Poetry, Song, and Turning 74

Dear New School Friends,

We just completed our 197th Cancer Help Program. We will hold our 200th in April. Each time eight people show up from a cross the country — and often around the world.

Many have recurrent cancer. They come for many reasons. They come to find others who understand what they are going through. They come in hope of learning about integrative therapies that might enhance or extend life. They come to process what they have been going through in life-changing treatments. But above all, they come to find a way to hold this part of their lives with greater peace of mind.

I turned 74 on October 22nd. I entered my 75th year on this sacred earth. I live at the place where the land meets the ocean, where the earth meets the sky. Each day I give thanks for Commonweal — for our community, for our work, for this place.

I live in a place where light meets darkness, where love meets loss, where understanding meets mystery. I live in gratitude for it all. Continue reading

North Bay Fires: Commonweal Voices

fire north bay sun

Dear Friends,

The confluence of catastrophes that have been circling the globe has landed in Northern California with disastrous fire losses in Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino Counties.

Commonweal has many friends, Cancer Help Program alumni, staff, and board members in the Fire Zone. The stories of those who have lost homes, been evacuated, or moved out themselves because they could not breathe or saw the wisdom of leaving are flowing toward us like an incoming tide. Commonweal is just south of the Fire Zone, so we have not been directly affected yet.

New School Coordinator and Commonweal Communications Manager Kyra Epstein is organizing our resources on FaceBook and our website to gather stories, resources, and ideas of how all of us can help. We also have placed a NorCal Fire Fund option on the Commonweal donation page. We’ll give 100% of donations to fire victims and their communities, guided by the local knowledge of our board, staff, and friends. There are many good places to donate. We just want to offer a place for people who trust our approach to healing work.

Here’s Kyra:

Monday morning at 7am, I woke up in my Sonoma County home when my neighbor tapped on my door. “Pack a bag,” she said. Cable, Internet, and phones were down, and had been since late the night before, though I hadn’t known it. Something had happened. The sun was blood red and the sky was glowing. Ash was sifting down and collecting on surfaces. The air smelled like campfire. Continue reading