (Goucher College, August 2014), I am looking at a new phase in my life. From 1992 to 2009, I served as Founding Executive Director of Miriam's House, a residence for homeless women living with AIDS. I left this position when Chronic Migraine Disease overtook my ability to do my job. Now I hope that a writing career will both accommodate the migraines and give me a creative, productive outlet. And soon, September 4, I will launch my Inkshares author page in a bid to hit the 1,000 pre-order goal in 90  days. The book I want to publish is "Nowhere Else I Want to Be," a memoir of ten of my years at Miriam's House.

14 May 2013

Reading Mariechild Together: Purpose Despite Pain

This quote from Rosa Parks begins the reflection for May 11 in Diane Mariechild's Open Mind -- Womens' Daily Inspirations for Becoming Mindful:

"To this day I believe we are here on earth to live, grow and do what we can to make this world a better place for all people to enjoy freedom."

Now, how does that work if we suffer with chronic pain that limits our lives, activities and relationships? For me, it has become a matter of forgetting about scale or importance.

 For seventeen years I was Founding Executive Director of a residence for homeless women living with AIDS; my husband, who also worked for the organization, and I lived in the building with the women. I felt relevant, like I was doing something worthwhile in the world, and I was doing work I loved.

When the chronic migraines drove me away from my work and my home in 2009, I lost purpose while I grieved. When the grieving was finished, I looked around and thought, now what? Where was my grand plan, my integrated life, my joy in participating in something larger than myself, my (I have to admit) pride in doing what I was doing?

A couple of months ago I confessed to the Womens' Spirituality Group in which I have participated for over ten years that I sometimes felt inadequate, my passion for working with the poor muted and unexpressed. I am doing nothing for social justice, I said.

My friend Kathy said, you pray and that is not nothing.

She said it so sincerely, and then repeated it when walking out the door at the end of the meeting, giving me a hug before she left.

Somehow I was given the grace to accept her offering without qualification or judgment. She enabled me to embrace what is mine now: to pray and to live into this journey on the spiritual path.

If there were a quietly wise and loving friend who could do the same for you, what would she say to you and would you allow it to change you?

You can email me at carold.marsh@gmail.com, or comment below if you are on Google+. Thank you.

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