Barbara Braver began writing as a child, starting a one-page weekly newspaper called Neighborhood News. It lasted for a full summer, to the amusement of several indulgent neighbors. This was the beginning of her writing life.
I could just go on forever with poems. There are so many ways people have said so many wonderful things.
After college graduation, she moved to the Boston area, drawn by romantic notions of Emerson, Thoreau and Louisa May Alcott. Though this might have been an insubstantial motive, she has never been disappointed. By an apparent coincidence, she ended up working for the Episcopal Church in the area of communication, first for 11 years as Director of Communication for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts until another coincidence sent her to New York where for 18 years she worked as the communication assistant for the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.
Since retirement, Barbara continues writing, editing and leading retreats. For nearly half a century she has lived in Gloucester, Massachusetts in a house by the sea, where she can smell the salt air and observe the movement of the tides. The old house has weathered some 350 years while she has seen merely eight decades.
Loving yourself has to do with knowing that you are loved by the love at the center of the universe.
Barbara and Kathryn met more than 2 decades ago at Massachusetts General Hospital when Kathryn became Barbara’s primary care physician. Since Kathryn’s move to Spain in 2011, they have continued their correspondence and become friends. Barbara has been an important contributor of provocative and insightful essays to the International Integrators blog,
In their podcast conversation, Barbara and Kathryn explore these themes:
- Barbara is a facilitator for Living Whole Online because she believes that International Integrators and Living Whole are all about being the best person that you can be for yourself.
I think there is so much grief and pain in the world right now…I think that anything that anyone can do in this grief–stricken world is good.
- What did Hafiz, the 14th century Persian poet, say about this in the poem, A Cushion for Your Head?
- How do the sensibilities and experiences of black women poets especially speak to our times right now? How does Barbara illustrate her insights about this question with Lucille Clifton’s poem, Won’t You Celebrate with Me?
- What does it mean to be as appropriate as we can be for the times within which we are living?
- How does John O’Donoghue’s poem, This is the Time to be Slow, help us cultivate our self-care practices?
- What does Barbara mean by the “temple of the present moment” and how does Mary Oliver’s poem Today help us explore this concept more deeply?
- Barbara’s definition of apocalypse is “unfolding, revealing.” What does Barbara mean when she says, “these are apocalyptic times”?
- What are some habits and patterns that we can focus on and choose to leave behind, or Continue, as in Maya Angelou’s poem?
Spiritual means that you know that there is something big going on here, that there is something “beyond” that you are a part of. I understand that as love.
A Conversation with Barbara Braver, poet, writer, editor, retreat leader, philosopher