Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A More Succinct Announcement

Dear Friends,

One among you who admitted to feeling “overwhelmed” by all the information in my email, “Invitation,” asked me:

Are you going to send out another more succinct email about this event?

I’m so grateful she told me this! When I sent out that overly detailed email, the Maine Jung Center hadn’t yet posted this, but here it is now, straight from their website, in good time for you to save the date.

Loving regards to all,

Aspiring to Live Authentically 
Elaine McGillicuddy
Sunday, February 23
 2—4 p.m.
Portland Friends Meetinghouse
1837 Forest Ave, Portland ME
Elaine will share both her journey through grief since the death of her priest-husband, Francis, and the providential way that writing her 
poems and telling their love story restored her will to live and gave her a new purpose in life. Besides relating how becoming a published poet and writer became a healing experience for her, Elaine will read 
selections from her books. Participants will also be invited to sample a few energizing yoga stretches and savor a few lines of the soul-satisfying Lord’s Prayer chanted in Aramaic.  
Elaine G. McGillicuddy, MA, poet and writer, is a former nun who married a resigned priest. She is a retired English teacher, certified Iyengar yoga teacher who co-founded Portland Yoga Studio, and a  leader of the Dances of Universal Peace. She is now writing her third book, Sing to Me and I Will Hear You–The Uncollected Poems and Journals. The titles of this and her other books are drawn from her husband Francis’ words to her before he died. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Dear Family and Friends,

For the same reason I said yes to two interviews (for a radio/podcast by Dr. Lisa Belisle, and for a Profile column in Maine magazine), I said yes to my former yoga student and friend, Jennifer Stanbro. She emailed me on September 24, 2013 – exactly four years later, to the day, the day Francis was first hospitalized.

Jennifer, now a member of the Board for the Maine Jung Center, asked if I would be willing to give a two-hour program under the heading “Tools for Individuation,” on February 23, 2014. She explained that the Center occasionally holds these programs in which someone shares a personal experience of inner growth. There’s usually some sort of expressive dimension involved. For example, in the past, artists came and talked about their process.

“I immediately thought of you and your poetry,” she said. “I know you have another book coming out and I was thinking this might be a nice venue for sharing your story and your publications.” I agreed, and then drew up a “Proposal” in the form of an outline. The Board liked it. That was three and a half months ago.

Amazed once again by the unexpected, unlooked-for nature of these opportunities for me to share Francis’ and my love story, I spent hours pondering, revising, and refining the content of my outline. I knew right away I would be mentioning Greg Mogenson’s book, Greeting the Angels – An Imaginal View of the Mourning Process, and for two reasons. He is not only a Jungian analyst (and so, an author certain to appeal to such an audience), but his book also deeply moves me. (I first read a chapter in it after my mother died in 2000.) Then, after Francis died, I found it so affirming to find my experience described in it, that when the time came to select who might write a blurb for the back cover of Sing to Me and I Will Hear You – The Poems, I thought of him. That’s when I discovered he lives in London, Ontario, Canada. So I emailed Mr. Mogenson. He not only said yes to my request, he agreed with me that my poems reflect much that he expressed in that marvelous book.

At that time, or likely, even more than two years ago, I had typed three pages of notes from Mogenson’s book. They are notes I’ve found myself drawn to read and reread. So I reread them then, and got an idea I suddenly put into motion: I wrote down in the margins, or right over those typed notes, using a red pen, the titles of my poems which illustrate his words. I felt some excitement about this because the correspondence between certain words and my poems was something I could see, now, concretely. It wasn’t just a vague feeling I had had. My poems did and do, in some way, echo his words!

Some months before I had started working on the outline, passages from my own poems began coming up for me, either with new nuances, or by way of almost stunning me with their enduring truth. Being a new poet, that phenomenon surprised me. You can imagine my delight to hear Richard Blanco say something similar during Diane Rehm’s excellent interview with him on public radio, on January 2 (and here’s the link):
My own poems had begun reverberating new meanings for me, and now here I was finding yet more, by examining which ones might match with the words of this Jungian analyst.

In the end, I carefully selected twelve quotes from Greeting the Angels which resonate with fourteen of my poems.  My outline took on new life. There will now be a part two to my presentation – a powerpoint projection onto a screen of one of Mogenson’s quotes and its page number, and the title of one my poems. After a pause to let those present absorb his text, I will recite the poem I feel exemplifies it.

Why am I telling you all this? Because the two-hour presentation on Sunday afternoon February 23, from 2 – 4 pm will be held at the Friends’ Meeting on at 1837 Forest Avenue, in Portland. The general public is invited, not just members of the Maine Jung Center.

I was asked by Katie Miller, coordinator of the Maine Jung Center, to email her information to use in their newsletter which is now posted on their website:

It may not be wise for me to give you a copy of my outline now (attached in my email only) but it’s only an outline. It can’t deliver the live interaction that will surely take place with those who come. (I’m looking forward to that, even though, frankly, I feel a little nervous about doing this . . . though that’s probably good too). But for those who can’t come – at least you’ll get to see what has been much more than just a project for me in the last three and a half months.

I invite you for now, if you’d like to come, to mark your calendar – Save the date February 23 from 2 to 4 pm, a Sunday afternoon. And better still -  register online now at the Maine Jung Center's website, under "Programs"

I’m touched by everyone’s encouragement and support – thank you!

May you all be well and blessed beyond your expectations in this new year,