A reading of this blog post that supports the practice below is on my website which is listed at the bottom.

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I am going to share a teaching with you, something I learned from I had started to disappear before she had her stroke. My mind made up all kinds of perfectly reasonable explanations for why I left. They weren’t wrong — but they weren’t the whole story. What I didn’t do was sit down with her and let myself shake and be afraid and angry and confused and just say to her: I don’t like you when you…


I love to tell my daughter stories about Catholic saints and Catholic history. Across all of our lines, our people have been Catholic, Catholic, Catholic. So far I haven’t been able to find anyone across any of our lines who thought the Protestant Reformation was worth converting for. Italian Catholics. German Catholics. Irish Catholics. French Catholics. And then the Wabenaki and Anishinaabeg lines that were forced to become Catholic because those were the missionaries assigned to that land. Choice and violence. Catholic. Catholic. Catholic.

For years, I hated anything to do with Catholicism. I still feel that way about most…


glass, at the moment of impact, as it begins to shatter

Hello, friends. About two months ago, I was invited to create a webinar/an offering for the Embodying Social Justice gathering. When we realized that my schedule and their live recording schedules didn’t line up, they invited me to create something ahead of time. I ended up doing a two-hour workshop on the concept of embodying impact. If you want to go directly to the workshop itself, you can go here. It’s free from January 27 through January 31. After that, if you use this link, you can still get to the workshop but you will pay. I am not sure…


One of the psychological manipulations of generations of capitalism is its tight hold that tells us: shhh, it doesn’t matter how much you have…. Shhhh….. Be wary….you will never have enough to be safe.

It’s there in most of us, no matter where we fall on the political spectrum. It’s one of the weapons that uses fear and envy to attack those whose people have still held fierce on to other truths — the truth of connection to all life, the truth and then the cultural expression of our innate desire to care for each other. …


coronavirus, image from naked science

Contradictions. Even if the name-changing coronovirus becomes a sweeping pandemic, most folks reading this will range between not feeling sick at all (even though you test positive for the virus) to having fevers and aches like the flu. Like all viruses, this is not an equal-opportunity attack. So far, men die at greater rates than women (there are no stats, of course, outside of the binary). And those who are elderly and/or live with compromised immune systems have staggered death rates: 14% for those who are our elders, those who are carriers of the stories of our past. We can’t…


Since writing this piece a year ago, I have learned so much more. Gratitude to the many who have shared your stories and memories. I have added a paragraph to the bottom of this piece, reflecting on the learning…

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I am writing about cultural memories and stories, many of which are not my own. I know that some of you reading this will be from or live in closer proximity to some of the cultural lineages that I name below. My desire in this writing is to not have you finish reading this piece and feel that, yet again…


oak tree branch drawing from The Comparative Anatomy of Trunks, 1675

Here is how it should be: as we are born and grow older, we learn ways to talk about and experience what is happening within our skin as well as what is happening outside of us. Education, we all know, should support us to experience life, ours and what surrounds us. This means supporting us to be in deep relationship with our first and original homes: our physical bodies and the communities of life that are their shape and swirl.

Contrary to what it says at the top of the page, learning anatomy doesn’t matter. Learning the latin names or…


oxytocin crystals

This week has been, like too many other weeks, a week overwhelming with hate. A friend of mine, someone I care about, posted on social media about an act of violence they had just experienced. They were vulnerable. Their word choice on a Facebook post triggered someone. And so there was rage and hatred and all of the ways that people can use social media to build a case that says your life isn’t worth anything.

That was a small thing, in the scale of hatred, and it was close to home. There was more, this week, more that was…


Humans are like coyotes. Coyotes are like humans. We have both learned how to survive as part of a pack and as a lone individual. We are both able to move back and forth between sharing power with members of a group and navigating the world alone. Coyotes and humans do this without diminishing our ability to survive. This is not true for all mammals. Most of us mammals are more heavily conditioned for one or the other. This means that, in moments of crisis, most mammals either depend on pack or go out on their own. They can’t switch…


image by Beth Moon, who photographs ancient trees.

This piece is written in honor of every person who, for reasons of the sediment of generational pain or the violence of targeting and/or random accidents, have died before we got the chance to find out if they were elders or just old. There’s a reason why people vote more conservatively as they get older. The ones who survive are disproportionately the ones who have been most protected. We are missing whole sections of our people. If you know their names, whisper or shout them now. Actively miss them. If you don’t know their names, remember them anyway. Miss them…

Susan Raffo

Thinking about the healing in justice and the justice in healing. www.susanraffo.com

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