Saturday, August 29, 2009


Please follow us at our new blog site:

We look forward to seeing you there :-)

Monday, March 9, 2009

WSO on National Public Radio!

Here is an interview of Chris and Ophelia on the NPR radio show Sound Focus.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Playback Theatre

Ophelia and I had the opportunity to spend our pre-Valentine Day show watching, or rather participating, in Playback Theatre. What is Playback? It's been around a long time, and it's like no other theatre you probably have been to.

In Playback, members of the audience are invited to come up to the stage and tell a story. The theme that night was Valentines Day. So people came up and told their stories. Some were happy, some sad, some angry, and some were inspirational.

The awesome thing about Playback is the general vibe of the audience. Everyone is so open and they are expecting to share a little of themselves for a performance like this.

At one point the host came around asking for an audience member and Ophelia raised her hand. I hid myself in my seat as I fully expected her to share some embarrassing moment involving yours truly.

She started tellling the story of how we first met. Just as I thought I was off the hook she said,"...but one thing that really annoys me about him is that he plays the Bee Gees all the time on the stereo..."

Before I had a chance to register embarrassed I yelled out, "It's NOT the Bee Gees IT'S Andy Gibb!!" No one disses on Andy while i'm around!

As you can probably surmise the Playback Troupe's performance ended with a playful rendition of some 70's disco dancing.

It was a great night. I encourage you to support Playback Theatre. They are all over the U.S. and Canada, and they are not for profit, making ends meet largely on audience donations.

So look up your local Playback and attend! For those survivors of trauma it can be quite therapeutic to see your local playback act out a difficult experience you may have had in the past. It's just another way of speaking out!


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Only One

It can be difficult sharing your story of abuse with others. I held onto my secret for over 20 years. The sad thing about holding onto secrets is that it makes you feel like you can't be you. I hate secrets. I had so many and I felt this scraping on my soul for having harbored them. I know that we all have our secrets, it's just part of living I guess. The erosion of ourselves comes when we feel as if we need to cling so tightly to them.

I speak about my abuse publicly, in front of different kinds of people. Many of them are survivors who are still clinging to the secret, trying to find a path to freedom. Many survivors are compelled to finally let someone know that they were abused. This is usually a highly emotional event, sort of like a human volcano erupting. It's been years and sometimes decades that we have been holding this back, this cataclysmic dark negative aura around us.

Even as I have told my story to loved ones and they have accepted it wholeheartedly. Even as I have felt the love and support from many of you out there. Even as, there is still this vestige of shame that is slow to dissipate.

We have been feeling shameful for our thoughts and actions for such a long time, especially those survivors of child abuse. But in our journeys back to the truth, to the free expression of the truth, we shake a little more shame off. Until one day we will reach a point where we fully realize we were not to blame, we didn't ask for this.

I can honestly remember most of the moments where I shook a little more shame off. No matter how far I have gone in my healing I still feel the tingle when I hear your stories because I can relate to these destructive events that happened to you. I can relate to your hope for freedom from the web of abuse you are in. I can be inspired by your path to freedom.

I started reading a book this morning and all those feelings stirred up inside of me again. The disgust, the fear, the deep shame to be who I was. But I wasn't alone. This was the authors story and I felt a little less shame after each turning of the page. I felt all those things that he did, and once again I knew I wasn't the only one.

You are not the only one.

Knowing this brings us out of our lonely, hopeless worlds. So I continued reading the book and felt a sense of relief. Like a gray cloud clearing within me. That all the thoughts in the heads of other survivors were my own. That all the feelings, emotions, and actions that other survivors have taken were my own. I felt relief that I wasn't the only one.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

When You Get There

When you get there, it will not look like healing. There, where exactly is that? There, where are we going? There, she says, as if it exists on a map. THIS WAY TO INCEST HEALING. RAPE GOES AWAY THIS EXIT. There, there, as in, to the place of new Earth. You have never been here before, away from the evil of your so called elders, unenmeshed from the black-widow-spun-incest-web. This is healing. It is barren at first. You will look out over the land and think to yourself, why am I here, where there is nothing?  It hurts. It is scary. You will feel alone. Maybe you will feel nothing as you approach the precipice. You will jump, free falling. You must jump, girl. Jump into that nothingness you see, feel, and hear. 

Nothing. Upon landing, you will turn around and see the demons retreat. You will be free. Lonely, yes, aching, yes, but free. Yes, free of lies, of intergenerational poison. Free of Daddy, with his raping heart, Mother who took flight, others who deemed you unseen, unheard.  But this is not nothing, this unexplored place. There is YOU. You are never nothing. 
But when you get there, it can feel and look like nothing, you may want to run into the past, cling back to the old tree vines, rotten and slick as they are, for fear of this seemingly barren nothingness. 
But, if you listen deep and hard and still, you will hear it, you will feel it; 
You are a human seed. You are life springing anew. You are the reason. At first this uncharted territory is blindingly lonely, you look for Proust’s new eyes to guide you, Maya’s strength to rise, Alice’s purple fields to speak to you. Where is everything? You are the first, woman. You are the roots, the branches, the trunk, the rings within the body, the sap, the bark armor. 
At first, it looks like fucking Chernobyl, so vastly damaged. But your eyes become newer all the time, your strength rises toward the sun daily, and in the long, slow future, purple blossoms.  Life herself is what you are. 
Grow your new tree. Your soil is beautiful, your seedlings whole, babies bursting into Earth like light through a prism, all miraculous color and light and reflective. You are a pioneer, Woman, you have led yourself through a quaking terror so sharp and piercing most would have given up, given in, gone along, saying,” There is no other pill to take, so I swallow the one that made me ill.” But not YOU, for you are life herself.  YOU are never nothing.  The trees know this, as do your children and spirits yet to be your children. The light kissed dawn knows this, you are surely something, surely within you a teeming garden awaits germination, the robust, fully grown oak tree within the acorn. THERE, that’s where ‘there’ it is. There lives in YOU. That child inside of you, the one you were, sacred and innocent, curious and free, THERE is the place you are going. And You will know the wonder of it all, when you get there. 

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holidays Past, Present, and Future: From Turbulence to Calm

I am feeling like saying say hello for the Holidays. Hello!!
The Holidays this year are pretty darn Merry in my home. This year feels as if a corner has been turned. I have had moments of deep calm and clarity. Partly I believe due to the fact that I have been exercising regularly for quite some time, and getting enough sleep, sex, and food. I have been getting way too much caffeine, but some things never change! I definitely feel energized for the holidays. I've been listening to The Reindeer Room remixed Christmas songs, it's a great compilation of songs set to groovy trip hop beats. I love it! That is part of my new family tree tradition. I have been concentrating on my new family tree as of late, we are the roots, the seeds even. I even bought an actual tree, a "Glitter tree", from Trader Joe's that will grow to 10 feet. We tore all the old stuff out. It's gone, ashes, ciao. I feel like a pioneer. I was having a conversation with a special person in my life the other day, and we were discussing past lives, whether they exist or not, and I said, for me, I do not feel like I have been here before. She said to me, "Maybe this is your first." That really resonated within me in a concrete way. That is just how it feels to me. I must be very careful too with my legacy, with what I pass to my kids having no blueprint to go by.
It's not that sexual abuse and my father are my only story, it's that that experience is one of many .
It's not about living in the past, but allowing the past to live in you and honoring it and healing from it and knowing when to allow it to go, piece by piece. It's not about spinning in circles but traveling the healing spiral and spiraling up rather than down. It's about being as hypersensitive to our goodness as we are our faults and perceived flaws. It is about realizing that this is your world now, not his/your abusers. It is about realizing you just may have to start over, and that you are a pioneer emotionally, spiritually, and physically. It is about blazing a warpath toward helping speak the truth about your life, which gives others in your life the permission to do the same. It is about learning when you are being treated well, and when it is time to let go of that friend or relationship you do not want to admit is killing you because you need to fix people. (I've tried that, and sure enough, my parents can not be fixed by proxy nor can my childhood.) Especially for the holidays, it is about breaking with old patterns and traditions and being a student of your new life. This means learning how YOU want to celebrate, reading about what others do and brainstorming for nouveauways to live from. 
Paths to New Traditions: Create a collage that envisions your new values and rituals for the Holidays. 
New kinds of music. Research ITunes. Google "Nontraditional" holiday music, or whatever you are interested in. If you never had anything traditional and want that as a new way of celebrating, do that. 
I absolutely love remixed Holiday music, Christmas blues, anything that is groovy, loungey, jazzy,  and unique. Get yourself ornaments that are in alignment with your creative side. Use this opportunity to open up your creative channel. Christmas/Holidays are a goldmine for creativity!
The Holidays for me are exciting not only because it is a collective celebration, and a time when things are magical and full of wonder, but also because it is the beginning of new beginnings. After the Holidays we get to look forward to a brand new year! 

Yes, it is hard, painful, and challenging. It is not as hard or painful or costly as giving up or giving in and going along with the old family energy. That is just not an option for me, and so I go forward. Since beginning this and specifically implementing new Holiday traditions with my family, it gets so much easier as the rituals you create become unique to YOU and YOUR family. It is empowering. I feel completely empowered. Of course, I still tear up at times when thinking of my father and how it is not even safe to love a man who could rape you. This is normal. Yet, I can feel those moments and still feel EMPOWERED by what I have created now. And that is one of these basic human rights we had taken from us, the right to be empowered. I want to remind you, especially if you are struggling right now, it is YOUR life now. YOU have the power to change the trajectory your life travels. Allow the soft, the beautiful, the mundane, the sparkling moments, the peace that is your birthright, allow the light and allow the dark too. I think we live in parallels as survivors, ( I know I do)we step into the now, what is happening today, but we know the pain is till next to us, and that is okay too.
 In Maya's wise words:
When we come to it 
We must confess that we are the possible... 
We are the miraculous, the true wonders of this world 
Free to choose our ends, and our new beginnings 
That is when, and only when... 
We come to it.
Maya Angelou

Merry Happy Everything to ALL! 
Love and Light, Sarah

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Parent With Presence: Simply Essential for School Success

We all want our children to be successful in school. Children need to know that they are loved, safe, and sacred to us. There are many ways to demonstrate this to them. Words are one thing, but action is key. One simple way I want to discuss is volunteering your time in your child’s classroom.Children spend their days at school, and we at home or at work. When we let them go into the world, we have to be absolutely committed to remaining a PRESCENCE in their lives even as we are physically apart.When a parent makes the effort to come to school, and volunteer, even for half and hour in the classroom, you are giving your child the gift of your presence, by way of your time spent in his or her world. I must also stress the importance of Dads going in and helping out as well. My son lights up like a Christmas tree when my husband or me comes in to help out. He says,” I feel so…special, Mama. Just…. like, I can see you are always caring about me.“That’s the truth, kids see that you are there with them, aiding the teacher, acquainting yourself with the staff, the other children, and their lives as they know it at school.Many of us did not have present parents in any sense of the word. I come from an abusive family. I can vividly remember never having a parent come to school for anything. When I was in a school play in the second grade, I was so excited I could barely stand it. I was a doll, and my job was to sit on the stage for the whole play! I got to wear a special dress and special doll make up. When no one showed up, I felt such a deep sadness, and sense of invisibility. This is a mild example, but a poignant one nonetheless. I vowed years later that my children would never feel such feelings; stinging rejection and the humiliation of being stared at when your name is called and no parent stands up for you in the crowd. I know many of you have had similar experiences. If this is your legacy, it can stop with you.
A good compass for parenting with presence is getting as involved in your child’s classroom as much as you can. I understand parents work. As a stay at home mother, it has been a challenge for me at times to find child care for my youngest so that I can get to school. I have seen parents who come in once every two weeks on a lunch shift. Children talk about it all week and are overjoyed when their mom or dad comes in. What a gift!
One that we can give just by showing up. Isn’t that true for so much of life? Just show up. Showing up emotionally, not just physically. Here are some simple and easy tips for fostering presence in your child’s life:
*Make friends with the teacher, every year. Whether you talk on the phone, by email, or in person. Just talk. It’s all about communication. Some teachers are better at this than others. If you have a teacher who is not so hot in this area, voice your concerns calmly. If you are blessed with a teacher who is on the ball, be sure you thank her or him often.
*With my son, who is a second grader, I am co-room parent. I was sole room mother in kindergarten and chaperoned every field trip. This year I talk three or four days a week with my son’s teacher. If you wait until conference or progress report time, you may end up having a much bigger mess to clean up. Kids can fall behind in a flash. It’s all about being a maintainer, a sort of diligence cop. If your child is behind, it falls on you as much as your child, because it is our job as parents to set rules and boundaries and enforce them, they need us to be on their backs all the time. Resist as they might, that is to be expected and is even more reason to get in there and stay in the process with them.
Some suggestions:
*Join the PTA, try to go to meetings. Your PTA needs you. You need the PTA. It’s a win-win.
*Go to as many school events as possible. We go to almost every one. This gives my son an extra dose of belonging in his school community.
*Offer to bring in extra supplies for the class. Yes, they always need supplies. It could be Kleenex or disinfectant. Small or large, it will be appreciated.
*Have an ongoing conversation with your child’s teacher about how your child is doing. Read the lesson plans if you can. Ask for handouts on exactly what they are learning. For example, for reading levels, most schools have certain levels your child needs to be at in order to be making adequate progress. Your library should have corresponding handouts with age appropriate books that aid in your child reading on the correct level. If they do not have this, ask them to provide them.
*Stress the importance of education, in general. Education is the key to the future. My son knows it is fundamental right and also a responsibility he must take very seriously.
~Let me preempt, you think you do not have the time? Prioritize. Make the time. Don’t talk about it, be about it. The laundry can wait. Start early, kindergarten, even preschool if your child is in one.
As a mother who makes an effort to be a present force in my child’s life at school, as well as home, I pop into class early. I help organize, along with the my co-room mother, Learning Experiences, Center Time, Book Fair, and the volunteer list. It’s sort of like being a detective. It’s a fun way to be in the know. I can see Dominic’s self esteem and sense of self value rise each and every time I reach into his life at school by being there. Yes, sometimes I am simply stapling their journals together for the week. I sit and staple and watch and listen. Every few minutes Dominic will look up and smile at me. The other kids do too, and I feel so blessed to be a source of presence for them. Other times I am working with groups, and at times I am assigned to some one on one time with a particular child. I have made an effort to know each child in his class beyond their names. Dominic loves this. In this way, you get to be a sort of Earth Mother to all of your child’s friends. The hugs and hi-fives I receive from his classmates when I come in makes my day!
On the research side, in study after study, researchers discover how important it is for parents to be actively involved in their child's education. Here are some of the findings of major research into parental involvement:

When parents are involved in their children's education at home, they do better in school. And when parents are involved in school, children go farther in school — and the schools they go to are better.

The family makes critical contributions to student achievement from preschool through high school. A home environment that encourages learning is more important to student achievement than income, education level or cultural background.Reading achievement is more dependent on learning activities in the home than is math or science.

Reading aloud to children is the most important activity that parents can do to increase their child's chance of reading success. Talking to children about books and stories read to them also supports reading achievement.When children and parents talk regularly about school, children perform better academically.Three kinds of parental involvement at home are consistently associated with higher student achievement: actively organizing and monitoring a child's time, helping with homework and discussing school matters.

The earlier that parent involvement begins in a child's educational process, the more powerful the effects.

Positive results of parental involvement include improved student achievement, reduced absenteeism, improved behavior, and restored confidence among parents in their children's schooling.

Involvement in your child's education can mean:Reading to your child

Checking homework every night.

Discussing your children's progress with teachers.

Voting in school board electionsHelping your school to set challenging academic standards

Limiting TV viewing on school nights

Becoming an advocate for better education in your community and state. 

We are witness to our children‘s lives. We need to band together as parents and be a strong, stable, encouraging presence in their school life. For me, it is really about being there in mind and body. This is parenting with presence.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Advocate event posting

Interview with author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor’s Story

Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor’s Story, will be interviewed on October 11, 2008 6-7 PM ET.

Listen live at http://www. or with the hosts at http://www.

Lynn will discuss her memoir in October, which is National Domestic Violence Awareness
Month. If you cannot listen live, wait for the archive which will be at"

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


As requested, here are the new logo banners for you to link back to from your sites.

Copy and paste the below listed code of your choice.

Thank you for all that you do!!

Banners to link

Banners to link