Week 2 Reflection
The Bones of Who We Are
(Week of October 19th)
with all the women
you once were.
at their feet.
offer them incense
and give them
and let them be.
for they are the bones
of the temple
you sit in now.
for they are
leading you toward
// i have been a thousand different women
by Emory Hall
This week, you are invited to reflect on the above poem. Take your time, read slowly and a few times through. Perhaps the 2nd or 3rd time you read it, see if a specific line or section sticks out to you. Focus on that part of the poem and reflect further. Pay attention to any feelings or thoughts that arise. Perhaps journal your thoughts down. Remember: there is no right or wrong answer, and not all poems resonate with everyone. Whatever response you have to these words, your insights are valued and welcomed.
Questions for Reflection & Discussion
As you reflect on the following questions, please keep in mind that there are no right answers. Perhaps you just want to pick one question and reflect on it for the week or maybe you want to spend time on each one, do what feels right for you (and what you can fit in!)
What resonated, caught your attention, made you want to dig deeper or left you feeling conflicted about the above reflection?
This poem by Emory Hall is a beautiful expression of the layers each of us hold within us, where we have been, where we come from, how our lived experiences are the “bones” of who we are now. What are some earlier experiences in your life that you can see unexpectedly surfacing within motherhood? How have they impacted who you are today? Some words that might help in framing this idea: challenge, guide, serve, reflect, equip, unease, motivate.
What are the names, roles, other identifiers you have been called or call yourself? (i.e. woman, mother, wife, partner, friend, sister, student, artist, etc.) Have any surprised you? What is a facet of yourself you would like to explore more?
What does it look like to “make peace” with the women you have been? Or, even just the “mothers” you have been? This can be a messy question and there are no “right” answers.
Reflect on the lines: “for they are / the rivers / of wisdom / leading you toward / the sea.” Perhaps read it a few times in a row and allow some silence to give the words space to grow. Do any feelings surface? Which ones? Does this visual of being led “toward the sea” offer any insight or inspiration to you?
Are there any connections for you between the ideas in this poem/prompt/questions and your relationship with your child(dren)? How might this outlook inform the way you mother?
These are optional prompts you may choose to engage with or not. While we won’t center our conversation on these responses, the process of journaling/engaging in a practice can be a helpful tool for deeper self-reflection and you are welcome to share your insights as part of our dialogue.
Intentions & Identity: Take a moment to write a list of every identifier that comes to mind for yourself. Don’t overthink it, just write whatever comes to mind and let it be. Next, ask yourself what are words you would like to see describe you? (perhaps you wrote some, perhaps not). Choose two or three. Now, write an intention of how you will make a practice out of that word. For instance, perhaps you write something like “present”, you might write down a step to get there that is attainable such as “I will not look at my phone while I am spending time with my child”. Try to pick an easy first step. You could come back to this list in a couple of weeks to remind yourself of your intentions and perhaps choose another step in the direction you want to go.
One practice that can help in visualizing and attaining a new habit is imagining what you will feel like when it actually happens. You might write an affirmation, such as “I feel so grounded as I am right here with my child, not missing out on the moments that matter to me.”