Live Virtual Group Session: 12PM EDT June 17th 2022

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!

For this session we read a poem His Stillness by Sharon Olds, posted below. 

Our prompt was: Write about sitting in stillness

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

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 June 20th at 6pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

His Stillness by Sharon Olds

The doctor said to my father, “You asked me
to tell you when nothing more could be done.   
That’s what I’m telling you now.” My father   
sat quite still, as he always did,
especially not moving his eyes. I had thought   
he would rave if he understood he would die,   
wave his arms and cry out. He sat up,   
thin, and clean, in his clean gown,
like a holy man. The doctor said,
“There are things we can do which might give you time,
but we cannot cure you.” My father said,   
“Thank you.” And he sat, motionless, alone,   
with the dignity of a foreign leader.
I sat beside him. This was my father.
He had known he was mortal. I had feared they would have to   
tie him down. I had not remembered
he had always held still and kept quiet to bear things,   
the liquor a way to keep still. I had not   
known him. My father had dignity. At the   
end of his life his life began
to wake in me

Source: Strike Sparks: Selected Poems, 1980-2002 (Alfred A. Knopf, 2004)

6 thoughts on “Live Virtual Group Session: 12PM EDT June 17th 2022

  1. Narrative Medicine
    June 17.2022
    PROMT: Write about sitting in stillness

    thank you for the memories
    at sunrise
    coast guard beach
    intentions to go far
    beyond the jetty
    clear and calm
    a few boats in the distance
    my breath a reminder of this life
    a rhythm a cadence
    all my own
    no one to witness but sea lions and gulls
    I emerge from the jetty
    out to sea
    up the coast
    body moving
    breath… guiding…
    swish dip lift pause
    the stillness of mind
    this body allows
    I stop
    I sit
    in stillness
    of body and mind
    the tide moves me
    I am at peace
    til I return,
    Melissa Adylia Calasanz

    Liked by 1 person

  2. About sitting in stillness~~~

    She, pale and thin, lay on her bed of clean, bleached sheets.
    Her eyes closed, her chest rising and falling slowly.
    The end, which always comes too soon for those to be left behind, had arrived.
    We surrounded her bed, uttering silent prayers to the heavens above.
    One last exhale and she was gone, her battle had ended.
    We had to share her now with her Creator.

    There still remains a stillness in my heart when I think about her and the powerful force she was in my life.


  3. When I used to think of my father, I thought of a quiet
    withdrawn and shy man sitting in stillness
    with an unequivocal position of honesty and rightness

    walls slightly corroding every now and then
    a controlled reticence, awkwardly trying to be present
    I used to think of him on his large
    square, velour green chair
    back in Australia
    positioned in a corner of the sitting room
    a corner that became his pondering territory
    for his gentle unfettered nature

    Sitting in that 3-metre square corner
    just next to mum’s adored and dustless china cabinet
    packed full of her tiny crystal ornaments
    ornate glass perfume bottles
    china swans and Toby jugs
    elephant tusks too, but not real ones
    I used to participate in the ornament collection
    a china clown on a swing one year for Christmas

    The gentle ambivalence of dad’s stillness
    prefigured a wall that stopped
    only a quarter of a centimetre away from the green chair
    in the end it became contagious
    for the ones who heard his protective silent whisper
    You learnt to listen for the unspoken rules
    and the green velour chair became heavier
    than you imagined.


    • michele348

      You so eloquently describe the green chair and the soft-spoken father who occupied it. A sense of quiet but firm authority. Your response reminds me of my father’s pipe that he used to smoke these aromatic blends in. When you smelled the smoke in the air, you knew he was never too far away. He also was quiet and soft-spoken, but you exactly where the boundaries of behavior were. I have his pipe placed in a box where I’ve collected a variety of items from parts of my life.


      • harrishelenhotmailcom

        Thank you for your response dear Michele, yes it seems our fathers’ were both quiet and soft spoken yet as you say, you knew exactly where the boundaries of behavior were. Lovely that you have your fathers pipe in a box along with other collected items, all these small things become so very precious when we lose our loved ones..I am sorry for this very late response as I’ve only just seen it today Michele as I hadn’t looked at the website.

        Liked by 1 person

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