Live Virtual Group Session: 12pm EST November 4th 2020

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!

An intimate group of 16 gathered today to watch a 2-minute scene from the movie, “Tree of Life,” from director Terrence Malick. We oriented ourselves in the scene by considering place; where are we? What appeared to be a 1950s American dream-like “all is good” mythology brought with it questions: who is the messenger? Can nature be antithetical, antagonistic and punishing? We agreed that the imagery and language in the scene were open to multiple levels of understanding and affiliation, based on each viewer’s life experience and definition of nature and grace. “Nature” might refer to flora and fauna, but what about human nature? Is grace possible in the moment? There seemed to be forces at play (good, bad and neutral) that evoked a range of feelings: nostalgia, awe, and an unsettling nervousness (“Something bad is about to happen”). We noticed how the soft and soothing “church music” heard throughout contrasted sharply with the forceful waterfall near the scene’s conclusion, one of several imagery-rich juxtapositions that seemed to be manipulated cinematically for dramatic effect.

We heard from six writers in response to the prompt, ““Take us to a place of nature and grace.” 

Our first writer situated us in Brazil, and led with the line “There is zero grace in Brazil”, opening us to the emotionally charged current social injustice that allows for the release of a rapist, who has preyed upon women. This narrative was followed by one that situated us in yet another place entirely — a mountain in Syria, where we contemplated the millennia of struggle that the sweeping fields below had experienced. Our next writer invited us to a view of loons and ducks from the eye level of a kayaker in the cottage country of Canada, a place where nature and grace are married forever. Another marriage of experiences was explored as our next narrative took us into the physiologic and psychic connection of two people touching — a sensual occurrence we are missing in this time of COVID. Following this a writer explored our interactions with one another but through the eyes and smiles of two children finding common ground and the melting of hate and the grace that comes from acceptance. Our final reflection returned us to the question of nature versus grace as we considered the wolf hunting the elk. Is this tragedy? Triumph? Is this grace? 

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 Monday, November 9th at 6pm EST, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

2 thoughts on “Live Virtual Group Session: 12pm EST November 4th 2020

  1. Julia Caufour

    Take us to a place of nature and grace

    “0 grace

    Today is a really difficult day in Brazil. Especially as a woman.
    Today, I see no grace.
    We do, in Brazil, have a lot of nature. However, I can’t, today, take you to a place of grace.

    A rapist has been set free and the judge decided it was a ” rape with no intention to rape ”
    There is no grace in Brazil today.
    The coroner report found his DNA on the victim’s body.
    There are multiple videos and multiple witnesses, but no grace at all.
    In Brazil, if he’s rich and white, the man seems untouchable.
    I see no grace today.
    The judge’s translation would be ” manslaughter equivalent for rape ”
    Mari Ferrer was humiliated at the jury. The rapist’ lawyer told her she “must love all of this”.
    Her photos were manipulated, exposed and commented by the lower. She was harassed, again, at the judgement.
    Mari Ferrer cried. The rapist’ lawyer called her tears ” crocodile tears ” …
    What the hell, Brazil?!
    No grace. No love. No mercy.

    Justice for Mari Ferrer.

    Grace for Mari Ferrer.

    #justiçapormariferrer “

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A place of both nature and grace~~~

    A playground is a place of wonder and amazement.
    Children jumping, playing, shouting, running, laughing, smiling.
    Life set free.

    I look to the side and see a little girl standing off by herself,
    separate from the others.
    Her face is sullen.
    She is alone.
    She so much wants to join the others but she can’t force herself to move forward.
    And so she remains behind the tree in the playground yard.
    Protected but alone.

    Another little girl, playing with her friends, sees the lonely girl, and slowly walks toward her.
    She smiles at her and the smile is returned
    The offer is made to come and play
    and broad smiles overtake both faces as nods of an agreement are made.

    Small actions making huge changes in the life of one little girl.
    Acceptance is a gift of grace to present to others,
    for it melts away the hatred in the world.


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