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“Writing in Community,” held September 26 at Turning Point: A Center for Hope and Healing, drew together 18 people from the greater Kansas City area for an afternoon of writing, sharing, speaking and witnessing truths. Turning Point is an organization dedicated to providing services and programming for people living with serious illness of all ages and their caregivers and families. Participating in the workshop facilitated by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg were caregivers, people living with COPD, cancer (some late stage), Parkinson’s heart conditions, chronic back pain, MS, diabetes and various autoimmune diseases. The participants were from many backgrounds and ethnicities, and ranging in age from late 20s to 70s.
After reading Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Wild Geese,” participants took a line of the poem and wrote their own poem, story or journal entry. Everyone then shared their work, a time of laughing, crying and deep resonance before going on to write from Rumi’s poem, “The Guest House.”
In between, we visited with each other, snacked on Lou’s superb homemade gingerbread and Teri’s ever-present M & Ms, and told stories from our lives. While many in the workshop have been coming to Caryn’s workshops for years, some were here for the first time, but all were focused on making community together and letting unfold for us what community is and could be, especially in times of facing our own mortality and other challenges.