[See below for events before or during sabbatical.]

SOME months ago, I knew I needed time off to write.  In my early years, children and family, teaching, activism and holding community formed an essential unit and still I managed to write in the between times. My first published book, Skin: Shadows/Silence: A Love Letter in the Form of a Novel is composed of short entries that could be written between taking my sons to school and picking them up, or during naps, or their visits to friends. Many of my books were written that way. Several times I rented an office. Wherever we lived had enough physical space – a writer needs little – but rarely had enough mental or spiritual space. When my sons were teenagers, I rented a trailer in Valyermo, CA, a desert area two hours away from my home where I went, when I could, for weekends alone to write. When my children were grown, I could do healing work and teach and write at the same time. I was able to take time off, to go into silence. The books appeared. But over the last years, teaching, healing, community building, activism filled the spaces that should have been occupied by creative work, walking the land, speaking with the spirits, family and companionship. Pondering this, it would be easy to blame age, an inevitable slowing down, but I find myself working longer and harder with equal energy. I think the difficulty is with the times in which we live. A deadly combination of increasing administrative nonsense and extreme need caused by the global and national descent into violence, brutishness and environmental destruction demands our constant attention, willingness to bear witness and to grieve.

Yesterday an interviewer asked me how I had been affected by and what am I thinking since making the pilgrimage to the Death Camps in 1989, which I wrote about in The Other Hand, the novel that wrestled with the two koans of the 20th century – the Holocaust and the Atom Bomb. My answer surprised me.

I remembered how we wondered about the Germans who didn’t respond to the Concentration Camps. We wondered how they allowed the Holocaust – not directed only at Jews – to exist and continue. But now, we live with Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, rendition and waterboarding. We are involved with secret prisons, houses of torture and global scrutiny. We know and yet these unconscionable activities continue. Also DU, white phosphorous, Agent Orange, GMOs, Round Up, Fracking, Keystone Pipeline. Yes, we know …. and yet! The mind of WWII continues; it seems we have ingested it and become what we claimed to have gone to war to oppose.

The Holocaust itself has morphed into Ecocide. Genocide, still existant on the planet, has developed into the murder of the Earth and all Life. Attending such times with heart and compassion takes every moment of every day.

I started a novel three years ago. It has a certain necessity to it.  I am determined to follow this new urgency. I am taking a sabbatical to write this and another book, and to be with Spirit in order to gain, if I can, some wisdom and perspective with which to meet these times.

My sabbatical begins July 1st. It will go at least until December 31st. A few events are still scheduled between now and then and I am listing them here. I may or may not post anything on this Blog. I make no other commitments except to Spirit and where I am called as I listen as deeply as I can. My hope is that you will accompany me with deep listening and prayer. Restoration, sanity and beauty depend on our doing the work and changing our lives. We have to do this together.

Writer’s Intensive May 24-30, 2014 Topanga CA’ Intensive –

Writing Workshop: Finding the Stories of Our Lives. June 6-8, 2014

Rowe Conference Center, Rowe MA More info: 

Healers’ Intensive – June 21-27, 2014 Topanga CA

Healing Stories – Sept. 5 – 7, 2014.
Sacred Wisdom Centre, Guelph, ON, Canada
 Contact: Barbara Booth

ReVisioning Medicine Council and Clinic, September !3-15 2014 , Minneapolis MN  Contact Michele Rae <>

5 responses to “SABBATICAL

  1. Michelle Gubbay May 10, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    Blessings to you, dearest Deena, for all your work in the outer world, and all your work in the inner world … in all the worlds … All blessings to you for your sabbatical journey.

  2. Andrea Mathieson May 11, 2014 at 3:29 am

    I honour your commitment to pull back and write, Deena. Your gift of words and stories is so powerful and needed in these times. I’m sorry that I will be in Europe while you visit Guelph for I would have loved to reconnect. Currently, I am working on a book as well: Earth-Light, Restoring our Sacred Covenant with the Earth. I am diving deeper into the earth-teachings that are in my body-soul; Gaia’s Invitation, the divinatory book of poetry, was part of a much larger body of work that has lied fallow on my desk for many years. Now it is time… I too hear and honour the call to speak for Her. May your quiet time of writing be nourishing for you. I know it will be, ultimately, a true gift for us.

  3. Marnie May 11, 2014 at 4:18 am

    I wish you deep exploration and inspired words, wishing you certainly as much a gift as all the words you brought forth in me. While I am ensconced firmly on the east coast, I reach for a similar space to explore and to take a stronger stance on the same issues.

    Sending you support. Hoping for the flow of words through us.

    And love. Always love.


  4. Linda Belans May 11, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Happy Happy Mother’s day for all of those you Mother in the world.

  5. z May 14, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    “No matter where we go, it stinks of death “, baby burrowing owl said to his family.

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