I have had bits and pieces of this conversation with Jessica over the last few years and each time, I have felt something inside me shift and change. Some of this is the specifics of what Jessica is sharing — how we hold the pre-emergent life of a child-before-birth and how transphobia impacts that period — have changed how I approach those I love who are growing a descendant inside. And it’s also more than that: something about Jessica’s thinking, about how they approach and unpack this concept of attachment, has also generally broadened my sense of what is possible…


Throughout the 1980s, during my 20s, I lived in England. Bristol, to be exact. I remember walking with a friend, someone about ten years older than me. It was a happy sunny day. I remember skipping down the sidewalk, a horizon of Victorian buildings and winding streets laid out in front of us as we strolled down the hill. I made some kind of exclamation, about how I couldn’t believe I was there and how funnily DIFFERENT everything was, even though we all spoke the same language and had some amount of shared history. My friend smiled at me, I…


I remember the first time that I learned about the buddy system as a part of organizing. It was during a five-day training held by Training for Change , maybe 12 or 13 years ago. On the first day, they paired us up with someone to be our buddy. Then they asked us to sit down with our buddies, generally share a bit about ourselves, and then to share two specific things: the ways in which we get in our own way and the ways in which our buddy could support us when/if this happened. It was really quite beautiful…


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…

Susan Raffo

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

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