Sunday, 19 January 2014


When inspiring professor and writer, Carolyn Heilbrun, took her life in early 2000, I was aghast. She chose to leave this world by her own hands. Carolyn is author of two of my treasured books, Hamlet's Mother and Other Women and The Last Gift of Time. We had shared a rich email exchange a few years before she ended her life. I remember reading about her death. I remember crying. I remember feeling sorry. Sorry for myself. And I remember reading that very day the words of psychologist, Rollo May. He said that our experiences of sorrow, pain, loss, grief, are opportunities. Opportunities to act. Opportunities to ask new questions of our very self. Opportunities to make choices about who we are, who we wish to be, and what we wish to do. This week, upon hearing of the death of my friend's daughter, Claire. I wept. I felt grief. I felt pain. I felt sorrow. AND Rollo May's words came back to me. As I walked home in the early afternoon after hearing of Claire's death, three Ravens danced overhead. As if in reminder of  what Sawbonna means, "I see you," I breathed opportunity. I saw, through tears of sorrow, of grief, that I was given the opportunity for clarity. Sawbonna is about how we  find the opportunity to live justice daily. Not merely because of the pain and sorrow that come with death, but in spite of them. Sawbonna with Carolyn and Claire, nudged me into a rich and vital remembering that daily I have an opportunity to be the change in the world I wish to see. Great acts are not necessary. Giving thanks for knowing we have opportunities to make a difference, matters. Gratitude for all that we know and do not know is Sawbonna. Is opportunity.


  1. Suicide, in my view, can be affirmative. It's a release into the deep dark origin of the mystery of all life.There are times when this world's sorrows are most definitely unworthy of us.

    I think of the great Gilles Deleuze (one of my cultural icons) throwing himself out of his apartment window in France.

  2. WOW!!!! very, very, very, sad! Of course those persons could make a choice about their lives; however someplace along the path of their lives they missed something very important and perhaps their closest friends also missed it. Life always has challenges and always will have them. If we can speak to one person and truly be heard in a time of peril within us, we may be set on a different part of our own unique path and not choose death by our own hand.. I at least hope so for that might change the course for that human being!
    Small steps in the journey can sometimes show us the beauty beneath the travail.
    No not in some war torn Country-- or in the weary mind--- is there not someone willing to hear us and recognize our internal beauty and speak it back to us? I hope so!
    When we are in Grief we cannot really make it into something else but we can attempt to open to the absolute formlessness of Love, even a second at a time. We are worthy!!!!!!
    Misty Santana