Live Virtual Group Session: 6pm EDT June 29th 2020

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!

Our text was the poem “Heroes” by Rita Dove, posted below.

Our prompt was to begin your writing with the line “it’s too late for apologies…”

More details on this session will be posted soon, so please check back!

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.

Also, we would love to learn more about your experience of these sessions, so if you’re able, please take the time to fill out a follow-up survey of one to two quick questions!

Please join us for our next session Wednesday, July 1st at 12pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

We look forward to seeing you again soon!


HeroesRita Dove

A flower in a weedy field:
make it a poppy. You pick it.
Because it begins to wilt

you run to the nearest house
to ask for a jar of water.
The woman on the porch starts

screaming: you’ve plucked the last poppy
in her miserable garden, the one
that gave her the strength every morning

to rise! It’s too late for apologies
though you go through the motions, offering
trinkets and a juicy spot in the written history

she wouldn’t live to read, anyway.
So you strike her, she hits
her head on a white boulder

and there’s nothing to be done
but break the stone into gravel
to prop up the flower in the stolen jar

you have to take along
because you’re a fugitive now
and you can’t leave clues.

Already the story’s starting to unravel,
the villagers stirring as your heart
pounds into your throat. Why

did you pick that idiot flower?
Because it was the last one
and you knew

it was going to die.


Dove, Rita. "Heroes." Callaloo, vol. 18 no. 2, 1995, p. 231-231. 
Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/cal.1995.0046.

Ζωντανή συνεδρία αφηγηματικής ιατρικής: Κυριακή 28 Ιουνίου, 6 m.m. EEST

Σας ευχαριστούμε που συμμετείχατε σε αυτήν τη συνεδρία.

Το κείμενό μας για σήμερα ήταν: «Η παλιά αβρότητα» (Ουίλιαμ Κάρλος Ουίλιαμς, Ιστορίες Ενός Γιατρού. 1984. Μτφρ. Ειρήνη Παπαθανασίου. Εκδ. Αρμός, 2020)

Θέμα: Γράψτε για ένα σκίρτημα

Σύντομα θα μοιραστούμε περισσότερες πληροφορίες σχετικά με αυτήν τη συνεδρία, γι ‘αυτό επιστρέψτε ξανά.

Σας προσκαλούμε να μοιραστείτε τα γραπτά σας μαζί μας παρακάτω.


«Η παλιά αβρότητα» (Ουίλιαμ Κάρλος Ουίλιαμς, Ιστορίες Ενός Γιατρού. 1984. Μτφρ. Ειρήνη Παπαθανασίου. Εκδ. Αρμός, 2020)

Εκείνο τον καιρό, ήμουν ο μόνος γιατρός που είχαν στο Γκίνι Χιλ. Σήμερα σ’ αυτές τις γειτονιές μπορεί να ασκούν την ιατρική κάποια απ’ τα παιδιά που έφερα στον κόσμο τότε. Αλλά εκείνο τον καιρό τούς είχα όλους πελάτες. Τους είχα αγαπήσει, ήταν πολύ εντάξει άνθρωποι. Οι περισσότεροι ήταν Ιταλοί χωρικοί από μια περιοχή νότια της Νάπολης, που ζούσαν σε μικρά, πρόχειρα χτισμένα σπίτια – που δούλευαν σε ό,τι μπορούσαν να βρουν προκειμένου να επιβιώσουν και που τελικά, με κάποιον τρόπο, τα κατάφερναν.

     Ανάμεσα στ’ άλλα, υπήρχε ένα μικρό προκατασκευασμένο σπιτάκι, κουτί θα το έλεγες καλύτερα, που πάντα μου τραβούσε το ενδιαφέρον, αλλά που δεν είχε τύχει να μπω μέσα. Υψωνόταν στη μέση ενός συνηθισμένου μικρού κήπου και καμιά φορά έβλεπες στην πόρτα έναν ηλικιωμένο άντρα απλώς να στέκεται εκεί και να ρεμβάζει, καπνίζοντας ένα μεγάλο καμπυλωτό επάργυρο τσιμπούκι. Εννοείται ότι ήρθε η μέρα που μπήκα και σ’ αυτό το σπίτι.

     Μόλις είχα εξετάσει ένα παιδί στους Πετρέλο ή στους Αλμπίνο, σε κάποιους τέλος πάντων, όταν, όπως συνέβαινε πολύ συχνά, την ώρα που έφευγα η γυναίκα του σπιτιού με σταμάτησε στην πόρτα μ’ ένα χαμόγελο.

     Γιατρέ, θέλω να επισκεφθείς τους ηλικιωμένους που μένουν δίπλα. Η γριούλα είναι άρρωστη. Δεν θέλει να καλέσει κανέναν, υπολόγισέ το στη δική μας επίσκεψη. Την αμοιβή σου θα την τακτοποιήσω εγώ κάποια στιγμή. Θα το κάνεις – για μένα;

     Να μην πήγαινα; Ήταν ένα πρωινό του Ιουνίου. Έπρεπε να κάνω μόνο λίγα μέτρα στον δρόμο – με όλη τη θέα της Νέας Υόρκης να απλώνεται μπροστά μου πιο πέρα απ’ τα λιβάδια που είχαν αρχίσει να πρασινίζουν  – και να σπρώξω τη χαμηλή πόρτα του μικρού λαχανόκηπου.

     Ο ηλικιωμένος άντρας μού άνοιξε την πόρτα του σπιτιού πριν προλάβω να χτυπήσω. Χαμογελώντας και κλίνοντας το κεφάλι του πολλές φορές από σεβασμό στον γιατρό, μου έδειξε το πάνω πάτωμα. Δεν μίλαγε λέξη αγγλικά κι εγώ δεν μίλαγα ιταλικά, έτσι συνεχίσαμε με νοήματα.

     Ήταν υπέροχος. Ένα ευγενικό, καλοπροαίρετο πλάσμα, ψηλός όσο και το σπίτι, με μακριά ολόλευκα μαλλιά και μεγάλο άσπρο μουστάκι. Κάθε κίνηση που έκανε ανέδιδε το άρωμα της παλιάς αβρότητας. Μου είπε κάποιες λέξεις σαν να απολογούνταν που δεν μπορούσε να μιλήσει αγγλικά και μου έδειξε ξανά προς τα πάνω.

     Το μέρος που στεκόμουν ήταν όλο κι όλο ένα δωμάτιο που είχε μέσα τα πάντα: Μαγείρευες στη μία γωνία, έτρωγες δίπλα και καθόσουν να τα πεις με φίλους και συγγενείς παραδίπλα. Τα πάντα ήταν πεντακάθαρα και υπήρχε μια αδιόρατη μυρωδιά από ένα μείγμα σκόρδου, πιπεριάς και ελαιόλαδου, που το συναντάς συχνά στα σπίτια αγροτών.

     Υπήρχε μόνο άλλο ένα δωμάτιο ακριβώς από πάνω. Για να ανεβαίνουν είχαν βάλει μια φορητή σκάλα. Η καταπακτή ήταν ανοιχτή και η σκάλα στη θέση της. Ανέβηκα. Ο ηλικιωμένος άντρας έμεινε κάτω.

Τι σκίρτημα! Υπήρχε ένα τεράστιο κρεβάτι που έμοιαζε να πιάνει σχεδόν όλο τον χώρο κι ίσως μία ή δύο καρέκλες δίπλα του, κανένα άλλο έπιπλο, και στο κρεβάτι, βουλιαγμένη μέσα στο μαλακό στρώμα και σκεπασμένη μ’ ένα εξαιρετικό πουπουλένιο πάπλωμα, ήταν ξαπλωμένη η γυναίκα που μ’ είχαν καλέσει να δω.

     Το πρόσωπό της ήταν στεγνό και χαρακωμένο από ρυτίδες, όπως όλα τα πρόσωπα των γέρων χωρικών, αλλά ακτινοβολούσε με το ίδιο υπομονετικό χαμόγελο σαν εκείνο του συζύγου της. Λευκά μαλλιά στο πλούσιο χρώμα του ασημιού πλαισίωναν το πρόσωπό της, και σε μένα τουλάχιστον δεν φαινόταν καθόλου άρρωστη.

     Είπε λίγες λέξεις χαμογελώντας, απ’ τις οποίες κατάλαβα ότι δεν είχε τίποτα και ότι ήξερε πως δεν χρειαζόταν γιατρό και ότι θα είχε σηκωθεί προ πολλού – οι λέξεις αυτό εννοούσαν – αν οι άλλοι δεν επέμεναν. Αφού άκουσα την καρδιά της και ψηλάφισα την κοιλιά της, της είπα ότι αν ήθελε μπορούσε να σηκωθεί – χαιρέτησα και, πριν προλάβω να γυρίσω προς τη σκάλα, αυτή είχε ήδη αρχίσει να ετοιμάζεται.

     Ο ηλικιωμένος άντρας με περίμενε κάτω. Περπατήσαμε μέχρι την πόρτα μαζί, εγώ να προσπαθώ να του εξηγήσω τι είχα συμπεράνει απ’ την εξέταση κι αυτός να υποκλίνεται και να λέει κάνα δυο λέξεις στα ιταλικά για απάντηση. Κατάλαβα ότι με ευχαριστούσε για τον κόπο μου και ότι λυπόταν που δεν είχε λεφτά, και τα λοιπά και τα λοιπά.

     Σταματήσαμε στο πορτάκι του κήπου, αντιμέτωποι μ’ εκείνες τις άβολες στιγμές που παρεμβάλλονται καμιά φορά στη συζήτηση μεταξύ δυο αγνώστων που θέλουν να κάνουν καλή εντύπωση ο ένας στον άλλο. Καθώς στεκόμαστε εκεί πέρα αμήχανοι, τον είδα να βάζει το χέρι στην τσέπη του γιλέκου του, να παίρνει κάτι από κει και να το τείνει προς εμένα.

     Ήταν ένα μικρό ασημένιο κουτί, μακρύ γύρω στα τρία εκατοστά κι ένα εκατοστό παχύ. Στο καπάκι ήταν χαραγμένη η ανάγλυφη φιγούρα μιας γυναίκας ξαπλωμένης μέσα στα λουλούδια. Το πήρα στο χέρι μου, αλλά δεν μπορούσα να φανταστώ τι ήθελε να κάνω μ’ αυτό. Μου το χάριζε;

     Βλέποντάς με μπερδεμένο, άπλωσε το χέρι του πολύ απαλά κι ευγενικά να το ζητήσει πίσω κι εγώ του το ξαναέδωσα. Το πήρε και το άνοιξε. Το κουτάκι περιείχε κάτι σαν καφέ σκόνη. Τον είδα να παίρνει λίγη απ’ αυτή με τον δείκτη και τον αντίχειρα, να τη βάζει στη βάση του αντίχειρα και…

Μα βέβαια, ταμπάκο! Φυσικά. Ενθουσιάστηκα.

     Καθώς ρούφαγε μια γενναιόδωρη πρέζα σκόνης πρώτα απ’ το ένα ρουθούνι και μετά απ’ το άλλο, μου πρόσφερε πίσω το κουτί – ποτέ στη ζωή μου δεν είχα πάρει μέρος σε μια διαδικασία τόσο εκλεπτυσμένη κι ευγενική.

     Προσπαθώντας να τον μιμηθώ όσο καλύτερα μπορώ, μοιράστηκα το ταμπάκο μαζί του και για μια στιγμή κόντεψα να πεθάνω. Δεν μπορούσα να σταματήσω να φταρνίζομαι. Φαντάζομαι πως ρούφηξα λίγο πιο δυνατά απ’ όσο έπρεπε. Με τα μάτια μου θολά απ’ τα δάκρυα, ένιωσα τον ηλικιωμένο άντρα να στέκεται εκεί χαμογελώντας, μια εμπειρία που παρόμοιά της δεν θα ξαναζήσω ποτέ όσο πατάω τα πόδια μου πάνω σ’ αυτή την άχαρη σφαίρα.


Encuentros virtuales en vivo: sábado 27 junio, 14:00 EST

Tuvimos nuestra segunda sesión en español resultó muy enriquecedora! Atendieron 20 participantes en total, representando a estados locales (incluyendo NJ y NY) y otros países (incluyendo Chile, España, Argentina, Uruguay, Reino Unido y República Dominicana). Para varios de los participantes éste era su primer acercamiento a la Medicina Narrativa.

Nuestro texto fue “Alma Ausente” de Federico García Lorca, publicado a continuación. Dos lectores leyeron el poema en voz alta. La conversación alrededor del poema fue muy filosófica y diversa, para algunos el poema reflejaba “presencia” a pesar de su título. Para otros, el poema fue entendido como una auténtica “oda a la muerte,” en que el objeto del poema, no es una persona, sino la propia muerte. La muerte siguió siendo parte importante de la conversación, pues a varios les permitió reflexionar acerca de lo mucho que se evita hablar de la muerte hoy en día, en contraposición a la idea de que la muerte es parte de la vida, y que algunos reforzaron con la idea de que “estoy feliz de lo que me dejaste.”

Al mirar más detalladamente el poema, varios notaron que las primeras estrofas relacionaban la muerte con el olvido, como una queja, mientras que las últimas la mostrarían como un “regalo.” A raiz de esto, varios participantes vieron el poema como un equilibrio entre distintos aspectos o matices de la muerte. Sin embargo, para otros, el poema presentaba cierto desequilibrio, siendo más predominantes los aspectos más negativos de la muerte. Un participante pudo “leer” a lo largo del poema distintas etapas del duelo, desde la depresión a la aceptación.

Al preguntar por los “ánimos” presentes en el texto, algunos participantes reconocieron la pena, mientras que otros se vieron más movidos por la amargura e incluso la dureza. Algunos reconocieron que el poema había sido hermético para ellos, y que sólo la participación de otros fue lo que posibilitó el “abrir” el poema para ellos.   

De este modo, propusimos para la escritura “Escribe un ‘canto’ de la muerte.” Varios participantes compartieron sus escritos, inspirando una rica variedad de respuestas de los oyentes. En general, los textos fueron escritos “a la sombra del texto original,” lo que generó un ambiente de continuidad con la conversación previa. La muerte fue representada como algo inevitable y necesario, sin la que se hace más difícil valorar la vida. Una de las participantes escribió una auténtica oda a la muerte, en que se presenta a la muerte como una entidad que está cumpliendo su trabajo, pero sin que necesariamente lo disfrute, al contrario, pareciendo que “sufre” al hacer su trabajo. Otro participante escribió en su texto que la muerte es alguien a quien le encantaría conocer, lo que sin duda generó varios comentarios y reflexiones. En general, la visión de la muerte que salió representada en los textos fue muy positiva, en contraposición al tono general del poema de Lorca. ¡Sin duda, se hizo corto el tiempo!  

Se alienta a los participantes a compartir lo que escribieron a continuación (“Deja una respuesta”), para mantener la conversación aquí, teniendo en cuenta que el blog, por supuesto, es un espacio público donde no se garantiza la confidencialidad.

Por favor, únase a nosotros para nuestra próxima sesión en español: Sábado, 18 de julio a las 2 pm EST, con más veces listadas en inglés en nuestra página de sesiones grupales virtuales en vivo.

Se alienta a los participantes a compartir lo que escribieron a continuación (“Deja una respuesta”), para mantener la conversación aquí, teniendo en cuenta que el blog, por supuesto, es un espacio público donde no se garantiza la confidencialidad.

¡Esperamos verte pronto!


Alma Ausente
de Federico García Lorca

No te conoce el toro ni la higuera,
ni caballos ni hormigas de tu casa.
No te conoce el niño ni la tarde
porque te has muerto para siempre.

No te conoce el lomo de la piedra,
ni el raso negro donde te destrozas.
No te conoce tu recuerdo mudo
porque te has muerto para siempre.

El otoño vendrá con caracolas,
uva de niebla y montes agrupados,
pero nadie querrá mirar tus ojos
porque te has muerto para siempre.

Porque te has muerto para siempre,
como todos los muertos de la Tierra,
como todos los muertos que se olvidan
en un montón de perros apagados.

No te conoce nadie. No. Pero yo te canto.
Yo canto para luego tu perfil y tu gracia.
La madurez insigne de tu conocimiento.
Tu apetencia de muerte y el gusto de su boca.
La tristeza que tuvo tu valiente alegría.

Tardará mucho tiempo en nacer, si es que nace, 
un andaluz tan claro, tan rico de aventura.
Yo canto su elegancia con palabras que gimen 
y recuerdo una brisa triste por los olivos.

Laboratori Di Medicina Narrativa: sabato 27 giugno dalle 16 alle 17.30

Siamo stati molto lieti di avervi qui con noi!

Abbiamo studiato insieme il quadro di Pablo Picasso, “Joie di Vivre” (1946) e un estratto dal libro di Francesco Piccolo, “Momenti di trascurabile felicità”  (entrambi allegati al termine di questa pagina).  

In seguito, abbiamo usato il prompt “Racconta un momento di trascurabile felicità”.

Condivideremo ulteriori dettagli della sessione nei prossimi giorni; vi invitiamo a rivisitare questa pagina nei prossimi giorni!

Invitiamo i partecipanti del laboratorio a condividere i propri scritti nella parte “blog” dedicata alla fine della presente pagina (“Leave a Reply”). Speriamo di creare, attraverso questo forum di condivisione, uno spazio in cui continuare la nostra conversazione!


Joie de Vivre, Pablo Picasso (1946)

Alcune intelligenze per le piccole cose, come il guidatore dell’auto alle tue spalle quando capisce subito che devi parcheggiare e quindi fare retromarcia. E lui si ferma a qualche metro di distanza e aspetta senza avanzare.

L’acqua quando hai sete, il letto quando hai sonno.

Quando chiacchiero con un amico passeggiando, continuiamo a camminare soltanto se la conversazione è del tutto frivola, trascurabile, ma se ci accendiamo, se stiamo per dire una cosa più seria, più importante, in quel momento smettiamo di camminare, allunghiamo la mano verso il braccio dell’altro e ci fermiamo, e per tutto il tempo che la discussione è seria, stiamo lì piantati, e le mani gesticolano, si muovono, non stanno affatto in tasca o dietro la schiena. Soltanto dopo la risoluzione, uno dei due riprende il cammino, seguito dall’altro, e rinfila le mani in tasca.

Le coppie che stanno insieme da tanto tempo e che giocano a carte in silenzio, la sera.

Quelli che ti danno un passaggio, e non ti lasciano da qualche parte: all’angolo; vicino alla metro; alla fermata dei taxi. Ma ti accompagnano fino a casa.

E poi quando uno si fa male, tutti chiedono «come ti sei fatto male?»

Incontrare dopo tanto tempo una persona con cui hai litigato. Quando la vedi, ti ricordi soltanto che hai litigato, ma non ti ricordi più perché. E nemmeno lei si ricorda. Ti avvicini per chiacchierare, e chiacchierate, perché quella inimicizia non la potete sentire più.

In generale, tutti quelli che si preoccupano per me o si occupano di me.

Francesco Piccolo, “Momenti di trascurabile felicità,” Einaudi (2014)


Narrative Medicine Book Club: Magic Mountain, Week 5

Week 5: In this week’s pages Castorp gets his first official “admittance” to the sanatorium as a “patient” rather than a “visitor.” It feels inevitable to us, of course, knowing he will stay, and having watched Castorp’s progression up to now. But for me maybe the most fascinating element of the book so far is the way that Mann makes this slide into illness feel not only inevitable but also, for Castorp, desirable. He feels pangs at the idea of leaving his cousin up there alone, but the reader understands he actually doesn’t want to go.The near giddiness with which he takes his temperature! Also his obsession with Frau Chauchant is fascinating, and I look forward to discussing it with you all (he loves her, and yet has no plans to speak to her, and calls her “worm-eaten”)! And at the end of chapter 4, with some relief, he is declared “secretly one of the locals,” and ordered to bed. 


For next week: Read to the section “Freedom” in Chapter 5. 


Also: Our next zoom meeting with be July 12th, 11am EST (moved one week because of July 4th holiday). More details TK!


Live Virtual Group Session: 12pm EDT June 24th 2020

Today’s session comprised 25 participants from the UK, Canada, and India, as well as California, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Florida and New Hampshire. After the group’s brief silent-centering exercise, one narrator and two “actors” read an excerpt from Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya with two characters: Astrov, a middle-aged country doctor faced with a typhoid epidemic, and the elderly nanny, Marina. “Place” was a dominant theme in the discussion, both in terms of the scene’s physical space (a terrace garden’s avenue of trees) and the place/status reflected in society (aristocracy vs. serfdom). The discussion evolved into a series of keen observations and personal associations: trainees trembling under their blankets at night, like Astrov praying they won’t be called to work; knitting as not only textile but text, Chekhov’s weaving a story; and the numbness resulting from overwork in the medical realm. One participant noted that Astrov seems to construct his identity in relation to his patients, but not in relation to the structural dynamics of his profession.  Beyond what was explicitly stated in the text, participants compared assumptions made about the caregiver Astrov as he “spills out his feelings” to a caretaker, Marina, whom one participant identified as a truth teller, “a stand-in for God.” What is it, the group wondered, that awakens Astrov’s numbed feelings: guilt? Judgment? Awareness of his privileged status? Feeling himself to be “as stupid” as anyone else? This question segued into the prompt: “Write about an awakening.”

Writers addressed both rude awakenings and gentle ones. A splintered door became a metaphor for awakening into sexual identity.  A glacier’s slow descent with “ice falling away” described one writer’s gradual “waking up to truth.”  The sudden trauma of a car accident was the catalyst for recognizing the impact of a longer, more destructive trauma. The last writer to read offered a gentler awakening to the morning sounds at a country house and the sight of a  lake that “resembles eternity.”

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.

Also, we would love to learn more about your experience of these sessions, so if you’re able, please take the time to fill out a follow-up survey of two quick questions!

Please join us for our next session Monday, June 29th at 6pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

We look forward to seeing you again soon!


A country house on a terrace. In front of it a garden. In an avenue of trees, under an old poplar, stands a table set for tea, with a samovar, etc. Some benches and chairs stand near the table. On one of them is lying a guitar. Near the table is a swing. It is three o’clock in the afternoon of a cloudy day.

MARINA, a stout, slow old woman, is sitting at the table knitting a stocking.

ASTROV is walking up and down near her.

MARINA. [Pouring some tea into a glass] Take a little tea, my son.

ASTROV. [Takes the glass from her unwillingly] Somehow, I don’t seem to want any.

MARINA. Then will you have a little vodka instead?

ASTROV. No, I don’t drink vodka every day, and besides, it’s too hot now. [A pause] Tell me, Nanny, how long have we known each other?

MARINA. [Thoughtfully] Let me see, how long is it? Lord — help me to remember. You first came here, into these parts — let me think — when was it? Sonya’s mother was still alive — it was two winters before she died; that was eleven years ago — [thoughtfully] perhaps more.

ASTROV. Have I changed much since then?

MARINA. Oh, yes. You were handsome and young then, and now you’re an old man and not handsome any more. You drink now, too.

ASTROV. Yes, ten years have made me another man. And why? Because I’m overworked. Nanny, I’m on my feet from dawn till dusk. I know no rest; at night I tremble under my blankets for fear of being dragged out to visit some one who is sick; I’ve toiled without repose or a day’s freedom since I’ve known you; could I help growing old? And then, existence here is tedious, anyway; it’s a senseless, dirty business, this life, and gets you down. Everyone about here is eccentric, and after living with them for two or three years one grows eccentric oneself. It’s inevitable. [Twisting his moustache] See what a long moustache I’ve grown. A foolish, long moustache. Yes, I’m as eccentric as the rest, Nanny, but not as stupid; no, I haven’t grown stupid. Thank God, my brain isn’t addled yet, though my feelings have grown numb. I want nothing, I need nothing, I love no one, unless it is yourself alone. [He kisses her head] I had a nanny just like you when I was a child.

MARINA. Don’t you want a bite of something to eat?

ASTROV. No. During the third week of Lent I went to the epidemic at Malitskoe. It was an outbreak of typhoid fever. The peasants were all lying side by side in their huts, and the calves and pigs were running about the floor among the sick. Such dirt there was, and smoke! Unspeakable! I slaved among those people all day, not a crumb passed my lips, but when I got home there was still no rest for me; a switchman was carried in from the railroad; I laid him on the operating table and he went and died in my arms under chloroform, and then my feelings that should’ve been deadened awoke again, my conscience tortured me as if I had killed the man. I sat down and closed my eyes — like this — and thought: will our descendants one or two hundred years from now, for whom we’re clearing the way, remember to give us a kind word? No, Nanny, they’ll forget us.

MARINA. Man is forgetful, but God remembers.

ASTROV. Thank you for that. You’ve spoken the truth.

From Uncle Vanya, by Anton Chekhov


Wirtualne Grupy Narracyjne: Wtorek 23 czerwca, 18:00 CET

Dzisiejsza grupa była szczególna i dziękujemy wszystkim, z którymi tę pracę zaczęliśmy.

Wspólnie przeczytaliśmy, zamieszczony poniżej, wiersz Tomasza Różyckiego „Notatki”, pochodzący z tomu „Kapitan X”.

Praca dzisiejszej grupy została przerwana z przyczyn technicznych. Problemy zakłócające przebieg spotkania pojawiały się niemal od samego początku, a ich kumulacja wymusiła decyzję o wcześniejszym zakończeniu sesji. Jednakże interesującym pozostaje wyobrażeniowe powiązanie (poza schematem fizycznych przyczyn i skutków) pomiędzy obecną w wierszu wyprawą w kosmos, w trakcie której napotyka się na mur z kamienia, a barierą niedogodności, jakże powszechnych w wirtualnej rzeczywistości, które dziś i dla nas okazały się być ścianą nie do przejścia. Miejmy nadzieję, że następnym razem uda się nam odnaleźć w niej takie szczeliny, przez które wszyscy wspólnie przejdziemy.

Zapraszamy do udziału w kolejnych sesjach, których terminy podane są na polskiej podstronie Wirtualnych Grup Narracyjnych. Najbliższa grupa odbędzie się 2 lipca (czwartek) o godzinie 18:00 – zarejestruj się już dziś.

Wszelkie pytania oraz prośby o organizację indywidualnych grup narracyjnych dla Waszych zespołów można przesyłać na adres: narrativemedicine@cumc.columbia.edu oraz humanistykamedyczna@cm.uj.edu.pl.

Do zobaczenia niebawem!

Tomasz Różycki

Notatki

Kapitanie, notatki, które wziąłeś
ze sobą w kosmos, są dosyć naiwne.
Zrobiliśmy kopię i przy piwie
czasem śmiejemy się z działem nadzoru,
wyobrażając sobie, jak je czytasz
potencjalnym adresatom, kosmitom,
aniołom, kwarkom, ktokolwiek tam mieszka,
dla kogo ułożyłeś swój elementarz.
Powiedzmy, że ta nieskończona przestrzeń
jednak kończy się tak jak wszystko, ścianą,
murem z kamienia. W szpary są wtykane
małe karteczki z wielkimi prośbami.

(Wiersz pochodzi z tomu „Kapitan X”, Wydawnictwo a5, Kraków 2020.)

***

Thank you to everyone who began with us the work during this very unusual session.

Together we read “Notatki (Notes)”, a poem by Tomasz Różycki from a recent book “Kapitan X (Captain X)”, unfortunately not yet translated into English.

The work of today’s group was interrupted due to technical reasons. Problems running the virtual meeting appeared almost at the very beginning, and their increase forced the decision to end the session early. However, it is worth noting that the imaginative connection (apart from the scheme of physical causes and effects) between the expedition to the outer space in the poem, during which one encounters a stone wall, and the barrier of inconveniences so common in virtual reality, turned out to be a wall impassable for us today. Let us hope that next time we will be able to find cracks in the wall that will allow all of us to go through it together.

Please join us for our next session: Wednesday June 24th, 12pm EDT (in English), with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

If you have questions, or would like to schedule a personalized narrative medicine session for your organization or team, email us at narrativemedicine@cumc.columbia.edu.

We look forward to seeing you again soon!


Laboratori Di Medicina Narrativa: martedì 23 Giugno dalle 19 alle 20.30

Siamo stati molto lieti di avervi qui con noi!

Abbiamo letto insieme la poesia “Emozioni” di Lucio Battisti e Mogol (allegato al termine di questa pagina)  

In seguito, abbiamo usato il prompt “Capire tu non puoi…”

Condivideremo ulteriori dettagli della sessione nei prossimi giorni; vi invitiamo a rivisitare questa pagina nei prossimi giorni!

Invitiamo i partecipanti del laboratorio a condividere i propri scritti nella parte “blog” dedicata alla fine della presente pagina (“Leave a Reply”). Speriamo di creare, attraverso questo forum di condivisione, uno spazio in cui continuare la nostra conversazione!


EMOZIONI – Lucio Battisti e Mogol
 
Seguir con gli occhi un airone sopra il fiume e poi
Ritrovarsi a volare
E sdraiarsi felice sopra l'erba ad ascoltare
Un sottile dispiacere
E di notte passare con lo sguardo la collina per scoprire
Dove il sole va a dormire
Domandarsi perché quando cade la tristezza
In fondo al cuore
Come la neve non fa rumore
E guidare come un pazzo a fari spenti nella notte per vedere
Se poi è tanto difficile morire
E stringere le mani per fermare
Qualcosa che
È dentro me
Ma nella mente tua non c'è
Capire tu non puoi
Tu chiamale, se vuoi, emozioni
Tu chiamale, se vuoi, emozioni
Uscir nella brughiera di mattina dove non si vede a un passo
Per ritrovar sé stesso
Parlar del più e del meno con un pescatore
Per ore ed ore
Per non sentir che dentro qualcosa muore
E ricoprir di terra una piantina verde sperando possa
Nascere un giorno una rosa rossa
E prendere a pugni un uomo, solo perché è stato un po' scortese
Sapendo che quel che brucia non son le offese
E chiudere gli occhi per fermare
Qualcosa che
È dentro me
Ma nella mente tua non c'è
Capire tu non puoi
Tu chiamale, se vuoi, emozioni
Tu chiamale, se vuoi, emozioni

Live Virtual Group Session: 6pm EDT June 22nd 2020

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!

Our text for the session was “Clearing” by Martha Postlewaite.

Our prompt was: “Write about (or draw) your clearing.”

More details on the session will be posted soon, so check back!

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.

Please join us for our next session Wednesday, June 24th at 12pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

We look forward to seeing you again soon!


“Clearing” by Martha Postlewaite

Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create
a clearing
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
patiently,
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself to this world
so worthy of rescue.


Copyright 2020 Mindfulness Northwest
[read in the Winter 2014 MBSR class in Bellingham] 

Live Virtual Group Session: 2pm EDT June 20th 2020

A combination of new and returning participants, 28 total, joined us today, representing local and international perspectives.

Our text was Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye, posted below, and it was a crowd favorite. Two readers read the poem aloud. One participant pointed out how we experience loss internally in order to find kindness externally. We also noticed the juxtaposition of the images in the poem. Before we can find kindness, you must come to know it through sorrow and loss. Another participant mentioned that the dead Indian in a white poncho could be any of us who could contract/have died of Covid. Someone else mentioned that there is something of a universal and cosmopolitan approach to kindness, to see the cloth like a whole humanity needing kindness right now, beginning from an individual thread of sorrow and leading to kindness. Many readers pointed out the personification of kindness in small actions throughout the poem–tying the shoes (what a difference that can make to someone who can’t tie their own shoes) and gazing at bread (honoring it, knowing that it’s there). There was a consensus that we all need to be more attentive to the isolated acts of kindness in our lives.

Our prompt was “Write about a time that kindness did or did not find you. Five participants shared their writing, inspiring a rich array of responses from the listeners. Several of the stories shared were about “simple” acts of kindness that had lasting, healing effects. Other themes had to do with the power of kindness to unite us with others and with the way kindness can even remake and reshape one’s life. Some participants wrote poems with striking, revelatory metaphors for kindness–a small bird, a white box; others wrote moving stories in which unexpected expressions of kindness helped them recover from trauma.

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.

Please join us for our next session Monday, June 22nd at 6pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

We look forward to seeing you again soon!


 Kindness 
 by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

From Words Under the Words: Selected Poems. 
Copyright © 1995 by Naomi Shihab Nye.